Indonesia has been famous for its archipelago consisting of 17,000 islands across the equator, with coastlines stretching over 90,000 kilometers and small islands dotted across the Emerald of The Equator.
Among the smaller islands in Indonesia, Wakatobi, an acronym for Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko (hence Wakatobi) in Southeast of Sulawesi is among the popular destinations in Indonesia.
These remote islands in Sulawesi Tenggara (South East of Sulawesi) holds breathtaking natural treasures to be uncovered. Surrounded by pristine coastlines, Wakatobi islands has been an underwater paradise with the second largest barrier reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Getting to Wakatobi islands is relatively easy. Wakatobi has 1 public airport on Wangi-Wangi Island, thus you can fly from Kendari or Makassar. There is also one private airport in Tomia for Wakatobi Dive Resort from Bali. There is also a ferry from Bau-Bau to Wangi-Wangi.
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When to Go: September to November and April to May are great months for diving when the sea temperature is warm. High season is from June to October for summer, but diving is perfect in September to October.
1. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Wakatobi islands has the greatest reef in the world with more than 900 species of fishes and more than 700 coral reef species. This area is also a marine national park and is celebrated as one of the best diving sites in the world.
Crystal clear water, colorful reefs, and fishes can be found all over these islands and you can find guided diving tours dotting the islands. For a more upscale experience, you can stay in dive resorts where all you need will be served as well as snorkeling and scuba diving in the best spots such as Wakatobi Dive Resort near Tomia.
2. Kahyangan Summit
In Tomia island there is Puncak Kahyangan (Kahyangan Summit), a hill with a magnificent view of grasslands. The surrounding area is lush green and is perfect for photography.
You might even get to see the surrounding islands from here. Located only 30 minutes away from the capital of East Tomia, Usuku, Kahyangan Summit is accessible by public transportation. Kahyangan Summit is also frequented by campers hunting for serene starry nights and awe-inspiring sunrises.
3. Visiting Bajo People in Wakatobi Islands
Wakatobi islands is home for Bajo Tribe, the original inhabitant of this island who’s been living in a unique lifestyle. Living near the sea their whole life, Bajo people believe that they are descendants of the sea.
They hunt on the ocean for their daily needs as well as preserving the ocean. They can dive without scuba gear into up to 50 meters at depth. The myth says that they also can survive on wooden boats floating on the sea without food supplies. Now they reside in stilt houses in Wakatobi and might be the friendliest people you have ever met.
4. Sombano Lake
Sombano Lake is truly a natural wonder in Kaledupa Island. It is a naturally formed salted-water lake in Sombano village and is a serene spot other than diving in Wakatobi islands.
The track is quite challenging though, but this might be your chance to trekking! The nuance of this place is so worth your journey to reach it. The calm and clear water contrasting with green shady trees creating a peaceful ambiance. The lake also has its unique creature which is the red shrimp. The locals consider this lake sacred, therefore they don’t swim in the lake.
5. Watching Lariangi Dance
The lariangi dance of Wakatobi’s is inspired by the ancient culture of Buton Sultanate and has been around since the 17th century. The prominent feature in the dancing is the colorful bright attire worn by the female and male dancers.
This dance has been part of national culture and the government is proposing this dance to be Indonesia’s cultural heritage to UNESCO. It combines Malay culture and the Majapahit culture, making it pride of the Wakatobi. In the past, this dance is performed to welcome honorary guests of Buton Sultanate and other sultans in Indonesia.
6. Souvenirs in Wakatobi Islands
The rich culture in Wakatobi surely is something you just can’t miss. While you travel to Wakatobi be sure to take home the iconic crafts of Wakatobi.
One of them is Homoru Sarong, a woven colorful fabric, hand made by the locals. Another icon is the coconut shell ornaments in many forms such as home décor, kitchen tools and serving plates.
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