An excellent midrange option
Sandy Bay, the westernmost of the resorts on Malenge, boasts what is arguably the best house beach of the entire archipelago.
It is actually two beaches separated by a blip of a headland, which you can walk around at all but high tide (when the cement footpath over the top comes in handy). There is a further, equally fantabulous beach in the next bay to the east (the bay between Sandy Bay and Sera Beach—it has apparently been leased so another resort is inbound at some time in the future). For now there is no retaining wall (though there were a bunch of sandbags on the restaurant section), so you can literally tumble out of your bungalow, roll across the patchy lawn, down the powder white sand and into crystal clear, seaweed-free water. Take our word for it, it is lovely.
Roped in by craggy headlands to the east and west, the western one has a sunset bale which overlooks a deep turquoise inlet that you can (apparently) safely leap into—just watch out for the baby reef shark we saw here. Aside from watching the shark swim around, the sunset views from here are superb and timeless. Be warned that biting red ants are a real problem here—get into the hammock at your own risk!
Bungalows are available in three locations—on the western headland (so near the sunset bale), on the beach beside the restaurant, and further along on the second beach. Absolutely go for this last option as the rooms are well removed from the hubbub of the restaurant and the boats coming and going—here the biggest disturbance will be the waves lapping and perhaps one of the beach dogs begging to come in. We had the last bungalow, before the trail heading over to the next (as yet) undeveloped beach, and it was perfectly serene.
Bungalows are of a good size, glass-fronted to let loads of light tumble in (and with cheap curtains to deliver some privacy) and well screened to keep the mozzies out. Inside you’ll find a comfortable bed with a mosquito net, a desk and mirror, somewhere to dry your clothes and a few other sticks of Ikea-style furniture. Our bungalow had a standing fan—a rarity in the Togeans, and very welcome. The bathroom came with a Western-style flush throne and a cold-water shower.
Staff are friendly and helpful, and you’ll most likely find yourself dealing with Asban, who speaks solid English and is a good source of information on what to do. The main activity here is getting wet, and there is no shortage of snorkelling trips available to the many offshore reefs. We didn’t have time to partake, but guests we spoke to thought Reef Four was the business. That said, the beach here is just so lovely, you could just as easily lay around in the sand, float in the shallows or maybe snorkel the house reef just to work up an appetite. While you can snorkel east to Sera Beach, ask about the currents and pick your time to go as the current off the headlands can really get chugging and you may end up walking home if you pick the wrong time.
This is a relaxed and family-friendly spot, ideal for travellers looking for some quiet time on the sand. You can do trips to Jelly Fish Lake and Karina Beach, but there is a significant amount of boat time getting there and back (figure on two hours each way). If the prices are a bit out of your budget, consider Sera Beach which is walking distance away and is a better deal accommodation wise, but the beach here is far better. If you’re happy with the spend but want more character, you’ll be needing Bahia Tomini, which is excellent and just 10 minutes' away by boat from here.
Sandy Bay is owned by the same people who own Marina Cottage in Ampana—contact the chatty and very helpful Mr Edy for onwards travel arrangements.
Address: Pulau Malenge
T: (0823) 4995 1833;
Coordinates (for GPS): 122º3'23.16" E, -0º15'9.42" N
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Room rates: 400,000 to 1,000,000 Rp
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
Per person full board. Single supplement 50,000 rupiah.
|350,000 rupiah||400,000 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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