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What to do at Samalona Island in Makassar?

Pulau Samalona

One of the beautiful islands off Makassar is Samalona Island, which is only 30 minutes from the main city harbor and is literally covered in beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.

Who would know that a short boat trip out of Makassar lies a couple of beautiful islands including Samalona Island and Kodingareng Keke Island?

Samalona Island, Makassar

Pulau Samalona as it is locally called attracts hundreds of local visitors on a daily basis, and even more during the holidays.

But for the international traveler, Samalona Island isn't even heard of, unless you have been asking around, but lately, more foreign visitors have been coming here.

The beauty of this island is that it houses a lighthouse, some very basic chalets and a couple of very local restaurants for the tourist.

Gambar Samalona
One of the welcome signs at Samalona Island

What to do at Samalona Island? 

With tourism expanding to many places around Indonesia, one may want to know what are the not so popular places to visit, and I have come up with a list of things to do around here.

1. Sunbathing at Samalona Island

Most island tours in Makassar will bring you to both Samalona and Kodingareng Keke Island which is just another 15 minutes away.

Or you can just opt for one of the islands. A majority of visitors prefer to just come here for a beach holiday to suntan, snorkel, picnic or just have a relaxed time.

The facilities are basic, toilets, food and drinks but tour operators will bring the required equipment for the guests. Book your tours from Makassar City. 

2. Scuba Diving at Samalona Island

The island is actually formed from a cluster of the circular coral islands with an overall area of 2.34 hectares.

The coral reefs of Samalona Island are inhabited by diverse marine tropical fish, large and small while the coral landscape is beautiful and suitable for beginners.

For advance divers, there are eight wreck dive sites all over the islands here. However, you should engage a proper dive operator to do diving at Samalona Island.

Samalona Island Beach
Samalona Island offers water sports like jet ski and flyboarding

3. Water Sports at Samalona Island

For those into water sports, there are companies that offer jet skiing, flyboarding and even the banana boat on Samalona Island.

When I arrived here, I saw someone trying out the flyboard just out of the island and there were a couple of jet skis moving about in a safe area of the island.

For those interested in this, you need to arrange this with your tour operator before coming to the island.

Gambar Pulau Samalona
A photo of Samalona Island taken from the boat

4. Photography at Samalona Island

Well, as today's generation is very active on social media, many beginners or even professionals come here to do island photography.

Most of the photographers or videographers will bring their drones to do an aerial video of Samalona Island as the island is really small.

Apart from that, wedding photography and even portrait photography is becoming popular here. Just like the main photo in this article, I took it from the boat before reaching the island.

Jeti Samalona
Visitors entering Samalona Island
Samalona Island Homestay
Local homestays at Samalona Island

How To Go To Samalona Island?

Samalona Island is about 6 kilometers from Makassar City and it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to get here. The main departure would be from the Makassar Jetty Terminal in the town area.

Chartered boats range from speed boats to larger fishing boats which can seat from 12 to 20 people. The best time to tour the island Samalona is from April to November.


The above are just some of the things to do at Samalona Island and on my trip here in September 2016 under Indonesia Tourism for the Wonderful Indonesia campaign.

We visited Samalona Island, Kodingareng Keke Island and a few places around Makassar before heading to other beautiful parts of Indonesia. Follow my Malaysia Asia Instagram to see more photos of Indonesia.

If you are exploring other places around here, you can read this article about Makassar, Indonesia's Undiscovered Gem which was also written by me.

For anyone visiting Makassar, don't forget to visit Samalona Island as you can do it on a day trip, or even visit both islands in one trip. All you need to do is get it arranged by a local tour company in Makassar. 

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