Bomba is about 2½ hours from the mainland of Ampana. It may be reached by public boats from the small harbor near Marina Cottages. The boats depart on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. The price is about Rp 35,000 per person. Kadidiri is reached by boats from Wakai, provided free by the three resorts on the island. Melange can be reached by public ferry from mainland Ampana.
There are no ATMs, so bring enough cash. There are ATMs for Mastercard and Visa available at the mainland of Ampana.
Flora and fauna
The Togian Islands are very close to the equator, due to that are all islands covered with tropical rain forest. Special for the Togian Islands is the Coconut Crab which can grow up to 4 kg.
The reefs surrounding all islands are full of tropical fish. It is also possible to see big Eagle rays, Napoleons, Bumphead Parrotfish and sharks.
The climate is all year around warm, due to the close position to the equator (40 km). The driest months are the summer months.
The Togian Islands are now quite easy to reach, especially if you arrive from Ampana. Take a flight from Palu (connected well with Jakarta and Bali, for example) to Ampana and take a boat the same or the next day.
From Ampana: The public ferries that run between Ampana to Wakai on the Togian Islands leaves every morning at 10:00, except Fridays. However, schedules often change due to breakdowns and weather. Under normal conditions it takes about 4 hr to Wakai, where resorts offer free connecting speedboats to Pulau Kadidiri. The fare for the main ferry is Rp 40,000 as of March 2012). Some of the boats stop in Melange which is another 1½ hr from Wakai.
The resorts are waiting with their boats at the ferry terminal. For Pulau Kadidiri: Black Marlin Dive Resort, Kadidiri Paradise and Pondak Lestari are charging nothing if you stay with them - if you change to one of the other ones, you have to pay a small fee of Rp 25,000 (all 3 resorts are in walking distance to each else).
Faster way is to take the public speed boat Hercules at 09:00. It stops on the way to Wakai also in Bomba. Cost of the boat is Rp 150,000 which is excellent value for the money. The ride to Bomba takes only about 40 min, Wakai about the double.
From Gorontalo: The ferry "Tuna Tomini" runs twice a week from Gorontalo to Wakai (travel time 13 hr) and continues on to Ampana. It leaves Gorontalo every Tuesday and Friday at 20:00, arriving in Wakai the next morning.
The same ferry makes the return trip to Gorontalo twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, leaving Ampana at 10:00 in the morning, reaching Wakai about 15:00. After taking Gorontalo-bound passengers and freight the ferry then leaves Wakai at 16:00 arriving in Gorontalo the next morning about 06:00.
Another option of getting to the Togian Islands is by flying to Luwuk, chartering a car or taxi from Luwuk to Ampana and then taking the ferry to Wakai. Another fast, albeit slower option is to fly to Gorontalo and to jump on the Tuna Tomini ferry (Tuesday or Friday) to Wakai.
Private boats of varying types can be chartered at anytime to and from the islands and usually cost Rp 1-2 million.
Fees and permits
Entrance tickets to the national park area consist of entrance tickets and tickets for nature tourism service. Entrance ticket is Rp 150,000/person (for foreign tourists) and Rp 5,000/person (for Indonesian residents).
Togian is home to an indigenous population known as the Bajo colloquially called "Sea Gypsies". The Bajo are semi nomadic and rely on fishing for their income. Tours from all the resorts can take you to visit them. The young people love foreign visitors and will show off their humble village and school rooms.
Diving! The best walls in the Togians can be found near Bomba, especially the huge atoll reef Bomba Atoll is a must visit for all divers. Taupan island has a fringing reef around it full of fish and lots of sharks. Araya Dive Resort and Poki Poki in Bomba also offer jungle trekking. Good chances to see Tarsius and Kuskus in this area.
There is a long jetty outside of the Paradise Resort that has good snorkeling right off of it. It is possible to swim to the island directly across from Kadidiri, but it takes a few hours. There are sea kayaks for rent from Black Marlin and it takes about 30 minutes to row to a nearby island that has good snorkeling. There are many trails around the island, but some are easy to get lost on. The walks are through dense growths and are not particularly picturesque. Fishing is not allowed in the no take zone so fishing trips must be outside this area. There is diving at Black Marlin (more boats and equipment) and Paradise, check equipment carefully.
For diving Pulau Una Una is good - big groups of Barracudas, Jackfish and Napoleons can be seen. Other good dive sites at Kadidiri are The Gap, Dominik Rock, The Crack, Batugilla and for Nightdives especially Little Lembeh.
The dive boats take normally also snorkelers for free with them, if the dive site is shallow enough.
Wakai is the biggest place with shops and a market. All the other villages have small shops to buy soft drinks and snacks.
All resorts include three meals per day in their prices.
It costs Rp 50,000-65,000 for a large Bintang beer at the resorts. Other option for alcohol is the local Arak, a kind of stronger palm wine - all resorts can get it for you for around Rp 15,000. A large bottle of water costs Rp 10,000 in most resorts. Boiled water, tea and coffee are provided free by all resorts.
Bomba is about 40 min from Ampana where you can find 4 places to stay.
- Island Retreat. Has a 400-meter long white sand beach, and 3 hectares of surrounding forest. There are 10 large oceanfront cottages with private bath, sea view veranda, king-sized beds. There is a honeymoon cottage and a family cottage, suitable for a family of 4 (or more) starting at US$30/person/night. Delicious meals are included in the price of accommodation. Homemade pastas, bread, pizza, international and local cuisine. Various activities available - forest walks, village tours, snorkeling, diving, canoeing. Dive center, equipment rental. Good value.
- Araya Dive Resort & Bomba Divers. A very professional and friendly dive center in Bomba, run by 2 enthusiastic instructors. Their dive groups are small and they know the area very well. Dive courses available throughout the year in English, Indonesian, German and Finnish. The have brand new spacious bungalows with an amazing sunset view. Food is very good, a mix of Indonesian and European dishes, and the staff is extremely friendly. They have a coral rehabilitation project going on which can be joined by divers.
- Poyalisa Island. With 19 nice simple budget bungalows on a small, beautiful island. Each room has a veranda and is on a lovely white sandy beach opposite Bomba village and Bomba Divers. Starting at Rp 165,000/person/night with three daily meals and a snack in the afternoon included.
- Poki Poki is 10 minutes per boat from the village Bomba. The place offers eight nice bamboo and wooden huts, all directly beachfront. It's a small family-run place which is known for its very good food. You can take long walks, as the beaches next to the place are all empty. Poki Poki arranges boat trips around the Togian islands, snorkeling trips to the nearest big coral reefs and jungle trekking.
- Sunset Beach. A resort opened December 2011, with private beach. Staff offers the 15-min boat transfer from Wakai Ferry terminal. Rooms from Rp 125,000 per person (Rp 150,000 including 19 liters of bottled drinking water). Price of the room includes 3 daily meals, complementary tea and coffee available all day. All rooms have attached bathroom with western-style toilets and running water. Each room has a veranda with your own hammock and sunset view from restaurant. Free use of canoes and free snorkel trips. Trips also to stingless jellyfish lake. Cheapest beer in the Togians. If you are lucky you will see Babirusa, Coconut Crabs and dolphins. Sunset Beach seems to make more of an effort to keep their guests happy.
Kadidiri has four resorts, when change are next to each other on the very small beach. They all charge per person, per night and include all meals.
- Pondok Lestari Kadidiri. Offers bungalows for single or doubles with shared toilet/mandi. The only budget accommodation on Kadidiri starting at Rp 100,000 per person per night including all meals and free coffee and tea all day. And free snorkeling trips to nearby islands and reef with the owner who is a Bajo fisherman. You can also join him on fishing trips also for free. You can go for great walks on the island to other uninhabited beaches. There are lots of birds, Crabs and lots of other wildlife Pondok Lestari does not have a dive center, but the Black Marlin and the Paradise are happy to take on extra business. Pondok Lestari Kadidiri. (It is to the right of the Kadidiri Paridise and Black Marlin Resorts when facing the island.)
- Harmony Bay, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers bungalows for with shared toilet/bath room (starting at Rp 250,000/person) to large bungalow (Rp 400,000/person). This place is newer than the other resorts. It has a better reputation for food than other more expensive resorts, and even provides afternoon snacks. Very eco-driven. They have a fantastic staff reusing and recycling organic materials in the resort to reduce waste.
- Black Marlin Dive Resort. In the middle of the three resorts with the longest stretch of beach, all rooms are right on the water with amazing sea views and have attached western bathrooms, ceiling fans too. All rooms have double spring beds with mosquito nets. Water runs 4 hours per day, two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. Cold water only. They are creating a rainwater recycling system to supplement the freshwater bought in from Wakai. Standard rooms are Rp 160,000 per person, and Deluxe rooms are Rp 180,000-200,000 per person. Delicious food buffet style with fish, chicken, pasta and vegetables on the menu. Has very well equipped dive center with all new equipment (30 sets) and 2 compressors, 4 speedboats (oxygen on all boats) and very experienced staff. Highly recommended for doing a course or just diving the local reefs or B24 Bomber plane wreck. Are some extra fees for some of the further away dive sites but well worth it. Laid-back fun atmosphere with professional back up. Now has some sea kayaks for rent so can get to nearby islands to snorkel or just bit of afternoon fitness.
- Kadidiri Paradise. Offers bungalows of different sizes and quality ranging from Rp 150,000-300,000 per person. They are all in relative disrepair. They are supposed to have 24-hr running water in the rooms, but the system seems to break down often. Its beachfront is very good with a wide variety of coral and fish near your door. The food is predominantly fish and salad but very fresh and tasty. Diving available. Eftpos available at times but bring plenty of cash to be on the safe side. The owners have another establishment in Ampana and you can pay via Eftpos there.
Katupat Island is about 1 hour from Kadidiri Island where you can find 2 beautiful resorts 10 minutes with a small boat from Katupat Village Togian Island.
- Bolilanga Island. offering you a quiet and charming bungalows on a powdery white sandy beach starting at Rp 200,000/person/night with three daily meals included.Snorkeling in a perfect turquoise waters teeming with tropical fish and extensive coral formation just a few meters from the beach.
- Fadhilla Cottage. Also known as Pangempa island, a small tropical island that most people dream about: beautiful beaches, comfortable beach-chairs and jungle sounds in the night. Offering a variety of meals from local dishes to western favorites with all fresh ingredients. Starting at Rp 125,000/person/night with three daily meals included. Diving available.
- Losmen Lestari Malenge. Remote and seclude island with an amazing archipelago far away from almost everything. The room starting at Rp 125,000/person/night/with three daily meals included.
- Malenge Indah (45 minutes' boat ride from Malenge Village). Basic bamboo cottages with Mandi bathroom and excellent food. Very secluded and wonderfully quiet with greet reefs. From Rp 125,000/person/night with three daily meals included.
- Sifa Cottage (At Walea Kodi). Beaches and coral reefs, great people. From Rp 125,000/person/night with three daily meals included.
Una Una is home to thriving reefs full of big schools of fish.
- Pristine Paradise UnaUna is a dive resort that opened in 2017. It is Dutch/Indonesian-owned and -run and is developed in close cooperation with the local community in front of the best divesites of Una Una. Their accommodation ranges from a dorm room, to cozy private huts up to VIP bungalows, all close to the beach. Three meals a day, unlimited coffee, tea and water are included in the room rates. Full range of dive courses are offered up until divemaster level. When contacted a couple days up front, they can arrange (free) pick-up from Wakai. See www.pristine-paradise.com
Do not walk through the reefs barefoot, lest you give yourself a nasty gash. Bring enough mosquito repellent containing DEET (others will be useless), as mosquitoes that bite day and night are a serious annoyance.
To Gorontalo: take Tuna Tomini Ferry from Wakai: Rp 65,000 for Economy Class, Rp 75,000 for Tatami Class (you can lie down), or Rp89,000 for Business Class (with aircon). Departs on Monday and Thursday at 16:00, reach Gorontalo at 17:00.
The Black Marlin Dive Resort has a good website with informations how to get out and in. Also try to find the latest information about Togian Island at www.togianisland.net.