Idylic beaches of Pulau Derawan

For many tourists that goes to Indonesia Derewan islands are gateway from the crowded commercial places. Its not so popular like Bali or Java or Borneo but is as much as beautiful like those. Derewan islands are located in East Kalimentan , group of isles and reefs. Paradise on earth i would say . This islands are home of one of the most diverse marine in the world. For those who love jungle trekking there is 130 milion old jungle to be explore. Sea is amazing and great for scuba diving and tanning 🙂 ,

Whole group of Derewan islands is 31, big and every each of those isles is beautiful. To increase the tourism they even build up a bigger runaway on Maratau island .


Getting to Derewan

The best way to reach the island is to use speedboats or airplanes. To Maratau airport there is a many flights from other cities in Indonesia. Flights are done mainly by small companies.

To reach Derawan, SilkAir flies from Singapore to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan. Or you can take a flight from Jakarta, Surabaya or Denpasar to Balikpapan or Tarakan by Garuda Indonesia. Then take a connecting flight to Tanjung Redeb in Berau. From here, boats will take you to the islands.

Things to do in Derawan

The Derawan Islands have a large number of unique and protected species, among which are the coconut crabs, whales, dolphins and dugongs. The coconut crabs are found near the islands of Kakaban and Maratua, while whales and dolphins in particular months can be seen around Semama, Sangalaki, Kakaban and Maratua. Dugongs swim around Pulau Panjang and Semama, and manta rays are found around Sangalaki with pygmy seahorses around Semama and Derawan. Other protected species are the barracuda.

We can dive or snorkel at Derawan island or for deep sea diving we could go to Maratua island. Famous spot for snorkeling is Manta Spot, we could see Manta fish there near Sangalaki island.

We can see big fish (shark) and sea turtle if we dive at Maratua or Derawan island.

There are a total of 28 dive points identified here. Avid divers will need at least 10 days to explore them all.

Maratua Island is 384.36 square kilometers and has at least 13 caves, but the prediction, more than a hundred caves are not yet explored. The caves usually have connection directly to the sea. These caves originated from reef which sea water infiltrated into, creating underground channels.

Clear water gave a wonderful condition for diving. Its according to many one of the best in the world. The diversity of the marine life make it even much better.

derawan snorkling

Where to sleep in Derawan

There are many hotels in Derawan. The largest one is Derawan Dive Resort managed by PT BMI. Others hotel managed by local citizens.

If you want to stay on another island there are two resorts on and near Maratua island. Nabucco resort and Paradise resort. These two resorts are rather upmarket. If you want to go for a cheaper option on Maratua Island, go for Maratua Guesthouse ( It’s located right on a deserted beach and has a wonderful terrace for relaxing and eating great (even Western) food.

Kakaban island is a conservation island for jellyfish, so nobody lives here. Sangalaki island is for sea turtle conservation. Only NGO people live here. Swimming with manta rays is a highlight of visiting Sangalaki Island.