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Diving Bangka Island | North Sulawesi | Indonesia
Frogfish in sponge, Tanjung Sepia

A short distance north of the Bunaken Marine Park lies another cluster of small, coral-ringed islands. The prolific reefs around Bangka and her neighbours, Gangga and Talise are close enough to the Manado area to be dived in a day trip and are well worth the time spent travelling up to them.

Although they aren't far from the coastline, these small islands sit above the northern-most tip of Sulawesi in quite an exposed position. This means they are subject to a variety of currents that flow in from both the north and from the Pacific Ocean to the east. Consequently, the scuba diving around Bangka can be challenging at times, but the conditions attract bigger pelagic species while ensuring that both hard and soft coral growth is outstanding.

Although Bangka isn't as well known to divers than the famed Bunaken-Manado stretch or even the Lembeh Straits on the opposite side of Sulawesi, there are some outstanding dives here with protected sites in small bays that reveal great critter life, sandy slopes and the incredible, dramatic pinnacles just off Bangka itself.

Bangka dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life Soft coral clad walls
Schooling snappers
Top dive site Sahaong
Seasons All year
Visibility 15 – 40 metres
Water temperature 23 – 29º C
Deco chambers Manado
Flights to Manado the 30 minutes transfer by car to coastal resorts
Dive operators and accommodation Nomad Divers are on based Bangka island. On Sulawesi, look for resorts north of Manado so closer to Bangka.

The city of Manado is the hub for all diving on North Sulawesi. It is easy to reach with direct flights from both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and there are many dive centres and hotels right across the area.

The Bangka area is a little more limited when it comes to types accommodation so it's worth considering staying nearer to Manado. Resorts on the coast north of Manado have easy access to both Bangka for days trips and the Bunken marine park.


Due to the offshore location of these islands, currents can be strong and the water at some sites like Sahaong can get choppy. However, the visibility is usually very good. Marine life is prolific – the currents bring in large schools of fish like midnight and yellow snappers, which hang over the submerged pinnacles and attract occasional whitetip reef sharks. At the same time, the tiniest of critters like pygmy seahorses and leaffish can be seen on the same sites if you take the time to stop an inspect all the corals.

Bangka is a fantastic add-on to a tour of any Manado diving region. It is still relatively undived although there is now Nomad Divers resort and more liveaboards are stopping there en route to regions further away. We have never stayed on the islands so it's hard to say what that would be like, but our feeling is that we would prfer to combine these dives with the fantastic sites around Bunaken.
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Complete reports on this area are in Diving Southeast Asia.

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