“Kepulauan Tukang Besi” - meaning Blacksmith Archipelago.

The Way of Life in Binongko - Photo by Amrullah Basri

Binongko might be the last abbreviation in the name of Wakatobi, but it certainly does not lag behind the other islands when it comes to natural and cultural beauty. It is a truly unspoiled land, full of rocky hills and dramatic cliffs, with inviting beaches, turtle breeding grounds and countless springs hidden throughout.

Another unique feature of Binongko are the island’s blacksmiths, who in the past gave the area of Wakatobi its name “Kepulauan Tukang Besi”, meaning Blacksmith Archipelago. These dedicated artisans are famous for producing high quality parang (machetes), which are exported throughout all of Indonesia. There are no hotels on Binongko to spoil the authenticity feeling, but there are plenty of traditional homestays with clean rooms and delicious food.

Dive Sites in Binongko

The waters around Binongko remain little explored, except by its inhabitants who fish using small boats and traditional tools. There is no dive operator in Binongko. Adventurous divers seeking to explore the far reaches of Wakatobi’s underwater world will have to rent a boat from nearest island (Tomia) and bring all their dive equipment (including filled tanks) to Binongko. However, it is well worth the effort as Binongko offers a rich and pristine marine environment.

A variety of hard corals dominate the dive sites on the west of the island, and while in the east corals are scarcer and hundreds of turtles can be found. Thanks to strict protections under local law, the turtle population here is very healthy, making it the turtle capital of Wakatobi. The conditions depend on the season, with easterly or westerly winds. To date, 14 dive sites have been mapped around Binongko, with many more to follow in the future. Listed below are some of the ones that have been properly explored and assessed.