What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions North Sulawesi? An awesome diving holiday? The cheerful smiles? Finding some peace & quiet? Or maybe all of the above?
As I’m walking through the street of Manado, almost every five minutes I hear a cheerful “Hello mister, how are you?” Of course I answer back: “I’m great, how are you?”
The man’s fumbling to respond to my question is hilarious as well as endearing. He grins sheepishly while his friends encourage him to keep trying in his best English. A half-hearted attempt to reply to me becomes not much more than “Yes thank you!”, resulting in a roaring outburst of laughter and a request to make a selfie with the bule.
You find this everywhere in North Sulawesi: this infectious friendliness and open attitude. Life is quite simple here, where politeness and patience take precedence.
Diving in North Sulawesi
Besides the friendly people, the Land of Smiling People is simply a tropical postcard: the view of an azure blue ocean that meets green hills under clear blue sky. It’s a view that is never boring. A diving holiday in North Sulawesi here is a real treat, and let me tell you why…
Under water is no less impressive, especially if you’re used to Bali diving: coral walls from the Bunaken National Marine Park disappear in the deep blue. You can spot turtles everywhere, and colorful schools of reeffish surround you. Sometimes the boat is joined by spinner dolphins or pilot whales.
The Lembeh Strait
By the east coast of North Sulawesi, you can find the lush, green island of Lembeh. Famous for its muck diving and loved by macro photographers the world over, the diving is quite different from the west side. The diversity of bizarre critters that roam the black sand bottoms is staggering — from well-camouflaged scorpion fish to brightly colored, tiny little snails.
A diving holiday life
After all this diving (way different from Raja Ampat diving by the way), there is still more than enough you can do, such as walking through the nearby villages, taking up cooking lessons, for example. You should check out our school, undergo a relaxing massage or witness one of these AMAZING sunsets — I mean, just look at this:
Since this year it’s now also possible to try your skills at archery. Our freediving instructor Stanley is a great shot and will patiently show you how to hit the target. Very relaxing.
To summarize, North Sulawesi is a fantastic part of Indonesia: it’s family-friendly and safe. You can eat some delicious food and for divers it’s a true paradise. If you’re thinking about a trip to Indonesia, then it’s definitely worth taking up North Sulawesi in your next trip research.
If you are looking for things to do in Manado, Dive o’ Clock wrote an excellent piece on the city.
PADI has also written a very detailed blog post: Five Unique Reasons to Visit Sulawesi. Check it out.