Tanjung Karang: Cape of Corals

Nestled at the base of a sweeping, picturesque bay in the south of Sumatra, Tanjung Karang – which loosely translates as ‘Cape of Corals’ – has long been overlooked by the tourist trail, but its small-town delights are now attracting a new set of adventurous travellers.

Words by Matt George

One of two major cities in the Lampung region, Tanjung Karang lies in close proximity to the emerald waters of Teluk Lampung, an enormous bay peppered with pristine, jewel-like islands. Teluk Lampung, which on the map resembles the open mouth of a giant fish, provides Tanjung Karang with a dazzling array of water-based fun.


Start your aquatic adventures at Pulau Pahawang, a dreamy spot for avid divers and snorkellers. Untouched and barely explored, the abundant sea life here is yet to be affected by visitors, and
remarkable close encounters with creatures both great and small have become a daily occurrence. So spectacular is the life here that many divers find themselves keeping the location secret. Lucky
indeed are those who get to witness the pageantry of her wildly coloured reefs and crystal-clear waters, and, as with all coral gardens, please only observe and do not touch!

Speaking of close encounters, just a few kilometres away is Teluk Kiluan, where visitors are encouraged to swim with the pods of inquisitive dolphins, or remain on board and marvel at their aquatic antics. A bit further still is another well-kept secret, Pantai Krui. This beach is uniquely located so that the big swells of the Indian Ocean often find themselves in a much smaller and a much more refined form, breaking in perfect symmetry along this beach. A surfer’s treasure, this spot has more than one boardrider keeping the location close to their chest.


Tanjung Karang herself, once known for her high-quality pepper farms and much-sought-after exotic local fabrics, today retains the coastal charm of a frontier town, regardless of enjoying a boom in new visitors. Located only three degrees below the equator, the average temperatures range between 25 and 30˚C, and the local transportation offers ‘natural air-conditioning’ to make the best of the heat. Half practical and half amusement-park rides, everything from the colour-coded public angkot mini-buses to the ojek motorbike taxis are open-air, wind-in-the-hair ways to get around, revealing a cooling, closer look at your surroundings from the local perspective. The drivers here, known for their big smiles and helpful ways, reflect the charms of the city itself while efficiently getting you to your destination of choice.


Staying with the local theme, try the local dishes of super-spiced seafood. The city holds an annual sambal competition, judged mostly on the severity of the ‘pedas’ or spicy elements of iconic
Indonesian sauces!

With a small-town vibe near dazzling beaches and an inviting sea, Tanjung Karang is a gem for those seeking a new Indonesian destination where adventure is always on the horizon and a sense
of discovery is around every corner.

Jakarta to Tanjung Karang

Flight Time 25 minutes

Frequency 42 flights per week

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From Colours May 2016


5 Senses – Touch

Indonesia is famous for its vibrant, handcrafted fabrics and Lampung is no exception. The beautiful style of intricate fabrics that are handwoven in this region is known as Tapis Lampung. Traditionally striped, and naturally coloured, Tapis Lampung features unique embroidery, couched gold thread and often features floral motifs in numerous symbolic variations. The combination of warped gold and silk embroidery with several kinds of coloured threads results in a richly textured fabric that is pleasant to touch.