The popular yet remote diving destination of Selayar, located just off the coast of South Sulawesi, is now easier to reach, thanks to Garuda Indonesia’s new route connecting the island to Makassar on the mainland. The national flag carrier’s new flights add to its existing service in South Sulawesi, which includes three weekly flights to Palopo from Makassar.
Garuda’s new Makassar-Selayar route was officially opened on Monday, 16th April 2018. The service is available three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and is serviced by ATR 72-600 aircraft, accommodating a total of 70 passengers per flight. The GA 7856 flight departs from Makassar at 2:10 p.m. local time and arrives in Selayar at 3 p.m, while the return GA 7857 flight departs from Selayar at 3:35 p.m. and lands in Makassar at 4:15 p.m.
“Selayar has a lot of potential in tourism, especially marine tourism […] such as Taka Bonerate National Park,” said Garuda’s marketing and IT director, Nina Sulistyowati, in a statement to the Jakarta Post this week. “Hopefully, this new service can ease access for visitors looking to reach the destination,” she continued.
Selayar is an area that is growing in popularity with international tourists, thanks to its reputation as a premier dive location. Sites within reach of Selayar include Pulau Kambing (Goat island), home to white-tipped and black-tipped sharks, bumhead parrotfishes, scorpionfishes, cuttlefish, octopus and the zebra batfish; Selayar Atoll, featuring a 16-metre sandy drop-off where divers can spot sea slugs, napoleon fishes, pipe fishes and Dugong; and Selayar East, featuring pelagic fishes and sometimes manta rays.
Taka Bonerate Park was added to the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2015.