Two outlandishly designed oversized bamboo bungalows enjoy the second most isolated location in the Togean Islands—Lia Beach is ideal for lovers and those wanting to drop well and truly off the map.
French-Indonesian run Lia Beach was deserted when we swung past in mid-April 2018, with just a group of friendly young guys hanging out who were happy to walk us through the bungalows. With just two main bungalows, we imagine Lia Beach swings between being full and empty, which makes it ideal for a small group of travellers (or two families) looking to have their own private Togean getaway. For the single traveller seeking the company of other travellers, it may not be the best option.
The bungalows are breathtakingly original bamboo constructions that wouldn’t be out of place on the outskirts of Ubud. The smaller of the two (though they are both super-sized), named Lili, is a towering A-frame build with a rooftop jutting forward and upwards, not unlike the prow of a ship, casting shade down on to a lamp-illuminated deck with a well-positioned hammock and a couple of chairs—all ideal for sea-gazing. The front of the room is gauze (ostensibly for the mosquitoes, but as much of the rest of the walls are not screened, this seems to be more decorative than functional), with attractive drapes to boot. Walking into the room there is a large double bed with a firm mattress draped in a quality mosquito net and good white linen and pillows. At the rear is an open to the sky rainshower bathroom, with walls of bamboo.
The larger bungalow, named Teratai, is shaped like an enormous bamboo shell tilted at an angle so you can enjoy the beach and ocean views from the curving wooden deck. The roofline towers above and drops sharply towards the earth delivering plenty of shade without taking away and seabreeze. Note the wall sections decorated with bamboo of varying diameters cut in profile, allowing for airflow into the room but doubling almost as a work of art.
Inside the shell, the centrepiece is a large double bed draped in a quality mosquito net, with apricot linen and pillows. Rather than facing the door (as in the other bungalow), the view is to a screened broad panoramic window cut into the bamboo wall (with more bamboo art filling out above)—expect to spend many a lazy morning in bed gazing through this window. The bathroom is also open to the elements, with a brushed concrete floor, Western loo and wash basin. With an extra bed thrown in, this would be a fabulous family bungalow.
Aside from the two bungalows, Lia Beach has a communal dining area with a few beanbags and lazy chairs strewn around the place—there is also plenty of white sand to roll around in before you work yourself up to falling into the ocean. The team of guys looking after the place were friendly and helpful, but English was limited. They can arrange boat trips to snorkelling spots in the surrounds—or point you in the direction of a rocky trail that runs up the western headland to a single lazy chair on the headland—ideal for sunset.
Lia Beach has no fresh water and numerous signs scattered around the place ask guests to be careful of how much water they use. We liked the one reading, “One splash a day, One shower a week, One shampoo a month, One bath a year” attributed to Robinson Crusoe (though we couldn’t verify the quote). They also ask you not do your own laundry (rather they can send it to a nearby village to be done with a two-day turnaround). If you’re one lusting after long, slow showers, this is not the place for you.
We liked Lia Beach a lot, and think it would be ideal for travelling families (or couples) looking to drop off the map for a stretch, but we should impress the isolation of this location. Note that if you’re a single traveller, you’ll want to be comfortable with your own company as, especially in shoulder season, you may well be the only guest for days on end. If that is what you are looking for though, then look no further. Their website mentions a minimum stay of three nights.
The closest access points to Lia Beach are Popolii and Dolong, both on Walea Kodi and a little further to the east—Popolii is about 20 minutes by boat from Lia Beach. Malange and Pulau Papan are also relatively close. See their website for costings for boat services from these points and also further afield to Wakai, Kadidiri and so on—expect a taxi boat from Wakai to take 3.5 to 4 hours depending on weather conditions.
Address: Pulau Walea Kodi
T: (0821) 9011 1340;
Coordinates (for GPS): 122º11'20.97" E, -0º12'54.41" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 400,000 to 1,000,000 Rp
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
500,000 rupiah in June to September. Single supplement 50% (June-Sept only) Per person full board. Minimum stay 3 nights
|400,000 rupiah||450,000 rupiah|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
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