Just over 6 months ago, I flew in to Jakarta (and Asia) for the first time. I was a bag of nerves as I saw on the on-board televisions that we were flying over Indonesia – I eagerly watched out the window as it started to sink in that this place was going to be my home for the next year.
We flew over hundreds of little islands and I remember wondering if I would ever get the chance to visit these amazing places, and this weekend I finally did!
We had a 3 day weekend to celebrate Easter so decided to make the most of the free time by visiting Pulau Pari. Pari Island is one of the ‘Thousand Islands’ sitting in the sea just north of Jakarta. It takes about 2 hours to get there, by boat, but it couldn’t be more different to the busy, polluted city that I call home.
With 4 friends, I set off at 4am on Friday (so early I wanted to die a little bit inside!) to the harbour in the north of Jakarta – I’d been warned that it was a working fishing port, but that didn’t quite prepare me for the smell when we finally arrived! Nevertheless, we watched the sunrise and sang songs while we waited for the boat to set sail – it took a while because we were wedged in by A LOT of other boats trying to leave the city for the holiday weekend!
We set up camp on the front of the boat – for those of you who have ever sailed with me before, I was very brave!! – and the time flew by. I didn’t know what to expect but we soon arrived at Pari as met our host for the weekend. There are no hostels or fancy resorts on the island, the only real accommodation option is a homestay – ie, renting rooms from the residents – the space was very basic but the beds were comfy and it did the job.
Also included in the package were bicycles for the weekend so we spent the first day exploring. One of the best things about the island was that there were no real roads, and therefore no cars!!
It was a small island, only 2km long, but it was beautiful. Everything was so colourful and tradional, and the locals were extremely friendly. I spent an hour chatting to some of the local kids and they showed me around a bit (this all made me really wish I could speak more fluently, but more on that another time..)
Yesterday we snorkelled and somehow ended up on a private island for the afternoon! Our guide wanted to drop us off to snorkel/swim/ generally frolic in the sea for a few hours, but he just pointed at some rocks – I couldn’t completely understand what was happening, but I think he wanted to leave is there…. It was at the edge of a seemingly deserted island so we asked to be dropped off there. Turns our we actually hit the jackpot! There were a few people working on the island, which was in the process of being turned in to a fancy resort – we paid the equivalent of about 50p each to spend the afternoon there and test out the facilities (hammocks!)!
We finally made it back to our own island in time to see the sunset, okay guitars and eat Ikan Bakar (bbq-ed fish) on the beach! 🙂
All in all, it was the perfect weekend full of relaxation, sunbathing, friends, Indonesian tradition and yummy seafood! Pulau Pari – I hope to see you again very soon!
Finally, a big Happy Easter from me and this funky heart shaped tree!