NORTH SULAWESI INFORMATION PAGES
Manado - Bunaken - Tangkoko - Minahasa - Sangihe/Talaud - Gorontalo - Togians
Bitung and Lembeh StraitBitung isn't really a major tourist attraction of North Sulawesi. The city is wide spread out and rather unattractive. However, it will be your entry or exit point to North Sulawesi if you arrive or leave by PELNI ship. There are also local ferries to other destinations, like Ternate in North Molucca. If your ferry leaves early in the morning you might want to spend the night there; buses from Manado are sometimes overcrowded or difficult to get shortly before the departure of a large ferry. I haven't discovered any recommendable budget accommodation but I haven't checked a lot of them. If you know of any please send me an email. If you can afford to spend a bit more money the Wisma Pelaut Bitung seems to be very nice, with swimming pool. Bookings can be made through Manado Safari Tours.
The adjacent island of Lembeh protects Bitung's natural harbour; the strait in between has gained a reputation of being the world's No. 1 place for divers interested in odd and rare macro fauna.
Please note: As of 1st February 2010 there is a one-time fee of Rp. 50,000 (US$ 5,-) by the Bitung city administration for diving at Lembeh.
For a long time the Kungkungan Bay Resort (KBR) used to be the only dive resort at Lembeh but in the meantime there are lots of alternatives for all budgets. Some of them are located on Lembeh Island, others on the mainland north of Bitung:
The Lembeh Resort has very nice and luxurious accommodation at rates similar to KBR's. Lembeh Resort also offers NITROX.
A good and lower-priced alternative is the popular Divers Lodge Lembeh.
The Black Sand Dive Retreat is another highly recommended resort, run by Bruce Moore and his wife. Bruce is a real Lembeh expert!
Bastianos Lembeh is good as well, with a higher standard than their operation on Bunaken.
Other options are Kasawari Lembeh Resort, NAD Lembeh and Twofish Divers Lembeh.
A different concept for Lembeh are the Lembeh Cottages, run by Eco Divers Manado. Here you can live in a quite luxurious private house with 3 double rooms, located in a quiet area of Bitung town.
The Pulisan Jungle Beach Resort (see Tangkoko page) is a bit further away but also does regular diving tours to Lembeh, as does the Gangga Island Resort.
For additional information please see the Bitung/Lembeh Strait page of the North Sulawesi Tourism Promotion Board's website. More about the sites at Lembeh on the Lembeh Strait dive sites page of Eco Divers.
This site was created in January 1998; the last major update was in November 2009.