Indonesia

Southeast Asia’s Paradise Hidden Gem: Bang Gai Islands, Indonesia

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It’s no secret that Bali, Indonesia is a favorite holiday destination for tourists from all over the world. The Isle of the Gods is home to a vibrant culture, delicious cuisine and natural beauty everywhere. Combine that with the fact that it’s an affordable destination with options to suit every budget, and it’s easy to see why Bali is so popular.

Although Bali is a beautiful island, its popularity attracts too many tourists to the area. Unfortunately, littering in the sand on Bali’s beautiful beaches is now common. Travelers quickly book the best accommodations and crowd the best tourist attractions. Areas such as Ubud, Kuta and Canggu are heavily trafficked with frequent traffic jams and holiday plans are hampered.

Fortunately, for nature lovers looking to experience Indonesia’s lush jungles, picturesque beaches and world-class hospitality, there’s another option: the Bang Gai Islands.

Bang Gai Islands

Bang Gai Islands is a beautiful choice. An unspoiled hidden gem, the archipelago is less crowded with tourists than Bali.

The archipelago is located in the eastern part of Central Sulawesi Province and consists of more than 100 islands. Most of them are small and uninhabited. In order to reach the Bang Gai Islands, one has to fly to Luwuk Bubung Airport and then take a boat to their desired island.

The two largest islands in the archipelago are Peleng and Banggai. While homestay is the most common type of accommodation on these two islands, there are also several hotel options. Hotel Banggai is one of the most modern options. It is located in Banggai, the largest town on Banggai Island.

What to do in Bang Gai Islands

Bang Gai Islands is an ideal destination for adventurers, backpackers and travelers who enjoy going off the beaten track and exploring untouched nature. There are countless opportunities to hike, swim, observe wildlife and enjoy incredible scenery.

snorkeling or scuba diving

Two of the most popular activities for tourists visiting the heavenly Bang Gai Islands are snorkeling and scuba diving. The clear turquoise waters surrounding the islands contain a barrier reef that is home to more than 600 species of marine life, including an endemic and endangered species that is famously named after the archipelago.

Bonggai geraniums are small but beautiful and do not live anywhere else in the world. It attracts divers from near and far. Eels, turtles, rays, squid and sharks are among the many other aquatic species one may encounter while diving. Wildlife enthusiasts can also go bird watching, looking for species such as flycatchers, warblers and lorikeets.

Meet the Bajau Tribe

Another unique experience that can be had in Bang Gai is visiting the Bajau Laut, the last remaining nomadic sea tribe in Indonesia. One of the oldest ethnic groups in Southeast Asia, they live in dwellings on stilts over the sea. They are perfectly adapted to this lifestyle and are professional divers and fishermen. Guided tours take tourists to Bajau Laut villages where they can experience the tribe’s unique culture and way of life.

Visit Banggai Palace

The Bang Gai Islands are part of what was once known as the Bang Gai Kingdom. It was a smaller kingdom under the Ternate Sultanate, ruled by its own king. Today, Bang Gai Palace, the residence of the king and an important center of government, still stands. Over the years, local officials have restored and preserved the historic palace to maintain its original appearance. Visiting guests are likely to spot gatekeepers in traditional costume and armed with spears guarding the red-carpeted entry staircase.

Visitors to the Bang Gai Islands can also enjoy waterfall fun, market shopping and sample authentic Indonesian food. The island is rich in a variety of delicious sweet potatoes, fresh seafood, cloves and coconuts. From Billun or Bang Gai, you can set out by boat to explore the other islands in the beautiful Bang Gai archipelago.

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