North Sulawesi, Sangihe-Talaud Islands

North Sulawesi, Sangihe-Talaud Islands

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A flotilla of overloaded boats like these spent hours bringing supplies out to our ferry, to be loaded piece by piece through windows. These ferries are the only means of supplying all the islands of Sangir-Talaud, and they carry everything – fruit & produce, baby chicks, headless mannequins, TVs, bibles…

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Sanggihe, Thalaud, Map, siau, tahulandang, biaro, salebabu, kabaruang, krakelong, kawilo,

6 more maps detailed, you will find on :

The Sangihe Talaud Archipelago

Travellers with plenty of time should not miss the chance to go to this seldom visited group of islands. As there is hardly any tourist infrastructure you should be a bit adventurous. Some words of Bahasa Indonesia are also very helpful. What you will find is: virtually untouched white sandy beaches, uninhabited small paradise islands, excellent spots for snorkeling, active volcanos (one under water!) and friendly, very interested people. At Siau Island you have a chance to see one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Be aware the weather conditions during the monsoon season (end of October – early April) can be a lot worse than around Manado – rough seas and large amounts of rain are common. Especially during this time there is also a higher Malaria risk than elsewhere in North Sulawesi.

Please note:
All updates on this page that were made in November 2009 have been provided to me by Nirwan Lahopa who works in the Tourism Office of Tahuna and will be happy to be your personal guide during your stay in Sangihe.
I know Nirwan personally since a long time from the years when he was working at Manado’s Smiling Hostel. During this time he has always proven to be an extremely reliable, dedicated and honest person, so you can fully rely on him.

Nirwan Lahopa

Contact Details:

Jl. Baru Tona – Tahuna
Sangihe – North Sulawesi
Mobile: +62 821 96 497 723

Accommodation in Tahuna:


1. Nasional Hotel : – Suite Room → Single Rp. 565.000,-
→ Double Rp. 610.000,-
– VIP Room → Single Rp. 315.000,-
→ Double Rp. 360.000,-
– Superior Room → Single Rp. 265.000,-
→ Double Rp. 310.000,-
– Deluxe Room → Single Rp. 215.000,-
→ Double Rp. 260.000,-
– Medium Room → Single Rp. 165.000,-
→ Double Rp. 210.000,-
– Standard Room → Single Rp. 115.000,-
→ Double Rp. 160.000,-
2. Bintang Utara Hotel : – VIP Room → Single or Double Rp. 195.000,-
– Medium Room → Single or Double Rp. 170.000,-
– Deluxe Room → Single or Double Rp. 140.000,-
– Superior Room → Single Rp. 110.000,-
– Standard Room → Single or Double Rp. 80.000,-
3. Tahuna Hotel : All Rooms Single or Double Rp. 280.000,-
4. Melia Losmen : Standard Room Large Single or Double Rp.250.000
Medium Single or Double Rp.175.000
Small Single or Double Rp.150.000
Economy Room Single or Double Rp.100.000
5. Penginapan Vania : Standard Room → Rp.125.000,-
6. Penginapan Setia : Standard Room → Rp.125.000,-
7. Penginapan Anggrek : Standard Room → Rp.75.000,-
8. Penginapan Sederhana : Standard Room → Rp.125.000,-
9. Penginapan Beringin : Standard Room → Rp.50.000,-
Not included: 10% Government Tax

The Bintang Utara Hotelhas been specifically recommended to me. It is located about halfway between the harbour and the city center. Address: Jl. Pahlawan Lama No. 46, Tahuna; Phone (+62) 432-21375. Rooms are said to be in good condition and clean, and the hotel has a large, friendly lobby and helpful staff.

The Rainbow Losmen near Tamako
The Rainbow Losmen in Tamako on Sangihe Besar is a basic, but from my own experiences (in the 90’s though) pleasant and clean guesthouse, with good food and a very nice family. Its owner Frets Pangimangen and guide Wesley, who are running the guesthouse, will be glad to guide you around during your stay there.
3 double rooms, all with mosquito nets. 2 rooms with fans. Basic shared toilet and washing facilities. Communal area.
How to get there: One hour bus drive from Tahuna (Rp. 10,000), then 10 minutes drive by bentor (motorbike driven vehicle) to Rainbow Losmen (Rp. 3,000).
» Information sheet Rainbow Losmen and birdwatching tours (October 2009)

Elsewhere you will have no problem to find people renting out rooms in their private homes. Even if communication is difficult you will easily find locals helping you to get a place to sleep and with other things. As western tourists are still a rare sight on these islands it might be a good idea to report to the local police or village chief, especially in small villages.

Transportation to Sangihe-Talaud is quite easy though not often too comfortable: from Manado harbour there is a number of boats going to various islands in the Sangihe Talaud Archipelago, like Tahulandang, Siau, Sangihe Besar (Tahuna), Makalehi, Talaud and others.
PELNI has a big vessel going from Bitung to both places every four weeks.

Schedule Manado – Tahuna – Manado

Boat Names: Mekar Teratai, Tera Santa, Queen Marry, Ratu Maria, Theodora, Sunlia
Manado dep    Tahuna arr    Tahuna dep    Manado arr    Frequency
7pm    5am    7pm    5am    daily
Price: Rp. 105,000 per Person (October 2009)

Manado dep    Tahuna arr    Tahuna dep    Manado arr    Frequency
7pm    5am    7pm    5am    daily
Price: Rp. 105,000 per Person (October 2009)

A more comfortable option is the fast boat “Express Bahari”:

Frequency    Manado dep    Tahuna arr
Mon, Wed, Fri    9am    4pm
     Tahuna dep    Manado arr
Tue, Thu, Sat    9am    4pm
Prices (September 2010):

    VIP Class Rp. 224,000/person
    Executive Class Rp. 169,000/person
    Economy Class Rp. 124,000/person

And then there is a new fast boat, the “KM. Prima Oasis”:

Frequency    Manado dep    Tahuna arr
Tue, Thu, Sat    9am    4pm
     Tahuna dep    Manado arr
Mon, Wed, Fri    9am    4pm
Prices (January 2011):

    VVIP Class Rp.400.000/person
    Superclass Rp.265.000/person
    Business Class Rp.195.000/person
    Economy Class Rp.145.000/person

The PELNI (Indonesia’s National Shipping Company) ship “KM Sangiang” operates the route Bitung – Ulu Siau – Tahuna – Lirung – Karatung – Miangas and back every two weeks. Unfortunately no schedules available – PELNI’s website had its last update in December 2007… 🙁

Lion Air’s subsidiary Wings Air operates flights from Manado to Naha Airport/Tahuna (Sangihe) and back twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Check the Lion Air website for timings and rates, and notice that the website uses the old spelling “Menado”.

Scuba diving: There are no dive operations on these islands. The only way to explore the underwater world is by liveaboard from Manado.

Bird watching: Especially the Talaud Archipelago is a paradise for bird lovers. New species are still discovered regularly: Bird Watching in Sangihe-Talaud

Other Links:
Mt Karangetang (Siau) – Volcanic Activity Report

  • Birding

Tuesday 5th November – Saturday 30th November 2013
(26 days)

Leader: Craig Robson

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy to Moderate for the most part, occasionally fairly Demanding

The huge archipelago of Indonesia has the richest avifauna in the old world (over 1530 species!) and holds more endemic birds (no fewer than 381 at the present time) than any other country. Birdquest already offers six different exciting tours to this magical but still relatively under-birded country, and on this thrilling new venture we will explore several rarely visited island groups, flirting with Weber’s biogeographical line in some very remote corners of the Celebes and Molucca Seas.

Tour Description : Adventure and Ecotourism on North Sulawesi

Tour Highlights  : Jungle Trekking, Underwater Volcano, Snorkeling, Ecotourism, History and Culture, Dolphin, Fishing, Endemic Species, Mount Awu, Mount Karangetang, Dugong
Tour Area : Sangihe Island and Minahasa Highland
Starting Point : Manado
Ending Point : Manado

Sangihe and Talaud Islands

This district consists of 77 islands, of which 56 islands are inhabited. The population is 335.000 people (2006). Most of the people are involved in agriculture, which include coconut, vanilla, nutmeg, clove and fishing. The islands are located north of the Sulawesi Peninsula, and south of the Philippines the islands are divided into two main groups; Sangihe, consisting of the islands Sangir Besar, Siau, Tagulandang and Biaro; and Talaud consists of the  island of Karakelang, Salibabu, Kaburuan, Nanusa, Miangas plus many other small island. The capital of Sangihe Talaud is Tahuna; which is located on Sanger Besar. The airport located about 21 km from Tahuna is serviced by domestic airlines on an irregular basis.

There are seaports in Tahuna, Siau, Tagulandang and Biau which are serviced by various ferries and local boats.

Sangihe Talaud is renowned for its magnificent white sandy beaches with amazing coral gardens as well as an underwater active volcano.

The cultural ceremonies, dances, and folksongs from this group of island are many.

The most outstanding traditional ceremonies are:

Menahulending: a ceremony to expressing gratitude and pray for someone who renders a useful service.

Menulude: a ceremony thanks giving, which is celebrated annually at the end of January.

Mangundang Banua (Mesundeng) is a dedication ceremony for a new boat, house, or garden. Sangihe Talaud is known for its beautiful dances such as:

Maane’e: a traditional fish catching in Intata Island, which always celebrate every once in a year on the month of May.

Maharo Island

This beautiful tiny island is located on the eastern side of Siau Island. Justly proud of the beauty of its own, touring to this island is wonderful to observe Portuguese ruin fortress in the gentle see breeze. Only a few minute by a motorized outrigger canoe from Siau harbour

Mount Awu Crater Lake
Situated on Sanger Besar Island, mount Awu (1320 m) is still active and it last erupted on 12 August 1966. The Crater Lake is considerably beauty; dark green, light green and white colors are contrast. Climbing it inquire at the Volcanologist Office in Tahuna.

Nutmeg Plantation in Siau

Blessed by fertile land, caused by volcanic ash of volcano Karangetang, some of village used their shifting land into nutmeg plantations. Indeed, most of grounds are covered by green and thick nutmeg trees, makes a breathtaking view of spice forest. Siau is an ideal place to enjoy nutmeg plantation.

Mahangetang Undewater Volcano
Lies 4–8 meters underwater, about 300 m only off the Island of Mahangetang, this underwater volcano showing magnificent underwater view of the crystal of boiling water under the sea. Located 18 miles away of Tahuna, it is easily reached by hiring a motorizes outrigger canoe from Tahuna harbour.

Sara Island
Heavily forested with lush verdant tropical vegetation, this tiny island bustled with the activity of Maleo birds, cockatoos, etc. It is surrounded by white sandy beaches and there is an extensive coral reef nearby. Take a motorized outrigger canoe from Lirung harbour (45 minutes) or from Melangguane Airport (60 minutes) to this splendor island.

Volcano Karangetang Towering 1.800 m in Siau, this volcano is still active and it last erupted in 1974. Volcano Karangetang appears so scenically from the sea while entering Siau harbour.

Santago Mousoleum

Lying among towering coconut palms and flowery garden, overlooking a beautiful stretch of forested mountains and sea view, it is a King Santiago Mausoleum. He ruled Manganitu Kingdom from 1670 – 1677

Day 01: Airport – Manado – Tahuna

  1. Arrival at Sam Ratulangi International Airport
  2. Welcome Drink
  3. Meeting Service
  4. Full Payment
  5. Sightseeing around Manado City
  6. Transfer to Manado Harbour
  7. By Ship sailing to Sangihe, It take 6-7 Hours
  8. Overnight stay on the ship (L, D)

Day 02: Tahuna City – Tamako Village

  1. Early morning arrive in Tahuna, capital of Sangihe regency
  2. Drive along the coast and passing beautiful typical fisherman villages for two hours to Tamako
  3. Visit the King Palace, Is the old royal residence used during the period of the Tahuna Kingdoms, Manganitu and Tamako. Inside the building you can still see relics of the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and Tagalog episodes
  4. The Old Church: This church is located in Manganitu, Sangihe Besar Island. It was built by Ernst Traugott Steller, a German missionary, in the last century. There is nothing left inside, however the building is still intact. There is a family gravesite on the property
  5. Check in at the hotel and you will enjoy yourself by swimming or snorkeling around the coral area nearby
  6. Dinner
  7. Overnight stay (B, L, D)

Day 03-04: Trekking to Mt.  Sahengbalira & Mt. Sahendarumang

The Gunung Sahengbalira Protection Forest covers an area of 5,000 ha and is nominated as a nature reserve in Indonesia’s National Conservation Plan. The site holds the last remaining area with reasonably extensive forest on Sangihe Island. Forests range from primary lowland tropical rainforest to sub-montane forests at the higher altitudes. The site is named after the highest peak in the area: the Gunung Sahengbalira (1015m).  Mammals and Birds are expected to be seen:

  1. 5-6 hours trekking each day – for 2 days.  Overnight at locals or homestay)
  2. On day 4th, after trekking, a visit to a beautiful waterfall near Lelipang

Day 05: Snorkeling to Mahangetang Underwater Volcano 2 Hours Boat Trip (each way) from Tamako (Depends of how big the engines used)

Mahangetang Underwater Volcano:

Lies at 4-8 meters underwater, only about 300 m off the island of Mahangetang, this underwater volcano offers a magnificent view of water boiling under the sea

  1. Breakfast
  2. By a local motorized small boat, sail to Mahangetang island
  3. Arrive on the Island
  4. We will pay a visit to the “OPO LAO” village head for permission
  5. Enjoy yourself on the crystal clear water, hot water and beautiful coral of the Mahangetang

Mahangetang Islands Area

Underwater volcano, Schools of fish everywhere, Magnificent corals, See shape of volcano, Bubbles and hot water from volcano, Parrot, scorpion, fish, sharks, jack

  1. Lunch will be serve on Beach
  2. We’ll take time to explore this small fisherman village
  3. Late in the afternoon return to Tamako for overnight (B, L, D)

Day 06: Tamako – Lapango – Manganitu – Tahuna

  1. Breakfast
  2. Check out, then we drive you to Lapango (old gold mining complex)
  3. Driving along the coastal roads and villages then to Manganitu village
  4. Lunch enroute
  5. A short trek to the nearby waterfall called Laine at Manganitu village
  6. Arrive in Tahuna, stay overnight at local people house

Day 07: Climb to Mount Awu Crater (whole day activity)

  1. Situated on Sanger Besar Island, mount Awu (1320 m) is still active and it last erupted on 12 August 1966. The Crater Lake is considerably beauty; dark green, light green and white colors are contrast and here we need to report to the Volcanologist Office in Tahuna before climbing
  2. In the afternoon driving down to Enemawira
  3. Stay overnight at the locals

Day 08: Dugong and Snorkeling Trip

  1. A whole day boat trip for swimming, snorkeling , fishing, dolphin and to search the famous Dugong Fish around on the satellite islands of Tahuna
  2. Spend your time also on the beautiful beach of Pananualeng
  3. Overnight at locals at Enemawira village.  (Beach farewell  party)

Day 09: Enemawira – Tahuna – Manado

  1. Leaving Enemawira to Tahuna
  2. Touring around Tahuna, to Kolongan Beach, snorkeling at the harbor site (There is no boat provided)
  3. Late in the afternoon, return to Manado by evening ferry
  4. On the way, enjoy the spectacular plume of Mt. Karangetang with its larva activity

Day 10: Arrive in Manado – Ilo-Ilo jungle trekking

  1. Early in the morning arrive in Manado
  2. Go direct to Ilo-Ilo
  3. Jungle trekking it takes 5-6 hours
  4. Set up the tent
  5. Overnight stay at the tent

Day 11: Ilo-Ilo – Waterfall – Tomohon

  1. Wake up early morning and enjoy the spectacular sunrise and view of Manado Bay and Bunaken Marine Park from the top
  2. Going down to Manado and direct to Kali waterfall
  3. Visit papaya wine home industry at Lota
  4. Tinoor waterfall adventure
  5. Lunch box are provided
  6. Check in at Onong Palace Resort
  7. Dinner
  8. Overnight stay

Day 12: Minahasa Highland

  1. Early morning trekking Mountain Mahawu 1311m above sea level to see spectacular sunrise
  2. We will see the Pitcher Plan Flower/Carnivore Orchid on the top
  3. Visit Local Market at Tomohon where Rats, Dogs, Snakes, Bats are sold as a food
  4. Back to Onong Palace Resort
  5. Breakfast
  6. Visit Bukit Kasih
  7. Natural Hot Spring in Toraget surrounding by the rice field and mountain
  8. Back to Onong Resort
  9. Dinner
  10. Overnight stay

Day 13: Minahasa – Manado

  1. Breakfast
  2. Visit Pagoda
  3. Visit Minahasa traditional house
  4. Lake Linow
  5. Kaaten coconut wood industry
  6. Lake Tondano
  7. Lunch at the lake site of Tondano Lake
  8. Pulutan Traditional ceramics home industry
  9. Visit tofu production at Kinilow
  10. Go direct to Manado
  11. Check in at Minahasa hotel
  12. Farewell Dinner
  13. Overnight stay

Day 14: Manado – Airport

  1. Breakfast
  2. Tour evaluation
  3. Leisure time until transfer to airport
  4. Transfer to airport for your next destination
  5. End of our services

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