When I'd first heard of "Anambas", I confused it with the Andaman Islands. I'd heard of Andaman, located north of Sumatra. But the name Anambas didn't ring a bell at all. And the same applied to all of my friends.
A Google search later I was completely in the know of Anambas. Amazingly, I saw that not only does Anambas really exist, but also that it's breathtakingly beautiful. Frankly though, what surprised me most of all was the fact that this seemingly hidden tropical paradise lies a mere 250 kilometers from Singapore.
How can this stunning island chain comprising dozens of gorgeous Bounty islands, at a mere one hour's flight from a major city metropolis remain so hidden from the rest of the world? How can Anambas still be so completely unknown? This really blew my mind.
Of course at that point I didn't yet know of the many other amazing surprises that still lay ahead.
The first time I saw Anambas was when my ferry arrived in Letung, on the island of Jemaja. Now, I've been to the Caribbean, Mauritius, Maldives, snorkeled around Tioman, Thailand and Fiji too. These are all stunning places, all endowed with a clear sea and thriving coral reefs.
But as I looked across the bow of my ferry whilst it neared Anambas, it appeared the bright blue shallows consisted of nothing but coral. Extensive fields of coral as far as the eye could see. And as I spent the weeks thereafter exploring the islands, I also saw coral everywhere.
Anambas has one of the most impressive coral reefs in Asia. In fact, as it turned out, according to recent biology surveys, the coral in Anambas consists of the highest number of species of just about all coral ecosystems in the world. And it shows.
If you're thinking of going to Anambas, I recommend you rent a boat and explore the countless Robinson Crusoe islands. This is by far the best way to take in the stunning views all around.
And your boat excursions really can be considered explorations, because Anambas is so thinly populated and so hidden from tourism, you'll feel you're the first one to set foot there. These little islands are utterly secluded and hence are still completely pristine.
Boats in Anambas are available around Letung and Tarempa. If your budget is a little modest, you can rent a traditional pompong, a wooden vessel that runs on diesel. Pompongs serve their purpose just nicely if all you want to do is boat around and you have lots of time.