North Sulawesi is the top sliver of Sulawesi Island in north/central Indonesia, which is known for its fantastic diving at Bunaken Island and its remote and untouched look and feel.

Luckily, North Sulawesi has not suffered the same fate as the central and south with the ethnic strife that occurred in recent times. It is a majority-Christian enclave and has Manado as its main city and provincial gateway on the eastern tip of the peninsular. Another large city and deep-water port is Bitung in the same region.

Bunaken Mando Tua Marine National Park (northeast tip) is easily the main attraction in North Sulawesi. It is a world famous dive site composed of five islands and unbelievable marine life and water visibility. Apart from Bunaken, good diving can also be had in the Bangka area, known for its abundance of soft coral, while the Lembeh Strait has good muck diving.

North Sulawesi is also volcanic, like most of the rest of Indonesia, and the Minihasan Highlands have good climbing.

Getting There & Away

North Sulawesi is accessible by air, land, and sea. The international airport in Manado (Sam Ratulangi Airport) receives flights from all over Southeast Asia, including from Jakarta in 3 hours. Buses run up from South Sulawesi and through Central Sulawesi to the north, although the journey is uncomfortable and somewhat unsafe. Manado and Bitung are major sea ports that receive ferries from throughout the region.

Onward Travel