Option 1 (Most recommended):
Fly Jkt-Balikpapan-Tanjung Redeb/Berau
Hire a car for 2-2.5 hours ride (130km) from Tj Redeb to Tj Batu (400-500K)
Ride the speedboat for 20-30 minutes from Tj batu to Derawan (250-350K)
Tj Redeb airport is currently constructing the new airport which looks 80% finished. When it’s done I can imagine there will be more regular flights coming there
Option 2 (Most Group organizer uses this route because of cheaper flight cost to Tarakan despite of longer time and longer distance and bot cost is fixed cost)
Ride a boat for 3-4 hour (depending on the sea state) from Tarakan to Derawan —> Do not get on the boat unless you’re given the safety jacket. My friend got really bad experience of having stranded on the sea for hours on the way back from Derawan to Tarakan. See her blog here: http://www.travelingcow.com/2011/04/kesan-mendalam-dari-perjalanan-derawan.html#more
I went with the same trip as her but we extended our stay for another 2 nights so we went with route 1 on going back.
Alhamdulillah we landed safely in Jakarta and now writing from the comfort of my room 🙂 Will start posting some pictures and bits of pieces of our Derawan story.
We fell in love with Derawan and its surrounding islands…. 5 days is not enough..