ever since writing my trip report about the togean islands in central sulawesi, and two reviews on tripadvisor, i’ve received quite a few questions for more details concerning this remote group of islands in the midst of the gulf of tomini.
i’ve assembled my responses into an FAQ-type blog post, in an attempt to make this information generally available. (will add new parts as they come up.)
It seems a little difficult to book our stay at [accommodation].
How did you do it? Did you call them on the phone once you were in Indonesia?
actually, we just went there and saw. most places are very hard to contact. also, they seem to be remote enough to be impractical for mass tourism, so i think there should be something available everywhere you go.
I tried to write an email but no one replied.
yeah… in most places, there was neither telephone lines nor cellphone reception (let alone continuous electrical power), so i wouldn’t expect a quick email response.
Where do you recommend us to stay (initially we wanted to go to Poya lisa but it seems very very remote and now we are thinking at staying also in two more locations -just like you did)
poya lisa is indeed kind-of hard to get to (coming from the north), even for the togeans. but it was also the best place we’ve been to in all of sulawesi, so it’s easily worth the travel. there are public boats to bomba twice a week from ampana. coming from the north, you’ll most likely have to charter a private boat, because there’s no direct connection from wakai.
as for other places, i’ve written a blog post about our stay in the togeans. you can find it here: indonesia part 2: togean islands, sulawesi
be sure to make contact with uni (pronounced “oonie”) in wakai (update: you can find her phone number in the comments). she’s a very honest and hospitable local woman, who can help you with almost anything. she also runs “sunset beach cottages” on an island nearby, which is worth checking out. photos are in that blog post. :)
Is there electricity and mobile signal?
the places we’ve been to had generators to provide electricity for a few hours after sunset. cellphone coverage was more or less non-existent.
How long/much were the boat trips to the Togeans/between islands?
coming to the togeans, we took the friday night ferry from gorontalo to wakai (19:30-09:45) and paid 190.000 IDR for “business class”. this was definitely worth it, as we hit a thunderstorm…
saturday afternoon, we took the public boat from wakai to malenge (about 3 hours, cheap).
when we left from bomba, we went by public boat to ampana, which was very cheap again. i don’t remember the price, but lonely planet says it was 40.000 IDR (3 hours) in 2010, and that sounds about right.
going between islands, we chartered two boats: from malenge to wakai, we were 4 travellers and paid a total of 400.000 IDR (if i remember correctly). the boatride was a bit longer than 2 hours.
the charter-boat from wakai to poya lisa (bomba) was 2.5 hours and also 400.000 IDR total (3 passengers).
Do they have bottled water?
i think most of the water was filtered.
Did you have any bad experiences?
the further you get away from tourist places, the more basic things get. i can imagine some people would mind a traditional mandi shower (a bucket of water and a plastic scoop), but it was (quite unexpectedly) alright. not much else to complain about. :)
Could you please tell me how to get to Poya Lisa?
the easiest way is to take the public boat from ampana to bomba (twice a week, i think). this will get you to the right side of the island, where it’s not far to poya lisa.
another option – the one we took – may be interesting if you’re coming from the north of sulawesi: take the night ferry from gorontalo to wakai (only once a week, i think), and then charter a boat to the other side of the island. see above for details.