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Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

Bergamo, Italy
Level Contributor
452 posts
80 reviews
Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

Hi

I am at the very first stage for planning a solo travel in South Est Asia for August 2019.

One of the place I would like to visit is North Sulawesi with the major aim to do snorkeling activity (I am not able to dive), although, if possible, I would also include one day for hiking in nice natural landscape. I should stay 6 nights.

At the moment my preliminary plan is as follows:

- Early morning flight from Labuan Bajo (Komodo) to Manado via Jakarta and transfer to Bukanen;

- 2 nights in Bukanen

- Transfer to Bangka via Manado.

- 2 nights in Bangka

- Early morning Transfer to Manado for taking a flight to Denpasar.

What do you think about this itinerary?

Do you think that I could substitute one day for including an excursion for hiking in a place close to Manado?

Regarding Bukanen and Bangka, do you have suggestions about best place for accommodation, possibly with possibility to do snorkeling also directly from the beach?

Do you have suggestion about good snorkeling boat excursions/itinerary in both Bukanen and Bangka? Since I travel alone, I would prefer small group excursions.

Thank you

Regards

Vincenzo

8 replies to this topic
Phuket, Thailand
Level Contributor
29 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

Hi Vincenzo

Regarding accommodation and excursions on Bunaken Island please note there are several options. This area comes under the Bunaken Marine Park and includes other islands such as Siladen, Gangga and Bangka. I suggest having a look at the Bunaken forum on Tripadvisor. At the top left of the page click on Hotels and then click on Things To Do. You should be able to research the options and read some reviews. I do know a couple on Bunaken Island. Bunaken Kuskus Resort, www.bunakenkuskusresort.com Tel. 0813 4000 0116 has nice basic wooden cottages and good basic Indonesian food. They have a reputable experienced dive team and knowledgable guides. They cater to snorkelers as well. The only negative is the snorkelling right off the shore is not that great. Murex Dive Resorts may suit you as they have resorts on Bunaken and Bangka. I am sure they provide transfers between the two resorts. Murex advertises land tours as well. Kungkungan Bay Resort is on the mainland in the Lembeh Strait, 60 minutes by car from Manado. It has a beautiful house reef right off the shore. Land tours here as well. Some of these resorts have guided night snorkelling. Please be aware August can be windy here, the latter part can be fine. Also the currents can be strong off the coral dropoff at Bunaken. Hope this helps. Have a wonderful holiday.

Phuket, Thailand
Level Contributor
29 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

Hi Vincenzo,

I have just remembered Murex dive resorts don't have a base on Bunaken. They have a resort on Bangka and one outside Manado. Boats from the Manado resort travel to the dive and snorkel sites at Bunaken.

Regards.

Bergamo, Italy
Level Contributor
452 posts
80 reviews
3. Re: Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

Dear Baghdadnote

Very useful information.

Thank you a lot

Regards

Vincenzo

Edson, Canada
Level Contributor
31 posts
56 reviews
4. Re: Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

The snorkeling on Siladen is better than Bunaken. Bangka (Murex Resort) is even better. Far as I know Bangka is not part of the Bunaken Marine Park, but the snorkeling is just as good. We visited in May 2018, spending six days at each of the locations. My serious recommendation would be to go to Bangka for the four days. The bungalows are very nice, power is only at night, but the ac works good. Overall this also would be the best value. Both areas have fantastic corals, Bangka has less currents and you can swim at all tides. Siladen was tidal, and sometimes quite a walk in muck/ grass to get out to the drop off. Have fun planning your trip!

Cape Town, South...
Level Contributor
11 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

Hi Vincenzo

I have just seen your query re Bunaken and Bangka. I visited the area for a week in May 2018, splitting my time between Siladen and Bangka Murex. I was just looking at something different after a week of amazing snorkeling in Raja Ampat which is hard to beat.

Siladen had some interesting fish and coral but was disappointing overall, and this included a trip to Bunaken, mainly because there was so much plastic and other trash in the water, so I would totally agree with another comment that you consider spending 4 days at Murex on Bangka. You can accompany divers on their boat trips to divesites if you want but I spent most of my time just snorkeling around the housereef directly in front of the resort. I especially loved going around the corner to the right of the resort and cruising along the shallow reef there for 100metres or so, the corals are in excellent condition, with some brilliant big fans which were a personal favourite. Also saw eels, banded seasnakes, lots of little rays in the shallows, and I had great fun finding and tracking a group of shrimpfish/ razorfish everyday. The Murex resort is well-run, nice team there. Not sure how the weather will affect visibility in August.

I am also considering visiting the area again, maybe to Lembeh, which is of course famous for muck-diving but I hope to find a spot that also caters for snorkelers, and has a good housereef. Let me know if you find any top snorkeling destinations, thanks.

good luck, Peter

6. Re: Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

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Colorado
Level Contributor
1,386 posts
340 reviews
7. Re: Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

Vincenzo, we snorkeled at all 3 : Bunaken, Bangka and SIladen in May 2017.

Siladen was a huge disappointment, would not return there.

In Bunaken we stayed at the Seagarden resort. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g10…

we liked the fact we can go snorkeling any time from there. If you stay on the other side of the island, you need a boat for the snorkeling.

They also have a boat so you can join divers and visit other sites.

Bangka - we stayed and Mimpi Indah, lovely place and nice owners. We snorkeled from the shore, but also joined a divers boat on several occasions.

The snorkeling was nice in Bunaken and Bangka.

Bali, Indonesia
Level Contributor
45 posts
7 reviews
8. Re: Suggestions for Bakanen and Bangka

Hi Vincenzo,

Bunaken is a great island for snorkelling directly from the beach. We found the best shore snorkelling at Pangalisang Beach, and there is a huge amount of accommodation options to choose from here.

If you would like to take an affordable boat trip, we can highly recommend a snorkel spot called Lekuan which is a vast and stunning wall (there are actually 3 spots here, referred to as Lekuan 1, 2 and 3). It’s very close to the island but a bit to far to snorkel to.

If you would like to do a private tour in a small local boat, this can be arranged from the end of Liang Beach by the jetty. However, we found the cheapest way of doing boat trips was to join a dive boat as snorkellers. Panorama Dive Resort only charged us 50,000k IDR per person, we went to Siladen, Manado Tua and many other dives sites around Bunaken which was amazing!!

I write a snorkel / dive related travel blog and have documented our experience of snorkelling in Bunaken and listed some of our favourite sites, plus accommodation details. In case you are interested, I shall leave a link below. Hope this helps with your trip :)

https:/…

Safe travels - Claire.

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