Dining with the seaview, sleeping with the sound of the waves, or doing some water sports are not what you typically expect from a holiday in and around Jakarta, Indonesia.
However, many people simply forget that Jakarta is a coastal city and that close to Jakarta is a cluster of islands named ‘Kepulauan Seribu’, or ‘Thousand Islands’, reachable from Jakarta in under thirty minutes by speedboat.
You can find some very nice beach resorts on some of the islands, including Ayer Resort and Cottages, a very nice beach resort on Ayer Island, where you can have a holiday experience totally different from a typical vacation in Jakarta.
Leave Jakarta behind by taking a speedboat
Ayer Island is the closest island to Jakarta and it doesn’t take long to get to the island. However, how do you get to the island? It’s easy. If you plan to stay overnight on the island, you don’t have to worry about transport at all.
Simply contact the resort or buy a tour package from a travel organizer, like Dewa Wisata in Jakarta, and you will be picked up at 9 am with a speedboat. This will bring you directly to their island resort, leaving the tall skyscrapers of Jakarta behind.
A resort with floating cottages
For many people, the fun starts here. Not only will you have a bumpy and windy ride due to the choppy sea and big ocean breeze, but you will also see some small islands during your trip. After about 25 minutes riding on the speedboat, you will see some cottages on the water, and soon you will realize your boat trip is over because you have finally arrived at the island resort!
Ayer Resort & Cottages is the only accommodation on the island. It has 47 wooden cottages altogether, and many of the cottages are built on the sea. These cottages look like the houses typical of West Papua (a province in the far eastern part of Indonesia), where the buildings are completely made of wood, with tall thatched roofs, and each cottage has a name derived from the names of the tribes in Papua such as Fak Fak, Ayamaru and Oshibi.
Fun activities at the resort
Upon your arrival, you will get a welcome drink (tea, coffee or juice) and the staff will help you to carry your luggage and place it safely in the receptionist area. The resort’s check in time is 2 pm, and while you wait to check in there are many things to do, including island trekking.
Ayer is a very small island (less than 10 hectares / 24 acres) and there are interconnected hiking trails across the island. Another great thing is that you can rent a bike from the resort, which only costs 50,000 IDR (~3.80 USD) for a one-day rental. It may take you less than 30 minutes for you bike across the island following a path.
If you bring kids, they will enjoy their time right upon the arrival, as there is a playground by the beach. Alternatively, you can also do some water sports at the resort’s beach. You can ride on a banana boat (maximum 5 people on board) for 375,000 IDR (~28.50 USD), or ride a canoe for 30,000 IDR (~2.25 USD).
Sleeping inside the floating cottage
For a 2 day and 1 night package in a standard cottage, the cost is 919,600 IDR (70 USD) per person. The package includes 3 meals and transport from and to Jakarta by a speedboat. There are several choices of cottages, but if you want to experience a close encounter with the ocean, stay in the resort’s floating cottage. The cottages are 3 meters (~10 ft) above the sea, so the water will not come inside during high tide. Their foundation was built under the water, so staying here feels like living in a floating wooden boat. You will not only hear the sound of the ocean, but you will also feel the cottage moving when the waves hit the shore.
All cottages are big, and each has a living room and a terrace facing the sea. Amazingly, you can also fish from the terrace if you stay in one of the floating cottages! There are quite a lot of fish you can catch, and if you fish at night you can possibly catch some squid and bring your catch to the restaurant so that they can cook it for you. If you don’t bring your fishing equipment, you can rent it from the resort for 69,300 IDR (5.29 USD), including the bait (pellets).
Each room has a private bathroom with hot water and each room is equipped with an air conditioner, a satellite TV, mini bar, safety box and an IDD phone. There is no Wi-Fi throughout the resort.
Special dinner with music
Like the floating cottages, the resort’s restaurant is also on the sea. They serve a buffet for breakfast lunch and dinner. The seafood, especially their fried calamari, is very crispy and tasty, and for lunch and dinner you can choose the fish you want and the cooks will grill it right in front of you.
You can sit indoors and see the ocean, ships, islands and sea from the restaurant’s window, or you can choose to eat outdoors, where you will also be able to see the sunset and the colorful city lights of Jakarta at night! At night, there is live music in the dining area, which makes your dinner special.
They play and sing mostly old songs (they sing Elvis Presley’s songs too!) and, of course, they can sing a requested song, too!
A lovely beach resort you shouldn’t miss
Other amenities include a swimming pool, karaoke room, basketball court and volleyball court. Staff are friendly and they always greet you every time you meet them. Sunset viewing is also a highlight and you’ll be able to see it from everywhere, including the beach. Although the beach is too rocky for relaxing, it’s still a perfect spot for viewing the sunset. So, when is your next visit to Jakarta? Make sure you go to Ayer Island and stay at this lovely beach resort!