One of the great challenges of a trip to the region of Sulawesi in Indonesia, is transportation.
On the one hand, it is like getting to this huge island and to the island of strange shapes. We fly from Singapore, the reason was basically the price. The other option we were considering was to fly from Kuala Lumpur, but it was somewhat more expensive. And the chosen company was Air Asia, the best Low Cost company in Southeast Asia.
Once we landed in the south of the island, Makassar, we set out to reach one of the most extravagant cultures in the entire country, the tana toraja, in Rantepao.
How to go from Makassar airport to the bus station
Well this was something simple. You just have to ask what is the bemo (public transport van) that takes you to the bus station where you can take the buses to Rantepao, that it’s called Daya. It is very important that you specify that you are going to that station, Daya, so that in Makassar there are some.
Every very little they come out let’s drinkTherefore, schedules are not a problem.
For the less adventurous, you can always take a taxi that will drop you off at the desired location, in this case the bus station in Daya makassar from where the buses leave Rantepao.
Here it should be noted that the station is quite far from the city of Makassar. Come on, if you are thinking of going to Makassar and from there going to the station, it is not the best plan.
How to get from Makassar to Rantepao
As I have already mentioned, buses leave from Daya station. They are nocturnal and there is a lot of company that provide this service. Important, try to see which bus is going to take you, since it is a long journey, and you will want something comfortable.
The bus we went on had folding footrests, so it turned into a bed.
They said it had Wi-Fi, forget it, it’s part of what they sell and don’t have.
And last but not least, be extremely careful and vigilant with your belongings. This means, put the money in a skirt (thin fanny pack where you can carry the money and the passport under your pants). Carry padlocks on your handbags and use them, and of course, never lose sight of it.
If you go to sleep, use the pillow backpack, or always have it with you. They stole all our money from us. Of course, you have been robbed and no one is going to take care of anything or help you.
How to get around in Rantepao
This town, as such, does not have much to see or visit, instead its surroundings are incredible. Here you have two options, either rent a motorcycle or go bemo. I recommend, and it is what we did, renting a motorcycle. It’s cheap, there’s not a lot of traffic, and with care, nothing has to happen.
We also used the bemo, but in this case it was because we went to Londa, and from there trek back to Rantepao traversed Kete kesu Y Batutumonga.
How to get from Rantepao to the Togian Islands
This trip is quite an adventure. It has several stages. Let’s discuss them.
How to get from Rantenpao to Poso
The first stage is Rantepao-Poso. This trip is undoubtedly the longest. In our case it lasted just over 24 hours. Yes, you read that right, 24 hours on a bus his way. I’ll tell you the reasons.
During the trip we had the bad luck that the bus broke down three times with its corresponding stops. In the last breakdown, we had to wait almost two hours for a new bus to arrive.
At night, due to the rains and bad road conditions, we were stopped for almost six hours in the middle of nowhere. Seeing as a huge quagmire at some point it should let us pass.
The rest of the trip was correct. So we came to land about 25 hours later.
How to get from Poso to Ampana
In Sediment we had to wait two hours for our transport to leave until Ampana. In this case it was a van that we shared with a Dutchman who later became our travel companion.
The way to Ampana lasts about five hours.
How to go from Ampana to Poyalisa
Here comes the game of Russian roulette. Not every day there is a ferry to these islands. So you will have to inform yourself in advance in Rantepao when the boats leave, since the hours and days of the week change.
Because of this, we spent the night in some bungalows in Ampana. Are the Marina Cottage. A quiet bungalow where you can rest before reaching paradise. In Ampana there is absolutely nothing to see or do.
Ferries usually leave around 8 in the morning. In Marina Cottage you can ask what time the ferries leave. They also do it from right next to this place.
If you get up to Poyalisa, it will have taken about four hours by boat. Now, there is only accommodation for about twenty people. There is probably a place, since as you can see, it is quite difficult and complex to get here. If there isn’t, you can go to Kadidiri, which is another two hours by boat.
How to go from Poyalisa to Kadidiri
As there is only one accommodation on the entire island of PoyalisaIt is you who decides which day you leave the island, and it is they in their boats who take you when you want.
How to get from Kadidiri to Gorontalo
This is another of the adventures. There are only two ferries a week. This ferry, unlike the previous one, is quite large and can even fit trucks.
Ferries depart from the island of Wakai, the largest island. It takes about half an hour by boat, but they take you from your accommodation in Kadidiri.
Ferries usually leave on Sundays and Thursdays, but make sure before arriving in Kadidiri, since this is the only way to get off the island. If you go with the right time, as you have seen, unexpected events can happen. Here there is no such thing as “if I can’t today, I’ll go tomorrow,” it is rather, “if I can’t today, I have to stay four more days.”
In the following image you have the times of the arrivals and departures of the different ferries that go to the Togian Islands, but you can obtain more up-to-date information on the website of the Black Marlin Resort located in Kadidiri in this link..
Buy your tickets in the Business or VIP area (I can’t remember the exact name) of the ship. It is the most comfortable. Remember that it is twelve hours by boat at night. Some comfort you will need.
Two small notes about this trip on this ferry. The VIP or Business area is neither the VIP you can imagine nor the Business you would like, but it is the best you can get.
The sunset on this boat is perhaps the most incredible I have seen in my life. It may only be comparable to the sunsets in the Serengeti, Tanzania that we enjoy in the company of animals.
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How to get from Gorontalo to Manado
The fact of going to Gorontalo only responds to the need to get out of the Togian, this small town being the only way out. There is nothing to see, and the city is really ugly.
Here you have basically two options. Or take a bus ride of at least eight hours. Or buy a flight to Manado. Flights are cheap and there are two a day, both in the early morning. Here you can see the flight options you have; Flights from Gorontalo to Manado.
Manado It is more of the same but in a big way. Ugly city, very ugly. Those who come to Manado do so for two reasons, either they leave Sulawesi through its airport, or they go to another paradise, the Bunaken islands. These islands are within a National Park, and are a reference for those who like scuba diving.
We were leaving Sulawesi for Kuala Lumpur (scale in Surabaya Y Jakarta), and we did not go to the Bunaken for two reasons. The first is the price, both entering the islands and the accommodation is quite expensive. If you are also going to dive, the price goes up even more. We did a more than spectacular dive in Kadidiri. The water was so clear that there was visibility of up to 30 meters. I’ve seen something like this in my life.
As you can see, transportation on the island of Sulawesi can be hell. The schedules are not punctual. The orography of the island, extremely mountainous and difficult to access, makes the roads sometimes impractical.
My recommendation is to go early, and keep in mind, that perhaps, the day you want to arrive or return you cannot. It is a difficult island to get around, but really beautiful. It is worth getting there.
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