how to go to Balabalagan Archipelago (Bala-balakang) on Makassar strait
What is Balabalagan ?
Balabalagan is a small archipelago which known consists eleven habitant islands, many unhabitant islands and sanbanks on Makassar Strait. Balabalagan well known as Bala-Balakang Archipelago.
Habitant islands are Saboyang island, Salissingan Island, durian island, Samataha Island, Popongan Island, Big Malamber Island, lamudaan island, labia island, seloang island, ambo island, and sabakattang island.
The nearest island from coastal grogot city are salissingan and durian island. The nearest island from coastal balikpapan city is sabakattang island. The nearest island from coastal west sulawesi province is ambo island.
How to go to Balabalagan ?
There is three start point to go to balabalagan.
If you were on Balikpapan City, you can find and rents some fishermans ships on "kampung baru" area to get you go to Balabalagan. Estimately need 8-15 hours sailing with the fisherman ship. It depend on height of sea waves (high surf) and ship speed capacity.
If you want to choose the shorter time to sail to Balabalagan, you can start from Grogot city. Its a small city which located near the border of east borneo and west borneo ( borneo = Kalimantan). From Balikpapan city, you need 4-5 hours road trip by rents car. Or if you come from south borneo (banjarmasin) you can rents car and go road trip for 8 hours to reach Grogot city. After arrived on Grogot city, you must continue road trip 1-1,5 hours to Lori village. Then, you can rents ship in local harbour to get you to Balabalagan. Estimately need 4-7 hours sailing with the ship. It depend on height of sea waves and ship speed capacity.
If you start from mamuju, west sulawesi, you need more than 12 hours to sail accross the sea (makassar strait).
Usually, many travellers go to Balabalagan via balikpapan (kampung baru), Penajam (PPU), Grogot (Lori Village). If you have'nt Sea Sickness and ready for long journey in the sea, you can choose Kampung Baru as starting point. But remember! From Kampung Baru untill Sabakattang Island, you cant find any islands or sandbanks along the sailing. If you need the shortest time to sail in the ship and want to rest a while in many isles & sandbanks, you can choose Lori village as starting point.
How about the description islands in Balabalagan Archipelago?
Here the reviews & photo documenting:
1. Salissingan Island.
2. Durian Island.
3. Saboyang island.
4. Popongan island.
5. Samataha island.
6. Lamudaan Island
9. Labia island.
13. Ambo islands.
*no picture yet
14. Tandu Sandbanks.
In balabalagan, there are not hostel,homestay,resort or cottage. We can stay there in the house of villagers. You can ask to the head of island village. He usualy recomend which the open house for guests. Usually the travellers stay the night in Sabakattang island, saboyang island, samataha island & popongan island. Only in saboyang island which has the natural fresh water from the well. In popongan island, there has a destilation of sea water into the fresh water. You can pay Rp.4.000,-/gallon. Others islands must gathering the rains water for fresh water consuming. For traditional market, only in popongan island.
How about the Coral Reef ?
In Balabalagan Archipelago, you can find coral reef around the islands & sandbanks. Most of coral reef is good condition, but in several area, the coral reef has damaged by bomb fishing. Many kind of coral fishes, hard coral & soft coral. There are Shark, sea turtle, pod of dolphin, sting ray, giant clam shell.
When the bad time to visit balabalagan ?
Usually, on July untill September, Balabalagan hard to reach by ships because the current and sea waves very rough. The villagers named it as south wind season (musim angin selatan). When it comes, the fisherman couldnt go to fishing because too dangerous. But there any ships ready to take the risks to sailing.
How the easy way to go to Balabalagan ?
If you want to enjoy the journey with the most experiences guide, you can asks to Balabalagan open trip official (BIOTO) to accompanie for a nice trip in Balabalagan Archipelago starting from Grogot City. BIOTO are the first organizer trip who exploring and announcing the beauty of Balabalagan. So, if you want to go to many places that showed in the picture of this article, only BIOTO that can show you the real places of the picture in Balabalagan archipelago. BIOTO will prepare everything include ship, accomodation in house of Balabalagan Villagers, skin diving equipment, food & drinks along the trip. For more information or Balabalagan tour package, you can phone BIOTO 0821 5391 9901 (call only & WhatsApp) & 5373F60B (PIN BBM).