Mamuju, Explore The Hidden Beauty Of Sulawesi

Once forming part of the vast South Sulawesi Province, the province of West Sulawesi was not officially formed until 5th October 2004. Along with the establishment of the new province, a capital was chosen as the center of government activities, which fell on the little coastal town of Mamuju, which lies most central in this tall shaped province. Not only does it serve as the center of government, Mamuju also acts as the main hub to explore the hidden beauty of West Sulawesi.

Although it is the capital of South Sulawesi Province, the town of Mamuju is not an autonomous town and still lies under the administration of the Mamuju Regency. Situated strategically between Palu, capital of Central Sulawesi, and Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi, Mamuju has grown into an economic bridge between the two cities. Flanked by a coastal area and a mountain range, the town is highlighted with green and brownish hills to its immediate interior, and lines of fishing boats and Mandar’s distinct Sandeq sailing crafts along its shoreline.

The city of Mamuju, Sulawesi
The city of Mamuju, Sulawesi (Source : youtube.com)

This small city also offers magnificent sceneries and relaxing ambience. Although having undergone reclamation, the Manakarra beach still presents a beautiful view of the Karampuang Island in the distance, especially when the sun sets, creating a beautiful silhouette of the island.

While the view of Karampuang Island is already a spectacle in itself , the island holds much more fascinating wonders below the waters surrounding it. Beautiful and pristine coral reefs and schools of colorful fishes dominate the scene right to the shallow shores, making it a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving.

Manakarra beach, Mamuju
Manakarra beach, Mamuju (Source : triptrus.com)

The island itself got its name from a local legend that says that the entire island magically emerged during a full moon, hence the name “Karampuang” which in local language means “The Moon”. Sharing borders with the local population who live on the island, the rocky part of the island is also completed with shelters and paved paths for visitors to enjoy the view and ambience of the island. Karampuang island is also habitat to the unique giant Coconut Crabs (Birgus latro) that are known to be able to climb trees and are active at night.

Karampuang island, Mamuju
Karampuang island, Mamuju (Source : youtube.com)

Approximately 30 Km away from downtown Mamuju, in the direction of the Ahmad Kirang Airport, one can feel the tranquilizing breeze of Bukit Jati Gentungan Recreational Park. Nestled in a fascinating natural setting, this is the best place just to lay back, relax, and absorb the refreshing atmosphere. The 4 hectares area also comes with a swimming pool for those who wish to take a dip in the refreshing water. The recreation also has 4 villas, 2 cottages, and 1 hall, for those who wish to spend the night here.

ACTIVITIES

Being a coastal town, the obvious choice on the menu is fresh sea food. You can find many restaurants and foodstalls along the Manakarra Beach all the way to the Mamuju Fishing Port that sell fried or barbecued fish, crabs, squids, prawns, and other sea food delicacies.

For an authentic Mandar culinary experience, you may want to try to seek Jepa, traditional Mandar ethnic bread made from cassava and coconut which is baked on a traditional stove. Jepam an alternative to rice, is usually served with fried or barbecued fish. This traditional food may also be found in Majene and Polewali Mandar.

As a growing provincial capital, the town of Mamuju has much more complete accommodation facilities compared to other regencies in the province. The best is the three starred ‘plus’ d’Maleo Hotel and Convention Mamuju which offers 131 rooms and suites. A ballroom can accommodate up to 600 people, besides other indulging facilities. There are also other hotels and inns available in Mamuju.

GET THERE

If you plan to fly to Mamuju from other parts of the country, then you must first make your way to Makassar. This is because the only direct flight to Mamuju’s Ahmad Kirang Airport in Tampa Padang, Mamuju Regency is served by Wings Air which flies daily from Makassar to Mamuju. Other airlines may offer flights to Mamuju from other cities but through connecting flights. From the airport, downtown Mamuju is approximately 30 Km away and can be reached by rented or chartered car or public mini buses.

If you wish to try the overland course, the trip from Makassar to Mamuju will take about 8 to 10 hours. Although it is a long drive, you will be presented with some of the most magnificent views of shorelines and mountain ranges through the regencies of Polewali Mandar, and Majene. If you wish to take public transportation, you can take the Makassar-Mamuju buses from Makassar Bus Terminal with costs ranging from IDR 100.000 to IDR 125.000 and the trip will take 10 to 12 hours.

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