10 days in Sulawesi - diving and Tana Toraja
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Aug 15, 2012 3:27 PM Last Post By: tinkerbell_1979
Jul 25, 2012 1:06 AM
I'm going to Sulawesi for 10 days at the end of August and would be really grateful for any tips on diving Bunaken and Togean Islands, as well as seeing Tana Toraja! I know it's not nearly long enough to cover everything given the size of the island, but unfortunately extending stay is not an option.
I was thinking of doing this: flying into Manado on Tuesday 21 August, 2-3 days of diving in Bunaken, then Fri overnight ferry from Gorontalo to Togean Islands, Sat-Tues diving and kicking back around Togean Islands, Tues night or Weds travelling to Tana Toraja, and Fri night flying to Bali. Do you think this is at all achievable?
I've wanted to go to Togean Islands for ages and know that getting there and back is a bit of an effort, but it sounds like such a sublime place... Also heard Bunaken is world class diving with great marine life, strong currents and some wrecks too - just what I love! But also really keen on seeing TT as the funeral season will be in full swing.
Any tips/recommendations generally (as well as on reliable but budget friendly dive operators) would be much appreciated! Wouldn't mind flying internally if easier, although the fact that after diving I'll have to wait 24h before boarding a plane may restrict things somewhat. I'll be flying in Sulawesi on 21st August from Singapore and flying on to Bali on Fri 31st August or Sat 1st September, but haven't booked my flights into Sulawesi yet, so have some flexibility.
Thank you so much!
Jul 25, 2012 5:42 AM
1How are you travelling from Togians to Tanah Toraja? I went from Manado to Gorontalo and ferry to Poso via Togians many years ago and I recall the road journey from Manado to Gorontalo being very long indeed (think we went overnight and caught ferry next afternoon. The ferry trip was slow and at least 1 night on board en route to Poso and Poso to Tanah Toraja by land was down through the centre of Sulawesi on a road often impassable by rain - it was totally closed to all when I tried it and we ended up having to find a flight with a mining company to another town (whose name I forget) and bus to Rantepao from there. I see that it is "a very long full day on the bus between Poso and Rantepao by bus" from my searches. The thing to remember is it rains A LOT in this part of the world and the roads are very difficult fairly often and you might get stuck for some considerable time before you can complete a journey. With only 10 days in Sulawesi you might be taking on too long a journey but hopefully someone with more up-to-date info can advise you.
Jul 25, 2012 5:43 PM
Jul 25, 2012 5:47 PM
3Check out "Sulawesi in 3 Weeks Possible?" from Matthijs July 13 Posting. You'll get a better picture of
Jul 25, 2012 7:41 PM
4It's the departure times (not so much the amount of time it takes to get from A to B) that eat up lots of extra time and this makes you have to wait in certain places for the next transport -- departure times are often inconvenient to what you want.
With only 10 days you should forget about going to the Togians -- too much travel time and too much waiting.
If you are a diver or snorkler you can do Bunaken PLUS Tana Toraja, and that would be just about right timewise for 10 days.
By the way, at Bunaken the best reef by far for snorkling is called Lekuan 1, so do this reef most of the time and avoid the other reefs that the divers go to b/c they are not very good for snorkling although Celah reef has excellent coral and you can access it from the cut in the coral where the dive boats come in for lunch on the west beach (Liang Beach).
Jul 26, 2012 11:01 AM
5The Togians are not what they used to be -- no longer magical. Unlike in the past, you will be very lucky if you see any big fish b/c of the commercial fishhing operations. Also, much of the coral has been damaged. In addition it is a tourist ghetto of western tourists on Kadiidiri, no village or market, just guesthouses (3 guesthouses).
In any event, with only 10 days it is not worth 3 -4 days of travel time to and from only to stay there 2 days. Allocate your time to other more accessible locations.
Aug 15, 2012 5:56 AM
6Thank you all so much for your responses, really appreciate your tips and views! It is really helpful to get a better picture of what I could realistically do and not in such a limited time.. In the end, I've decided to skip Togean Islands (boo hoo, with a heavy heart) so that I can take in properly the reefs around Bunaken as well as do a good few days of trekking around Tana Toraja.
TheAnswerMan - thanks also for the superb snorkelling tips, i'll first dive for a few days but need to stay nearer the surface on the last day so I can fly the following day, so will try and check out snorkelling in Lekuan!
Happy travels to you all!
Aug 15, 2012 1:31 PM
7In my trip to Sulawesi (it's gotta be one of the world's largest islands!) I had to skip the Togeans also due
to the time dimension. Wanted to tip you off to not only Lekuan 1 and 2 for great diving (either snorkel or
scuba) but the other shore diving sites called Timor 1 and Timor 2. This reef is just 100 meters or so
from the beaches of the Kuskus and Bunaken Village Resort. Very shallow and just a real calm area
all the way out to where the reef drop-off is. The coral and marine life is stunning. In addition, the Bunaken
Village Resort's Dive Boats take snorkellers out where the scuba divers go for 10 euros and you can see a lot of the
offshore reefs this way in calm waters. Cheers!
Aug 15, 2012 3:27 PM
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