Travel Guide

The Togian Islands Full Journey and Dive Information

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The Togian Islands is a real tropical paradise with lovely powder white sand seashores coated in tropical rain forest and surrounded by pristine coral reefs in crystal clear water. This archipelago  of 56  islands and islets is positioned in the midst of the Gulf of Tomini off the coast of Central Sulawesi. Protected by steady barrier reef the islands are well-known for clear and calm waters within the sheltered space. Indonesia is made up by greater than 17 000 islands and the 56 islands of the Togians are among the many most distant. It takes three flights and several other boat and ferry rides to achieve from the touristy Bali, so put together your self for an off the crushed monitor journey when touring to the Togians. Being so distant protects a number of hidden treasures from international tourism; diving is great on the pristine protected reefs, the nomadic tradition of the well-known ‘sea gypsy’ bajo folks continues to be preserved and it is without doubt one of the solely locations on the planet the place you’ll be able to nonetheless swim alone with thousands and thousands of innocent jelly fish in Mariona Lake.

Put up up to date – 2020/05/06

My dive buddy doing a safety stop in the crystal clear water of The Togean islands.
My dive buddy doing a security cease within the crystal clear water of The Togean islands.

Touring Highlights of The Togean Islands

Exploring this hidden tropical paradise was an unbelievable experience, all the things, beginning with the in a single day experience on a neighborhood ferry to going spearfishing with the legendary bajo folks.

Diving is the principle reason vacationers discover their manner right here. The fauna and flora on these remoted island is unbelievable and many of the highlights are underwater. The water is crystal clear and we had over 30 m visibility on most of our dives, with diving various from huge fish, unreal coral, tiny critters to diving on a WWII B24 Bomber wreck!

Many endangered species dwell on the Togean Islands together with dugongs, hawksbill and inexperienced sea turtles. It is without doubt one of the solely populations of the large endangered coconut crab which you can see strolling and climbing he bushes over these islands

The tradition and way of life of the distinctive Bajo folks “sea gypsies” folks, dwelling of their floating homes is one thing as a real aquaholic I’ve at all times wished to see and actually loved. You may see how the nomadic  Bajau Laut folks dwell in concord with the ocean within the settlement Pulau Papan.

Swimming in Mariona Lake, a jelly fish lake, the place thousands and thousands of those creatures misplaced the flexibility to sting, that is considered one of solely a handful of locations the place isolation of jelly fish rendered them innocent over thousands and thousands of years.

A big coconut crab, these guys often climb the palm trees. It is a species of terrestrial hermit crab and is the largest land-living arthropod in the world, it grows up to 4kg and 1m in length!
A giant coconut crab on Malenge Island.

The place are The Togean Islands?

The huge island Sulawesi is considered one of about 17 000 islands that collectively type Indonesia and is the 4th largest island in Indonesia following  Sumatra, Borneo and Papua. Sulawesi has an odd form with 4 ‘arms’ or peninsulas extending from the physique of the island. The Togian islands are positioned within the  Gulf of Tomini between the northern Minahasa and East peninsulas.

Attending to the Togean Islands.

The Togean islands in Central Sulawesi can solely be reached by boat, from the north the islands might be accessed from Gorontalo and from the south from Ampana.

From Gorontalo – Fly from Makassar to Gorontalo, take an in a single day sluggish boat to Wakai, the Tuna Tomini operates twice per week, it’s a 12 hr ferry journey

From Ampana – fly to Ampana – Wings Air/Lion Air fly to Palu and from Palu to Ampana on a regular basis from any main metropolis in Indonesia. Sadly it’s important to ebook two separate flights, however it may be accomplished on the identical day. The simplest method to attain the islands is with a each day public pace boat. Velocity Boats leaves from Ampana to Wakai everymorning. you will get of in Bomba. A each day public ferry leaves to Wakai (5 hrs) or Bomba (2.5 hrs).

From Wakai, you will get to nearly some other island in Togeans by public or personal boats. Most resorts will choose up company immediately from the harbor 

I traveled overland from south Sulawesi to Ampana and by Ferry to Wakai, from right here by boat to Kadidiri. From Kadidiri I traveled by ferry to Gorontalo in north Sulawesi and continued to Makasar from the place I went to dive Lembeh Strait and Bunaken.

To go to Mariona Lake and Pulao Papan simply ask the employees at Black Marlin  they helped us to discover a native skipper to take us.

Which Togean Island to go to..

The three largest islands within the Togeans are Batudaka, Togean and Una Una, most individuals arrive on the port of Wakai on Batudaka island. The principle islands have have good lodging and services, however the hidden treasures are on the pristine little tropical islands unfold out within the gulf of Tomini.

the togian islands map stingy nomads


Kadidiri is touristy by Togian requirements and is without doubt one of the small islands with probably the most resorts. I stayed in Black Marlin lodge right here, there have been a handful of different company, it was nice to fulfill different folks. It was removed from busy or touristy. Having people who know the realm and services right here made it straightforward to arrange extra adventures from Kadidiri. Diving was good, with pristine reefs in crystal clear water. We organised native outrigger canoe/boats to take us to surrounding islands and websites the place we spent a few days.



In case you actually wish to get away from the world, that is your house. Solely lodging is Fadhila cottages positioned on a small islands off Katupat. There’s a small fisher village Lembanato on Katupat and the jellyfish lake Mariona Lake, is positioned on the island.


Malenge Island is an actual off the crushed monitor paradise, it contains of two little islands – Papan and Kakoda Islands, linked by a 1800 m lengthy, picket, overwater path. Snorkeling was good from Malenge,

Lodging: Sifa Dive Resort

Togean Islands Arriving at Pulau Papan after a long drive by local boat.
Togian Islands Arriving at Pulau Papan after a protracted drive by native boat.

Pulau Papan

This small Bajo neighborhood related to Malenge Island by a protracted picket bridge was nice to see how these nomadic see gypsies dwell, nonetheless doing compressor diving and spearfishing with conventional gear. We requested round and stayed with among the native folks, it was an awesome experience they cooked rice for us and among the fish we speared. I imagine there are actually a number of guesthouses on the island.

Una Una

Una Una is an attractive volcanic island with black volcanic sand, coconut palm bushes lining emerald waters on black seashores. Diving is nice with huge colleges of barracudas and horse eye jacks, pristine wholesome coral reef, turtles, rays and reef sharks. It’s positioned fairly removed from the opposite islands.

Lodging – Pristine Paradise Dive Resort Una Una

Diving within the Togian islands

Diving circumstances was unbelievable on my dives with 30 m plus visibility and 31C water temperature. Within the middle of the Gulf of Tomini this is named the calmest bay on the planet and I skilled nice circumstances diving right here.

Diving from Kadidiri – dramatic drop offs, lovely pinnacles and canyons with pristine reef and exquisite marine life similar to moray eels, turtles, colleges of barracuda and fascinating nudibranches. The reefs right here is claimed to host 314 species of corals, 541 species of mollusc & 819 species of tropical fish. Close to the mangroves dive masters instructed me they’ve seen dugongs, sadly we weren’t so fortunate!

Diving on the wreck of a B24 Bomber aircraft about an hour boat experience from Kadidiri was an fascinating dive. The aircraft was a part of an American bomb squadron that crash landed throughout WWII.After we dived on the wreck the visibility across the aircraft wreck was not so good as we had on the reefs, it was lower than 10 meters. You may penetrate the principle cabin and there have been fish, nudis and tender corals across the wreck.

The B42 Bomber wreck from WWII was an interesting dive.
The B42 Bomber wreck from WWII was an fascinating dive.

Diving from Una Una – superior diving, greater than 30 dive websites with reef coated in large followers and exquisite coral with marine life starting from pelagic species like rays and reef sharks, large colleges of fish, barracudas, jack fish to good macro diving with frogfishes, seahorses, leafy scorpionfishes and a wide range of nudibranches.

I had a good time right here, however it takes effort and time to get to the Togean islands. Touring just for Scuba diving, I might moderately go to Lembeh, Komodo or Raja Ampat. Take a look at our article on all of the Finest Diving in Indonesia.

Interesting sea slug on coral growing on the B42 Bomber wreck.
Fascinating sea slug on coral rising on the B42 Bomber wreck. Dive Togean Islands

Dive Season within the Togian Islands

The Togian Islands might be dive all 12 months spherical, however March to December is seen as the perfect time to dive right here. That is the dry season making diving extra nice, however visibility and circumstances is nice for diving all seasons.

Liveaboard diving across the Togian Islands

The Togian Islands is tough to entry and the proper spot for an off the grid liveaboard experience. There are 4 common liveaboards that function across the Togians.

The Sunshine

KLM Sunshine is a 30m intimate, luxurious liveaboard with double cabins geared up with personal toilet. Working across the pristine waters of Indonesia, house to a thriving ecosystem of over 600 species of coral and 3000 species of fish.Diving facilities embrace a spacious dive deck, rinse tanks, dive station, Nitrox and dive guides.

  • from US$ 179 / day
  • Gourmand restaurant onboard, serving scrumptious meals
  • a big solar deck with snug seating
  • Take a look at the KLM Sunshine

Swim at Mariona lake with the non-stinging jellyfish

Mariona Lake on Katupat, near the principle Togean island is considered one of 7 ‘jellyfish lakes’ on the planet. The well-known jellyfish lake in Palau was at all times on my bucket record, so I used to be tremendous exited after I discovered there was an analogous lake within the Togians. On this uncommon lake jelly fish misplaced the flexibility to sting over thousands and thousands of years of geographic isolation. Swimming with 1000’s of innocent jellies was lovely and an unreal experience. To get to Mariona Lake ask at your visitor home for a ship contact, we have been three mates that shared a neighborhood boat and it didn’t price an arm and a leg. The existence of this particular jellyfish lake shouldn’t be very well-known, we have been the one folks posing for selfies with the superior jellyfish after we have been there.

Swimming between thousands of harmless jelly fish was an unreal experience!
Swimming between 1000’s of innocent jelly fish was an unreal experience!

Staying with a neighborhood Bajo household

I’ve been fascinated by the Bajo folks of Indonesia and the Philippines ever since watching the documentary Human Planet. The digital camera crew follows the lives of those Sea Gypsies dwelling a nomadic life on the ocean. The documentary exhibits the wonderful potential the Bajo spearfishermen should hunt underwater with very primitive tools and the way fishing is finished in these elements by compressor diving. We have been privileged to remain within the Bajo settlement Pulao Papan within the Togean islands and have the chance to fulfill a few of these distinctive folks.

We paid a neighborhood boat proprietor at Kadidiri to take myself and a pair of mates to Pulao Papan the place he spoke to some native folks and arranged for us to remain in one of many homes on the water with a neighborhood household. The city doesn’t get many international guests and the children have been fascinated by us, following us all over the place.

A number of the native fisherman have been fishing by doing ‘compressor diving’. They dive with a floor provide of air coming from a compressor on a ship and lay out an enormous web on the ocean backside, just like how business divers work underwater. Whereas diving they chase all of the fish on the reef into the web and pull the web into the boat. It is a harmful observe primarily due to the chance of decompression illness and may be very dangerous to the reef and marine life.

The toilet in the house we stayed in, we went diving in front of the house!
The bathroom in the home we stayed in, we went diving in entrance of the home!

We had a alternative between going compressor diving with them or to go spearfishing with their native knowledgeable one morning and opted to go spearfishing.

Diving with the Bajo folks “sea gypsies”

The Bajo folks do free dive spearfishing so they don’t use Scuba tools, they do that with out fins and a few of them nonetheless use conventional tools they make themselves, picket goggles and handmade spearguns.

I do a number of free dive spearfishing at house in South Africa and was very exited to go spearfishing with an knowledgeable utilizing these conventional strategies.

I attempted utilizing the genuine bajo goggles, a picket body fitted with a glass lens. It was tough to see with the goggles leaking, I imagine a number of the bajo divers use trendy masks these days, they have been nevertheless diving barefoot, not utilizing fins actually makes it rather a lot tougher to dive deep.

Local wooden masks
Native picket masks

Sporting no fins with a gun in a single handcrafted it tough to dive deep. I managed to dive to 17m, however I might positively not attain the depths Subin did on the documentary!

Evan managing a decent dive wearing only local gear.
Evan managing a good dive carrying solely native gear.

Diving with the native handmade weapons, these spearos are restricted to focus on smaller fish. The weapons are simply not robust sufficient to shoot larger recreation fish.

The weapons are powered by a few rubbers lower from automobile internal tubes. To extend the space they will shoot, among the weapons are very huge with barrels as much as 2m lengthy.

I imagine spearfishing is a really selective and environmental pleasant manner of fishing and didn’t shoot a number of fish, since I used to be not eager to shoot small reef fish.

The local champion hunting the traditional way.
The native champion looking the normal manner.

There have been a few good measurement blue fin trevally looking within the shallows. These recreation fish have been nevertheless very skittish after we acquired within the water. Approaching them with stealth was not very profitable with out carrying fins. We might thus by no means get shut sufficient to spear them and the weak automobile tube powered spearguns weren’t highly effective sufficient to attempt to hunt these larger fish.

In the village Palau Papan
Within the village Palau Papan

Mariona Lake and Pulao Papan have been magic and is a little bit of a mission to get to. Experiencing these place is unquestionably definitely worth the effort if you happen to journey to the north of Sulawesi.

Hike up at UnaUna volcano

An superior day hike by means of the attractive jungle up the volcano and into the crater. Set up a information at your lodge. Contained in the crater you’ll be able to go for a swime and see indicators of volcanic exercise; boiling water, steam and sulfur. The hike takes about 5 hours.

Extra Sulawesi adventures!

  • Heading North. – Funeral ceremonies, hanging graves, espresso farms and a loopy bus chase in Tana Touraja.
  • South Sulawesi. – Not  well-known because the north, however Pantai Bira has a number of potential. We did some good dives within the space.
  • North Sulawesi. – Diving the well-known partitions of Bunaken and the magical creatres of Lembeh Strait. One have a look at our pictures and you’ll perceive why this place is a photographer’s dream!

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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