Central Sulawesi : Togian Islands
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. Kadidiri is reached by boats from Wakai, provided free by the three more expensive resorts on the island. Melange can be reached by public ferry from mainland Ampana. Note that all the hotels charge per person (not per room!!), and there are no ATMs, so bring enough cash.
Private Volcano Island Una Una is at the center of Tomini bay, public boat goes every second day wakai-una una 08 am (thuesday, friday and sunday) and coming back next day (monday, wednesday and saturday) price about 30.000 rp /pax. Una una have amazing jungle and good corals, huge school of fishes, rays, turtles and people are super friendly.
There are ATMs for Mastercard and Cirrus available at the mainland of Ampana but they cannot be used for VISA.
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 all islands are 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 Melange which is another 1.5hrs from Wakai.
The resorts are waiting with their boats at the ferry terminal 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 to Luwuk, chartering a car/taxi from Luwuk to Ampana and then taking the ferry to Wakai. Another fast, albeit slower option is to fly to Gorontalo and to jump on the Tuna Tomini ferry (Tuesday or Friday) to Wakai.
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 is possible take charger boat from marissa. 2 500 000rp or wakai - una una 600.000 rp. Best is find MR. LAPIPI
Una Una real volcano island, huge coral reef ( no dynamite) reef is healty. Ocean is full for fishes, turtles, rays, sharks.. like Bunaken 20 years again. There is one place to stay Una Una sanctum, nice clean and cheap rooms on sea front. Diving and snorkeling is best on togean ,they have long jetty just front of coral reef. No white sand, lots of cows on the beach.
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. Fishing is not allowed in the no take zone so fishing trips must be outside this area. naturally there is diving at Black Marlin (more boats and equipment) and Paradise, check equipment carefully.
Paradise dont have dive instructor working anymore, 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 few 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.
Una Una have nice clean guest house Sanctum, offer bran new bungalow front off beach, dive center and restaurant. Room price starting 10 dollars.
Una Una (also known as Colo) is an isolated volcano in the Gulf of Tomni, offshore central Sulawesi. It is the site of sulfur extraction. 2h boat trip on the wakai (public boats) There is only one place to stay Una Una Sanctum Eco dive resort whit homestay they have only 10 rooms so better send sms or email before arrival. Best diving for hole area, rooms are simply but clean,mosqitonets, share toilets, 3 meals incl. fresh fish everyday. There is also PADI instructor so u could do good price u OWD course. New destination in Togean island.
Bomba is about 2,5 hours from Ampana where you can find 2 places to stay .
- Island Retreat has a 400 meter long white sand beach, and 3 hectares of surrounding forest.There are 10 large oceanfront cottages with private bath , sea view veranda, king-sized beds. There is a honeymoon cottage and a family cottage, suitable for a family of 4 (or more)starting at $30 US/person/night . Delicious meals are included in the price of accommodation. Homemade pastas, bread, pizza, international and local cuisine. Various activities available - forest walks, village tours, snorkeling, diving, canoeing. Padi dive center, equipment rental. Good value.
- POYALISA Island Offering you for a place to relax and feel like Robinson Crusoe on a small beautiful Island. With 15 nice simple budget bungalows starting at Rp 125.000/person/night with three daily meals and a snack in the afternoon included, each with veranda and located on a lovely white sandy beach opposite Bomba village. With excellent (and plenty of) home made Indonesian food. Diving is possible with Bomba Divers which is located just around the corner.
Wakai is the main ferry port in the area and has a single resort located on an island across from it.
- Sunset Beach A resort reopened June 2015, with private beach and fantastic sunset view, only 15 min boat transfer from Wakai. The owner Irena is a lovely welcoming lady, she likes it to take here guests around in the area. There are tree Indonesian style cottages and two panorama rooms al with own western style toilet and rainwater shower. Rooms are basic but clean with good beds, mosquito nets and a hammock on the porch. Price Rp 175,000 per person per night and includes 3 delicious fresh home made Indonesian meals. Complementary water, tea and coffee available all day. Snorkelling trips are available to surrounding locations and diving can be arranged. If you are lucky you will see lots of fish, Babirusa , Coconut Crabs and dolphins.
Send a sms before arriving so the staff can pick you up at the jetty in Wakai (Irena: 0821 99194240)
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.
- Pondok Lestari Kadidiri .. Offers Bungalows for Single or Doubles with shared squat toilet/mandi. The only budget Accomodation on Kadidiri starting at Rp 125,000 per person per night including all meals and free coffee and tea all day. Rustic bungalows with private bathroom cost Rp 175,000 per person. Snorkeling trips to nearby Islands and Reef with the owner who is a Bajo fisherman cost Rp 50,000. Atoll trip is Rp 150,000. Una-Una is Rp 200,000. You can also join him on fishing trips also for free. You can go for great walks on the Island to other uninhabited beaches. There are lots of birds, Crabs and lots of other wildlife Pondok Lestari does not have a dive center, but both the Black Marlin and the Paradise are happy to take on extra business. Pondok Lestari Kadidiri (It is to the right of the Kadidiri Paridise and Black Marlin Resorts when facing the Island.)
- Black Marlin Dive Resort Located in the middle of the three resorts, all rooms are right on the water with amazing sea views and have attached western bathrooms, ceiling fans too. All rooms have double spring beds with mosquito nets. Water runs 4 hours per day, two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. Cold water only. They are presently creating a rainwater recycling system to supplement the freshwater bought in from Wakai. Standard rooms are Rp 250,000 per person, and Deluxe rooms are Rp 300,000 per person. Delicious food buffet style with fish, chicken, pasta and vegetables on the menu. Has very well equipped dive center with all new equipment (30 sets) and 2 compressors and 4 speedboats. Laid back fun atmosphere with professional back up. Now has some sea kayaks for rent so can get to nearby islands to snorkel or just bit of afternoon fitness.
- Kadidiri Paradise Offers bungalows of different sizes and quality ranging from 275,000-600,000 Rp per person including all meals and free coffee and tea all day. They are supposed to have 24hrs of running water in the rooms. Its beachfront is very good with a wide variety of coral and fish. The food is very fresh and tasty. Has a dive center. Credit card payment available at times but bring plenty of cash to be on the safe side - signal not always working. The owners have another establishment in Ampana and you can pay with credit card there.
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.
- Bolilanga Island offering you a quiet and charming bungalows on a powdery white sandy beach starting at Rp 200.000/person/night with three daily meals included.Snorkeling in a perfect turquoise waters teeming with tropical fish and extensive coral formation just a few meters from the beach.
- Fadhilla Cottage Also known as Pangempa island, a small Tropical island that most people dream about: beautiful beaches, comfortable beach-chairs and jungle sounds in the night. Offering a variety of meals from local dishes to western favorites with all fresh ingredients. Starting at Rp 125.000/person/night with three daily meals included. Diving available.
- Losmen Lestari Malenge Remote and seclude Island with an amazing archipelago far away from almost everything. The room starting at Rp 125.000/person/night/with three daily meals included.
- Malenge Indah Basic bamboo cottages with Mandi bathroom and excellent food . Very Seclude and wonderfully Quiet with Amazing reefs only 45 minutes boat ride from Malenge Village.Starting at Rp 125.000/person/night/with three daily meals included.
- Sifa Cottage Located at Walea Kodi and is a place where you can find the ideal combination of beaches and Coral reefs with Amazing people from Togian. Starting at Rp 125.000/person/night/with three daily meals included.
una una is 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.
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The Black Marlin Dive Resort (www.blackmarlindiving.com) has a good website with informations how to get out and in. Also try to find the latest information about togian Island at www.togianisland.net.