Spending an evening at Batu Rakit Beach in Bangka Barat district, Bangka-Belitung (Babel) province, is a memorable experience for new visitors.
Stretching over about one kilometer on Bangka Island`s western coastline, Batu Rakit Beach can be reached in less than two hours by car from the provincial capital of Pangkal Pinang.
Bangka Island is blessed with a lot of pristine white sandy beaches which are perfect for family outings, and Batu Rakit Beach is one of them worth visiting.
No wonder, the administration of Bangka Barat district is planning to develop Batu Rakit Beach as a family tourism area.
"Batu Rakit beach will be developed into a resort for family outings," local Culture and Tourism Office spokesman Khairul Amri said in Muntok on Monday.
He said the facilities such as children`s play grounds and small cottages for relaxation on Batu Rakit beach would continue to be improved and upgraded for family outings.
"We will also build accommodations with adequate sanitation at Batu Rakit beach for the comfort of visitors," Khairul said.
He said the 20-hectare white sandy beach is one of the most attractive and favorite recreational spots in Bangka Barat district for family vacations.
"Every day the beach is visited by more than a hundred people and perhaps 10 times that number on holidays," he said.
With its breath-taking panoramic view, Batu Rakit beach has a great potential to be developed into another tourist object, but unluckily it has yet to be supported by adequate facilities.
"We will continue to develop the beach into a leading tourist attraction in Bangka," Khairul said.
It is a real joy for the visitors to see such a beautiful white sandy beach Batu Rakit with its tranquil and crystal clear water.
"Indeed, Batu Rakit Beach has a special attraction for visitors who arrive in Bangka Island for the first time in their lives," said Gwendoline Wurlina and Madeleine Laurail, two Harapan Baru Penabur High School students from Jakarta, who visited the beach recently.
They said that whether you are into fishing, swimming, snorkeling, or strolling along the edges of waterways, Batu Rakit Beach is the perfect escape.
For Gwendoline and Madeleine, strolling on the white sand of the pristine Batu Rakit Beach and contemplating the view was a humbling experience.
"Therefore, it becomes difficult for us to remember why we ever got stressed because life seems to take on entirely different perspectives in Bangka," Gwendoline said.
And again, Khairul Amri said, Bangka Barat district`s administration was currently developing two other tourism objects in addition to Batu Rakit Beach.
"With their appealing natural beauty, the two tourism objects namely Menumbing rest house, and Dendang Hot Spring including Batu Rakit Beach are expected to attract a multitude of both domestic and foreign tourists," Kahirul said.
He said Menumbing rest house has historical value because the house used to be the residence of Bung Karno and Bung Hatta when they were exiled to Bangka island during the Dutch colonial era.
"Visitors can enjoy the original state of the house in a more comfortable atmosphere because we have renovated it," Khairul said.
To introduce the three tourist objects, he said Bangka Barat district government would continue to make familiarization through photos and brochures.
"With continuous familiarization, we hope many domestic and foreign tourists will come to Bangka Barat," he added.
Therefore, Chairul also expressed hope that the local people would actively improve their creativity by creating various typical crafts for souvenirs in a bid to support the tourism in their area.
Batu Rakit is one of so many beaches on Bangka Islands such as Matras, Parai, Tanjung Pesona in Sungailiat district, Romodong beach at Bukit Ketok village in Belinyu district, and Pasir Padi and Sampur in Bangka Tengah district.
Located some 9 kilometers from Sungailiat, the 3-kilometer beach of Matras is considered one of the best in Bangka Island.
Matras in an unspoiled white sandy beach with swaying coconut trees around it.
Meanwhile, Parai is also one of Bangka Island`s prides because the visitors can find various forms of boulders in this beach, which add its beauty.
That beach is very ideal for swimming, sun bathing and relax for it has luxurious hotels and water sport facilities for the tourists to enjoy their visit with the local fishermen.
In reality, Bangka Island has marine tourism and historical attractions in abundance.
Having lush tropical forests surrounded by crystal clear sea with white sandy beaches, Bangka island is another tourism destination in Indonesia.
Therefore, after visitors have set foot on those pristine, beautiful beaches of Batu Rakit, Parai, Pasir Padi, Sampur, Matras, Tanjung Pesona, and Parai, returning to their hotels and accommodations will be the hardest thing to do.
It is because of these abundant marine tourism and historical attractions that the Pangkalpinang city government is currently making every effort to develop them for both domestic and foreign tourists.
"Besides marine tourism, historical attractions also have a great potential to attract and increase the number of domestic and foreign tourists to visit the island," Pangkalpinang culture and tourism office spokesman Ahmad Elvian said in Pangkalpinang recently.