Thousand Islands (Indonesian: Kepulauan Seribu) is the only regency of Jakarta, Indonesia. It consists of a string of 105 islands stretching 45 kilometers north into the Java Sea, with the closest island lying in Jakarta Bay only a few kilometers off mainland Jakarta.
As well as being a National Park, Pulau Seribu has several islands which are mostly or fully devoted to tourism. As they are government-owned, investment in infrastructure is somewhat lacking, and the extremely high prices act to reduce visitor numbers and the resulting damage to the fragile environment.
The area is a marine national park although development is allowed on 37 of the islands. Some islands are uninhabited, others have resorts and a number of them are privately owned by wealthy Jakartans.
Fishing is the main trade of the islands. However, there has been a drop in the value of the trade due to overfishing by fishing vessels operating in the area.
Paradiso Islands / Onrust Archaeology Park
In 1972 Ali Sadikin, then governor of Jakarta, declared Onrust Island a protected historical site. In 2002 the administration made Onrust and its three neighbors - Cipir, Kelor and Bidadari - an archaeological park to protect the artifacts and ruins on the islands that date back to the time of the Dutch East India Company.
The Onrust Archaeology Park consists of four islands that are relatively close to Jakarta, within at most two kilometers from each other and that form a rough square. In 1800 HMS Sybille, HMS Daedalus, HMS Centurion and HMS Braave entered the area, which they referred to as Batavia Roads, and captured five Dutch armed vessels in all and destroyed 22 other vessels.
Pulau Onrust: The Dutch called this island Eijland Onrust (Dutch for "Unrest"). Onrust is also known as Pulau Kapal (Ship Island) or Pulau Damar Besar. Onrust was the site of a major shipyard and five-sided fort that had belonged to the by then defunct Dutch East India Company. The Dutch had to rebuild the naval base on Onrust several times due to British attacks, such as the one in 1800. The last restoration was in 1840. In 1883 the explosion of Krakatoa sent a huge tidal wave that destroyed the last Dutch naval base on the island. During the 19th Century Onrust held a sanitorium for people suffering from tuberculosis and a quarantine station for pilgrims returning from the Hajj to Mecca.[Note 1] The quarantine barracks took up some two-thirds of the island and could hold 3,500 pilgrims. Over the years erosion reduced Onrust from its original 12 hectares to 7.5 hectares (2002). The administration then built concrete retaining walls around the island but these are now in a dilapidated state.
Pulau Kahyangan (Heaven Island): The Dutch originally named this Kuyper Eiland or Cuyper Eijland.(The British called it Kuyper Island, Kuyper's Island or Cooper's Island). Under the Dutch there was a shipyard here too. Under the Indonesians it came to be called Palau Cipir. In the early 20th Century a narrow, floating bridge linked Cipir and Onrust islands. At the time, it too functioned as a quarantine station.
Pulau Bidadari (Heavenly Nymphs / Angels' Island). The Dutch named the island Purmerent eiland after the town of Purmerend in Holland. In 1850 the Dutch built a Martello tower (Menara Martello) here as part of a set of fortifications that protected the approaches to Batavia. The tower was operational until 1878, when it became a storage site. It too was badly damaged by the Krakatoa explosion and was abandoned in 1908. All that remains now is the base up to a meter or two above ground. Bidadari was also known as Pulau Sakit (Sick Island) as it housed a leper colony during the 17th century. More recently, the island came to be called "Angel Island", to honor the leprosarium that had been there. Bidadari is now a resort island with some tourist facilities.
Pulau Kelor. The Dutch first referred to this island as Engelse (English) Onrust and started to use it as a cemetery. It then became Kerkhof eiland (Cemetery island) and eventually Kelor. There is a large circular brick building here that some call a Martello tower. It is not; photos suggest that its walls are too thin and the windows in them are too many and too large.
Pulau Panggang (Grilled Island) and Pulau Kelapa (Coconut Island), the most populous island, are about 15 kilometers north of Jakarta and home to poor fishing villages. Pulau Panjang (Long Island) has the islands' only airstrip while Bira has a golf course. Pulau Kotok, Pulau Macan Besar (Big Tiger Island), Pulau Putri (Princess Island), Pulau Pelangi (Rainbow Island), Sepa, Papa Theo, Antuk Timur, and Antuk Barat are all further off shore and have resorts.
An area of 107,489 hectares of land and sea was declared by a Forestry Ministrial Decree in 2002 as the Taman Nasional Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands National Park). Public access is prohibited on two of the islands, Panjaliran Barat and Panjaliran Timur, where sea turtles are conserved.
The most popular and more expensive of the two options to reach the islands is Marina Ancol in the north of Jakarta. Getting there involves turning up at jetty at Marina Ancol where there is a building containing a number of travel agencies. The agencies sell package tours for the resorts on the islands and accordingly are all more or less selling the same product at the same price. There are also web-based agencies, who you should call and then pay by bank transfer/deposit in advance.
The boats leave at various times in the morning and you are required to arrive at least 30 minutes before departure. Some resorts on nearer islands have boats that leave at 9.00am and in the case of Pulau Ayer, at around 2pm. However, these are limited and places on the boats are only available if the boat can be filled.
The other option used by some locals is via Muara Angke harbor, located in the same area as the fish market. There are regular boats to Pramuka Island, which leave in the morning around 7am, and afternoon around 1pm.