Pulau Bidadari (or the Island of Angels) is one of the many charming islands in the Thousand Islands Marine National Park in the Bay of Jakarta, which also comprise Pulau Tidung and Pulau Pramuka. This beautiful island, formerly known as Pulau Sakit, is located close to the capital city, approximately 15 kilometers (or 20 minutes) away by speedboat. Pulau Bidadari lies in the middle of a cluster of small islands, among which are Pulau Onrust, Pulau Khayangan, Pulau Kelor, and Pulau Ayer.
Because of its natural beauty as well as its historic attractions, Pulau Bidadari is at present being developed as a tourist destination. With only six hectares in area, Pulau Bidadari is a small island. You could walk from one end to the other in under two hours.
The beaches of Pulau Bidadari display beautiful, white sand, and crystal clear sea water. There are also several mangrove forests where you will have the opportunity to see many rare and exotic plants, such as, the tree of peace (Baringtonia exelsa), willows, Pempis acidula, ebony trees (Diospyros maritama), and Glodokan trees, to name a few. Around the forests are also several fruit orchards which are lovely and colorful, especially when in season! Approximately 60% of plants on this island are rare, protected species.
Another interesing fact about Pulau Bidadari is that half of it remains lush, green forest. You can walk along paths and see monitor lizards lurking about tree branches. Up to 50 monitor lizards inhabit the area, some growing to as long as 2 meters.
In the 17th-century, the Dutch built leper hospitals on the island but these are no more. The island was then known as Pulau Sakit (or Sick Island). To give the island a more positive vibe, the name was changed to its current name, Pulau Bidadari. In addition, the Dutch also built a fortress here in 1786 to protect the City of Batavia (today’s Jakarta) from enemy attack.
Prior to 1970, the island had never been visited by tourists. It was not until the 1970’s, when PT Seabreez began to develop the island as a tourist resort as well as raise tourism awareness to this paradisical spot. According to the Pulau Bidadari community, the island gained its name because long ago, the Royal Family of Jayakarta used to come to the island for recreation and relaxation. No one was allowed to visit the island unless they were of royal blood. Hence the name, Pulau Bidadari, literally translated meaning: The Island of Angels.
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The Pulau Bidadari resort has a wonderful seafood restaurant where all the seafood is obtained directly from the sea by local fishermen, that same day. To name a few of the menu favorites, are soup, blue swimmer crab, green mussels cooked in butter, baby stingray, and a traditional fish head soup. The nightly barbeque party is one of the most memorable events and highly favored by visitors as well.
On Pulau Bidadari there are 49 cottages that are built over the ocean as well as on land. These consist of 3 types of room, 23 deluxe cottages, 20 family cottage suites, and 6 single cottages. The ‘floating cottages’ are in the form of modernized traditional houses on stilts over the water and are built among mangrove trees which provide shady and comfortable lodging, with an amazing view of the vast expanse of ocean. This is an ideal location for those planning a honeymoon location as you can’t help but be swept up by the romantic atmosphere.
Every room in the Pulau Bidadari resort comes fully equipped with a bathroom including a shower and hair dryer, TV, telephone, Internet access, and a minibar. They also offer a variety of facilities such as billiards, a karaoke hall , souvenir shop, basket ball and volley ball court, jogging track, and mosque. Available within the resort is also the rental of water recreation equipment, such as jetski, banana boat, canoes, sight-seeing boats, and fishing equipment.
Not all the islands in the Thousand Islands Marine National Park have 24-hour electrical facilities. Pulau Bidadari is one that provides 24-hour electricity. There is also a plentiful supply of clean water.
Because of its proximity to Jakarta, the sea is not appropriate for snorkeling or diving. However, there are an interesting variety of water sports provided, such as, jetski, banana boat, canoeing, or fishing. There is an area designated specially for those of you who are looking to work on your tan. Grab your favorite book and settle down in one of the wooden lazy chairs for a warm and relaxing afternoon. There are umbrellas provided as well if you prefer the shade. Set up camp under a wide umbrella and spread a picnic for the whole family to enjoy.
Pulau Bidadari is also a nursery where dolphins are bred. So you can count on catching a glimpse of a tail of two breaking through the waves during your stay here. One of the most popular island attractions is swimming with the dolphins for both adults and children. There is also a facility offered for therapy for autistic children to interact with the dolphins. The price of this therapy is Rp. 150,000 per half hour. Two male dolphins, Yossy and Nia, will invite you and your family to swim together safely.
On this beautiful island you can also see the historic relics of the fort and its cannons. Following the shape of a control tower in Europe, it is better known as Martello Tower. This is the only fortress in Indonesia whose original structure was kept mainly intact over the years. This building functioned as a control tower and castle with a circular shape measuring 23 meters in diameter and a wall thickness of 2.50 meters. In the center there is a circular wall that functioned as a place to hold fresh drinking water and for cooking purposes for the guards on duty at that time. Based on research and excavations done by the Department of History and Museums of Jakarta, the building was originally a two-storey tower as shown by the holes in the floor support beams. There are seven chambers on the second floor, which served as sleeping rooms as well as for lookout. One room in particular was used as an ammunition storage area. Legend has it that a couple who takes pictures in the fortress will have a long-lasting relationship.
Pulau Bidadari has several specifically ideal spots where you can enjoy the sunset. You can capture the amazing colors on camera every afternoon as the sun begins to set over the horizon, so there is rarely an afternoon without a breathtaking show. Pulau Bidadari at sunset has been used for numerous pre-wedding photo shoots.
The main departure point to Pulau Bidadari is at the Ancol Marina, where further information on travel arrangements can be found. You can reach Pulau Bidadari in approximately 30-45 minutes from Pier 17 Marina Jaya Ancol, by a small speedboat or ferry.
KM Kerapu, is a ferry company very well known and used by most tourists to and from the islands. They have smaller speedboats which can seat up to 25 people, while another option would be to take the traditional boat they offer as well, with a maximum capacity of 100 people. Ticket prices are Rp. 32,000 per person. (This is not including the entrance ticket into the Ancol area.) There are daily departures from Ancol Marina from between 8-9 am. And return, between 1:30-2 pm.
During the Holidays, accommodations tend to fill up very fast, so it is suggested that you make your reservations up to a week before your departure to ensure you receive your room of choice.
If you want to spend New Year’s Eve at Pulau Bidadari, please book in advance. Pulau Bidadari resort has special packages and events to commemorate the changing of the year.
The best visiting season is from March to May every year. From November to February there are often very large waves and rough seas, due to the rainy season, so avoiding that time of the year is advisable. Unfavorable weather also frequently occurs from May through August. The Thousand Islands include hundreds of islands that are very closely spaced together, thus causing the waves to break within that small area and occasionally rough seas. If weather is less than favorable, your visit would customarily be postponed until weather permits.