Natuna Islands, Indonesia
The Natuna Islands are a 272-island archipelago of Indonesia, located in the Natuna Sea between Peninsular Malaysia to the west and Borneo to the east. The Natuna Sea itself is a section of the South China Sea in the larger Tudjuh Archipelago, off the northwest coast of Borneo. Administratively, the islands (including the nearby Bunguran Islands) constitute a regency within the Riau Islands Province of Indonesia and are the northernmost non-disputed island group of Indonesia. The Natuna Islands themselves are divided into three groups: North Natuna, which includes Laut Island (Pulau Laut); Middle Natuna, which includes Bunguran (or Natuna Besar); and South Natuna, which includes Subi Besar.
Despite important natural gas reserves, most of the locals work as fishermen or farmers. There is no significant tourism industry.
Natuna has large reserves of natural gas (estimated to 1.3 billion m³) that is exported to neighbouring countries such as Singapore. Matak Island now serves as an offshore exploitation base.
The Natuna Islands have remarkable fauna with 71 species of bird registered, including the near-threatened Lesser Fish-eagle, the Natuna Serpent-eagle and the rare Silvery Pigeon. Other endangered species include the Green Iora, the Brown Fulvetta or the Green Broadbill. Colourful coral reefs are found in the neighbouring waters. The Natuna Banded Leaf Monkey also found here is among the 25 most endangered primates on Earth. Colourful coral reefs are found in the neighbouring waters, making it an idyllic island getaway for scuba divers.
Cruises are available year round in the region as weather in the South East part is warm all year round – though both cruising and weather are better in the non monsoon period. Weather in the south east of the region is tropical so it is warm and humid all year round. The Tropics don’t have seasons as such, they have the wet and dry periods. The wet season or monsoon period is from June to September.
Population: 69,319 (2010)
Language: Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Riau Malay
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
Time zone: WIB (UTC+7)