The best option is flying via Singapore. Silk Air (www.silkair.com), a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, offers three or four (depending on the time of year) flights weekly between Manado and Singapore. The flying time is 3.5 hours. If arriving domestically, there are numerous daily flights, some direct, from Jakarta (3 hrs in duration) on a variety of carriers, as well as a daily direct flight from/to Bali.
Yes, you will need a tourist visa which can be issued on arrival at the airport for most nationalities. As a new initiative to boost tourism, nationals of 169 countries can get a free 30-day non-extendable visa, on arrival at Manado's Sam Ratulangi Int. Airport. Visitors from these 169 countries can both enter AND exit through 29 airports, 88 harbours and 7 land borders.
A second alternative is the Indonesia visa on arrival (VOA) , which is valid for 30 days and can be extended by another 30 days while travelling in Indonesia. There are 67 countries who can get a 30 day visa on arrival at USD 35 per person. The Indonesia visa fee can be paid in cash or credit card. If you pay with cash you can use US Dollars or any other major currency. You will find a piece of paper at the VOA payment counter with the current price in your currency.
Alternatively, you may apply for a visa before you leave home by contacting the Indonesian Embassy or Consulate in your country.
For further up-to-date information please visit Indonesia's Department of Foreign Affairs website: www.deplu.go.id, which also lists the location of Indonesian Embassies and Consulates.
Voltage in Indonesia is 220-240, using a two round-prong plug. In order to provide for those accustomed to 110 V, our camera room is equipped with both 220 and 110 volt outlets as well as adapters since we see a variety of plugs in use by our guests.
There are numerous options if you wish to fly domestically in Indonesia, but obtaining tickets outside of Indonesia can be difficult. One hurdle, at least with Lion Air / Wings Air, is that if booking through their web site, they do not recognize credit cards issued outside Indonesia. Batik Airlines (a subsidiary of Lion Air) has a web site on which domestic air tickets can be arranged and paid for outside Indonesia. The same Batik Air website can be used to arrange and pay for both Lion Air and Wings Air tickets as well since the three airlines work together under the same umbrella. Garuda Airlines is restoring their international reputation and getting domestic tickets from them is getting easier from overseas. One can arrange tickets without difficulty once in Indonesia and last-minute bookings can be easily organized outside of any national or school holidays. If asked, we can assist in arranging domestic airline tickets.
There is no departure tax anymore. That cost is included in your ticket.
Black Sand Dive Retreat is a 1.5-2 hour drive from Sam Ratulangi International Airport
Yes, it is safe to travel in North Sulawesi. This area has remained a bastion of calm and tolerance during unrest suffered in other parts of this widespread archipelago. The people here are one of the strongest selling points as their hospitality, good humor and generosity of spirit leaves a positive lasting impression on all visitors.
We accept payment at the resort by credit card (Visa or Mastercard), as well as cash in Indonesian Rupiah, Euros, and if immaculate, US Dollars. We can only accept perfect USD because for the past few years Indonesian banks and money changers will refuse or give a substantially lower rate for notes that are old, damaged, marked, or even folded.
Traveler’s Cheques are not accepted in most establishments, including BSDR and can be difficult or impossible to cash at banks or money changers, so we do not recommend their use for travelers to this area.
Bitung has a number of ATM machines, which can be used to withdraw Rupiah using your credit or debit card. Because of widespread credit card fraud in this part of the world, we also recommend that you notify your bank or credit card company that you will be visiting Indonesia prior to your departure, as there have been cases of cards being blocked by banks thinking that it has been stolen.
No. Pre-paid dives are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Being a tropical country, there is malaria and dengue fever in North Sulawesi. Cases are usually not contracted in oceanside locations owing to onshore breezes.
Guests will find very few mosquitos on our property, but we still provide mozzie spray and coils in our bungalows and we recommend that you bring insect repellent and appropriate clothing for the late afternoon and early evening hours.
Before your departure we also recommend that you consult with your doctor for advice on anti-malarial drugs suitable for divers if you seek absolute protection.
Though diving is the primary reason visitors come to North Sulawesi, there are other things to do. The nearby Tangkoko National Park offers the best chance anywhere of seeing the rare Tarsius spectrum, the smallest primate in the world.
The park is also home to the endemic black crested macaque, cuscus and other interesting wildlife and unlike most parks in Southeast Asia, you actually do see wildlife quite easily with the help of the sharp-eyed park rangers who are mandatory guides for visitors.
The Minahasa Highlands offers splendid scenery in cool temperatures, making for an interesting day tour with much to see.
There is a well-maintained recompression chamber in Manado at the Malalayang Hospital, a 2.5-hour drive from the resort. The chamber is operated by an organization that oversees chamber operations at a number of dive destinations.