Buton Island in Southeast Sulawesi is becoming an increasingly popular scuba diving destination in its own right, and this comes as no surprise considering it is so close to the world renowned Wakatobi diving region. What surprises is that Buton hasn't been discovered as a top diving destination before now.
So why is Buton becoming an increasingly popular diving destination?
Probably because in the last couple years a few keen divers living on Buton Island have got tired of trekking off to the Wakatobi for diving trips every weekend, and decided to start exploring the coral reefs a bit closer to home. They were excited by what they found and then started inviting other diver friends to visit and explore the diverse range of dive sites that Buton has to offer.
Divers from Indonesia's big cities such as Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung, often don't have enough free time to visit the Wakatobi, which is slightly harder to access, so they often opt for long weekend dive trips to Buton, where they get great diving and can still get home in time for work on Monday morning.
The international diving community are also starting to take notice of the diving that Buton has to offer. Divers visiting the Wakatobi often have to transit in Bau-Bau, and it is becoming popular for them to hop off and spend a few days diving around Buton. Why? Because surprisingly the diving experience you get is very different to the Wakatobi diving experience. Many of the coral, fish, and invertebrate species which are commonly seen when diving around Buton are in fact very different to those seen when diving around the Wakatobi, and visa versa.
In a nutshell the Wakatobi is mainly wall diving, whereas Buton has a lot of sandy slopes, hence the species residing in these two areas being quite different. There are also Buton dive sites which offer great muck dives and are always popular with Photographers. Favourite things that divers come specifically to dive around Buton for are; the elusive mandarin fish, frog fish, scorpion fish, ghost pipe fish, nudibranches, turtles, the white-tipped and black-tipped reef sharks, and eagle rays.
So that's why Buton is coming a popular scuba diving destination. If you are diving in the Wakatobi and have time, try and include Buton in your trip too, as it really will offer you a more complete Southeast Sulawesi diving experience. Alternatively if you don't have enough time to visit the Wakatobi, Buton offers a great alternative for some top class diving
Buton Diving Destination - Why is it Becoming Increasingly Popular?
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