The island of Belitung - formerly known as Biliton - lying on the south eastern coast of Sumatra is one of Indonesia's12 provinces to be passed by the total solar eclipse on 9 March 2016. Here the total sun eclipse will occur from 06.21 hrs. West Indonesia Time, culminating at 07.23 hrs and ending at 08.35 am. Best vantage points in East Belitung are at the residence of the Bupati, District Head of East Belitung, a colonial heritage building at Bukit Sama A1; other locations are the beach at Oli Pier, Tambah Beach, Serdang Beach and on the island of Buku Limau.
Incoming District Head Yuslih Ihza Mahendra said that the official residence of the Bupati of East Belitung will be open to welcome visitors wishing to observe this rare phenomenon. Already since last month all hotels on the island have reported full house for the said period, reported kompas.com
To further highlight the occasion, the Jeramba Festival at the Padang river will be held at the village of Sungai Padang which lies right on the border between the districts of Belitung and East Belitung.
Originally the Jeramba Sungai Padang Festival was held by the local community in thanksgiving for the construction of the bridge that spans the river which opened access to the village, thereby boosting the local economy. The festival usually runs for a week . Alongside cultural performances are also featured traditional games and competitions. A Malay orchestra will provide traditional music while Chinese lion dances will add to the fun and gaiety of the occasion.
The festival is staged to enhance the experience of tourists who come to watch the eclipse, at the same time provide the chance for visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture and its food and natural beauty.
The island of Belitung has lately grown into a popular holiday destination featured in the film ”Laskar Pelangi” (the Rainbow Troop) . Belitung has outstanding white beaches with imposing rocks scattered along its coastline.