- Sulawesi: Getting to Tanjung Bira
- Bara Beach: the Ultimate Destination of Tanjung Bira
- Selayar Island: A Hidden Paradise Off the Coast of Tanjung Bira, Sulawesi
- Makassar: 5 Halal Foods You Must Try
- Experience the Best of South Sulawesi: Full Itinerary
Tanjung Bira is a cape located in the south-eastern side of Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is a popular destination for local tourists and families alike to enjoy few kilometres of white sandy beach. Tanjung Bira Beach is the main attraction where locals usually stay. One of the most famous and probably the most expensive resort in Tanjung Bira is Amatoa Resort. It was the pictures at this resort that my friend showed me that drew us to this place. We immediately decided to go there! Unfortunately, though, the price to stay in this resort was too expensive for our pockets and we thought we could do so much more with that money other than staying for few nights in the resort. That's when we tried to see other options. Better options.
Tucked away at the end of the cape is Bara Beach. This beach is a perfect place for travellers who want to avoid crowds. It is much cleaner and quieter compared to Bira Beach. It has fewer options when it comes to accommodations, proving that this beach is still quite undeveloped. Its location is not secluded, allowing you to stay connected to the Internet and write your blogs while offering you peacefulness and calmness that you may not get in Bira. The accommodations around this place are also more affordable than the Amatoa Resort. Bira and Bara Beach are both connected during low tides, so you can definitely opt to walk from one beach to another.
How to get there
Tanjung Bira is a 5-6 hours drive from the capital city of Sulawesi, Makassar. The city is accessible by flights from major cities in Indonesia (as well as from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – do check AirAsia). I would advise arriving at the airport in the morning so that you can have lunch in the city and find a transport to Bira by 2 or 3 pm. Here are some of the options on how to get there.
Taking a public bus is my least option to get to Bira as it is not straight forward. The public bus departs daily from Malengkeri Bus Terminal at around 9AM-10AM, which costs about 100k Rupiahs per person. You will need to get off at the port of Tanjung Bira. From there, you still need to find a transport to get to your accommodation. Click here to learn more on how to get to Malengkeri Bus Terminal from the airport.
As we arrived in the afternoon, we didn't manage to catch a bus to Bira. So we take the second option instead.
Another option that many locals take is the car sharing option. This option involves taking an SUV car with other passengers and requires you to bargain to get the best fare. Ensure that you tell the driver about your final destination and that he agrees to take you there. I got it for 115k Rupiahs per person – quite a good price! The driver would wait for the car to be completely full (and sometimes you need to squeeze!) before he starts driving towards the main town of Bulukumba. Most passengers would get off at Bulukumba and it takes about 1 hour more to reach Tanjung Bira. You can read this post on how I managed to get an SUV car all the way to my accommodation.
There are no airports in the Bulukumba region, so it is not possible to get to Tanjung Bira by flights. However, you can consider flying from Makassar to the nearby island of Selayar with Wings Air and take a public ferry from there to the port of Tanjung Bira. I will write more about Selayar Island in my next post!
Where to stay
If you are just snorkelling and an easy peasy traveller, I would suggest staying here for 2-3 nights before heading to a different place. Bara Beach was our transit place before we went to Selayar Island. I will write more about it in the next post.
We stayed at BaraCoco and would recommend anyone who visits Bara Beach to stay here :). The bungalows are very cosy, equipped with a balcony with two hammocks, where you can just chill and enjoy the breeze. You can't really find foods around here, so you should ask for the meals to be included. The owners, Jan and Rahel, are very helpful and they would give you some pieces of advice on what to explore around Bara.
Please note that Bara Beach is a public beach, so the bungalows are not located directly on the beach itself. But you can get a little bit of beach view from the cafe and the front bungalows. All of the accommodations in Bara Beach have the same arrangement.
Other accommodation options
- Bara Beach Bungalows
Book via Booking.com | http://www.bara-beach.com/ | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile: +62 821 94 131 562
- Cosmos Bungalows
Book via Booking.com | https://cosmosbungalows.com/ | email@example.com
Mobile: +62 822 92 608 820
- Mangga Lodge
Book via Booking.com | http://www.mangga-lodge.com/
Mobile: +62 812 44 436 626
What to do
The first time I heard about this island, I wonder if it is occupied with goats or if it is shaped like a goat. Well, obviously not! No one ever found out how it was named "Goat Island". Pak Achok, our boatman on that day also did not know how the name was chosen. Whatever it was, the island did attract many snorkelers and divers as it is enclosed by corals. Some parts of the island itself are covered with rocks, which reminds me of Pulau Bair in Kei Islands. As we approached the island, we could see the beautiful turquoise blue sea along the shores of Pulau Kambing due to the cleanliness of the water and the amount of light that shines through it. Resting on top of the boat and listening to the waves that crashed into those powerful yet intimidating limestone provided the tranquillity that we had been longing for, ever since we left our busy life in KL.
Pak Achok told us to get into the sea as the waves were getting more violent. I was not brave enough to go further than few hundred meters from the boat. I was scared to be swept by the strong current. But that worry was simply at the back of my head as soon as I took a glance of the corals. It was not the best corals I've ever seen (because nothing can beat Pulau Tujuh's corals), but it was still quite colourful. It covered a huge area, even deep into the sea.
Pulau Kambing is easily a 30 minutes boat ride from the Bara Beach and costs around Rp 450k for the whole boat which can be shared with 5 people or more. The trip to Pulau Kambing also includes Pulau Liukang Loe, where you can have lunch (see below).
Pulau Liukang Loe
This is yet another island in Bira with a mysterious name. What does it mean? Our boatman shook his head. No one seemed to know the origin of that name. It sounded Chinese to me but my husband disagreed :).
There were some corals nearby this island, but it was not as good as the ones we saw in Pulau Kambing. Was it because we didn't go to the other side of the island? Not sure! We decided to have lunch instead at the island and chill at the beach. It was not so spectacular but we enjoyed it nevertheless!
Tanah Beru is a village in Bira that we didn't manage to go due to our packed schedule. This is the place where the legendary phinisi ships are built. The Bugis people from Bulukumba, specifically Tanah Beru, are well known for having the most skilful hands to build this beautiful ship. I would definitely visit this place if I visit Tanjung Bira again!
There are many other beaches along the coast of Bulukumba (the regency of Tanjung Bira), including Marumasa Beach, Lemo-Lemo Beach, and Apparalang. Check this post for more information (in Bahasa Indonesia).
When to visit
Try to avoid raining season in December. Best time to visit would be April to November
Where else to go
Pulau Selayar is an island off the coast of Bira Cape, about 2 hours journey by public ferry. It is a huge island and quite unknown by many people. What can you find here? I will write more about it in my next post. Stay tuned!
Taka Bonerate National Park
There is a total of 8 national parks in Sulawesi that has become tourist attractions for some time. The most famous ones are of course Bunaken National Park in the northern part of Sulawesi and Wakatobi National Park in the southeastern of Sulawesi. Taka Bonerate has not achieved the same spotlight as its neighbours but it has gained quite a bit of attentions from local backpackers who are more interested in less traveled places. Besides having pristine underwater world, it is known for its atoll, the biggest one we have in Indonesia. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go here due to the fact that I came to know about it on the day we were about to fly to Makassar. It was too late! Next time, perhaps!
Check out the video of our South Sulawesi trip!