Pari Island / Pulau Pari
Pari island is better known as Pulau Pari by Indonesians. This island is part of the 1000 islands, known as Peta Kepulauan Seribu in Indonesian language. Just a name, don’t think there are really that number of islands in this area. This island group falls under the province of Jakarta. It’s not that far from Jakarta. Pari Island can be reached by speedboat in just over an hour. That means just over two hours to reach Tidung island.
Pulau Pari is an island with a small population and small size. From one end of the island to the other end, or from Star beach to Virgin beach, it’s not even 30 min walking. Most local youngsters are cycling around, which is quite a surprise on an island where the Mosque is on a stone throw distance and the school not much farther.
Go on weekdays and it will be quiet and peaceful. Both on the boat as on the island you might be the only white tourist if you are one. Even Chinese haven’t discovered this place to overrun and build resorts. Maybe they’re not allowed to. You might notice an Indian or Japanese tourist, but this island is still mostly for locals from Jakarta on weekend outings and mostly youth. Still, Pari Island is pure in all its facets. No mass tourism to be found. Friendly and welcoming locals living there. Unfortunately, you will see quite some trash all around the coastline, even though the beaches get cleaned daily. The trash is visibly from locals/tourists and not floated trash from garbage dumps (by Thailand for instance) in oceans.
The activities to do at Pari Island are several. There is a camp part at the end of Virgin Beach. Bring your tent and go camping. Another activity to do around the island or a bit farther with a boat is snorkeling. You can rent a cycle, but it won’t be of much use with a cycle distance of max 10 min from end to end of Pari Island.
There are actually two beaches. At the right hand side of the island, at the end of the one and only path to follow when you walk of the speedboat is Virgin beach located. A beautiful beach with some connected parts. Low tide can make you walk all the way to the end of the mangrove and green water, where it goes to deeper levels and where boats are passing by. The only place where you can find a beer on Pari island is at Virgin beach. Just before the camping site starts. There are plenty of wooden seats and benches around on the beach to hang out. Virgin beach is the place to be on Pari island.
Star beach is located to the left when you walk from the boat and follow the only path all the way to that end of the island. You will soon notice that on that part of the island along the path is not as much live around as on the other side to Virgin island. Just a couple of homestays and one long path. When you reach the end, there is a small arrow that mentions Star beach left. Just before a compound with a gate and wall. Follow the arrow and you’ll find another small beach named Star beach. Just a few swings for kids and some design art for show and that’s it. Still a perfect place and peaceful.
The compound with the gate and wall is some oceanography department. As everything you see for signs on Pari Island are only in Indonesian language, it’s not totally sure what it is to see there. A little investigation by entering the compound will show you that this is related to let’s call it sea wildlife. Corals, fish, plants around in the ocean or sea. Boards with pics confirm this. Follow the path straight and you’ll end up at a path leading nowhere except for sea and loads of trash on either side.
Strange because when you enter that gate, where papers mentioning an entry ticket of 2000 rupiah, where it’s not clear where to pay that or to whom, there is a nice sign with a map drawn of that part or the compound. It mentions a Sunset beach and more nice coastlines. Walk around and you’ll see nothing but jungje, bushes. No sand, no beach, no Sunset beach. Only bushes and trash and nowhere to walk. The sign at the beginning is a pure lie or just a sign of something to come in the future. As nobody speaks English and neither the signs are in English, it stays unknown. The only thing is that the compound doesn’t look even the tiniest bit like what’s shown on that map.
It depends what you expect. Are you in for mass tourism and therefore a bit more expensive too, choose Bali. Are you in for something pure, quiet, cheap, beautiful, choose Pari island. When you are in Jakarta for whatever reason and you do have some time. Pari island is worth the visit and you can even do it on a daytrip, as you arrive at the island around 10 am and the departure boat leaves at 3 pm. A 5 hour day trip to unmatched beauty, as long as you look a bit over trash here ‘n there.