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From Bali to Raja Ampat (4 Kings) in West Papua

As Raja Ampat is an unspoilt natural area, all visitors must purchase a Raja Ampat Marine Park Entry Permit at the cost of IDR 1,000,000 per person, valid for one year. To purchase this permit, you can go to the Sorong Tourist Information Center, Waisai Port Office Ticket Office or UPTD KKPD Office in Waisai. There is no direct flight from Bali to Raja Ampat (Bali Ngurah Rai Airport to Sorong Airport in West Papua). The fastest flight lasts 7h 30m and includes a stopover. Once in Sorong, take the ferry a round 2 hours. Raja Ampat is a destination that has to be earned: it’s long, it’s expensive, it requires planning well in advance.

Do you dream of going to Raja Ampat, the Archipelago of the Four Kings? To dive into its turquoise waters full of fish? We summarize below in many points the things to know before leaving, and the useful information to prepare your trip…

A trip to Raja Ampat requires you to behave as a responsible visitor. Tourism, which is booming in these Indonesian islands, is jeopardizing one of the most magnificent reservoirs of biodiversity on the planet.

Raja Ampat is one of the most magical scuba diving destinations imaginable! This archipelago is located in West Papua in Indonesia. Most of the islands are still unexplored and only a few liveaboards and dive centers offer scuba diving trips to Raja Ampat.

From Bali to Raja Ampat by plane

Know that no matter where you are, in Indonesia or elsewhere, you will have to go through Sorong. It is the airport of entry to the region. And that’s where you have to land. Most of the flights have a stopover in Makassar (Ujung Pandang airport) in Sulawesi.

Example flights from Bali to Raja Ampat:

  • Bali (DPS) >Jakarta (JKT) > Sorong (SOQ), then by ferry
  • Bali (DPS) > Makassar (UPG) > Sorong (SOQ), then by ferry

Airlines from Bali to Raja Ampat:

Alternatively, there are ferries available to you from Sorong and Waisai and vice versa. The ferry ride will take about 2 to three hours.
  • As the main hub to Raja Ampat, Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong (SOQ) serves flights to a number of major cities in Papua and Indonesia including Manokwari, Jayapura, Ambon, Makassar, Manado and Jakarta.
  • Garuda Indonesia operates daily flights between Jakarta-Sorong. As is the case with Sriwijaya Air and Nam Air, where Batik Air flies twice a day between Jakarta and Sorong.
  • So that the trip does not cost money, we should go in groups, at least 8 people. That way the cost of renting a boat will be cheaper. Here we don’t need a car rental, but a boat rental is quite expensive. This expensive motorized boat rental in Papua is due to the scarce supply of fuel prices and sometimes the price is always changing.
  • There are 2 types of boats used to get around the Raja Ampat islands, motorized fishing boats and speedboats. Rent a motorized fishing boat with a capacity of 2 to 3 people for IDR 1,300,000 to IDR 1,500,000 per day. Rates for speedboats with a capacity of 8 to 10 people are IDR 3,500,000 to IDR 4,000,000 per day (including fuel). The rate for this boat rental depends on the price of fuel at that time in Waisai.
The public ferry from Sorong to Waisai

For the transfer, we recommend our guests to use the public ferry, which is the most affordable and environmentally friendly option. Waisai is the capital of the Raja Ampat Regency.

– The ferry terminal (“Pelabuhan Rakyat” in Bahasa Indonesia) is located just 15 minutes by car from Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong.
– The fast ferry is operated by the company “Bahari Express” and departs for Waisai twice a day at 9am and 2pm (except public holidays).
– The trip takes about an hour and a half and the ferry offers VIP and economy cabins, equipped with air conditioning, television, toilets and a small cafeteria.
– The ferry from Waisai to Sorong departs simultaneously, twice a day at 9am and 2pm.

When to visit Raja Ampat?

The best time to visit Raja Ampat is during the dry season from October to May. Despite the dry season, due to the tropical climate, there can sometimes be unexpected showers, although these are much less frequent than during the rainy season. But in any case, the weather is good all year round on the Raja Ampat islands, so don’t worry too much about the sun!

Also, the period from October to May is ideal for diving enthusiasts. The swell will be less strong, which will make it easier to navigate the waters, and this is also the period when you will have the best chance of swimming with manta rays.

How to get around the Raja Ampat islands?

First, the easiest way to get to your accommodation from Waisai Airport (the capital of Raja Ampat) is to book a pick up with the hotel you have booked. Prices for a boat transfer vary depending on the distance between Waisai and your hotel.

Then you should know that it is quite difficult to move from island to island in the archipelago because, apart from the boat that makes Sorong-Waisai, there are no other regular connections provided by boats. The best is to book each trip by boat or fastboat with your hotel, or a dive center.

Things to do and see in the Raja Ampat Islands

There are many things to visit in Raja Ampat islands, here are the mos popular:

1. Swim with thousands of jellyfish in Lenmakana Lake (Misool Island)

At Lenmakana Lake, nature offers you the opportunity to swim with thousands of harmless jellyfish! Lenmakana Jellyfish Lake was reportedly discovered a few years ago.

As with many places in Raja Ampat, you will need to be in good physical shape and have some climbing experience to get here. The place is quite remote, so only locals can drive you there. It will indeed be necessary to climb the steep reef.

Our advice: the best time to visit the lake is around 1 p.m. when the water sparkles with its thousands of golden jellyfish floating near the surface. It is truly a unique experience that will amaze you!

2. The breathtaking view of Piaynemo and its 320 steps

If you’ve ever seen Indonesia’s new 100,000 IDR banknotes, the spectacular sight of Pianyemo must be familiar to you. And yes, it is the landscape of Pianyemo that you can see on this post!

Every landscape in Raja Ampat is amazing but Piaynemo is in my opinion one of the most spectacular. To really appreciate its beauty, you have to climb to a viewpoint to enjoy stunning views. You will have to climb the 320 steps to reach this famous point of view. But don’t worry, there are rest stations approximately every 100 steps 🙂

And once up there, the view is simply surreal, with varying shades of blue and turquoise, and breathtaking views of the myriad karst islands.

Remember to bring water and sunscreen!

Piaynemo’s point of view

This point of view is surely the most visited attraction in Raja Ampat, many homestays offer this outing!

It is surely a visit not to be missed because when we think of Raja Ampat then we think of these rock formations enthroned in the middle of turquoise blue water. The viewpoint is very well laid out, a large staircase and wooden platforms allow you to observe this beautiful panorama.

There are 2 viewpoints to admire Piaynemo (the towers usually only visit one) and a 3rd to observe a star-shaped lagoon (Bintang). So if you want to see everything on site, do not hesitate to ask your guide!

To get there you have several options:
  • Your homestay offers this activity and you want to be in a small group, count around IDR 5,000,000 by boat from Kri, Gam or Arborek.
  • Your homestay does not offer this outing or you want to join a group to pay less. You will then have to go to a larger homesaty or ask your accommodation to find you a place for a ride, you may be able to get away with it for IDR 1,000,000 or less per person depending on the number of people. on the boat.
  • You want to see the viewpoint and dive around, then you can do that with a dive center. The Yenkoranu on Kri offers this type of outing once or twice a week depending on the number of people interested. Then count IDR 1,500,000 per person (without the dives, you can decide how many you want to do during the day) for the day, the meal is included.
  • Once arrived at the Piaynemo viewpoint there is an entrance fee to pay (and yes the 1,000,000 of the entry permit does not cover everything) of IDR 300,000 per boat. Either this amount is already included in the price you pay per person, or you will have to pay it when you arrive. Remember to ask your guide about it before you leave.

And if not you can go to Piaynemo from Rufas homestay for IDR 400,000 the boat + 300,000 per boat entrance fee, at 4 the price is therefore much softer! Rufas homestay is located 5 minutes by boat from Piaynemo, hence the low price (which we think could be even lower given the short distance).

Entrance fee: IDR 500,000 by boat, IDR 300,000 by speedboat (including Telaga Bintang)
Address: Groot Fam, Saukabu, Raja Ampat Islands, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia

Diving at Piaynemo

Explore and see the most biodiverse waters in Piaynemo, filled with action and diving adventure.

Overall, the best season to dive in Raja Ampat is from October to May. It is during this period that you can dive to the North and South (Misool). You will also benefit from the best diving conditions and it is the season for manta rays.

Pulau Piaynemo, Raja Ampat
Coral reef off of Piaynemo, an island in Misool District. Rizalubun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. The starfish-shaped turquoise lagoon: Telaga Bintang

Located just 5 minutes by boat from Piaynemo, this iconic star-shaped lagoon is commonly referred to as Telaga Bintang (which literally translates to “starry lagoon”).

"Telaga Bintang" Raja Ampat
Telaga Bintang, Raja Ampat. The local people called it “Star Lagoon” because of it starred shaped looked from top of a hill. Heavy tourist activity on where this view was reached could damage the area without proper management. Caka komsary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To admire this spectacular landscape, you have to climb a coral hill about 30 meters high which is not bordered by stairs or paths, but only by steep rocks. So you have to be very careful when doing the hike. But no worries, with good shoes (no sandals or flip flops), anyone can do it!

Entrance fee: IDR 500,000 by boat, IDR 300,000 by speedboat (including Telaga Bintang)
Address: Groot Fam, Saukabu, Raja Ampat Islands, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia

4. Wayag Island and its breathtaking view

With breathtaking views, at every turn in Wayag you will find unspoiled beaches and those famous iconic karst islands scattered in the crystal blue ocean. The inhabited island of Wayag is a well-known icon of Raja Ampat.

Prepare proper hiking gear (shoes, thick hiking pants, gloves) as you will have to climb a hill of sharp corals. Don’t forget to bring enough water, food and a change of clothes.

If trekking and rock climbing aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy the white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters around the islands while snorkeling or diving!

Wayag Island
Wayag island is the most popular tourist destination in Raja Ampat. The view here is guaranteed to stun you. Rows of coral covered in green trees in the middle of the blue sea make this tourist location so beautiful. To get a view like this requires an extra struggle by climbing a fairly steep cliff. Rolandandika, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to get there: Located northwest of Waigeo, Wayag will take you over 300km round trip from Waisai. There is no host family or accommodation at Wayag. So if you want to visit you will have to prepare for a long trip that will take you at least a day

Address: west Waigeo, Raja Ampat Islands, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia.

Wayag’s point of view

Wayag is an island located at the extreme north of Raja Ampat, it is the same type of rock formations as for Piaynemo but much larger and more impressive!

On the other hand, access is much more complicated, it takes about 4 hours to get there (from what we were told) so the prices are very high!

In any case, if you want to go there and you manage to join a group, it takes between IDR 10,000,000 and IDR 13,000,000 by boat from Kri, Gam or Arborek. The price is then divided according to the number of people in the boat, but beware some boats have small capacities.

We were also told of an entrance fee of IDR 1,000,000 per boat, which is either included in the overall price or payable on arrival. But we could not verify this information.

Just be aware that the viewpoint is not equipped with a beautiful staircase like Piaynemo, you have to climb the rocks a bit to admire the view but the site really seems to be worth it! You will therefore be very lucky if you can access it and enjoy this extraordinary view.

5. The village of Sawinggrai and its exotic culture

Sawinggrai is a village located on one of the 1,500 islands in Raja Ampat. He is not yet well known, although Prince Albert of Monaco fell under his spell a few years ago!

Boat used by locals in Sawinggrai Village's beach, Raja Ampat
Boat used by locals in Sawinggrai Village’s beach, Raja Ampat. This photo was taken in Sawinggrai, Raja Ampat. Where the whole sea in these area are protected and have a rich marine diversity and lots of endemic coral reefs. Brizinsky T Juneanto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here you meet the cutest kids in the world, who live an idyllic lifestyle on the water – and that’s what makes the village so special. When you visit this fishing village, you will feel the hospitality of the locals. They might even sing and dance for you!

Address: MeosMansar District, Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua, Indonesia

6. A desert in the middle of the ocean: Pasir Timbul Island

In the middle of nowhere is this isolated circular island: Pasir Timbul Island. Only a few hours a day, when the tide is low, this small island rises out of the ocean. That is why they call it Pasir Timbul or “rising sand”. The combination of smooth white sand and turquoise water is spectacular.

What is strange is that this small island of sand is not washed away by the daily tides. If you time it right, you can even take a photo as if you were floating or walking on water.

Address: Mansuar District, Waigeo, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia.
How to get there: The easiest way to get there is to book a boat from the village of Arborek or Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat. You can ask your resort or hostel to book it for you. Due to the water level, boats cannot get too close to the shores of the sand island. From the point where the boat stops, you have to swim or walk.

7. Local dishes to try in Raja Ampat

In Raja Ampat, it’s not just mie goreng (fried noodles) or nasi goreng (fried rice) to try. In most homestays or resorts you will find a distinct food tradition, drawn from the seabed and the variety of sea and land cultures of this rich natural region.

Mi Goreng GM
Mi Goreng (fried noodle). Gunawan Kartapranata, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The historical reliance on sago, cassava and taro roots as staples in Papua is still very strong, although rice introduced by the Javanese now predominates.

A Papuan woman extracts starch sago from the spongy center of the palm stems. (17821831174)
A Papuan woman extracts starch sago from the spongy center of the palm stems. Sago plant that produces the staple food for people in Eastern Indonesia. USAID Indonesia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Papeda, made from sago flour, is a very popular staple food in coastal villages. Preparing this unique food is relatively easy, just pour hot water into the sago flour, stirring it several times until it becomes thick and looks like glue. Leapeda is usually served with a sour and spicy fish soup with sambal (chilli) and squeezed lime to add flavor.

Papeda, Kuah Kuning, Ikan Tude Bakar 1
Papeda (sago congee), Kuah Kuning (yelow soup) and Ikan Tude Bakar (grilled fish) with Dabu-dabu and Rica sambal. The Eastern Indonesian meal; Papeda, the staple food of Eastern Indonesia have a glue-like consistency and texture. Gunawan Kartapranata, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although lobster is considered an expensive food in many parts of Indonesia, you can easily find it here at an affordable price.

Lobster and “ikan bakar” (grilled fish)

The ‘Ikan Bakar’ (grilled fish) may not be unique to Raja Ampat, but it’s freshly caught from the sea and grilled to perfection over coconut coals, so it’s especially good here.

Finally, coffee lovers must try the famous coffee from Papua, which has a very pronounced aroma and a delicious flavor.

8. Prehistoric paintings on the Sumbayo & Sumalelen cliff walls and on Pef Island

There was a time when people wrote down history in the form of hand-painted paintings on the limestone cliffs. Considered to be among the oldest paintings in the world (40,000 – 50,000 years old), the paintings of Raja Ampat are the first evidence that our prehistoric ancestors were already artists.

A tourist looks are rock art in West Papua, Bird's Head Seascape
A tourist looks are rock art in West Papua, Bird’s Head Seascape. Bird’s Head Seascape / Jones/Shimlock / Secret Sea Visions, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To this day, some of these amazing paintings are almost as intact as when they were painted. You can find them at three locations – Pef Island, Sumalelen, and Sumbayo Cliff.

These paintings are most often reddish in color and mainly depict handprints, fish and geometric symbols.

Pef Island

Address: Kabui Gulf, Meos Mansar District, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia.

Sumalelen & Sumbayo Cliff at Misool Island

Address: Misool Island, Raja Ampat, West Papua

9. Snorkeling with sea turtles and manta rays

If you have never done snorkeling, Raja Ampat is the perfect place to try! You will understand why Raja Ampat is called the underwater paradise, with the colorful reefs of Yenbuba, Friwen Wall, and all its aquatic creatures that you can swim with in the clear waters.

Snorkeling is an opportunity to discover marine life, swim with manta rays, brightly colored fish, turtles and admire the rarest corals in the world.

10. Swing on the vines of Friwen Island and paradise beach

South of Waigeo Island is a small island called Friwen. The sandy bottom of the North side is ideal for dropping anchor. The tropical vegetation overlooks the crystal clear waters and a few ropes hanging from the trees above the water invite you to take a dip. Plastic pollution hasn’t quite taken up residence here yet and the seabed is phenomenal, especially along the coral wall of Friwen Bonda, Friwen’s little sister.

Village of Friwen
Iconic signboard to welcome guests in village of Friwen. Siharaditia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What more original and fun way to dive into the sea than by jumping from a vine? This swing made of a rope will allow you to make incredible photos for all those who have the courage to swing on it to jump into the sea! This rope swing is easy to handle and is very popular with local children and adults.

Corals near Pulau Friwen, Raja Ampat
Corals near Pulau Friwen, Raja Ampat. Fabian Lambeck, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Renowned as a diving spot, Friwen Island offers a magnificent view with coconut trees, a white sand beach, and several huge trees that provide shade on a hot sunny day.  It has a variety of fish and beautiful corals.

There are also warung (cheap restaurant) around the beach to taste good local dishes 🙂

Address: South Waigeo, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia.

Sources: PinterPandai, CleverlySmartThe Round the World Guys

Photo credit: Sfw_2503 (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

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From Bali to Darwin | Complete Guide to Visit Darwin and Surroundings

Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory region of Australia, of which it is also the most populous city. From Bali to Darwin is only 2 hours 30 minutes by airplane. Located on the Timor Sea, in the very north of the island, a regional economic center with its 150,000 inhabitants, it was first a colonial outpost before becoming, over the course of its history, one of the most modern cities. , thriving and cosmopolitan Australian continent. The place is not lacking in character: Darwin is famous for being the city with the most lightning storms worldwide, but also… the city with the most accidents involving saltwater crocodiles, monstrous reptiles that can reach seven meters in length and weigh almost a ton!

From Sydney to Darwin takes 4h 30mn by plane; airlines: Virgin Australia, Jet Star and Qantas.

A university city, young and urban, it is among the Australian capitals the one with the highest proportion of Aborigines: they had moreover set up trade routes between Southeast Asia and South Australia, long before the arrival of the first European settlers.

Wondering what to do in Darwin during your stay? Here is the answer with our essentials to visit Darwin and enjoy your visit without missing a beat!

From Bali to Darwin direct flights

Ngurah Rai (DPS) to Darwin (DRW) flights

The flight time between Ngurah Rai (DPS) and Darwin (DRW) it takes around 2h 30m and covers a distance of around 1764 km (1096 miles). Services are operated by Jetstar. Typically six flights run weekly, although weekend and holiday schedules can vary so check in advance.

Read also: International Direct Flights to Bali

1. Darwin Waterfront

This is the place that can satisfy all those looking for relaxation: large lawns for sunbathing, palm trees and a lagoon pool with waves… If you are lucky, you can even attend a session of open-air cinema or take part in a Tai Chi class in the morning!

One of the most pleasant waterfront areas in Australia is located in the heart of Darwin, 5 minutes walk from the city center. Take a wave in the very popular hot tub, swim in the saltwater lagoon, relax in one of the colorful cafes, taste a craft beer in the tavern, enjoy a good meal in one of the many restaurants or sit in the shade in the lush green grounds. Then visit the attractions of nearby Stokes Hill Wharf, with fabulous views across Darwin Bay.

Darwin Waterfront Precinct 01
Darwin Waterfront Precinct. Alex Healing, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Smith street and its Aboriginal art shops

Located in the heart of the city centre, Smith Street is a charming and lively shopping street: it is Darwin’s authentic artery! Its tourist attraction is linked to the massive presence of traditional stalls presenting handicrafts created by the aborigines, who are very numerous in the city. Why not visit it when you come to visit Darwin?

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, Darwin, 2021, 02
Darwin (AU), Parliament House (Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory), Near Smith streetand Darwin Waterfront Precinct. Address: 15 Mitchell St, Darwin City NT 0800, Australia. Kgbo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The communities come to sell souvenirs and picturesque accessories, sometimes made of surprising materials – kangaroo hair, or crocodile skin! Many small gastronomic establishments serve a varied and delicious food and the place will certainly delight young and old.

Smith Street Mall
Smith Street Mall. Bidgee, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Crocosaurus Cove

What to do in Darwin when you like to shiver? The Crocosaurus Cove is an animal park dedicated to reptiles, stars of the area. Interactive, it offers many workshops that will appeal to the little ones, and presents the different characteristics of crocodiles, lizards, turtles, the last descendants of dinosaurs! Guided tours can be enjoyed in several languages ​​and, for the more adventurous, a one-of-a-kind attraction is offered: immersion in a cage in a pool with… a sea crocodile, a gigantic and frightening mastodon!

And if you are particularly fond of crocodiles, why not take the “crocodile jumping” cruise on the Adelaide River, another must-see in Darwin? You can observe wild crocodiles in their natural habitat and see them jump out of the water to catch meat hanging from a fishing rod!

Young saltwater crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin, Australia, 02
Young saltwater crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin. Mutante, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is a cultural space not to be missed for anyone who wants to visit Darwin; located in the inner suburbs of the city, at Fannie Bay, it is one of the largest museums on the Australian continent, and an essential tourist stop.

It presents the specificity of aboriginal culture, the rites and customs of this very special people, but also their fascinating ability to live in harmony with nature. Along the paths, discover the boats that allowed the first settlers to land on the island, then the animal species specific to the country, and in particular the famous crocodile Sweetheart, which had the particularity of attacking boats which had the misfortune to cross his path! MAGNT website: https://www.magnt.net.au

MAGNT Sweetheart
Sweetheart the crocodile at Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), Darwin, Australia. Jpatokal, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5. George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

A favorite that is really worth it for anyone who wants to visit Darwin: the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens is an unmissable stop, a well-deserved break within a 42-hectare nature reserve highlighting the local tropical flora, countless varieties of flowers as well as one of the most beautiful orchid greenhouses in the world.

In addition, the visit is very pleasant because the heat is absorbed by the lush vegetation, and this space promises to be a must for those who are still looking for what to do in Darwin. Oh, and don’t forget to try one of the delicious tropical fruit muffins sold in the shaded aisles!

Fountain in the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
Fountain in the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Stephen Michael Barnett, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

6. Darwin Military Museum

Did you know? During World War II, the city of Darwin was bombed 64 times in the space of two years! Inevitably, the conflict marked the collective memory of the inhabitants hard and the Darwin Military Museum, created by the association of Australian gunners, now serves as a place of remembrance.

It is very popular with students and college classes in the country, as well as with passing visitors who come to discover period photographs, as well as multiple objects, each with their own history. Ready to take the leap into history? Come and visit Darwin through this memorial!

Darwin Military Museum
Entrance to the Darwin Military Museum. MorePix, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

7. Leanyer Recreation Park

Coming to Darwin with your family, with your children? Or, if you haven’t lost your child’s soul, go to the Leanyer Recreation park and its gigantic slides to cool off during the hot days of the southern summer. For young and old, the place is a bubble of freshness in this northern territory known for the harshness of its summer temperatures.

If you don’t know what to do in Darwin, know that it is very busy during the weekend, where locals come to have fun. So prefer to go there during the week to avoid the queue and the wait specific to the most popular amusement parks.

leanyer slides recreation park
Leanyer Recreation Park. Photo credit: Northern Territory Government of Australia

8. Do as the locals do – Go to the market!

What to do in Darwin when you like… to do nothing? It’s very simple: go through Mindil Beach during your stay! This beach, located near the city’s business district, is a popular place for locals who come to relax with their families and do their shopping.

You should know that Mindil Beach is home to a small picturesque market, open during the dry season (April to October), which has the particularity of being open until sunset… which you can admire, once your purchases have been made. , sitting on the beach. The place is popular with lovers and all romantics who come to visit Darwin.

Darwin 2324
Mindil beach market, Darwin. Tourism NT (Image gallery Tourism NT), Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

Find locally made treasures and tantalize your taste buds at Darwin’s famous open-air ‘markets’. At the Mindil Beach Sunset Market (Thursdays and Sundays, April to October), sit down at the beach with a snack from one of the market’s 60 stalls, to watch a fiery sunset dip into the ocean. Every weekend, the suburbs of Nightcliff, Parap, Rapid Creek, Palmerston, Coolalinga and Malan transform into open-air markets where residents buy their fruits and vegetables, and feast on laksa (spicy noodle soups) and fresh fruit juices.

9. East Point Reserve

Locals love this place. Located next to the Military Museum, you can access it by bike to stroll through the 200 hectares (494 acres) of trails!

East Point played an important role in protecting Australia during World War II. Visit the Darwin Military Museum to see images of Darwin’s World War II bombings, its photographic and informational exhibits, and explore the turret enclosure. The East Point Reserve is home to abundant wildlife, so take a walk in search of wallabies, bandicoots, brushtail possums and many species of reptiles, butterflies and birds. the 30 minute loop from the parking lot near the lake through the monsoon vine forest in the mangroves. Follow the walk in the tidal region – look for many species of fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

East Point Reserve has several popular beaches, including Darwin’s most popular family beach at Fannie Bay. Lake Alexander draws its seawater from the bay, for safe, sting-free swimming year-round.

East Point Reserve, Darwin, Australia (314880633)
East Point Reserve, Darwin, Australia. yeowatzup, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

10. Bicentennial Park

Bicentennial Park perched on the cliffs of Darwin Harbor along the Esplanade, Bicentennial Park is a good place to catch a sea breeze or spend an afternoon following the WWII walking trail picnicking or relaxing. relax in the open grasslands.

Stretching along Darwin’s waterfront overlooking Darwin Harbor and shaded by tropical trees, the park is a great place to stroll.

Be sure to visit the Cenotaph, Darwin’s first war memorial commemorating Australians who lost their lives in World War I, as well as Aboriginal men and women whose skills in the bush helped the army during the war. World War II to protect the remote north coast. See Darwin’s tribute to the 200 Remarkable Territories – hand-painted tiles on panels dotted along the Esplanade commemorate some of the Territory’s ‘quiet achievements’, including pioneers, publicans and pastors.

To get away from the activity of the city. Very pleasant park where you can rest while contemplating the seafront. World War II memorial at the end of the park near the Parliament.

The park stretches from the Parliament of the Northern Territory to Doctor’s Gully. It is the site of large gatherings such as memorial services and Greek Glentis, but is also perfect for a game of footy, whatever the code. There is a network of shared trails that provide access to areas such as Lameroo Beach and the northwest end, where Doctor’s Gully fish feed.

Bicentennial Park, Darwin, Australia (314891617)
Bicentennial Park. yeowatzup, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Darwin and Surroundings

Sail across the bay from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands, glide through the swamps in an air boat to encounter local wildlife, or cool off under a waterfall in Litchfield National Park; you’ll be spoiled for choice in and around Darwin, and you’ll love discovering the many facets of this very special region.

The prosperous and welcoming capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin attracts travelers from all over the world, who come to enjoy its tropical and relaxed lifestyle.

With its waterfront restaurants, crocodile-spotting tours, moving heritage and easy access to the charming Tiwi Islands, there’s plenty to do in Darwin for a weekend or for an extended stay.

Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park is just an hour and a half from Darwin by car and is a local favorite all year round. You can easily enjoy it for a day, but with all these swimming spots and beautiful waterfalls, it is definitely worth spending the night nearby. It is a sensational natural water theme park where you can enjoy waterfalls, rock pools and hiking trails, and all less than an hour and a half from Darwin!

Located 130 km south of Darwin, you can visit it in one day. If you want to stay longer, several campsites have been set up there and the nights under the stars will be very pleasant.

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Termite buildings in the Litchfield National Park, in Northern Territory Australia. Termites are derived from the Termitidae species. The hills reach heights of up to 7 meters. W. Bulach, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Litchfield National Park is totally free. You will find waterfalls, natural pools where you can swim safely (respect the warning signs), hiking. It is also an opportunity to meet kangaroos, snakes, spiders, bats, crocodiles in their wild state. The main points of interest are: Magnetic Termite Mound, Florence, Wangi and Tolmer Falls.

Litchfield National Park - Wangi Falls
Wangi Falls view from boardwalk in the evening. Litchfield National Park, NT Australia. Possibly Litchfield’s most popular attraction, Wangi Falls is easily accessible and open all year round. However, swimming is not always possible due to water levels from heavy rain. Ovico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Berry Springs Nature Park – A real little nature paradise just 40 minutes from Darwin!

These are natural hot springs located 60km from Darwin (free). There are three pools. It’s very family-friendly. It has toilets, barbecues and free showers. Ideal for spending a day there and having a picnic with friends.

Family fun at Berry Springs Nature Reserve
Mid-afternoon at one of the natural pools at Berry Springs, about 60km from Darwin. A family-friendly place in a natural setting. Jessica.Oreilly, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Experience Aboriginal culture on the Tiwi Islands

Take a day trip to the picturesque Tiwi Islands, 30 minutes by plane or 2.5 hours by ferry north of Darwin, to share the strong bond of the Tiwi Aboriginal people with their rich culture. Meet local artists at the arts centers on the islands and experience a traditional “smoking ceremony”. If you can, go in March to attend the annual football grand finale and art sale, a very popular and very special event.

Tiwi Islands car ferry
Tiwi Islands Car Ferry, 2011, seen from Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island across Apsley Strait to Melville Island. Satrina Brandt, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ngaruwanajirri Aborigin Art Center, on Bathurst Island (opposite Tiwi Island)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural aspirations and expressions, Ngaruwanajirri Incorporated is an arts centre at Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island. Ngaruwanajirri, which means ‘helping one another’ in Tiwi, was established in 1994.

It was originally set up for disabled Tiwi residents but now includes all artists, with the original artists working with traditional wood carvers. Art created includes natural ochre paintings on paper and canvas, batik on silk, lino prints on paper and fabric and ironwood carvings. Many paintings and carvings from Ngaruwanajirri, including tutini poles for Pukumani ceremonies, have been exhibited in Darwin, interstate and overseas. Works reside in private collections and art galleries both nationally and internationally.

The Keeping House, Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday 8 am to 12 pm, or by appointment.

Phone: 08 8978 3724 or 0437 783 724
Email: ngaruwanajirri.inc@bigpond.com
Website: https://tiwilandcouncil.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=page&p=278

Tiwi Island art gallery ceilingCeiling of a Tiwi Island art gallery and studio. Satrina Brandt, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kakadu National Park

Located 250 km from Darwin (ony 1h 40 mn drive), Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest national park. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admission is $40 per person.

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The largest waterfall in the park, Jim Jim Falls. Tourism NT (Image gallery Tourism NT), Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

This park is endowed with an incredible richness both by the beauty of its flora, fauna and the aboriginal art that can be admired there. To access the entire park you need a 4×4 since some roads are not accessible to vans or cars.

Main points of interest: Twins Falls, Jim Jim Falls, Nourlangie Rock, Ubirr.

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Nourlangie Rock. Tourism NT (Image gallery Tourism NT), Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

The park has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1981. The site has been continuously inhabited for more than 40,000 years and contains remains of hunters and fishermen from the Neolithic period to the present-day Aborigines. It presents a history of techniques and behavior illustrated by paintings. Moreover, it concentrates on itself all of the Australian landscapes (with the exception of the arid zones which cover 80% of the territory).

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Kakadu Escarpment. Tourism NT (Image gallery Tourism NT), Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

How to get to Darwin?

Darwin has an international airport which is located in the suburbs of Marrara 13 kilometers north of the center of Darwin. The air network remains the best solution to get to this remote place, and our partner Skyscanner will allow you to find a flight at preferential rates. From Charles de Gaulle airport, your trip will be punctuated by at least one stopover (very often in Singapore) and should take you at least 19 hours!

In addition, the modern and efficient infrastructures (several railway lines ensuring the south/north link with the rest of the Australian territory, a tram, as well as a road network of excellent quality but not very dense) make it possible to vary the means to get to the city, and, once there, to visit Darwin easily. For more autonomy in your stay, you can also rent a car at Darwin airport.

Where to stay in Darwin?

Darwin is a good-sized city that offers several types of accommodation, each with their own advantages, to choose from according to your profile as a traveler who has come to visit Darwin. For a typical and family accommodation, choose without hesitation the many guest houses, in the center and outside the city, run by authentic and warm Australians.

Members of the junior clientele will appreciate the many youth hostels, very widespread in Australia (the destination being popular with young backpackers, or seasonal workers), while those with a comfortable budget will opt for a room in the neighborhood from the city center and its typically Australian wide alleys: you can also find the hotel of your dreams in Darwin by carrying out a search on this hotel comparator. And if you prefer a flexible and affordable solution, opt for an Airbnb accommodation, in order to benefit from a pied-à-terre (a small living unit) that suits you and makes you feel at home. Finally, our article on the best areas to stay in Darwin should also help you!

Now you know how to best enjoy when you come to visit Darwin, and the charms of this special region during your stay. But will you be able to choose what to do in Darwin and… will you prefer to go there in winter, or in summer?

Read also: From Bali To Raja Ampat (4 Kings) | Complete Guide to Visit West Papua

Sources: CleverlySmart, Tourism NT, Tourism Australia, Sightseeing Tours Australia

Photo credit (main picture): yeowatzup, source: Bicentennial Park, Darwin, Australia via Wikimedia Commons

NB: Prices and opening hours of attractions are subject to change without prior notice.

Photo description: Bicentennial Park, Darwin, Australia.

From Bali to Manado | Complete Guide to Visit Bunaken, North Sulawesi

Manado is the ideal starting point to discover North Sulawesi. In addition to diving or snorkeling in Bunaken National Park, Manado offers beautiful excursions around the Minahasa culture: Ascent of the Mahawu volcano and its acid lake, discovery of the Tandano caldera lake, visit of a fish farm and visit of the Waruga animist tombs. From Manado, a day of hiking can be organized in Tangkoko Park, to meet endemic species such as couscous or tarsier, the smallest monkey in the world. There is no direct flight from Bali to Manado at the moment. But you can fly directly from Singapore to Manado!

In 1658, the Dutch East India Company built the Fort Amsterdam fortress in Manado.
Members of a religious mission in the Netherlands build the first Christian church which they call Oude Kerk (“Old Church”).
In 1859, the English biologist Alfred Wallace arrived in Manado.
During World War II, from 1939 to 1945, the city suffered severe bomb attacks.

From Bali to Manado by airplane

  • Bali to Manado via Ujung Pandang (UPG Makassar)
  • Bali to Manado via Jakarta (CGK)

Airlines from Bali to Manado

  • Lion Air
  • Batik Air
  • Citilink
  • Garuda

How to go to Bunaken from Manado?

To reach Bunaken Island, it’s very simple. Just take a boat from the port of Manado. The port is located just behind the Manado market. The most complicated thing is knowing which boat to take. In fact, there are two types of boat:

  • Tourist boat / speed boat: price of the boat (1,000,000IDR) to be divided by the number of people.
  • Local boat: crossing costs IDR 50,000 per person and takes 45 minutes.

The local boat to joined Bunaken from Manado, called the Bahtera boat; departs daily at 2 p.m.

Finally, for the return to Manado, the public boat leaves from Bunaken every day EXCEPT Sunday at 9 am.

Most hotels in Bunaken pick you up for free when you arrive in Bunaken (if you let them know beforehand). The resorts are not located right next to the port, otherwise you will have to go there on foot (at least 15 minutes walk) or by motorbike taxi (IDR 15 000 per person).

Read also: From Bali To Raja Ampat (4 Kings) | Complete Guide to Visit West Papua

1. Visit the city of Manado, capital of the North (point of arrival)

Manado is the capital of North Sulawesi, it will be especially your point of arrival before discovering the surroundings.

Manado is very well connected to major cities in Indonesia and even in Asia.
But from Europe, the most logical thing is to land in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia. Why?

  • Jakarta will be your gateway to Indonesia and you are sure to be visa-free when arriving there.
  • The Jakarta-Manado flight is direct – about 3 hours.

Manado Skyline SSW waterfront 2
View of Manado’s waterfront facing south-southwest. Juxlos, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The city’s temples are superb

The Ban Hian Kong is a small 19th century Buddhist temple, the oldest in the region, the Kuan Yin temple, the great mosque and the many churches are also worth visiting.

Ban Hin Kiong
Ban Hin Kiong Temple, Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Sakurai Midori, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Escape to Lembeh Island

In less than an hour by boat from the coast, the island of Lembeh will be a total change of scenery!

The island is separated from Celebes by the Lembeh Strait and is a popular scuba diving site due to its high biodiversity.

Lembeh Island view from Port of Bitung
Lembeh Island view from Port of Bitung. Sakurai Midori, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stroll through the atypical local market of Tomohon

The Tomohon market is truly an experience to do when visiting Sulawesi. Fruit, vegetables, exotic flowers but also grilled animals of all kinds!

The markets of the city will allow you to discover a little more the life of the inhabitants. Discover the seaside fish market “Pasar 45” and the citrus market.

The city of Manado offers the Bemo as a mode of transport

The Bemo: it’s a van with 2 benches, a sort of hybrid between a taxi and a bus. It is a means of transport that is both practical and economical. Normally with 10 seats, it can accommodate 16 people with their luggage.

2. Bunaken

This small, car-free island, surrounded by incredible marine life, is breathtaking! Renowned worldwide for its seabed, Bunaken is one of the best spots in Indonesia but also in the world for scuba diving. Bunaken has one of the most important marine biodiversity. Located 18 km (11 miles) from the coast of Manado, Bunaken Island is a little gem with only 3000 inhabitants.

Bunaken is considered one of the best scuba diving destinations in amazing Indonesia. People from all over the world come here just to dive. Divers will be delighted by the huge drop-offs covered with magnificent corals and by the crystal clear waters! The seabed around Bunaken Island is also incredibly deep, down to 1600m or 5249ft. This destination really has something special!

Here you can find large pelagic fish as well as small creatures that make this dive destination great for underwater photography.

Bunaken Island belongs to the Bunaken Marine National Park established in 1991. It encompasses several other islands like Manado, Tua, Siladen, Montehagen, Nain and Nain Kecil. Due to the creation of the marine reserve, the waters around Bunaken are healthy and offer fantastic biodiversity and some of the most beautiful corals in the world.

Bunaken Marine Park (8)
Bunaken National Marine Park, Manado, Indonesia. Sakurai Midori, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This destination also offers great snorkeling options for non-divers.

Activities to do and excursions in Bunaken, Manado

Bunaken Marine National Park is primarily a diving destination. However, there is the possibility of doing lots of other things during your stay or if you are not diving:

  • Snorkeling above the coral gardens, which are fantastic right in front of most hotels.
  • Hike the trails around the island or climb the volcano of Manado Tua.
  • Fish with local fishermen, but outside the marine reserve 😉
  • Go on a whale or dolphin watching excursion
  • All these excursions can easily be organized for you by your diving club.

Bunaken ManadoTua2
Manado Tua is a volcanic island in the Celebes Sea off the northeast coast of Sulawesi. The island is located on Bunaken National Park. User: (WT-shared) Jpatokal at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Best time to visit Bunaken, Manado

During the peak of the tourist season which takes place in July and August, the dive centers can be full and it is recommended to book well in advance! Otherwise, the rest of the year is ok. See our diving page for more information.

Direct flights from Bali to Bunaken

There are 2 flights daily from Bali to Bunaken (Manado, Sam Ratulangi International Airport) and it takes 3 hours 50 minutes with Lion Air.

And from Bunaken to Bali, there are 2 direct flights.

Health and security

If you plan to go on a trip to Bunaken, Manado, we advise you to invest in a good travel insurance which also covers scuba diving. You never know what can happen and good insurance can get you out of tough situations. I recommend this travel insurance because they offer worldwide coverage and cover many risky sports like scuba diving.

Where is Bunaken, Manado located in the world?

Bunaken is a very small island (8 km²) located at the northern tip of the island of Sulawesi, in northern Indonesia. It is part of the immense Bunaken Marine National Park, which covers an area of ​​890.65 km² of which only 3% is terrestrial.

Marine National Park Conservation Fee

There is an entrance fee for Bunaken Marine Park. It costs IDR 150 000 per person (about CHF 10 or EUR 9.50 or USD 10.10) and generally it is the resort that obtains it and gives you your badge.

There is no tax for the Lembeh Strait.

If you have any other questions or comments, please let us know in the comments or by contacting us directly.


North Sulawesi consists of three main diving areas: Bunaken National Marine Park on the west coast, the Bangka Archipelago in the north and the Lembeh Strait on the east coast.

Although covering an area that is not very large, each of these areas offers very unique diving experiences. With access to over 150 dive sites, North Sulawesi is a fantastic place to spend your diving vacation!

Water temperature: between 26℃ or 78.8°F (Lembeh) and up to 30℃ or 86°F (Bunaken).
Topography: reef flats, coral walls, sandbanks, pinnacles, slopes.
Currents: Generally light, suitable for all skill levels.

Lekuan 1, 2 and 3

This large diving area can be visited in 3 times because there are so many things to see. It is a huge drop-off covered with giant sponges, black corals and gorgonians. It is undoubtedly one of the favorite sites for divers. The crevices are home to multiple species, butterflyfish, fusiliers, sea snakes, parrotfish, boxfish but also many turtles, eagle rays and napoleons, which roam around.

Lekuan 1. The first dive on Lekuan gives you the tone, indeed the wall is so big that you won’t be able to see everything. The water is crystal clear, you will come across sharks, turtles, trevallies, good-sized napoleons, and large schools of angelfish.

Lekuan 2. Second dive to continue exploring the reef. Here it is a beautiful collection of soft corals, there are hard corals, or even small caves and crevices. This beautiful setting is home to a dense fauna of tropical fish and turtles.

Lekuan 3. Here you will dive down a small sandy slope to reach the drop off again. Barracuda shoals are common, but there are also macrofauna, such as cleaner shrimp. The sea fans and sponges are superb.

Fukui Dot

This site is in the southeastern part of Bunaken Park. It is a slope where multitudes of corals of all kinds, sponges and giant molluscs have landed. You will encounter schools of various fish, barracudas, eels, red mullets, eagle rays, parrotfish, etc.

Barracuda dot

It is a large drop off with several stages covered in sand. The clarity of the water makes the visibility excellent, you can see up to 30 meters. Barracuda and parrotfish abound at this dive site, which is reserved for experienced divers, due to the strong currents.


You will start the dive on a gentle slope to reach a beautiful drop-off. The fauna is very dense on this site with large napoleons, butterflyfish, eagle rays, and sometimes small sharks.

The Molas Shipwreck site

This site has a very varied underwater life. The wreck of an old warship lies between 10 and 42 meters deep. Black, hard and soft corals, but also sponges, blue ribbon moray eels, frogfish, nudibranchs and lionfish are just waiting to be unearthed. It is not possible to enter the wreckage.

Batu Hitam (black rock)

Located near the Molas wreck, it is a beautiful reef with coral tables. This beautiful macro dive is ideal for photographers, as there is no current. There are ribbon moray eels, a fine collection of nudibranchs, leaffish, frogfish and crocodilefish.

Siladen Island offers two dive sites

On Siladen 1, you will dive over a vertiginous wall. The fixed fauna is remarkable. This site is very popular for snorkeling. Macrofauna is everywhere, you will see a lot of pygmy seahorses, and crabs. Sometimes in the blue, we observe white tip sharks.

Siladen 2 is on the northeast coast of the island. It is a gentle slope with large rocks and a multitude of corals. The current is stronger, it attracts pelagics. We observe sharks, napoleons and parrots.

Bunaken Timur 1 & 2

It is a huge reef located east of Bunaken Island. We can say that the area is home to all the fauna of the region and superb corals, of all sizes and colors. There is a nice variety of reef fish, but also pelagic and macrofauna. When there is no power, it is a dream location for photographers.

Mandolin Dot

Here a lot of sea fans and many small caves, habitats of a beautiful fauna. This site is accessible from the shore. If you do not want to explore the caves, you can admire the top of the reef, the fauna is very dense: surgeons, groupers, napoleons, rays or turtles.

Manado Tua

Around this small volcanic island, you will observe dizzying drop-offs, cracked by crevasses, where huge turtles hide. The decor is set: here we observe elephant ear corals, magnificent gorgonians, and all around are whitetip sharks and blacktip sharks, emperor fish, batfish and fusiliers swirling around.

3. Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park on the way to Gorontalo

Bogani national park formerly known as Dumoga Bone National Park, it was established in 1991 and was renamed in honour of Nani Wartabone, a local resistance fighter who drove the Japanese from Gorontalo during the World War II.

The park is considered by the Wildlife Conservation Society as the most important site for nature conservation in Sulawesi. It is home to many endemic species of the island, among which the threatened anoa.

Also found in the reserve are hammerhead chicken, babirusa (deer boar), the Sulawesi warty pig and the Gorontalo macaque.

The park contains endangered species of plants and trees such as the palm Pholidocarpus ihur and other special wood species and plants from the genus Amorphophallus . In the park are observed: 24 species of mammals, 125 species of birds, 11 species of reptiles, 2 species of amphibians, 38 species of butterflies and 200 species of beetles. The mammalian species such as the crested macaque (Macaca nigra), Temminck’s macaque (Macaca nigrescens), celebes tarsier (Tarsius tarsier), celebe palm roller (Macrogalidia musschenbroekii), anoa ( Bubalus depressicornis also called gems buffalo), berganoa ( B. quarlesi), golden babiroessa (Babyrousa babyrussa also called deer boar), and the flying fox Rousettus bidens (often referred to as Bonea bidens or Bone bat ) are all endemic mammals that only occur on Celebes.

The park is also home to numerous endemic bird species such as the rusty-brown pitfall ( Ninox ios ) and the iconic hammerfowl (Macrocephalon maleo). A kind of grouse that lays the eggs in places with geothermal heat.

Maleo bird

The maleo is endemic to the island and is the park’s mascot. 2 This bird has successfully bred in the park, and as of February 2012, around 3,300 birds have been released into the wild.

Macrocephalon maleo - Muara Pusian (2)
Maleo (Macrocephalon maleo) at Muara Pusian, North Sulawesi. Ariefrahman, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hungoyono camp on Bone Bolango is the largest habitat for these Maleo with four breeding sites. Birds usually need hot geothermal sand to breed, like in the Hungoyono camp.

Spectral tarsier / ghost tarsier

The ghost tarsier is one of the endangered species that inhabits the park.

Tarsiers are nocturnal creatures that do activities at night and sleep during the day. Therefore Tarsiers hunt at night. Their main prey is insects such as cockroaches, crickets, and occasionally small reptiles, birds and bats. Its habitat is in the forests of North Sulawesi to South Sulawesi, as well as on islands around Sulawesi such as Suwu, Selayar and Peleng.

Tarsius tarsier Tandurusa zoo
Tarsier Tarsius sp., Grand Naemundung Mini Zoo, Tandurusa, Bitung, North Sulawesi. Sakurai Midori, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tarsiers can also be found in the Philippines. In Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, South Sulawesi, Tarsier is better known by the local community as “balao cengke” or “squat mouse” if translated into Indonesian.

4. Discover the main volcanoes Mahawu and Lokon

Ideal for hiking and for a change from the city or the sea, discover the two volcanoes Mahawu and Lokon.


Mount Mahawu is a stratovolcano located immediately east from Lokon-Empung volcano in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Set off on this 12.9 km (8 miles) round-trip route near Tomohon, North Sulawesi. Generally considered a moderate course, it takes an average of 4h 23min to complete. It is a popular route for roaming, hiking and mountain biking, but you can still enjoy some quiet moments.

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Crater of Mahawu in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Jacob Mojiwat, source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmojiwat/34799015484/ (CC BY 2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

The hiking trail here is no less beautiful than the crater, by the way, as this hiking trail has the charm of a soothing grove.

Sunlight streaming through the tree branches also accompanies tourists on the hiking trail in mount Mahawu.

Another attraction of Mount Mahawu is that it has rare plant species. The rare plants that thrive here are rare plants typical of North Sulawesi.


Mount Lokon is beautiful too,also known as Gunung Lokon (in Indonesian language), together with Mount Empung, is a twin volcano in the Tomohon, Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, roughly 10 km (6.2 miles) south of Manado.

Check out this 6.6 km (4.1 miles) round trip route near Tomohon, North Sulawesi. Generally considered a moderate course, it takes an average of 2h 54min to cover it. It is a popular route for roaming and hiking, but you can still enjoy some quiet time.

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Mount Lokon seen from East in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Jacob Mojiwat, source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jmojiwat/35471444692/ (CC BY 2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Mount Lokon climbing route is quite difficult as there are a lot of big rocks to climb and the rocks are a bit slippery due to the moss growing around the rock.

You will cross a dry river which is an old lava flow and small sandy rocks, be careful as on your side is a steep ravine.

You also have to be careful near the crater, sometimes the smell of crater gas will be carried away by the wind, and this gas is poisonous, do not inhale the smell of this crater gas.

Photo credit (main photo): Niek van Son (CC BY 2.0) Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/niek_van_son/29789916401/ via Wikimedia Commons