The capital city of Southeast Sulawesi, Kendari is slowly crafting its name as a travel destination. As one of the largest cities in the region, this former Dutch colonial city provides the right amenities and facilities for all leisure visitors. Directly facing Kendari Bay, with verdant mountains as its backdrop, expect to experience nature-themed activities. Here are the things you can do when visiting Kendari.
1. Walk along the peaceful shore of Taipa Beach
While most beaches in Indonesia can attract massive crowds, the beaches in and around Kendari still enjoy some solitude and that “hidden gem” appeal. One of these gems is Taipa Beach, in Lembo District, a beach you can visit and spend at least day with its number of activities, from swimming its calm and crystal clear water to walking along its 3 kilometer (1.9 mile) shore.
Fun doesn’t end at this white sand beach. Climb the cliff and discover another hidden beach, while getting an awesome view of Taipa. This beach is also famous for an endemic bird called the maleo. These birds bury their eggs in the sand and you might get lucky to witness this wonderful occurrence!
Address: Konawe Utara, Kendari, Indonesia
2. Watch the sunset at Nambo Beach
If you don’t want to go far from the city center, visit Nambo Beach, instead. This 300 meter (984.3 foot) beach is only 15 minutes from Kendari and a great place to enjoy Indonesia’s beaches without traveling too far off-the-beaten-path.
The water is calm and thus, safe for those with children. If you want some action, you can trek the hills or go snorkeling. And you don’t have to get wet when at Nambo Beach – feel free to enjoy the sea breeze as you gaze upon the shore or stay until late afternoon and watch the golden sunset.
Address: JL. Garuda, Abeli, Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia
3. Find ultimate adventure on Labengki Island
A must-visit when in Southeast Sulawesi, Labengki Island is highly accessible from Kendari. Locally called Pulau Labengki, it only takes an hour to get here from the city, by boat. Once on Labengki, enjoy and marvel at this captivating paradise, with its white sand beaches, secret coves, verdant hills, rock formations, and its crystal clear water.
Labengki is a group of islands with some 20 unnamed islands. Home to less than 500 inhabitants, Labengki lets visitors enjoy that castaway experience. Enjoy camping under the coconut trees, or go boating, diving, and kayaking – these are just some of the things to do on Labengki Island. A must visit is its Red Sand Beach and the famous Lover’s Cove – a semi-heart shaped lagoon.
Address: Labengki Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Website: Labengki Island
4. Discover a new destination called Bokori Island
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Bokori Island is one of the latest travel destinations, developed by together by the Departments of Tourism, Public Works, Transportation, Forestry, Food Security, and Marine and Fisheries, who have poured funds into the region, to provide amenities and facilities for future tourists. The locals have patronized Bokori, for many years as an outdoor playground. The unique feature of the islands is the wide white sand beach, providing space to lounge and bask in the sun.
Located in Soropia District, visitors can enjoy banana boat rides and even jet skiing. Other activities include climbing the hills to get a nice view of the beach as well as visiting a local Bajo village.
Address: Palau Bokori, Kendari
Website: Bokori Island
5. Relaxing at Wawolesea Hot Spring
Hot springs are not rare in a country like Indonesia but what makes Wawolesea Hot Springs a little special is that it isn’t freshwater, like most hot springs, but saltwater. Imagine a beachfront but with small layered pools of warm water - you can even see the white sulfuric residue on the pools.
Take a dip and enjoy the benefits. The pools are shallow but deep enough to fully cover your body, as you lie down. Because of this, kids and even the elderly who can benefit more from the sulfuric remedies brought by these hot springs, visit Wawolesea. Completing the beautiful scene are the limestone mountains in the area, serving as a backdrop.
Wawolesea Hot Spring
Address: North Konawe Regency, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia
6. Bathe with the fairies at Moramo Waterfalls
Not to be missed when in Kendari is a trip to the magnificent falls of Moramo. Located 65 kilometers (40.4 miles) from Kendari, within the Tanjung Peropa Nature Reserve Region, Moramo is blessed with seven levels of cascading waterfalls, in the midst of Indonesia’s lush jungle. Moramo is believed to be where fairies bathe, as they descend from the heavens.
It only takes 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of walking to reach these beyond-wonderful waterfalls. Admire their beauty, commune with nature or go for a swim - the second level is reserved for swimming.
Address: Ulusena, Moramo, Ulusena, Konawe Selatan, Kabupaten Konawe Selatan, Sulawesi Tenggara 93891, Indonesia
Website: Moramo Waterfalls
7. Eat local food
What to eat when in Kendari? From Indonesian dishes to local delicacies, enjoy and taste the local cuisine while visiting the city. Visit restaurants like Rumah Makan Angkasa Nikmat and enjoy the various local cuisine. On top of the list is the popular chicken satay - chicken skewer with marinated meat served in peanut sauce. Ikan Bakar is grilled fish, though it literally means “burned fish” and is a classic Indonesian dish of charcoal-grilled seafood, served with soy sauce.
Sinonggi is a must-taste when in Kendari because it is a local dish. Made as a substitute for rice, Sinonggi is made of sago flour, mixed into a sticky broth-like creation. The sticky food is served in smaller bowls, then meat and vegetables are added. Sinonggi is meant to be eaten right away and is a part of Kendari socialization.
Rumah Makan Angkasa Nikmat Restaurant
Address: Jl. By Pass Kendari, Indonesia
8. Shop for handicrafts
Who would leave a destination without buying some souvenirs? When in Kendari, look for crafts made by local artisans with skills passed down from one generation to another. Top handicrafts in the city are those made from ironwood and teak – which grows abundantly in Southeast Sulawesi. Kendari is also famous for silver handicrafts and you can buy small trinkets and accessories or home decor like tea sets. Kendari craftsmen can create pieces with the most intricate designs.
Address: Kendari City, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia
An emerging top destination
Indonesia is more than just Bali and Kendari is one of the places you need to explore. With its natural attractions, from hot springs to white sand beaches, Kendari is no doubt one of the best places to visit, in Indonesia.
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