Wednesday, 8 April 2015

3 Reasons Not To Go To Pulau Tidung

I was in Pulau Tidung recently and what a disappointment it was. 

Pulau Tidung is part of the Thousand Island (Kepulauan Seribu) archipelago that is located in the Bay of Jakarta in the Java Sea. 

When we were researching for the trip, many websites mentioned that the island boasts of clear, blue waters that is perfect for diving, snorkelling and fishing. We were enticed by the lovely photos of the island.

But when we saw the island with our own eyes, what a disappointment it was. 

Moral of the story: Don't trust all the travel photos online - they can be deceiving, especially with the emergence of Photoshop and dishonest people.

Here are 3 reasons why you should not go to Pulau Tidung.

1) Garbage everywhere

The island is literally covered in garbage.

The water is clear and lovely, but the huge amount of garbage on the shore (especially during low tide) makes it a horrible place to be. Thankfully there was no horrible garbage smell. 

From my observation, the reasons for the poor sanitary condition is because the island does not have enough rubbish bins and a proper waste management system, e.g. an incinerator.

I found it difficult to throw rubbish because there were no bins around. Whenever I had something to dispose, I had to hold onto it until I come across a bin, which is extremely rare on the island. Heck, there wasn't even a rubbish bin in our homestay room.

With the lack of rubbish bins and a proper waste management system, the islanders take the easy way out and dump garbage everywhere, even between the houses. Look at this picture: 

Garbage dump site between the houses.

I noticed that the local authorities had put up signages around the island encouraging the locals to maintain cleanliness and to inculcate a habit of recycling. But unfortunately the island is still dirty.

2) Poor lodging facilities

Despite being an island boasting of clear, blue waters, Pulau Tidung does not have any resort or even budget hotel.

Most, if not all of the lodging on the island are homestays with rooms like this:

Our basic room. Thankfully it had an air condition unit because the room had the potential of becoming a sauna, especially in the daytime. Note that they didn't provide blankets, simply because there's no need for it. It was so damn hot, even at night.

I didn't take photos of the bathroom because it was a shame. The bathroom had a squat toilet with no flush. There was also no sink and no shower head. 

Water (from a tap on the wall) was collected into a big basin. So we had to squat whenever we brushed our teeth and bathed. 

3) Rickety bicycles

We were given 2 rickety bicycles to ride around the island.

The bicycles had almost deflated tyres with no shock absorbers. 

The island had narrow and uneven roads like this:

The crowd was huge during the weekend that we went to Pulau Tidung. 

Put all these together: Rickety bicycle with no shock absorber on narrow, uneven roads and having to cycle amongst the huge number of cyclists, most of whom were also suffering like us, was indeed challenging.

My butt and thighs were aching at the end of the first day. It had been a long time since I subjected my butt to so much torture.

So better think twice if you're planning to make a trip to Pulau Tidung.

Despite encountering all the 'hardships' (as how Angie describes it) on the island, we had one of the most delicious seafood dinner on our last night there.

So at least we had one pleasant experience on Pulau Tidung :-)

The simple but delicious ikan bakar and squid.

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