Once upon a time, in late February, we visited Selayar island, a 2 hours drive with Ferry from Bira, Sulawesi. Me and my (ex) boyfriend expected to have beautiful adventure in Selayar. In general, Selayar is a small island that separated from South Sulawesi with total area is 2000 km² which lays from Sulawesi island until Takabonerate island. People who lives in Selayar is come from many races and places from Sulawesi, for instance from Makassar, Bugis, Mandar.
Go to Selayar by Ferry from Bira. During to bad weather, we can not predict what time the ferry departed.
Beautiful view from Benteng to city center.
Instead, at the first time we arrived, we were so uncomfortable with so many rubbish we see along the way. It just gave me a big shock how can those rubbish gather in one place, mostly close to the beach. My local friend told us, it was rubbish brought by the wind from Java, Kalimantan and Sumatera islands. That was really heartbreaking to see it. First, those local people who didn’t do littering that much, need to face those bad view and effect during the wet-season, while the second reason, this condition will be a minus for Selayar in tourist’s eyes.
Rubbish in everywhere! I can’t believe it!!
I can honestly admit that Selayar has lots of potential for being a good spot for tourist. Not merely it’s a place distance away with Takabonerate, the famous Island for diving in South Sulawesi, but also because Selayar itself have many beautiful beaches for snorkeling and diving as well. We also expected to be able to explore Selayar while we are there. Once when we were there, so many people look at us in different way – because one taller white guy walk around, many say hi to him and ask to be photo together. I was laughing every time we encounter that kind of situation.
An heroic symbol of heroes in Selayar.
Children happily play around the port.
Sunset in Selayar…
But the story had a different ending for us.
In one night when we were sleeping early because tomorrow morning we wanna do lots of activities as snorkeling and visit some beaches, our door suddenly knocking so hard. We were so shock and jumping from the bed. Then 3 men came to insist to come inside the room. They asked to see our identity. We were insisted to show to them since it wasn’t polite to knock a guest room in the middle of the night. If they want to checked our identity, they should do it in the beginning when we first check in. Therefore, they also didn’t have any official permit to do it. This condition made us feeling unsafe and we decide to leave the island tomorrow morning.
I still remember in the morning, when we told about this bad situation to my local friend, he report the inconvenient to Kapolres (a police leader in Selayar). We were invited by him to his office to discuss about the problem. He said it was the first time that kind of case happened to a guest in Selayar. He tried to assure us to stay and comfort us that he will take care about our security and no need to worry about those guys. The thing is, we were not feeling so comfortable anymore so we still decided to leave after thank him for his offering and kindness.
That’s the thing about developing tourism sector. You need to make your guest feel comfortable to stay in your place, otherwise, no one will come or even say good things about the place they visited.
We were actually feel fine while walk around, many locals shouted to my boyfriend and ask to take a picture with him.
I think, Selayar needs to improve their condition, because the tourism potentials exist already, only they need to manage it in good way. By our short conversation with Kapolres, he explained to us how he likes to make Selayar as tourist choice destination as well. Not merely as a transit place for those who want to come to Takabonerate. Yes true, if you want to come to Takabonerate, you need to transit in Selayar and change with another boat. He was so upset with the bad experience we encountered. He loves to diver too and has a big dream for Selayar, so I can understand why he was disappointed because 2 of guest in Selayar just decided to leave after 1 day arrived, rather than spending holiday there for 3-4 days as our plan before.
We were going to leaving the place without exploring it. A bit sad actually 😦
Knowing that I like to write and promote to the world about Indonesia through my blog, he asked me whether I am able to bring news about Selayar to the world and how their effort to build the tourism in Selayar. Actually, I am a bit surprised because it’s not their job to build the tourism in Selayar or set an eye about it and they do some cool activities to build the awareness about how tourism is important to build the town. Until the local tourism department makes a move, maybe it’s a good start to make Selayar known by the world.
I said to him, I will do my best. I wish by writing it here in my blog, at least people will know about this tiny island better and will appreciate it. Don’t let my bad experience lead you in fear to visit the island, because I believe the island has lots of beautiful places to offer. You can enjoy your relax holiday here or just stop for few days to explore the island before you go to Takabonerate. I believe you won’t regret it. More about Selayar you can search later by hashtag “Selayar” in this blog.
The travel and tourism industry is the lifeblood of many places around the country. Build it wisely.
For now, please looking forward for another news about Selayar in this blog.