Anambas Islands Indonesia’s Remote & Amazing Islands 

The remote Anambas Islands Archipelago is slowly being recognised as a new and exceedingly attractive cruising destination for Superyachts. This is due to a huge improvement in facilities, clearing yachts in and out, and glowing reports from visiting yachts.

A collection of over 200 small Indonesian islands in the South China Sea, the Anambas Islands continue to be regarded as just a remote, off-the-beaten-track place. However, those with a penchant for exploring new seas and lands will find a cruising paradise! 

Facing the wide-open ocean, the Archipelago provides a panoramic view of blue seas and green islands. They are dotted with azure lagoons with sheer endless reefs filled with a kaleidoscope of colorful coral species. As well as magnificent sea creatures, big and small. There are verdant jungles of exotic plant species. And countless cultural and culinary unique experiences await travellers on land. 

Setting foot on an intriguing world of bountiful islands also awards visitors the opportunity to meet the locals. They are descendants of the once mighty Orang Bugis. These proud seafaring people of yesteryear have a colourful past. They retain their strong bond with the sea today. Part of the Indonesian Riau Islands Province, the relatively rarely visited Anambas Islands group lay between Singapore and Borneo. And are among Indonesia’s northern-most border archipelagos. 

Despite the relative proximity to Singapore at a mere 150 miles, this island group has remained under the radar. Its silent existence never really reaching outside its own boundaries for centuries. The Government announced the reclassification of the Anambas Islands in 2016 as an official Port of Entry for Indonesia. This means yachts no longer needed to clear at the closest POE in Nongsa Point, Bataam. 

“Customs, Immigration, Port Captain and Quarantine offices are all based at the town of Terempa on Sintan Island’, explains Asia Pacific Superyachts Indonesia GM, Thomas Taatjes. He adds, “There has been huge improvement with this official port of entry. It is a port where ‘E’ immigration forms are accepted. Fly-ins are still at about 99% of visitors but we are currently sussing out the boat arrivals.” 

Changing regulations

Changing regulations are paving the way to welcoming more yachts according to Taatjes. Formalities wise yachts can internationally clear in here the same as elsewhere in Indonesia. The cruising permit is valid for three years and visas are normal for tourists. VOA, for 30+30 days or pre visa, for 180 days.  

“There’s a lot of praise for what the local and administrative people have done for cruising visitors. Your agent will know the ports where e-forms are accepted. Not all ports in Indonesia accept e-forms”, adds Captain Thomas. 

Another captain who knows these waters well reports yachts can sail directly to Tarempa from Borneo (240 miles). Or from Singapore (150 miles). From Tioman, Malaysia (130 miles); and from relatively nearby Indonesian islands such as Batam. At a radius of 40 miles from Tarempa there’s an amazing choice of anchorages to enjoy. There is plenty of diving and snorkelling and a chance of meeting the locals. Why not consider a luxurious stayover, such as on Pulau Bawa Island. A nice surprise is the friendliness of the locals in the small villages scattered among the bays. This adds an enriching experience to your visit. 

Spend a few weeks, or even better a month in the Anambas Archipelago. You will find isolated anchorages with clear water and fishing villages along the way. This ensures a fresh supply of seafood. Fishing is fantastic. The waters are quite fertile with tuna, mackerel, giant trevally, grouper and even billfish just a few of the likely catches and fish-based products are Anambas’ signature dishes, the two most popular ones being Mie Tarempa and Luti Gendang

Terempa on Sintan Island

Captain Thomas suggests the following islands for voyaging around the Anambas Islands: Pulau Bawah Island, Pulau Ritan Island, Pulau Airabu Island, and Durai Island. The biggest island (and a very pleasant town) where all formalities take place on arrival is Terempa on Sintan Island. It is a deep anchorage near a long road built on piles. It is the best place to resupply and also serves as the spot to welcome guests flying in to join the yacht.  The airport is on Pulau Matak Island, less than 10 miles away and you can anchor close by if more convenient. The East side of both Puala Sintan and Pulau Matak offer an incredible choice of anchorages. Many reefs border the Anambas Islands and provide well-protected anchorages but because of narrow passages to enter these lagoons, navigation can be tricky.

It’s possible to cruise among the Anambas Islands any time of the year, however, Captain Thomas notes the season of SW monsoon (April to September) offers drier conditions and a calmer sea. “While most of the predominant winds come from the SW or NE according to the season, it is advisable to be anchored with the possibility to swing 180 degrees with a switch of wind under a passing cloud and with reefs normally not too far away.” 

It’s rare in these days to cruise to a new destination that appears remote but is closer than you think and easier to access than ever before. The wonderful anchorages and significant easing of cruising formalities are now helping to welcome yachts to the amazing Anambas Archipelago.