The Natuna islands together with the Anambas archipelago are Indonesia’s outermost northern border islands in the Riau Archipelago, on the west side of the South Chinan Sea. Strategically located between Singapore, the Malaysian Peninsula on one side and East Malaysia on Borneo on the other, the two island-clusters are now fast growing into a favorite playground for yachters, more so ever since Indonesia eased entry regulations for yachts to sail into Indonesian seas.
Secluded in the open ocean, Natuna and the Anambas promise true off-the-beaten-track adventure into some pristine beauty. Here you will find mountain peaks sloping down to serene white sandy beaches, some strewn with giant boulders, and colorful coral reefs, transparent through translucent waters.
The archipelago consists of some 270 islands that are divided into three groups, namely the North Natuna, which includes Laut Island (Pulau Laut); Middle Natuna, which includes Bunguran (or Natuna Besar); and South Natuna, which include the Subi Islands and Serasan.
The Administrative centre of the Natuna Archipelago is called Ranai, and is found on Natuna Besar (often referred to simply as Natuna). The town of Ranai is the transport hub for arrivals and leaving the Natuna Islands and offers accommodation, restaurants, and a few other facilities. So when you plan to explore the other islands, be sure to get all your necessities first in Ranai. The island itself is virtually surrounded by sandy beaches and beautiful clear seas, a fringe of swaying palm trees that line the coast, often obscuring a band of sandy shores.
For your perfect getaway, visit the beautiful hidden beaches of Tanjung Sebagul, Teluk Selahang or Setengar beach. Some of these beautiful beaches attract sea turtles to lay their eggs. Because of their remoteness, the islands offer some of the best underwater experiences for snorkeling and diving, particularly around Natuna Besar, Sedanau Island, Senua Island, Tiga islands group (the three islands). Here you can feast your eyes on colorful coral reefs and be amazed at the strange tropical sea creatures in their diverse shapes, size and color.
If you are feeling more adventurous try exploring a number of natural caves such as the Batu Sindu and Batu Kapal.
The most popular attraction, though, is the unique Alif Stone Park. Here lie scattered giant boulders as if strewn at random on the shore by some Titan. Among these are a cluster of 11 rocks that stand supported by large upright stones, that together seem to inscribe the word “Alif”, which is the first letter in the arabic alphabet. For this reason, the resort is called the Alif Stone Park.
The waters among the boulders here are sparkling clean and are favorite spots for a cooling swim.
How to Get Here:
Unless you arrive by your own private yacht, most others will have to fly to Natuna.
Wings Air and Sriwijaya Air serve flights from the Hang Nadim Airport on Batam Island to the Ranai Airport in the Natuna Archipelago. Sriwijaya Air serves the flights three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. While, Wings Air operates the route four times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The flight takes about an hour.
A new passenger terminal was inaugurated on 6 October 2016 by President Joko Widodo. The recently-built terminal has an area of 3,868 sq. meters, several times the size of the old terminal which had an area of only 243sq. meters. The new terminal can accommodate around 385 passengers daily.
Our Hotel Pick Near the Natuna Islands
Featuring a terrace, Hotel Madani Natuna is located in Ranai. Featuring a garden, the 5-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The property has a 24-hour front desk and room service for guests.
The Natuna Regency is an archipelago of 272 islands located in the south part of the South China Sea in the Natuna Sea. It is part of the larger Tudjuh Archipelago, off the northwest coast of Borneo. Administratively, the islands (including the central Bunguran Islands and various outliers) constitute a regency within the Riau Islands Province of Indonesia and are the northernmost non-disputed island group of Indonesia.
Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of Natuna slightly overlaps the area within China’s South China Sea claim indicated by the so-called “Nine-Dash Line”. In 2014–2015, the presence of the Indonesian army on the islands was reinforced, which the Indonesian government hoped would reduce the chance of any conflict.
The Natuna Islands themselves are divided into three groups:
North Natuna, which includes Laut Island (Pulau Laut);
Middle Natuna, which includes Bunguran (Natuna Besar); and
South Natuna, which includes the Subi Islands and Serasan.
According to statistics released in 2010, the population of the islands stood at 69,003 people. 85.27% of the inhabitants were Malays, with the remainder consisting of Javanese, Sumatrans and Chinese. By January 2014, the population was officially estimated to be 83,498.
Islam is the predominant religion of the islands.
Islam is the dominant religion in the city, with 96.97% of the total population identify themselves as Muslim. Other religions are Christianity, which forms 1.66% of the total population, Buddhism, which forms 1.23% of the total population, and Confucianism, which forms 0.14% of the total population.
Despite important natural gas reserves, most of the locals work as fishermen or farmers. There is no significant tourism industry. Farming is not on an industrial scale, just small holdings. The other main source of income is gained by people working for the government.
The Natuna Islands are a 272-island archipelago of Indonesia, located in the Natuna Sea between Peninsular Malaysia to the west and Borneo to the east. They extend in a NNW direction for 300 km from Tanjung Api, the northwest extremity of Kalimantan/Borneo. The Natuna Sea itself is a section of the South China Sea.
The North Group consists of a large island (Pulau Laut), two small islands and several adjacent islets and reefs which lie about 50 km NNW of Natuna Besar Island. Pulau Laut is about 11 km long with a greatest width of 5 km towards the south; it is generally hilly, rising to 273 metres near its north end.
The Middle Group consists of Natuna Besar or Bunguran Island, which contains the bulk of the area and population of the archipelago, together with small offshore islets and reefs; the Bodas Islands (Kepulauan Bodas) are a group of moderately high wooded islands lying close to the southwest coast of Natuna Besar.
The Southern Group (Kepulauan Natuna Selatan) consists primarily of two groups of islands separated from the coast of Kalimantan by the Api Passage. The Subi Islands (Kepulauan Subi) of which the main islands are Subi Besar, Subi Kecil, Bakau, Panjang and Seraya, lie southeast of Natuna Besar. Serasan Island (Pulau Serasan) is the largest of the islands lying further to the southeast and nearer to Kalimantan.
Natuna has large reserves of natural gas (estimated to 1.3 billion m3) that is exported to neighbouring countries such as Singapore. Matak Island now serves as an offshore exploitation base.
The Natuna Islands have a remarkable avifauna with 71 species of bird registered, including the near-threatened lesser fish eagle, the Natuna serpent-eagle. Other endangered species include the green iora, the brown fulvetta or the green broadbill.
Colourful coral reefs are found in the neighbouring waters. The Natuna banded leaf monkey, Presbytis natunae, is among the 25 most endangered primates on Earth.