Have you heard about the world-famous muck diving in the Lembeh Strait? The phenomenal wall dives and turtles of the Bunaken Marine Park or the kaleidoscopic coral reefs of Bangka Island? These three locations offer some of the best and most diverse diving in North Sulawesi, Indonesia and it’s possible to see them all in one trip with a North Sulawesi “Passport to Paradise”.
The Indonesian province of North Sulawesi lies in the heart of the Coral Triangle – the most marine rich region on Earth. Whilst you may have heard of Bunaken, Bangka and Lembeh, you may not realise they’re not actually that far apart. So diving the best of North Sulawesi doesn’t mean you have to choose between locations – you can dive all three in one trip.
Diving Bunaken Marine Park
Bunaken Marine Park was one of the first Marine Protected Areas in Indonesia – and it shows. The dive sites around this small island are characterised by vertical coral walls which are teeming with life. The resident population of green sea turtles has grown from strength to strength and at some dive sites you’ll lose count of the number of turtles you see in a single dive.
Nearby Manado Bay is home to wide ranging marine life and a diverse dive sites. It is becoming increasingly recognised for its volcanic, black sand muck diving sites which are home to a plethora of unusual critters from numerous cephalopod species through to seahorses, nudibranch and crustaceans. The Molas wreck is an exciting wreck dive and also offers a myriad of fish and critters. To the south of Manado Bay lays Poopoh – a record breaking site where 385 different species of fish were recorded in just one morning.
Diving Bangka Island
Bangka Island is as beautiful underwater as it is on land. This lush green island is surrounded by white sandy beaches and a fringing reef of soft corals bursting with colour. Schooling snappers, passing reef sharks, occasional dugongs and an array of reef fish and critters have all made Bangka Island their home. Bangka offers phenomenal diving and a chance to get completely off the grid on this remote tropical island.
Diving Lembeh Strait
The Lembeh Strait is home to highest concentration of rare and unusual marine life on Earth. Exploring Lembeh’s world famous muck diving sites is akin to opening a treasure trove of critters. Even the most seasoned of divers can’t help but be impressed by the species found here: 8 different species of frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, wunderpus, mimic octopus, blue ring octopus, bobtail squids, harlequin shrimps, tiger shrimps, three species of pygmy seahorses, countless species of nudibranch, bobbit worms, Ambon scorpionfish and rhinopias – to name but a few.
Diving your way around North Sulawesi
For some of us, the idea of moving from resort to resort can seem arduous, results in wasted diving days and involves a lot of planning and additional stress – not so in North Sulawesi. Murex Dive Resorts offer a ‘Passport to Paradise’ option which includes staying at Murex Manado (diving Bunaken and Manado), Murex Bangka and Lembeh Resort.
You can choose the number of nights you want to stay in each location, transfers between resorts are by boat and include two dives along the way. No wasted diving days, no logistical planning, no drying and packing gear and your dive guide will stay with you from start to finish. Dive your way, hassle free, from one place to the next. Two resort combinations are also available – have a look at our Passport to Paradise Special and get in touch!