Tumbak Island: Discover North Sulawesi Beyond Manado

Located in North Sumatra province, Tumbak Island is about three hours drive from Manado. For many tourists, Tumbak island may not be well known as Bunaken, though the island had beautiful underwater coral garden and white sand beach worth to visit.

Tumbak Island area consists of fishing villages, docks, fish markets, and small islands surrounding it: Baling-baling Island, Ponteng Island, and Bohanga Island. These three islands are most visited by tourists, local and foreign.

The road trip from Manado to Tumbak takes about three hours by public bus. During the rainy season, tourists should be more careful because of frequent landslides along the way. The best time to visit Tumbak Island is in the dry season, between July and November.

After arriving in Tumbak, tourists can stay in a homestay or directly take a traditional motor boat to get around the island. Homestay price ranges from 100 to 150K IDR. Each homestay had a basic facility as a bathroom, fan, breakfast, and electricity.

The crossing from fishing village to Baling-baling Island takes about 30 minutes. There is a small hill in the middle of the island, it reminds me of Kenawa island in West Nusa Tenggara. You have to be careful when climbing to the hill because it is very slippery.

After Baling-baling Island, tourists can head to Ponteng Island. The island is almost similar with Baling-baling Island, but Ponteng is wider and has larger and ramps hills. Ponteng island also famous for some wonderful snorkeling spot.

Another island worth to visit is Bohanga. There is a cottage here: Tumbak Island Cottage. Travelers usually stay here for one or two nights for some activity like sunsets, sunrise, and night dive. Bohanga also famous for its underwater. Surrounded by mangrove forests, it filled with coral reefs and colorful fish likes lionfish, cardinalfish, clownfish, napoleon wrasse, angelfish, surgeonfish, unicornfish, morish and others.


Fresh grilled fish, seafood, and white rice mixed with Manado’s “sambal dabu-dabu” is the main food you must try when visiting the island Tumbak.

Where to stay

There are several homestay around Tumbak Island fishing village with a starting price IDR 100K per night. If you want a more exclusive, choose Tumbak Island Cottage. You can also stay in Manado if you take just “one day trip” to Tumbak island.

How to get there

You can take a public bus from Manado to Minahasa, then continued by “ojek” to Tumbak. Overall travel time is about three hours with one-way fee approximately IDR 50K. You can also rent a car from Manado for  round-trip to Tumbak island.

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