The Bangka Belitung Islands are one of the provinces in Indonesia located near South Sumatra. This archipelago consists of two large islands, namely Bangka Island and Belitung Island. Bangka Island is much larger compared to Belitung Island. Bangka is always synonymous with its culinary richness. Meanwhile, its neighbor, Belitung Island, is famous for the beauty of its beaches. Although they are often associated with each other due to their similar natural conditions, each island actually has its own uniqueness.
Enchanting Natural Beauty
Bangka Belitung is renowned for its beautiful string of beaches, soft white sands, gently sloping coastlines, captivating diving spots, and a collection of granite rocks that characterize its identity. Every time we set foot on its beaches, a sense of admiration always escapes from our lips. Questions about the origin of these granite rocks also occupy our thoughts. One of the places that can be visited is Lengkuas Island in Belitung.
Pulau Lengkuas can be considered one of the tourist gems in the Bangka Belitung Province. Visitors coming to this island have the opportunity to enjoy the underwater scenery of Lengkuas Island through snorkeling or diving. Additionally, there is a lighthouse built in 1882 by a Dutch national named ZM Willem III. The lighthouse, standing tall with its 18 floors, is a sturdy structure located in the middle of Lengkuas Island. From the lighthouse's peak, the view of white sandy beaches blending with the blue sea becomes clear. However, recent information suggests that the lighthouse can no longer be climbed, and it is now managed by the Ministry of Transportation under the responsibility of the Directorate General of Sea Transportation.
Crossing over to Bangka Island, we can visit Penyusuk Beach located in the Belinyu area. At Penyusuk Beach, once again, we will be treated to numerous large granite rocks scattered around the beach, along with the clear blue sea, indicating that this location is still relatively untouched and extraordinarily beautiful. From Penyusuk Beach, we can explore the small islands nearby, namely Putri Island, Lampu Island, Mentigi Island, Bakong Island, and Antu Island. The six islands around Penyusuk Beach can be reached in about a 15-minute boat ride from the beach, using a boat called a "Pompong."
The journey continues with a visit to Kaolin Lake in Air Bara, Bangka. Kaolin Lake is a semi-artificial lake formed as a result of kaolin mining, which is the main mining activity on Bangka Island and Belitung Island. Kaolin is a type of clay formed from the weathering of granite rocks and is used in the production of plastic, paper, and rubber. Kaolin Lake, which is the remnant of mining and natural exploitation, has transformed into a beautiful attraction juxtaposed with the melancholy sight of the damaged surrounding environment.
However, the beauty of Kaolin Lake in Bangka has the power to instantly captivate the heart. From a panoramic perspective, the lake truly possesses stunning and highly photogenic beauty. Its water has a mesmerizing blue-green hue. The contoured walls of the lake, with their twists and turns, make it resemble the slopes and ridges of a mountain. The pristine white sand further adds to its charm. All these aspects, combined with the blue sky adorned with patches of white clouds, make the beauty of Kaolin Lake immediately apparent upon the arrival of tourists at the location.
Diversity of Culture and Community Life
Take some time to visit the traditional house of Belitung located in the city of Tanjung Pandan, precisely on Ahmad Yani Street, right next to the Belitung Regent Office. This traditional house of Belitung began construction in 2004 and was inaugurated in 2009 by the Regent of Belitung, Darmansyah Husain. The wooden atmosphere is strongly felt when you are inside. Almost every part of this traditional house is made of ‘bulin’ wood, known for its strength and durability.
Visiting Bangka Belitung, you will experience a harmonious process of blending between the Chinese and Malay ethnicities, which has been happening smoothly without conflicts or social disturbances. Acculturation and assimilation have been progressing over time, blending with the local culture in a fascinating manner. The cultural arts that have developed in the Bangka Belitung Islands are diverse and depict the diversity of ethnicities and religions in the region.
The people of Bangka Belitung also hold onto a life philosophy that remains tightly embraced to this day, known as 'Serumpun Sebalai.' 'Serumpun Sebalai' represents an ethical way of life in the daily lives of the people of Bangka Belitung, promoting harmony and peaceful family relationships, despite consisting of various ethnicities and religions. Exploring Bangka Belitung will indeed be a tourism experience that is rarely encountered elsewhere.