On March 8, 2013, I got the chance to visit and explore Wakatobi. I went there by Lion Air from Jakarta to Makassar and continued the flight to Kendari and Wangi-wangi by wings air. You can book the flight from Jakarta – Makassar – Kendari – Wakatobi separately or book it as one package, according to your convenient.
When we have just arrived in Wangi-wangi Airport, we saw only trees, no houses, no building, no sea. We were totally blind about Wakatobi. We didn’t know where we would stay, what transportation we would use, even we didn’t know where the sea was, until we met Halim. Halim offered us a transportation to go to the center of Wangi-wangi, the place we can find accommodation and diving center. He gave us the reasonable price, IDR 50,000 for 30km distance. It takes less than 1 hour to get our hotel. He drops us at Hotel Wisata. The room renting price there is IDR 350,000/ night.
It was comfortable room, king size bed, hot water shower available, humble and nice housekeeping and receptionist, and what impressed me was they have international channel in their television. Beside our hotel there was Hotel Wakatobi, it was look comfortable too, but I didn’t check that. The cost per night in Hotel Wakatobi was IDR 250,000. Two days after our arrival we made a little walk to discover this small town. And we found some other hotels. The costs of those hotels are started from IDR 70,000 – IDR 150,000. But off course you can’t expect something luxurious there.
We couldn’t wait until tomorrow to taste the sea water. We knew we were tired, consider we start the journey at 3am, but we didn’t care with that. So we decided to ask Halim to drop us to the closest snorkeling spot. Closest snorkeling spot in Wangi-wangi is Sobu, it can be reached easily, I mean no need boat to reach it, only by car or motorcycle, you will able to be there. It was so beautiful spot for snorkeling. We found sea snake and some other sea creatures there, only by snorkeling. After we felt satisfied watching sea creatures, we decided to enjoy the beach close to Sobu. There were 2 beaches nearby Sobu, but we visited 1 – Waha Beach. What made it memorable were the kids who were coming to us and playing with us. There were a lot of kids, and they were following our car while leaving that beach. We finished around 5pm. We paid as much as IDR 70,000 to accompany us for 4 hours to the driver. We asked whether it was enough, he said yes. The thing what I know about the transportation was there was no exact price. To go by ojek from Hotel Wisata to Sobu is IDR 10,000.
From March 9th – 12th were my open water lesson days. I was supposed to do it in 3 days, but on March 11th the condition of the sea was very bad after our 2nd dive. So we postponed the other 1 diving until March 12th. Pierre is a dive master, but he requested to join with my lesson to look after me. But it was a good deal though. Because we paid only IDR 5,000,000 for 8 times diving of 2 persons, all in (include the ADS open water license for me). It was so special open water lesson, because I did every lesson directly in the middle of the sea. And m…. it was supposed to be secret but,, hehe, I was allowed to go deep only in my 2nd session. Pak Udin, my instructor always starts with 15 minutes open water lesson then we went deep and did the fun dive until for 30 – 35 minutes after the lesson dive. So yeah, it was good deal and fun. Because what I know is to take the open water diving license in another place (Jakarta and Bali for example) will cost me more than IDR 2,500,000 for sure. And the “fun” diving, I mean to go deep will only happen after the 4th session of lesson in the calm water.
March 13th, 2013. Pierre decided to have “his day”. “His Day” means diving without me, only professional will go and hang out together in the water. Therefore he went diving only with Syarif, the diving guide from Mawadah Diving Centre. I was still joined with the boat, but I was only go snorkeling, well it’s still good though, because in Wakatobi, you can discover beautiful sea only by go snorkeling. By the way, Pierre was so lucky in his 2nd diving session, he saw some sharks and a group of barracuda. His 3rd diving session is postponed till next morning due to there was a storm in the afternoon. For three times diving in Mawadah Dive Centre was cost as much as IDR 1,200,000.
March 14th, 2013. I was so envy for what Pierre saw a day before, so I insist to go deep with him in his 3rd diving session. I paid as much as IDR 400,000 for doing 1 time fun diving. We were obliged to finish the dive before 12 p.m., consider we will have flight at 12 p.m. at next day (March 15th, 2013). Condition of the weather wasn’t good again in the morning, it was rainy, but we still went diving, at 9 a.m. we started from Mawadah Dive Centre. We met some other people who wanted to go diving as well, they were 8 people, 6 people were tourist, 2 people were a dive guide. We shared the boat. And this meeting gave me interesting reference.
I talked with the chief of that group, he was the one who arranged the trips of those 6 people. His name is Seto. He told me that each person in that group paid IDR 6,000,000 all in (10 times diving package, accommodation, transportation and food). And they weren’t only visiting Wangi-wangi as what we did. They also visited Hoga (part of Kaledupa) and Tomia. Beside diving they also went to the top of Kahianga, visited Benteng Patua, explored people in Bajo Sampela Village. And he said the price could be cheaper if there are more people in the group. But he said, he will limit the group until 10 people each trip only. Because he is afraid, the fun will be less if there is too many people inside of the group. Ohya, he also told me that they stayed in Hotel Wakatobi (beside our hotel) to stay a night at the first and last day.
After talking with him, my brain was counting how worth is that price for the trip in Wakatobi, automatically. Silently I was comparing our trip expense with their expense. And I can’t deny that I have a little regret :p . I wish I could meet Seto and his group earlier, that was what I thought. Below is our expense during the trip :
Hey,, it doesn’t mean that our trip wasn’t fun. Because it was really fun. By visiting Wangi-wangi only, we explored a lot already. Some spots were amazing. And people in Wangi-wangi love us, they greet us all the time. I like that 😛 .
Usually, travel agent always becomes my last option to have trip. But for this case, I suggest you to use travel agent. Because Wakatobi isn’t only Wangi-wangi, there are also Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko. And around to those 4 main islands, Wakatobi has some more small small islands. To make you be able to explore them all, being in group or travel agent is the smart option. Because it’s gonna be a lot cheaper and you will have a lot of chance to explore Wakatobi.
Well guys, if you want to go to Wakatobi you can contact me in my email address : firstname.lastname@example.org. I will probably able to help you to get a cheap price from Seto 😉
Alright, those are my reviews about Wakatobi. See you at my next journey!!!
By. O.K Gita