The second biggest island of Pulau Banyak ’99’ islands is Bangkaru, the turtle island. Every night throughout the year you can see green turtles laying eggs on the marvelous beaches of Bangkaru Nationalpark.
Bangkaru is for sure one of the most special places on Sumatra. The Island is a desert island, there is only one cottage (pondok) built up by the government for the rangers, who take care and protect the turtles.
I heard, ten years before there were nearly on every island turtles and the locals say, you could get lobsters even at the toilet in the villages. The business was booming until the eco-system couldn’t catch up with the mass fishing any more. The province Aceh woke up, sent rangers to the last turtle paradise to save this treasure of nature. But one thing is remained completely untouched by the people: the island itself. The reason is funny, the locals believe Bangkaru is a place of ghosts, so they never came to log trees and never killed the animals on the Island. I was there this summer (2015), I couldn’t see any ghosts but a real jungle with giant plants.
If you stay on Bangkaru you will stay together with the rangers. Real hard outdoorsmen, which means they also know how to cook like heaven…
Night by night they are observing the eggs laying turtles and if is necessary, which happens ever and anon, they protect them as well for the fishermen who come to steal the eggs – ever and anon.
Mr. Usup is one of the brave rangers. There is no phone signal at the Island – about the internet is no need to speak. So the guys are really alone with the nature. And if something happens, it is Usup who is running up the mountain, which takes two hours, to be able to contact the outside world.
The pondok is big enough to have some dormitories for us visitors.
As I came to Bangkaru, my friend Langlang Buana (he is a speed boat driver) took me there.
The most comfortable, straightest and easiest way to get to Bangkaru is to contact Darmawan (Tel.: 0821 6645 7040, Email: dmawan_ firstname.lastname@example.org). He speaks a great English so you will enjoy a very informative trip and he is also a really cool man; it will be a great experience with him. You will find our Darmawan on Facebook as well under Dar Mawan. He is also Director of CV Pulau Banyak Travel, so wherever you would like to travel by car on Sumatra, he can help you.
How much does it cost to get to Bangkaru? If you are a group it costs around one million rupiah per person, if you are a couple the price is three million for you two. And if you are alone, life is always an adventure…
Why is it so expensive? It is special, that is for sure one of the main reasons. The organizer pays permission for you as well. On the other hand the infrastructure is not given, too. Everything, the food, the drinks, medicaments, everything is from the mainland. Last but not least there is one more exciting reason behind the price: it is a bit difficult because of the waves to enter the island. You need for sure a speed boat and an experienced driver as well. He has to catch the right wave and so you will surf easily, safe and quickly to the welcoming beach of Bangkaru. Enjoy.