Pulau Pondang: A Hidden Gem in the Celebes Sea

If you are looking for a secluded and serene destination to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, you might want to consider Pulau Pondang, a small island in the Celebes Sea. Pulau Pondang is part of the Selayar Islands, an archipelago in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The island is only about 2.5 km long and 1 km wide, but it offers a variety of natural attractions and activities for visitors.

How to get there

Pulau Pondang is not easy to reach, but that is part of its charm. You will need to take a flight from Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi, to Benteng, the main town of Selayar Islands. From there, you can take a boat to Pulau Pondang, which will take about an hour. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Makassar to Selayar Islands, which will take about 10 hours, and then take a boat to Pulau Pondang.

What to do

Pulau Pondang is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and crystal clear water, making it ideal for snorkeling and diving. You can explore the underwater world and see various marine life, such as turtles, sharks, rays, and colorful fish. You can also enjoy the white sandy beach and the coconut trees, or hike to the hilltop and witness the stunning view of the island and the sea.

One of the highlights of Pulau Pondang is the saltwater lake, which is located at the center of the island. The lake is connected to the sea by a narrow channel, and the water level changes according to the tide. The lake is home to many species of fish and birds, and you can swim or kayak in the calm water. The lake is also a sacred place for the locals, who believe that it has healing powers and can grant wishes.

Another attraction of Pulau Pondang is the mangrove forest, which covers about a quarter of the island. The mangrove forest is a vital ecosystem that supports biodiversity and protects the island from erosion and storms. You can walk along the wooden boardwalk and observe the flora and fauna of the mangrove forest, such as crabs, mudskippers, monitor lizards, and hornbills. You can also learn about the local culture and history of the island from the guides and the villagers.

Where to stay

Pulau Pondang has only one accommodation option, which is a homestay run by the local community. The homestay offers basic facilities, such as a bed, a fan, a bathroom, and a mosquito net. The homestay also provides meals, which are mostly seafood and vegetables cooked in traditional ways. The homestay is a great way to experience the hospitality and the lifestyle of the islanders, who are friendly and welcoming. You can also join them in their daily activities, such as fishing, farming, or weaving.

Why visit

Pulau Pondang is a perfect destination for those who want to experience a simple and peaceful island life. The island is untouched by mass tourism and modern development, and it preserves its natural beauty and cultural heritage. Pulau Pondang is a place where you can relax, recharge, and reconnect with nature and yourself. It is a hidden gem that awaits you to discover and enjoy.

How to prepare

Before you visit Pulau Pondang, there are some things that you need to prepare. Here are some tips and suggestions for you.

  • Bring enough cash. There are no ATMs or banks on the island, so you will need to bring enough cash for your expenses, such as boat fare, homestay fee, food, and souvenirs. The currency used on the island is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).
  • Pack light. You will need to take a boat to reach the island, so you should pack light and only bring the essentials. You can leave your luggage at the pier or at your hotel in Kotamobagu or Pulau Bangka. You will also need to carry your own belongings on the island, so you should avoid bringing heavy or bulky items.
  • Bring your own snorkeling or diving equipment. If you want to enjoy the underwater beauty of Pulau Pondang, you will need to bring your own snorkeling or diving equipment. There are no rental services on the island, so you will need to rent them from Kotamobagu or Pulau Bangka. You can also buy them from Manado or other cities in North Sulawesi.
  • Bring your own camping equipment. If you plan to camp on the island, you will need to bring your own camping equipment, such as a tent, a sleeping bag, a flashlight, and a cooking utensil. You can also buy them from Kotamobagu or Pulau Bangka. You should also bring enough water and food for your camping trip, as there are no shops or restaurants on the island.
  • Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and first aid kit. Pulau Pondang is a tropical island, so you will need to protect yourself from the sun and the insects. You should bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat or a cap. You should also bring a first aid kit, in case of any injuries or illnesses. There are no medical facilities on the island, so you will need to be prepared for any emergencies.

When to visit

Pulau Pondang can be visited all year round, but the best time to visit is during the dry season, which is from April to October. During this time, the weather is sunny and dry, and the sea is calm and clear. You can enjoy the best visibility and conditions for snorkeling and diving. You can also avoid the rain and the wind, which can make the boat ride and the camping experience unpleasant.

The peak season for tourism is during the school holidays, which are from June to July and from December to January. During this time, the island can be crowded with visitors, especially from the nearby Pulau Bangka. If you want to avoid the crowd and have a more peaceful and private experience, you can visit during the weekdays or the off-season.

Conclusion

Pulau Pondang is a hidden paradise in the middle of the Bolaang Mongondow Selatan Sea. It offers a stunning underwater beauty, a white sand beach, a tranquil camping spot, and a natural and clean environment. It is a perfect destination for those who want to experience a simple and peaceful island life. Pulau Pondang is a place where you can relax, recharge, and reconnect with nature and yourself. It is a hidden gem that awaits you to discover and enjoy.