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Experience the 4 Unforgettable Islands of Wakatobi

 

WA stands for Wangi-wangi; KA is for Kaledupa; TO for Tomia; and BI for Binongko, and what do you get when you put all names of the islands together? The ultimate tropical paradise that lies at the heart of the world's precious Coral Triangle, this is WAKATOBI!


Image by: Rahman Kabuik/Dive Indonesia

Situated on the most south eastern edge off the coast of South East Sulawesi Province (just below the ‘right, or eastern leg' of Sulawesi Island), the entire regency of Wakatobi Islands is a marine national park that is blessed with abundant and magnificent underwater wonders.


Photo source: Indonesia.travel

Surprisingly, the wonders of Wakatobi do not only lie below the surface of its vast waters but also on the islands, in the cultural traditions of its friendly people. From turtles gliding gracefully over the open waters, soft pearly white sandy beaches and relaxing breezes, to traditional forts and historical legacies of ancient kings and rulers, below we spell out some of the most fascinating wonders of Wakatobi to be your next holiday destination:

 

1 | Wangi - wangi: Gateway to the Wonders of Wakatobi


Photo source: Indonesia.travel

Whether you are a skilled diver, occasional snorkeler, or just a laid-back traveler, the adventure of Wakatobi begins here. Commercial flights fly to and from Matahora Airport on this island make it the perfect gateway to explore all the wonders of Wakatobi. Watching the sun rise majestically over the horizon while dolphins swim and jump around your boat could not be a better start to your adventure. You can rent a boat at the Sombu or Mola Harbor that will take you around Kapota Cape to see these exceptional attractions. This close encounter with playful sea creatures out in their own habitat is truly a one of a kind sensation. On this dolphin watching adventure you will also see a unique collaboration between dolphins and local fishermen who use kites to fish for tuna. The fishermen notice where the dolphins are swimming and go to these spots since they know that this is where dolphins feed on tuna.


Photo source: Indonesia.travel

Wangi-wangi is also where you can find a number of resorts that offer a pleasant stay as well as a complete adventure around the islands. One of these is the Patuno Wakatobi Resort located about 10 minutes from the airport. The resort stretches along a vast white sandy beach, that is ideal for sunbathing, snorkeling, strolling along, or for that nice impromptu night barbecue. There are also a number of dive sites that can be reached from the resort.

Another great spot you should not miss here is the Liya Togo traditional Village. Located about 15Km from the heart of the island, Liya Togo traditional village is where local inhabitants live in the simplicity of wooden stilt houses and well preserved traditions from the glorious era of the Liya vassal Kingdom. Here, aside from observing old forts, you can see how the women weave traditional fabrics (tenun) and prepare traditional food and snacks.

 

2 | Kaledupa (and Hoga): Timeless Serenity


Photo source: Indonesia.travel

Surrounded by mangrove forests and coconut trees, the island of Kaledupa boasts a quiet and calmer atmosphere compared to the other islands. The total tranquility is especially felt at the nearby Hoga Island which is the center for scientific and research undertaken by Operation Wallacea. Boasting crystal clear water, pristine soft white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, and nothing but the sound of waves rushing to the shore, this is best as its gets in terms of a perfect getaway. There are two resorts on this small island: Hoga Dive Resort and Hoga Island Dive Resort. Electricity is available only from 6.00 pm to 12.00 pm, but then again it's a small price to pay for such an exquisite natural luxury. Hoga Channel and ‘The ridge' near Hog are also among some of the best diving spots in Wakatobi.

Off the coast of Kaledupa, you can also visit the unique Bajo Sampela village built on the water by the Baj ethnic group who are better known as the ‘sea gipsies'. Known as a community that has a special attachment to the sea, the Bajo can be found all over the Indonesian archipelago and even abroad, while at the Bajo Sampela village, you can observe how these legendary sea people live their unique life on houses built on stilts in the middle of the sea. Stepping onto the village, you will be greeted with big smiles and enthusiastic children,with an exceptional ambience rarely found elsewhere.

On the main island of Kaledupa, you can visit the Pajam Village which is said to be the oldest village in Wakatobi. Made up of two ‘sub-villages': Palea and Jamraka, Pajam is well known for its long tradition of hand-woven textiles. The village produces some of the best quality tenun or hand-woven textiles such as sarongs, scarfs, and more. Another special feature of the village is Wakatobi's own distinct martial art of Pencak Silat. Passed down through generations, even the youth of the village until today continue to preserve this special tradition. Those who wish to explore deep into the mangrove forests can go to the Limbo Langgae Village. As you cruise among the lush mangrove vegetation, you can try and take a bite of the sea grapes (Caulerpalentillifera) that are often found near the roots of mangroves.

 

3 | Tomia: Diver's Delight


Image by: Rahman Kabuik/Dive Indonesia

The Third Island of Wakatobi, Tomia has been a famous dive site for more than 10 years. With over 40 dive sites that have been named and mapped with easy access to most of them, the island of Tomia has already established its name among divers worldwide. Among the many, Roma's Reef is a must among veteran divers as a challenging yet beautiful site. Almost resembling a big city, Roma's reef is very busy with vibrant underwater life. Here, you can find schools of Giant Trevalleys, sea snakes coming up from the sea floor, turtles gliding by majestically, as well as various colorful fish dancing among the soft corals. The privately funded Marine Preserve in Tomia, the Wakatobi Dive Resort offers exclusive packages including direct flights from Bali to the resort's private airstrip.

Beyond its waters, Tomia also offers a great overland adventure. The warm greetings of the local people will welcome you at the Patua Fort. The fort is considered the largest among similar fortresses found throughout the islands that once served not only to provide protection against invaders but also as the center of the settlement. What made this unique, is that the fort here (as well as other forts throughout the islands) are not built in European style with high cemented walls, but instead, the structures are made from piles of coral rocks that are distinct to the region. Aside from the fort, the local villagers also have a very unique attraction of climbing up the stairs on traditional bamboo stilts. How's that for a skill?

On the other side of the island, Kulati Village with its vast stretching white sandy beaches and breathtaking coastal sceneries spell perfect serenity away from all the hustle and bustle of a modern city. The perfect way to end your day is to gaze upon the spectacular sunset from the top of Kahianga Peak.

 

4 | Binongko: The Island of Blacksmiths


Photo source: Indonesia.travel

Binongko, the Bi or the last syllable of Wakatobi , and the furthest island of the group, offers its own special experiences. Again you will be greeted with the warm hospitality and friendliness of the local people. A lovely traditional welcoming dance is performed by a group of young girls accompanied by the traditional gambus music when a group of tourists visit the island. Binongko is actually the reason why the islands were once known as ‘Tukang Besi'. Simply translated, TukangBesi means iron workers or blacksmiths. And Binongko is the island where you can find these really skilled blacksmiths. Here you can observe how steel is forged, shaped, and sharpened using traditional techniques that have been passed on down generations. Many even consider that knives and parang (machetes) produced on Binongko are the best in Indonesia. Off its shores, Binongko also offers excellent snorkeling and diving experiences with plenty of magnificent underwater splendors to enjoy.


Photo source: Indonesia.travel

So, no matter whether you are in for the ultimate dive sensation, the dreamy serene getaway, or to experience the amazing life of its friendly people, Wakatobi undeniable spells the perfect adventure. Therefore, set the date, get ready your gear, and prepare for a truly amazing experience. Paradise awaits at Wakatobi!

For more information, log on to: http://www.wakatobitourism.com/

 

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