Lonely Planet mentioned “It takes determination to get to the Togean Islands, but believe us; it takes much more determination to leave”! After having embarked on this journey, I cannot agree more with this statement. It takes more than a little push to get into the islands, but after spending a few days snorkeling and sun-bathing, all I greedily hoped for was to have limitless time to hop to another island.
Located in the Gulf of Tomini, Central Sulawesi, Togean can only be reached either from Gorontalo or Ampana. The secluded location appeals to snorkelers as the current is calm and in the waters, everything is at a standstill, listening to just the sound of your thoughts, gentle heartbeat and the mystic world underwater.
After having seen countless pictures of crystal clear skies and turquoise coloured waters, Bolilanga Island undoubtedly became my first choice for Togean. Since it was off-peak season in March, it was uncongested and that contributed to a more delightful stay! There is nothing fanciful at the resort in Bolilanga, only decent wooden small houses with no electricity after 11pm. And there is no telecommunication connectivity on this island too so remember to inform your love ones before heading into Togean Islands.
When nightfalls, silence creeps in and all you hear is the howling sea breeze, like a sea shell placed close to your ears, and also immerse in the creaking sound of bugs. It is a life dated back to the 70s, experiencing a sense of tranquility and the best place to remove yourself from civilisation.
I would highly recommend to dedicate for a day trip to “Jellyfish Lake” where the species are not poisonous. Much to the delight of the snorkeler, be prepared to get carried away while exploring the lake for boundless hours. My first encounter was surreal, the image still well documented in my mind. This special place however is regrettably often forgotten by the government. With a little more effort towards care and control, the coral-walled island clusters can beyond shadow of a doubt be as exquisite as other raved tropical beach destinations.
1. Flight: From Jakarta to Gorontalo (with one transit in Makassar) – 4 hours
2. Ferry (Tuna Tomini) :
From Gorontalo to Wakai for 14 hours – Tuesday and Friday, 8pm only)
From Wakai to Gorontalo for 14 hours – Thursday and Sunday, 10am only)
3. Boat: From Wakai to Bolilanga – 2 hours
With merely 2 ferries a week, a detailed planning is needed for the trip unless you are prepared to be cast away and free spiritedly offer yourself to the islands, which is not a bad idea, not bad at all.