How to get to Togean Islands
Getting to Togeans is an unforgettable quest by its own right. Here are some starting points that you should know before you travel:
Togean islands are situated near the coast of Central Sulawesi in the Gulf of Tomini. It’s literally in the middle of the sea and all transportation schedules here and out completely depend on the weather. Please keep it in mind while planning your trip.
The main and only entrance point in all Togeans is the harbor in the town Wakai. You can get to Wakai by boat only, no bus terminals and airports here.
From Wakai, you can get to almost any other island in Togeans by public or private boats. Our resort picks up guests directly from the harbor and gets them to Kadidiri Paradise, no extra charge. Once you get to Wakai, your own ‘getting-there’ quest will be over – from this point we will take care of you.
You can get to Wakai from two main gateways: Gorontalo from the North and Ampana from the South. Which one is better for you depends on your previous trip: if you’re travelling from Sulawesi mainland (west or central part), then it will be better to go to Ampana. If you’re taking a flight from another island, then it depends on what flight you will choose.
How to get to Gorontalo
Gorontalo is the city in the North Sulawesi. You can get there by plane or by bus.
Most directs flights to Gorontalo are regional:
From Makassar (South Sulawesi) by the airlines Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya, Lion Air, and Batik Air. Duration: around 1,5h, price: Rp. 600,000-800,000.
From Luwuk (Central Sulawesi) by Wings Air. Duration: less than an hour, price: Rp. 350,000.
From Manado (North Sulawesi) by Wings Air and Garuda Indonesia. Duration: less than an hour, price: Rp. 400,000-500,000.
There are plenty of connecting flights from other islands.
There public buses from Manado to Gorontalo. The trip will take up to 10 hours.
I’m in Gorontalo, what’s next?
Now you need to catch the ferry Tuna Tomini from Gorontalo to Wakai, which goes on Tuesdays and Fridays at 19PM. It’s better to go the harbor at least two hours before departure. You can get to the harbor by bentor (motorbike taxi), it will take around 30 min. If you have a few days in Gorontalo, there are many hotels around the city, as well as restaurants, malls, ATM’s, and a money changer.
On the ferry
The trip to Wakai takes 12 hours. Although there are some basic food for sale on the ferry (like instant noodle), you might want to bring some take-aways from local restaurants. Once you get to the harbor, go to the ticket counter. There are few classes of tickets starting from Rp. 40,000. We recommend two classes: Economy on tatami and Business.
Economy on tatami costs around Rp. 65,000. It is a place on a shelf where you can seat or lay down (please ask for a tatami ticket specifically, because there is another, Economy also, class with sitting chairs only). Business Class costs around Rp. 80,000. It is a comfortable seat in a room with air conditioning.
With a ticket, board the ferry and find your seat (you can ask crew members for directions). You can rent a mattress (Rp. 10,000) and place it on your tatami. If you are in Business Class, you can sleep on your mattress on the floor. Choose a row with seats in front of the room (in the back there are AC working, it will be cold) and just place your mattress between two rows. Don’t worry, usually not so mane people travel in Business Class, there will be enough space for everyone.
During you trip, you can watch TV, get some coffee or tea or go to the upper deck to chat with other travelers. You will be in Wakai in the morning, around 6-7AM.
Once a year Tuna Tomini is closed for maintenance for one month. Usually it happens in May. Please check the information before planning your trip.
Some transportation services might offer you to take a private boat from Marissa (another city in North Sulawesi) to Togeans. Although you might find it attractive, we do not recommend to do this. Private boats might not be comfortable or safe and a captain might not be reliable. Tuna Tomini is a well maintained and safe ferry, do not take unnecessary risks.
How to get to Ampana
Ampana is a coastal town in Central Sulawesi. There is not much to do here, mainly it’s used as an entrance point to Togeans. There are two ways you can get to Ampana: by bus/car or by plane.
This way is an option if you travel from central part of Sulawesi: Tana Toraja or Palu. In any case you need to get to the city of Poso first since it’s a big transport hub. You can take public buses to Poso from Rantepao (the capital of Tana Toraja) or from Palu. Once you’re in Poso, you can take another public bus or a shared car to get directly to Ampana.
Central part of Sulawesi is a mountain area. The roads here are curvy and it can be really hot inside a bus.
Traveling by bus is time-consuming. The road from Rantepao to Poso takes 10-12 hours. A bus makes up to 5 stops on the route for lunch. The road from Palu to Poso can take 5-6 hours. The road from Poso to Ampana takes up to 4 hours.
Tickets for buses and for shared cars are usually sold by the same transport companies in the same bus terminals. The sellers not always tell you ticket for which kind of transport they give you – for a bus or for a car. There is not much difference for you as a traveler which transport to take except the price for a car is a more expensive. If you’re taking a car, please keep in mind that you can share a car with up to 6 other passengers.
This option is good if you’re traveling from any other islands (Bali, Jawa) and have no intention to travel in Sulawesi. There are plenty of connecting flights from pretty much every big city.
There is an everyday direct flight Palu-Ampana by Wings Air which take less than hour and costs around Rp. 400,000. Most of the connecting flights are going through Palu.
I’m in Ampana, what’s next?
You can take taxi in the airport or bus terminal (no pre-booking is needed). You might want to stay in a hotel for 1 or 2 nights to catch you breath (we recommend Oasis). When you are ready to continue your quest, go to the harbor (by taxi also; it’s possible to arrange transfer from the hotel).
You need to take a public boat from Ampana to Wakai. The most popular one is a speed boat Hercules, which goes daily. This boat is really the speed boat, and the trip might be not very pleasant. But go ahead, you only live once.
Another public transport is a ferry Tuna Tomini. On the ferry, you can have coffee or bear, watch TV, go up to the upper deck for a walk or even take a mattress and take a nap.
Another option is a wooden boat Puspita Sari, which goes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10AM and takes 4 hours. It’s a big boat with the upper deck.
Ampana-Wakai boat schedule
I’m in Wakai, what’s next?
First of all, congratulations! The hardest part is over. Once you get to Wakai, our resort’s boat will be waiting for you in the Wakai harbor. Since all public boats and the ferry go by schedule, we know when our guest are planning to arrive and are able to send a boat in time. It might take some time for our captains to find you in the harbor, but no worries, usually several other captains will ask you where are you going and show you the right captain.