Manado

Manado is among the highlights of diving in Indonesia and has earned plaudits throughout the world. When you’re scuba diving in Bunaken National Marine Park you’ll witness some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, with outstanding fish variety and world-class walls. The clear, warm waters contain astonishingly high numbers of species, whether corals, sponges or fish.

The park is located just out of Manado Bay in the Sulawesi Sea, off the northern tip of Sulawesi, and features some 2 dozen diving sites spread across an area of 75,000 hectares and the 5 islands of Bunaken, Siladen, Manado Tua, Montehage and Nain.

Explore the deep waters of Bunaken from your choice of dive resort and you can see 7 times more genera of coral than Hawaii, 33 species of butterflyfish and over 70% of all fish species known to the Indo-western Pacific.

Oceanic currents sweep past Bunaken Island bringing a steady supply of nutrients. It’s a sure certainty that where there is plenty of food in the sea, there will be an abundance of marine life, and you can be here to witness this rich harvest too. From the smallest commensal shrimp to black tip reef sharks and eagle rays, there is something for everyone in this very special dive destination.

Manado is very popular with fun divers and marine biologists both of whom can take great pleasure from the diversity of coral and fish found here. You will surely encounter marine life here that you have not come across elsewhere.

Bunaken Marine Park was one of the first marine parks in Indonesia and includes Bunaken, Siladen, Manado Tua, Mantehage, and Nain Island. The area has outstanding marine biodiversity with staggering coral walls around Bunaken, the more recently discovered muck diving sites in Manado Bay and the stunning reefs around Bangka which, whilst not part of the park, are celebrated for their stunning soft corals, dugongs and marine biodiversity. Bright blue waters, abundant marine life, healthy reefs, a thriving turtle population, resident dolphins and migrating pilot and sperm whales are definite highlights.

Great Dives

  • Muka Kampung – A steep drop off, wall and sandy slope combination site located in front of Bunaken Village. Muka Kampung is a turtle hotspot and a great place for macro life and critters. Towards the sandy slope, when you are not being distracted by the dense schools of butterfly fish, look out for passing eagle rays and bottom dwelling stingrays. The shallow reef top is a wonderful area to look for smaller critters in amongst the branching corals.
  • Lekuan 1, 2 and 3 – These three sites combine sloping reefs and some of Bunaken’s most impressive walls. Lekuan sites are packed with diverse marine life and at Lekuan 1 it’s possible to lose count of the number of turtles spotted on a single dive. Corals are vibrant and the walls are punctuated with numerous crevices, ledges and small caves where great macro life and juvenile white tip reef sharks can be found. Keep an eye out for schools of mackerel, fusiliers, green sea turtles, passing eagle rays and clouds of pyramid butterflyfish and redtooth triggerfish.
  • Siladen Point – Located off the tiny island of Siladen, this site offers a stunning wall decorated with a diverse mix of hard and soft corals. The craggy wall is home to a myriad of reef dwellers including scorpionfish, cuttlefish, nudibranch and numerous shrimp species. White tip reef sharks often pass through here as do other pelagics. The shallow reef top is bursting with smaller reef fish and awash with colour.
  • Sachiko’s Point – This iconic Bunaken wall dive site is located on the north side of Bunaken Island and offers an abundance of gorgonian sea fans and a vibrant mix of hard and soft corals. Sachiko’s is one of the best spots for observing passing pelagics including barracuda, sharks, turtles and Napoleon wrasse. In the shallows, the reef top coral garden is a great place for finding nudibranch and other small critters.
  • Batu Goso – A series of steep rock pinnacles just off Bangka Island, Batu Goso offers interesting topography, stunning soft corals and a diverse mix of marine life. The pinnacles attract schools of fish as well as passing pelagics and there are several places where divers can shelter from currents and watch the action out in the blue. Highlights at Batu Goso include black and white tip reef sharks, turtles, groupers, passing tuna and barracuda, schooling mackerel and a plethora of critters.

Featured Creatures

Dugongs and pygmy seahorses in Bangka; turtles and reef sharks in Bunaken; seahorses and critters including mimic octopus and cuttlefish in Manado Bay; great macro, turtles and tuna around Siladen and beautiful reefs around Manado Tua. Resident pods of spinner dolphins and pilot whales are frequently seen as well as seasonal sperm whale sightings.

Lembeh Island sits to the east of mainland North Sulawesi from which it is separated by a long, narrow stretch of water known as the Lembeh Strait. With nicknames such as “The Critter Capital of the World” and “The Twilight Zone” expectations of rare and unusual marine life are high. Lembeh’s black sand muck diving slopes are home to some of Indonesia’s weirdest and most bizarre looking sea creatures and it’s a macro photographer’s heaven. Above water and away from the Port of Bitung the banks of the Strait boast lush green vegetation and jungle packed rolling hillsides which cascade down to the water’s edge.

Great Dives

  • Nudi Falls – This is a true combination site which offers a shallow rubble reef top, sloping reef, a vast soft coral garden in the deeper areas and a vertical wall adorned with gorgonian fans. The soft corals are home to minute colourful cowries and rhinopias scorpionfish are also spotted here. Gorgonian fans are inhabited by pygmy seahorses, anemones host both anemonefish and Banggai Cardinalfish, giant frogfish perch on the wall and, as the name suggests, there is no shortage of nudibranch.
  • Teluk Kembahu – More commonly referred to as TK1, TK2 and TK3 these are sloping, black sand muck diving sites for which the Lembeh Strait is so well known. The dives start at 5 meters on a shallow sand flat before sloping down to around 30 metres / 100 feet. Patches of rope sponges on the slope and small bommies in the shallows attract various marine life including hairy and painted frogfish, mimic octopus, cuttlefish, stingrays and ribbon eels. Almost anything is possible at TK!
  • Hairball – This iconic Lembeh Strait dive site is a firm favourite with macro photographers. This is a black sand site on which you find occasional sponges and natural (and unnatural) detritus. Whether it is a tree branch or a beer bottle, inspect whatever you find as it is sure to be a hotspot of critter activity. Frequent sightings here include various frogfish and octopus species, cuttlefish, seahorses and look out for stargazers when night diving.
  • Sarena West – This sand and rubble slope to the North of Sarena Kecil is home to an array of nudibranch and goby species. The rubble patches provide numerous critters with hiding places so go slowly and look carefully. Other possible sightings here include giant frogfish, plenty of shrimp species, pygmy cuttlefish, Banggai cardinalfish and even blue ring octopus.
  • Police Pier – This site takes its name from the nearby pier of the police station which monitors Lembeh. Anything is possible at this sloping combination site which offers sand, rubble and soft coral patches decorated with bright orange sponges. Highlights of diving here include Banggai cardinalfish, spotted barramundi cod, painted frogfish, bigfin squid, harlequin shrimp and ghost pipefish.

Featured Creatures

Lembeh is all about critters and some of the most iconic species of the Strait include hairy frogfish, mimic, coconut and wunderpus octopus, pygmy seahorses, bobbit worms, stargazers, harlequin, tiger and emperor shrimps, ghost pipefish, a plethora of nudibranch species, mandarinfish and the endemic Banggai cardinalfish. Be sure to make a night dive to see the many nocturnal species too.

For now, visitors from most countries are granted a 60-day (non-extendable) ‘short-stay’ visa at any of the ‘designated’ air and sea gateways. Some major gateways in Sulawesi include Manado, Makassar and Bitung port. It is important that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Indonesia. In the past, the nationals of 48 nations were given a 60-day stay (visa free) upon arrival at an Indonesian international gateway. Under the new rules effective February 1, 2004:

Only 11 countries and territories will be eligible for a “Visa Free” facility, they are: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Chile, Morocco, Peru and Vietnam.

Beginning February 1, 2004, the nationals of 21 countries will be able to obtain a “Visa on Arrival” processed at the gate of entry following the payment of an official fee. The citizens of the 21 countries and territories eligible to purchase visas on arrival are: the United States, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Hungary, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Norway, France, Poland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Taiwan. The Visa on Arrival fee for citizens of eligible countries is US$ 25 for a 30 day visa and US$ 10 for a 3 day visa.

Check out the website of Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the latest updates.

GETTING FROM SINGAPORE TO MANADO

 

Manado is a very convinent diving location from Singapore with direct flights departing every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday by Singapore Air.

MANADO DIVING SEASON

You can enjoy Bunaken Island diving all year round but overall the best season for dive conditions are from March to October. November to late-February sometimes sees winds and rains so surface conditions can be occasionally rough with 1 or 2 metre swells at that time. Litter washed up from the mainland can also be a problem in rainy season too.

Water temperature (27-30°C) and visibility (20-35m) are pretty constant all year round. The rainy season of November to late February is less pronounced than at some other places in the region although showers are not unusual during this time. Visibility is reduced when it rains, more so around Manado bay sites than those at Bunaken.

Many creatures here are year round, such as the amazing array of giant clams and nudibranchs. Resident dugongs as well as barracuda and tuna appear throughout the year. June is a good months for sharks, July for dolphins and whales. Sperm whales migrate through the region to calf in the Sangihe region in March and July/August. This period also happens to be the time when homosapiens are present in the area in large numbers.

Cocotinos Manado is a boutique dive resort located within Wori Bay in the heart of Kima Bajo, a fishing village overlooking the Bunaken National Marine Park, world famous for its rich and astounding, wall and macro scuba diving. A short 25-minute drive from Manado’s Sam Ratulangi International Airport brings you to this beautiful beach front property comprising 12 luxurious rooms set in a lush tropical garden, 8 Water’s Edge Rooms and 2 Suites. Cocotinos Manado has won multiple awards from Trip Advisors since it’s opening and it is the most popular resort among Singaporeans.

At Cocotinos Manado you will enjoy fabulous diving, spectacular sunsets, delicious local and international cuisine, and the signature warm and personal service that is now much talked about among the loyal guests.

WHEN TO GO All year round diving. Best period is March to October
MIN. DURATION 5 days 4 nights
PRICES EXC FLIGHTS From SGD$ 1200
TRIP TYPE Resort
CUSTOM & GROUP DISC Yes

Dabirahe at Lembeh Hills Resort offers Lembeh & North Sulawesi diving. Its most recognizable feature is the infinity pool from which you have incredible views of the Lembeh Strait. Situated on North Sulawesi’s beautiful east coast, Dabirahe at Lembeh Hills Resort is located on a hillside just next to the Tangkoko National Park. It is a 1.5-hour drive from Sam Ratulangi Airport at Manado.

The villas and suites provide a combination of contemporary & traditional décor and come with private terrace overlooking the ocean, spacious private bathroom with sunken tub and traditional Indonesian outdoor showers. Each unit also includes all the expected conveniences: flat-screen TV, DVD player and an iPod dock.

WHEN TO GO All year round diving. Best period is March to October
MIN. DURATION 5 days 4 nights
PRICES EXC FLIGHTS From SGD$ 1480
TRIP TYPE Resort
CUSTOM & GROUP DISC Yes
manado cocotinos resort scuba dive diving package

Bastianos Bunaken

Experience Bunaken at Affordable Prices

Staying on holiday at Bastianos Bunaken Resort means you are in the professional hands of one of the best known names in North Sulawesi. Bastianos Bunaken was awarded the 2012 Dive Resort of the Year. The property is long-established and sits in an ideal spot, right on Liang Beach in the centre of the island itself, with quick and easy access to all the great diving of the Bunaken National Marine Park.

One of the most attractive features of this resort is its affordability – with a range of accommodation, from cheaper hillside rooms to beachfront and air-conditioned rooms – making Bastianos the right place to stay for the budget conscious, but also a useful Bunaken option for those that expect comforts such as air-conditioning and hot water.

WHEN TO GO All year round diving. Best period is March to October
MIN. DURATION 5 days 4 nights
PRICES EXC FLIGHTS From SGD$ 1480
TRIP TYPE Resort
CUSTOM & GROUP DISC Yes

WHY BOOK WITH US

VALUE FOR MONEY

We believe in providing you the best value for your money. You will find our prices compare favorably even to what you would find once you arrive at your destination. Price is nothing without service and that’s something we guarantee from the moment you book with us.

HAVE A GROUP? WE CAN HELP

If you have a big group or are looking for a customized trek or opportunity to tackle a trekking peak just ask. If you’re an individual trekker we can arrange for independent travel or pair you with one of our trekking groups.

FULLY LICENSED OPERATOR

There are only a few licensed dive operation in Singapore that are able to provide you a full range of services and travel arrangements from Singapore. Our trained diving instructors have been diving around the world to bring you the best advice of diving around the world.