Sunday, 8 July 2012

WAKATOBI Marine National Park

WAKATOBI Marine National Park / Pulau Kaledupa / Pulau Wangiwangi / Pulau Hoga


If there is a tourist magnet in this area, it is Wakatobi Marine National Park. Wakatobi and Pulau Hoga in particular are said to be a superb diving location. 
 

The public-transport way to Pulau Hoga involves quite a bit of island hopping: From Bau Bau (Pulau Buton) to Wanci (Pulau Wangiwangi), from there to Ambeua (Pulau Kaledupa) and from there to Pulau Hoga. It's possible to get to Pulau Kaledupa by speed boat from Pasarwajo (Buton's east coast), but most people prefer the slower (and safer) boat from Bau Bau. This leaves in the evening and takes 9..11h depending on weather conditions.

Our 15 hour journey from Bau Bau to Kaledupa and then to Hoga Island



FROM Wanci Wanci to Hoga or Tomia Islands:
  • Head to PELABUHAN MOLA before 10.30am when all passengers arrive from the airport
  • Take public speed boat to Hoga or Tomia (to Hoga between 9am and 12pm and to Tomia between 9am and 10am)
  • It is difficult to charter a boat from Wanci to Tomia without making any arrangement before
Arrive to Wanci Island by Plane
Wanci has a small airport which can be reached from Makassar (Ujung Pandang) with a stop in Bau Bau. It takes only 20 minutes to reach Bau Bau and around 1 hour from Bau Bau to Makassar. There are number of airlines that fly – we flew with Express Air. It is a very small plane for only around 35 people.
There is no public transport between the Wanci airport and the Center. You will need to take a taxi (dont take a motorbike as the roads are bumpy and not safe) for 100.000 Rp. The journey takes around 30 minutes. When you leave the airport, you must pay the airport tax (I think 20.000 Rp)

Wanci (Pulau Wangi Wangi)

Wanci has a surprising amount of hotels and guesthouses, several are along the busy and narrow road that leads south from the harbour to the market, others are scattered about town. Expect to pay Rp 5,000 for an ojek trip within town.

Wanci Accommodation (Mar-2008)

  • Hotel Setiana : 13 fan rooms with attached mandi at Rp 100,000
    Spacious rooms, very nice and clean. TV in common room.
    In the evening, a cafe / bar operates on the top floor.
    Hotel guests may rent a Toyota Kijang car for Rp 400,000 per day. Drive yourself.
  • Hotel Wakatobi
    4 AC rooms with attached bathroom at Rp 125,000 / 175,000 / 200,000 / 250,000
    5 fan rooms with attached bathroom at Rp 70,000
  • Penginapan Nirmala - popular
    1 AC room with attached bathroom and TV at Rp 150,000
    2 fan rooms with attached bathroom and TV at Rp 100,000
    8 fan rooms with shared bathroom at Rp 50,000
  • Hotel Al-Azizyah
    2 AC rooms with attached mandi and TV at Rp 100,000
    2 fan rooms with attached mandi and TV at Rp 75,000
    2 fan rooms with shared mandi at Rp 50,000
    2 fan rooms with 2 bunk beds each (4 people per room) at Rp 65,000
    Clean, very spacious, a large function room covers all of the third floor
    This is the southernmost hotel in Wanci
  • Penginapan Jelli - my choice
    2 fan rooms with attached bathroom and TV at Rp 70,000
    4 fan rooms with attached bathroom, 3x Rp 50,000 and 1x Rp 40,000
    Friendly place in a quiet area with attached cell phone shop.
    Free tee and sweet treats for breakfast.

  • Penginapan Nita Sari
    1 AC room with attached mandi at Rp 60,000
    2 fan rooms with attached mandi at Rp 40,000
    5 fan rooms with shared bathroom at Rp 30,000
  • Penginapan Lamongan
    2 fan rooms with attached bathroom at Rp 65,000
    4 fan rooms with shared bathroom at Rp 50,000
    A cell phone shop is attached to this penginapan,
  • Hotel Rahmat Indah
    A large facility with 24 rooms, all have attached mandi, price range is Rp 30,000 .. 50,000
    Rooms are not the cleanest, upstairs there's karaoke. This is as close to a red-light district as can be.
  • Hotel Gajah Madah II
    A total of 7 fan rooms (all attached bathroom) at Rp 55,000
  • Melati Indah, Rumah Makan & Penginapan (near Gajah Madah)
    Very basic and in need of renovation. Fan on request, shared bathroom, Rp 20.000 per person
  • Wisma Samudera
    5 fan rooms, 3 with attached bathroom, 2 with shared bathroom at Rp 30,000 per person
  • Penginapan H.Abdullah
    9 rooms (no fan, no AC) with attached bathroom at Rp 35,000
    This place is closest to Mola Utara
  • Penginapan Ratna
    10 fan rooms with shared bathroom at Rp 25,000

PATUNO RESORT – beautiful and luxury resort – visit: www.patunoresortwakatobi.com

Room rates from 575.000 Rp to 1.725.000 Rp
They arrange the dives (400.000 Rp without equipment)
Bike Hire for 115.000 Rp half day or 180.000 Rp full day
They also organize Wanci trips / they have Banana boats, Jet Ski and Manta Tows
For any more information contact info@patunoresortwakatobi.com or 0062 (0)8114002221


 

 

 

 

Places of Interest on Pulau Wangi Wangi

  • Pasar Sentral, the Wanci central market and also Pasar Malam (Night Market) – selling only food and great cakes and sweet treats/
  • Wanci's main harbour, boats to Bau Bau depart here
  • Mola Utara, about 1 km south of the main harbour. Mola is a Bajoe Village in Wanci – worth a visit




    The "northern jetty". Boats to Pulau Kaledupa depart at 9:00 am, the fare is Rp 50,000
  • Taman Rekreasi Umum - A public picnic site about 8 km north of Wanci. Some dilapidated wooden structures, access to the sea, lots of rubbish there.
  • Caves with freshwater springs inside
The island of Wangiwangi is actually quite nice for a little cycling. There are flat, hilly and mountainous areas and a good mix of roads. It's not a big island, so one can go around in a day. This is what I do. There are some nice beaches along the way and the occasional cave with a fresh water spring inside. In various places on the island new roads are being built, so by the time you read this, you should have some more road cycling options.













 PULAU HOGA

Stay on Hoga: 20.000 Rp per person (per entry not per day)

From the Kaledupa police station, get a permit to visit Hoga (if you don't have a photocopy of your passport, visit Ambeua's "computer shop" first). Then find the owner of a hut (usually Kaledupa people, ask around). The owner will then find a boat, get the hut ready and carry over not only you and your gear but all your supplies (water, food, candles, oil, batteries, ..) for the planned number of days. Then he will walk you to the Wallacea office where you register (or get sent back if no permit from the Kaledupa police). The owner of the hut will then return. You will see him again on your planned departure day, when he will come and pick you up.
- the above information might be a little but outdated as it is form 2008. We were on Hoga Island in May 2012 and we did not request any permission to stay. We paid 20.000 Rp per person when we were leaving.

More facts about Hoga:

What makes a stay on Hoga difficult is the lack of fresh water. All wells on the island have semi-salty water that may be acceptable for a shower but not for drinking. Fresh water is brought over from Kaledupa and filtered on Hoga. Bottled water is an alternative.
Hoga has no shops, kiosks, warung, restaurants. Particularly outside the season when resorts are shut down and Wallacea operates with a minimum of staff, it's essential to plan ahead and bring enough supplies. It is still possible to get hot meals at the Wallacea center but should tell staff one day early. The best way is to arrange the accommodation and the meals is to contact them in advance and make booking (see below).
They have around 140 huts available. The setting of the huts is very nice / by the coast line and also in the 'jungle'. Note that after the rain you may encounter many lizards on the paths where they stay during sunny days.
Hoga is a small island with no cars, motorbikes, bicycles. There are foot paths in the south-western part of the island, but the rest of it can only be reached by walking along the beach (during low tide) or by boat.
There are about 150 huts on Hoga and these are mostly owned by Kaledupa people. Hut owners may rent out directly to visitors and provide water / food. Wallacea owns a few huts but may also rent out other huts and then compensate the owners.
If you are coming for diving then I would recommend to arrange diving with the Operation Wallacea as they have all equipment in very good condition and they offer re-freshers as well as the diving courses (reservation is a must during off season). It is not recommended to go there during peak season (Easter holidays and after mid June till around end of August) when they receive around 200 students around the world who come there to dive and to conduct research.

If you walk along the beach (left from the jetty), then you will find few more huts which belong to Tukangbesi Divers (http://www.tukangbesidiving.com/ or www.hogaislanddiveresort.com)

Hoga is just 2 km from Ambeua / Kaledupa and half the distance is shallow water. Transport between the two islands is by small motorboat (called "Johnson"). The school boat goes at 6:00 am and 13:00 hours (returns rightaway, is based in Kaledupa) but there can be other boats going. The official fare for visitors is Rp 50,000 per boat.

ACCOMMODATION on Hoga Island:

We stayed at the Operation Wallacea resort. If you would like to pre – arrange any accommodation and food in Hoga Island contact Ilu Rubiah on ilu.rubiah@gmail.com
IMPORTANT: The best time to visit the Hoga island is between October and February when it is empty form the students, in March / April – during the Easter holidays it can get pretty busy and therefore there are no tourists in the resort. In June / July / August and September – it is very busy with 200 students around and therefore no possibility of staying in Operation Walacea resort. I would always suggest to contact Ilu and check with her when exactly the resort is students-free.
If you are a diver – they can rent you diving equipment or snorkels
1 dive cost – 400 000 Rp including the equipment which is in very good state
Meals – 40.000 Rp per meal – you can pre-arrange every day how many meals you want to have
Renting a hut – 100.000 Rp per hut (50.000 Rp per person)
The resort has around 140 huts, common area, area for diving equipment, they have few boats, they can arrange the transport to Kaledupa and take you to Bajoe Village too.

There is also another resort (only around 200m from Wallacea) called Hoga Island Dive Resort, formerly called Tugangbesi Diving - http://www.tukangbesidiving.com/) their website is also www.hogaislanddiveresort.com
- accommodation in traditional wooden-style huts built on stilts overlooking the beach / sea;
- they charge 1 000 000 Rp for 1 night / 2 dives / breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • to arrange the reservation call Wia on 085241628287 or wiahoga@gmail.com
  • Geertjie organizes the diving knows the site well
- When you have a few days’ left for sightseeing it is worth while to stay in Bau Bau at the Hill house owned by your English speaking hosts Ibu and Pak Kasim. Their travel agency Wolio Tour and Travel Call: +624 022 1189, Fax: +624 022 4316 can organize interesting trips in and around the nice little harbour city Bau Bau. The Hill house is situated in the old Wolio fortress on top of the hill where the view is magnificent the temperature cool and the diners delicious. From the balcony one can spot and hear lots of birds and other wildlife. Your hosts can tell you about the rich history of Buton – we have not had experience with this couple – this information is from here: http://famberv.home.xs4all.nl/geert/sightseeingtheisland.html

There is another resort called LaBaba Resort (none there, I think closed?) I am not sure if it is possible to stay there any more.

 
The map of Hoga was taken from here: http://www.kutu.com/indo/sulawesi08/Sulawesi2008.htm
 
Places of Interest on Pulau Hoga

* Wallacea center, Tukangbesi Diving operation, jetty = jembatan - where most people arrive
* Well with slightly salty water = sumur mandi
* LaBaBa Resort (not sure if it is still opned?)
* Island Garden Resort (not sure if it is still opned?)
* Fishing village = kampung
* Area with lots of huts = pondok tamu
* Large government houses

The places on the west coast of the island are accessible either by footpath or by walking along the beach. Going further north to the fishing village is only possible along the beach during low tide, with an occasional climb over rocks between two sand beaches. One can walk on past the village and reach more nice beaches until rocks block the way. The area from the Wallacea center past the many huts and on to the government houses is nicely done with sealed footpaths, beyond the government houses there's no way to continue. To fully go around the island, a boat is needed.

Wallacea has worked out rules that make sure the activities in the area are a win-win situation for locals, for the government, for visitors, for the environment and for them. For example, visitors have to respect certain rules (behaviour, dress) as not to do damage to the environment, offend locals or reflect badly on the organization - individuals that don't follow can be expelled / students sent back.
Then, prices for a number of services have been fixed to avoid destructive competition.
As a compensation for the local communities' cooperation (a lot of student projects involve visits to villages and interaction with locals), a part of the income must be used to fund projects for the benefit of these communities.

Prices on Pulau Hoga (May 2012)The nearest ATM is at Bau Bau, bring enough cash !

* Transport b/w Hoga and Kaledupa on any boat: Rp 50,000 per head - payable to boatman
* Motor boat rental for a trip b/w Hoga and Kaledupa: Rp 50,000 per boat - payable to boatman
* Hut rental: Rp 100,000 per night and hut - payable to hut owner or to Wallacea office
* Meals: Rp 40,000 per head per meal - payable to Wallacea office
* Rental of snorkeling gear: Rp 60,000 per day and set - payable to Wallacea office

http://www.kutu.com/indo/sulawesi08/Sulawesi2008.htm (great Informative BLOG!!! but some information might be outdated)

THINGS TO DO WHEN NOT DIVING:
    • Walk around the Hoga island when low tide
    • Take a day trip to Kaledupa and visit: Visit Bajo Sea Nomad village of Sama Bahari (Sampela) in Kaledupa, Visit Kaledyupa and see local vawers, Walk to the TOP of the HILL and see the village of Sampela, Snorkel in Sombano brackish water lake
    • Day trip to Tomia Island? (2 hours by boat, from Kaledupa to Tomia = 1 hour)
+62 852 4162 8287 and +62 853 9429 0576 – might be difficult to arrange

DIVING and SNORKELING on Pulau HOGA

Tukangbesi Diving: http://www.tukangbesidiving.com/howtogetthere.html (former) or at present they are called Hoga Island Dive Resort www.hogaislanddiveresort.com – we dont know in what state they have the diving equipment.
Cost: 1.000 000 Rp including 2 dives, 1 night and full board

Operation Wallacea – contact Ilu for reservation: ilu.rubiah@gmail.com
Cost: 400.000 Rp per dive including the equipment

You can also snorkel around Hoga Island which is really spectacular. Jump off the jetty (from Wallacea side) and snorkel/swim right of the jetty for around 50 meters till you reach coral walls. 
 

A good place for both snorkelling and diving is at the jetty of the Wallacea centre, where there's a steep drop off with lots to see just a few meters from the beach. This is what makes Hoga so special.


 


 
HOW TO REACH HOGA

There are number of ways how you can reach Hoga Island. Few years ago it was really complicated but nowadays there are many more options.

You can fly from Makassar to Wanci via Bau Bau (Express Air – you can book with Mr Lili cempekatravel@gmail.com – very good experience)
The ticket price depends on sub-class fare, start from IDR. 650,000 to 1,900,000 per one way
From Wanci Island to Hoga Island: From Wanci airport a short taxi ride takes you to the harbour for the 2-hour ferry ride to Kaledupa Island where one of our boats will transfer you to the Resort (boat around 50.000 Rp per person).
A more economical way to get to the Hoga Island is to fly to Bau Bau and then take the night ferry 8.30pm to Wanci, Wangi-Wangi Island (Rp103,000), then the morning speed ferry to Kaledupa (Rp50,000) and final transfer to Hoga Island (Rp50,000). On a couple of days each week there is a direct overnight ferry from Bau Bau to Kaledupa (120.000 Rp). We took it on Friday. For availability check with us via sms/ text message: +62-852-4162-8287. When you arrive to Kaledupa, you will arrive to Buranga and then you take ojek to Ambeua (beautiful short journey) – around 10.000 Rp per person/per ojek
To return from Hoga Island you will need to pre-arrange morning boat (at 5am) to Kaledupa and then take the boat at 6am or 7am from Kaledupa to Wanci (50.000 Rp) which takes 2 hours. From Wanci you can either take boat to Bau Bau or pane to Bau Bau / Makassar.

The PARADISE of Hoga Island 



PULAU KALEDUPA and the Ambeua Village

Kaledupa is a bigger island than Hoga Island. It belongs to Wakatobi National Park. On Kaledupa there is not turist infrastructure at all – there aren't any hostels or we have not seen any warungs. I have read that you can ask local families to rent a room. There is a fish market in Lau Lua. If you want to rent a motorbike, be careful of the scammers as people will charge you a lot! You can take ojek (motorbike – kind of local taxi) to take you around. If you wish to visit number of places, rather arrange with one ojek driver then to negotiate each time as it might cost much more. Note, that it is not cheap to travel around Kaledupa as people are used to turists from Hoga Island and therefore they charge a lot of money.
In Kaledupa, Ambeua village, there used to be Wallecea office (house) too where you could stay overnight. There was also some Library project but everything is now closed. Wallacea did not renew the rental contract and therefore they do not have the office there any more. The students came there more for social research rather than marine – marine research is on Hoga Island.
In Ambeua, there is a big school with a green field – it is really nice and lively around there. Just walking around the village is very pleasant. If you want to visit fish market, you can walk from Ambeua harbour straight up to the hill, when you reach the end of the hill (there is a T junction) you turn right and you walk for around maybe 20 minutes (ask to Pasar Ikan) ask for Lau Lua and its Pasar Ikan (Fish Market). If you have a motorbike it is easy and fast to get there.

I must say that the villages, the roads and the houses are absolutely beautiful on Kaledupa Island. The motorbike drives are spectacular – very colourful!
There is a small Bajoe Village – Sampela - just off Ambeua (you can see it form Hoga Island). You can arrange a boat ride and they can take you into this Bajoe village (50.000 rp per boat). The Bajau people are often described as Southeast Asia’s sea gypsies. Their skills as sailors, skin-divers, and fishermen are admired, while at the same time they are reviled for willfully destructive practices such as fish bombing and the use of cyanide in coral reefs. You can read more on Bajoe peope here: http://www.wayang.net/?page_id=400

        Bajoe Village of Sampela near Kaledupa 



How to reach Kaledupa Island

You can take a night boat from Bau Bau to Kaledupa (only couple of nights a week) – 120.000 Rp and it takes around 15 hours (doesn’t stop in Wanci). If you take a boat from Bau Bau to Wanci (every night at 8.30pm – 103.000 Rp and arrives at 6am to Wanci) and then you take a boat to Kaledupa (50.000Rp per person). To/from Hoga Island you can take local boat (20 minutes / 50.000Rp per boat)




DIRECTIONS on Kaledupa Island

Kaledupa - First to the northern end of the island. The road is narrow, steep and most of it in very bad condition. It passes gardens and patches of forest. Eventually reach Sombano, a tidy little fishing village with a white sand beach.
The southern part of the island: Buranga, Tanome, a waterfall, Peropa, Pajam. The roads in this area of Kaledupa are better than the one to Sombano and the ride to Pajam area is fun. There is a beautiful view in Palea hill view over another Bajoe village and over the Kaledupa south island. If you carry on down the hill you will reach Peropa which is apparently very nice beach too (we have not visited though)

IMPORTANT:
note that not many people speak English on Kaledupa island so have some basic Indonesian language phrases ready – to negotiate the prices of ojeks or get directions. Bring enough water and food as you might not find many shops. Don’t forget to arrange the boat from Hoga and back - the last boat pick up is around 3-4pm as the tide on Hoga island get very low and it may cause problems to reach the island.

We were very lucky meeting Ola (hp 081-543116284) who told us and directed us from Kaledupa to Hoga.

Lau Lua Fish Market in Kaledupa



TOMIA ISLAND

Tomia Dive Center: http://tomiadivecenter.com/
3 Days 2 Nights Package* includes 3 times Diving
- Non Air Con. (AC) IDR 1.705.000,-/person.
- With Air Con. (AC) IDR 1.815.000,-/person.
4 Days 3 Nights Package* includes 5 times Diving
- Non Air Con. (AC) IDR 2.750.000,-/person.
- With Air Con. (AC) IDR 2.915.000,-/person.

- All prices in Diving Package is valid for a minimum of 2 licensed divers
- Diving license card/book need to be shown on arrival for security reason
- An additional IDR 100.000,-/ person / day will be charged for single traveller
- Advance notice is needed for night dive trip
- Diving equipment can be rented for 150.000,-/ day / person
Monica: +62 816 861 954
Max: +62 858 2459 2755

Activities on Tomia Island

1. Bird watching or with luck : Whale Watching
2. City tour : Kahyanga, Puncak Tomia, Tewali, Local Fish Market
3. Snorkeling : Table Coral Reef, Roma, Marimabuk, Waitii, Waha, Pulau Sawa
4. Visiting Bajo/Bajau village
5. Island Hopping : Nda’a, Pulau Sawa, Onemobaa
6. Beach Hopping : Runduma, Honduwei, Waha

HOW TO REACH TOMIA ISLAND

Arrival to Tomia island
Wangi-wangiTomia : regular boat – daily 9am | price : IDR 100.000
Wangi-wangiTomia : chartered boat | price : IDR 2.000.000 – IDR 8.000.000 | from Wanci (Wangi-Wangi) directly to Tomia only you and your group on the boat (private).

From Bau-bau :
Bau-bau - Tomia : regular boat – 9pm | price : IDR 130.000/person/oneway
  • KM Wisata Indah 2, ONLY AVAILABLE every Friday night.***
  • KM Wisata Indah 1, ONLY AVAILABLE every Wednesday night.**
  • KM Azam Raya 1, ONLY AVAILABLE every Monday night.**
  • KM Permai, ONLY AVAILABLE every Tuesday night.**
  • KM Wahyu Samudra, ONLY AVAILABLE every Sunday night.*

Departure Tomia island
TomiaWangi-wangi : regular boat – daily 8am | price : IDR 100.000
  • Tomia – Wangi-wangi : chartered boat | price : IDR 2.000.000 – IDR 8.000.000 | from directly Tomia to Wanci(Wangi-Wangi) only you and your group on the boat (private).

    I HAVE NOT TRAVELLED AROUND TOMIA ISLAND. THE INFORMATION IN THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN COLLECTED THROUGH A NUMBER OF WEBSITES, AGENTS AND TOUR OPERATORS WHICH I CONTACTED. FOR THIS REASON I CANNOT GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION IN THIS SECTION ABOUT TOMIA.


13 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures and complete information! I hope you do have fun and enjoyed your visit in Sulawesi, Indonesia as you have come all the way from London.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank youMei...I tried to collect as much info as possible:) Yes, I definitely enjoyed my stay in Sulawesi! Amazing place, people, culture, beaches and food, yumiii:)

      Delete
  2. Hi Eva, thanks for this great info! i agree it is hard to find reliable posts about sulawesi, thanks for sharing.

    I hope you can help me. I´m planning to travel to Sulawesi late september to mid october. it is hard to go all over the island, so we are trying to choose the best diving spot in Sulawesi.

    have dived in other areas in Sulawesi besides Wakatobi? wich would you choose? bunanken vs Wakatobi..

    when you were in Wakatobi, how was the coral health in the area? there was coral bleach in 2010, and it seems wakatobi area was very affected.

    any island you recommend to stay? hoga vs tomia? we are looking at balancing good diving with a nice beach (not all of us are divers) we cant afford the expensive resorts. maybe you could share your Hoga experience beach/diving wise.

    how long did you spend in Sulawesi? Im sure we have to drop places as it seems logistics are time consuming and probably 21 days isn´t enough.

    any other advice you could give will be highly appreciated. we have about 21 days and would like to go to tana toraja, a national park for hiking (maybe lore lindu or around gorontalo), good diving and relax at great beaches (not necessarily same spot as the diving one).

    thanks a lot in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ador, Yes, of course I will try my best to help you and to give you some insights:) Yes, you are right, it is hard to go around the whole island in 21 days. I mean it does involve a lot of planning and patience (hey and learn some basic Indonesian as you will need it:)
      I have only dived in Wakatobi and snorkeled in Bira. I have met a couple that dived around the world in hundreds of places and they said that Hoga is one of the top diving spots. What I liked the most is the walls full of colorful corals. The walls have around 40 to 60 meters I think. You can visit coral garden which is amazing and also also the ridge (which I really enjoyed). You will find there lots of small fish. Tomia island is apparently difficult to reach as there is no regular boat and if you wnat to hire one you must pre-arrange it. I also heard that there is some budget resort offering diving (maybe it is even better than Hoga, but I am not sure what budget on Tomia means:)) Hoga is definitely not expensive place to dive and to stay. I would suggest to stay at the Vallacea Operation (contact them in advance to make sure that ssomeone is there). You can ask them directly about the group / individual prices (we paid 100 000 Rp per hut / 40 000 Rp per meal / 400 000 Rp per dive incl. the equuipment). Be aware that there is only beach, no village or any shops so make sure you will bring enough money.
      I snorkeled in Bira but it was raining a lot so water was not too clear. And also around Bira there are currents so make sure you go with really good instructor!
      I met someone who travelled to Bunaken and said it is really amazing but there is nothing to do on the island. I think the island doesnt have even the beach. But diving is apparetly really amazing.
      People either go to Bunaken or Wakatobi. If you decide to go to Wakatobi, then stop for a night in Bau Bau – you can read more on my blog about Bau Bau – visit Nirwana beach – such a lovely place (amazing beach), you find there only locals. Then you can go to waterfalls around Bau Bau (you can swim there, but bring food and water as there are no shops). Then from Bau Bau you can take a boat to Wanci or Kaledupa. The boat to Kaledupa is smaller than to Wanci and if some of you is seasick then definitely I would not recommend as it can get really shaky:) There is a lot of accommodation on Wanci Island, you have also the market place and Patuno resort can arrange diving for you too. It is really beautiful resort (a bit pricy tho but worth to visit). You can also have a swim from Patuno Resort beach. They also rent bikes and arrange snorkeling trips. In Wanci town you can visit Bajoe village which is really interesting to see and just walk around.
      Kaledupa on the other hand doesnt have any accommodation and travelling around the island involves lots of negotiation and patience! Take some basic Indonesian with you as it is very unlikely you meet anyone speaking English there. I must say that it is one of the most colorful islands – just a ride by motorbike is a great experience!
      Just to summarise, if you choose Wakatobi – you have more options to do things – viist Wanci, Kaledupa, stay on Hoga, dive and snorkel just form shore and also you can visit Tomia (just plan ahead)
      If you wnat to go to Bunaken, you can only dive or snorkel there.

      Delete
    2. With regards to coral health in Wakatobi, some corals are damaged but lots of them are not. You still have colors, massive coral flowers...its just amazing (just as on the pictures)

      any island you recommend to stay? hoga vs tomia?
      As I mentioned above, Hoga is I think the easiest, the most affordable and beautiful place to stay. It is easy to get to, you can arrange meals and accommodation in advance, make sure there is a dive guide to take you around, they have very good equipment there...so I would choose Hoga unless you have lots of time to go to Tomia (and I am not even sure how expensive it is to stay there)

      how long did you spend in Sulawesi? Im sure we have to drop places as it seems logistics are time consuming and probably 21 days isn´t enough.
      21 days for the whole Sulawesi is not enough if you want to cover from north to south and west to east. But if you have any preferences what to see and what to do then 21 days is very good time. I was in Sulawesi only 15 days but I was focused on what I want to see and where I want to go. I stayed 8 nights in Bira except Wakatobi. I loved Bira – the beaches are amazing, we rented motorbike for 4 days and just were touring around small villages...really great experience as you see real Indonesia/Sulawesi and eat real local food:) I have made a map so just give me your email and I can send it to you (the map covers the whole area of Bira and around)

      If you want to go to Tana Toraja, in my blog you can find agencies / guides that can take you there as a group. But I guess you can go there yourselves and arrange tours around there. Apparently it is very interesting. I haven't been there as I am more interested in the beaches and proper local off-beaten track routes and Tana Toraja is I think spoiled already by tourism...I cant make comments as I haven't been there, this is only my impression.

      I hope I answered your questions and if you have any other questions just email me.

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello again,

    i saw you mentioned you flew from Makassar to Wanci with express air. i didnt find this route in their website... did you experienced the same? only the travel agent can get this route? just wondering about time tables and frequency of flights during the week

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Under Useful Contacts and Websites in Indonesia (in my blog) - find information on Cempeka Travel - Mr Lili.
      Cempeka Travel
      Contact: Mr Lili cempekatravel@gmail.com
      Website: www.sulawesi-experience.com
      He booked all the flights for us, he provided me with all flight times and prices, you pay by pay pal and the next day you have e-tickets in your email box. Everything very smooth - and no commission or any extra fees... Just email him and he will provide you with information on flights and booking as you cant book with non-indonesian credit card.

      Delete
  5. Hi Eva, thank you very much for taking the time to write, it is very nice of you. All the comments are very valuable, we might get in touch with mr. LiLi as you mention. Seems it makes life way easier. Thanks again. Happy wknd!

    ReplyDelete
  6. by the way, i would love to get the map. to avoid spam, anyway we can communicate by private message and share emails?

    ReplyDelete
  7. You are very welcome. Yes, of course I will send you a map. Please email me to south.sulawesi.and.wakatobi at gmail dot com and I will send you immediately:) Hope your planning goes well:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. thank you very much for all the info

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Eva! Thank you so much for all the info you've provided here, I'm so happy that I found your blog :)
    I'm flying to Makassar after one week and I want to travel to from there to Taka Bone rate national park - Flores - Komodo - Lombok - Bali..
    if you have some useful words in Indonesian I would really appreciate!
    Pls email me; miicittie@hotmail.com
    Cheers!
    Hanna

    ReplyDelete