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Manado, North Sulawesi

Reef walls of the Bunaken Islands and secret critters of Bangka Island and Lembeh Strait

Indonesian waters are among the richest in the world and have the highest fish and coral species count on the planet. North Sulawesi is at the heart of this great underwater biodiversity, and here, divers can find some of the most remarkable and rarest marine creatures to be found anywhere.

The gateway into North Sulawesi is Manado, and from here you can venture over to the western side of North Sulawesi to dive the Bunaken Islands, a beautiful and lush covered group of five volcanic islands with prolific fish life and pristine coral walls and drop-offs.

Over on the eastern side, between Sulawesi and Lembeh Island, is the world renowned Lembeh Strait – the ‘muck diving’ capital of the world. The black sandy slopes and corals here are home to some of the most magical and exotic marine critters that divers could hope to find anywhere in the world.

Easily combined, these two destinations offer divers an unparalleled Indonesian experience.

How to get there
Manado is easily reached with one stop en-route from the UK with a journey time of around 18 hours. The most straightforward routing is via Singapore with Singapore Airlines. On arrival into Manado it takes around an hour or so to get to your chosen resort on the Bunaken side of Manado, or around two hours to get to Lembeh Strait.

Stay a bit longer
Diving the Bunaken Islands and Lembeh Strait works brilliantly as a combination, with just a two and a half hour private transfer between each area, so spending a week in each area is highly recommended and very easy to do.

There are some wonderful places to explore top-side too, with the Tangkoko National Park being one of the most famous and a must-do experience. Exploring the jungle with a guide is exhilarating and here you might see crested Black Macaques monkey, hornbills and the small, Tarsier monkeys.

If you fancy breaking up your journey, then a one or two night stopover in Singapore city works really well. If you’d like to add on to your Manado trip we’ll be happy to guide you and assist with your travel needs.

Exploring Indonesia
Indonesia is vast and varied, with stunning scenery and superb diving. Visit our Indonesia section for an introduction on where to go throughout this country, including Bali, Manado (Lembeh Strait and the Bunaken Islands), Raja Ampat and Komodo National Park.

Quick Guide: Manado

  • Location: North eastern tip of Sulawesi
  • When to go: All year but Mar – Dec is best
  • Average air temp: Tropical 30°C
  • Average water temp: 26°C – 28°C
  • Recommended diver level: Good for all levels

Dive Resorts in North Sulawesi

DIVE INTO LEMBEH

Lembeh Strait

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DIVE INTO LEMBEH

SILADEN RESORT & SPA

Bunaken Islands

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SILADEN RESORT & SPA

NED-LEMBEH RESORT

Lembeh Strait

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NAD-LEMBEH  RESORT

TASIK RIA RESORT & SPA

Manado

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TASIK RIA RESORT & SPA

LEMBEH RESORT

Lembeh Strait

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LEMBEH RESORT

MUREX MANADO

Manado

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MUREX MANADO

BUNAKEN OASIS DIVE RESORT & SPA

Bunaken Islands

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BUNAKEN OASIS DIVE RESORT & SPA

MUREX BANGKA

Bangka Island

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MUREX BANGKA

Day Trips, Tours and Things to Do in North Sulawesi

Tangkoko National Park from £95 per person (minimum 2 people)
An ideal tour for nature lovers and photographers. Based at the foot of the Dua Saudara Mountain in North Sulawesi the area is a mixture of rolling hills and valleys which we walk through in search of numerous wildlife species. Highlights include black crested macaques, the world’s smallest primate – the tarsier, hornbills, cuscus and Maleo birds.

Tangkoko tours can easily be combined with either of the following, for a full day tour:-

Tangkoko plus Tasikoki Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Center from £115 per person (minimum 2 people)
Tasikoki rescue animals from the illegal wildlife trade with the aim of rehabilitating and releasing them or finding suitable placements. The tour starts at the education building and finishes at the observation tower for panoramic views of the park. Species that are regularly rescued by Tasikoki include numerous species of birds and endemic species such as babi rusa through to larger animals such as sun bears and orangutans.

Tangkoko plus Waruga Sawangan from £140 per person (minimum 2 people)
Waruga Sawangan is a park that keeps ancient megalithic gravestones once used by the Minahasan people. Based on local belief, these graves are made of carved stone that are shaped like a house, a tradition kept since 1600AD. The graves vary, depending on the profession or social status of the person that been buried. A fascinating tour for anyone interested in history and culture.

Minahasa Highland Tour from £75 per person (minimum 2 people)
Our Minahasan Highland Tour is a perfect way to explore the area and learn about the local culture and history of the region. We can tailor the tour to take in the sights that are of most interest to you. Highlights of the area include:
Tomohon Traditional Markets: The highland climates are perfect for growing a variety of plants, flowers, spices, fruits and vegetables. Visit both the traditional flower market and jungle food market, where you can see a variety of local specialties for sale including bat, snake, and dog.
Woloan & Pulutan Villages: Visit the local villages where specialized industries are booming. See traditional Minahasan houses being built and traditional pottery being made.
Lake Linow: The colors of this lake change due to high sulphur content in the surrounding rock and the changing light. Many bird species make this area their home. Watch out for bubbling mud holes as you walk around. This is a lovely spot to enjoy a cold drink and soak up the views.
Mahawu Volcano Tour: The journey to Mahawu Volcano takes you through the beautiful Minahasan Highlands to the town of Tomohon. Arriving at the Ranger Station at the base of Mount Mahawu there are steps that lead to the crater’s edge where you can enjoy amazing views of Bunaken and Manado Tua Islands. If you choose you can also take the circular trek around the crater’s edge. After working up an appetite we stop for lunch at either Lake Tondano or a local restaurant that serves traditional Minahasan cuisine. This tour can also be integrated into our Minahasan highland tour.
Lake Tondano: The largest lake in the region and the second largest in Indonesia. The flat land surrounding the lakes is perfect for growing rice, one of the main livelihoods in this area.
Waruga: These are historical Minahasan stone graves. Listen to the local caretaker tell you the history of this fascinating tradition. The journey to and from Tondano to this location is absolutely stunning with sweeping vistas of coconut and spice trees. We can also visit some Waruga that are still in the original location in Nawanua, close to Manado.
Watu Pinawetengan is an interesting megalithic stone because of its unique form and scripts. It holds an important place in Minahasan history. There is a small museum with interesting artifacts in Pinabetengan village. Close to the Watu Penawetengan there is also a factory where batik fabric and other local handicrafts are produced.

PARAGLIDING from £109 per person (minimum 2 people)
Take to the skies and see North Sulawesi from the air. You’ll take an incredible tandem paragliding flight with a professional instructor and see the landscape of the mainland and the islands of the Bunaken Marine Park from a birds-eye view.

This is a phenomenal opportunity that we are extremely excited to be able to offer at Murex Resorts – now you really can combine land, sea, and air in one trip!

Paragliding tours operate out of Tumpa, which is a 30-45 minute car journey from Murex Manado. Surcharges apply for transfers from Murex Bangka Resort.

White Water Rafting from £95 per person (minimum 2 people)
Looking for something more active and adventurous? Enjoy the thrills and spills of white water rafting. The adrenaline gets pumping as you race down the river through the rainforest with an experienced guide. The calm river sections are an opportunity to spot wildlife and soak up the stunning scenery and natural beauty.

Manado City Tour from £42 per person (minimum 2 people) (from Murex Manado Resort only)
Take a tour of Mando City with us. Manado is home to a Chinese Quarter where there are two beautifully sculptured adjacent Chinese Temples, visit our local coffee roasters – and sample a brew while you are there, or visit the area that is best known for traditional weaving which has been carried out using the same tools as those used many generations ago.
Manado also has a vibrant traditional market where you can purchase local snacks, sweets and treats – or if you are craving a taste of home there are modern malls with international stores and restaurants.

Cooking Classes
Enjoy a taste of local Minahasan cuisine by learning how to prepare a variety of local dishes with one of our chefs. We ask for one day’s notice so that we can prepare the necessary ingredients for the dishes of your choice.

Kayaking Tours are also available.

Indonesia by region

BALI

 

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Bali 
Rich culture, stunning mountain rice terraces and excellent shore diving

KOMODO

 

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Komodo National Park
Critters, wall diving, mantas - and dragons!

RAJA AMPAT

 

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Raja Ampat
Jungle covered islands, hidden lagoons and idyllic white sandy beaches

MANADO

 

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Manado
Reef walls of the Bunaken Islands and secret critters of Lembeh Strait

 

Ready for your next adventure?

Great Escapes Diving Holidays Ltd

Combs Tannery
Tannery Road
Combs
Stowmarket
Suffolk
IP14 2EN
United Kingdom

Office hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9am - 5pm
Tel: 01449 535010
Email: info@greatescapesdiving.com

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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