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Alexander Thian

20 Aug 2019 - 6 min read

A Slice of Heaven in Tanjung Bira

Some people travel to release the stress and fatigue, some to sooth the pain, and some to enrich the soul. Tanjung Bira in South Sulawesi offers all of the outcomes. The fine white sand beach, miles long shoreline, amazingly clear ocean, and numerous snorkeling and diving spots, it is hard not to fall in love with Tanjung Bira.

Activities on route from Makassar to Tanjung Bira

The easiest way to reach Tanjung Bira is by land and it is best to rent a car from Makassar. You can conveniently stop by and take pictures in several interesting places found along the five and a half hours trip from Makassar – Tanjung Bira.

The stilt houses of Makassar and Bugis can be spotted along the route of Makassar to Tanjung Bira as resident’s houses.
We can directly observe the houses and find the difference between Makassar and Bugis stilt house. In Makassar’s stilt house, once the stairs leading to the house ended, we will directly find the house door. Whereas, in Bugis’ stilt house, once the stairs ended, the house door is located on the side.
When we are being served, even invited to eat inside the house of Makassar and Bugis residents, that means we are respected guests. If they only meet us at the terrace, that means we are just ordinary guests.
When you travel without a local guide and hesitate to enter the local’s house, there is Balla Lompoa Museum in Makassar shaped like a stilt house. The entrance ticket price is Rp5.000.
Lammang is a signature dish made of black, red, or white sticky rice wrapped with leaves and put in a bamboo tube to be seared.
It tastes savory with the distinctive aroma of leaves and bamboo. Enjoy while it’s warm, for the taste will not be the same once it’s cool.
The price is very cheap: Rp10.000.
Take pictures in the salt pond, a large pond with various stacks of dried white salt.
No entrance fee is needed because it is located by the road. You can freely explore the pond area.
It is not advised to try salt extraction activity without having any experience.
This activity is one of the crucial reasons to hire a local guide. The guide is happy to earn income, while as a traveler we will receive new knowledge and anti-mainstream sites. Also, in a way, we indirectly empower the local economy.
Speaking of Makassar and Bugis culture, pinisi boat is an inseparable part of the culture.
We can learn the process of building pinisi boat in Bulukumba, precisely in the village of Tana Beru, with no charge applied.
There are four interesting facts I have gathered. First, this is the only location where ironwood can be used as the main material to make pinisi boat (ironwood is very rare, therefore the government makes a policy to prohibit ironwood logging; only allow it to make pinisi boat in Bulukumba). Secondly, the hull must use a whole piece of wood without connection. Third, every village has its own specialty. There is a village with proficient labor specializes in making the boat frame, another village is great at making the wooden hull, and there are those who were trained in making beautiful interiors. The last and the most mind-blowing fact is the pinisi boat consists of two masts symbolizing the sentence of syahadat, Islamic creed, and seven screens which represent seven verses of Al-Fatihah.
When arriving in Makassar in the morning, we can enjoy a mesmerizing sunset in Bulukumba while having dinner.
The unforgettable moment: watching the sun gradually disappears into the horizon while the sea turns orange and the blue sky slowly turns into the gradation of red, pink, purple, orange, and darkens while enjoying the seafood feast by the beach.
Recommended place to eat: Kampung Nelayan Restaurant. The seafood dish here is very famous. It opens from 10:00 to dinner time. The price estimates around Rp300.000 for four people.
Adventures from one island to another

The main attraction of Tanjung Bira is the beautiful islands closely located to each other. From snorkeling, diving, and seafood dishes by the beach, all can be done here. Enjoy everything by renting a boat and spend all day with island-hopping activity.

For island-hopping activity, you can rent a boat in both of these closely located islands (around 20-minute walk along the shoreline from one beach to the other). The boat rental price is Rp700.000, including the snorkeling gears.
For a splendid sunset spot, visit a giant pinisi-shape restaurant D’Perahu located at the end of Bira Beach. From the second and third floors of the restaurant, we can enjoy the coconut drink while watching the sun dissolving into the ocean. The food is also very delicious, but the one that you must try is the chicken soup and various kinds of seafood dishes.
Why name the island Kambing (Indonesian word for 'goat')? Does it smell like one there? Apparently, this island is indeed inhabited by goats only. The goats are left to roam freely on this small island until the time of Eid Al-Adha arrived, when they are being picked up to make as sacrificial animals.
Here, snorkeling is a must because Kambing Island is famous for the colorful soft corals.
When the sea is calm, there is a small beach on one part of the island with reddish sand and super warm and clear water. Although you cannot swim, playing in the water here already feels really great.
Similar to Bira and Bara Beach, this island whose name reminds me of the game character from Mortal Kombat is endowed with soft and smooth white sand.
The nice underwater view enables us to snorkel closely by the edge of the pier.
Enjoy lunch with the fresh fish catch of the day, watching the beautiful scenery by the beach, caressed by the soft breeze of the wind.
Majestic nature activities

There are many other activities in Tanjung Bira besides strolling along the soft sandy beach, snorkeling, diving, and sunset viewing.

Location: Apparalang Cliff

There are two main spots in Apparalang Cliff and both are easy to reach by walking.
Tens of meters below the cliff, there is a small pier built as a jumping deck to the clear turquoise water.
The local government is currently building a wooden path connecting one reef to the other to make a more gorgeous background picture.
Interesting fact: initially, the local government wanted to build a lighthouse, therefore, adding more road access. But the lighthouse was never completed, and because the road access has already existed, plus the magnificent scenery, the place started to gain popularity in 2015.

Location: Panrang Luhu Beach

Visit this beach to have an undisturbed relaxing time in a clean beach under the shade of coconut trees and soft white sand.
Not many tourists visit the beach despite easy access.

Location: Malino Highlands

Traveling back to Makassar, we took a different route through Malino. The purpose is to change the view, from sea to mountain.
Malino to Makassar only takes 2 hours drive, so resting in Malino Highlands tea plantation is a perfect decision.
You can enjoy the tea plantation while sipping a cup of tea from the cafe Green Pekoe.
Entrance ticket price Rp50.000/person.
Where to stay?

The local guide informed me that when the land price by the Bira Beach and around was still cheap, local people were reluctant to invest due to lack of visitors. This attracted foreign visitors who came and fell in love with Bira to take advantage of the situation and bought the land to build accommodations. When Bira got crowded with visitors, Indonesian people then are drawn to build this and that, but the land price was already expensive. That got me wondering, are we too afraid to take the risk and prefer to wait? But I have to admit that there are many cute hotels and cottages in Tanjung Bira.

Amatoa Resorts

This luxurious resort is dubbed as Santorini of Bira for its unique design

Amatoa Resorts
8.6

Jl. Pasir Putih No. 6, Bira, Bonto Bahari

Starts from Rp2.113.650/night
Woywoy Paradise

The lodge reminds me of Greek buildings because of the white painting combined with the tosca room doors.

Woywoy Paradise
8.2

Jl. Pantai Sunrise, Bira, Bonto Bahari

Starts from Rp620.000/night
Woywoy Sunrise Bira

A concept of small houses and colorful paint urge me to spend a night here

Woywoy Sunrise Bira
8.2

Jl. Pantai Sunrise No. 1, Bira, Bonto Bahari

Starts from Rp353.780/night
Transportation
How to get to Makassar

Before departing to Tanjung Bira, you must fly to Makassar first. The Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport is the fourth busiest airport in Indonesia, so almost all major airports in Indonesia serve a direct flight to Makassar. In appearance, the airport is also modern and clean, similar to other international airports in the country.

From Makassar to Tanjung Bira

The best transportation from Makassar to Tanjung Bira is by car. The car rental price includes the driver fee. But if you want to discover the best routes, hire a local guide.

Tips to explore Tanjung Bira