Stephanie Brookes en Lifestyle, Travel, Writers Travel Writer • Travel Writer Freelance 9/11/2017 · 3 min de lectura · +400

Exploring The Butterfly Bounty In Buton

Exploring The Butterfly Bounty In Buton

Exploring obscure islands in Indonesia can bring the traveller face-to-face with extraordinary travel experiences. Luckily, expats can now take advantage of the incredible Indonesian air network to access smaller regional centres and relatively remote destinations. Stephanie Brookes describes a recent journey to the stunning rainforests of Buton, alive with colourful butterflies.

Buton Island is located off the southeast peninsula of Sulawesi, near the gateway to the famous diving area of Wakatobi. It is also an island that seldom gets visitors; so why did I go? I try to visit new places at least once a year. I liked the name Buton and–in all the thirteen years I have spent travelling the islands of Indonesia–I had never met anyone who had gone. So that was a good enough reason for me.

My journey to Buton started in Jakarta where I boarded an 8:00 am flight, arriving in Buton in the early afternoon. I met my guide Fernandes at the air terminal who explained about the many languages spoken on the island.  “Many people speak Wolio,” he said, “but only three kilometres away from this airport they speak Cia-Cia language, and thirty-five kilometres away they speak Lasalimu and Kumbewaha.” He went on to explain, “Each of Buton’s seven languages belongs to a different ethnic group–each one with its own traditional music, culture, dance and rituals which are honoured throughout the year.”

As I headed out of Bau-Bau, I was surprised to see a Balinese cremation procession in progress. We passed many split-gated compounds, which were carved with traditional Balinese artwork. A long line of Balinese people in colourful costumes snaked along the road towards the ocean. My guide remarked, “Balinese is another language spoken here. The Balinese came here as part of President Suharto’s transmigration program.”

The drive from Bau-Bau to the highlands started with a long scenic stretch of coastal beaches before we made our way up into the mountains. My destination was the Lamusango Forest, which is famous for its butterflies. On the way, we passed through fertile farmlands where fields of corn and cassava swayed in the breeze. It brought to mind the Javanese epic poem written by Buddhist Monk Mpu Prapanca, which dates back to the fifteenth century and the days of the Majapahit Kingdom.

The poem describes Buton as an island with rich gardens and a sophisticated irrigation system.

We passed a patchwork of fields full of sweet potatoes, cotton, coconut, and betel. Pineapple and banana plantations dotted the horizon. Fernandes explained that this product makes its way to the bustling Bau-Bau market on a daily basis. “ We can visit the market later,” he said,