Wakatobi saraong artwork. Kate Padget-Koh creating the artwork for a Wakatobi sarong.

A Destination for Inspiration

Published July 19, 2023 in NEWS, RESORT

For Hong Kong-based artist and designer Kate Padget-Koh, Wakatobi is more than a destination — it’s an inspiration. “From the first visit, I fell in love with Wakatobi,” she recalls. “It’s a place where we become guests in a beautiful, magical other world. It never ceases to inspire and astound me.”

Kate was introduced to this magical underwater world in the year 2000 with a Discover Scuba experience in the waters of Indonesia’s Moyo Island. In the years since, she and her husband John have dived extensively in Indo-Pacific waters and beyond, often seeking out remote locations that promise pristine reefs.

During their travels, Kate and John continued to hear good things about Wakatobi and eventually added it to their must-do list. They made their first visit to the resort in 2008, and it was an experience that Kate describes as “beyond expectations.” “In a word it was breathtaking,” she says. “Some of the best diving in the world, and with so many amazing creatures. In addition, the entire Wakatobi team is amazing, and have become friends.”

Kate feels going to Wakatobi is a “life-changing” experience rather than a simple vacation. She uses her visits to escape a hectic lifestyle and says each trip provides opportunities to discover how she can bring the “beauty, love, and magic of Wakatobi” to her everyday life.

Two of Kate's paintings: Princess Atargatis of Wakatobi (L) and Kate's famous sea goddess (right), which was used for the first Wakatobi limited edition sarong.

Two of Kate’s paintings: Princess Atargatis of Wakatobi (L) and Kate’s famous sea goddess (right), which was used for the first Wakatobi limited edition sarong. Image courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

Her initial visit inspired a new direction in Kate’s artistic endeavors. In 2017 she completed her first Wakatobi-themed creation, which depicts a sea goddess. This work adorned the first edition custom fine silk sarong that is still available to the resort for gifting and sales at the Boutique.

She describes her style of art as “hyper-natural,” combining reality with a sense of magic and immense beauty. “My recent pieces are inspired by the Wakatobi marine life and the beauty of the resort,” she explains. “I draw on the Sea Goddesses – Selassia and Sedna. They are mermaids, and I am sure there are mermaids swimming in the Wakatobi waters.”

The Wakatobi team put a lot of love and care into creating sand sculptures throughout the resort. Photo by Wakatobi Resort

“Wakatobi is more of an experience of conservation at its best. The commitment and love given by everyone on the Wakatobi Team is evident in every meal, every dive, and every grain of raked sand.”

Kate and John revisited Wakatobi soon after the resort’s post-pandemic closure and once again found inspiration in the waters. “The resort and reefs are even more beautiful and abundant than before the pandemic,” she writes. “The energy in this place is so extraordinary and probably why so many beautiful species make it their home.”

Returning home after their reopening visit, Kate began work on a second bespoke Wakatobi-themed sarong, which she unveiled during their most recent visit to the resort in July of 2023. “Being back in Wakatobi was rather overwhelming (in a very good way). It is a place where nature provides us with endless gifts and experiences,” she says. Kate says she would love to continue to collaborate with the Resort and is thinking of creating some Organic Cotton Tees with her Artwork.

Kate Paget-Koh's second limited edition fine silk Wakatobi sarong is now available in the Wakatobi boutique. Courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

Kate’s second limited edition fine silk Wakatobi sarong is now available in the Wakatobi boutique. Courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

Kate and John have now returned to Wakatobi six times, which included two trips aboard the dive yacht Pelagian. “We have been on many luxury liveaboards,” Kate says. “The Pelagian takes it to a whole other level. The boat, staff, and service level are extraordinary.  After being on the Pelagian, I would find it hard to find a serious diving liveaboard of this level elsewhere.”

Kate and husband John Koh have visited Wakatobi six times, including two trips aboard Pelagian.

Kate and husband John Koh have visited Wakatobi six times, including two trips aboard Pelagian Dive Yacht. Photo courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

“Wakatobi has the magnificence of a big resort combined with intimate attention to detail,” she says. “Such good diving combined with amazing service and facilities are very rare,” she says. “It excels as a luxury resort — the setting, the warmth of the staff, and the level of service are as good as it gets. And after years of diving in remote locations, it is a joy to sit down to exceptional meals with good salads, soft cheeses, and so forth. And as a dive resort, Wakatobi is truly in a class of its own, and I do not have a comparison in the dive world.”

Kate’s new second bespoke Wakatobi-themed sarong is now available to the global Wakatobi community. “I am so grateful for the love of the Wakatobi family,” she says. “Anyone wanting to find inspiration and create a beautiful relationship with a place will find it at Wakatobi.”

About Kate

Kate Padget-Koh is a British artist, based in Hong Kong. She has lived in Asia for over 20 years, and her husband is Singaporean. Her diverse career in Fashion and her life journeys inspire her colorful, bold, heartfelt work.

Kate Padget-Koh working on a Wakatobi painting in her Hong Kong studio

Kate working in her studio in Hong Kong. Courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

Kate’s exotic paintings draw on personal passions and her career in fashion and sustainable design. She works on large-scale two-dimensional pieces in ink, collage, gold leaf, and stickers, and she has mastered the techniques of combining digital design with hand-finished canvas prints. Her love for the diversity of Asian cultures, historical and modern, along with her eclectic view of the world, provides fuel for her work. Large-scale pieces include saints, madonnas, buddhas, goddesses, Peranakan culture, glorious underwater scenes, and vivid nature.

Find out more about Kate on her website >HERE

Contact us at office@wakatobi.com or Enquire >here.