Togean Islands, Hidden Paradise of Sulawesi

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Having an experience living in a coast area which surrounded by a lot of beautiful beach, it sets me a high expectation on my prefect beach vacation.

It was Christmast holiday, time to take a break from my routine in the office and this crowded city of Jakarta. I need to see beach, feel the sea breeze, hear the sound of the waves and step my feet on white sands. And my destination this time is Sulawesi. Exciting!

One of the main reason I chose Sulawesi was to visit one of my good friend in Manado, Southeast Sulawesi, just before she finished her work assignment there. We both are beach freaks and have common interests on things, specially for beach vacation.

We heard that there are many beautiful beaches in Sulawesi. One of the famous one is Togean Islands, located in Central Sulawesi. Togean Islands consist of about 60 scattered islands and known with its diversity of sea life, from various species of fish and coral reefs. Mostof the islands were formed by coral formation and many of the islands are inhabited. According to my internet research, it’s a paradise for diving and snorkeling. So, let’s find out how beautiful the island is!

How to Get There?

My friend and I, we started our adventure by taking an one hour flight from Manado to Gorontalo. We knew that it would be a long long trip, we have bought some breads and biscuits ealier in the morning. From Gorontalo airport, we took a private taxi Gorontalo port which cost us Rp150,000,-. If you have more people in the car, the price will be cheaper. It’s about one hour drive, passing the capital city of Gorontalo Province.

Just before we arrived at the port, we saw this beautiful sunset with orange reflection on the sky and seawater. We knew that this gonna be a great trip.

We bought Bussines ticket to Wakai for Rp85,000,- per person. And if you would like to take economy ticket, it’s slightly cheaper, Rp65,000,-. The boat only leaves twice a week from Gorontalo, Tuesday and Friday at 8pm and arrived in Wakai at 8am. We met one of the crew before getting into the boat. He offered us his cabin for Rp300,000,- per cabin. It would be a long trip and we thought that it would be worth-ed to take the cabin. Surprisingly, the cabin was really nice. It’s about nine square meters with air conditioning, two small beds and wash stand with fresh water.

The boat leaves behind schedule. While waiting, we just stayed on the deck, just next to our cabin. We enjoyed the wind and talked to the crew who rent his cabin for us. We also met a local Togean guy who apparently the guide who took us to Fadhila cottage. There was a small canteen where you can buy drinks, biscuits and instant noodle. Luckily, we had our brown bag bread. The boat was finally left at 11pm.

We spent sometimes on the deck with the local Togean guy and two other tourists playing a game using two dices. I don’t remember how they called the game. We went back to our deck to have some good sleep and woke up in the morning to see sunrise. This would be the first time I woke up in the morning on boat so I was really excited. Later in the morning, you could see small islands everywhere formed by coral. And you also can see blue deep sea and green color on white sand beach. The scene was amazing. It’s only one hour way from Wakai port. From Wakai, we took a small boat to Fadhila Cottage and it took another one hour.

The view to Fadhila Cottage was more and more beautiful. We were passing many small islands and coastal villages. Most of the population here is living from fishing. They sell their catch to Wakai and buy other non-sea products in Wakai. They usualy take a slow ferry to and from Wakai.

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An Enjoyable Stay at Fadhila Cottage

From about 100 meter, we could see Fadhila cottage, with it’s dock and white sand beach. Once we stepped our foot on the dock, we right away know that we should extend our stay there. It will be wasted if we only stayed for one night. Unfortunately, there’s no signal in the island. In order to extend our stay, we had to find a way to change our plain tickets – me to Jakarta and my friend back to Manado. They owner of the cottage was very nice willing to take us with boat to get signal.

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We finally managed to change our plain ticket and stayed at Fadhile Cottage for 5 nights. I think the price is still reasonable not too expensive. With Rp150,000 per person per night, we had 3 times meals, and free flow coffee, tea and water 24 hours. There was only limited electricity, from 6pm to 10pm. But in this kind of place with no signal and a beautiful view, who needs electricity, right? Just in front of the main building, where the guests usually hangout and eat, there was a volley court just right on the beach. What a beautiful view it was!

We stayed at a simple wooden cottage, one big bed for 2 people with mosquito net, a simple closet and an outdoor simple bathroom. We had a nice terrace with a hammock on it and the beach is just 10 meters away from our cottage. We were pretty happy with out cottage.

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The owner is a very friendly couple who always mingle with their guests. During our stay there, there were also this cute French family who is really adventerous. They brought their own snorkeling and cano. That was so cool. Their kids, 10 and 6 years old were very cute and they played with the local kids in the cottage. That’s interesting to see how they communicate to each other with different language, however, they seemed to understand each other.

There was also this mixed Indonesia-German family with their teenagers kids. Somehow, they keep things alive, they play volley balls or just hangout around the cottage. And there was this American couple who finally be our friends during this trip.

You will never get bored with the view you have. I don’t even want to take a nap and don’t want to miss any moment in this island. With this paradise view, you just want to stare at it all the time.

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Trips around the Islands

The owner of the cottage arranged a boat trip for all his guests. We went snorkeling in some of the best spots in Togean Island. It was really beautiful, I never saw so many colorful fishes like there. And the corals were also still natural and colorful. It was just amazing. We stopped by at a house on the water and had a picnic lunch in one of the most beautiful beach I ever seen, Karina Beach. The white sand is soooo soft, it’s almost like a flavor. The water was crystal clear. It’s truly a hidden paradise.

Not far from Karina beach, there was a salty lake where you can swim with non stink-able jelly fishes. First time you get into the water, the water looks dark green. Few minutes after, you started to see jelly fishes around you. And in 10 minutes, you were surrounded by the jelly fish. The feeling is indescribable.

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Soul Refreshment

Staying at Fadhila Cottage was a soul refreshment moment for me. I feel like I was far away from my modern world, except my camera of course. No signal means no call, no sms, no emails, you were just isolated from the world, stranded in an island in the middle of nowhere. Nothing much you could do in such place except relaxing, and self reflection. It was really a perfect vacation for me.

Pictures from the trip

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