05 January 2018
A Tranquil Island Getaway
There is a new destination developing in Southeast Sulawesi that boasts unspoiled natural beauty and is increasingly attracting travelers who are looking for an island getaway where they can escape it all.
Wakatobi, which is a regency of Southeast Sulawesi province, is actually a series of islands within a National Park area that was established in 1996. The islands comprise Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko and cover an area of 823 square kilometers. While the National Park they are within covers an area of 1.39 million hectares and is brimming with impressive marine biodiversity and coral reefs. Located right in the heart of the Asia-Pacific Coral Triangle, Wakatobi National Park is the third largest marine park in Indonesia.
With its crystal clear pristine waters and the rich bio-diverse underwater life, Wakatobi is a true paradise for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Visitors can discover unforgettable hidden treasures while exploring the breath-taking underwater world here.
If you are not a diver or snorkel, there’s still plenty of refreshing and relaxing activities to be enjoyed on land. The islands have a natural, unspoiled authenticity and numerous white sand beaches from which to gaze on the shimmering azure ocean. The areas surrounding each beach area offer a variety of leisure activities along with unique food to try and plenty of local cultures to be discovered.
A tranquil island getaway, void of traffic and pollution, Wakatobi is the ideal destination for relaxing and releasing the stress of daily life.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Makassar (Ujung Pandang) or Kendari and get a connecting flight to Wangi Wangi directly. There are also direct flights from local airlines that serve the route from Makassar and Kendari to Wangi Wangi.
You can also fly to Bau Bau (Buton Island) and find a boat to one of Wakatobi’s islands.
PLACES TO VISIT
On the island of Wangi-Wangi, there is a community of people that are truly unique in their lifestyle and history. Residing in the village of Mola, the ethnic Bajo tribe live in traditional floating houses and believe that they are direct descendants of the sea. With the aid of a local guide, visitors can enjoy the privilege of a tour of the canals where these unique people live and gain a glimpse into their way of life.
Located on Wangi Island, this pine tree lined beach with its pure white sand and clear blue seawater is the perfect place to relax and swim. The beach is just a short 15 km drive away from Wangi city.
Thanks to the resident sea turtles, Anano Beach has become a very popular destination. Here visitors can enjoy the incredible experience of observing turtles in their natural habitat. This white sandy beach and its bay is home to two types of sea turtles, Honu (green turtles) and Koila (hawksbill turtles). During the full moon, the green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the early hours of the morning.
Sombano Lake is located in the village of Sombano on Kaledupa island. This clear saltwater lake is surrounded by a vast, dense, green mangrove forest. In addition to the enchanting mangrove trees, the lake is also surrounded by a variety of beautiful orchids and fragrant pandanus plants.
WHAT TO DO
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
Without a doubt, the number one attraction of Wakatobi is the amazing marine diversity and reefs which attract scuba divers and snorkel enthusiasts from all over the world. With over 750 different species of coral and 942 species of fish, Wakatobi is the second largest barrier reef in the world and encompasses a spectacular 1.4 million hectares - 900,000 of which is tropical coral reefs. According to Wonderful Indonesia, the famous French underwater explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau named Wakatobi as the finest diving site in the world. He called this magnificent place of natural beauty an ‘underwater nirvana’.
Kasuami is Wakatobi’s local dish and should not be missed. Made from grated cassava pulp which is shaped into a cone then paired with fried onions, grilled fish, and colo-colo chili, it is usually served as a substitute for rice.
A delicious fish soup made from fresh sea water fish cooked with sautéed onions, lemongrass, turmeric and chili peppers. This food is typically eaten by locals for special occasions but tourists can try it at any time of the year.
This traditional grilled sticky rice is made with onions and coconut milk. The rice is then wrapped with bamboo leaves and inserted into a bamboo trunk to be grilled on top of an open flame. The simple flavor and unique cooking technique make this a wonderful culinary dish to experience.