Indonesia is a paradise country with thousands of marine parks. Exotic coral reefs and fishes in any colors are living in harmony under the sea. Many people, especially divers, would come across countries just to grab the chance to explore the breath taking underwater panorama and be the witness of wonderful marine ecosystem.
Wakatobi Islands is another choice for that kind of experience. With large area and lots of pristine islands, this tourism destination is highly popular for both domestic and international tourists. Wakatobi National Marine Park covers the entire area of Wakatobi District. It is located on the Province of South East Sulawesi.
The name Wakatobi is taken from the initials of its four largest islands; Wangi-Wangi Island, Kaledupa Island, Tomia Island, and Binongko Island. Wakatobi is also famous by the name “Kepulauan Tukang Besi” which means “the Archipelago of Smith”. This explains the culture of local people where most of the men are smiths and iron goods vendors.
How to Get There
Wangi – Wangi Island is the only island in Wakatobi that has an airport. So this is your only gate to enter Wakatobi if you choose to travel by plane. Matahora Airport on Wangi – Wangi Island only serves flights from Kendari and Makassar. There are two airlines that serve these routes. Express Air serves daily flight and Merpati Air only flies twice a week for each route.
To reach Kendari, you can fly with Batavia Air from Jakarta City everyday at 02.45 in early morning. It will land on Kendari at 06.15 and will fly back to Jakarta at 07.00. There is a time difference between Jakarta and Kendari so make sure to reset your watch to avoid missed schedule. The total trip from Jakarta to Wakatobi will take about six hours.
Makassar, on the other hand, is much easier to reach than Kendari so most tourist will take this route to Wangi – Wangi Island instead of the Kendari route. Makassar has an international airport that accommodates flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Jakarta, Bali Island, Surabaya, Balikpapan, Manado, and other major cities in Indonesia.
Other choice of transportation to reach Wakatobi is to get a flight to Bau – Bau. The flights are available daily from Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya. From Bau – Bau, you can get a boat and sail to Wakatobi.
If you are already at Bali, you can also use the service from Wakatobi Dive Resorts. They can manage chartered flights for the passengers from Bali. The flight will take you from Bali directly to Tomia Island of Wakatobi. They even have their own airstrip to accommodate such flights. If you own a private jet, you can fly it to Wakatobi Dive Resort by contacting them first. For further information and flight reservation, please visit www.wakatobi.com.
Where to Stay
In Wakatobi, you can find any kind of accommodations, from luxury resort to cheap homestays. You can even stay in a luxury yacht and keep floating above the sea if you want. Here are some choices of accommodations that you can book during your stay in Wakatobi:
- Wakatobi Dive Resorts
Located on Tomia Island, Wakatobi Dive Resort is probably the most luxury accommodation available in Wakatobi. The resort offers choices of room from villas to bungalow with the price ranging from $315.
The resort also offers you to stay the night at exclusive rooms in their sophisticated Pelagian Yacht. The rooms are available from standard cabin to master suite with the price ranging from $315.
Wakatobi Dive Resorts also accommodates chartered flight from Bali, individual charter flight, and even a private jet supports such as permit, handling, and other inquiries.
- Patuna Resorts
Patuna Resort is located on Wangi – Wangi Island. It has about 40 rooms with mid-high facilities. This resort is very strategic as it is pretty close to several amazing diving site. The rooms are available in four choices with the price ranging from $76.
Looking for budgeted accommodations? Here is the list you need to check out:
- Nita Sari at Jalan Kemakmuran 34, Wanci , Waktobi. Telephone: +62 404 21636
- Gajah Mada II at Jalan Kemakmuran 82, Wanci, Wakatobi. Telephone: +62 404 21527
- Jelly dan Setiana at Jalan Samburaka 77, Pongo, Wakatobi. Telephone: +62 404 21112
- Lamongan at Jalan Merdeka 5, Pongo, Wakatobi. Telephone: +62 404 21017
How to Get Around
Once you are in Wakatobi, you will be wondering of how are you going to move from one island to another, how to transport from one place to another. Well, to transport in the island, you can rent a motorcycle or car. You can also use the service from the resort you are staying at.
And as for the move from island to island, there are several choices for that:
- If you book your accommodation at the Pelagian Yacht of Wakatobi Dive Resort, you do not need to worry about in-area transportation as the yacht will sail to every spot you wish to visit.
- You can also get on a public ferry that sails from one island to another in Wakatobi. This ferry sails from and to the four main islands of Wakatobi with different schedule. Make sure to know the schedule as soon as you get to Wakatobi as it might be very useful.
- Speedboat is available both for rent and for public transportation. This kind of boat is available at the port at Pangulubelo Village. For public transportation, you need to pay only $6.5 per person per trip.
- Traditional wooden boat would be a nice choice for more ethnical tourism experience in Wakatobi. Similar to speedboat, you can get on it as public transportation or to rent it for your personal use. The price is cheaper but the speed is almost twice slower than speedboat. For a public trip, you only need to pay $3.75 per person. This kind of boat is available at the port on Mola Village.
Wakatobi is nestled right in the middle of the Asia Pacific Coral Triangle. This advantage causes the object to have highest diversity of coral reef ecosystem in the world. At this marine park, you can find about 750 species of coral reefs underwater.
For your information, there are total about 850 species of coral reefs in the entire world. This number is far higher than other famous diving sites in the world such as Caribbean Sea that has only 50 species of coral reef and Egyptian Red Sea that has only 300 species of it.
Wakatobi National Marine Park covers the area of 1,400,000 hectares. The coral reef area alone covers up to 90,000 hectares. This fact makes the national park to be the second largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Wakatobi consists of 143 islands, but only 7 of them are inhabitant. Around the islands, there are more than 50 exotic diving sites that can take your breath away with each of their amazing panorama and biodiversity. There are about 942 species of fishes can be found underwater the Wakatobi sea.
There are many fun activities that you can do in Wakatobi. Besides that, the islands also have some other unique attractions that you do not want to miss. Therefore, you need to also read our next article where we would provide more information regarding Wakatobi National Marine Park.