One of my travel to-do for this year is to travel more in Indonesia, in my own country. I have long realised that there is our own huge country to explore, a trip we can take on a whim, with no passport or visa needed! My brother-in-law happens to come from Makassar, South Sulawesi, therefore it only made sense that we went to Tanjung Bira, which is located in the southern tip of South Sulawesi.
How We Got There
The nearest international airport is Sultan Hassanudin International Airport, Makassar. From Makassar, it’s a road trip to Bira. We got through 200 kilometres in 5 hours to Tanjung Bira (including lunch stop and toilet breaks) and stumbled upon quite lovely scenery along the way, too. Luckily, just when our backs and butts ached from too much sitting on the bus, Tanjung Bira greeted us!
What We Did
We got lucky with the weather because it poured the day before and the forecast said it would rain again that day, but the sun decided to come out and stay the whole time! Our hotel has two man-made pools but the sea is the best place to swim in, so we wasted no time to take a dip before the tide came up. Therefore, the best time to swim is in the morning when the tide is low and the sea is calmer.
We then headed to Tanjung Bira Beach for sunset where my brother-in-law and his friends tried few water sports offered by the locals – at a very reasonable price, too! It is on the crowded side and to be honest, I got dismayed by the scattering plastic litters. If only they took care of it better… but nothing could stop me from marvelling at the beautiful sunset! If you prefer a more peaceful surrounding, look into visiting Bara Beach as an alternative. The access is more difficult than its cousin, Bira, making it perfect for a secluded getaway.
We woke up to the sun and oh, how it lit up the sea! The way it shone, you must have thought someone made glitter rain in Bira. We saw an island in the distance when we got to Bira, Liukang Loe Island, Google Maps said, and turned out, it is just 15 minutes away from Bira shore. The boat runs for 250.000 – 350.000 for 6-10 people, with additional 25.000 for snorkel rent per piece.
Yes, there are few snorkeling spots around the island! Being underwater has never ceased to amaze me and snorkeling in Liukang Loe Island was no exception, the water is so clear and I enjoyed snorkeling on the island. That being said, I wish the captain has more experience and care since he damaged a coral in the process of dropping his anchor.
There are also few turtle breeding sites on the island and we went to two of them, because the first one only has one lone turtle – what a scam. The second site has four big turtles, but I got disheartened when few tourists caught the turtles and removed it from the water just for pictures sake – I’d rather have some coconuts and bakso.
All in all, you should go here if you stay in Bira. You can easily do half-day trip on this island, since it’s not a big one.
Where We Stayed
Our accommodations of choice are Amatoa Resort and Balatoa, if the name strikes you as similar it is because they have the same owner. Amatoa Resort has direct access (by this, I mean stairs) to the sea, while Balatoa is steps away from the white sand beach – so it’s your choice on where to stay.
I personally recommend Amatoa for couples, since it is more secluded and with the hotel located on a small cliff, you need to keep an extra eye on younger kids if they run around. The exclusiveness makes the resort more expensive than Balatoa, too.
On the other hand, Balatoa, although smaller, is perfect for group of friends or family because they have an outdoor space where you can hang out, chill, have dinner and gaze to the sky because on this side of the world, the sky is clear and you can actually see the stars! If you decide to travel in bigger groups and if you are lucky, booking the whole place (it has 8 rooms) is definitely a great idea!
Why We Love Bira
Despite being quite far from Makassar, Tanjung Bira is such a lovely place. I swear the white sand in Bira felt like flour, it is so unbelievably soft! If you decide to explore South Sulawesi (the list goes on : Makassar, Toraja, Selayar Island), then I’d say definitely make Tanjung Bira a stop in your itinerary. Be it a trip with friends, family, or your loved one, the beauty of Bira is a treat for everyone.
Until next time,