It is hard to reach, but when you get to the Togian Islands, you will find one of the last untouched places and richest reef areas in the world. The Togians have the three major reef formations - atolls, fringing and barrier reef in one location. The Togian Islands are known for this uniqueness. There are over three hundred species of coral, some may even be unclassified, and a wonderful diversity of life and color in the underwater world.
They say the Togian Islands are paradise for backpackers, so we had to check it out!
We left Dolidi Ndano Resort in Tentena at 11 am and arrived in Ampana at 4.30. pm. That makes it a 5,5 hour drive. We’ve been told that you need to bring cash (there is no atm) and snacks to the Togians, so we did some shopping along the way.
After spending the night in Ampana, we took the fast boat (150.000 Rupiah p.p.) to the Islands. We left at 9.15 am and after some stops, we arrived at the harbor in Wakai at 10.45 am and changed to a rustic fisherboat which took us to Pondok Lestari at Kadidiri Island where we arrived at 12.30 am.
You don’t really have a choice on where to eat. The ‘resorts’ all inclusive which means you get 3 meals a day. And hopefully you like to eat fish when you go here, because that’s what is on the menu, every day. But we have to admit, with the little they have, they are able to prepare really nice food.
In Ampana we stayed at Marina Cottages. You have different bungalows in different priceranges. It was nice to take a swim at sunset with the flying fish while the locals were learning how to swim and enjoying the warm water.
We booked our bungalows for the Togian Islands in advance and that didn’t really go as planned. Due to some miscommunication, and 2 ‘resorts’ at the Togian Islands with quite similar names, we didn’t end up where we wanted to. We wanted to go to Lestari Cottages but ended up at Pondok Lestari at Kadidiri Island. There were some cockroaches, the bungalows weren’t really clean, not even to mention the state of the bathrooms. And unfortunately they didn’t clean the beach as well. For the price of 200.000 Rupiah p.p. you can expect something else. But, after we did some cleaning ourselves, we didn't mind staying here for a couple of days.
A better choice on this island however, would be the Black Marlin. For only 60.000 Rupiah p.p. more, you have clean, white bungalows with a nice bathrooms and even a working fan, when the power is on.
** You can find them on booking.com
A good alternative is Poya Lisa Cottages which looked like a small paradise when we passed it.
There really isn't that much to do on the Togian Islands except spending time underwater, or making relaxing and reading a full day activity, swinging in a hammock. It is irresistibly remote, and that can be nice for a couple of days.
From our bungalows we went for a walk to Barracuda beach guided by the friendly dogs of Pondok Lestari, which has Palm fringed beaches and where the only footprint are your own. You can also find amazing shells here!
Even though the beach wasn’t that clean, and there is a lot of plastic in the water (so much it makes you sad), the underwater world is amazing! Just a few steps from the beach you’ll see really beautiful coral, there are sea stars everywhere and you can find some weird underwater life while looking around. We also went on a trip to jellyfish lake, but that was a dissapointment. There are supposed to be hundreds of not stinging jellyfish in the lake but there were almost no yellyfish when we where there. Luckily this trip got better afterwards because of all the nice snorkeling spots we went to. There are some spots where the coral is dead because of the fishing with dynamite in the past, but the good thing is that it is growing back because the fishing with dynamite is no longer allowed. While changing snorkeling spots, we passed by some stilt villages. We can not imagine to live here but the people look satisfied.