Palau Macan – Tiger Island

We need a break from the city….and we are desperate for some FRESH air!

Pete has been googling which islands are the best to do a weekend trip to from Jakarta and with the Thousand Islands on our doorstep, you’d think there would be plenty of choice right…wrong! Unfortunately what is even less lacking than the abundance of inhabited islands suitable for visitors, is the information online on which islands are best to visit.

One island there is quite a bit of information on is Tiger Island – it even has its own website! ( With only a handful of open air wooden huts on a seemingly quiet island, this was exactly what we needed for a quick and fresh weekend getaway. Unfortunately after booking the 2 person hut on their website – which was surprisingly easy – I had to follow them up 2 days later as I hadn’t had confirmation of my booking. They then told me their online booking system isn’t working yet…so after a few emails back and forth, our weekend was booked.

The weekend was unexpectedly expensive. It cost us ~$440 for 2 days and 1 night. This price did include the 2 hour speed boat ride to and from the island, the accommodation and all meals (1 dinner, 1 breakfast and 2 lunches). Sounds like a bargain right? Well considering the hut we stayed in – which while it was exactly what we were after – was made only of wood, the meals while nice, were cooked camp style in bulk for the 30 odd people on the island and the fact they couldn’t have possibly fitted one more person into the boat, I thought it was overpriced.

We had to wait a few weeks later than expected for this trip as there wasn’t any accommodation available for about 3 weeks in advance. So once the day came we were really looking forward to heading out. Being February, the weather had been a little temperamental in the week prior so when we woke to a glorious blue sky we were wrapped.

A quick* 30 minute trip (only early on a Saturday morning – known to take up to 3 hours!) and we arrive at the Ancol Marina. There were millions of locals and tourists alike trying to seek out some clear water and fresh air for the weekend, but we managed to find our pier without too much fuss. The boat departs right on schedule – which is a rarity for Indonesia – and we are on our way. 2 hours and 3 islands later, we arrive at Tiger Island. First impressions are great. For once, the website photos actually resemble the actual place!

We hop off the boat and are greeted by the weekend caretaker who address us to tell us about how the island works. The entire island is ecofriendly. All the water they use is from a rain water catchment. All showers are cold, the toilet is a ‘rainforest’ toilet (yet actually really quite cool), solar power is used and most meals are vegetarian and organic with a lot of the vegetables grown on the island.

They served lunch up and after a quick bite we are shown to our ‘room’. Pete was chuffed and before we put our bags down he was analysing how he could build one in our backyard once we get back to Australia…for those of you that know Pete, you will understand my concern about this. I mean where on earth would it fit? Beside the homemade spit rotisserie or on top of the custom made Perth-Kalgoorlie pipeline outdoor setting perhaps?? Once I managed to regain his attention we settled in for a relaxing afternoon.

We jumped in for a swim and a snorkel right off our front doorstep in the clear water! This didn’t last long though as it was low tide and I was petrified of meeting a local stingray or sea urchin that we had been warned about earlier in the day. As it was, we didn’t see either but turns out that shouldn’t be the only local I could encounter…!

So back onto our deck for a spot of sunbathing, teamed with an ice cold Bintang of course!

After an afternoon kip, we hopped up to watch the sunset from our deck, and it didn’t disappoint!

Once the sun is down, its dinner time! We head back to the common area and plate up. We grab another Bintang and find a place to sit. After most people have eaten they make their way back to their huts to settle in for the night. We met some lovely Americans who also live in Jakarta and after swapping stories and tips we decided to head back to bed too.

Not 20 minutes after we were settled in for the night, the rain started….then the lightning and wind. This continued for hours, but was quite nice as it cooled the hut down and was lovely to listen to while we were sleeping.

We slept in, which was a pleasant surprise, then headed off to have some breakfast.

After breakfast we decided to swim/snorkel to the sister island which is about 100m away. At low tide you can walk across the sandbar to the island or use one of the kayaks they have available (all included in the price). The water is surprisingly clear and there are a few nice looking corals around. There are thousands and thousands of sea urchins but luckily the tide is high enough that we can glide over them. The sister island isn’t inhabited but has lovely white sand and was a nice place to spend the morning.

Once we had some lunch it was time to pack up and head back. The boat ride back was pretty rough and there was not one spare spot left by the time we picked up the last passengers.

We would definitely head back to this island. The price was a little expensive but you can’t put a price on fresh air and a relaxing weekend getaway with your hubby (and no technology! J)