So now it is my turn to ask!
I'm planning a short two week trip over to Southeast Sulawesi (flying from Denpasar to Makassar) and am looking for suggestions.
Most importantly, I don't dive - so stuff like Wakatobi etc isn't a high priority.
Friends here in Bali have recommended in particular Bau Bau and Kendari for some old colonial stuff and interesting kicking around. Any more tips are much appreciated.
I want to fly as little as possible only doing the flight to makassar 'cause apparently the boat takes over two days as it goes via NT...
As always, thanks for all suggestions!
Alas, I cannot help much on this one. SE Sulawesi is on my list of things to do. I am of course quite interested in the snorkelling on Hoga but look forward to your trip report on Bau Bau and Kendari!
I'd be tempted to fly the Kendari-Makassar route myself if it saves a bit of Pelni time. Have you ever been on a Pelni boat? Getting on and off those huge ships is quite a feat ... mad rush of people and the porters push and shove everyone out of the way. One porter grabbed my backpack and tried to pull me back and climb over me when I was halfway up the gangplank in Ambon. I remember thinking if I fall now there's going to be rather a nasty domino effect!
I'll try and get some Pelni pics up on my website shortly. ;-)
BTW I just did a Pelni search for you and their site actually seems to be working at the moment!!! That is major news. Their website is notoriously bad and until recently you couldn't get really get any schedules later than 2006.
Anyway, look at it quick and screensave the info because it might stop working later on. There's a call center number on that site too which you could use as you live in Indonesia. I'm not sure if the Pelni office in Denpassar will have any info on ships that don't stop in Bali...my guess is not, but you could try.
The Legend Hostel in Makassar got renovated not too long ago. It's not a bad budget place to stay, fairly central. 100K for a decent A/C ensuite room, 75K for a fan room that isn't ensuite last October. Small communal seating area upstairs.
SBE thanks for that.
On the other hand would you say it would be worthwhile just spending two weeks in Makassar and down that leg of the starfish? For eg to Pantai Bira and the long thin island off the coast from there? Feaisble just to get a m'bike in Makassar and go wandering? The whole coast down there looks to have no shortage of good beachtime...
I'm intrigued about the Kendari/BauBau area, but if I boat it I'll be losing a couple of days... perhaps that are better spent on the beaches around Pantai Bira etc.
Well from a selfish point of view I'd very much prefer you to go to Bau Bau and Kendari and do some reconnoitering re boat timetables etc for me ... How come it's always me who has to boldly go where no-one has gone before? ;-)
On the other hand, I suppose I do have more time to hang around for a week or two waiting for hypothetical Indonesian ferries to arrive than you do.
Plan B sounds like a very good idea to me. Bira is pretty straightforward to get to by bus, takes about 5 hours. The bus is a much better option than a kijang, cheaper and more legroom.
BTW, the particular bus I got from Makassar left at 9am and went all the way to that long thin island you mentioned, Selaya. I realised it was time to get off the bus when it drove onto the ferry! I'm not sure WHERE exactly on Selaya it goes mind you, but you could ask at the bus station in Makassar.
I started this backpacking lark rather late in life so I never got round to learning how to drive a motorbike. That's what men are for. (My role is to decorate the back seat and tell them what wonderful drivers they are). You could rent a bike in Makassar I expect, but I'm not sure about renting bikes in Bira or on Selaya. Most vistors are locals from Makassar who either have their own cars or come on public transport. I walked everywhere myself but there are lots of pete-pete (local minibuses)if you don't want to exert yourself much in the heat and blinding sun.
Not many locals speak English in southern Sulawesi, even in Makassar, so it's easier if you have a little Bahasa, particularly if you're planning on wandering.
Let me know if you need any more info.