The Bunaken are famous for its diving. It is a perfect place to either start or end your trip in Sulawesi.
It is said that the Bunaken has the finest wall dives in the world. The coral is untouched and there are 390 fish species to be found here. Even though the Bunaken are visited by a lot of dive fanatics every year, it is quiet and there is a relaxed atmosphere.
From the Tangkoko Nature Reserve to Manado is a 50 km drive which takes around 2,5 hours. Arriving in Manado we had a farewell dinner with our driver Jemi at the Mac Donalds, before driving to our last stop in Sulawesi: the Tasik Ria Resort 20 km South of Manado.
The food at our resort was good. You get to eat from the buffet but they also have a la carte or can make a special rice dish or pasta buffet for you if you like. Really tasteful and even cheaper than eating from the buffet.
On our last night together, we wanted to go out for steak. Dan, the manager, already told us that they don’t have good steak but we looked it up online, and found a restaurant on TripAdvisor. The restaurant was nice, the staff was friendly, they wine was expensive and the steak was terrible. But, we had a good night and it was nice to go out for something to eat instead of staying at the resort every night.
We stayed at a really luxury resort called Tasik Ria. Our bungalows weren’t suitable for a backpackers budget (thanks mom and dad!) but they also have cheaper rooms which makes it affordable for
backpackers to stay here as well. The pool is quite nice, you get a free head massage and their diving school Tasik Ria Divers is really good, which was the most important reason we came
Even though our bungalows had beach view, there wasn't a real beach where you could lay down and enjoy the sun.
** You can find them on booking.com
There isn’t that much else to do in Manado beside diving. And the diving is amazing here! We did 9 dives in 3 days, meaning we did 3 dives a day. You leave around 8.30 am and return around 5 pm, depending on the dive spots and the weather. The dive spots we visited are:
DAY 1: SLOPEDIVE FUKUI, WALLDIVE LABASONG & MUCKDIVE CRITTER CIRCUS 1
DAY 2: WRECKDIVE MOLAS WRIPWRECK, WALLDIVE TANJUNG PISOK & WALLDIVE MUKA KAMPUNG
DAY 3: WALLDIVE MUKA GEREJA, WALLDIVE MADOLIN & WALLDIVE MUKA KAMPUNG
During these 9 dives we saw amazing animals such as sea stars, devilfishes, pufferfishes, clownfishes, moonfishes, parrotfishes, frogfishes, stonefishes, murrains, crabs, a snake, christmastrees and a lot of other beautiful fishes we've already seen during our previous dives and or snorkeling. We had our first encounter with some really, really, really small seahorses (buckitlist, check!) which were really difficult to see but so cool. We also saw an electric clamb which you can see produce electric shocks and saw a white tip reef shark sleeping in a cave. And our favorite! Turtles, lots and lots of turtles. And they are big, and really beautiful. Sometimes you didn’t know where to look because they were all around you.
As said, besides diving there isn’t that much to do. We spent our free time enjoying the sun and the pool, reading, sleeping, drinking beer and enjoying each others company for the last days together in Sulawesi.