Named Asia's Best Tropical Island by CNN.com in 2013 the Anambas islands are indeed a tropical paradise. Located in the South China Sea, the Anambas are among Indonesia's northern-most border archipelagos. Facing the wide open ocean, the Anambas provide a panoramic view of blue seas and green islands dotted with azure lagoons. Here are excellent dive spots where divers will be amazed at the colorful underwater life, while on land rows of coconut trees protect the soft white sand beaches, where turtles have made the shores of the islands of Keramut and Mangkal their habitat.
The Anambas are administratively an autonomous district, part of the province of the Riau Archipelago, and covers an area of 46,667 sq.kms where its outer seas are nearly 90 percent crossed by foreign vessels. It has only recently become a separate district apart from the neighbouring Natuna islands. In all, there are 255 islands in the Anambas cluster where only 26 are inhabited. The district has only some 45,500 population. 97 percent of its territory is sea where the largest islands are Siantan, Palmatak and Jemaja. Capital of the district of Anambas is called Tarempa and lies on the island of Siantan.
Admire the many lagoons here, especially on the islands of Pantai Selat Rangsang, Pulau Bawah, Pulau Rongkat and Pantai Pulau Penjalin, where islands emerge from the sea as out of nowhere. At low tide the islets grow together by the connecting sands, creating an inland sea and an outer sea beyond, with lagoons that are paved with white sand and here and there colorful corals. All of the islands in the Anambas have fine white beaches which glisten and become even more beautiful as the lagoons fill with aquamarine water through which one can see strange corals and schools of fish darting in the clear water.
If you wish to visit these islands, you must be sure to have plenty of time at your disposal since they lie quite far out in the South China Sea and away from most of the other Indonesian islands.
To reach Anambas by air you must fly to Tanjung Pinang, capital of the province on the island of Bintan. Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Sriwijaya Air operate daily flights to Tanjung Pinang from Jakarta and other main cities.
From Tanjung Pinang, Nusantara Air Charter flies to Matak Airport in the sub-district of Palmatak. The 48 seater aircraft flies daily costing Rp 1.2 million for a one way ticket. From Matak airport you must take a speedboat to Tarempa, capital of the Anambas district.
Alternatively, the Conoco Philip oil company has a Fokker 50 aircraft which is also made available for public use when there are seats open. This is a plane used to transport the company’s staff and flies Jakarta-Batam-Matak, operating daily except Sundays.
From Singapore, take a ferry to Tanjung Pinang port. Then travel by taxi to the airport to catch your plane. If you wish to travel by boat, the MV VOC Batavia and MV Seven Star Island serve The Tanjungpinang-Letung-Tarempa route vice versa, with tickets costing Rp 310,000 one way.
The ferry leaves Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from Tanjung Pinang, with return journey from Tarempa on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. There are other larger ships but these leave intermittently only several times a month.