Bara Beach Bungalows is located solidly outside the tourist district in Bira, South Sulawesi. In fact, without Stefan coming into town on his motorbike to guide us out, we’d have been hard pressed to find it, but don’t worry, we tracked the trip with our GPS so you’ll be able to drive right to it!
Stefan has picked up his father’s legacy and continues to develop his family’s little slice of heaven on the edge of the Flores Sea. With seven bungalows, arranged in an artful garden, it is an oasis of calm in what is often chaos in Indonesia.
The beach itself is idyllic
With sand so white you’ll squint on a sunny day, and water so blue that it defies description. World class snorkeling and SCUBA diving can be had right off the beach, or within a short boat ride. We were the only people on the beach while we were there, except for the occasional net fisherman morning or evening.
There is a constant breeze off of the ocean that makes the equatorial temperature pleasant. The garden is painted in pinks and yellows, purples and greens of flowers and creeping plants. Where a pool will one day sit is now a large basin of sand that the boys took as their own personal sand box and transformed into a city of roadways and hills for their cars, to the amusement of the staff.
The bungalows themselves are perfectly appointed, a blend of stone, local wood, clay tile and palm thatch. Their bathrooms are to western standards with plenty of hot running water and flush toilets. They are even air conditioned!
The food at Bara Beach Bungalows was, bar none, the best we’ve had in Indonesia. Fresh fish and seafood form the base of their menu, in addition to the traditional Indonesian offerings there are a few western dishes (the kids were happy to see some spaghetti) and even a vegetarian option! We expected, isolated so far from town, for the prices to be high, but they weren’t! The food is top notch and the costs are more than fair.
Stefan is working to create a top notch dive resort over time, and to build a clientele of discerning independent travelers. The cottage style buildings are very family friendly, and the beach lends itself perfectly to families with small children as it is very clean, and quite shallow for a long distance out. The staff is happy to arrange a boat to the facing island for a snorkeling or diving outing, and they’ll recommend a beautiful lunch cooked over a wood fire on the beach.
If you visit Bara Beach Bungalows you can expect top notch service, excellent accommodations, helpful and generous staff members. It is the perfect place to rest and relax, or to enjoy the ocean and natural environment. The pace is unhurried. What you will not find: touts on the beach, noisy cars or busy streets, early morning mosque calls to prayer, or many people. You also won’t find internet, but it works fine off of a cell phone if you have the data plan.
We’ve been in Indonesia nearly a month now, and this has been our favourite spot so far. Stefan, himself, is an enterprising young man who is working hard to build upon what his father left him. If you come to Sulawesi, you must not miss the opportunity to stay a few days on Bara Beach. It’s an unforgettable place!
Some photos to enjoy: