Since the colonial era, Jakarta has been the nerve center for business and administration for Indonesia. Kelor, Onrust and Cipir are three islands close to Jakarta where visitors can still view remnants of the colonial past.
1. Kelor Island
Kelor Island is located 14 kilometers from the Jakarta bay. It is the farthest away of the three islands, but it can be reached in less than 30 minutes from Muara Kamal port.
The island has a small hill with a red, cylinder-shaped building at the top. The building is the old Bartello Bastion Fort.
The fort was built by the Dutch in the 17th century to defend Batavia – what Jakarta was officially named until after World War II. The fort was also used to store gunpowder.
In recent years the fort has become a popular site for pre-wedding photo shoots.
2. Onrust Island
Situated just two kilometers away from Kelor lies the island of Onrust. In Dutch, Onrust means “the island that never rests”.
In 1613, Onrust was set up as the main port of the Thousand Islands. At the time, it was one of the biggest Dutch shipyards in Southeast Asia.
The Dutch built two windmills on the island to support its role as the logistics depot for the Dutch East India Company, or the VOC.
From 1911 to 1933, Onrust functioned as a quarantine location for haj pilgrims heading to and from Mecca. During the Japanese occupation of 1942-1945, the island was used as a prison for criminals.
Following Indonesia’s declaration of independence, Onrust became a quarantine location for patients with infectious diseases, and was supervised by the Ministry of Health until early 1960.
There are no forts on Onrust, but visitors can enjoy several ruins scattered about the island.
The largest and best preserved site has been turned into a museum that displays local heritage from around the regency. On the other side of the island lies a Dutch graveyard with several tombstones.
3. Cipir Island
There are many similarities between Cipir and Kelor, including the fact that the two islands boast the same type of building ruins. Not so on Cipir, where vestiges of the colonial past are more recent, especially compared to the fort on Kelor.
In addition to several building ruins, Cipir has an old hospital and barracks that were once used as overflow accommodation for haj pilgrims quarantined on Onrust. The two islands were once connected.
The island is now a popular fishing spot for fishermen.
How to get there:
You can access Kelor, Onrust and Cipir islands from three ports in Jakarta: Muara Kamal and Muara Angke for slower, cheaper boat transportation, and Marina Ancol for the pricier speed boat option.
Transportation costs from Muara Kamal and Muara Angke are around Rp. 30,000 per person.
The ideal departure time is between 7 am and 10 am, and its best to return to Jakarta before 4 pm.
Entrance fees for all the islands are Rp 600 for students and Rp 2,000 for adults.