Togian Islands: bounty island paradise
Paradise can be found all over Sulawesi, but the Togian Islands surely take the crown. The islands are among the most beautiful islands in Indonesia, yet most people have never heard of them. Not because it is not incredibly beautiful, but because it is a little harder to reach. But trust me, it is absolutely worth the trip. Never before have we seen water so clear and beaches so white.
Still, most people will say, “Togian whatte? Not because these gems are not beautiful, but because they are a bit hidden. Yes, it is a journey. Yes, it’s a hassle. But man oh man, it’s worth every bumpy boat ride and sweaty bus ride. In short: the Togian Islands simply must be added to your itinerary through Sulawesi.
You have beaches and you have beaches, but the beaches here, they are of a completely different level. We saw water so clear that you wonder if you didn’t secretly dive into a bottle of Evian. And the sandy beaches? ABNORABLE white. ABsolutely a Foedsie favorite!
In this article
- To do
- Travel time
- Practical information
- The nicest accommodations
- How do I get there?
- Our opinion
The different islands of the Togian Islands
The Togian Island is an archipelago in the Gulf of Tomini Indonesia. Prepare for some keueze stress because the area consists of not one, two, or ten islands, no way, there are no less than 56! The largest islands are Batudaka, Togian, Talatakoh, and Una Una. You can of course go for 1 island , but MUCH more fun is to stay in different places.
The Togian Islands consist of several islands. The largest and most visited island is Pulau Batudaka. From Ampana, this is also the first island you encounter, so a perfect starting point. Although Pulau Batudaka has plenty to offer, you would be selling yourself short if you did not explore the rest of the islands. Each island has its own unique charm and character, which is what makes a visit to the Togian Islands so special.
For diving enthusiasts, there is Una Una, a true paradise below sea level. Whether you are an experienced diver or looking to get your first scuba certification, the underwater world of Una Una will amaze you. Moreover, after a day of diving, you can enjoy a relaxing evening of freshly caught fish under a starry sky.
Although Kadidiri is one of the smallest islands on the Togians, it is one of the most touristy places to stay. Still, it remains the Togians, so touristy here still means having the beach to yourself. The beaches here are truly FANTASTIC! Still, we didn’t think Kadidiri was the nicest place to stay, mainly because there are so many cozy little huts with “really” deserted beaches where you can enjoy the ultimate Robinson Crusoe feeling.
And then there’s Malenge. This island is the perfect place to leave the hustle and bustle of the world behind for a while and enjoy the beauty of nature. Along the coastline there are beautiful deserted beaches, perfect for an afternoon of sunbathing or snorkeling in the clear turquoise waters.
This is a tiny island just off Malenge. You will find the accommodation Ale beach Togean Islands which unfortunately was full when we were there, but really is tipped by ANYONE. This unique property has a stunning private beach, beautiful cottages and is the ultimate place to completely de-stress.
Discover the Hidden Pearls
And then there are those smaller, less visited islands, begging to be discovered. They are the ultimate places to relax, snorkel in crystal clear waters and enjoy absolute tranquility. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to enjoy a private beach?
What to do in Togian Island
Swim, relax, eat, sleep and repeat! Island life is nice and simple on the Togeans. You can choose to spend the whole day relaxing on the island, but of course there is much more to do in the area. Also read the article “10x do Togian Islands”.
- Snorkeling at Jellyfish Lake: One of the most unique snorkeling spots in the world where you can swim among thousands of jellyfish.
- Visit a traditional Bajau village: Experience the lifestyle of the “Sea Gypsies” who live on the water and learn about their impressive fishing skills.
- Hornbill spotting: Wait until sunset on one of the islands to see a flock of hornbills returning from the jungle.
- Diving: Although Bunaken on Sulawesi is known for its beautiful diving environment, the Togian Islands also offer great diving spots, especially Una Una.
- Snorkeling: From seahorses to stingrays to dolphins, the Togians’ underwater world is full of life.
- Chilling on Karina Beach: One of the most beautiful beaches in the Togians Islands.
There are also additional activities for those with more time, such as:
- Climbing the volcano of Una Una
- Spearfishing like the Bajo people
- A visit to a waterfall in Wakai
You can choose from various excursions at the accommodations or rent a boat for the day and make your own plans.
Transportation in Togian Islands
Several boats sail from Ampana to take you to the Togian Islands. They often drop you right outside the door of your accommodation, but sometimes the captain first drops you off at Wakai, the Togians’ port. No worries, from there you can easily catch a boat to after nearby islands.
Most accommodations n have their own boats to take you to other islands or beautiful snorkeling spots. Are you looking for more freedom? Then there are always the boat cabs that you can easily arrange.
Want to go bounty hopping for a day”? There are several tours available that take you past the most beautiful spots of the Togian Islands. If you prefer more freedom, you can also rent a boat with a captain for a half or full day.
Which budget do i need in Togian Islands?
You may be thinking by now, such a paradise with hardly any tourists must be something very exclusive. Absluutely not. The Togian Islands consist of several small islands where you will find small homestay/”resorts” to stay overnight. Because there is nothing else, an overnight stay is always full board. On average, you pay around 30-40 euros for 2 people for an overnight stay. So no money. However, don’t expect luxury resorts. Your cottage is simple but has everything and the surroundings…. Well no 5-star resort can beat that.
Diving and transportation is a bit more expensive than in other parts of Indonesia, though. For a dive we paid about 35 euros and for a boat cab 10 – 25 euros. The price depends on how many people you go with.
This is an indication of the cost to visit the Togian Islands:
- Accommodation full board: 30 – 50 euros
- Food and drink: 2 -5 euros (water, coffee and food is included, possibly some charge for a beer)
- Transportation: 10 – 20 euros (depending on distance)
- Sightseeing: 10 – 20 euros p.p.
- Diving: 30 euros per dive
Practical information about Togian Islands
- Be sure to consider in advance the route you want to take. This is where you can then align your accommodation and transportation.
- On the islands, you have no coverage. So unfortunately (or just fine) no internet
- You can’t withdraw cash there, so bring plenty of cash with you
- 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.
- Before leaving, always check that you have all vaccinations. A malaria emergency kit may also be useful. Tip! CHeck about on Facebook or marketplace if people might have any lying around. In fact, the chances of having to use them are very low, leaving many people with an emergency kit after the trip. Still, saves another 100 euros per person.
- Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months.
- If you want to stay in Indonesia longer than 30 days, you will need a different visa. You can extend your visa once on location, but this often takes a lot of time. It is also possible to apply for a 60-day visa in advance at the Embassy of Indonesia in The Hague before departure. Another option is to take a trip to another country after 30 days, e.g.. Malaysia or Singapore.
- Bring plenty of mosquito spray and sunscreen. Believe us, need you.
What are nice places to stay in Togian Islands?
Accommodations on the Togians are often simple and basic. We especially recommend staying in different places. We stayed overnight at the following accommodations:
- Araya Dive Resort: very nice rooms, beautiful sea, just no beach. However, it is possible to swim to the other side
- Poki Poki: very nice atmosphere, beach and accommodations are really something less
- Kadiri: most beautiful beach, only in terms of atmosphere a little less
- Ale beach Togean Islands: was tipped by several people
Read the COMPLETE article “Accommodations in the Togian Islands” here.
How to get to Togian Islands?
Transportation to the Togian Islands
Getting to the islands is fine, but can be quite a journey. If you leave from Ampana then you can take the boat every day. However, if you are coming from the north of Sulawesi, you will have to take into account the ferry. In fact, the ferry from Gorontalo departs only once every 4 days and takes about 11 hours.
How to get from Ampana to the Togians
We came from Tentena and decided to do an overnight stay in Ampana first. There is pretty little else to do in Ampana. We arrived there in the evening, had a wonderful dinner and went straight to the boat the next morning to go to the islands.
The port is really one big chaos. There are several people who indicated that you should buy a ticket through their organization. However, this is not the case. You just buy a ticket inside at the ticket office. Also snorkeling trips etc. just arrange at your resort and so not at the port.
Once you have your ticket, you take a small boat toward the islands. The first island is Batudaka where most people spend the night, and so did we. After about half an hour we already reached our resort. However, the travel time by boat depends on which island you go to. The islands are quite separated from each other. Your boat trip can take as long as 4 hours as a result. So do pay attention to this before booking accommodation.
If you are still staying overnight on another island, you can arrange transportation to your new accommodation through the resort. Tip! Book a snorkeling tour and ask if they can drop you off at your new accommodation at the end.
If you want to travel further to Gorontalo you will also have to consider the ferry. In fact, it also goes back only once every four days. If this is just not convenient, you can also choose to go back to Ampana and fly from Palu or Poso.
How to get from Gorontalo to the Togian Islands
If you want to reach the Togian Islands from Manado or Gorontalo you will have to take the 11-hour ferry. This often leaves in the evening. Just make sure you book business class or a private cabin, otherwise you will get a seat. Business Class, by the way, is pretty little, since it’s just thin mattresses next to each other.