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