Siladen – Bunaken National Park
If you’re planning a trip to Sulawesi, Bunaken likely tops the list as one of the world’s most beautiful diving destinations. Though often spoken of collectively, this area comprises 5 islands: Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain, and Siladen. Most accommodations are on Bunaken, yet the tiny Siladen offers a stunning stay. Visiting any of these islands probably involves exploring the vast Bunaken Manado Tua Marine National Park.
Bunaken has seen tremendous growth in recent years, resulting in numerous hotels, homestays, and hostels across the island. These accommodations range from simple to more upscale options, catering to various budgets. While the island may lack stunning beaches, its coral reefs are undeniably breathtaking.
For those with a more generous budget, staying on Siladen is highly recommended. This neighboring island to Bunaken is a paradise boasting white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. A brief half-hour stroll takes you from north to south. The island’s tranquility often means having the beach all to yourself. Siladen also offers spectacular coral reefs encircling its shores. There are a few resorts/hotels available for accommodation.
What to do in Siladen
Diving in Bunaken National Park (or snorkeling)
Every year, this park attracts numerous divers and snorkelers. It’s home to colossal coral walls—deep walls teeming with coral, some hundreds of meters deep. The depth and currents in this area have kept the coral in pristine condition. Beneath the surface lie extraordinary soft and hard corals.
The area is vast, so dive spots are never too crowded, ensuring peaceful dives. The visibility is often brilliant, sometimes exceeding 30 meters. Bunaken National Park hosts over 3,000 fish species and 300 types of coral. More about our diving experience with Celebes Divers in Bunaken soon.
If diving isn’t your thing, consider a dolphin-watching trip. Depart on a boat to an area frequented by dolphins. They almost guarantee a sighting—spotting hundreds of dolphins at once is a real possibility.
Relax on the Stunning Beaches of Siladen
Indulge in a day of relaxation on the gorgeous beaches of Siladen—an excellent alternative to Bunaken for beach lovers. Here, pristine white sands meet stunning house reefs.
A Day Trip to Bunaken
Short on time or prefer staying on the mainland? Consider booking day trips or diving excursions from Manado to Bunaken.
Tip! Want to stay in Manado but escape the bustling city? Consider booking a room at Mapia Resort, part of Celebes Divers. Find out more about this resort.
Transportation in Siladen
You can often arrange transportation through the resort, which is less hassle but tends to be more expensive. Alternatively, you can take a daily boat from Manado or arrange one yourself at the harbor. The boat trip takes about an hour and costs around 25 euros.
The cheapest option is the daily public ferry, which costs about 4 euros and departs every day except Sunday between 2-3 PM.
Which budget do i need in Siladen?
For Siladen, you’ll need a slightly higher budget, but the island is worth it. There are accommodations starting from around 80 euros per night with full board, like the Onong Onong resort. On the nearby Bunaken Island, there are cheaper homestays, but the island isn’t as beautiful as Siladen.
Important to note, there’s an entrance fee of approximately 10 euros for the National Park.
What are nice places to stay in Siladen?
Staying on Siladen doesn’t have to break the bank. A delightful room at Onong Onong starts at around 85 euros, and that includes full board. Plus, this resort boasts a highly professional dive center and sits right by the sea with a stunning beach.
For a bit more budget, consider booking a beach villa at Kuda Laut. It’s beachfront, comes with your own trendy hammock, and the rooms are indulgently luxurious. If you fancy pampering yourself for a few days, this is the place! Find out more about our stay at Kuda Laut and Onong Resort.