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-   -   North Sulawesi Dive Resorts (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/north-sulawesi-dive-resorts-337924/)

ajy733 Apr 6th, 2008 11:31 AM

North Sulawesi Dive Resorts
 
My husband and I are relatively new divers. We have done about 25 dives in the Mexican Riviera area and we are hooked!!! We are off to Roatan later this year for two weeks of diving at a couple of different resorts. So our diving time will increase a lot.

Now after much debate we have decided that in April or May of next year we want to go to North Sulawesi for a diving trip. I really need some help choosing the right places to stay. Live aboards are out since Bruce gets motion sick at the Imax so we have to be land based. The concept of muck diving is new to us and a little confusing. Since our experience is in Akumel we are used to seeing lots of coral and fish and I am not sure that we want to give that up completely.

I am considering the following places in Sulawesi: Lembah Resort ( I love the idea of the big verandah watching the water), Minahasa Lagoon ( I am not sure how far out the way this is and if thats a good thing), Siladen Resort ( The price might be out of league not sure though), Gangga Island Resort and Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Resort.

We want nice quiet accomodations ( hot and cold water, western toilet, a/c optional) with a great view and not too many guests, good food although we are hardly picky eaters, not too much fish though, lots of opportunities to dive during the day and possibly a night dive, patient dive masters and groups that are not too large since we are not the most experienced divers and I wouldn't want to hold people back, sites that are not too far away by boat (again the sicky spouse issue), some "muck" diving but also lots of coral and larger creatures and perhaps a day of other than diving sight seeing in the area. So as you can see I want it all!!!

I have read all posts on this site about this area and they are wonderfully helpful. We would be going for about two weeks so we could split it up any way we wanted although I don't think we want to do more than two places since it cuts into dive time.

Any advice is appreicated. I just want to make the most of the trip. Thanks!!

marmot Apr 6th, 2008 06:30 PM

ajy, Kungkungan Bay Resort offers everything on your wish list. The setting is spectacular, the accomodations are comfortable, the food good and the service solid and reliable. You can walk in and dive right from the beach and there are at least a dozen sites within half an hour of the resort, many within 15 minutes.

Although they are known for muck diving and micro photography, the traditional coral reefs are also accessible. The diversity and density of marine life makes this one of the top dive locations in the world.

Although the visibility isn't as lucid as Bunaken, I think the amenities and professionalism of th resort makes this a wonderful experience, especially for new divers.

I'm not a serious diver -- more of a dabbler -- but I've always enjoyed Kungkungan because of people I've met there. They most always have a marine biologist or photographer on hand who shares slides and stories. A very special place.

http://www.divekbr.com/

susncrg Apr 6th, 2008 07:01 PM

I second Marmot's rec for KBR. We are serious liveaboard diver's, so I'm not as familiar with on-land accommadations, but one of our very experienced dive buddies has gone to KBR numerous times and we are planning to add a trip there to our Banda Sea liveaboard next year. You might also look at Wakatobi Resort which has gotten good reviews, and which I'm seriously considering in the future.

Muck diving is fabulous, but can be a little off-putting for new divers since you need to look at things in a different way to really see all the minute creatures living on what looks to be an ugly desert of brown sand. Make sure your bouyancy skills are good so you and your buddy can really enjoy it without kicking up the muck! I hope you will love it as much as we do. If you do, maybe you can find a good seasickness remedy because liveaboard diving is terrific for the addicted.

Kenstee Apr 10th, 2008 02:12 PM

I'd check this one out as well. They are outside of Manado. Great people!

http://www.murexdive.com/

AlwaysOnTheRoad Apr 16th, 2008 04:06 AM

I make three visits or more a year to Northern Sulawesi and have stayed at most of the properties you are considering. Therefore...

Kungkungan Bay Resort (KBR) and Lembeh Resort are both good if you want to dive the Lembeh Straits. Most of this diving is not pretty but it has the best collection of small and strange creatures in the world. There are a couple of coral sites (e.g., Angels Window and Batu Merah) but that is not the emphasis in the Lembeh Straits. None of the resorts in the Lembeh Straits have a beach. Most of the rooms at Lembeh Resort are built on a hill and therefore there is a bit of haul to the upper rooms. I generally stay at KBR since I like their deluxe bungalows - standalone, A/C, good views, satellite TV, WiFi (slow), and reasonably good food.

Gangga Island Resort is the only property with a proper beach. They have a diversity of diving to include many sites with good soft and hard corals. They run day trips on reasonably fast boats to both the Lembeh Straits and Bunaken. Boat rides to dive sites, on nice local boats, are 20-35 minutes.

Minahasa is a nice place for accommodation. They dive a muck site - Popo - that is not nearly as good as it used to be. They also dive Bunaken. Note the boat rides to Bunaken from Minahasa and Tasik Ria - are at least one hour each way.

Larger creatures. There are not many, if any, of those to be found in Northern Sulawesi. You might see a random turtle. No sharks, no mantas, no large schools of fish.

Other sightseeing. Limited.

I would suggest two places. One in Lembeh and the other Gangga Island. The resorts such as Minahasa, Tasik Ria, Kima Bajo, and Santika - all dive Bunaken and nothing else.





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