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Not to be confused with Babau.
Official seal of Bau-Bau
Country Indonesia
Province Southeast Sulawesi
Founded 1541
 • Total 306 km2 (118 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 137,118
Time zone WITA (UTC+8)
Area code(s) +62 402
Bau-Bau is located in Sulawesi
Location of Bau-Bau on Sulawesi map.

Bau-Bau or Bau-bau (Indonesian: Kota Bau-bau) is the main city on Buton island, Indonesia. Bau-Bau reached the city status on 21 June 2001, based on the Indonesian law number 13, year 2001. A port called Murhum serves the city sea transportation with a ferry terminal (jetty) operated by the Indonesian state-owned sealiner, Pelni.


During the fifteenth century (1401—1499), Bau-Bau was the center of the Buton (or Wolio) kingdom.[citation needed] There were no historical records known from this kingdom, except from a description in the Nagarakretagama text, an Old Javanese eulogy written by Mpu Prapanca during the Majapahit Kingdom. Mpu Prapanca described a village called Buton or Butuni with its garden and irrigation system, and there was a king who ruled in the area.

The kingdom of Buton firstly established by Mia Patamiana, a four musketeer acted as a chieftain. The four musketeer were known as Sipanjonga, Simalui, Sitamanajo and Sijawangkati, based on a historical record Semenanjung Tanah Melayu (or the Malay peninsula record) written in the thirteenth century.[citation needed] They arrived on the island and founded a village called Wolio and appointed small district leaders known as Limbo. Later, they united into the kingdom of Buton and appointed Wa Kaa Kaa as the first queen in 1332; she was the wife of one of descendants of the Majapahit ruler.[citation needed]

In 1542, the kingdom of Buton transformed itself into sultanate when Islam entered the area.[citation needed] The first sultan of Buton was Lakilaponto, entitled as the Sultan Murhum Kaimuddin Khalifatul Khamis. The last sultan (the 38th) was Muhammad Falihi Kaimuddin in 1960.


Geographically, Bau-bau lies between lattitute 5.21°S–5.33°S and longitude 122.30°E–122.47°E, or lies on the southern part of south east Sulawesi region. Bau-Bau is bordered to the north by the Buton Strait, to the east by the Kapontori District, to the south by the Pasarwajo District and to the west by the Kadatua District. The area of the city is about 220 km2,[citation needed] with the sea area around 30–km2

The topographical condition of Bau-Bau mainly consists of mountain and hills. Long coasts and long hills stretch above the surrounding terrain with the variation of altitude between 0–100 meters above mean sea level. Bau-bau has land slope between 8–30%.

As for other Indonesian cities, Bau-Bau observes tropical weather. The day and night temperature varies around 29 to 33 Celsius during daytime and 20 to 29 Celsius during nighttime. The ecosystems consist of rain forests, spiny forests and desert.


The city is divided into seven districts (kecamatan), tabulated below with their 2010 Census population.[1]

Name Population
Census 2010[2]
Betoambari 16,283
Murhum 45,150
Wolio 37,974
Kokalukuna 16,736
Sorawolio 7,122
Bungi 7,096
Lea-Lea 6,630

The city was previously divided into just 4 districts; Betoambari (then including Murhum) had an area of 34.34 km2; Wolio (then including Kokalukuna) had an area of 26.77 km2; Sorawolio had an area of 82.25 km2; and Bungi (then including Lea-Lea) had an area of 76.64 km2.


The population of the city is 137,118 as of the decennial census 2010[3] consisting mainly of the Butonese, Buginese, Moluccans, Javanese, and Sundanese people. It is the 2nd largest city in the province after the capital, Kendari. The city economy lies on the service industry such as hotel (30%), trade (20%) with mostly sea trade, agricultural (20%) with main coconut production, and the rest are in public transportation business. Bau-Bau is also a major fishing center in Sulawesi area producing trepang (sea cucumber).


Port Murhum serves the city, and also the island's main access for transportation. Direct sea connections include Jakarta and Kendari. The following passenger ships of the Indonesian state-owned sealiner company PT Pelni serve Bau-Bau: KM Bukit Siguntang, KM Ciremai, KM Dorolonda, KM Kelimutu, KM Sinabung, and KM Lambelu (2008 sailing schedule).

The city is served by Betoambari Airport, where connections are available to Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport near Makassar, South Sulawesi.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  2. ^ Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 

Coordinates: 5°28′00″S 122°37′59″E / 5.46667°S 122.633°E / -5.46667; 122.633