Maratua Island, Derawan Islands
Maratua Island, Derawan Islands (Photo by Dinas Pariwisata Kalimantan Timur -

Derawan Islands are an archipelago located to the east of the island of Kalimantan, and are included in the administrative area of Berau Regency. The islands are a haven for marine biodiversity and offer a tranquil retreat for those seeking peace. Even with a short visit, you might encounter giant mantas, whale sharks, dolphins, stingless jellyfish and endangered sea turtles.

Derawan Islands Location
Derawan Islands Location (Google Maps)

There are 31 islands in the Derawan Islands, and there are four famous islands: Maratua Island, Derawan Island, Sangalaki Island and Kakaban Island. The islands are home to a variety of marine ecosystems, making them a paradise for snorkeling and diving.

The average depth in these waters is around five meters. At a deeper location, which is about ten meters, there is a group of coral rocks about 18 meters long which is known as the “Blue Trigger Wall” because there are many red-toothed trigger fishes.

Derawan Islands are part of The Sulu-Sulawesi Sea Eco Region that crosses Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. This Eco Region is located in the center of the world’s coral triangle area with the highest coral biodiversity in the world. It is called the Coral Triangle because it is the epicenter of marine life which has a diversity of types of marine biota. Coral reefs in this area constitute 53% of the world’s coral reefs.

How to Get to the Derawan Islands

Reaching the Derawan Islands requires patience, as it takes quite a long time and involves taking speedboat rides. There are 2 options to get to the Derawan Islands:

  • The first option is to fly to Tarakan, followed by taking public transportation to Tarakan’s Tengkayu Harbor, then use a speedboat to Derawan Island for around 3 hours.
  • The second option is to fly to Berau, followed by a road trip by car for 2.5 – 3 hours to Tanjung Batu Harbor, then use a speedboat for 30 – 45 minutes to Derawan Island.

Traveling between the islands offers an adventurous experience, with stunning ocean views.

Accommodation in Derawan Islands

Of the 4 most visited islands in the Derawan Islands, tourists usually choose to stay on Derawan Island or Maratua Island. On Derawan Island there are many beachside resorts with rooms above the sea. There are also simple accommodation options such as homestays. Meanwhile, on Maratua Island, most of the accommodation is resorts which have long piers jutting out into the sea.

>> Other hotel options in Berau, East Kalimantan

The Derawan Islands, with their stunning natural beauty and rich biodiversity, offer a unique travel experience. Whether you’re a nature lover, a diving enthusiast, or just someone looking for a peaceful getaway, Derawan is a destination that should not be missed.

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