The region of East Kalimantan (Borneo) is very much untouched and it offers incredible destinations such as Derawan Island, a tiny little landmass covered with coconut palm trees and colorful beach shacks.
I have put together this complete guide to Derawan Island including how to get there and what to expect when you arrive.
WHERE IS DERAWAN ISLAND (PULAU DERAWAN)
Derawan Island is located in the Celebes Sea off the coast of East Kalimantan in Borneo, Indonesia.
Click here to see the location on Google maps.
There is an archipelago of islands in the Celebes Sea and Derawan is the main hub for travelers wishing to visit this mecca of islands.
HOW TO GET TO DERAWAN ISLAND?
The most convenient way to get to Derawan is to catch a flight to Berau Airport and take a 15-minute taxi to the Tanjung Redeb boat harbor.
The cost of a taxi is $8 from Berau Airport to Tanjung Redeb. From here you will have to take a speed boat to Derawan Island which takes 2 hours for 250,000 Rupiah ($25) one way.
The boats run 7 days a week and generally every 2 hours. The first boat departs at 8 am and the last boat leaves at 4 pm.
You will see a ticket office alongside the river’s edge at the Tanjung Redeb boat harbor and you can organize your trip there.
If you have any difficulties trying to find the right boat, the locals are very quick to give you some help, you need only ask.
Have you got travel insurance for your trip?!
We all know accidents can happen and having Heymondo Insurance will save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong.
Heymondo offers low-cost Travel Insurance to keep you covered on all your adventures.
TOP 4 THINGS TO DO ON DERAWAN ISLAND
SCUBA DIVING ON PULAU DERAWAN
One of the main points of interest for visitors to the island is scuba diving.
There are a number of Dive Resorts located around the island that offers great packages for some of the best diving locations in the world.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do any scuba diving on my visit to Pantai Derawan as I had an ear injury in the past that prevents me from diving.
For more information on booking a dive on Pulau Derawan, I have listed 3 Derawan dive resorts below:
THE BENT PALM TREE – PANTAI DERAWAN
On your self-guided Derawan Tour, you can find a patch of palm trees on a mound of blinding white sand on the most eastern tip of the island.
There is one unique palm that bends out at a 45-degree angle over the water’s edge. My buddy and I took turns in climbing the palm tree to try to get ourselves a fresh coconut.
I wish I could say that we were successful in our efforts though I have to be honest and say we didn’t reach the top.
We decided to head back to the bent palm for sunset and we then waited for the milky way to rise to capture a long exposure shot of this location.
Pssst! Check out this AWESOME travel bag!
The Nomatic 40L is the best travel bag on the market, perfect for weekend trips or month-long adventures!
Featuring multiple compartments for clothes, shoes, laptop, water bottle, RFID-protected pocket, and more.
It’s designed to fit the maximum size allowed for carry-on luggage, so you’ll never have to spend money on check-in baggage again!
DERAWAN ISLAND SHIPWRECK
Continue the adventure along the shoreline till you come across the Shipwreck.
It only takes a maximum of 30 minutes to walk around the entire island so it’s hard to miss this wrecked boat on the sandbank.
Surrounded by a mecca of palm trees and debris from the shipwreck, this location will make you feel like you’re on the set of ‘Cast Away’!
The best spot to spend the golden hour on your self-guided Derawan Tour is at Sunset Point.
There is yet another bent palm tree to climb on this side of the island and it is one of the best spots on Pulau Derawan to perch yourself for a sunset.
Sunset point is located next to the Shipwreck in case you can’t find it!
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Derawan Island can be visited year-round. I visited in early June during Ramadhan and it was very quiet and peaceful.
Local Indonesian cuisine is mostly served at every restaurant and warung. Don’t be surprised if you don’t find a westernized meal on the island.
There is an ATM machine located in Pulau Derawan though I chose to take out some cash when I arrived at Berau Airport just to be sure I had enough funds to cover myself.
WHERE TO STAY IN DERAWAN ISLAND
Derawan has only a handful of accommodation options that include dive resorts and small homestays.
See the list below of some accommodations that I personally recommend:
- Fisheries Eco Villa
- Derawan Dive Resort
WHAT TO PACK FOR INDONESIA
When visiting Indonesia, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:
Must-Have Travel Essentials
Hidden Money Wallet
Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!
Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!
The Nomatic Travel Backpack has 20+ innovative features, perfect for everyday use!
Quick-Dry Travel Towel
The most compact, lightweight, and quick-dry towel for traveling!
Keep your phone, laptop, and accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker PowerBank!
FINAL THOUGHTS – DERAWAN ISLAND
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
Search and book accommodation worldwide.
Compare and book cheap flights to anywhere.
Find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world.
Book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance.
Search all rental cars in your next destination.
Need travel insurance for your next trip?
THANKS FOR READING
Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!
Please know this post may contain affiliate links. When making a purchase through one of my links, I earn a small kickback at no extra cost to you and it’s a big help to keep the site up and running. Rest assured, I only promote products and services that I personally use and recommend.
Click here to find out how you can support the site organically.