Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about the destination.
The Togian (or Togean) Islands are an archipelago of 56 islands and islets, in the Gulf of Tomini, off the coast of Central Sulawesi, in Indonesia. Only a few brave backpackers and undaunted scuba divers make their way here, which only adds to the charm.
The journey began in Ampana, Sulewesi where we would take a boat to wakai. You must get all the money you will need in Ampana as there is no internet or ATM on the islands. My tip is to bring extra because a lot of people fall in love with this place and want to stay longer.
At the dock we we’re told there was new fee of 150 000 rupiah each to enter the national park. Once your on the boat no one asked for proof of paying this fee, don’t hang out where you buy the tickets for the ferry and you won’t get hassled to pay this fee.
We took our boat to Wakai, which is the main island but I don’t think many people stay here. We had a small boat waiting for us from the sunset hotel.
Most of the nearby hotel will come and pick you up since each hotel has it’s own private beach. The sunset hotel consists of four small huts on the beach for 200 000 rupiah a night and all meals included. There were no other guests at the hotel during our stay, so we had the beach to ourselves.
They provided snorkels and there was beautiful corals right off the beach. They also took us to swim with jelly fish. The Red Jellyfish lake in Sulawesi, Indonesia, is most famous for its not stinging but very colorful jelly fish.
And to another private beach with beautiful corals.
But we needed to continue on our journey, I really wanted to visit the bajau people or “sea gypsies” and the famous 1 km bridge to the village.
We were drop off on a dock where we would wait for the boat to take us deeper into the togean islands. We waited for hours doubting the boat would come, asking the locals but they didn’t seem to understand what we were saying.
The kids love asking “what is your name?” “Where are you from?”
2 hours later we see a boat appear.
We get on the boat hoping it is going the right way.
4 hours later we arrive in malenge one of the furthest islands to get to. The sun is setting and we have no place to stay, as we are getting off the boat some locals inform us we must take another small boat to the hotels, they give us various prices which we are not able to afford, our funds were getting low. We decide to return to the boat, that there must be another option. We spot another local near the boat and ask him where we could stay and says we could stay at his cottages and negotiate a price of 200 000 rupiahs a night. We hop on his boat in the middle of the night with no idea where we are headed.
We arrived at lestari cottages and it was amazing!!! They are ocated right across from the famous bridge and the bajau village I wanted to see!!
We were informed that they might only have room for one night (people ended up staying longer han expected) but they would figure something out for us or we could go stay with the bajau people. They ended up finding a place for us.
The accommodations we’re very basic, and three meals included. No internet and power from sunset to about 10pm. It was really nice to disconnect from the world.
The first day we trekked to the bridge and the bajau village. Their is trail from the beach, but you must let someone know you are going in case you get lost. It was a very scary and difficult trail and not very smart to do it in flip flops.
The village was amazing!!!
We spent the days swimming, snorkelling and lounging in our hammocks.
And the evenings singing by the campfire with other backpackers and drinking the arak (local alcohol from the palm tree) with the locals.
After three nights we we’re out of funds so our adventure had to end.