The charms of Cape Bongo, the ‘Raja Ampat’ of Halmahera

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30 boats are available to bring tourists to Tanjung Bongo. (photo: IO/Dessy)

IO, Halmahera – Indonesia is known for its thousands of islands, each with its own special attraction. There is an up-and-coming tourist area in North Halmahera nowadays: Cape Bongo, lo­cated in Pune Village, Galela District, North Halmahera Regency.

Starting off from Tobelo in North Halmahera Regency, it will take you 30 minutes by land to reach Cape Bongo, while you can go directly from Gamar­malamo Airport, Galela, in only 15 min­utes. You can reach Cape Bongo by mo­torbike or car. Or leave Galela Port, Pune Village, by boat: a return trip to/from Cape Bongo costs a mere Rp 20,000.00. The 10-passenger motor boat is known as a “motoris” here in Galela Port, while a simple boat with an outboard motor is called a “katinting”.

As you cross the seas, you may enjoy the blue deeps and the lush, green tiny islands along the way. Cape Bongo has 2 exceptionally lovely view spots: Pintu Tulae and Sosolo. For the locals, Cape Bongo is like a miniature Raja Ampat. Seen from up high, with its clear blue water dotted with irregular stony is­lands that the locals call the “Doro So­mola”, Cape Bongo does resemble the lovely region of Wayag or Painemo in the Regency of Raja Ampat.

On arrival at Cape Bongo, tour­ists brave enough to climb tall vol­canic rocks will allow them to take breath-taking pictures of the sea and surrounding islands. From the top, you can see tiny islands that are nothing but sturdy stones covered in small trees – just like the islands in Raja Ampat. Apart from great photo­graphic opportunities, the seas here are also excellent for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts, swimming or just splashing around and scaring the fish.

The main disadvantage of Cape Bon­go is that food sellers do not work on weekdays – they only sell their wares on Sundays or national holidays. We thus suggest that all incoming tourists pack sufficient foodstuffs and drinks, or stock up at Galela Port, where sellers offer typical Halmahera snacks, such as mulu bebe fried bananas or boiled corn, as well as various kinds of drinks.

(Dessy Aipipidely)