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Bunaken Archives - Dive Indonesia

The Natural Wonders Of Bunaken And Lembeh Strait

February 24, 2014 | 1

Full of natural wonders, and offering an almost unparalleled level of marine biodiversity, North Sulawesi has become one of the worlds premier destinations for ecotourism and adventure travel in recent years. Today, large numbers of scuba divers travel to this distant part of Indonesia, to sample some of the finest dive sites to be found anywhere throughout South East Asia. The diving in North Sulwesi is focused in two main areas, the Bunaken National Marine Park and the famous muck diving capital of Lembeh Strait. There are other destinations where good diving is on offer in North Sulwesi, including the dive sites in Sangihe Island and Pulau Bangka, however it is the dive sites in Bunaken and Lembeh which draw large numbers of scuba divers here year after year.

The Bunaken National Marine Park was established in 1991, and the deep waters of the park offer one of the greatest levels of marine biodiversity to be found anywhere in the world. A home to over 70% of all fish species found throughout the Indo-western pacific region, the waters of Bunaken are home to an incredible array of coral and marine life. The scuba diving in Bunaken is predominantly characterised by the awesome vertical walls which almost surround the island. Along these walls, an array of cracks, caves and crevices are home to a wide range of fish life during the day as well as the night. Dive sites including Fukui Point and Black Rock provide divers with access to stunning corals as well as stunning array of smaller marine life.

Lembeh Strait is widely acknowledged as being the ‘muck diving’ capital of the world, and offers what can only be described as a truly unique experience in diving. The diving itself is shaped by the black sandy bottom of the ocean in the region, which is home to a wide selection of critters and smaller marine life. It is for this reason that underwater photographers often choose to make the longer journey out to Lembeh Strait, to sample some of the finest opportunities for underwater macro photography to be found anywhere in South East Asia. Octopus, flying gunnards, frogfish and dwarf lionfish can all be found throughout the numerous dive sites in the Lembeh Strait.

Diving is possible in North Sulwesi throughout the year, although the best conditions are to be found from late March through to November. From January through to March, heavy rains and strong winds can be found throughout the region, leaving the conditions unfavourable for scuba diving. Without doubt, the diving in North Sulawesi is of the highest standard, and the region fully justifies its claim to be one of South East Asia’s leading scuba diving destinations. The superb dive sites of Bunaken and Lembeh undoubtedly ensure the longer journey time to reach here is worthwhile, and leave you only thinking of when you can return!

Explore the Stunning Dive Site in Kungkungan Bay

February 14, 2013 |

Kungkungan Bay may not be as popular as Bunaken. However, the tourists, especially the divers both local and foreign tourists, seem interested to visit Kungkungan Bay because this marine tourism location is perfect for diving. There are beautiful beaches and ocean marine biodiversity premises which are really beautiful when you are diving in Kungkungan Bay.

It would not be difficult to reach Kungkungan Bay. If you are using a private vehicle from the city of Manado, you must head towards Bitung first. This trip can be taken within two hours, followed by a 20-minute trip down the road to the Lembeh Strait. It is far enough and takes mileage but it will be paid by the ethics winding after you have arrived at the location.

One thing that is very unique is that when tourists arrive there, the officials will distribute bread for them. The bread is not for you to eat but it is distributed for snacks to feed the marine fish. The crowd of colorful fish will eat the bread into the typical landscape Kungkungan which is reported not owned by any other resort. Meanwhile, the water is barely wavy as there is no big wave on the sea. It is because of its geography is under the hill. Kungkungan Bay is also flanked by two small islands; Lembe Island and Serena Island. Sea water is calm and clear; making you can easily observe the marine ecosystem such as a blue starfish, yellow tail fish and many more with the naked eye. You will be served by a very charming marine biodiversity in this area. Established in 1995 in cooperation with the city government of Bitung, Kungkungan was built with the concept of underwater tour which will be retained.

There are resorts where you could stay while you are there. To create the private impression, there are 17 bungalows available, which those all are facing the sea. Due to the limited resort, tourists are usually had to book seven day before they come. For domestic tourists, bungalows are rented for between IDR 700.000,- to IDR 900.000,- per day. As for foreign tourists, the price can be twice as expensive to U.S. dollar exchange rate. If you want togo diving in Kungkungan Bay, you will be charged for IDR 180.000,- per hour and IDR 120.000 per hour for snorkeling.

There are at least 38 dive points in a depth of 12 to 15 meters. While you are diving in Kungkungan Bay, you will be accompanied with professional instructors from Eco Divers. The instructors are also acts as a photographer to ensure your underwater tour enshrined. For the convenience of diving, each diver is limited to four people per one instructor.

A variety of marine fish and beautiful coral clusters are typical underwater world in Kungkungan Bay. Even if you are lucky, you may meet rare species such as the pygmy seahorses, hairy frog fish, Ambon scorpion fish and pipe fish to flowers. Have a nice visit in Kungkungan Bay!

Diving for the Anti-Mainstreams in Lembeh Strait

February 14, 2013 |

Most people dive to see the beautiful colorful fishes, corals and other living creatures that live underwater. But if beautiful and colorful is not really your thing, you can still dive and enjoy the different kind of beauty in Lembeh Strait.

Lembeh Strait is located in Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. To get there, you should fly to Sam Ratulangi Airport in Manado, then take a taxi or rent a car.  There are a lot of fancy resorts around the strait that will give you their very best services.

Diving in Lembeh Strait will give you an amazing experience that you will never get in other places. This place is very famous for its anti-mainstream diving activity that mostly caused by its unique marine biodiversity that live underneath this beautiful place. This place will probably make us realize that beauty is not always identical with cute and colorful. Unique-shaped sea creatures can also be beautiful and breathtaking in their own different way.

You can start your journey with the most famous spot, Hairball. You can meet seahorses and frogfishes here. Moreover, if you are lucky, you can also witness the oddest and the most fascinating sea creatures that swim freely in this site. After that, you can move a little bit to the South to visit Air Prang. This site is the home of varying octopus and frogfish. If want to try the experience of night diving in Lembeh Strait, Air Prang is the right place for you. You will meet bobbit worms, plurobranchs, bobtail squid, large gastropods and snake eels here.

After that, you can go to Goby-A-Crab that lies in the South of Lembeh Strait. If you have no idea how pygmy seahorses, cleaner shrimps, crab eyed gobies, leaf scorpionfish and halimeda ghost pipefish look like, you can go here and start knowing this unique beautiful creatures better. As if it is not enough, you can go to Mawali Wreck to see the huge World War 2 Japanese freighter that lies in her port side. This wreck is now become the home of huge scorpionfish and lionfish.

Walking in the black sand beach can be a fun thing to do after finished observing all those amazing creatures by diving in Lembeh Strait. Lay your back in the sand, make the sand perfectly fit your body, close your eyes and listen to the sound of the nature or maybe start reading your favorite book in the beach. Those things are still amazing and relaxing every time you do it and anywhere you go.

Day diving or night diving in Lembeh Strait will definitely give you an anti-mainstream experience. Go bring your waterproof camera here and start diving around taking pictures of world’s amazing marine creatures that you can ever think of. There are more than 30 diving spots that will give you various kinds of excitement. This place gives the word beautiful a whole new meaning. Lembeh Strait will show you that being unique, weird and uncommon can also make other people love you and adore you.

Lembeh Island: The Paradise You Can’t Miss

February 14, 2013 |

If you go diving in Bunaken, North Sulawesi, make sure you also visit Lembeh Island. Located in Bitung, the second city in the province after Manado, Lembeh Island is one of the most attractive diving spots which displays untouched underwater beauty, unlike the busy Bunaken. In addition is its marine life, consisting of exotic species such as ­colorful nudibrachs, mandarin fish, ghost pipefish, frog fish, rhinopias, shrimp, blue-ringed octopus and rare pygmy seahorses. Therefore, this island is also a perfect spot for underwater photographers.

To get to this beautiful island, you can fly to Manado first then continue your trip to Bitung by car. From the harbor in Bitung, you can take a boat to get to Lembeh Island. Additional info, there are numerous airline services that provide direct flight to Manado from Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

From novices to diving experts, this island has much to offer as there are 30 amazing dive sites. Its colorful fish and coral adds the beauty to this diving spot. That is why you cannot simply forget this perfect paradise.

So, where can you find diving centers in Lembeh Island? Here they are:

  • NAD Lembeh Resort

Situated in the beautiful Lembeh Strait, this resort has ten rooms and four bungalows that displays eco-friendly design. The rooms are airconditioned, along with free Wi-Fi Internet access in most areas. Last but not least, hot water is also provided in each room.

NAD has a typically daily schedule, starting from light breakfast at 6.30 AM to several dives to night dives. Besides that, there are various dive packages that include meals, hot drinks and water. You can choose the packages based on your preferred accommodation, whether you choose beachfront room or seaview bungalows. The price is more expensive for packages including seaview bungalows.

NAD Lembeh Resort is the winner of Tripadvisor traveller’s choice 2012.


  • Immanuel’s Dive Center Daniel’s Resort

One of the most experienced diving centers in Lembeh Island. The packages here are quite affordable, from 210 Euro (2 nights per 4 dives per person) to 545  Euro (7 nightsper 17 dives per person). The prices also includes accommodation with meals, free coffee, tea and drinking water, minimum 2 divers (double occupancy), single diver (additional 20 Euro from the price) and transport fee ( day time).

If you prefer not taking the package, the price for full fear diver starts from 27 Euro to 80 Euro per person, and for non gear starts from 30 Euro to 85 Euro. The first aid kit and oxygen are provided in all of their boats.


  • Two Fish Divers

Another top diving center in Lembeh Island. This center offers personalized service as divers are put in small groups (no more than four guest per guide). You will enjoy the most unforgettable diving experience accompanied by their PADI trained dive guides.  Moreover, the dive center and the resort is right on the beach, making it easier for you to explore the dive sites in Lembeh Strait.

The resort also have a wide range of rooms that suit your budget. So, for backpackers, this resort can an ideal place to rest and enjoy your dives. You can choose the packages including accommodation, from luxury cottage to budget room.

One thing you should keep in mind, do not forget to enjoy underwater photography experience in Lembeh. It is simply unforgettable.

Bunaken: A Must Visit Heaven for Divers

February 12, 2013 |

Generally, eastern part of Indonesia is often dubbed as the untouched paradise as they really boast the real natural beauty of Indonesia. The island of Bunaken, in North Sulawesi, has been one of the most visited diving spots both in Indonesia and the world. It is home to some of the highest levels of the world’s biodiversity. 7 of the 8 giant clams species in the world are in Bunaken. Even though the exact numbers of fish species is still unknown, Bunaken is believed to have more fish species than the Phillipines alone. 70 percent of all fish species in Indo-Wester Pacific Ocean are found under the waters of  this amazing island. Besides its amazing sea creatures, this island is famous for its crystal clear water. No wonder this beautiful place attracts divers from all over the world.

You can reach this incredibly amazing island by boat from Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi. It takes about 45 to 60 minutes. A  public boat departs daily except Sundays at 2:00  to 3:00  PM from the canal on the north side of Manado market. The cost is Rp. 25.000,- one way for tourists and Rp. 10.000,- for locals. It returns to Manado from the jetty in Bunaken village around 8:00 to 8:30 AM every morning except on Sundays. Alternatively, you can go to Bunaken by chartering a private boat from the Manado harbor (behind the Celebes Hotel).

Needless to say, diving centers there are abundant. Here are some top diving centers in Bunaken you can visit:

Raja Laut Dive Resort

One of the best resorts with diving center in Bunaken. Keep in mind that this resort only accepts reservation for divers and those who want to learn how to dive. You must book your reservation by email. In addition, they require a deposit of 25% on the quote (50% for Reservation regarding July or August) to be made by bank transfer (Italian bank account) or via Paypal (+5Paypal fee). The balance must be paid cash in Bunaken (Euros, U.S. $,  Indonesian Rupiah).

You are under the certified instructors there, which some of them are Italians, so you know you are in the right place to learn how to dive or continue your course. From this center, you will be taken to most of the main dive spots such as Bunaken Timur (East Bunaken), Muka Kampung (Front of the village) and so on. There are also other less known but equally stunning dazzling dive spots you cannot simply miss there.

For accomodation, make sure you know that the price set in high season is always higher than that in low season. For example, for superior bungalow with sea view costs 35 Euro per night, while in low season the price is 30 Euro.


LumbaLumba Diving

You can do a lot of activities here as this place has much to offer, from diving center to spa facilities. You can explore to 30 wonderful dive spots with LumbaLumba Diving. The service is excellent, this place really makes you feel at home.

The prices are subject to change therefore, it is suggested that you always check the price list that is valid until certain period. Like the price of single chalet is 55 Euro until the end of this year. Starting from January 1 until April 30 2013, the price will raise to 57 Euro.

You can have your dive trips arranged there. Do you want to watch closely the stunning coral reefs? You can join House reef dive accompanied by the center’s professional guide.


Bunaken ChaCha

No matter whether you are a pro or newbie diver, this diving center is always open for you. No wonder they claim as a ‘non diver friendly resort’. The course is tailored to suit what you need. For divers who have not dived within the last six months, it is a must to complete a Refresher course conducted by instructor before joining in dive groups.

Talking about the accommodation, just take a look at all cottages here. All are made of local timber, and special care and attention has been paid to detail to build this accommodation that reduce impact on nature.

There is an alternative you can try if got bored underwater, a tour to Tangkoko Nature Reserve Tour arranged by ChaCha. This national park is home to amazing flora and fauna, good option for conservationists.

Well,  there are some great diving centers in Bunaken. Make sure you participate in protecting the creatures. Do not step on the corals, do not make noise and do not take all the living things home. Happy diving!

Diving in Montehage Island

November 11, 2012 |

Marine parks around Bunaken is part of the National Park, including the island of Manado Tua, the island and the island Mantehage Siladen. In the Bunaken Marine Park you can see the beautiful beaches and amazing variety of marine life and colorful. To achieve this marine park, you can use a motor boat, a trip from Manado takes about 40 minutes. Thousands of domestic and international travelers come to Manado to dive in Bunaken. The dive sites are very beautiful and growing as much explored by local divers. Hundreds charming dive spots extend from the island of Manado Tua, Bunaken, Montehage, Siladen, Nain, also in Manado bay itself. It continues tens of kilometers up to Bangka and Lembeh. The waters of Bunaken is clear, water visibility could be reached 45 meters in both vertical and horizontal. With a combination of natural beauty, instructors who have the capability, adequate facilities, clear water conditions, such as those in Bunaken, will provide a very enjoyable dive atmosphere. Read More

Tanjung Pisok

November 7, 2012 |

Bunaken Island has become an icon of the city of Manado, North Sulawesi.  The underwater paradise has been discovered. The phenomenon of the sea with perpendicular baseless coral walls has lifted Bunaken become one of the world’s best dive sites. Around the island of Bunaken, there are more than 25 dive points spreading over several islands. Read More

Diving in Bunaken

November 6, 2012 |

Indonesia is the best and the greatest place for diving. Exotic dive locations in Indonesia are so many and varied. One of the favorite dive sites in Indonesia is Bunaken. Bunaken Island, which is located in North Sulawesi, can be reached by airplane that may be taken directly from Jakarta for about 3 hours and then within approximately 15-40 minutes from the outskirts of the city of Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province, by boat motors. While passing through Mount Manado Tua Island, you can see straight Bunaken Island, which is right next to the Siladen Island that is very beautiful. National Marine Park in Bunaken Island has the world famous with its area of over 75,000 hectares, divided by 3% land and 97% of the oceans. It comprises the five main islands; Bunaken, Manado Tua Island, Siladen Island, Montehage Island, and Nain Island. It supports the highest marine biodiversity on earth. Read More

Diving in Manado Tua

November 1, 2012 |

Manado Tua, or Old Manado in English, is an island that forms the Bunaken-Manado Tua Marine National Park together with the islands of Bunaken, Siladen, Mantehage and Nain. This approximately 89,065 acre national park is located not far from the city of Manado, the capital city of North Sulawesi province. Waters in this region has spectacular underwater panorama, so it is no wonder that this place hosted the first World Ocean Conference ever in May 2009 and diving in Bunaken is every diver’s dream. Read More

Diving in Nain Island

October 31, 2012 |

Located in Manado Bay with an area of 8.08 km², the National Marine Park of Bunaken – Manado Tua is a popular location for marine tourism. By diving in Bunaken National Marine Park, which consists of large islands around Bunaken, visitors can see an amazing variety of colorful marine life. These wonderful marine vistas can be seen in various parts scattered around Bunaken National Marine Park, such as the one in Nain Island. Read More