For the second time this year I had a chance to visit another underwater paradise of Indonesia, Wakatobi. The beautiful coral reefs and fish belong to the National Park of Wakatobi, which stretches around the four main island that make its name: WAngi-wangi, KAledupa, TOmia, and BInongko. The four islands of Wakatobi and their surrounding xxx islands also a new administrative area under the province of South-East Sulawesi. Wakatobi’s capital and main airport is in Wangi-wangi Island, around 1,5 hour flight from Makassar- if you take Wings air from Makassar its got a short stop over in Kendari, the province capital. A foreigner-managed resort is located in Tomia Island, accessible by a chartered flight from Bali.

I stayed at Patuno Hotel and Resort around 20 mins from the airport, Matahora. The resort is along a beach facing east, a perfect spot for sunrise lovers. The bungalows are designed to look like traditional houses; elevated wooden coupled rooms. Hot water and air condition are available in every room. After some 20-s bungalow along the beach, you can find the hotel. The dining room is near the reception lounge in front of the area. You have to walk for about a 1-3 mins to get to the reception lounge/dining depending on where your room is. The staff are friendly, but you have to be very firm and clear on making appointment if you decide to rent the snorkeling/diving equipment from the resort, including if you want to get a boat to get to a snorkeling site or not [We were told that we would get a boat to get to a snorkeling site, but instead we were taken by car to Sombu!]

There are several snorkeling/diving sites around the island. But since I had limited time, I only visited two of them: Sombu and a spot 5 mins away from Cemara beach by boat. The second is so much more recommended than the first one. Its only 10 min- drive from the resort and we can rent snorkeling/diving equipment on the beach. Boat and guide are also available for another 350000 IDR [travel in group, then it would be less costly!]. The spot has a wide variety of coral reefs and colorful fish. My friend even saw a sea snake/eel! Sombu is another spot on the island, around 15-min drive from the resort. The spot has a pier-like construction accessible for cars with an area for a limited space for parking, and you can get to the water from the ladder near the parking area. Other snorkeling/diving sites are available in other islands, but you have to stay on those island at least 1 night [or two to enjoy the seapark] because ferries from Wangi-wangi depart in early afternoon while ferries back to the island are in the morning.

I found the price in Wangi-wangi island are almost of no difference with prices in big cities in Java. I ate at two of the most well-know place to eat there: Aiqzi and Wisata. You have to try the Parende menu (Fish yellow soup) with Kasuami (cone-shaped grated-then-wrung cassava), the locals traditional dish. These places also have tasty fried calamari. My last dinner was in a newly open restaurant/café called Wasabi – a very recommended place to enjoy sunset. It is built on a different (rock) island, connected by wooden bridge. The café area faces the sea where sharks are usually seen. It has a karaoke facility (5,000 IDR per song if you want to sing) -so you’d better wish whoever sings has a good voice! In average, we spent around 80 IDR-ish per person.

It’s been a good short trip, I wish it could have been longer!

x aldy x

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