Borneo diaries Days 24 & 25, Biduk-Biduk, BidukBiduk, Biduk Biduk, beach hidden paradise, east Kalimantan, not in lonlyplanet :D

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I’ll indulge and write this in English because it has to be shared with the world! Catalans are not enough to conquer this :P.

There is no way in which I can overstate how perfectly beach paradise Biduk-Biduk is, and I been in Majorca, Menorca, Guadaloupe, Tenerife, Nicaragua pacific coast, Phu Quok island, Vietnam coast. The fact that I just met it without expecting it might bias me, but still there is no way I can exaggerate using mere words and photos.

Where to start? lone trees hundreds of meters inside the sea? that’s a peculiar image, but it is just part of the turquoise cristal waters touching long white coral beaches, that at low tide are hundreds of meters wide (thus explaining the trees). Around 40km of tall coconut trees beach road. Villagers fantastically smiling, helpful, eager to interact, living in beach houses with grass lawns perfectly trimmed by the cows and goats that wander around. Beach cows. Evening mixed gender volleyball.

That’s the general 40kms image, broken only by some mangroves forests that extend on the beach, specially on the coast facing east. That makes it even more interesting on high tide as you have unique forested beaches with fresh/salt water mix, and walking tree climbing fish that jump over the water! yes, you entered a nature documentary.

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If that’s not good enough there are beauty spots, local attractions and 3 small islands (from Teluk Sulaiman to Sugeindin pulau; a group of 7 Indonesians paid 150k rupiah per person 3h excursion), this would keep you entertained!

These spots include 2 or 3 medium sized rivers with complete transparent cool fresh water (the first wide river with clear waters that I see get to the sea!). One of which, Labuan Cermin (pronounced labuan jambir) has a boat service (quite expensive I heard) that drives you to a turquoise lake that has a top layer of fresh cool water and a bottom layer of salt warm water. That’s supposed to be the main attraction here, but I saw no tourist there 🙂

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Other attractions include what can be seen on the map. Accessible are the rocks beach (pantai batu dua), literary 2 rocks beach, and Labuan Cermin harbour, full of delightful fishing vessels and cristal waters. You can do long walks, get a bicycle or moto (I still don’t know how, my host simply offered me a motorbike but I took the bicycle :D) or hitch a ride, really easy to do with the locals eager to help you.

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The roads are well paved and virtually flat! And the tidal beach has so fine sand and so compact that you can ride your bicycle in there (but still becomes tiring after few kms). Seeing the fast running crabs moving fast as you pas has no price 😀

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For the southern spots there is need of transport because the road is not paved, but mostly because of the lack of transport to hitchhike and long distances to walk. I guess there are no villages, or only few on that road. The road is not signaled at all. The coordinates of the entrance are:
1.173659 118.76805

I didn’t have the time to explore the waterfalls and cave, but I figure it would be close to impossible to find without a guide as there is no signaling… Something fun discovering 😉
This area is surrounded by sizeable mountains, 400m tall at least, so there is also a hike to be done!

There are at least 5 or 6 accommodations that I could see, stretched for few kms (hotels, losmen, guesthouses, homestays). I don’t know the prices as I planed to camp but was invited to a policeman house :). It shall be local price as the only tourism that I seen seems Indonesian (all the tourism in I’ve seen 3 days amounts to just one lone traveler, the 7 people group and 2 girls taking pictures). The info and signs are only in Indonesian, except for few “welcome”.

If still the accommodation is over budget you can hang your hammock in between 2 coconut trees, or if it rains, camp anywhere, or pick an empty or in construction house. Or just like me, law of solo travelers, let things happen and you might get hosted by a local 😀

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But not all is perfection in paradise, few things missing:

Hammocks! There are non, a beach paradise without hammocks is not complete, but that has easy solution (specially when I’m carrying one :D).

Backpackers community. That might seem like a good thing but there is plenty of room to be alone if you wish, so having someone interesting to talk with (backpackers usually are) would be a good distraction. Also backpackers means books! and books are the best company in this environment.

-There are not many activities. The most engaging that I did involve peeling one or two dozens of coconuts, teaching kids English, climbing sea trees, teaching kids how to swim, selecting and unloading landsat fruit from cargo ships, fishing with a hook and swimming with kids in between the cargo boats. Last but not least, hitchhiking a boat to Sulawesi (the reason I came here, more on that on the next post 🙂

Despite these, and being aware that they are not everyday activities for many, extra distractions by fellow travelers are welcomed, specially for long stays. That’s why I’m writing this, this place could easily be a backpacker paradise 😀

Internet. On the no distractions side, there is no internet connection trough 3G, although there might be some internet cafe, ask around but don’t expect high speed… I did get 1G in certain areas for a working instant message (text only) communication.

English . Don’t expect anybody to speak more than few words in English if at all 🙂

Trash collection. The trash on the floor is not widespread luckily, but you do spot it here and there.

Transport. As far as I’ aware there is nothing like a bus, and the road connecting here to Tanjung Redeb (the closest city) is not even in google maps (but it is on openstreetmaps for most of the track). It is quite bad for the first 100kms or so. I Hitchhiked here the 250kms in 6 or 7h. If you have your own transport this is an ideal destination. And it might be that there are some boats to Tarakan, but I’m not sure.

-No easy swimming at the afternoon. In the equinoxes the tide is maximum and minimum in the equator, specially in new moon.That means that for low tide (afternoon to evening) the water is hundreds of meters from the shore. It’s a nice walk with plenty of sea life (fish, running and burring crabs, sea stars), but the hard noon equatorial sun reflected on the white sand has no clemency. Still the morning and evening swims are amazing, and you can get yourself in one of the rivers for noon, or simply nap on a coconut tree shadow.

Known future. I don’t see risk of any big development threatening this parts, but nature might. I seen plenty of spots where is clear that storms are eating the coast, therefore some stones and concrete barriers are being build affecting the beauty but protecting the road and houses. I don’t know how fast the destruction is but at some point this is meant to look different.

All in all it’s so amazing that I could not stop greening for hours realizing how luckily I was to be there.

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