A trip down Binongko Island, in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi, is an experience to enjoy the beauty of the underwater world and the charm of the land. Binongko is an island at the southeastern tip of the Wakatobi archipelago. The islands in the center of the world’s coral triangle have long been known as a diving paradise. However, compared to the other three main islands, namely Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, and Tomia, Binongko is relatively remote from the bustle of Wakatobi tourism.
How remote is it? From Wangi-wangi Island, the capital city, and the entrance for air transportation to and from Wakatobi, Binongko Island must be reached by wooden boat cruise for 5-6 hours. Accommodation on Binongko Island is also still minimal. There are no hotels or inns yet, there are only some residents’ houses that can be rented as homestays. The lack of accommodation on the island is a challenge for the development of the tourism sector. However, the island’s tourism potential is very promising. The beauty of the dive sites in Binongko is not inferior to Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, or Tomia.
Ship Hill (Bukit Kapal)
The mainland of Binongko Island turned out to be very stunning. There are natural, historical, and cultural tourist attractions. One of the points visited is Koncu Patua hill. We reached the hill accompanied by some me Sembilan Tourism group members, a non-governmental organization formed by the community to manage tourism potential in Wali Village, Binongko District. The distance from the residential center in Wali to the gate of the hill is about 3 kilometers by motorbike. From the hill gate to the top of the hill, there are still 2 kilometers of trails that can only be passed on foot.
The hill is a historic site for the residents of Binongko, which is believed to be the site of the first settlement on the island. Moreover, based on the oral tradition of culadha tape, written by La Rabu Mbaru in his book about the civilization of Binongko, Koncu Pacua is the “ship” where King Wali Patua Sakti Sumahil Tahim Alam met with an angel.
This couple is said to be the ancestors of the Binongko people. And, the center of settlement as well as the government of Lakina Wali, the representative of the Sultan of Buton in Binongko from the 17th century to the 1930s, is on that hill. After that, the community moved to the coast in the Wali Village area until now. Koncu Patua also happens to be often referred to by residents as Koncu Kapala (Bukit Kapal) because one side is like the bow of a ship.
After we climbed to the top, it turned out that the top of the hill was a wide expanse of sloping. You can still see the remains of the village in the form of a fort made of rocks surrounding the edge of the hilltop. There are many tombs and a former mosque area from the early village. There is also a small cannon that points to the east coast of the island.
Yoro Beach and The Lighthouse
From Wali Village, on the east side of the island, the journey leads south. Not far from residential areas, there is Yoro Beach, a beautiful beach that has been equipped with some gazebo facilities for visitors. On the beach, there is also a mangrove forest area that is traditionally protected.
The journey was continued until it reached the southern tip of the island. At that location stands a lighthouse as high as about 30 meters with a base diameter of 6 meters. Unfortunately, the condition is not maintained. The building stairs were also damaged so that visitors could not climb to the top of the lighthouse. Visiting the lighthouse would not be complete without climbing the stairs to the top of the tower.
Not far from the lighthouse, there is a coral beach overgrown with many santigi plants. Visitors are advised to be careful at that location because there are sharp rocks and some of the sides of the coral have holes that are quite large and lead to the sea.
Stone Park (Taman Batu)
Continuing the route along the west coast of the island, we will find Stone Park. The name of the location is in accordance with the presentation of the scenery, namely the expanse of giant coral chunks that are black like charcoal. Hardly any vegetation grows on it. Continuing to the north, still, on the west coast of Binongko, there is a blacksmith village in Sowa Village. There, visitors can witness the activities of residents making Binongko’s signature machetes or machetes scattered in dozens of work huts.
Vacation is more than just the scenery/food/accommodation, it’s about making long-lasting memories and learning about new culture. Discover more adventures in Wakatobi by visiting Wonderful Indonesia.