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Bangka (Sulawesi)

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North Sulawesi : Bangka
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Bungka area contains several Islands is off the coast of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The names of the Islands are (amongst others) Bangka, Gangga, Talise.

Understand

The Bangka area is one of Indonesia's most famous dive areas, and it draws scuba divers from all over the world. In addition to Bangka itself, a beautiful lush island, the area includes the neighboring islands of Gangga, Talise, and Sahaung.

History

Landscape

The area is famed for the clarity of its water (35m visibility is common in the summer dry season), the abundance of coral and fish, and for the numerous sitings of seahorses and even an occasional Dugong.

Flora and fauna

Except for the very largest pelagics, nearly everything can be found at Bungka. Reef inhabitants include white and black tip reef sharks, giant sea turtles, napoleonfish, pygmee seahorses and dugongs.

You may frequently run into dolphins, and occasionally schools of whales.

On the Island Bangka you can even see wild dear, the tarsius and the maleo.

Climate

Bangka is barely a degree above the equator and thus tropical. The "Rainy Season" from December to mid March, brings frequent rains, sometimes in storms lasting for several days, which make the air nice and cool but also reduce visibility. The "Dry Season" from April to November, when temperatures climb to 35° and visibility reaches a maximum. Bangka receives far less rain than the mainland and is well ventilated with sea breezes.

Get in

Bangka is about 90 minutes Manado, using a combination of car and boat. Most resorts will arrange transfers from the airport for their guests. Alternatively, a public boat leaves daily except Sunday around 4 PM from Likupang, or you can charter a boat anytime.

Fees/Permits

Bangka area is not part of the Bunaken Marine park, so there is no fee or permit. However, most resort offer diving in the neighboring dive area's, Bunaken and Lembeh Strait, as well as these are only about an hour away by boat.

Get around

There are no real roads on Bangka, and only a couple of villages. The best way to go from a resort to one of the villages os by boat. Watch out if walking along the coastline, as the beach may disappear when the high tide rolls in.

See

Tourism on Bangka is scarse and the resorts are far from each other. For a relaxed and quit holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, this is a perfect place. Most tourist who visit Bangka come for the excellent diving and snorkelling. Possible activities for landlubbers include:

  • Beach-combing, especially at low tide when the reef top is accessible
  • Hiking to some of the secluded coves on the Eastern and Northern part of the island, but trails are poorly marked
  • Fishing, hire a boat or join one of the local fishing boats.

Do

The thing to do around Bangka is dive, dive and dive! The dive sites are so numerous and different from each other that you can dive here no matter what your level and experience is. Of course there is also excellent snorkeling, with house reefs in front of some of the available resorts!

All dive shops in the Bangka area are affiliated with resorts, so see Sleep below for listings.

Buy

Eat

Fish, fish and fish (but of course there is meat as well)

Drink

Natural Drinking water is Not available on Bunaken Insist on bottled mineral water at all times, ensure that coffes or teas are made using bottled water also. Local spirits Cap Tikus literally "rat brand" made from distilled palm wine (a type of moonshine), actually quite nice "on the rocks with a slice of lemon".

Sleep

Most people choose to sleep at their dive resorts, almost all of which offer full board and attractive package offers. Those on the south and west sides of Bunaken have a strip of beach (coarse yellow sand), while the east side has a mixture of mangroves and small beaches with better reefs.

Lodging

  • Bastianos Dive Resorts, [1]. Located in Bunaken Island. 30 minutes from Mainland Manado.
  • Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Resort, tel. +62-431-3307293, [2], located on the tranquil eastern side of Bunaken. 10 cottages, all tastefully decorated and complete with en-suit bathrooms (hot water showers), private white sand beach, house reef for snorkelers. The beach top restaurant serves a variety of Indonesian/Asian dishes with emphasis on "Healthy Eating", vegetarians are welcome. Room & full board from US$50 per person/per night; room, full board and dive packages from US$120.
  • Bunaken Village Resort, [3]. Located along the Pangalisang beach on the east coast of Bunaken. 8 cottages, restaurant, dive shop, beach bar and swimming pool. Rooms 20-25€, 2 boat dives 40€.
  • Froggies Divers, [www.divefroggies.com]. A high quality dive operator with comfortable bungalows and excellent food.
  • Living Colours, tel. +62-812-4306063, [4]. Diver-oriented resort run by the shop of the same name, the bungalows are spacious and clean, but simply equipped (fan, mosquito net, cold water) and there is no beach to speak of. Rooms 25€/person, including three excellent meals and free Internet surfing.

Two dives a day from 45€, gear rental 10€/day. Airport transfers 30€/one-way, but free if you stay and dive 4 nights or more.

  • Lorenso's Bungalows, [5]. 5 min down the coast from Living Colours, offering cheaper but even more basic digs for around 10€/night.
  • M.C. Dive Bunaken, [6]. Located near the Bunaken Village Has a very nice beach and offers relaxed diving with experienced guides and good diving-equipment. Also offering Padi Dive Courses and Specialty's, Basic cottages 14€, more luxurious bungalows: 20€, including all meals, coffee, tea and water. 2 dives 40€, third dive 15€
  • Siladen Resort & Spa, tel. +62-431-856820, [7]. Small exclusive international resort on Siladen Island across from Bunaken. Multilingual PADI dive center, gourmet restaurant, lounge bar, Spa, large salt water pool. Located on the secluded western side of Siladen on a 300 meter stretch of white coral beach facing Manadotua Vulcano. Only 15 villas. PADI courses and full packages available.

Camping

Stay safe

There are no unusual health risks in the park, aside from the standard set of easily avoided venomous marine critters. Sharks and crocodiles are both absent, and jellyfish are found only occasionally, primarily during the change of the seasons in spring/fall.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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