EXPLORE THE LENGGANG RIVER
It is from the Kirana pier that our journey begins to enjoy the exotic, wide stretch of the Lenggang river in Gantong, East Belitung.
When you start taking a boat from Kirana pier, the first beauty you see is the clarity and calm of the Lenggang river. There are almost no water ripples in this river. View at the bottom of the river where there are various types of algae and unique fish. Meanwhile, above the surface there are many groups of plants such as pandan trees which form islands covered with bushes.
A few minutes later you will find a unique land. This land is the edge of a river, and what is unique is the fairly wide expanse of savanna, a view that can only be found in the East Belitung region. This savanna view is often shown in the film Laskar Pelangi. This place is the best spot for taking photos with a combination of savanna background, small debt and Mount Selumar which is not far from this location.
Island hopping to the islands around Lengkuas Island is the most interesting attraction when you are on holiday in Belitung. In East Belitung there is a new tourist attraction that is no less interesting, namely a trip by boat along the Lenggang river, the largest river in Belitung where there is the most famous dam in Belitung called the Pice dam.
To reach this place you have to go to Gantong village in East Belitung, precisely at the location of the Laskar Pelangi School replica. Not far from the Laskar Pelangi school there is an interesting location called the Kirana Pier. Kirana Pier is an interesting place with the design of 3 round wooden buildings which are known as the Snail House. The Snail House is a tourist destination where you can take photos and enjoy the view of the river as big as the lake in front of the Snail House.
This Snail House is actually a pier where there are several boats that you can rent. There are wooden kayaks, and there are boats with engines. You can rent this motorized boat to carry out river exploration activities. At the time this article was written, the rental price for a 1-2 hour trip around the river was IDR 250,000 per boat. The maximum capacity of the boat is 10 people.
HISTORY OF THE LENGGANG RIVER
The Lenggang River, the largest river in Belitung, flows from Simpang Tiga village on the border with West Belitung to the East coast of Belitung Island. At the end of the estuary there is an island called Naduk Island, which was probably formed from river flow material over millions of years. There are many unique things in the Lenggang River, including a species of fish called Cempedik fish. This fish, which measures 3-5cm long, usually appears in large numbers during the rainy season. This Cempedik fish is then caught using a net and it tastes really delicious and has become a proud food for the people of East Belitung.
From the results of geological exploration during the Dutch era, it turns out that the Lenggang riverbed holds a lot of tin reserves, like other places in Belitung in general. To carry out mining on a large scale, tin companies at that time used a tool called a dredger or in Dutch called EB (Emmer Bager). EB is a land dredging machine at the bottom of a river or sea, which works on a giant pontoon. In its heyday, EB was the main tin production machine in Belitung.
To operate the EB so that it could mine the vast land around the river, the Dutch built a dam upstream of the Lenggang river. This dam still exists today, known as the PICE Dam. Pice is the name of the Dutch architect who built this dam. Through this large pice dam, the upstream level of the Lenggang River rises and covers a lot of land. This is why the Lenggang River in the upper reaches of Pice looks more like a wide lake than a river.
With the rise of the Lenggang river upstream, several EBs operated around the 1950-1970s on the path of PT Timah's glory. The upstream of the river was dredged and the tin was extracted. Viewed from a natural conservation perspective, this activity actually causes tremendous damage to river life. At that time, not many people cared about the environment. The economic need for tin mining was the only economic driver in Belitung at that time.
The next stop is the Pice dam. Even though this dam can be accessed by vehicle, visiting the dam from upstream will provide a different view. The Pice Dam that you will see is a new dam built in 2016. The original Pice Dam is on the downstream side and is no longer functioning because it is old.
Upon returning from Pice, you will be taken to explore other beauties upstream of the Lenggang river. If you are lucky there are lots of trees filled with wild white bagau birds that gather to hunt fish. If you want to photograph these birds, it's a good idea to prepare a telephoto lens, because the birds will immediately leave as soon as the distance to the boat gets too close.
- Swimming is prohibited. The condition of the depth and bottom of the river is difficult to predict, the bottom of the river may contain a lot of mud.
- In the Lenggang River there are still many wild crocodiles living, although they are very rarely seen in this area, it's a good idea to be careful
- Because the trip is quite short and there are no big waves, this trip does not include a life jacket. If you bring children, make sure they are under your supervision.