The Beautiful Marine National Park With Some Of The Best Diving Spots In The World

Indonesia is the ideal country for diving, especially as it is located within the "coral triangle," which has more reef diversity than any other place on Earth. But if you can only dive off one of its 17,500 islands, then make it Tomia Island in Southeast Sulawesi. This picturesque island is the jumping-off point for Wakatobi National Park, which is a UNESCO-listed marine biosphere reserve.

Wakatobi comprises 3.4 million acres of water and islands, with its crown jewel being its awe-inspiring coral gardens. The park surrounds the Tukang Besi Archipelago, which is made up of Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa and Binongko, as well as Tomia and some smaller islands. It's not generally a quick or easy journey to get to Tomia, but once you arrive, you'll have some of the best dive spots to yourself. Adventurous couples who love Indonesia, as well as diving together, will especially love the romance of the island's excellent dive resorts.

How to get to Tomia Island

This island appeals to adventure lovers as it can require multiple modes of transport to get here. If you're traveling from Bali Denpasar airport, then you can fly to either Makassar or Kendari. It is from these airports that you can get a local flight to Wangi-Wangi's airport (also known as Matahora Airport), which is part of the same archipelago as Tomia. There are public ferries which then go from Wangi-Wangi to Tomia, and take around three to four hours.

If you're not in Bali, you can get here from Jakarta, as there are direct flights to Wangi-Wangi airport. There is also one boat a week that goes directly to Tomia Island from Kendari. Additionally, you can fly to Bau Bau on Buton Island and then take a public boat to Tomia Island. For those with money to spend, the luxurious Wakatobi Dive Resort offers a private charter plane from Bali for its guests.

What to know before you go to Tomia Island

If you're looking for a dive resort in this top scuba diving destination, then Tomia Island has something to suit your budget. According to Discover Your Indonesia, it is the "most developed island for diving" in the archipelago. The most expensive one is Wakatobi Dive Resort, as apart from the direct flight, it offers extras like butler service and spa treatments. According to Tripadvisor reviews, the "best value" dive resort is Marind Dive Eco Resort, which offers beachside bungalows with a garden, as well as a restaurant and bar. If you want to stay in more traditional hotel setting, those are also available on the island.

When you're diving or snorkeling, expect to see some of the 396 types of reef coral species and the 590 fish that live in and around them. It is also a birdwatching haven and spotting different breeds can occupy you while you're on land. There are many rare species to spot underwater in this biodiverse hotspot. Look out for the hawksbill turtle, green turtle, Napoleon fish, canary crabs, giant clams, dugongs, and dolphins. If you have ever been interested in trying underwater photography, then this may be just the place to get started!