Thursday, November 6, 2008

Belitung Island

Belitung is an Island in South East Asia, a part of Nation archipelago. Belitung is ruled by Indonesia since 1950 and became a district of South Sumatra province. On November 21st, 2000, Belitung and Bangka Island has been approved to become the 31st province of Indonesia separated from South Sumatra. This new province is called ‘Kepulauan Bangka Belitung’ province. This Island is placed at 107o 35' - 108o 18' Latitude and 2o 30' - 3o 15' Longitude.

The length of the diameter from East to West is about 79 km and North to South about 77 km. The total land is 480.060 hectares with 189 small islands surround Belitung. Some of them are quite big with a couple of villages. They are Mendanau Island, Seliu Island, Nadu Island and Batu Dinding Island. Most of Belitung population is come of Melayu ethnic and most of them are Moslem. There are some other ethnics likes Chinese, Javanese, Balinese and some people from Sumatra like Palembang, Minang and Batak. Belitung regency consists of 9 districts and 69 villages. The capital of Belitung is Tanjungpandan, which stay at North West of this Island. The other large towns are Manggar, Gantung, Kelapa Kampit and Sijuk. The main resources, which also become the main product of Belitung Island, are tin mining, kaolin, quartz sands, and granite rock. The plantation are mainly palm oil, pepper, coconut, coffee, natural rubber, and vegetable.

If seen from its tourism sector, Belitung is an island with beautiful beaches, the unique landscape with its purely white sand, and the crystal clear seawater. Belitung is also popular with its granite boulder white stones beach in Tanjung Tinggi, Tanjung Kelayang, Tanjung Binga dan Lengkuas Island. This beautiful nature is also accompanied by hundreds of small islands, which add the beautiful tourism area in Belitung Island. Belitung Island is one of the best and unique beaches own in Indonesia.

North coast of the island is South China Sea, Java Sea on the South coast, Kari Mata strait on the East close to Borneo Island and Gaspar strait on the West close to Bangka island. The land is about 4833 square km, 89 km long (East to West) and 69 km wide (North to South) with diversified terrain, hilly areas and extensive tracks of marshland. The climate is tropical, temperature around 27 - 31 C degree during the day and 23 - 25 C degree during the night. There only 2 season a year, rainy season (120mm) from October to April and hot season during April to October. The highest land is Tajam Mountain, only 500m above the sea. The others are just a hill likes Burung Mandi, Kubing, Kik Karak, Peramun, Selumar, Guda, ect.
The land surface is originally tropical forest, but since the development palm oil industry in 1992 more than 40% of the surface are palm oil plantation.

Bangka Island

Bangka Island is one of the island belong to Bangka-Belitung Province. The name Bangka is derived from the word ''Wangka'' which means ''tin''. This word was also written in Sriwijaya inscription dated 686 AD and discovered near Kota Kapur in West Bangka. Bangka lies east of Sumatra. Pangkal Pinang is the largest town and the capital of Bangka Belitung, and Sungailiat is the second large city in Bangka Island. One village, called Kampung Kim Hin, lies to the south of Sungailiat, this village is known for a type of alcohol called arak, which is produced from fermented rice. While, Muntok is the principal port.
From Jakarta it is one hour by plane. It has beautiful beaches. Boat service from Palembang to Muntok or Pangkal Pinang is adequate and should not take more than an overnight voyage.

This Island population is approximately 600 thousand people; consist of different ethnic groups, which come from all part of Indonesia. There are a large number of Chinese in habitants especially in the north around Belinyu. Accountings for 30% of Bangka population, 66% of Bangka people still depend of farming, other descendants of the tin mining company worker, fishing and other activities. Bangka has its own unique crafts witch are made of Bahar root (a kind of seaweed), craftsmen make it into various kinds of souvenirs such as rings, bracelets, cigarette pipes, etc. There are also handicrafts made of tin or pewter.

The best product from Bangka Island is "BANKATIN", which has a worldwide reputation amongst tin consumers as standard tin or grade "A" tin. The other important products of the island are rubber and pepper. During the Dutch occupation in Indonesia, the Muntok white Pepper became very famous and continues to be one of the best export commodities of Indonesia.

Sepintu Sedulang dance performed to welcome distinguished guests, the dance describes the open-hearted character of Bangkanese people, it is also performed during festivals occasions, other dance is Lion dance, it is performed to chase away evil spirits, some dancers being under a magicians influence go into a trance.

The province is surrounded by South China Sea, Bangka straights and Java Sea. Bangka lies just east of Sumatra, separated by Bangka Strait. The marine environment around these islands is colorful. Bangka Island, which is situated at the Southern of the China Sea, it's between Sumatra and Borneo Island. The land area is about 11,6 thousands square Km, stretching 180 km from Northwest to Southeast, the island has various highlands that are mostly located in the middle of the island and many rivers follow diverse of the open sea. There are many beautiful beaches located in the Northwest of Bangka Island. This Island is bordered by:
North Side: Natuna Sea
East side: Natuna Sea
South side: Pangkalpinang town and Bangka Tengah Regency
West side: Bangka Barat Regency, Bangka Strait and Kelabat Bay

The majority of the inhabitants are Malay Indonesians and Chinese mostly Hakkas. The population is split between those who work the pepper farms and those who work on the tin mines.

The average temperature on the island is 26 degree C and has an average rainfall of 179.3 mm per month; the rainy season is between October to March. The average humidity is approximately 80 %.

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