Set on a blip of an island 30 minutes' across the water from Fadhila, Bolilanga offers very solid, immaculate wooden bungalows in a couple of configurations on a pleasant whiteish-sand beach.
The island is so small that the restaurant, which sits slightly off the main beach, is actually on the other side of the island. We were told you're able to comfortably snorkel around the entire island in a couple of hours. The bungalows are more or less in one long west-facing row, ideal for sunset, with the restaurant area breaking them up in between. The restaurant offers views in both directions, over the beach towards Katupat and to the east towards Malenge.
Between the restaurant and the relatively new pier are the mid-range rooms, which have Western-style bathrooms and wood-finished interiors. Decks are spacious and pre-strung with hammocks, while two glass windows help to bring a bit of brightness into the rooms. Cheaper rooms are in duplex style and have squat loos and shared front decks—you will meet your neighbours. These lack hammocks and they didn’t look like you could string your own.
Further along there are two over-water rooms (they’re called honeymoon suites) which we didn’t see inside. As with nearby Fadhila, Bolilanga has fitted quite a few bungalows into a pretty limited area and when busy we imagine it would feel very busy.
The gardens here are very well-kept and throw plenty of shade, but there is a small retaining wall to keep the beach that the bungalows sit on stable. The sand is white and pleasant underfoot. The resort now has a wooden pier which juts out to the west, and at the end there's a covered bale with some seating—ideal for sunsets or just a slow afternoon with a cold drink and a book.
The snorkelling here is quite good. When standing on the pier with your back to the beach, walk around to your left as far as you can go and continue around the point—while we didn't see any, other travellers have reported seeing Napolean wrasse and plenty of reef sharks on their way around the island.
Bolilanga is best accessed from Katupat, which lies just a 20-minute boat ride away and where many ferries stop. Light sleepers may be able to hear the mosque at Katupat in the early morning.
We like Bolilanga. We’ve always found the staff to be very helpful and friendly. This is a popular spot as it has a far-flung feel, without it actually being all that far flung.
Address: Pulau Bolilanga, Northeast of Pulau Katupat
T: (0852) 4100 3685;
Coordinates (for GPS): 121º57'44.06" E, -0º18'46.4" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 150,000 to 400,000 Rp
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
Asian bathroom. Per person full board
|200,000 rupiah||250,000 rupiah|
|Superior double room|
Per person full board
|300,000 rupiah||350,000 rupiah|
|Deluxe double room|
Per person full board
|400,000 rupiah||450,000 rupiah|
Overwater room. Per person full board
|500,000 rupiah||600,000 rupiah|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
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