Bounty island of Bangka: undiscovered paradise of Sulawesi
Sssstttttttttt….. don’t tell anyone else, we have found one of Indonesia ‘s best-kept secrets. Welcome to paradise; Bangka Island, Sulawesi. Yes, here you will find the ultimate island life. Chill out under swaying palm trees, pearly white beaches and a house reef that says “hello. For diving enthusiasts and paradise admirers, this spot is heaven on earth.
There are few islands like Bangka Island. So beautiful and still undiscovered. Although the underwater is bursting with life, the island is still very quiet. Most people have barely heard of this island. You’ll find a few small “resorts” and that’s it. The perfect place to totally unwind.
In this article
- To do
- Travel time
- Practical information
- The nicest accommodations
- How do I get there?
- Our opinion
What to do in Bangka Island
Above all, what you need to do is NOTHING! Get your buttocks in the sand, enjoy the beautiful surroundings and occasionally take a dip in the crystal clear sea of Bangka Island. The reef surrounding the island is really already fantastic, allowing you to spot the most magnificent fish right in front of your resort. If you want to see even more of Sulawesi’s marine life, we definitely recommend doing some diving here.
Sulawesi is known for its impressive diving spots. In fact, the gigantic steep coral walls in Bunaken National Park are among one of the best dive sites in the world. But for muck dives, too, you’re in the right place. At Bangka Island you may not find the giant coral walls like at Bunaken National Park, but you will find beautiful coral gardens with hard and soft coral. You can spot pipefishs, frogfishs and scorpionfishs, among others. But what most divers do hope for is spotting giant Dugongs (Sea Cow) or whale sharks. If you are really a huge lucky ball then you even have a chance of sperm whale swimming by. In short, Sulawesi is bursting with marine life. Diving around Bangka Sulawesi so definitely do it.
Aren’t you a diver? No Worries! From the beach you already have a beautiful house reef and most of the dive spots are also perfect snorkeling spots. In fact, most dive sites are not that deep, so you can see almost as much with snorkeling.
Best time to travel to Bangka Island
If you are thinking, “YAAAAAA I want to go to Bangka Island too, but when is the best time to go that way?”. Well the best period to visit Bankga Island in Sulawesi is during the dry season. The dry season is from May to September is a peak time. During the rainy season, most resorts are closed so it is best to skip this period.
And then you have the in-between months of April and October. During these months, things can go either way. Do you want to take on the adventure and let fate decide? Then go for it!
Which budget do i need in Bangka Island?
If you have Bangka Island on your schedule, we definitely recommend staying overnight at Coral Eye. Definitely not the cheapest option, but so incredibly nice. You pay between 150,- to 200,- per night for 2 people. This includes water, breakfast, lunch and dinner. And believe me that food is really fantastic. For the dives you pay about 30 euros per dive. Nope it’s not cheap, but really worth it. We thought this was one of the most beautiful places we have ever stayed.
Practical information about Bangka Island
- Bj the resort Coral Eye you can use an ATM, but there is no other ATM. So bring enough cash for your stay. Nothing as annoying as running out of pennies in such a wonderful place!
- Sunscreen and insect repellent are a must! Of course, with that brilliant sun comes the chance of sunburn. So spread yourself thickly with sunscreen! A good bug spray is also not a luxury.
- Reserve your dives in advance to ensure you can join during your stay
- If you don’t have your own dive gear with you, then you must also reserve it in advance. Indeed, in Sulawesi this is not included as standard
- An underwater camera is your best friend. Don’t forget to capture the incredible underwater world!
- Don’t forget your diving license
- Respect the local culture. The people of Sulawesi are friendly and hospitable, and showing respect for their customs and traditions will only enrich your visit.
- Do not leave trash behind and respect nature both above and below the water. We want to keep this beautiful place as beautiful as possible, right?
What are nice places to stay in Bangka?
Sometimes you have to ignore your budget a bit. After all, you are on vacation. On Bangka Island, we stayed overnight at the unique resort Coral Eye. An oasis of tranquility in a setting we have rarely seen so beautiful.
The main building is a beautiful open space with a sort of sitting pit in the middle with seating areas and a large table. On the second floor you will find several rooms, but you also have several beachfront cottages outside the main building.
The resort is very spacious with dozens of indoor and outdoor seating areas. From hammocks to complete beachfront lounges. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included in the room rate. So every afternoon and evening you will have dinner together which creates a warm atmosphere. The food is really fantastic and prepared fresh every night. When the cook is ready, she shouts something like Makan and you can sit down. The resort is small, fine and very personal.
A few days of complete relaxation
Keep in mind that you have to make reservations in advance, including for diving. In fact, WIwe were almost unable to join because there was insufficient diving equipment available. Fortunately, the owner had been able to arrange something with another resort somewhere.
Coral Eye is really a great place for a few days. Especially if you want to escape your busy life for a while. The rooms are spacious and modern, but quite basic. SO there is no air conditioning and you have to walk a bit for your bathroom. You do have a private bathroom, but it is in another room. That’s really all you need in such a great place.
Do, Do, Do!
You can stay at Coral Eye for about 110 euros a night (per room). However, this is full board. Breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner, water and coffee are included. Other drinks can be ordered at the bar, but we will be charged. It may be a little more than what we normally spend on an overnight stay, but for what you get it is a very good price. If you really want to discover a paradise and totally unwind; then Coral Eye on Bangka Island is the place to be!
By choosing Coral Eye, you are also doing your part for the environment. They have several projects to support local people and preserve the environment as it is today.
How to get to Bangka Island?
Transportation to Bangka Island can often be arranged through your resort. The resorts on Bangka Island are just not exactly budget accommodations, and transportation to them sometimes requires you to dig deep into your pockets. We therefore decided to arrange our own transportation and this was actually quite easy. Through Tangkoko National Park we arranged a local cab and were taken to a beach (Surabaya Beach) in the middle of nowhere where we had to wait for our boat to the island. Keep in mind, though, that there really is absolutely nothing and no one here and sometimes you have to wait a while for the boat. We were eventually picked up by a boat from the resort (which you still have to pay for).
From Manado to Bangka or from Tangkoko to Bangka
From Manado, you can easily arrange a Grab or Uber, but we decided to book a night at Tangkoko National Park first. In fact, the Park is about a 2-hour drive from where you will be picked up to go to Bangka Island.
- It is about a 2-hour drive from Manado to Tangkoko National Park (provided there is no traffic jam in Manado, which is actually almost always).
- From Tangkoko National Park, it is about a 2-hour drive to Surabaya Beach
- From Manado directly to Surabaya Beach is also about 2 hours drive provided there is no traffic jam