Hey, I am going to talk about how to get to Wakatobi. These exotic islands offer some of the best diving in Indonesia. Yet not a lot of people know about these pretty islands and most of those that do, do not know how to get there.
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Let’s start with where the islands are; Wakatobi is a part of Sulawesi and the islands are located just off the Southern coast of the mainland. Wakatobi is composed of four main islands; Wangi wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko.
To get to Wakatobi you can either fly to Makassar (Ujung Pandang) or Kendari and get a connecting flight to Wangi Wangi directly, or fly to Bau Bau (Buton Island) and find a boat to one of wakatobi’s big island. If you are in the mood for going to a very fancy resort, there is a direct flight from Bali (Denpasar) to Tomia, which is dedicated to visitors of Wakatobi dive resort.
The first thing you will need to do before going to Wakatobi is decide which island(s) that you want to go to. There is a connecting boat (public transportation) between the big four islands, but it would be easier if you decide to do this at the beginning.
Wanci is the administrative center of Wakatobi. It is one of the busiest islands and there are lots of people here. It also has the most facilities just like any big town. For example you can find ATM’s here which you can’t find on any of the other islands.
There are also direct flights from local airlines (Wings air/Lion air and Merpati) that serve the route from Makassar and Kendari to Wangi Wangi (Wanci). The price of a round trip plane ticket (Makassar-Wangi Wangi) is around $200 and from Kendari-Wangi Wangi is around $100.
Another option is to fly from Bau Bau (Buton Island) and continue with a public boat to Wanci/Kaledupa/Tomia. The plane ticket to Bau Bau from Makassar is around $100 for a round trip. There are two types of public boats from Bau Bau to Wakatobi.
There is the speed boat (Cantika Anugrah) that usually departs from Bau Bau port (Pelabuhan Murhum) to Wanci at 1 pm on even dates (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.); from Wanci to Bau Bau at 9 am on odd dates. The ticket price for a one way ticket is Rp. 155,000 = $16. The journey with a speed boat takes around 3 hours from Bau Bau to Wanci.
The wooden boat (overnight boat) departs everyday at 9pm from the same port. You will arrive at 6-7 am on the next morning in Wanci. The ticket price for the overnight boat is Rp. 105,000 = $11. You can also get the same boat to bring you to Kaledupa or to Tomia, but the ferry goes to Wanci (Wangi wangi) first.
From Wanci, there is a boat that can bring you to Kaledupa island from Mola Port. A one way ticket costs Rp. 50,000,- = $5.2. And if you specifically want to visit Hoga Island (like I did), you need to take a boat taxi from Kaledupa to Hoga. The cost is Rp. 25,000 per person for a one way ticket, which is the equivalent of $2.6. However, almost all the islands in Wakatobi are reachable, but some of them do not have a boat running to them everyday.
Personally I think you might need around two weeks to explore the area of Wakatobi. There are so many beautiful places that you can’t miss. But if you only have limited time, then you should decide where you want to be.
Have you ever visit Wakatobi? Which islands have you visited?