Sulawesi is the 4th largest island of Indonesia, located east of Borneo with its interior dominated by mountains and thick jungle. This is the home of some of Indonesia's earliest inhabitants, who have managed to preserve elements of their cultures well into the 21st century. The seagardens off Manado, the Bangka & Gangga Archipelago and the Lembeh Straits in the north offer some of the best snorkelling and diving in Indonesia.

Manado is the provincial capital of Northern Sulawesi and the population of about 360.000 has the highest standard of living in eastern Indonesia. The town is cosmopolitan, the locals are friendly and westerners can mingle freely without the constant assaults of "Hello Misteerrrr", which you will encounter in a lot of other parts of the country. However, there isn't really any reason to spend any time in Manado itself, as it is just another unattractive, noisy, dusty and chaotic city. The attractions are all outside Manado on the coast, the offshore islands and in the surrounding highlands.

Most visitors, if not backpacking, will come here for the spectacular diving and snorkelling in the world amous Bunaken Marine Park, which is only a short boat-ride from Manado.

In the past years the offshore islands have become top dive spots in their own right, offering pristine marine life due to their remote location and lack of pollution.

Photo by Gangga Island Resort

Time: GMT +8 hours
Language: Bahasa Indonesia
Currency: Indonesian Rupees
Weather: Manado

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