Singapore to Sulawesi
On this two-week itinerary, soak up Singapore's buzzing atmosphere through cityscape scenes, food and fashion, and revel in the peaceful silence of remote Northern Sulawesi, diving the pristine coral reefs of Bunaken National Park and muck diving for unusual marine critters in Lembeh.
Itinerary at a glance:
- Discover Singapore's melting pot of cultures on a foodie tour of the city
- Escape from the stresses of modern life in the remote resorts of Northern Sulawesi
- Dive Lembeh, the 'muck diving capital of the world'
- Dive in Bunaken National Park, home to over 400 species of coral and 1,000 species of fish
Why Book with Original Diving?
When To Travel
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Day 1: International Flight
Your international flight from London direct to Singapore leaves in the evening and takes just under 13 hours.
Day 2: Arrive into Singapore
You will arrive in Singapore in the evening. After passing through customs you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The journey should take around 20 minutes.
Once you have checked in the best way to combat jet lag is to hit the ground running and head out in buzzing Singapore. Our detailed destination Dossier recommends the best of the (extremely good) restaurants in the city.
Day 3 – 5: Singapore
After a leisurely lie in and breakfast, set out to explore a city where you will be spending the next three days. One of the most diverse cities in Asia, if not the world, Singapore is a giant patchwork of different cultures, a juxtaposition of old and new architecture and a foodie's heaven (the clue is in those different cultures).
Spend the next few days exploring the city, either on foot, by bike or the superslick Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Eat your way around the different districts, from China Town to Little India, indulging in gastronomic gorging and street-eat snacking, popping into a few shops along the way because the city is known for its fab shopping as well. If you're in need of a bit of green, head to Orchard Lane, stop by the Botanical Gardens and stroll through the Gardens by the Bay. Spend evenings sipping cocktails in sophisticated rooftop bars while watching the night sky light up in glorious technicolour.
Day 6: Sulawesi
This morning you will be privately transferred to the airport in plenty of time for your flights to Manado in Northern Sulawesi via Jakarta. The flight to the Indonesian capital takes about two hours, before you connect on to Manado on a three-and-a-half-hour onward flight with your bags checked through.
You will be met in arrivals by our representative and privately transferred to Lembeh Resort; a journey of around 45 minutes.
Located to the east of Borneo, Sulawesi is known for it simply superb diving and aside from the 50-odd dive sites in Bunaken National Park, you can also enjoy muck diving in Lembeh - meaning you get the best of both worlds. Whilst the coral is well preserved, the visibility generally good and the macro life abundant, don't expect to spot the big things. Instead, you'll be treated to a treasure of rare macro creatures, from the blue ringed octopus to the pygmy seahorse.
For the next four days you will be staying at Lembeh Resort. Once you have checked in, head to the restaurant to refuel on fresh local dishes, take a dip in the freshwater pool or simply relax in your room.
Day 7: Lembeh
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading to the dive centre to kit up for a guided house reef tour.
Easily accessed from the resort's shores and accessible at any time during your stay (either guided or unguided), the site descends to a maximum depth of 25 metres. Look out for the blue ribbon eel, black ribbon eel, twin spot goby and pygmy sea dragon to name but a few.
Spend your surface interval at the Genus Bar (located next to the dive centre) talking to the in-house marine biologist about your marine life sightings or simply browsing the library of identification books and dive magazines.
After refuelling on a fresh local lunch at the resort's restaurant, catch the boat to dive one of the local dive sites, or relax back at the resort.
Day 8: Lembeh
Spend the day exploring the local dive sites. Lembeh deservedly has a reputation as the 'muck diving capital of the word', so don't expect vibrant reefs and big fish, rather volcanic black sands that support a plethora of weird and wonderful marine species that you won't find elsewhere.
Expect to see hairy frogfish, mimic octopus, wanderpus, flamboyant cuttlefish and vibrant nudibranch as well as a host of other extraordinary creatures. Be sure to take your camera with you for some truly spectacular photo opportunities.
Back at the resort, head to the photo centre to learn how to best capture these alien-esque species. Don't have a camera? You can rent one there. You can also take a range of photography courses.
- Hike Lembeh Island, passing through lush jungle to discover small villages, exotic plants and panoramic viewpoints of the open ocean
- Take a cooking class to discover the secrets of local Minahasan cuisine
- Spend the afternoon in Tangkoko National Park seeking out the world's smallest primate, the Tarsier
Day 9: Lembeh
This morning, wake up early for a tour of Muhawu Volcano, hiking to the crater for epic panoramas over Bunaken and Manado Tua islands.
You will then head to Lake Tondano, the largest lake in the region, for a delicious local lunch before heading back to the resort or seeking out a few more sights in the area.
Either catch the afternoon boat, dive the house reef or relax by the pool this afternoon. In the evening, embark on a night dive or sip sundowners at the pool bar while watching sunset.
- Spend the day immersing yourself in the area, learning about the local history and culture on a Minahasan Highland Tour. Tailored to your interests, you can seek out traditional flower markets, gawk at caves created by Japanese troops during World War II, or soak up the scenes at Lake Linow, where the high sulphur content causes it to change colour, and the bubbling mud holes attract a plethora of bird species.
Day 10: Siladen
Today, after an early breakfast you will be transferred to Siladen Resort & Spa by boat, stopping for two dives along the way and stopping for lunch on one of the beautiful beaches dotting the archipelago. You should arrive in Siladen just after 2pm.
Located on Pulau Siladen in the heart of Bunaken National Marine Park, the resort sits on a pristine white beach backed by tropical rainforest. You will be spending the next five days here.
Spend the afternoon relaxing at the resort, whether snorkelling on the house reef or visiting the spa. Take a romantic sunset boat tour towards Manado Tua volcano before indulging in a candlelit dinner on the beach.
Day 11 – 13: Siladen
Spend the next few days diving Bunaken National Marine Park.
Where Lembeh boasts muck diving, Bunaken is all about healthy coral reefs and fish. Specifically, there are over 400 species of coral and 1,000 species of tropical fish that call these reefs home; think moray eels, Napoleon wrasses, huge schools of tuna, eagle rays, several species of shark and turtles, various nudibranch and flamboyant (their name, not their dress sense) cuttlefish.
Day 14: Siladen
This morning set out on the boat in search of dolphins and pilot whales playing in the boat's wake. Or, if you'd prefer to stay on land, set out on a rainforest trip or try a cooking class. On returning to the resort, refuel on a late breakfast.
Spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach, snorkelling the house reef or sipping cocktails (or mocktails for the evening diver) by the salt water pool. Stick around to watch the sunset, which is truly sensational, or set out on a night dive to see the nocturnal species that lay claim to the reefs (look out for the rare Spanish dancer nudibranch).
Day 15: Home Time
Sadly, today you will have to leave this lush paradise. You will be transferred to the airport by boat and car in good time to catch your three-and-a-half-hour flight back to Singapore, before a late evening direct flight to London, which takes 13-and-a-half-hours.
Day 16: Home
You will land back in London in the early morning.
Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.