Tukangbesi Islands Travel Guide

The Tukangbesi Islands are a string of islands off the southeast coast of Southeast Sulawesi. They are known for their excellent diving, which rivals even that of Manado, although water visibility and accessibility are not as good.

These islands, also known as the Wakatobi Islands (in reference to the Wakatobi National Marine Park here), lie to the east of Buton Island and form one of the largest national marine parks in Indonesia. The diving is fantastic, with all kinds of reefs, bridges, pinnacles, and wall dives on offer, plus the place is uncrowded and dive groups are usually small.

There are no roads on the Tukangbesi Islands, just small fishing villages and a bunch of well-turned out beach resorts. Those not into diving can enjoy lazing on the beaches and taking advantage of the excellent snorkeling just steps away from most resorts’ bungalows.

There are four main islands in the Tukangbesi Islands group, including the most southerly, Binongko, which is one of the main ones. The town of Papalia on Binongko lies in the west and is the biggest settlement.

Getting There & Away

The most convenient way to get to the Tukangbesi Islands is to fly to Bau Bau from Makassar and book a charter from there. Makassar’s airport has links with Jakarta’s international airport. Bau Bau is under an hour’s flight from Makassar and there are several services a week. You can also fly from Kendari, the Southeast Sulawesi capital, or take a fast boat. The islands are around 3 hours away from Bau Bau by speedboat.