The Bangka area is one of Indonesia's most famous dive areas, and it draws scuba divers from all over the world. The islands are part of the districts of West Likupang and East Likupang, in the regency of North Minahasa, about 15 km off the coast of the town of Likupang.
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, pygmy seahorses and dugongs. You may frequently run into dolphins, and occasionally schools of whales. On the Island Bangka you can even see wild deer, the tarsius and the maleo.
Bangka is about 90 minutes Manado, using a combination of car and boat. Most resorts will arrange transfers from the airport for their guests. A public boat leaves daily except Sunday around 4PM from Likupang, or you can charter a boat anytime.
Fees and 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.
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 is by boat. Watch out if walking along the coastline, as the beach may disappear when the high tide rolls in.
Dive, dive, dive. Diving around Bangka is very varied and possible for both beginning and advanced divers. There are also good opportunities for snorkeling.
There are no restaurants on Bangka, but each resort has its own restaurant. Dishes include lots of traditional Indonesian food but usually they also have some western meals. Since you're on an island, it's fish almost every day, but the resorts usually have some meat as well.
Natural drinking water is available in some resorts, but not all! All resorts offer bottled mineral water, so if you don't trust the source you can ask for bottled water. 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 (prices listed in the currencies quoted by the resorts).
- Blue Bay Divers. Dive resort located on the Island Sahaung - Bangka Island - in front of the north peak of North Sulawesi. The small resort faces the bay and offers a long, white sandy beach, which is surrounded by palms and mangroves. Single or double €115 (Rp1.9 million at Mar 2017 rate) per person per day full board with two dives with guide. Cash only..
- Mimpi Indah resort. Eco dive resort with coarse sand beach that disappears completely at high tide and a house reef badly damaged by local fishermen. This is a PADI Eco resort and they offer all dive courses from beginner up to Dive Master and some specialties. Nitrox for free. Boat dives Rp500,000 - discounts for 6 or more. Shore dives Rp250,000. Accommodation in traditional bungalows, with full board: single Rp900,000, double Rp700,000 per person. Basic double room in dive centre (cold water shower) Rp400,000 per person..
- Bangka Island resort. Several locations. Rates include: buffet breakfast, lunch & dinner, drinking water, coffee & tea. Two dives US$96 for air, US$108 for nitrox; three dives US$135/153. Single US$123 (Rp1.6 million at Mar 2017 rate), double US$90 (~Rp1.2 million) per person.
- Gangga Island resort. A luxury resort on Gangga Island. Air-conditioned wooden beachfront bungalows with high ceilings and a veranda overlooking the beach are set at the base of a jungle-covered hill. Bar/lounge, cafe, children's play area, concierge, day spa, non-smoking property, restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, spa, WiFi Internet. Single Rp3 million, double Rp5 million, 3 nights minimum stay.
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.
- Bitung — main sea port on the eastern side of North Sulawesi.
- Bunaken — nearby world-famous dive site.