PULAU PISANG or Banana Island is a small island in Krui Sea, Lampung Barat, Indonesia. The island that overlooks Krui town is about 285 km from Bandarlampung, and only about 45 minutes by fishing boat from Krui pier, and about 15 minutes from Tembakak. Tembakak is a small town in the mainland of Sumatera, located right at the “stern” of the island.
Pulau Pisang is small. It's only 2,310 hectares wide, with about 1,000 populations. The island which bore a criterion of a wealthy island in the past is now nearly desolated. Thousand of people have moved to the mainland of Sumatera or Java since 80’s. This exodus makes the island quieter.
From early 70’s up to 80’s, the island was famous for its clove plantation. This island had paid tribute to the dominant trading of clove from Lampung Barat. The populations of the island that were mostly clove farmers were all rich. There were hardly any poor people at the time. As the clove trees flowered more and more, the people became richer and richer. The vintage of the clove was in mid 70’s. At this time, fine houses were built, children were sent to go to school in Java, motorbikes and cars were bought. The people bought everything their money could buy. Later, the children who were sent for schools in Java turned to be prominent citizens in their new homeland and never come back to the island.
However, the party was over in early 80’s when the clove trees suddenly died. Their fine houses were then abandoned and dilapidated, as the owner moved out of the island to start their new livelihood. Some of the houses were then sold cheap. The number of the people was then decreased. There are about 1,000 people left in the island now. That is a whopping 70-percent drop from its number in 80’s of about 3,000 people. The people left in the island are only those who have to take care of their coconut plantation and fishermen.
However, the glory of the past hasn’t completely faded out. You still can see the remains in the six villages of the island; Pekon Lok, Labuhan, Sukadana, Pasar, Sukamarga, and Bandar Dalam. The fine houses are still there, although most of them are unoccupied.
Today, the daily life of the inhabitants of this island is far from being easy. There is no community market in the island. Everything of their daily needs must be purchased in the mainland. The people have been enduring such a hard life for years since the cloves trees vanished.
Hard as their lives are, the people are now trying to win back their glory by replanting gloves again. Now that the glove trees are growing, the people expect they will get their wealth back soon. It will take many years before the trees bear their first flower. “Hopefully, they will flower in five years, so those people who left the island will come back,” said one of the natives of the island.
Pulau pisang is an interesting island for sightseeing. The island is beautiful and the beaches are incredible. In this island, you can do swimming, canoeing, sailing, diving, fishing, and of course photographing. Surfing is not so good in this island, though some surfs come out some times. Don't expect that you can get a lot of bananas from the island because the people of the island usually go to the mainland to buy bananas.
How to get there and away
To get to this island, you can charter a fishing boat from Krui pier. It takes about 45 minutes from the pier. Or you can start from Tembakak village. Tembakak village is very close to this island. If you start from this village, you will get to the island in about ten minutes. The distance from the town of Krui to Tembakak is about 17 km.
Since there is no hotel or homestay in this island, you cannot stay overnight, and you’ll have to get away in the same day. Camping is possible or you can spend the night with local people. ***
Related article: Krui Sumatera surfs (February, 2009)
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