Guide for Anambas Novices
The Anambas Archipelago is part of Riau Province, Indonesia. Whilst most of us in Singapore are aware of Batam and Bintan, not all travelers in Singapore are familiar with the name "Riau". This is partly why Anambas typically doesn't feature on travelers' holiday itinerary here. However, this is now changing.
In fact, the reason Anambas is becoming more and more popular as a holiday destination is twofold.
First, travel agents and travelers in general are gradually coming to the realization that the Anambas islands are at least as sensational as their Indian Ocean counterparts, i.e. the Maldives. This isn't even an exaggeration; just one glance at some images of the crystal-clear azure-colored waters around Pulau Bawah, for instance, and it's instantly clear the Anambas Islands are no less a sun-kissed paradise as Maldives.
The second reason for Anambas gaining popularity is that, contrary to Maldives, the Anambas islands have so much more to offer than just a holiday on an uninhabited little Bounty island.
For example, a number of Anambas islands lend themselves ideally for eco-adventures. Jungle-trekking, hill-climbing, mangrove-cruising, bird-watching, and various other nature activities in and around the spectacular Anambas flora and fauna, are all available in Anambas. N.B: If you've always wanted to see Rafflesia, the world's biggest flower, Anambas is the place to be. Why? Because the largest of all Rafflesia species occurs right here, in Anambas!
It's a jungle out there
In Anambas the jungles especially are a sight to behold. Whole swathes of rainforest here are still undisturbed by human interaction until today. So, if you're even remotely interested in Biology, Zoology or Botany, then you can be sure that you'll have an absolutely amazing time in Anambas.
Speaking of nature, let's not forget turtle-watching at turtle islands, Pulau Durai and Pulau Pahat. These now famous islands boast the status of "turtle conservation island", because the beaches there have served as the nesting grounds for green turtles and hawksbill sea turtles since time immemorial.
Do you want to see turtles come ashore for egg-laying? Or witness the eggs hatching and tiny turtle hatchlings' subsequent mass exodus to the sea? Then head for either Pulau Durai or Pulau Pahat around the months of May to August. Don't forget your camera.
When it comes to scubadiving, it goes without saying that Anambas is a true scubadiving heaven. On clear days in particular, divers can expect a visibility of 30 meters or more. And you'll be completely in awe of the wealth of pristine fields of coral that often extend as far as the eye can see... Want to know the best spots to dive? Send me a quick email below.
By the way, if it's wreck diving you prefer, then you can dive to your heart's content at Igara or Seven Skies, both renown scuba locations, for those keen to see big marine life, as well as those interested in macro.
Now, if you're a sport-fishing aficionado, then FYI, the waters around the Anambas Archipelago are without doubt productive. Once you're out on a fishing sortie, you'll see schools of hunting tuna around your vessel constantly. "Nervous water" galore. These voracious predatory fish seem to be on the prowl for baitfish without end. They don't grow all that big here, about 30-40 cm at most, but they battle to the bitter end.
Often, the feeding chaos also includes diving sea birds, as well as other predatory fish, such as barracuda, mackerel and even sailfish. Other commonly caught fish here include GT, red snapper, trevally and grouper. By the way, if you enjoy calamari, squid are plentiful here too.
Where to stay?
Resorts in Anambas, whilst not exactly plentiful, offer adequate choice. And a few of them are simply awesome. Pick the right one and you'll hear the mesmerizing background murmerings of the sea at barely a stone's throw away.
When it comes to food and drink, you'll be quite pleasantly surprised at the low cost of meals in Anambas - especially the cost of seafood dishes, which are available everywhere (for obvious reasons). Do have a go at Tarempa Mie, which is a local specialty. But take note, some dishes can be on the spicy side, so be sure to taste a little bit first before you take a plateful.
As far as travelling around the Anambas islands, it should be pointed out that public transport from A to B here doesn't always favor those that want to get there fast. This applies especially to the traditional mode of transport used between two islands, a wooden "pom-pong" boat powered by diesel. My advice: just sit back comfortably and enjoy the ride.
This isn't even all that unusual a piece of advise, because in almost all cases, the sea alone will be an absolute sight for sore eyes. Ditto the many breathtaking panoramas that you'll be encountering along the way.
Getting to the Anambas Archipelago is relatively easy. For details on how to travel to Anambas, click Anambas Ferry.
But no matter which Anambas island you travel to, whether you travel solo or with friends, with family or with your partner, you can be sure you're going to have an amazing time.
Is Anambas safe?
We're used to our level of safety here in Singapore. Even tough we kind of take it for granted during our everyday lives, not having to worry about petty crime etc is actually quite awesome. So this aspect, personal safety, is one of the considerations when deciding where to go for our holiday.
Is Anambas safe? In my own experience, I can say that when it comes to personal safety, yes, Anambas is safe. I've been visting the islands since 2014 and I've yet to encounter any issue with petty crime for example, or any crime for that matter. Moreover, I actually feel safe in Anambas, which is really what you want when on a holiday after all.
Is Anambas just as safe as Singapore? I doubt it, for the simple reason that Singapore's level of safety is pretty much one-of-a-kind. But I would rate Anambas as safe as Pulau Tioman, its island neighbour a quick hopscotch to the west. No suprise really, given that the islanders around here are quite laid-back, but additionally, are doing quite well for themselves. The very low number of transients on the islands probably also helps.
When it comes to Covid-19, Anambas offers a few unique advantages. One benefit of being an archipelago is that islands are not quite as accessible as the mainland. In fact, just as in the Maldives, you can stay at a private island Anambas resort, guaranteeing that your travel group remains isolated from the population at large. A pretty shiok concept during the pandemic, and probably even post-pandemic, i.e. the new normal. For more details, click Safecation.
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