I’m not a scuba girl. In all honesty, the sea and all that lurks beneath the surface terrifies me! For those who don’t know (me included) Wakatobi is one of the best dive spots IN THE WORLD. With over 850 species of coral and some incredible fish to see there’s no wonder why scuba and snorkel fanatics visit the island in their 100’s.
But I very quickly learnt during our stay on the island that there is more to Wakatobi than what’s under the water. Wakatobi is in fact a beautiful place to relax, switch off, see incredible marine life and also unique cultures above sea level too.
FUN FACT: Did you know that the name Wakatobi is made from the first two letters of each of the four islands?
Here are my top three wonders of Wakatobi…
1. The Sealife
Ok, so even I, the self-proclaimed non-scubs girl has to admit that the sea in Wakatobi is beautiful. Clear like glass, warm and full of fish to watch with a gas tank on your back or from the top with a snorkel like I did! I really enjoyed the time we spent in the water and the coral was beautiful. I saw so many different types of fish – shoals and shoals of them weaving in and out of the corals and I really loved my time out there.
“Wakatobi is located at the world’s epicentre of coral reef biodiversity and is designated a UNESCO Marine Biosphere Reserve. This means that while diving in Wakatobi you will have the chance to see some of the greatest variety and diversity of marine life in the world. Not only that but the water in this ocean looks like glass, enabling the eye to see through the water to over 15m – a truly mesmerising experience. Then, when below the surface, you can see 850 different species of coral compared to somewhere like the Caribbean where there are only 70 species present. So, it is no wonder Wakatobi has been voted one of the best places in the world to dive, and having dived all over the world I can tell you that this part of the coral triangle is a truly special place. Corals are brimming with fish, fish are jumping with life and colours pop at every glance, if you are looking for a spectacular dive site, I think I’ve just found you one!”
If you’re into your fish Wakatobi is definitely a place to visit and you can also do liveaboard holidays where you sail around the island diving every day in new spots with new underwater worlds to discover.
2. The Bajo Village
While we were in Wakatobi we had the privileged of visiting the Bajo Village, a tribe of people who live on water. No land, no cars, no starbucks(!) just houses on stilts and walkways from one to the other.
It was an incredible experience to walk around their village and meet the people and children who lived there. Such a unique way of life and nothing like I’ve ever seen before. The children loved to have their photos taken and see pictures of themselves while others carried on with their day drying fish, sieving rice and playing games with one another.
It took about 2 hours by boat to get there but it was a trip that needs to be seen to be believed. The culture, the pride the friendliness – what an incredible group of people that I’m humbled to have met.
3. The Beaches
Wakatobi isn’t the most connected islands we visited during our stay in Indonesia. Our hotel (we stayed in the Patuno Resort in Wangi-Wangi
) was charming but lacking some creature comforts and the wifi was a little on the non-existant side – flights from Jakarta will cost you around £220. But that’s why I loved the island so much
. If you’re looking for a paradise to escape to and totally switch off, with traditional food, activities and people then Wakatobi is your place.
I drank my very first coconut on one of the Wakatobi beaches (that’s one off the list!) and it was exactly like you see in the movies. White sand, local music in the distance, clear blue waters and sunny skies. Give me a good book, a coconut and that beach any day, it was heaven.
We also visited Hoga Island for lunch one day which was like something from Robinson’s Cruso! Colourful chairs on the sand, fresh fish, coconuts all under the palm trees looking out over the sea with nothing and no-one around for miles.
If you’re a diver Wakatobi is a no brainer, get your gear ready and head overboard. But if you’re not then don’t discount this part of Indonesia just yet. There’s a world of paradise beaches and incredible culture waiting for you. Leave your phone and all those western worries at home because in Wakatobi relaxation is the only language they speak.
Thank you to the Indonesian Tourist Board for hosting us on this incredible trip – It was truly the most incredible adventure I’ve ever experienced!
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