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 sandy beaches.
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 Kadidiri and 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 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.
The best and fastest way to go to Togian is from Ampana. Today, WIngs Air/Lion Air group service the route Palu to AMpana everyday. Which means that you can fly to AMpana frmo any major cities in Indonesia in 6 hours. Book flight to Palu first and then to Ampana, since the system is not aligned yet.
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 65,000Rp as of June 2016). Some of the boats stop in Malenge which is another 1.5hrs from Wakai. The ticket office is located in the white building to your right when entering the port area.
There is also two public speed boats from Ampana going to Wakai via Bomba for 130.000 everyday. One (Hercules) leaves around 9 in the morning and the 2nd (Manakara) around noon after the flight from Palu has landed.
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 fastest way of getting to the Togian Islands is by flying directly to Ampana from Palu with Wings air. You can f.ex. arrive in the Togean islands in one day if leaving from Jakarta early in the morning. There's a public speed boat (Manakara) waiting for the flight and it takes you from Ampana to Wakai via Bomba. You can also fly to Luwuk, Poso or Palu and charter a car/taxi to Ampana. 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.
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.
Togean 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 most of the resorts 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. Just make sure they are big, it's illegal and unethical to sell/buy small lobsters and lobsters with eggs. The young people love foreign visitors and will show off their humble village and school rooms.
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.
All the villages have small shops/kiosks where you can buy snacks etc. Wakai has a bigger market every Sunday.
All resorts include three meals per day in their prices. Most resorts have a small shops selling snacks and cigarettes or you can buy them in the nearby villages.
It costs about IDR 50,000-60.000 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 15.000. A large bottle of water costs IDR 10,000 in most resorts. Boiled water, tea and coffee are provided free by all resorts.
Bomba is great place for diving and snorkelling. 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.
Bomba is about 2,5 hours from Ampana where you can find 3 places to stay .
Wakai is the main ferry port in the area and has a single resort located on an island across from it.
Pulau Una Una
Kadidiri has four resorts, with three of them 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.