Samalona Island port

An Unforgettable Experience At Samalona Island

Idbackpacker.com (Indonesia Backpacker) – Based on data i’ve found from a variety of sources, Samalona Island is part of the city of Makassar, sub-district Ujung Pandang, South Sulawesi. Access to the island is pretty easy, because only a 20-30 minute crossing the sea. Hiring the fishermen’s boat is common way for crossing to Samalona Island. The boats it self are easily found in Kayu Bangkoa pier.

Samalona Island port
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Samalona Island port

But I was crossing to Samalona from unknown dock in front of Fort Rotterdam. Because it turns out there are also some boats available in front of the fort Fort Rotterdam. Rental price for a boat is IDR 300.000 for the return trip in one day, and IDR 400.000 if we want to stay and be picked up the next morning (maybe the price could go down again because I couldn’t bid so well).

Accommodation is widely available in the Samalona Island, although the price is a bit too expensive for the facilities offered. On Samalona Island, I rent guest house model accomodation at a price of IDR 500.000 for one night, including dinner and breakfast in the morning. It was through tough bargaining with the owner, so i get free dinner and breakfast for that price. Another cheaper alternative, you can bring a tent and camping on the island. Some parts of the island are available to set up your own tent, roomy, and safe. Initially I wanted to do camping alone, but for some reason, I cancel it and rent a guest house instead.

Thick clouds, above the city of Makassar in the distance. This thick cloud are often formed on rainy season
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Thick clouds, above the city of Makassar in the distance. This thick cloud are often formed on rainy season

The main attraction of this island is actually diving and snorkeling. For diving we could see some shipwrecks remains of World War II, which has been transformed into a rock and now used as a house of hundreds marine life. Sadly I did not try diving, because i don’t have my license yet. Then I chose to snorkeling instead.

Unfortunately I have to be disappointed because for snorkeling in Samalon Island is not too interesting. The rental equipment for snorkeling are not in good condition, also when snorkeling I did not see anything interesting, just some rocks that called “coral” by locals. But in my opinion that just an ordinary rock functioned to withstand some abrasion on some side of the island from the ocean waves. In fact, there are very litle information about where should I snorkel in around the island.

Watching the sunset and sunrise is one of the main attraction of this island. Again I have no luck, because I visited during the rainy season, and eventually I just get a sunset with thick clouds, also the black cloud that could be raging all the time, and dropping heavy rain: (. But in the end, i still have some luck, I was treated with a terrific night view of Makassar city in the distance. Makassar  night view from Samalona Island is pretty fantastic, from there I could see thousands sparkling light of Makassar city.

Thousands sparkling light of Makassar city seen from  Samalona Island
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Thousands sparkling light of Makassar city seen from Samalona Island

In common with all the shortcomings and advantages, Samalona Island is still good to be used as a vacation destination. Perhaps the concept of Cast Away holiday can be a good idea to attract more tourists to the island. Samalona island is perfect for Cast Away holiday concept, because the location is close enough to Makassar, but providing quiet atmosphere. Perfect for someone who want to be alone for a while.

Here Some Tips When Visiting Samalona Island

  • Prices for lodging in Samalona island is between IDR 300.000 – 500.000 per night, depending on the facilities provided. If you are good at bargaining, the price could go down more.
  • Rent price for one set snorkel gear is around IDR 30.000 – 50.000 per/set. But you better bring your own set, because some snorkel set are not in good condition.
  • If you want to see surise and sunset, go to Samalona Island during the day and back to Makassar on to the next morning. AVOID visit the island in rainy season. Thick clouds tend to be formed, and the chance of getting perfect sunset and sunrise will be small.
  • On Samalona island there is no fresh water, unless you buy it at a great price. So be ready to not take a bath, unless it’s raining :D. Bring enough fresh water (mineral water) for drinking.
  • Bring a mosquito repellent, because even it’s in the middle of the ocean, the local mosquito mosquito cruel enough to suck your blood little by little.

Samalona Island Location

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Happy Adventure, Traveler!!
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