Located in Banten Bay northeast Java, the Pulau Dua Nature Reserve is a designated bird sanctuary and a haven for coastal and migratory birds from Asia, Australia and Africa which descend on the island in the tens of thousands each year between March and August. In addition, over 100 species of birds make permanent homes on the island, among them kingfishers, terns, sandpipers, sunbirds, curlews and sea eagles. It’s a must see for bird lovers but even those with only a passing interest will find the mass breeding colonies of herons, egrets, cormorants and ibis worthwhile.
The low-lying island that comprises the 30 hectare reserve is dominated by granite boulders, tropical vegetation and mangrove forests. It’s separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of mudflats which can be crossed on foot at low tide. At other times, you can charter a local boat for the short crossing.
A special permit is required to visit the island, ostensibly to control visitor numbers to minimize the impact to the ecology but in the Indonesian way of doing things, you actually get the permit at the PHPA guard office on Pulau Dua. Plastic sandals or other practical footwear is recommended as crossing the inter-tidal flats can be a little wet and muddy.
Pulau Dua is accessed from Banten, 10km east of Serang City which is around 90km north-west of Jakarta. Serang can be reached by train or public bus from Jakarta, then grab a minibus or ojek to Banten. It’s possible to visit the reserve as a day trip from Jakarta but if you want to stay longer, there’s a simple guesthouse on the island right by the PHPA office or ample accommodation to choose from back in Serang.