Selayar Island Regency or in Indonesia name it "Kabupaten Kepulauan Selayar" is one of the tourist destinations in South Sulawesi Province which has lots of potential for nature tourism, culture and marine tourism that worth to visit. The capital city of Selayar is Benteng.
Selayar Regency located in the south of the South Sulawesi Province, lies in the Flores Sea, between Sulawesi Strait and Flores Sea, share border with Bulukumba Regency and Bone Bay. Selayar Regency covering about 1.188,28 square km, consist of about 5,23% land area and about 94,68% water area that is calculated four miles from outer island at low tide that covers about 21.138,41 square km with 24 sub districts and consist more then 120 islands both small and big island.
Selayar Island was once part of the ancient trading route to the Moluccas. Historic relics have been found on Selayar dating back to the 14th century when Chinese, Philippine and Thai traders regularly passed through this part of South East Asia. The island’s main town, Benteng has a unique one room, stand-alone museum which proudly houses a kettle drum – the oldest and biggest in the world. The drum was brought to Selayar by mariners from China and dates back to the Bronze Era.
The population is about 120,000 (2012), mainly a mixed race of Makasars, Buginese, the natives of Luwu and Buton. People here use Makassar language, are for the most part nominally Moslems (though many non-Muslim customs survive) and support themselves by agriculture, fishing, seafarming, trade, the preparation of salt and weaving. Vanilla, tobacco, trepang, tortoise shell, coconuts and coconut oil, and salt are exported. There are frequent emigrations to Sulawesi and other parts of the archipelago. For that reason, and also on account of its excellent horses and numerous water buffaloes, Selayar is often compared with Madura, being of the same importance to Celebes as is Madura to Java.
One of the secrets of visiting Selayar is discovering how to get there. The very fact it takes about nine to ten bumpy hours overland to reach this unspoilt, idyllic, tropical sea gypsy paradise, makes this little known tucked away treat in the South of Sulawesi a pleasure. Places that are this far removed from the trappings of mainstream tourism lead you on a discovery; an adventurous travel experience that is truly unique.
Selayar Island is a fascinating destination owing to its unique landscape, and its offer beautiful unspoilt beaches. The west side area of the island is mainly inhabited by fishermen, who live in small villages that continue to follow their traditions largely unaffected by western influences, most favorite place on the west side is Gusung Island. This island is mostly visited by those who want to stay at white sandy beautiful beach.
The east side of the island is sparsely populated and still heavily covered with rain forest. This the forest where Tarsier monkey which is considered the smallest monkey in the world can be found, also possible to find numerous species of birds, small reptiles, marsupials, varans and even wildboars. The east side of Selayar island is surrounded with a reef which offer great underwater scenery and its look a paradise for Diving, Snorkeling and Fishing activities.
Diving, Snorkeling and Fishing at Selayar can be done all year round. During West wind period (November - April) diving is best done at East side of the area, a spectacular walls with overhangs and caves, also with lots of pelagic fishes. During East wind period (May - October) diving is best done at West side of the area, it offers a unique seagrass beds with coral reefs slope, also perfect for macro photography enthusiast.
In short, Selayar Island has many tourism object that worth to visit, especially for nature tourism, culture, Jungle Trekking, Biking, Bird watching, Beach lover, Diving, and Snorkeling lovers, you will get a lot of natural experience during your holiday, vacation or trip at Selayar.
Selayar Island tourism travel guide and tourist attractions popular destinations can be enumerated as follow :
Gantarang Old Mosque.
Gantarang Mosque is the one of the oldest mosque in Sulawesi, located about 12 km away from Benteng City, at Gantarang Lalang Bata Village. There is an ancient mosque built in The XVI Century (1605) in the Era of Sultan Pangali Patta Raja who was first adopted Islam after Islamized by Datuk Ribandang. In this site there is Prophet Mohammed’s SAW foot print and Datuk Ribandang’s Grave which is believed as shrine that must be visited before ones pilgrim to Mecca.
Nekara Museum Building is use Traditional house architecture, located at Matalalang Village, at East Coast of Benteng City. The museum has collection of heritage of Selayar Kingdom and several replica of heritage.
The Gong Nekara is the oldest and largest in the world. The gong/drum was found in 1868 in Selayar Island, made of bronze by Dongson culture contained in the delta of Red River of North Vietnam. Its made in about 600 years before by referring to the metal casting with lost wax method. According to the researchers, the history regarded as one of the best examples of metal working culture. At the time of first the drum served as drum of war and ceremonial tools for the Kings Inauguration and others retual. The object located at Matalalang Village, at East Coast of Benteng City, about 4 km from Benteng City.
Bitombang Old Village.
Bitombang Old Village is located about 7 km from Benteng City, the village is quite unique since the land topography is not flat as most land, so that has extremely high pole house for about 12 m high in the back side, while the front of the house is lower about 1 - 2 m high. The pole of the house usually use a high quality woods in Selayar traditional language call it "Batti/holasa", and the pole of the house can last for hundreds of years. Another uniqueness of this village is that most of the villagers are above 90 years old but still strong towork.
Gusung Island or Pulau Gusung is located at sub district Bontobaharu, at the west side of Selayar Island, for about 1 mile from Benteng City, capital city of Selayar. The island containing some beautiful beach, such as Jeneiyya Beach, Liang Tarusu, Liang Kareta and others beach that don't have name yet. This island is mostly visited by those who want to go diving, snorkeling, fishing or just stay at beautiful white sandy beach.
Gusung Island also has a beautiful coral garden and underwater landscape which are perfect for photo shootings. With an average depth about 5 - 20 m, the bottom of the sea around here is covered with sand, corals and rocks. You can find a huge variety of coral reef fishes in this area, such as Butterfly, Cardinal, Angel, Grouper, Damselfish, Anthias, Batfish, Wrasse, Parrot, Surgeon, Trigger, Box, Puffer, Porcupine and many more. All of those marine creatures create a busy underwater city life. Occasionally, you will also see manta ray, eagle ray and sea turtles passing by. Diving in Pasi Island is very suitable for beginner divers due to the weak current and low depth of sea. At the drop off, you can find some large pelagic such as Trevallies, Snapper, Fusiliers, Sweetlips, Tuna and Spanish Mackerel. Bottom dwellers like Gobies, Moray, Leaf fish, Scorpion, Flathead and Blennies are also can be seen around here. However, this drop off diving site is for experienced divers only as the currents are strong most of the time.
Bahuluang Island or Pulau Bahuluang is one of the remote small islands, overlooking the sea of Flores Island and is rarely visited, it offers many beautiful and spectacular white sandy beaches with clear crystal water, located at the west coast of Selayar Island.
This is a white sand beach along about 300 m with the fascination of Selayar Island Resort. It has very beautiful underwater scenery and suitable for marine activities such as Diving, Snorkeling and Sunbathing, the sunset also can be view from this beach. Baloiya Beach can be reach in about 20 minute drive from Benteng City.
It has spread of soft white sand with fascinating mountain and ocean panorama surrounding. Situated at the eastern coast of Selayar Island and it can be reached about 1 hours ride a boat from Benteng City or about 20 minute from Pattumbukang Harbor.
The beach has white sandy beach and beautiful underwater attraction. Wild boar and endangered species Tarsier can be spotted around this area and also there is a cave up on the hill. The beach is located on the east coast is also available Selayar Dive Resort. Tourist can be enjoyed is sunbathing, snorkeling and diving. Endangered species can also be seen, like Tarsius, wild boar, monitor lizards as well as natural caves. This location can be accessed approximately about 1 hour ride a boat from Benteng city, or about 30 minute ride a boat from Pattumbukang Harbor.
This beach has about 2 km long white soft sand with fresh air from the pine trees surrounding. The beach also suitable for Fishing, Diving, snorkeling and sunbathing, you may also enjoy a sunset from here. The beach can be reach about 60 minutes from Benteng and 15 minutes from Bonelohe, Bungaiya Village.
It has white soft sand beaches along about 3 km with hadge of pine trees along the beach, the clear water will created its own nuances. The beach is suitable for marine activities such as Diving, snorkeling and sunbathing. It can be reached by boat in about 50 minutes from Benteng City, on Gusung / Pasi Island.
Baloiya Nature Cave.
This is a natural cave with stalactites and stalagmites formed from the contained calcium water drops and has been petrified. This cave is inhabited by bats and if its explored there are pathway guiding in to the Baloiya Beach.
Uhe Gonggong Waterfall.
Situated at Jammeng Tourism Village with seven levels of waterfall, an amazing sun rise can be enjoyed from the top of the waterfall.
In the forest of Selayar, you may found many animal such as Wild boar, monitor lizards, Melao, an many more including the Tarsier, the Tarsier habitat can be found in the east side of Selayar Island. Unfortunately, this species is quite difficult to see closely.
Ngapaloka Beach has about 200 m long white sand beach. Its also suitable for marine activities such as swim, snorkeling and sunbathing.
Hara Beach offer an atmosphere of a different nature with the beauty of the forest. Visitor may enjoy the natural scenery and marone activities such as Diving, Canoeing, Snorkeling, Sunbathing or Fishing. It can be reach in about 50 minutes drive from Benteng City, on the east coast Selayar Island.
Pasi Tanete Island.
Pasi Tanete Island is a rocky island, located at northern part of Selayar Island, near of Pamatata Ferry Harbor. The island inhabited by about 250 head of family and its separate village, name it Menara Indah Village, District of Bontote'ne.
The island surrounded by rocky and have one white sandy beach in front of the village, underwater coral on this island is beautiful and offer varied of coral both soft and hard coral, combine sea garden, turtles and many fish, its the one of Selayar underwater paradise, the area is suitable for Diving, Snorkeling, Underwater photographer and Fishing.
Takabonerate National Park.
Takabonerate National Park well know as underwater paradise for Diving, Snorkeling, Beach lover and Fishing, its was famous both foreign tourists and domestic tourists, the area of Takabonerate National Park is about 530.765 hectares which has an atoll expanse of about 220,000 hectares, includes about 21 atoll islands in the region