Many of us would have visited Batam, Bintan and Bali but what about the many other islands in Indonesia? Indonesia is made up of thousands of volcanic islands populated by a diverse spread of ethnic groups with their respective language, culture and beliefs. This beautiful country is known for its gorgeous beaches, scenic mountains, volcanoes and home to many fauna and flora in its many lush forests. We were honoured to be invited by the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia to embark on ‘Visit Indonesia Trip Of Wonders’ to the Islands Of Makassar City.
In this series of posts, we will be bringing you to four less known but equally attractive cities of Indonesia. They are Makassar, Lombok, Banyuwangi, and Bandung. Each of these city commands it’s own unique culture, lifestyle and scenic natural spots. Are you adventurous enough to join us on this journey to the “Trip of Wonders”? We will start with the City of Makassar from this post.
Welcome To Makassar
Makassar is a port city located on the eastern Indonesia’s Sulawesi island. Also known as Ujung Padang in Bahasa Indonesia, there are many gorgeous places such as the Fort Rotterham, Losari Beach, Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, Pantai Akkarena, Kodingareng Keke Island that are worth visiting. Makassar makes an excellent springboard to plan trips to a group of small nearby islands which are perfect for snorkelling and diving to appreciate the wide variety of colourful sea creatures and gorgeous coral reefs.
1. Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park
Located at the South Sulawesi, Indonesia, Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park contains the second largest karst area in the country. Many locals and visitors also flock to its waterfall and two famous caves at the national park. The gateway to Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park is guarded by a symbolic monkey statue.
Don’t be surprised to see butterflies flying around the park, Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park is also a butterfly breeding centre that more than 200 butterfly species can be found in the park.
That is probably the reason why some of the roadside stores also carry butterfly specimens for sales too.
Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park has a water park where many locals will organise bonding activities with their friends and families. Some of the local schools will also bring their students there for school excursions and outdoor enrichment programmes.
Not just the locals, many visitors all over the world also came for the natural outdoor shower at the Bantimurung Waterfall.
Getting There and Tickets:
Local mini-bus was known as “Pete-Pete” can get you there within 30 minutes from Hasanuddin Airport. If you are travelling from Makassar, you can catch a public bus or DAMRI from Makassar Mall that will take you to Maros (1-hour ride), and switch to “Pete-Pete” to Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park.
Ticket priced at IDR 5,000 Per Adult entry and IDR 3,500 per Child Entry.
2. Kodingareng Keke Island
There are several islands that you can explore around Makassar, such as the Samalona, Lanyukan, Kapuposang, Barang Lompo,Kodingareng Keke Island and many others. We were thrilled to have the chance to visit the Kodingareng Keke Island and Samalona this time round.
Kodingareng Keke Island was previously a sandbank. There used to be a resort operated by a Dutch expat but it has stopped its operation in 2009. Since then, the island has been left uninhabited till now. Which was a pity because the island has one of the largest healthy coral reefs in Indonesia.
You can get to Kodingareng Keke Island by boat in about 40 minutes from Makassar City. The return boat trip from Makassar to the island cost approximately IDR 600,000 for a 4 hours trip. You have the option to choose between short or longer trips based on your preference.
Snorkelling at Kodingareng Keke Island was an amazing experience. The underwater view is absolutely beautiful and the crystal clear sea water allows you to fully appreciate the beauty of these natural coral reefs.
Some tips to take note:
1. Be there early to avoid the crowd and cater more time for your water activities
2. Put on adequate sun protection. There are limited shades on the island so you will probably get a bad sunburn for being out in the sun for the whole day.
3. Rent a snorkelling gear from the boat owner if you do not have your own. You would not want to miss out on the underwater view at Kodingareng Keke Island.
4. There won’t be shops on the island, so please bring your own food and drinks.
3. Samalona Island
Located just 10 minutes of boat ride away from Kodingareng Keke island, Samalona island command a small area of 300 x 600 meters and is inhabited by a few families. The island is so small that it takes a short stroll to cover its entire coastline.
Alternatively, you can also there within 30 minutes by boat from Makassar. The Samalona Island is another idyllic tropical island getaway where you will discover white sandy beaches, coral reefs and clear waters perfect for snorkelling. There were also some cute small huts built along the coastline that were ideal for cam whoring.
This is one of those super chillax places where you can slurp ice-cold coconut juice, munch on some refreshing watermelon and spend hours enjoying the view and calming sea breeze on the beach.
Things to take note:
If you plan to visit both islands, you may put them together as a 1-day trip. They are really near one another and island hopping is pretty fun too. Make sure you leave the islands before sunset as it will get really dark over there. If you wish to experience a stay over on the island, some local families that stay on the island can offer their place as your accommodation too.
4. Pantai Losari
Pantai Losari a.k.a the Losari Beach is an iconic site in Makassar. Many locals will bring their family to catch the sunset and feast on seafood in the evening.
To catch the golden sunset at Losari Beach, you have to get there before 5pm. If you are early, take a stroll along the coastline, enjoy the cooling sea breeze and witness the change of sky colours over time from blue to orange before disappearing into the horizon. Pantai Losari is a favourite spot for photographers who wish to capture the sunset on the beach.
Losari Beach is also famous for their delicious street hawker fares. The hawker stalls along the road next to the Losari Beach serves must try local delights such as the Coto Makassar, Mi Titi and Konro Soup.
Makassar is a beautiful city. There are many other beautiful places in Makassar that deserved to be explored. We will definitely be back in the near future. Travel opportunities are many and numerous in Indonesia where sparkling seas teeming with life, majestic volcanoes, never-ending coastline and cultural wonders await the intrepid traveller. Till the next post on our Trip of Wonders!