Bangka is the largest of a group of islands north of the Sulawesi mainland. The islands are mostly surrounded by healthy coral reefs, with a few shallow walls here and there as well as a small number of scattered muck sites. Bangka has about half a dozen small resorts, most of which cater exclusively to divers.
You can only get to Bangka Island by boat from the mainland. Your Bangka resort can arrange transport from the airport or a Manado hotel to the island. It will take about an hour in a car or van from Manado to the village where boats take off for the island, and then a 15 to 30 minute boat ride will take you directly to your resort.
While it is possible to make your own way to the island via a public boat service, which will take you to the island's main village. However, there are no roads on the island, so you'll still be stuck getting from the village to your resort. You'll be end up trying to charter a boat to your resort. It just isn't worth the trouble.
Bangka Dive Resorts
There are only a handful of dive resorts on the island. Accommodations are generally on the basic side — including limited electrical supply and internet — but otherwise they can be quite comfortable, with all the basic necessities.
- Murex Dive Resort
- The Murex resort is one of three dive operations by Murex around North Sulawesi. Most of the rooms are duplex bungalows right on the beach. There's a single large common room for meals, which, weather permitting, may also be served right on the beach. They also have a camera room with towels and lots of plugs as well as a small massage service.
- This resort is located just a short distance from the Murex resort on the southern tip of the island. It is built up the hillside with a long dock for dive boats. It looks from the water like a slightly higher-end resort. Bastianos also operates multiple dive resorts in Northern Sulawesi.
- Mimpi Indah
- Sited on a beach in the small bay near the island's main town, Mimpi is a nice little resort that might be suited to those on a budget.
The diving around Bangka is varied and easy. Most dive sites are within 15 to 30 minutes from the various dive resorts which are spread out along the southern tip of the island. Dive sites around the island are mostly relatively shallow reef dives with a few walls here and there. Dive boats will also often make the crossing to the northern tip of Sulawesi for some more spectacular wall dives.
Day trips to Lembeh or Bunaken are also possible from Bangka. Trips often include a couple of dives at either destination, lunch on the boat, and then another dive on the way back. Somewhat shorter trips can be made to nearby Talisei Island, which has both an interesting wall dive as well as a muck area with several interesting critters.