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Travel Asia: Natural Beauty of Wakatobi
For some people, Wakatobi name may not sounds familiar to the ear. This is understandable, because the holiday destination may not be as famous as other tourist regions in Indonesia, such as Bali or Lombok.
However, the natural beauty offered in Wakatobi is not at all inferior to those other tourist areas. Besides the beauty of the white sand coastline that is still very clean, Wakatobi is also very rich in species of coral.
No wonder marine tourism became the main attraction developed in Wakatobi. We can found a vast expanse of reefs along the bottom of the ocean waters with a complex topography such as slope, drop-offs, atoll and underwater cave with diverse marine life in the Wakatobi National Park.
Wakatobi archipelago itself is a region in Southeast Sulawesi, which consists of four large islands: Wangi-wangi, Kalidupa, Tomia and Binongko. Wakatobi name originated from the initial syllable of these four islands.
It is undeniable that the main natural beauty offered by Wakatobi is the beauty of sea coral in its waters. In fact, the Wallacea expedition from England in 1995 mentions that the area has the most comprehensive coral species. Approximately 750 of 850 coral species in the world are present in Wakatobi.
With the diversity of existing coral and the waters are still very clear and clean, Wakatobi is a paradise for divers. There are about 29 diving points which offers magnificent views. From various diving points, Mari Mabuk can be said as the best. The dive point is located near the island of Tomia. It is called Mari Mabuk (meaning get drunk) because the beauty it has 'intoxicating' anyone who dived at the site.
Besides the beauty of the dive points, the beauty of natural scenery can also be enjoyed on the islands of Wakatobi. The rivers are clean and clear because of the awareness of local communities in maintaining cleanliness. In fact, boats that sailed on the rivers looks like floating because the water beneath is so clear.
Each island also has its own unique feature. In Wangi-wangi Island, there are water springs in the crevices of limestone hills, and also forts and mosques from the ancient kingdom of Buton. Tomia and Kalidupa islands are rich with coastal scenery.
At the farthest Island in the Wakatobi archipelago, namely Binongko, a unique community of blacksmiths reside. No wonder the island was once known as the Blacksmith Island. We can witness firsthand how they make a variety of home appliances by using traditional techniques.
Binongko Island is also famous for the traditional weavers presence. Visitors can see directly how the weaving process took place, and of course, directly buy the fabric from the weavers. Traditional fabric sold at prices ranging from 100,000 to 1 million rupiahs.
World Class Resort
As a tourist area, Wakatobi has several world class resorts that provide a very comfortable place to stay. One of them is the Wakatobi Dive Resort which is located in Tomia Island. The resort provides comfortable villas and bungalows with exclusive service.
In addition, Wakatobi Dive Resort provides a service that allows travelers to board Pelagian Yacht and feel the beauty of Wakatobi as a whole. This exclusive yacht delivers tourists to the best dive spots in Wakatobi, as well as their means of staying in the waters of the Banda Sea.
As an alternative to resorts, lodging facilities can be found on the Wangi-wangi Island. There are several small hotels and local property for rent. Similar lodgings can also be found on the island of Hoga, a small island in the Wakatobi archipelago.
When visiting the area, local specialties must not to be missed. The most common dishes, of course, are seafood dishes. Most restaurants serves it in traditional way. In addition, there are also some unique snacks. For example, there is kasoami, snacks made from cassava that are processed traditionally and eaten with yellow fish soup. Other unique comestible are kasuami pepe and shredded fish.
How to reach Wakatobi?
Transportation by planes are available. Some airlines have been providing a direct route to Matahora Airport on the Wangi-wangi Island from Jakarta or Makassar. Alternative routes of flight can be achieved through Kendari, with the aircraft route Kendari to Wakatobi that are available almost every day. As for sea transport, ship with a route form Makassar to Wangi-wangi is available once a month every first week.