Biawak means monitor lizard (Varanus salvator). This animal is quite similar with Komodo. Komodo Island may have been familiar in your ear because of its global reputation. However, have you ever heard Biawak (monitor lizard) Island? This one must be very unfamiliar for you.
Monitor lizard and komodo is quite similar, but komodo is indeed larger and more verocious. Not like komodo which only live in Komodo Island, monitor lizard can almost be found in every region of Southeast Asia. In Biawak Island, there are a lot number of these lizards. Although this animal cannot become the main attraction of this island, Biawak Island is still an exotic and peaceful island which is best suited as an excursion island.

Biawak Island is a part of an archipelago in Java Sea. This island is located in the area of Indramayu Regency, West Java. Biawak Island is in north of Indramayu Peninsula, or about 40 kilometers from north coast of Indramayu, and administratively belong to Indramayu District, Indramayu Regency. Biawak Islands consist of three big islands: Biawak Island, Candikian Island, and Gosong Island.

It is obvious that the name Biawak Island is taken from the name of this island endemic, biawak (monitor lizard). Actually, the true name of this island is Rakit Island, but the local government of Indramayu changed it into Biawak Island reffering to the high number of monitor lizard living in this island. This lizard is quite unique because living in salt water area. Every afternoon before sunset, so many monitor lizard with varied size (20 cm – 1.5 m) will be visible swimming on the beach. At this time, these lizards are usually hunting for fish. Besides called Biawak Island, this island is also called Menyawak or Bompyis Island.

biawak island lighthouse indonesia

Although not really popular, Biawak Island is an interesting tourism object to be visited. With 120 hectare area, this island is also rich with green mangrove trees. If it is seen from high, the greens look beautiful surrounding the beach. This island can be reached by 3 – 4 hour trip using motor boat from Karangsong dock, Indramayu. This island is known for its underwater beauty which is lived by colorful fish and amazing coral reefs. The attractive side of this island is surely unique, because of its natural and healthy coral reefs which are very enjoyable to watch. Here are some attractions that you can find in this island.

Biawak Lighthouse

Actually, this small island is dangerous for every ship crossing this sea. Therefore, a 65 meter lighthouse was built in this island to guide the ship and prevent accident. The constructor was ZM Willem in 1872, when Indonesia was still colonized by Dutch. The lighthouse still function until now, and you can see the amazing view of ocean and dock from top of it.

Monitor Lizard

Monitor lizard which is an endemic animal of this island is not afraid of human. As an endemic animal, this lizard is still interesting to be watched. If you want to see them, you can put fish or meat around this island and then they will come quickly. Although they are harmless, we still need to be aware because their tail can hurt you.

Gosong Island

Gosong Island is a small land located on top of the sea surface. This island is about 1 hour trip from Biawak Island using boat. Gosong Island is actually good for swimming and snorkeling. But, unfortunately, Gosong Island’s environment has been broken by for the construction of a refinery project.

Mangrove and Pine Forest

Biawak Island also has a dense mangrove on its shore. Besides mangrove, a lot of pine trees can be also founded in the middle of the island. This forest is the place for various birds, so it will be interesting if you can observe them directly.

The Dock

The dock in this island is quite long and stands on a beautiful white sandy beach. Some parts of it are already built by concrete, and the other parts still use wood. Therefore, we must be a little bit careful when crossing this dock. Apart from that, the atmosphere and view of this island is very amazing.

Access to the Island

For reaching this island, you must cross the ocean from Karangsong Dock, Indramayu. So firstly, you must get into Indramayu. To reach Indramayu you can use bus or train from Jakarta. After arriving in Indramayu, you can directly head to Karasong Dock to rent a motor boat. The trip to Biawak Island usually needs around 3-4 hours.
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Biawak Island (Lizard Island)  is one island that belongs to the Biawak islands, precisely in the district indramayu. There are three islands that belong to the biawak islands, there are biawak island, gosong island, and the island cendikian. Biawak Island is located in the northern peninsula Inrdamayu about 40 kilometers from the northern coast of Indramayu. 
Lighthouse at Biawak Island
Biawak Island is one of the tourist attractions that must be visited when in indramayu. land area of ​​120 hectares is also rich with mangroves. The real name of this Biawak island is the island raft, but by the district indramayu changed to biawak island. 
Why the island is called biawak island? because there are a lot of biawak (lizards). Biawak Island including uninhabited island, and there's only one person relic of the Dutch lighthouse keeper. Lighthouse with a height of about 65 meters was built by ZM Willem in 1872. Biawak that live wild on the island is quite unique animals that live in salt water. Every sunset, dozens of biawak with a length between 20 centimeters to 1.5 meters seen swimming at the seashore. Animals was indeed hunting for fish feeding needs. 
Biawak Island has a unique charm and picturesque tourist, with white sand and coral that is still awake. 
How access to the Island of Biawak? and what is the cost? 
1. For travel companion can contact Mas Turidi (08129648931) and Mas Wawan (08179070867). For boats can rent from Mr. Darji (085929029394), a fisherman who fish daily sail from the port karangsong. 
2. For transportation from jakarta, can use bus or train. And transportation to the biawak island can use the fishing boats from port Karangsong. The cost of transportation from the Port to the biawak island is Karangsong Rp.1.800.000 (round-trip) capacity is about 10 to 15 people, and a travel time of about 4 hours. 

Want to visit Biawak Island?
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Indramayu - Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya, set a mangrove area in Indramayu district as a center for Indonesian mangrove for western region. Various means of support would be prepared.

It was announced by Siti in Karangsong Mangrove Festival, which was held by Pertamina RU VI Balongan in Karangsong Beach, Indramayu regency, on Sunday, June 14. The statement was conveyed to answer the requests made by Indramayu Regent, Anna Sophanah.

Previously, while giving a speech at the same event, Anna hoped, Indramayu be a mangrove center in Indonesia after Bali.  She added, Indramayu have large mangrove potential. Moreover, the existence of mangrove also has significance for the life of the community as well as a variety of other species.

"Hopefully this hope will soon be realized," said Anna.

Meanwhile, Siti who gave a speech after Anna, immediately grant the request. Starting next year, her staff will give greater attention and support to the development of the areas of mangrove center.

"I’ve already negotiated with the director general. And after I learned it, I asked the director general to make Indramayu as mangrove center for Indonesia in the west,” said Siti firmly.

Siti said the mangrove issue was very important. She explained, mangroves have enormous benefits, i.e the benefits of wood which amounted to five per cent, and the benefit of other parts of the plant by 95 percent.

"But if the wood which five percent useful is not planted, the 95 percent of benefits could not be obtained," said Siti.

According to Siti, mangrove benefits namely as fuel and spawning fish ground. Besides, mangroves have the function as a nature regulatory to regulate hydrological, pollination, and erosion.
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A while ago I had the chance to go to a beautiful island named Pulau Biawak or Biawak Island. It is located 40 km north of the city of Indramayu, West Java, Indonesia.

Biawak Island Pier View

According to the locals, the island was originally named Rakit Island. The Dutch called it Bompyes. But around the year 1980s, it was changed again to Biawak Island for conservation and tourism purpose by the local government. And it was because the island itself is the habitat of a species of monitor lizards (Varanus Salvator) called Biawak by the locals.
It is said that these reptiles had been there since the island was visited by people a looong time ago, for more than a century I believe. According to the Island caretaker, their numbers are estimated at the count of hundreds of tails. And with the Island covering approximately ​120 hectares, with almost 70% of it is still a dense forest. Rich with mangroves along the coast line, they live majestically in the swamps around the mangrove and dense forest surrounding the island.

The Monitor Lizard known as Biawak

But you could easily spot some of these Biawak early in the morning scavenging along the coast line, and around noon they usually resting somewhere. They are very sensitive to the smell of freshly caught fish. Some of them would come out of their hideout and try to grab a fish or two from you. They just gulp it down their throat and they were never satisfied until all of the fishes are in their stomach.
And those are only the underlings, the small young ones, I bet if you explore the Island further into the dense forest you could find dozens or maybe if you are lucky you could spot the 3 meter boss lizard that could take

 a kid in one gulp. Imagine that! LOL
As you may already know, these lizards are a capable swimmer. But even for a capable swimmer, a 40 km radius from any nearby islands or the mainland is impossible to reach.
So after so many years, they have taken the top of the food chain in the Island, and thus they have become the sole survivor and residents of the Biawak Island.

Welcome to The Lost World: Biawak Island!

 One of the Few Means of Travel to Biawak Island

It was indeed a lost world because to get to Biawak Island you need about four hours from Indramayu City. And the way to travel there is only by small fisherman’s boat. You could hire them, usually visitors had to spend around $70 USD to $90 USD for a fishing boat with a capacity of about ten people. So if you share the expenses with 10 persons, you only need to pay around $10 USD just for the boats.
No docks can be reach by visitors at high tide and there are no special vacation homes that can be rented by tourists, only caretaker’s house, the lighthouse, and some modest hut. It would be best to take a tent with 

you just in case you need to spend the night with some Biawak.
The water is greenish clear, white sand, and the reefs are still “virgin” and colorful, with so many species of fishes. There are also many kinds of birds that came and go to the island, including The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus Ibis), The Great Billed heron (Ardea Sumatrana), and Cerulean Kingfisher (Alcedo coerulescens).
The Island is also a haven for hundreds of species of marine life with the beautiful shapes and colors. The visibility is about 3-4 meters, and if you try scuba diving into the deeper reef you could find so many types of fishes, including Yellowtail butterflyfish (Chaetodon xanthurus), Zebra lionfish (Dendrochirus zebra), Clown fish, small Barracudas, and a type of Moray eel (probably Gymnothorax punctatus) inside, lying in between the reefs waiting for small fish to prey.

Bird View - Dense Forest of Biawak Island

Bird View - Biawak Island Pier
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Unlike the southern regions, the north area of Java sea is not identical with tourism. Even if there are points which is used as tourist attractions, the sights is still not as beautiful as the southern sea area. Such condition is also applied on Indramayu regency, West Java. Indramayu doesn’t have beaches like the ones in Sukabumi or Garut though on the same area of West Java. Moreover, the coastal regions are often become the area of poverty marked by slum houses and environment.

biawaklighhouse2 Biawak Island, The Virgin From North

However, you must go visit Biawak Island. Natural charm is a blessing for the island which is located about 40 kilometers from the north coast of Indramayu. The water is crystal clear and the sea is as white as those on the south region. This 120 acres mainland is also rich with green mangrove plants.

welcomebiawak Biawak Island, The Virgin From North

There are at least 2 other names commonly used to refer to Biawak Island: Rakit(Raft) Island and Menyawak Island. Therefore, you don’t have to argue when people call it other than Biawak Island. A Tower officer who lives there also said that there was another name for Biawak Island: Bompyis Island, which is a name given by Dutch colonial.

The name Bompyis still remaining on board in the generator room. Generator is used for lighting on officers settlement and, especially, to turn on the lighthouse. The lighthouse is located at 65 meters high tower. The building is also a legacy of the Netherlands, built in 1872. Inside the tower, there is a ladder that will take you -if you have the courage- to the top of the tower when you can see the stunning view of mangrove forests and the sea.

As the name implies, this island is the habitat for biawak of big lizzard or Varanus salvator. It is said that the reptile had been there since people visited the island over a century ago. There are no exact calculation about the number of the animal on the island, but it’s estimated at hundreds. They live in swamps and mangrove bushes that dominate the land.

biawak Biawak Island, The Virgin From North

The lizards are not tame, however, they don’t attack if we don’t disturb them. The lizard usually come to the the lighhouse, especially when there are fishermen stop by. Though the lizards are not tame, they are no longer affraid of human.

The clear sea of Biawak Island is a haven for hundreds of marine species with beautiful shapes and colors. There are about 95 kinds of fish representing 30 families, including zebra fish(Dendrichirus zebra), butterfly(Chaetodon chrysurus), and merakan(Pterois valiteus).

With all the nature potential, this area can really satisfy the needs for a pleasure tour. By the time this story is written, the island is technically a virgin. There is no special boat to travel for about 4 hours from Indramayu to reach the place. The visitor must spend around 750.000 IDR(US $70) for a fishing boat with a capacity if about 10 people. There is also no dock, and no inns that can be rented by tourist.

It’s a virgin afterall icon wink Biawak Island, The Virgin From North

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