We had an unexpected free day in Belitung to do whatever we wanted as the previous day we had turned back from sailing to the Kumai River due to adverse weather and decided to fly there instead.
With the position and the strength of the wind and a short time frame, we decided that sailing to Belitung wasn’t the best option.
So the girls headed to town (Tanjang Pandan) to find a hairdressers and if possible, somewhere to have a massage too although we didn’t hold out much hope for the latter as Belitung is decidedly not a fully fledged tourist destination.
The first place we stopped at told us to come back in an hour’s time so we went and had a coffee. When we returned to the shop it was open but still no hairdresser to be seen, let alone a masseur.
So we kept going and after some while found a hairdressers that looked professionally run and had hairdressers available (Novi hair salon ph: +62 81932993377)
Much to our surprise there was also a masseur available who gave our daughter a massage while Yantara’s First Mate and I had our hair done. We then received a divine head, shoulder and back massage in the chair – all for a very modest sum!
The following day we set off for the airport with plenty of time in hand for our flight to Jakarta where we were to change planes to fly to Pangkalan Bunn. There we would meet up with our friends from Sydney, Australia, to take a three day tour up river to see Orangutans in the wild.
We need not have arrived in such good time as the plane was delayed and we ended up waiting for almost four hours before boarding. There was no coffee shop or any kind of store in the airport lounge and became more and more crowded and extremely hot. So it was a long wait.
Our next flight was early the next morning and because of our late arrival we decided to stay the night in the transit hotel in the airport – a big mistake as it turned out!
After a reasonable meal at the Chinese restaurant (the best of a very few choices) in the domestic terminal building, we went to bed in good time as we had an early start the next morning. We hadn’t been asleep long when the sound of Jack hammers woke us up. The noise sounded as though it came from the room directly over ours (although we later found out they were underneath our room).
After several attempts by phone to suggest politely that the use of jack hammers, drills and other power tools was not really on when people had paid a lot of money on the expectation they could actually sleep in those comfy beds, Bali Hai’s skipper stormed down to reception and requested the immediate cessation of building work. It took another trip to the reception desk and a trip to where the jack hammers were being used (directly underneath us) before work stopped.
The website for the hotel says “Jakarta Airport Hotel is that one stop solution for Domestic and International travellers looking for comfort, convenience, and a peaceful rest and recuperation.” In our case that certainly wasn’t true!
Somewhat bleary eyed we caught our early morning plane to Pangkalan Bunn (the airport that serves Kumai) which fortunately was on time.
Once we had settled in our hotel (the Grand Kepubung) which had clean, comfortable rooms with nice bathrooms and a good pool, we headed out to explore the town and do a little shopping.
The following day our friends Jackie and Lucky arrived from Australia. It was great to catch up after a long time and we enjoyed a meal at a local warung and some drinks kindly supplied by Jackie and Lucky!