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Places to visit: Makassar- Bira - Majene / Pambusuang


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Islands near Makassar


Makassar is an excellent base for trips to the group of small islands and atolls that make up the Spermonde Archipelago (click here for chart). A part of the islands are densely populated, but some are still uninhabited. In this area you will find many great places for snorkelling and diving with a huge variety of colourful fish and beautiful coral reefs. Some of these are easily accessible from the shore (such as Samalona) and others can only be reached by boat (such as Lanyukang Atoll). The east monsoon season (May - September) is the best period for visiting the Spermonde Archipelago. This is also the best time to make trips by sailing boat in the area. Many of the islands close to Makassar show interesting village life and some historical sites can be found on the island of Kodengareng Lompo.
Below are descriptions of several islands belonging to the Spermonde Archipelago. Their distance from Makassar is written in kilometres.

Islands for snorkelling and diving:

photo by Makhfudz

Samalona (7 km)

This island is inhabited by a few families and its oval shaped area is about 300 x 600 meters, so it takes only a short stroll to see its complete coastline. Beautiful coral reefs are easily accessible from the shore of Samalona. The reef on the northern side of the island is the best for snorkelling. There are a few rooms for rent on the island. Sometimes you even can rent a whole house. Simple meals like "nasi goreng" are available but unfortunately some people tend to overcharge, so ask the price first. A couple of places sell coffee (local), soft drinks and beer. Usually drinks are not served cooled.

Kodengareng Keke (12 km)

In 1997 Kodengareng Keke still looked like a sandbank. Nowadays a big part of the island is shaded by trees that are the result of the planting and protection activities when a small resort was operated by a Dutch expat living in Makassar. The resort stopped operation around 2009. The island still offers good snorkeling and dive sites, but like all areas near Makassar its coral reefs run the risks of destruction.

Photo by Stefan

Lanyukan (37 km)

The island Lanyukan is located on the outer edge of the Spermonde
shelf with a barrier reef protecting its western shore.
Around Lanyukan are reefs with steep drop-offs and caves,
excellent for diving. This is the place to spot big fish like sharks
and barracuda. There is a small village on the island but Lanyukan does not offer facilities for staying overnight.

Kapuposang (70 km)

Kapuposang is a beautiful green island of about 2 km length covered with casuarina trees and coconut palms. This island is located at the edge of the Spermonde shelf, pointing toward the deep sea.
It contains some small villages. The people of Kapuposang make their living through fishing and harvesting coconuts. At the north-west point of Kapuposang is a tall lighthouse. At the south-east point of the island is a resort for divers located. For both divers and non-divers this place offers an excellent opportunity for spending some relaxed days in a quiet natural setting.

Photo by Stefan


Around Kapuposang you will find attractive reefs and drop-offs, a paradise for snorkellers and divers. Besides many species of colourful fish you probably will meet with bigger animals like giant grouper, tuna, shark, stingray and turtles. Though this is one of the islands further away from Makassar, a speed boat can get you there within 1½ hours.

Islands interesting for their culture or historical sites:

Kodengareng Lompo (15 km)

Together with Barang Lompo and Lae-Lae the island Kodengareng Lompo belong to the bigger islands near Makassar. The length of the oval shaped island is about 1,5 km. At the south end of the island is a lighthouse which, in the evening, can be seen from the shore of Makassar. On the island are remnants of old water tanks built by the Japanese during World War II.

photo by Sybout Porte

photo by Sybout Porte

boat reparation



Barang Lompo (12 km)

Like on many islands located further away from town, the majority of the population on Barang Lompo are fishermen. Besides this there are some silversmiths and civil servants (such as teachers) living on the island.
Hasanuddin University in Makassar has a research centre on the island.

Barang Caddi (11 km)

The increasing housing density on this island may soon result in people building on shallow parts of the surrounding reefs. Recently local fishermen from the island have begun working with a local non-government organisation to reorganise the system of marketing their fish so as to bypass middlemen. This means that they are now able to earn a reasonable income.

Other islands:

Kayangan (2 km) :

An island in front of the harbour of Makassar full with simple restaurants and rooms for rent.

Lae-Lae (1,5 km)

Lae-Lae is the island nearest to Makassar. It has been extended with a long breakwater at the north side that is designed to protect the harbour of Makassar against waves. Lae-Lae is densely populated. A part of the population earns their money with fishing, others run the small boats that can take you from town to Lae-Lae, Samalona and Kodengareng Keke. More and more people find work in town as crossing by motorboat now takes only 5 - 10 minutes.

Pulau Badi (22 km)

Pulau Badi is one of the many islands belonging to Pangkep District. It is a small friendly and colorful island with about 400 families.
Please click here for photos and some information.


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Places to visit: Makassar- Bira - Majene / Pambusuang