Southeast Sulawesi Tourism has always had an amazing charm, with not only its nature, heritage, arts and crafts creations, and culture, but also its beaches with their breath-taking underwater beauty and pearly white sands, which have become a main attraction of Pulau Hari.
If you are visiting areas of Southeast Sulawesi, you should not leave without setting foot on Pulau Hari, not far from the district’s main capital of Kendari. The island has many unique characteristics which are similar to Wakatobi Sea resort. The island is also said to have a bit of an interesting myth. According to ancient legend, it is said that on this island dwells an angel dressed in a long flowing red dress. Her unearthly beauty is matched by no other, and can be compared to none either. Therefore they say, there is no question as to where the island gets its alluring natural charm.
Pulau Hari is located in the Soropia District of eastern Kendari. This beautiful island is one of a cluster of several islands, namely: Pulau Bokori, Pulau Saponda Darat, and Pulau Saponda Laut. These beautiful islands are all around the same distance from each other, which is approximately 50 meters. Pulau Hari has become one of the favorites within the Southeast Sulawesi province, – apart from the Wakatobi islands, despite the fact that the island is uninhabited. This unique little paradise is just 1 square kilometer and although small in size, offers an array of activities and natural experiences that will amaze you.
On Pulau Hari, you can explore a small forest which is still largely undisturbed, as this island has had no touch of modern or traditional buildings at all. You can see the large variety of tropical animals and birds which inhabit this forest.
For lovers of underwater beauty and marine tourism enthusiasts, this place has its own challenges to conquer, with deep-sea diving and snorkeling, while for those who just want to enjoy the beauty of the white sandy beaches, this island is ready to offer you both.
The ocean off Pulau Hari is rich in marine life ranging from very small to very large. You can witness beautiful, colorful fish such as clown fish, angel fish, fire shrimp, shrimp anemones, ascidians, and starfish, to name a few. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch a glimpse of an electric clam, a special clam that appears to glow or let out a light beneath the water’s surface after dark. You may also have the opportunity of being able to see a rare sea turtle swimming in the sea. There are also several endangered species of fish that inhabit this reef such as the sunudan cuttlefish.
There are no available food stalls or restaurants around Pulau Hari as it is an uninhabited island. The nearest place to buy food is at Kendari City. So make sure to buy all the food and snacks you will need for the day beforehand. This goes for water as well.
In order to get the full experience, one traditional dish from Kendari that you should taste is Sinonggi. This delicacy is made from sago and served with fish sauce and sauteed vegetables. The price fora portion of Sinonggi is Rp 17,000.
You can also taste and experience the unique flavor of Pokea Sate. This sate is also one of the specialties of Kendari which is made from freshwater clams, which are lined up on a stick and roasted over a grill or fire, similar to the western kebab.
As Pulau Hari is an uninhabited island, with no buildings or modern conveniences, the closest place to stay is at Kendari City which is about an hour from the island. Here is a list of several homestays and hotels which you can call in advance. It is advised to book your accommodation up to a week before your visit especially during the holiday season as the hotels tend to fill up fast.
Pulau Hari is the perfect place for those who are longing for a break from the hectic routine of city life. This little paradise offers glass sparkling clear water at temperatures of 28 to 34 degrees Celsius. The fine, white sand here will beckon for you to strip off your sandals and walk barefoot along the water’s edge.
Around the island there are 13 amazing dive sites. The diving sites surrounding this island, reach depths of up to 8 feet, with water so crystal clear enabling you to watch the mesmerizing underwater beauty as you wade in the ocean, or from a boat before you decide to dive in. While diving or snorkeling, the view of the sea bed and the reefs up close is stunning. The coral beds and seaweed are a fascinating sight as they appear to have been neatly arranged by a daily, underwater gardener. Displaying neat rows and prominent shelves, this is truly an amazing sight. Watching the underwater beauty with its diverse marine life will be an experience you will never forget.
The surrounding islands such as Pulau Saponda Darat and Pulau Saponda Laut also have amazing dive sites with a distance of only about 50 meters from Pulau Hari.
For those of you who like fishing, there are boats available for rent from the local fishermen to take you to Pulau Saponda, a nearby island. The most common catches on this island are usually the screenfish or sailfish.
If you like a lighter or more leisurely activity, take a tour around the island to watch the variety of tropical birds that fly around looking for an opportunity to catch their prey mid-air. If you are lucky, maybe you will have the rare opportunity of watching the giant turtles lay their eggs along the beach.
This island is also an attractive location for you avid photographers. Have your camera at your side at all hours of the day as you never know what beautiful rare moments you will witness.
To reach Pulau Hari, you can depart from Kendari city by speedboad at Banyan Harbor, Central Market Complex, Kendari. It is approximately 20 miles from the city center and it will take between 1.5 to 2 hours to get to Pulau Hari, depending on the weather and the boat.
The later it gets in the day, the larger the waves get. If the seas are too rough, the boat ride may be delayed until the seas are calmer. For that reason it is advisable to leave from Kendari between the hours of 9-12 am.
Kendari has a domestic airport. There are a number of airlines flying to Kendari from Jakarta, among which are Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air from Jakarta via Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi and airline hub for the eastern part of Indonesia.
Citilink now also flies Jakarta-Kendari Direct, leaving Jakarta at 02.45 am, arriving Kendari at 06.25 Central Indonesia time, returning at 07.00 am and arriving back in Jakarta at 08.30 West Indonesia Time.
When bringing food and drinks to Pulau Hari, try not to leave any trace of litter, which will be harmful to nature and marine life on the island.
Currently available are two experienced diving instructors from the local community at a diving center which is open every Saturday and Sunday.
Because of the crystal clear water, en route to Pulau Hari, you’ll be treated to views of the sea up to 10-15 meters below the surface. However, if you travel at mid-day, when the sun is at its highest, you will be able to enjoy the underwater scenery to a depth of up to 20 meters or more.