Location : Kelurahan Bontang Kuala, Kecamatan Bontang Utara, Kota Bontang, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia.
The very first time we heard of the name Beras Basah islandnear Bontang (not to be confused with Pulau Langkawi’s) while visiting Samarinda years ago was through a group of young adventurers who called themselves ‘Samarinda Backpackers’. We met up with the group one evening to get to know them better after Mei Er communicated with Ms Yana a member of the group. While enjoying their homemade ‘Rainbow cake lapis’ the name of Beras Basahpopped up as a suggestion for us to visit. We had other plans back then and could not take up their suggestion. But this time round we were ready to see this island where foreign tourists, I suspect, do not go or even know about. It is the place for locals to hang out.
We communicated with Dony a local boy doing tour business here and his 2D1N package included visiting Bontang Kuala,camping in Beras Basah Island and a visit to a no man’s island whose name I forgot but was later abandoned when high tide submerged it. This was replaced with a visit to Tihi Tihi instead. Dony personally came to pick us up in Samarinda where we were staying with a friend, despite the fact that he was sick at that time. Such commitment. Later, he was to be replaced by his assistants Arief (as the driver) and Ahsan (as the guide).
3hrs of pretty bad road and we arrived at Bontang Kuala, the ‘traditional’ side of Bontang which we missed out on our first visit.
OTW from Samarinda to Bontang
A couple more years and the drive to Bontang should be more pleasant
Arrived Bontang Kuala
This was the water village with the rattling belian plank walks very much wider than anywhere we had ever seen. Such a big contrast compared to the modern commercial side of Bontang. We did a quick tour before proceeding to kill this burning curiosity about this most intriguing statue here in Bontang, the Merlion!
Tour around Bontang Kuala
Water village of Bontang Kuala
Masjid Jami (Mosque)
Nice buggy to help to help tourists with their baggage
Ask for Fadli here to get your tour organised
While in Sarawak we use the super heavy concrete reef balls, here in Bontang they use a totally different approach for creating artificial reefs. I was wondering how this could stand up to big trawler’s net. Anyway, it seemed to work for them
Mangrove fruits – bitter
After about 10 minutes drive we arrived at this big café where the Merlion was sitting pretty. It came as no surprise that the said café was called ‘Café Singapore’. For whatever the reason, we do not know why as much as there is a Bras Basah road in Singapore. Time to board the boat for Beras Basah island.