The Togian are a plenty of different islands and villages accessible by boat from Wakay. Volcano Island Una Una is situated at the North of the archipelago.
Togean Islands is a beautiful island group in the Tomini Gulf, reachable from Gorontalo in the north and Ampana in the south. The journey to get there is long, but worth it! Togean, Batudaka and Pulau Una Una are three main Islands, total 56 small Island. Malenge, Wakai and Bomba are famous place to visit and see white sand beaches. Divers take heading to Una Una volcano.
Note that all the hotels charge per person (not per room!!), and there are no ATMs, so bring enough cash.
There are ATMs for Mastercard, VISA and Cirrus available at the mainland. Only Una una have small internet connection and you could pay by credit cards (also visa electron)
Malenge and Bomba have white sand beaches, Volcano una una have black sand.
Flora and fauna
The Togians Islands are very close to the equator, due to that are all islands covered with tropical rain forest. Special for the Togian Islands is the Coconut Crab which can grow up to 4kg.
The reefs surrounding Una una Volcano is full of tropical fish.
The climate is all year around warm, due to the close position to the equator (40km). The driest months are the summer months.
The Togean Islands are difficult to reach as bus travel takes long on Sulawesi. As there are no airports on the islands you will either have to reach the towns of Ampana or Gorontalo first, which is a challenge itself.
From Ampana: The public ferries that run between Ampana to Wakai on the Togian Islands leaves every morning at 10:00, except Fridays. However, bear in mind that schedules often change due to breakdowns and weather. Also note that at least one day a week the Wakai boat leaves from the other port; 15 minutes east of town (NOT the port in Ampana; as of Oct 2014). Under normal conditions it takes about 4hrs to Wakai, where resorts offer free connecting speedboats to Pulau Kadidiri. The fare for the main ferry is 60,000Rp as of Oct 2014). Some of the boats stop in Malenge which is another 1.5hrs from Wakai.
Bomba is about 2.5 hours from the mainland of Ampana. It can be reached by public boats from the small harbor near Marina Cottages. The public boats depart on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. On the remaining days it is usually possible to catch a boat to a nearby village. Edi at Marina Cottages is a good information source for transfers to Bomba and other parts of the Togeans.
The resorts are waiting with their boats at the ferry terminal in Wakai but it's nice to call them ahead to warn them. For Pulau Kadidiri: Black Marlin Dive Resort, Kadidiri Paradise and Pondak Lestari are charging nothing if you stay with them - if you change to one of the other ones, you have to pay a small fee of 25.000 Rupiah (all 3 resorts are in walking distance to each else).
From/To Gorontalo: The ferry "Tuna Tomini" runs twice a week from Gorontalo to Wakai (travel time 13hrs) and continues on to Ampana. It leaves Gorontalo every Tuesday and Friday at 20:00 o'clock, arriving in Wakai the next morning. The price (Oct 2014) is 63,000 Rp for Ekonomi class (seat in an open cabin with café), 72,000 Rp. for Bisnes1 class (berth in an open cabin) and 89,000 for Bisnes2 class (reclinable seat in A/C cabin).
The same ferry makes the return trip to Gorontalo twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, leaving Ampana at 10:00 in the morning, reaching Wakai about 15:00 o'clock. After taking Gorontalo-bound passengers and freight the ferry then leaves Wakai at 16:00 o'clock arriving in Gorontalo the next morning about 06:00 o'clock.
Make sure if it's busy and you're going overnight, you reserve a mattress when you buy your ticket. This is called "tatami", you'll get a number assigned, and costs Rp10,000. Otherwise you'll be sleeping on the deck!
The fast way of getting to the Togian Islands is by flying to Luwuk, Poso or Palu and chartering a car/taxi to Ampana. There is also a new airport in Ampana which offers flights with Aviastar twice a week to Palu, Gorontalo and Luwuk. Lion/Wings air and Garuda are supposed to start flights still at 2015. Another option is to fly to Gorontalo and to jump on the Tuna Tomini ferry (Tuesday or Friday) to Wakai.
Direct access form Marissa to Una Una in speed boat for 2,5m in 4h.
Private boats of varying types can be chartered at anytime to and from the islands and usually cost 1-2 million rupiah upwards. And very soon, a Click and Go fast speed boat from Gorontalo to arround Togean Island now under construction
To Una Una:
- Charter boat wakai - una una 600.000 rp, 8 pers max. 3 hours
- Public boat on tuesday, friday and sunday at 8:00 am 30 000rp. 4 hours
You better tell to your hotel to look for you at the harbour or ask a motorbike to drive you.
Una Una real volcano island, huge coral reef ( no dynamite) reef is healthy. Ocean is full for fishes, turtles, rays, sharks.. like Bunaken 20 years ago. There is one place to stay Una Una sanctum, nice clean and cheap rooms on sea front. They have long jetty just front of coral reef. Best dives in the togian island is here. divers haven.
Kadadiri is home to an indigenous population known as the Bajo colloquially called "Sea Gypsys". The Bajo are semi nomadic and rely on fishing for their income. Tours from Kadidiri Paradise will take you to visit them. Selling fresh lobsters to tourists at a fraction of what you would pay in the US, Australia or Europe is an important part of their income, so if you visit them make sure you bring cash to buy some fresh lobsters. The young people love foreign visitors and will show off their humble village and school rooms.
There are sea kayaks for rent from Black Marlin and it takes about 30 minutes to paddle to a nearby island that has good snorkeling; 10 minutes to the 'lagoon' to the east of Paradise also beautiful for snorkeling; or ~4 hours to circumnavigate the island (make sure you don't mistake the narrow channel on the south-east side for a bay!). There are many trails around the island, but some are easy to get lost on. The walks are through dense growths and are not particularly picturesque. diving in kadidiri is quite lacking of fish due to overfishing and bombing activity.
Paradise they have nice long jetty. Around kadidiri have also some dive sites are The Gap, Dominik Rock, The Crack, Batugilla and for Nightdives especially Little Lembeh. The dive boats take normally also snorkelers for free with them, if the dive site is shallow enough.
A fascinating cultural experience fast approaching its demise is, "Living with Sea Gypsies." You can visit or even live with the last of the traditional sea gypsies who have endowed remarkable fishlike abilities that still baffle modern scientists.
Malenge has no dive center.
Bomba is great place for snorkelling and diving. The walls at Taupan island just 15 min from Bomba are fabulous, as well as at Bomba Atoll, the biggest atoll reef at Togean. There's also 2 bat caves near Bomba and a pretty bajo villages with very friendly people who always welcome visitors with a huge smile.
There are no shops on Pulau Kadidiri. Wakai is the nearest place with shops and a market. An internet cafe is also found on Wakai, it opens only after 18:00 o'clock running throughout the night.
All resorts include three meals per day in their prices. Paradise and Black Marlin have a small shops selling snacks and cigarettes. All resorts can take you for free for a short trip to Wakai (when they pick up new travellers), if you want to buy specific things.
It costs about IDR 40,000-50.000 for a large Bintang beer at the resorts. Other option for alcohol is the local Arak, a kind of stronger palm wine - all resorts can get it for you in Wakai for around IDR 10.000. A large bottle of water costs IDR 10,000 in most resorts. Boiled water, tea and coffee are provided free by all resorts.
Volcano Island Una Una have new dive resort offer bran new bungalow front off beach,diver heaven. Bomba have two wonderful place to stay, good for snorkeling. Malenge have 3 small guest house ( no running water ) Kadidiri is popular place for local tourist, karaoke every night.
Nino´s Homestay At Una Una have nice clean Homestay, Nino´s Place with 3 sea front bungalows 125.000 rp / person incl 3meals. Only 15 min walk for Sanctum dive resort. No possible book advance
Bomba is about 2,5 hours from Ampana where you can find 2 places to stay .
Wakai is the main ferry port in the area and has a single resort located on an island across from it.
Kadidiri has only three resorts located right next to each other on the very small beach. They all charge per person, per night and include all meals.
Katupat Island is about 1 hour from Kadidiri Island where you can find 2 beautiful resort just 10 minute with a small boat from Katupat Village Togian Island.
Check out these guys if you want to do camping trips: http://www.togianboattrip.com. Many many islands and beaches where you'll be the only one hanging around. Una una is also amazing place to do some camping u could ask help from Sanctum una una dive resort.
Do not walk through the reefs bare feet. Bring enough mosquito repellent containing DEET (others will be useless), as mosquitoes that bite day and night are a serious annoyance.
A good website to find accurate information about the transportation etc. is http://infotogian.weebly.com/togian-islands.html. The Black Marlin Dive Resort (www.blackmarlindiving.com) has also a good website with informations how to get out and in.