Pulau Sombori (Sombori Island) is the definition of PARADISE. Sombori Island is one of Indonesia’s best-kept secrets and it’s famously known as the Raja Ampat of Sulawesi.
Boasting blue lagoons, stalactite diamond caves, and beautiful turquoise bays filled with coral rock islands, this is one tropical destination you do not want to miss!
I have put together this complete guide including how to get there and what to expect when you arrive.
WHERE IS PULAU SOMBORI?
Sombori is a mecca of small islands located off the coast of Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. From the city of Kendari on the mainland, it’s approximately a 2-hour boat trip to reach the island.
HOW TO GET TO SOMBORI ISLAND
Sombori Island is best visited as a day trip from Labengki Island which is included in a multi-day tour.
The most efficient way to travel to Sombori is to fly to Kendari Airport, which is the nearest city to the island in Southeast Sulawesi.
Most flights will fly to Makassar in West Sulawesi and here you will have to transfer flights and fly to Kendari in Southeast Sulawesi.
The flight from Makasar to Kendari is around 50 minutes. When you arrive at Kendari Airport, a taxi will cost 100,000 Rupiah ($7) for a 30-minute ride into the city.
From Kendari City you will have to take a car to the boat harbor which takes 1 hour and then a boat to Labengki Island which takes approximately 2 hours depending on sea conditions.
The accommodation is located on Labengki Island and then you can visit Sombori from here.
It’s definitely not the most efficient route but this is currently the only way to reach Labengki Island.
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WHERE TO BOOK A TOUR?
This region of Southeast Sulawesi is still very much undiscovered and there is next to no tourism, which means at this point there are limited options to book a tour to Sombori and Labengki.
After hours of research, I managed to find a local travel company called Fun Adventure that was able to organize a trip for 3 days and 2 nights to the islands.
I contacted the tour company via Whatsapp one week prior to my trip to Sulawesi to organize and confirm everything. Their Whatsapp number is +62 821 3989 9009 and they are very quick to respond when you message to inquire about booking a tour to Pulau Labengki. Alternatively, you can book a tour on their website.
The cost of the Pulau Sombori tour was around 4,000,000 Rupiah ($275) which includes transport to and from Kendari to Labengki Island, 2 nights of accommodation in a small homestay on Little Labengki Island, a 3-day island-hopping itinerary including a day trip to Sombori Island, 3 meals per day (rice, noodles, fish), and drinking water.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE TOUR
On the first day of the Pulau Sombori tour, the following locations you will get to visit on Pulau Labengki and Little Labengki Island are the Goa Cave Swimming Pool, Blue Lagoon, Pasir Panjang Beach, Kimaboe Hill + Teluk Cinta (view of a love heart-shaped lagoon) and The Lighthouse.
Full Blog Post →Labengki Island
On the second day of the tour, you will take the boat to Sombori Islands for an entire day of island hopping.
The locations you will get to see include the lagoons (Grandma’s House), Sombori Hill on Pulau Kayangan (viewpoint similar to Raja Ampat), Berlian Cave (Gua Berlian), and a lunch break on Mbokkita Island.
THINGS TO DO IN SOMBORI
SOMBORI HILL ON PULAU KAYANGAN
Sombori Hill and Kayangan Peak are located in a small bay of colorful reefs with turquoise blue water and it is surrounded by a dozen coral rock islands.
The boat will pull up at the base of Pulau Kayangan and from here you can hike for 5 minutes to the top of Sombori Hill to Kayangan Peak.
The view from the top is not something you get to see every day. See the images below and you will know what I am talking about. You see, these are not only the best diving spots in Sulawesi but also fantastic places to enjoy views from above.
Once you’ve enjoyed the view from the top of Sombori Hill and Kayangan Peak, you can ask your guide to take you to another viewpoint across the bay for a different perspective of this location.
The boat will arrive on a deserted white sand beach and you can hike for a short 5 to 10 minutes to the top of another rock island for unforgettable panoramic views of the bay.
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BERLIAN CAVE (GUA BERLIAN)
A short 10-minute boat ride from Sombori Hill is the Berlian Cave. To access Gua Berlian, you will have to step off the front of the boat as it arrives at the edge of the rocky coastline that is Pulau Sombori.
There is a small wooden ladder to climb to a flat rock face surface and then it’s an easy 1-minute walk to the entrance of the cave.
On the inside of the Berlian Cave are stalactite diamond formations and it is also home to a large family of bats.
There is a hole at one end of the cave where the sun’s rays will find their way through, providing some light for you to see some of the fine details of the inside of Gua Berlian.
LAGOONS (GRANDMA’S HOUSE SOMBORI)
When exploring Pulau Sombori, we visited some of the most breathtaking lagoons I have ever seen. It is better known by the locals as Grandma’s House, the meaning of this I am not quite sure.
Our boat sailed us through a number of small entrances between large-scale cliffs and we were able to explore and swim around in the blue lagoons.
The best perspective of these lagoons is from above and I highly recommend flying a drone here to capture it all.
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Mbokkita Island seems to be the hub for local fishermen to come to dock their boats for a break during the day. A small community of villagers inhabit Mbokkita Island in Pulau Sombori and cater to the fisherman when they arrive.
We stopped on the island to have some nasi goreng for lunch and were kindly invited to share some lobster with some of the locals. Hands down the best lobster I have ever eaten.
The island is filled with over-water huts on bamboo stilts, each of which is painted a different color of the rainbow, and wooden decks and bridges between.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
As Sombori and Labengki are remote destinations in Indonesia, there is very limited information about these islands, in fact, this article may be the first detailed blog post you will find that is written in English.
On Little Labengki Island the only power source comes from a generator that is only switched on from 6 pm to 10 pm, so if you need to charge camera batteries, phones, and accessories, this is the only chance you will get. It’s best to have a power bank just in case.
The population of Little Labengki Island is 470 and it is inhabited by the local Bajo people, said to be the toughest fisherman in all of Indonesia. They are also very welcoming and friendly to new visitors.
Pulau Labengki is home to the world’s largest clam and also the only blue hole found in Indonesia for scuba diving. A French diver made it down the blue hole to 170 meters though it is still unknown how much deeper it goes.
There is no wifi anywhere on the island and the only service you will get is from the top of the Lighthouse if you are using a Telkomsel sim card.
The food at the accommodation is very basic and only consists of fish, rice, noodles, vegetables, and crackers for the 2 nights and 3 days tour. I recommend packing extra snacks and fruit before leaving the mainland.
There is no ATM machine on the island, though you won’t need any cash as everything is included in the tour.
WHAT TO PACK FOR PULAU SOMBORI
When visiting Sombori Islands, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:
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I hope you enjoyed reading this article about Sombori Island and I hope it inspires you to visit this wonderful region in Southeast Sulawesi while it is still untouched. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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THANKS FOR READING
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