Malenge, Indonesia – A True Paradise

Travelling through Southeast Asia we have been to many islands, and each and every one of them being a paradise in themselves. But it wasn’t until we arrived on Malenge, that we realised what a true paradise looked and felt like.

White sand and Crystal clear water, Sara Beach Malenge Indonesia

This fascinating and unspoiled island of Malenge is part of the Togian Islands and sits in central Sulawesi in the Gulf of Tomini, Indonesia. It can be a bit of a pain to get there, but it’s only a small price to pay to stay on this secluded island. So secluded that it has no WiFi, bars, restaurants or even phone signal. Transport on the island is also non-existent, as the only way to get around is by boat or trekking through the jungle.

Sera Beach

We decided to stay at Sera Cottages, which is on the north side of Malenge, nestled in a pocket bay between the limestone coastline.

Arriving late evening at the port of Malenge, we were greeted by Andy, one of the staff members, who took us on another short boat ride to the resort. We made it just in time for dinner and were welcomed by the other guests and Nuir, who is an exceptional host. After spending the next couple of hours sitting around chatting, we all headed off to bed.

Tropical beach view from the sea, Malenge

Our bungalow sat right on the beach, meters away from the sea with two hammocks hanging outside. Inside was a basic room with a double bed, mosquito net, 2 chairs, a fan and a decent size bathroom. Although the bathroom only had a bucket shower and toilet, it still had everything we needed. And at a price of only 200,000 Rupiah(15$) per person, it included three full meals, coffee, tea and water all day.

The food was mostly fish-based except for breakfast and was some of the best food we had in Sulawesi. In the morning we were served pancakes with a coconut jam filling or homemade banana bread. And for lunch and dinner, we would either have freshly caught barracuda, tuna, or snapper, on a bed of rice with veg. Even though it could get quite repetitive at times, it was still delicious and plentiful.

Nuir Holding A Barracuda Malenge A True Paradise
Nuir holding our dinner

It wasn’t until the next morning that we could really take in the sheer beauty of our surroundings. Stepping out onto our own private beach, covered in soft white sand, swaying palm trees, and crystal clear water, we were in paradise.

Our schedule for the next few days was nothing more than eating, snorkelling, and chilling in our hammocks as we watched dolphins swim by.

Dolphin Passing By Malenge A True Paradise
A dolphin passing by

Discover more of Sulawesi’s with its culture-rich region of Tana Toraja and extream meat market in Tomohon.

Things To Do Around Malenge


Snorkelling just off the beach is probably where we spent the most of our time. Only a few meters in the water, we were already swimming with blue spotted stingrays. Going out further it got a bit more exciting when we came face to face with SHARKS. Okay, they were only baby black tip reef sharks, but it was still pretty cool to have these little fellas swimming next to us.

Sera Cottages also offers snorkelling trips around Malenge for an absolute bargain of 75,000 Rupiah (5-6$). The most popular reefs are #1 and #5. Where reef #1 is mostly known for its colourful coral gardens, reef #5 is more famous for its drop off wall and schools of fishes. Both reefs are buzzing with life, and are well worth a visit.

Coral Gardens Reef One Malenge A True Paradise
Alina exploring the coral gardens, reef #1

A Trip To Bajau Village

Besides the snorkelling trips, you can also book a tour to the nearby Bajau Village. The Bajau people, meaning sea gypsies, live a nomadic life, relying on the sea which provides almost everything they need.

Sea Gypsy Malenge A True Paradise
Local from the Bajau village fishing

Situated on the east side of Malenge, is one of several permanent settlements around the Togian Islands. Built on the offshore reefs, this stilt village is connected to the mainland by a kilometre long wooden bridge.

When we got dropped off, we took a stroll between the local homes and onto the bridge for some pictures. The area is very beautiful and the clear water beneath your feet makes it extremely photogenic.

Bujau Village Malenge A True Paradise
Crystal clear water around the Bajau village


If you want to spend a few hours away from the sea, and more importantly your hammock, then you can take a small trek across the island and back. We didn’t bother going trekking because you couldn’t pull us away from our hammocks. But the guys that did the trek said that it was just okay anyway. So we were pretty happy that we stayed behind.

Chilling In Hammoks Malenge A True Paradise
Chilling in our hammocks
With The Stuff Sera Cottages Malenge A True Paradise
Saying goodbye to Andy & Nuir

How To Get To Malenge

Malenge To And From Ampana

If you are travelling from south to north Sulawesi, then you can take a day boat from Ampana to Malenge. Be aware though, the boat is not leaving every day. Most likely you will have to spend a night in Ampana.

The Puspita Sari departs at 9.30 am on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, and takes about ten hours to get to Malenge. Don’t expect a seat on the boat, as it gets quite full. Grab yourself a spot on the deck and enjoy the views along the way.

Buy your ticket the day you arrive at the Ampana pier. There is a counter with a lady that speaks good English. You will pay ahead 75,000 Rupiah (5-6$) and then pick up your ticket the day you depart.

Leaving Malenge to Ampana you can take the early boat at 6 am on a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday. Your resort will be more than happy to arrange all of this for you.


Malenge To And From Gorontalo

Coming from Gorontalo you will have to take a night ferry to Wakai, that leaves on Tuesdays and Fridays only. Compared to the Puspita Sari, the Tuna Tomini is a large car ferry that needs 12-14 hours. Expect to pay 89,000 Rupiah (7$).

Arriving in Wakai at 6 am, you can wait for the Ampana boat that late afternoon to Malenge for 30,000 Rupiah (2-3$). If you don’t fancy waiting around that long (approx 9 hours), you can always organise a charter boat. This will be a lot more expensive and can cost up towards 600,000 Rupiah (45$).

Going from Malenge to Gorontalo is quite similar. You either take the local boat from Malenge at 6 am to Wakai (arrive 9 am) and wait around for six hours for the night ferry to Gorontalo (depart 3 pm), leaving Mondays and Thursdays only. Or like we did, charter a boat from your resort to Wakai. More than likely you can share the costs with other guests.

Note: there are no ATM’s on the island, so plan your stay ahead and take enough cash with you.

Like It? Click it! Pin It! 🙂

Malenge Indonesia A True Paradise

Share This Post :-)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Related Post You May Also Enjoy ;-)

Don’t Miss Out

Subscribe now to our weekly newsletter and be the first to receive our latest posts, travel tips, and updates on our day to day life on the road ?

4 thoughts on “Malenge, Indonesia – A True Paradise”

  1. Hello!! Your stay in tongian looks amazing! I a m now in my way to sulawesinand just found your website. Please could you share the sera cottages email so I can contact them and find the better way to arrive there?? Thanks a lot in advance

    1. Hello Alicia,
      thanks for reading. You can find all their contact information here on this link If you are not interested in taking the slow public ferry, there is also an option to take a daily speed boat from Ampana to Wakai taking about one and a half hours leaving at 9am and from Wakai you can take a small private boat straight to the resort but this is more expensive than taking the slow public boat to Malenge and getting picked up at the port by the resort for free. In the link above you will find all you need to contact them by email or phone. Hope this helps and you enjoy this little piece of paradise as much as we did.

      If you are planning on travelling all of Sulawesi, be sure to check out our post on Tana Toraja here . Also in Gorontalo if you are interested, you have the opportunity to swim with Whale Sharks for around 10$. Unfortunately we don´t have a post on this right now but we’re sure your guesthouse can fill you in if you plan on staying in Gorontalo.

  2. Nice read 🙂
    Guess I’ll have to return to Indonesia one day 🙂 (been to Bali/Gilis/Java)…
    Watching your photos/reading the article this Island feels way more pristine than the ones I’ve seen in Asia and more comparable to some natural reserves I’ve been in Latin America

    1. Thanks Mario 🙂
      Yes, definitely one of the best islands we have been on so far. We’re glad we skipped the normal travelling route for here. It wasn’t just the island that was amazing, the whole of Sulawesi had something incredible to offer. Let’s hope it will stay this way for long time to come.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey! We are Paul and Alina a fun-loving, adventure-seeking, Irish and German travelling couple. In February 2014 we met in beautiful Thailand, and decided that travelling and being free was the life we wanted to live. Want to learn more about us?

Follow Our Journy

Recent Posts

Scroll to Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you the best possible experience on Daily Cup Of Travel.