Tentena: the surprise of Sulawesi
Tentena what a fine surprise you were during our trip through Sulawesi. We were actually only going to stay here for a night to break the long journey to the Togian Islands. But Tentena completely captivated us with her beauty.
The first thing you notice about this place is Poso Lake. Not to be missed, as Lake Poso, with its 320 km², is the third largest lake in Indonesia (The largest lake is Lake Toba, also very beautiful) . You feel like you’re on a tropical island rather than a lake. Thus, the water has a beautiful clear color and you will find hidden beaches everywhere.
In this article
- To do
- Travel time
- Practical information
- The nicest accommodations
- How do I get there?
- Our opinion
What to do in Tentena
After a scenic 10-kilometer trek from Tentena, you will arrive at the breathtaking Saluopa Falls. First you take a serene walk along the rice fields. Then, as if it wasn’t fantastic enough, you enter the jungle. Holy farts, this is the real deal! And then when you think, “This can’t get any better,” you discover the hidden treasure of this journey. The Saluopa waterfall. Godnondeju, what a sight! It is not just another waterfall, no, it is a beautifully orchestrated natural spectacle divided into several levels.
With a staircase you can climb all the way up and at the foot of the waterfall you can have a nice swim. Big fat recommendation.
Rent a scooter
Tentena is the perfect place to rent a scooter and explore the area. Everywhere you will discover quaint villages, rice fields and jungle. Drive up along the lake and you will find beautiful deserted beaches, rocky landscapes and stunning viewpoints.
Visit the local market
Sulawesi’ s markets are pretty intense to visit. After all, on Sulawesi they eat everything. Therefore, in the local market you will find snakes, bats, rats and even dogs. Some still alive in cages. It seems to be very impressive to visit a local market. Although I am actually always open to places like this, we skipped the market. After Tana Toraja, I had kind of had my share of killing animals. So we decided to spend a day relaxing at the lake. However, we did hear from several that it is still a must-see when in Sulawesi.
A day of relaxing at Lake Poso
Anything goes, nothing goes. Every now and then doing absolutely nothing is so nice. That is also exactly what we did in Tentena. After visiting the waterfalls and touring on the scooter, we decided to lay by the lake with a bintang. Not a bad decision at all.
Hotspots & food in Tentena
Tentena is not very large, so finding a nice eatery can be quite a search. At the market you can score nice local dishes, pisang, tarragon fruit or a piece of bat ;p. If you are going to visit the waterfalls then it is definitely recommended to have a beer or some soda in the rice fields. Other than that, just cruise around and stop when you come across something nice, because the food in Indonesia is actually always good.
Best time to travel to Tentena
The best time to visit Tentena is generally from June to early October. During this period you will enjoy pleasant temperatures usually around 26-30 degrees Celsius, ideal for exploring the breathtaking natural beauty of the area.
The chance of rain is also significantly lower during these months, allowing you to fully enjoy the outdoor activities Tentena has to offer. Tentena is famous for its Poso Lake, a beautiful blue lake surrounded by green hills, which is a particularly attractive place for nature lovers. In addition, the Saluopa Falls offer a spectacular experience, especially during the dry months when the water flow is optimal.
Although the dry season is preferred, every season has its own charm in Tentena. During the rainy season, which runs from October to May, the environment becomes particularly lush and green, and although outdoor activities can be affected by rainstorms, this season also offers a unique atmosphere.
A popular option among visitors is to rent a scooter from their accommodation. Riding a scooter gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace and discover the hidden gems of the area.
Transportation in Tentena
A popular option for exploring Tentena is to rent a scooter from your accommodation. Riding a scooter gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace and discover the hidden gems of the area.
Alternatively, if you prefer to relax and enjoy the scenery without having to worry about driving a vehicle, consider hiring a chauffeured cab for a few days. This can be especially useful if you plan to travel longer distances or explore multiple places on Sulawesi.
Which budget do i need in Tentena?
Tentena, like many destinations in Sulawesi, is really a budget destination.
- Accommodation: Sleep like a rose from 15 to 25 euros per night. Top deal!
- Sightseeing: Put on your best discovery outfit because many attractions are free! Yes!
- Transportation: For 5 to 10 euros a day, you whiz around town on a scooter. Freedom, joy!
- Food: Feast on delicious local meals for just 3 to 8 euros. Tasty!
So, ready for Tentena? With these prices, it’s definitely a yes from your wallet! Enjoy!
Practical information about Tentena
- Before leaving, learn a few words of Bahasa, such as good morning, tasty food, thank you. Locals always really like this.
- Google translate is really a must. Not everyone on Sulawesi speaks English.
- Most inhabitants of Sulawesi are Muslim, keep this in mind. At many hostels, for example, you don’t have communal dormitories (we found this out a little late). And also keep a little consideration for your outfit.
- Much of the accommodations are not on booking or airbnb. Best to google “place + accommodation”, do some sleuthing via googlemaps or arrange overnight accommodation locally
- Alcohol is not always available everywhere.
- Download the currency app. Converting to euros can sometimes be a chore.
- Take a credit card with you when you travel. Sometimes maestro may not be accepted. It is always nice to have an extra card behind you then.
- Also, at most banks you pay a fair amount for withdrawing money abroad. We therefore applied for a KNAB account. That’s because at Knab, you never pay extra fees.
What are nice places to stay in Tentena?
Dolidi Ndano Resort
The reason we also loved Tentena so much was largely due to our accommodation: Dolidi Ndano Resort. A beautiful small resort with a few cottages on Lake Poso. The cottages look top notch and have great views of the lake. At the resort there is a small restaurant where you can have lunch and dinner. When you’re too hot during the day take a dip in the lake and in the evening you can sit on the dock and enjoy a great view.
Perhaps the most special thing about this accommodation is that the Dutch owner also runs an orphanage in the area. So part of your stay also goes to underprivileged children in central Sulawesi. The Dolidi Ndano Foundation ensures that underprivileged children get another chance at a good future. In total, they can provide a safe haven for 20 children. But they also provide schooling and medical care for children in the area.
Booking can be done by sending the owner an email. Be quick, however. The resort has only a few cottages and therefore fills up quickly.
How to get to Tentena?
Transportation to Tentena is easy to arrange. You can choose to go by local bus or arrange for a cab. Keep in mind that the distances in Sulawesi are enormous and this ride will probably be one of the most challenging.
From Tana Toraja, you can take a bus to get to Tentena. This is a tremendously long drive though and takes at least 12 hours. The bus doesn’t leave until around 10 a.m. so you won’t arrive until late in the evening, around 11 p.m. It will therefore cost you only 10 euros p.p.
We decided to go early by private transportation so we would still have something to do with the day. The difference in price is huge though, as we paid a total of 50 euros to get to Tentena. We did then have the freedom to decide everything ourselves. So we left at 7 a.m. and arrived in Tentena before dark. We had a wonderful dinner at the lake and actually felt top fit. Definitely worth the 50 euros. In fact, other guests did not arrive until 11 p.m., had been on a terrible bus all day and unfortunately had nowhere to get food. If you decide to spend a little more on your transportation, we especially recommend doing so during your drive from Tana Toraja to Tentena.
We stayed a total of 2 nights in Tentena and this was fine. To go to the Togian Islands, you will first have to go to Ampana and from there you will go to the islands the next day. However, Ampana is just a small mini port town where you don’t want to stay too long. So we also decided to arrange our own transportation from Tentena to Ampana and decided to leave a little later. This allowed us to take it easy in the morning and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Tentena for a while.