Sunday, 8 July 2012

Bira Beach and Around


PLACES OF INTEREST in Bira Beach and around

Bira is definitively one of the "off the beaten track" spots in Sulawesi. The Cape of Bira is both known for the sharks, rays and other pelagics and its strong and dangerous currents. Bira beach is located 42 km from Bulukumba. Bira is located in Bonto Bahari sub-district. Bira has a beautiful natural panorama and whiny white sand beaches. There are some good coral reefs for snorkelling and diving.
Tanjung Bira (Bira bay): a great dive with dozens of sharks and if you are lucky even a hammerhead.
Shark point: This dive site lies close to the harbour. You do a drift dive on a slope and sometimes there can be quite a lot of current. A good place for big fish like tunas, trevallies, sharks and cods.

- Amatoa Resort (most luxury resort) is built into a cliff on the southernmost tip of South Sulawesi. You can directly jump into the amazingly clear sea full of beautiful tropical fishes. The beach of Bira is one of the most beautiful beaches in Indonesia. This pure white beaches is totally paradise for Sea Lovers, Divers and Honeymooner.
- good beach and great diving (Sharks and all that!) - sharks, turtles and giant marble ray
- Dangerous due to the currents – MUST check well before going to dive or snorkel
- Worth to visit not only the beach but also the local boat building – its very interesting

Tanjung Bira Beach is divided into 2 areas, west side beach (beach with only white sand – Bira and Bara beaches) have good infrastructures and east side beach (white sand and the palms – Timur beach) has a harbour to cross Selayar Island.
- Best time to visit is in the morning time when the tide is high. It looks more amazing than just seeing the beach without a waving tide.
- The best snorkelling spot is in Liukang Loe Island. This island is located very closed to the west side of Tanjung Bira Beach. You can rent a boat priced at Rp300.000/boat to get there.
The best diving spot is Kambing Island (Kambing is a Goat in Indonesian Language). If you are lucky, you can see shark around Kambing Island. Same like how to get Liukang Loe Island, you can rent a boat from west side of Tanjung Bira Beach for Rp250.000/boat. Be very careful as the currents are extremely dangerous.
- If you want to see the making of the legendary Phinisi Boat, you can go to Tana Beru, Bulukumba. Of course you cannot go there by walk because it is located kilometers from Tanjung Bira.
What you can do if you don't dive: Go to the beach for swimming and snorkelling, visit a traditional ship building factory, see an old burial cave (for more, ask the locals). Or just wander around...


Top Hight End:

On the East side of town (10 minute walk) is a beautiful place owned by a Spanish couple. It is a dream but also very expensive ($150 Euros pn). But on the West side (much farther walk 2 klm) are two German owned places. The one was Bara Beach Bungalows and they were asking rp800k per night. Next door is a new place that opened and both a divers mecca and chilled out vibe. It's South Sulawesi Divers and run by the coolest guy named Elvis.
- one of the most picturesque beaches in Sulawesi. The place is run by an experienced German dive instructor Elvis Mielke ( or email: )
Mangga Lodge: 2 km off Bira Village, right on the white beach with coconut trees (60 EUR per night incl food for 2 people)

Budget Accommodation:
We stayed in a private bungalow perched on the same cliff as the Spanish owned place for 150,000Rp a night and later moved into one of the many guest-houses located on the main road for 70,000Rp a night. Both included breakfast and a fan.
Bira View Inn (in 2008) after bargaining 100 000 for a fan and 150 000 for AC room – deteriorating conditions but AMAZING view
Riswan Guesthouse – there is a big wooden house on stilts with a FANTASTIC view

Other accommodation:
There are so many hostels/hostels along Tanjung Bira Beach (priced range Rp75.000-500.000). Here are some of them:
- Bira Beach Hotel: (+62413) 2702034, (+62413) 2589057
- Wisma Bahari Indah: +6285242549899
- Penginapan Harapan Maju: +6285255994640
- Nusantara Cottage: +6285255011345
- Anda Bungalow’s:(+62413) 82125
- Penginapan Reskiku: +6281934407848
- Penginapan Tanjung Bira: +6285824635570, +6281934407848
- Penginapan Pasir Putih Bira: +628114201028
- Kalubimbi Cottage: +6285656456853

We stayed at SALASSA Guesthouse (Penginapan) with Erique and Santie. They charge 100.000 per room including the breakfast. The location of the guest house is very good, very close to Bira beach (3 min walking), Fish market (3km / every other day / only early mornings) and also harbour (15 min walking). They also serve the food (there is lots of locals and guests from around coming for dinners there so sometimes even if you stay there you might need to wait for the dinners). The specialities from the food are Gado Gado, Tempe, Ayam bumbu Bali and Calamari. Santie cooks exceptionally well. You can also get there free tourist information (note only around Bira village) / contact: or on 0812 4265672
We also visited Sunshine Penginapan on the hill. The guest house is run by Gav (UK) and Nini. The view from the guest house is beautiful, especially during the sunset. They dont serve meals but you can stop by for a drink. The room rate is 120.000 Rp incl. Breakfast / Contact Gav: or Nini:

                                    Food in Sulawesi - when you in Bira visit Warung Windy!

HOW TO GET from and to the AIRPORT / MAKASSAR to Bira

- The fastest way is going by taxi (cost Rp700.000)
- The cheapest way is going by public transportation called “Pete-pete”. First, from Sultan Hasanuddin Airport to Bus Terminal Daya using pete-pete (about 1 hour, Rp 5.000), Second, From Terminal Daya (B) to Bus Terminal Malengkeri ( about an half hour, Rp 5.000) and then take the bus to Bira (around 6-7 hours, Rp 50.000 – Rp 60.000). Going by public transport is very uncomfortable because you may have to share 1 seat with another person. The road is very bumpy at some parts.


A = Sultan Hasanuddin Airport,
B = Daya Bus Terminal,
C= Malengkeri Bus Terminal,
D = Bulukumba,
E= Tanjung Bira


24 km
Tanah Beru

31 km
7 km
Lemo Lemo

42 km
18 km
7 km

46 km
22 km
18 km
11 km
Mandala Ria

52 km
25 km
19 km
19 km
2 km

53 km
25 km
21 km
20 km
5 km
1 km
Dato Tiro

RENT a Motorbike and visit: Salassa Guesthouse can arrange for you a motorbike for 50.000 a day (if you take for over a week you can negotiate a discount).

Mandala Ria Beach (or Ara Beach): is located in Lambanna Ara district of Bonto Tiro, around 11km from Bira / 2km from Samboang. There is not much opportunity for swim as there is lots of seaweed farming. Few families are buidling small phinisi boats. The beach has beautifully white sand. (Passohara cave is a natural spring water source). From Mandala Ria / Ara beach contunue to Dato Tiro cave, Samboang beach and Hila Hila Natural bathing place.
To reach Ara Beach – when you reach Bonto Bahari cross road then turn right (when coming from Bira), continue steep road down to the beach for around 15-20 minutes.
On the cross road you have few signs to Bulukumba 34km, Kajang 25km, Tanah Beru 10 km, Tununtung 18km, Bira 9km.

Dato Tiro Natural Bath in Samboang

Dato Tiro Grave: small swimming pool close to the Samboang beach. It is located in Bonto Bahari district. The first name of Dato Tiro is Maulana Abdul Jawad Khaib Bunghu. He spread the Islam in South Sulawesi.

Limbua Natural Bath: Limbua Natural Bathing place is located in Hila Hila around 1km from Dato Tiro Grave (it is a fresh water spring/natural bath)

Samboang Beach: located I Ekatiro District of Bonto Tiro. It is about 3km from Samboang village, 19km from Bira. When you visit Samboang then you can also visit Hila Hila natural bathing place, Limbua and Dato Tiro Grave.
After passing Samboang you find natural swimming pool with fresh water (on your left when coming form Bira). Follow the road until you come to cross road and then you turn right to the very steep road down the hill. Note, that it is not an obvious road at all – it is a small side road covered by thick forest. It is a very scenic road. Be careful because it can be slippery. After 150 meters you find on your left a natural swimming pool (behind the walls) and the stream with fresh water – Limbua Natural Swimming pool. It is a very nice and clean natural swimming pool with nice views over the sea. In the water you can find fish and small shrimps. There is no beach for swimming as the tides can get very low and uncover the muddy bits. At the moment there is some development going on (as of June 2012). There are some stalls / restaurant to be built, clean toilets and the beach umbrellas are available too with sitting areas for picnic. During lunch times it can get busy with the locals.

Lemo-Lemo Beach: 7km from main road Bira – Tanah Beru (Phinisi Boat making) / around 11km from Bira. If you are coming from Tanah Beru you will see big sign on the right Lemo-Lemo 7km, turn right and continue on small road until you reach the beach. Local government of Bulukumba give chance to business world to develop this area (but not much has been done yet as there is only one family house built). There are lots of baboons around (so be careful). Apparently there are beautiful coral reefs off the shore. The sunset is spectacular – the combination of green forest and the beach gives beautiful panorama of Lemo-Lemo     
                                                                                                                        Pantai Lemo Lemo

Tanah Beru: it is around 15 km from Bira. There is not beach for swimming as on the whole beach, along the coast, the phinisi boats are built. You can check the Calico Jack Adventures boat to be built by a group of young people from different countries. You can follow the development of this project here: they are also planning to produce a documentary on this project. The boat will be ready in few months, firstly it will sail around the world and then it will be used at the liveboard, mainly for the divers.
We found only one place to eat in Tanah Beru called PAJAM which serves freshly made food for less than £1 a meal (soup, main meal, crackers). It is family run and always full with the locals.

The Land of Amma Towa: the land of Amma Towa is located in Kajang sub-district (from Kajang around 25 km into the mountains). Black clothes needed to wear. The same shape house building facing the north. The interesting thing was that not all locals worn black clothing as we were told by the villagers on the way.

From BIRA to Selayar island
From Bira harbour (just outside of the gates) there are ships to Selayar Island and to Benteng. The boats leave at 10am and 4pm. On Monday there is only 1 ship to Selayar at 3pm. The ships from Selayar to Bira are at 8am and 12pm. The price for a jeep is 350.00 Rp and for the bus to Benteng 100.000 Rp.

BARA Beach
If you wish to stay alone on the beach, relaxing below the palm trees surrounded by white sand beach with crystal clear water, then Bara beach is the paradise place!
To reach Bara beach might be a bit challenge but there are 2 ways. In a low tide you can go to Bira beach and then walk pass by all the stalls on the beach and walk for around 20-30 minutes by the coast. Be careful as at hight tide it is not possible and dangerous.
If you wish to walk to Bara beach by the land, be prepared for 40-50 minutes. Here are the directions: from Salassa guesthouse turn right. Walk for maybe 50 meters till you reach tennis court then you turn left and follow the road. You will pass by few Kareoke bars, just walk straight till you reach sign 'Mangga Lodge' and follow the sign to Mangga Lodge. You will see steep road down to the beach.
If you wish to dive then contact Elvis or Jonathan who are experienced divers and they can take you diving. Do NOT go to dive with anyone as in the area are very strong currents. 
                                                                                                          Bara Beach - just like a Paradise

Timur Beach
This beach is located on the east side of the peninsula. The beach is located just after the harbour. It has white sand and the coconut palms. If you don't have time to visit Tanah Beru where they built boats then you find some commercial boat building there. When we were there in May 2012 they were building one massive wooden boat and one smaller.
If you wish you can stay in Kaluku Cottages and Cafe – it has really nice setting. They have one big hut and one small. They also offer meals and drinks. It is very lay back place to stay as you don’t find any tourists around. Smaller hut costs 175.000 Rp including the breakfast (price is for hut) and the bigger hut costs 300.000 Rp. They have also meals for around 20.000 Rp to 25.000 Rp. They rent snorkels for 25.000 Rp. However, I am not sure where to snorkel as the sea was very rough.
If you are going to Selayar island then you will take a boat from this harbor (see the times above)

                                                                        Pantai Timur 


  1. Bira Beach is very beautiful. Looking forward to go there some time :)

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  3. Thank you so much Eva for sharig all these useful information. Really appreciate it.