Wakatobi, Labengki and Sombori
Brief explication of the area, location and objectives:
The name Wakatobi comes from the first syllables of the four islands, Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko, however the original name was Kepulauan Tukang Besi. Since 1996 it has been an independent district of Sulawesi Tenggara.
It was made a biosphere worldwide reserve by Unesco in 2012. It´s location in the heart of the Coral Triangle with it´s crystal clear waters makes it the Mecca of any diver.
Wangi-Wangi: This is the administrative capital and port of entrance to Wakatobi. For culture vultures the Bajo Mola and Liya villages are a “must” although they also celebrate traditional festivals the length and breadth of the island.
Kaledupa: Surrounded by mango and coconut trees, here you can relax in a calmer environment compared to the rest of the islands although, even still, there is a lot of interesting things to do.
Tomia: This is the most well known among divers and here is the best way to see the deep underwaters of Wakatobi. You arrive by a 3 hour boat trip from Wangi-Wangi.
Binongko: This is totally different from the other islands. It´s landscape consists of sharp volcanic formations and many caves inhabited by ¨flying foxes¨ and is surrounded by cliffs within which are white beaches and mangroves waiting to be discovered. It has a magnificent reef where it´s not difficult to find turtles in just one day of snorkeling.
A great thing about travelling without a time limit is that we can go with the flow and change plans as we go if needed. For that reason, without losing the spirit of adventure, this trip is centered on Tomia from where we will make our base and enjoy the spectacular marine deeps of Wakatobi. If you are interested in taking this trip just like I did around the different islands of Wakatobi , you can visit my blog and consult me about whatever questions you have.
Your tour leader
This destination defines the remoteness of the location. Tourist infrastructure and transport is all but non-existent. For this reason we at Tryalltrips have designed this itinerary to help you with our tour leader. This person, apart from being a tour guide, has travelled extensively throughout the destination and has wide experience on how to reach and move about in the most remotest of areas. You will be introduced to him at the airport in Makassar and he will assist you throughout the whole trip, accommodation, connections whatever is needed until the return to Makassar.
Note: Neither the tour leader nor Tryalltrips are responsible for problems that originate outside the itinerary or the concrete terms and conditions of the contract. However all help will be given to find a solution to any problem that arises.
Transport. How we will arrive?
Flights and internal connections are all organized in this itinerary. Because there aren´t flightsa everyday , for those coming from Europe, to make everything easier, to arrive on Firday to be able to make it to Makassar on Saturday night.
That way you can relax and the following morning connect with Kendari and Wangi-Wangi arriving at midday.
A car will be waiting to take you and your luggage to the port (30 min drive) where we embark to go to Tomia.
The boat is a fibre motor boat capable of taking 20 people on which we have exclusively organized our voyage to and from Tomia. This trip will take about 2-3 hours arriving in plenty of time to catch our flight.
In Makassar we will stay in a hotel by the airport for one night to rest after the flight from Europe. A short stop so to be on time the following morning to catch the flight that will bring us to Wakatobi passing through Kendari.
In Tomia we will stay in a small new hotel close to the port en Waha , 5 minutes on foot. It has everything necessary to make our stay comfortable. Double en-suite rooms with air conditioning and hot water and a common area with dining room where we can eat and get together.
The owners will prepare breakfast and traditional dinners which they will serve and also a packed lunch to take with us on the boat between immersions.
We won´t have to worry about anything as they will take care of everything and they will even have all our equipment ready and waiting on the boat every day to go diving.
Coffee, tea and snacks are included during our stay. Drinks and soda are extra.
This is a traditional wooden boat equipped for 10 divers. Very comfortable and spacious with a separate area to leave photography equipment or to make necessary adjustments. We can enter the water from a huge step from whichever of the sides and use wide steps to come up once we have taken off our equipment.
The crew will be on hand all the time to help us. Water, tea and coffee should we like.
Few locations are as complete as Wakatobi for diving. From the pygmy horses and macro life to the sharks of the reef and large banks of carangidos and barracudas, all of this decorated by the ample coloured corals, sponge and gorgonians creating a palette of incredible colours.
Photographers will have big problems in deciding when to call it a day with this huge range of possibilities.
It´s possible to dive all year round in Wakatobi and there are more than 60 diving points in Tomia alone. More than enough to decide based on weather and sea conditions. However the best season to take full advantage of the calm sea with mirror-like visibility is in spring (April-June) and autumn (October-December)
SOME OF THE DIVING SPOTS IN WAKATOBI
Labengki and Sombori
A brief explanation of the area and location
Little information can be found online about this destination, so maybe this will be one of the first articles (at least in Spanish) about these islands owned by the northern province of Konawe in the little known southeast of Sulawesi whose capital is Kendari.
A city that holds little more interest than it´s accommodation that we use as a port of entrance to this undiscovered paradise.
The Bajau are the main inhabitants on Labengki and the largest population nucleus is on the island known as ¨small Labengki¨ with only about 500 people living there mainly living off the ocean. It´s incredible clear, clean waters together with the amount of isolated islands and carst formations make Labengki and Sombori a true paradise easily compared to it´s bigger relative Raja Ampat in East Papua or even El Nido on the Philipian island of Palawan. We will discover deserted beaches , caves and romantic bays where we can snorkel and go kayaking relaxed.
A delight of travelling without a calendar is not being afraid of challenges and adapting to daily changes that can lead to discover remote places. For exactly this reason, without losing the spirit of adventure in Tryalltrips we have designed this trip carefully and patiently to spend 5 unforgettable days visiting these islands without worries.
For more information visit my blog and please don´t hesitate in contacting me.
Transport. How we will arrive?
By plane from Wangi Wangi (Wakatobi) we will arrive in approximately one hour to Kendari at about 2pm and another half an hour to arrive at the hotel where we will stay for one night.
The following morning our guide will collect us to take us by car the hour journey to embark on our course to Labengki.
In Kendari we will spend the first night , and the last before our return, in the Grand Clarion hotel in a double room with a buffet breakfast included. It is one of the best hotels on Kendari and it´s interior houses various restaurants one of which has amazing views of the city and bay. Also available are western menus and a large variety of drinks.
En Labengki we will settle in a small local resort situated in one of the prettiest places of Sulawesi. We will stay in cabañas for 2 people with private bathroom built right above the surface of the sea to which we have direct access by a footbridge and where we can go snorkeling or whatever takes our fancy.
This accommodation includes 3 traditional meals a day and they will delight us with the freshest of fish. Will will have kayaks to visit on our own the beaches that surround the resort in our free time when we return from the organized excursions. As an extra there are 2 ziplines that cross between both bays one of which is said to be the biggest of Indonesia.
Cold beer is served in the bar/restaurant thanks to solar power something that is very valuble as we will also have electricity throughout the whole day.
Organized boat excursions
Sombori excursion: We head by boat towards the island of Sombori ,one hour away, and we will visit some of it´s beaches and caves like Allo cave , Air Kiri beach, Rumah Nenak and Berlian cave. We will have lunch in Mbokita, a small island inhabited by fishermen. Later we can go up to the highest point of Sombori where we can enjoy the incredible views that remind us of Raja Ampat. By the evening we will be on our way back to our resort in Labengki to rest and relax.
Excursion of the surroundings of Labengki: We must sail to visit the Hidden Lagoon and Pasir Merah beach incredible landscapes of which the photos will be breathtaking. From there we return to Pasir Panjang beach where we will have lunch and have the possibility to go snorkeling before going back to the resort to relax.
Excursions to little Labengki: A half an hour sailfrom the resort you find this little island inhabited by the Bajao people, a typical community of fishermen, where we can observe their daily life. Also we will visit Kolam Renang Cave, a beautiful cave with a natural interior swimming pool and we have the possibility of going up to the island´s lighthouse. After having lunch, on the way back to the resort , we will visit the Blue Lagoon and the Twin Lagoon before returning to rest.
All of these excursions are not subject to a set timetable and there is flexibility to spend more or less time in each location as the case may be.
More about this trip