Limestone karst islands
Published/Last edited or updated: 23rd November, 2016
It’s a long, lonely and winding road to get to Watu Malando Beach, but we think the journey to this piece of natural beauty is worth it. The 65 kilometre trip from Waitabula is mostly paved, and there’s even a road sign. It won’t direct you all the way here, but it’s a start.
Local spelling varies, and it’s sometimes called Watu Malandong, but we’re going with what’s on the road sign. Watu Malando is a group of five limestone karst islands (or four and a big rock) near a river mouth in the Kodi region — think mini-Halong Bay or Twelve Apostles, and not quiet as impressive as either, but still spectacular. The name in the local language refers to the triangular shaped rock of the largest formation.
Not so well known among locals — our ojek driver had to keep asking direction — but a newly built road continues all the way to the beach. The road ends at a small bay. From here you can only see two of the formations, but if you climb to the small beach next to the river you can see four. We didn’t find a nearby point from where you could view all five. A drone might help if you’d like a photo. As beautiful as it is, the sea has strong currents and isn’t the safest for swimming.
Watu Malando Beach is best visited at low tide, when you can walk out to the large triangular shaped island, stand beneath its arch and meditate on the awesomeness of Mother Nature. A little further west along the coast the dramatic formations continue and at nearby Bwanna Beach (signposted Radar), a tremendous arch formation dominates the coast.
We think either of these would make wonderful sunset viewing, but many drivers are fearful of bandits when travelling through the Kodi region after dark. Perhaps it’s best to leave the sunsets until the area is slightly more developed. Watu Malando Beach is only accessible by private transport.
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Waitabula