Explore some of the richest and most unique marine and terrestrial habitats on the planet with this fifteen day tour through two of Indonesia’s most notable islands, Borneo and Sulawesi. Over the course of this trip we intend to explore not only the fantastic reefs around Indonesian Borneo and North Sulawesi, but also the dense jungles and interior waterways giving us an unparalleled perspective into these unique islands. As with all our safaris, there will be ample time to relax and reflect on the day’s tropical exploits from the well equipped and extremely comfortable resorts at each leg of the journey.
Our trip is split between splendid reefs and rainforests at two of Indonesia’s most unspoiled destinations – the islands of Borneo and Sulawesi.
We begin at the island of Nunukan for some truly outstanding snorkeling opportunities on the Maratua Atoll. We have many highlights here including good chances to snorkel with manta rays, and cruising over beautiful reefs, but perhaps the most curious will be snorkeling amongst the thousands of sting-less jellyfish which can be found at Kakaban Island’s jellyfish lake.
No tour to Borneo would be complete without a stop to see one of the world’s most iconic animals- orangutans- in their natural habitat. Along with encounters with these giant, ginger, tree swinging, banana enthusiasts we also hope to encounter some highly unusual proboscis monkeys on a late afternoon river cruise.
After our Bornean jungle excursion we move back into snorkel mode with Siladen Resort and Spa on their stunning island within Bunaken National Park in North Sulawesi. Once again we will glide over stunning reefs full of green sea turtles and trazillions of colorful reef fish. One mornings will be spent out on the boat looking for the super-pod of dolphins that frequent the area. Another highlight at Siladen, which does require a bit of luck, is being able to witness the baby sea turtles hatching. Siladen Resort is doing a lot of conservation in the area and one of the things they are doing is protecting the nests of the green sea turtles who lay their eggs on the beach in front of the resort. Fingers crossed!
Marine Life Guide
Arrive at Jakarta International Airport at any time. Make your way by foot/sky train to terminal 2E where the Jakarta Airport hotel is located. You can check in here any time after 2 pm. Check-in and relax.
Check out after breakfast, meet your tour leader and walk together to domestic departures to check-in for your flight to Balikpapan, a city in East Borneo. Upon arrival, the group will check-in for the charter flight to Maratua Island. Here, the local team for Nunukan Resort meets us, and we travel by boat (about 40 minutes) to the small island resort.
After settling into our rooms, we will be briefed about our stay here before dinner which is usually a 3- 4 course meal.
Nunukan has a great range of snorkeling sites; from the house reef which is dominated by a sloping wall ranging from the shallows to around 40m; to the stunning walls around Kakaban Island, the jellyfish lake there (and great snorkeling under the pier too) and the shallow manta cleaning stations of Sangalaki.
Our days here will start with a delicious a la carte breakfast served with fruits, juices, fresh bread and jams. Thereafter we will meet for our first snorkel session of the day. The house reef sites are a short 5-minute boat trip from the resort. On the days that we snorkel here, we will return to the resort between all 3 of our daily snorkels as well as take our lunch at the resort (2-3 course meal).
Two of the days will be spent on full-day excursions to the islands of Kakaban and Sangalaki. The journey takes about 45-60 minutes each way. We will visit Kakaban and have the opportunity to walk to a completely landlocked lake in the jungle and snorkel amongst hundreds of thousands of sting-less jellyfish, and explore the mangroves and other creatures that call the lake home. Thereafter we will continue towards Sanaglaki Island, best known for its gorgeous reef, schooling fish, and manta ray cleaning stations. The chances of seeing manta rays here are very high. After our first snorkel here we will eat our generous packed lunch and relax on the boat before hopping back in the water for some more snorkeling. We will get back to the resort by around 5 pm on these days.
Two half-days will be spent traveling to South Maratua where the reefs are untouched, extremely beautiful, and lively. We will do two snorkels there on each trip. The journey is about 25-35 minutes each way. All meals will be eaten at the resort on these days.
We will also spend one morning visiting a local village and school on Maratua Island before heading to a natural large cavernous pool for a cool-off, and lunch at a local restaurant before returning to the resort for some afternoon snorkeling.
We expect to see turtles, groupers, and eagle rays, we also have the chance to see leopard sharks and nurse sharks which are not uncommon here.
This day we will depart Nunukan early in the morning for the 3-hour boat ride to Berau and then transfer to the airport for a 1-hour flight to Balikpapan.
Upon arrival we will be met and transferred to Samboja Lodge (about 45 – 60 minutes) where we will check-in and relax before dinner is served. The meals here are mostly simple traditional Indonesian dishes, served buffet style.
The next morning we wake up and meet our English-speaking naturalist guide and orangutan specialist, who will take us to the nearby orangutan “islands” where the animals that cannot be returned to the wild are homed; followed by a trip to the Sun Bear sanctuary. After lunch at the lodge, and some time to relax, we take a 45-minute drive to the Black River where we board traditional boats and cruise along the river, past local villages, in search of wildlife. It is here that we hope to the troops of Proboscis Monkeys foraging by the riverside at dusk.
After a good night’s rest we are taken back to Balikpapan airport for our flight to Manado. Upon arrival we will be met by Siladen Resort drivers and taken to the pier to board the boat to this beautiful island resort. Here we will check-in, have a resort orientation and briefing, and then relax and enjoy the facilities until dinner. Meals are mostly buffet style and offer multiple courses with popular western and Asian dishes available.
Each day will start with a buffet breakfast followed by a snorkel site briefing and a snorkel. Each in-water session will last 60- 90 minutes.
The snorkel sites are about 10 – 25 minutes from the resort. We will return in time for lunch and then have some time to relax before our afternoon snorkel. Evenings will be spent in the lounge looking at Fish ID books, having a beverage at the bar, enjoying a massage at the spa, or simply relaxing on our private verandas.
We check out after breakfast and take the group transfer back to Manado for our flight to Jakarta, where the tour ends and we bid goodbye to our new friends.
Nunukan Island Resort
Nunukan Island Resort is located at the southern end of the Maratua Atoll in Borneo, directly at the outer reef. The snorkeling from Nunukan is fabulous and includes direct access to the house reef. Many rare critters, as well as healthy colorful coral teeming with tropical fish and turtles, can be found on the four-kilometer stretch of reef that runs alongside the island.
The environmentally conscious resort has been built in harmony with the island’s native ecosystem and is run predominantly on solar power and collected rainwater.
The resort is comprised of a restaurant, bar, and dive center which all overlook the long jetty and have unobstructed views of the ocean. Beautiful gardens surround the twenty-two beachfront bungalows and the spa offers various traditional massages and treatments.
Samboja Lodge is a beautiful jungle lodge nestled in the rain forest canopy, offering magnificent views of the dense tropical jungle with stunning wildlife viewing opportunities of orangutans, proboscis monkeys, macaques, sun bears, monitor lizards and hornbills. Tastefully decorated and comfortably furnished, the lodge has eleven rooms that have been built using recycled materials, and offer air-conditioned rooms, with cold water en-suite bathrooms.
The lodge is part of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, which rehabilitates and reintroduces orangutans to the wild, rescues sun bears, and preserves and rebuilds the rain forest.
You will be staying at the Siladen Island Resort which is located in the Bunaken National Marine Park, which offers huge biodiversity and rare and endangered animals. The 343 square miles of the protected marine park boasts an astounding variety of hard and soft corals, beautiful fans, seven species of giant clams, 33 types of butterflyfish, Bumphead Parrotfish, a huge population of turtles, and a massive variety of other fish species.
When it comes to an exclusive island experience Siladen Resort is hard to beat. Your private, well-appointed accommodations are meters from a white sand beach with beautiful garden views. The resort has a pool, lounge, and a spa to pamper yourself with a massage or scrub.
Siladen Resort: Large wooden boats complete with covered gear up area and sun deck. Marine toilet and freshwater bins for equipment and cameras are onboard all boats. The average travel time from the resort to the sites is twenty minutes. Exit the water via ladders on the side of the boat.
Nunukan Island Resort: Spacious fiberglass speedboats with enough room to easily store snorkeling equipment. The boats do not have a toilet on board but do offer a full canopy for sun protection and a ladder to help exit the water. The average distance from the resort to the site is about 20 minutes.
On this page you will find our tour dates, a contact form and details of payment schedule including deposit and final balance. If you have any further questions please complete the form and we will reply within 24hrs.
Make an enquiry
2021 – US$5425 / £4225 per person
Borneo and Sulawesi Safari | 2 – 17 April
2022 – US$5675 / £4415 per person
Borneo and Sulawesi Safari | 1 – 16 April
How to book your place
Initial deposit to secure your booking $400 per person
6 Months before departure interim payment of $1000 per person
Balance due 3 months before departure
- Domestic flights in Economy Class with 44 Ibs of luggage allowance + hand luggage (Jakarta – Jakarta)
- Group transfers throughout
- 1-nights accommodation at the Jakarta Airport Hotel, Standard Room (double/twin share), Bed and Breakfast
- 5-nights at the Nunukan Resort, Sea View Room (double/twin share), Full Board (all meals)
- 2 Full day trips to Sangalaki and Kakaban Islands, 2 half-day trips to South Maratua, 2 days snorkeling on house reefs and a morning tour to Maratua Island village and swimming cavern
- 2-nights at Samboja Lodge, Standard Room (double/twin share – cold water shower only), Full Board
Orangutan and sun bear sanctuary tours and Black River boat excursion
- 7-nights at Siladen Island Resort, Garden Room (double/twin share), Full Board
- Daily snorkeling activities (2-3 boat snorkels a day plus unlimited house reef snorkeling)
- Dolphin and whale sightseeing excursion, naturalist talk
- Services of Snorkel Venture guide throughout
- Entrance fees & Marine park fees
- International flights (booking available on request)
- Snorkeling equipment rental
- Travel insurance
- Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, laundry and general sundries
- Spa services