This guide to Sempu Island in Indonesia takes you to the perfect place to go when you want to explore Indonesia as a local, a real hidden gem. It is not the first spot you might think of as a traveller, you probably never even heard of it, but it is a spot where many locals go for the weekend – to go camping and hang out.
Sempu Island has a wonderful lagoon and is surrounded by mangroves. Don’t expect any luxury, you’ll go camping without any electricity, toilets or whatsoever. Looking for a bit more luxury? The Togean Islands are a good alternative for a local experience.
The closest bigger city is Malang, Java. You will however need a driver to take you to the boat in Pantai Sendang Biru. From here, you can take a small fishers boat, that will take you to the island in less than 15 minutes. Afterwards, there is a 1 to 1.5-hour walk waiting for you to get to the beach.
Around Malang, there are several shops where you can rent your full camping gear. Google a camping shop and just drive by! We rented a tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, cooking gear and so on and it barely costs you anything. When we were there, you could get all of this for around 3 euros. One of the websites you can check out to rent camping gear is Malang Camp.
Don’t forget that there is nothing on the island. You will have to bring your food and snacks, so you can cook your meals. The same of course accounts for drinks. Take some toilet paper with you as well. Next to that, a lighter comes in handy for cooking, but also when you want to create a campfire in the evening.
Sempu Island has a great vibe, in the first place by the connection you can make with the locals. All the little tents on the beach, campfires in the evening, people going to bed early and being active early in line with the sunrise. Waking up, opening your tent and seeing monkeys in front of it (be careful with your food, there are loads of them). Highly recommended!