Water Activities

Bunaken | Lakes | Lembeh Strait | Rafting | Waterfalls



This is the main attraction of Manado and north Sulawesi, which is well known to divers around the world. Bunaken can be reached within approximately 30 minutes from many points in Manado by a chartered boat. How to get to Bunaken from Manado.

There is a favorite diving spot for many divers in Bunaken water, called Likuan II, where they can see more kinds of reef fish. There are more than 15,000 divers yearly per diving spot within Bunaken National Park. Non-divers may also enjoy seeing much of the best coral under the surface by snorkeling or through a glass-bottom boat.

Click the pictures for more and bigger photos of Bunaken.

More detailed information on Bunaken is available here at: www.bunaken.org. Otherwise you can visit their office at:

Balai Taman Nasional Bunaken
Location: Jl. Raya Molas, Manado
Tel/Fax: +62 431 859022

Facilities on the island : resorts, information center, souvenir shops, snorkeling equipments rental, diving centers, kiosks, catamarans, etc
Admission charges : for foreigners: Rp. 150,000 (valid for one year) or Rp. 50,000 (daily pass), for Indonesian: public Rp. 2,500 (daily pass), student Rp. 1,000
How to get there : please click here for transportation from Manado to Bunaken
Remarks : cash payment only.

Apart from diving and snorkeling, there are two beautiful beaches to visit on Bunaken Island, Liang beach and Pangalisang beach.

Liang Beach

Liang beach is a tourist area on the island and quite far from the nearest village on the island. There is an entrance fee. Click the picture on the right for a bigger photo of Liang Beach.

Nearby facilities : Bunaken Information Center, souvenir shops and warung selling local dishes
How to get there : click here for transportation from Manado to Pangalisang beach. Then take an ojek from there to Liang beach, which costs Rp.10,000 and it takes about 15 minutes (about 7kilometers/4 miles). Otherwise, hire a private boat from Manado port that can drop you off at this Liang beach
Remarks : the beach is not always very clean.

Pangalisang Beach

This is a beach with mangroves where most of the villagers of Bunaken Island live. Facing Siladen Island, this beach is close to the best snorkeling sites on Bunaken Island. Click the picture on the left for a bigger photo of Pangalisang Beach.

Nearby attractions : Siladen Island and some resorts/diving centers
How to get there : see above
Remarks : the beach is not always very clean.

Lakes ("Danau")

Danau Linow

Danau ( /dhâ-nâo/ ) or Lake Linow is also known as three-colour lake because often it changes colour from deep blue to turquoise, green and yellowish green. This happens because of its high sulfuric level. Click the picture on the right for more and bigger photos of Danau Linow.

Danau Linow is a quiet and peaceful place though strong sulfuric smell is common every morning around the lake and the village. People also come to this area for its hot spring too.

Location : Jl. Raya Lahendong, Lahendong village (Sonder-Tomohon)
Operating hours : 24 hours (access from public road) or daily, 9am-7:30pm (access from a "resort" next to the lake)
Admission charges : Rp. 25,000/person (for resort access, inclusive coffee and snacks)
Facilities : abandoned toilets and a poorly maintained gazebo (public access); within the resort: cafeteria, toilets and jogging track
Nearby attractions : Villa Esmeralda, Masarang palm sugar factory
How to get there : by public transportation: from Tomohon terminal take mikrolet that goes to Lahendong village (fare: Rp. 3,500, about 20 minutes), tell the driver that you want to get off at Linow street (near a church called "Damai Sejahtera Lahendong"), followed by a short walk on Linow street
Remarks : swimming in the lake is prohibited.

Danau Tondano

Danau Tondano is the biggest lake in north Sulawesi. It is located about 700 meters (2300 feet) above sea level. There is a small island called 'Likri Island' on the center part of this lake. The diameter of the island is just about 20 meters (65 feet) and there is nothing there except an abandoned public toilet. Click the picture on the left for a bigger photo of Danau Tondano.

Most of the locals who live around Lake Tondano work as traditional fishermen. There are two historic places left near Tondano lake, a Dutch Port (“Pangkalan”) and a bunker which was also used by the Japanese during the World War II. They are located in Kakas sub-district or well known to the locals as 'Tasuka'.

Location : Tondano town/village
Facilities : floating restaurant, resorts
How to get there : from Tomohon terminal, take a mikrolet to Tondano terminal (fare: Rp. 4,000). From there, change into another mikrolet to Remboken (fare: Rp. 5,000). It will go along the Tondano lake untill reaching its destination in Remboken village. Best option: by ojek or own transportation (car rental) because of limited public transport along this route
Remarks : it is usually windy and cold around this lake.

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Lembeh Strait

Arriving at Bitung harbour, you will see common activities just like in any other harbor. Once your eyes catch on a small island just opposite Bitung harbor, that is Lembeh Island. This island is another popular place for divers, not only to admire underwater beauty but also to observe unique water creatures that are rarely to be found elsewhere. Click the picture on the right for a bigger photo of Lembeh Strait.

Location : near Bitung, east of Manado
How to get there : go to a part of Bitung harbor area which is known as ‘ruko’ ( /roo-kho/ ) and you will be charged about Rp. 10.000 to go to the island by a small boat or canoe (a 15-minute-trip). To go to Bitung harbour: take a less than 20-minute-walk from Bitung's "Eiffel Tower" or by taking a mikrolet that will take you to the entrance gate of the harbor (fare: Rp. 2.500). How to get to Bitung, please click Transportation on the left links or here
Remarks : boat trip to Lembeh Island costs between Rp. 3,000/person to Rp. 20,000/person, based on the destination on the island. A small boat heading to southern part of Lembeh Island or north Lembeh fits for approximately 20 persons. Renting a boat from a village in Lembeh Island costs about Rp. 300,000. It is suggested to have local people to negotiate the price for you or have it pre-arranged through any travel agents.


Nimanga River

A grade III rafting area, this river is the most popular in Minahasa (after Sawangan River, see below). The starting point is at "Karapi" Rafting in Timbukar village (contact number: +62 8134062 8823). It is about 8 kilometers long (5 miles).

Location : Timbukar village in Sonder sub-district, Minahasa
Operating hours : daily
Admission charges : no entrance charges. Cost for the rafting is Rp. 180,000/person (minimum 4 persons) or Rp. 150,000/person (for a group of 7 persons or more). Different tourist prices apply (please contact local tour agencies to get some references)
Facilities : toilets and bathrooms with clean fresh-water from the mountain, parking area, boats and rafting equipments
How to get there : go from the city of Tomohon to Sonder sub-district by a mikrolet (fare Rp. 4,400), it takes about 15 minutes. Then from Sonder, take an ojek to reach Timbukar village (tell your driver to drop you off at this rafting spot, fare: around Rp. 5,000). The ojek trip to Timbukar will be much easier if the road conditions are good
Remarks : there are some interesting places along the way from Tomohon to Sonder, such as "Lampazu" hot spring in Lahendong village, a hand-made furniture industry in Leilem village, and two waterfalls on the right (on the way to Timbukar).

Ranoyapo River

This is the longest and the strongest stream river in the region. About 50 kilometers (31 miles) in length, it is seldom chosen for rafting because of its grade IV. It takes 2 days and 1 night to complete the rafting all along.

Starting point is usually at Lompad Lama village in South Minahasa and finish at the Ranoyapo bridge in Amurang city.

Location : Lompad Lama village in South Minahasa
Operating hours : daily
Rafting charges : depends on the numbers of person, domestic or international guests. Please contact local tour and travel agencies
How to get there : from "Malalayang" terminal in Manado, take a bus to "Tompaso Baru" (fare: Rp. 19,700 and takes about 2.5 hours). After "Lompad Baru" village, get off at the small T-junction on the left which bounds to "Lompad Lama" (tell the bus assistant that you want to go to "Lompad Lama" village so he will tell you when to get off). From there you have to take an ojek, with a negotiable price from Rp. 5,000 to Rp. 10,000. This trip on an ojek takes about 15 minutes to arrive at a suspension bridge across the river Ranoyapo. The road is small and not in good condition
Remarks : beware of the crocodiles! They usually come out around 7am in the morning. Half way from Manado before turning left to Tompaso Baru, the bus will pass the trans-Sulawesi street with beautiful scenery of Manado Bay and Bunaken Island on the right.

Sawangan River

Starting from the Tondano lake (which is about a 30 minute journey through a winding road from Sawangan village), this river offers a quite challenging stream (grade III) for rafting. The rafting starting point is at a small resort in Sawangan village (the River Park Resort). The rafting equipment is usually provided by the tour and travel operators. The rafting distance is about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) and takes about 2 hours.

Location : Sawangan village in the sub district of Airmadidi, North Minahasa
Operating hours : daily
Admission charges : Rp. 2,500 to enter the starting point. Cost for the rafting is Rp. 180,000/person (minimum 4 persons) or Rp. 150,000/person (for a group of 7 persons or more). Tourists have different charges (please contact local tour agencies to get some references)
Facilities : toilets and parking areas
Nearyby attraction : Waruga
How to get there : from "Pasar 45" mikrolet terminal in Manado, take the one that goes to "Airmadidi" terminal (takes less than 30 minutes or about 18 kilometers/11 miles). From this terminal, take an ojek (costs about Rp. 5,000) or a mikrolet that will pass this village of Sawangan (costs Rp. 7,000). The mikrolet will usually take time to wait till its seats are filled with passengers and even some stuff from the market. From Airmadidi terminal to the starting point at the River Park Resort (about 6 to 7kilometers) takes about 15 minutes by car or 10 minutes by motorcycle or ojek.


Kali Waterfall

Located about 10 kilometers southeast from Manado, these waterfalls are also known to the locals as "Tapahan Telu" or three waterfalls. The highest waterfall stands at 60 meters (197 feet) and the shortest at 20 meters (65 feet).

Location : Kali village, Pineleng
Operating hours : daily
Admission charges : general admission of Rp. 2,700 per person
Facilities : toilets (in poor condition), resting areas
Nearby attractions : The Tuanku Imam Bonjol Mausoleum
How to get there : by public transport: take mikrolet from Karombasan terminal to Kali village in Pineleng district (click here for mikrolet fare from Karombasan to Pineleng) and get out in the front of the entrance gate
Remarks : from the entrance gate, where visitors pay for the tickets, normally it will take about 20 minutes to get there through a small path.

Pinaras Waterfall

Among the villages lying within Tomohon city, Pinaras is the only village where a tribal language called "Tombulu" is used in daily conversation. Although, they also speak Minahasan dialect when talking to other local people of Minahasa and speak Bahasa Indonesian to those who come from outside north Sulawesi.

Many years ago, there was a big rock in the middle of the waterfall. Before the water touched the ground, it hit the rock first and created a sprinkle of water downward. This sprinkle of water in "Tombulu" language is called "Tumimperas" but later it was simplified and called "Pinaras". The waterfall itself is about 43 meters high (141 feet).

Location : Pinaras Village, Tomohon Barat
Operating hours : daily, mostly day time
Admission charges : free
Facilities : no facilities
How to get there : by mikrolet from Tomohon to Pinaras village (about 9 kilometers/5.6 miles or about 20 minutes at a fare of Rp. 3,500). By ojek will take you there faster at a cost of around Rp. 5,000 (negotiable)
Remarks : road is not in a good condition. There are 180 steps to go down to the waterfall and it can be a slippery path near the waterfall. Though the water is not so clean, you can swim if you wish. It is recommended that you acknowledge your visit to the village chief by visiting the village office on the main street of the village (ask local people).


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