Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Taka Bonerate might not be too familiar amongst travelers of the world since it’s a diving destination. But being a less traveled place, it puts itself in a different league. With the hype of finding the ‘off the beaten’ destination, Taka Bonerate is the place to go. And we have Diyan, who’s here to brag all about his diving trip. Yeah he was on duty, but considering he was on a trip to document the area, then you can’t really differ that with sightseeing (curse you, Diyan!). Take it away, Diyan!
* All the pictures on this Trip are taken by Diyan’s friends, Sasha and Audrey. Thanks girls!
Start from Makassar; take the express bus, such as Aneka bus or Sumber Mas Murni bus, that can cross you to Selayar island. Ticket: IDR 100,000/pax.
Or fly from Makassar to Aroepalla airport on Selayar Island and save half a day of traveling. Ticket: IDR 200,000/pax. However, planes are very flexible with their schedule, so beware!
Then take the regular boat to Rajuni Island. Cost: IDR 75,000/pax. Continue with a fishermanboat to Tinabo Island.
Before reaching Taka Bonerate, we must first visit the Selayar island. While waiting for the schedule to cross to Taka Bonerate, we can sight see through the island. There are a few spots that you can visit, starting from the historical venues, such as the giant anchor and kettle drum, to diving.
I went diving at a spot called the Spaghetti reef. I swear, there is nothing spaghetti about the place. So why call it that? Because there’s this ‘bule’ (foreigner) that owns a dive operator and loves to dive at this particular spot. And guess what? His lovesss eating spaghetti. And that’s just how this place got its name (WTF?!).
I haven’t filled much of my dive log, but personally there’s nothing too spectacular about spaghetti reef. (FYI, I’ve just dived Pramuka Island, at the 1000 Islands Jakarta. Now, can you imagine how ‘usual’ this dive spot is?).
Y’know, although the Spaghetti reef is mediocre, it is said that Selayar island has a few other good spots to dive. Rumour has it that there’s an awesome wall on the west coast of the island. You can also find heaps of Black and White Tip Sharks at Kambing Island. But then again, this is just rumours because I personally haven’t been there.
Wanna bubble up the sea in Selayar island? Access away to http://www.selayarislandresort.com
The Taka Bonerate Atoll Archipelago is listed as a National Park, therefore you would require permits from the ‘Balai Taman Nasional’. You would have to prepare a few identification papers such as KTP/SIM for domestic visitors, and passport for foreign visitors.
Registration fees are:
Entry : IDR 2,500 / person
Photography : IDR 5,000 / camera
Diving : IDR 50,000/person
Entry : IDR 20,000 / person
Photography : IDR 50,000 / camera
Diving : IDR 75,000 / person
It doesn’t seem fair that you’re charged more, but life’s unfair. Face it, mate! 😀
For permit purposes, you can contact the ‘Balai Taman NasionalLaut Taka Bonerate’
Taka Bonerate has more than 20 dive spots spread from the front door of Tinabo (our accommodation) to the very south of the coral atoll.
The contour of the sea base is various, starting from slopes to baseless walls (to be honest, I didn’t visit this wall).
During the dives, I encountered marine life that you can stare for minutes (can’t say hours, can’t dive for hours). There are cuttle fishes at the E’bell Orange dive spot (if you’re lucky, you can even watch them mate or doin’ the nasty), the calm crocodile fish which is a perfect photo object (unfortunately, it’s a bit ugly), solitaire barracudas, moray eels, eagle rays, and bat fishes.
Tinabo is just one of the islands in Taka Bonerate. Now’s your turn to explore this stunning archipelago and share the story. So start to pack your diving gear and taste the Taka Bonerate’s temptation…
Upon my visit to Selayar, I ate at the ‘Tempat Biasa’ (Regular Place) cafe. I would recommend the mie wortel or carrot noodle, a healthy dish made of carrots, of course. The portion is quite generous, and if you love spicy, you could add cabe rawit merah or small red chilis. We call it the devil’s chili, because one chili is about 2 cm long but can really spice a whole portion of mie wortel.
Besides the noodle, there are other menus that you could try such as the pisang epe (plain fried banana dipped in chili. I know, right?) and the daily specials change everyday. FYI, the dishes on the menu are named based on diving terms (yes, we are diving geeks!) such as safety stop coffee and … . You can fill in the blank yourself once you’ve visited Selayar. My puny brain has failed me once more.
Oh iya, the ‘Tempat Biasa” cafe also provides wifi internet with a heartwarming connection. To the least, it’s possible to upload a twit pic or a facebook photo all in the name of making your friends back home envious.
During my stay at Tinabo, the food is included in the vacation package. The food was friendly for the Indonesian tongue, which is definitely different to foreigners. They probably have a different menu for foreign visitors.
Tips: I suggest you bring your own snack or any kind of food you prefer. The reason why I advice this is because Tinabo is literally in the middle of nowhere. The nearest kiosk is about 45 minutes on a mini speed boat.
At the Selayar Island, I stayed at a homestay beside the ‘Tempat Biasa’ (translated to ‘Regular Place’) cafe. To be honest it was a bit dodgy. From a scale of 1 – 10, it was a 6. Somehow, I vaguely remember whether the toilet was an Asian toilet (squading) or a western one. The bed had a hard mattress, but the eating area was thumbs up (I’ll tell you in the Eat part).
There are other options beside this accomodation on the Selayar Island:
Hotel Shafira (more like a hostel, actually) with IDR 250,000/ room. Phone 62 414-22766-8.
Hotel Selayar Beach (a hostel, really) with IDR Rp 200,000 – 250,000/ room. Phone 62 414-21617.
Wisma PKK Tanadoang, with IDR 250,000/ room.
All include breakfast.
(source: click here)
Where to Sleep on Tinabo Island
There is only one resort at Tinabo, predictably called the Tinabo Island Resort. Overall, the resort is comfortable. It has spring bed mattresses in its 3 rooms. Two rooms with king size beds, and one standard room. Extra beds are also spring beds and can be provided upon request.
If you happen to visit Tinabo during a full moon (around the 15th or in middle of the month) and you’re not one of those people that changes into werewolves, have a stroll on the beach around 2 – 3 am. The moon would be as bright as the sun! And I’m not exaggerating.
Tips: to sleep tight, bring your mosquito repellant. There was no mosquito during my stay, but there’s no such thing as overly prepared.
The starting point to reach Taka Bonerate is Benteng, a city on Selayar Island. From Makassar, you can reach Benteng by bus. The service includes land transportation and will also cross you on the ferry to Selayar at Tanjung Bira. This lag of the journey will take about 10 hours. Although this sounds like ages, you’ll be entertained by flying fish during the ferry ride. Sorry, didn’t take any pictures because I was awe-ing the sight 😀
Phone numbers you can contact:
Aneka (AC): . 0411-5048232 (Makassar) or 0414-22489 (Selayar)
Sumber Mas Murni (AC): Ph. 0411- 445 235(Makassar) and 0414-21154 (Selayar)
Tickets cost IDR 100,000 / pax
For those that choose not to age on the road, there’s an alternative means of transportation which is the perintis plane or the small comercial plane. Sabang Merauke Air Charter (SMAC) is ready to take you from the Sultan Hasanuddin airport to the Aroepalla airport on Selayar Island.
You can contact:
SMAC : Jl. PorosBandara Sultan HasanuddinMandai, ph (0411) 550664]
Plane tickets will cost you IDR 200,000 / pax and IDR 30,000 / person for airport tax.
Each person is limited to 15 kg of baggage, so be smart with your packing list. FYI, passengers (yes, that’s you) will be weighed and this means in public, so better start that diet if you don’t want people to know how heavy you are.
SMAC flight to Selayar runs twice a week on Tuesday and Friday mornings, but this schedule is very ‘flexible’. Hmm.. how should I say this? The company sometimes flex their schedule. Note!!! If you’re transiting, do not make a tight itinerary. You will highly risk missing the plane you’re catching if you’re transitting at Makassar (from Selayar). Spare a lot of time for transit or visit Makassar while you’re there, to ease the mind on transiting.
From the Selayar Island, you can take the regular boat of IDR 75,000 / pax. However, this boat only reaches Rajuni Island. From this island, you will have to rent a fisherman boat to Tinabo Island.
Getting around the islands here can be done by hiring the boats that belong to Tinabo Island Resort. I’m not sure about the rate but I guess you can haggle everything.
FYI, Taka Bonerate is located south of South Sulawesi province (yup, it’s that south :D) which borders with the West Nusa Tenggara province (Or was it East Nusa Tenggara? I’m bad in geography).
This mini archipelago is the third largest coral atoll line in the world after Kwajifein in the Marshal islands, and Suvadiva in the Maldiva islands. It is a vast 220,000 hectares!!! (These exclamation emphasizes how seriously super duper vast the area is.)