Indonesia recognizes six official religions: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. With this official status, Indonesia is (on paper at the very least) very accepting of different beliefs. More practically, Indonesia has a lot of public holidays as observed by all of these religions. A lot.
What this means for me: I have plenty of days off. Case in point: May 5th and 6th (last Thursday and Friday) were national holidays. And no, they were not for Cinco De Mayo and the following Man-I-Need-A-Day-Off-To-Recover-From-That-Tequila-Hangover Day. They were days off thanks to Christianity, though in honor of what I am still unclear.
What I hoped to do with this time was check out Jogjakarta, a sizable city on Java that is reputedly the cultural capital of Indonesia. However, this plan tidak jadi [didn’t happen] because by the time I got around to looking at plane tickets they cost almost 3 times what they usually cost from Pangkal Pinang. There are other things I would rather spend money on, so I decided to do a stay-cation on Bangka instead. After all, next year (spoiler alert!) I’ll be living on Java, so I’ll have plenty of time to jalan-jalan on the world’s most populous island. But for now I might as well take the opportunity to explore Bangka because who knows when I’ll ever have the chance again to check out the harder-to-reach spots of this under-rated island.
I went to Mentok (occasionally spelled Muntok) first where I spent the night, followed by another night in Belinyu.
Pangkal Pinang-Mentok: 3.5 hours
Mentok-Belinyu: 2.5 hours
Belinyu-Pangkal Pinang: 2 hours
Here’s a map with some Japanese on it for kicks:
Thanks to my lovely partner-in-crime, Dian, we saw just about all there is to see in Northern Bangka. Pics of this adventure are below. 🙂
While Mentok had plenty of tourist attractions and historical sites to visit, Belinyu was not so happening. It is a much smaller town, though it had some cute streets. The only touristy thing we did was driving way out to Romodong Beach, the #1 beach in Belinyu. I brought clothes for swimming and enjoyed splashing around and (unsuccessfully) trying to catch fish with my bare hands.
Overall it was a lovely trip. We returned to Pangkal Pinang Saturday (yesterday) morning, after which I started packing for my rapidly approaching departure date. Today I planned on getting some work done, but Dian’s family invited me to join them for yet another round of wedding parties so I ended up doing that instead, followed by trying my hand at fishing at a neighborhood pond. Wedding parties were successful… Fishing? Not so much.