Borneo and Sulawesi Snorkeling Trip

Join This Small Group, 16 Day, Resort Based Snorkel Safari to Two Remote Islands in the Coral Triangle

April 7-22, 2023

This exciting snorkeling trip visits some of the less traveled areas of the Coral Triangle and Indonesia, Nunukan Island in Borneo and Siladen Island in Sulawesi. These islands and those close by have some of the most diverse reefs and richest numbers of marine life in the world.

Siladen Resort island and surrounding reef seen from the air
Pair of Mandarinfish at Siladen

This trip is being run by our partner and friend Ben and his team. Based in the U.K., they are experts in the Coral Triangle, run amazing excursions, and have a great appreciation for the underwater world.

This small group trip (16 snorkelers + guide) is an good value for a 16 day remote adventure filled with fantastic reefs, beautiful landscapes and some interesting top side attractions, like orangutans!

Where in the World Do You Get to Snorkel and What Is the Itinerary?

You start this Indonesian snorkel safari by flying into Jakarta International Airport. After this point all accommodations and domestic flights are included in the tour pricing. 

World map with Coral Triangle highlighted

Your group will stay the first night at the Jakarta Airport Hotel. The next morning you will meet your tour leader, and your group will take a domestic flight to Balikpapan, and then another short flight to Maratua Island, in Borneo.

There you will transfer by boat to Nunukan Island Resort, a white sand beach tropical paradise with bountiful reefs, where you will spend the next five nights. For four full days you will explore the house reef, and take a number of boat trips to close atolls, to visit many interesting sites, like a stingless jellyfish lake.

Jellyfish Lake at near Nunukan Island Indonesia
Orangutan hanging onto a tree Borneo

Next you will transfer by boat to Berau and take a quick flight back to Balikpapan, where you will transfer by road for two nights at the magnificent eco-lodge Samboja. Here in the jungle you will see rehabilitated orangutans, and sun bear, and take a river boat ride to see other exotic wildlife and Proboscis Monkeys.

Next you will fly from Balikpapan to Manado, and from there transfer by boat to Siladen Island Resort for seven nights, which is within the Bunaken National Marine Park.

You will snorkel for six full days around Bunaken National Park, where you can see soft coral gardens boasting beautiful fans and schools of fish, a healthy turtle population and some interesting rare critters.

Finally you will transfer back to Manado and fly as a group to Jakarta, which is the end of the tour.

Borneo and Sulawesi Snorkeling Trip Map

About the Nunukan Island Resort

You will spend five nights at Nunukan Island Resort, which is located at the southern end of the Maratua Atoll in Borneo, directly at the outer reef.

Aerial view of Nunukan Island Resort, with ocean in background
Baby turtle at Nunukan

The snorkeling from Nunukan is fabulous and includes direct access to the house reef. Many rare critters, as well as healthy living coral teeming with tropical fish and turtles can be found on the four kilometer stretch of reef that runs along the island.

You can expect to see groupers and eagle and manta rays, you also have the chance to see leopard sharks and nurse sharks which are not uncommon here.

Nearby Kakaban and Sangalaki offer great opportunities to either snorkel with the stingless jellyfish or to have manta ray encounters.

Three Manta Rays at Nunukan
Colorful tropical fish over a hard coral reef at Nunukan
Nunukan Resort bungalow's bed

This 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 22 beachfront bungalows and the spa offers various traditional massages and treatments to try.

Nunukan Resort beach bungalow
Nunukan Resort bungalow deck

Nunukan Resort dinner
Nunukan Resort appetizer on a plate

Nunukan Resort Reef

More About Borneo and Samboja Lodge

Samboja Lodge poking out of the rainforest treetops

After your flight back to Balikpapan, you will spend two nights (one full day) at the Samboja Lodge. This beautiful jungle lodge is nestled in the rainforest canopy, offering magnificent views of the dense tropical jungle with superb wildlife viewing opportunities of orangutans, proboscis monkeys, macaques, sun bears, monitor lizards, and hornbills. Tastefully decorated and comfortably furnished the lodge has 11 rooms which have been built using recycled materials.

Samboja treetop canopy bridge

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.

Orangutan face at Samboja Lodge
Sun Bear at Samboja Lodge

More About Sulawesi and the Siladen Resort

Snorkelers over a shallow reef, with islands in the background at Siladen
Green Nudibranch at Siladen

After your flight to Manado, you will be staying at the Siladen Island Resort for seven nights. The island is in the Bunaken National Marine Park, which offers huge biodiversity and rare and endangered animals.

The 343 square miles of protected marine park boast an astounding variety of hard and soft corals, beautiful fans, seven species of giant clams, 33 types of butterflyfish, Bumphead Parrotfish, and a massive variety of other fish species.

Sea turtle at Siladen
Anemonefish at Siladen

The island reefs start very shallow near shore, then drop off into steep walls that plunge down into great ocean depths. These depths create ocean currents that bring cooler waters and nutrients, which is one reason why the reefs are so full of life and healthy.

Snorkeling along the shallow shallow reef tops allows you to see colorful corals and abundant fish life in warm tropical waters. There will be six full days of snorkeling, from the excellent house reef, and from two all snorkeling boat trips per day to different unique reef areas.

Hard coral reef at Siladen
Huge school of Barracuda at Siliden

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 spa to pamper yourself with a massage or scrub.

Interior of Garden Room at Siladen Resort
Siladen Resort open air bathroom

The rooms are air-conditioned. And the restaurant serves an excellent and delicious mix of international and local dishes. They are usually able to accommodate guests with special dietary requirements.

Siladen Resort chef cooking seafood on the beach at sunset
Siladen Resort tropical drinks at the beach
Siladen Resort dining

Trip Details and How to Sign Up

This is a small group trip and we expect it to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.

Trip Date:
April 7-22, 2023 – Trip full, request to be waitlisted below.

Trip Price:
$5975 US per person (Twin/Double Share)

The initial deposit for this trip is $400 US per person. At six months before departure there is a $1000 US per person interim deposit. The final balance will be due three months before departure. A few payment options are available including debit and credit cards.

Individual travelers – Ben will happily find someone of the same sex for you to share a room with to avoid the single person supplement. If he cannot find you someone, no single supplement surcharge will apply.


  • Domestic flights in Economy Class with 44 lbs of checked luggage plus hand luggage allowance, Jakarta to Jakarta
  • Group transfers throughout
  • 1 night Jakarta Airport Hotel
  • 5 nights Nunukan Resort – sea view room, full board (all meals), drinking water
  • From Nunukan – 2 full-day trips – Sangalaki and Kakaban Islands, 2 half-day trips to South Maratua, 2 half-days house reef snorkeling, morning tour to Maratua Island Village and waterfall, final meal at Virgin Cocoa
  • 2 nights Samboja Lodge – standard room, full board (all meals), drinking water
  • From Samboja – orangutan and sunbear sanctuary tours, Black River boat excursion
  • 7 nights Siladen Resort – garden room, full board (all meals), drinking water
  • From Siladen – 2-3 boat snorkel trips per day for six days plus unlimited house reef snorkeling, dolphin and whale sight-seeing excursion, naturalist talk
  • Services of snorkel guide throughout
  • Entrance fees and Marine park fees


  • International flights (booking available on request)
  • Snorkeling equipment rental
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, laundry and general sundries
  • Spa services

Trip Organizers
Ben and his U.K. based team are the organizers and leaders of this trip (more about them below). Galen & Nicole from are promoting this trip, but all signups, trip organization and payments are made to and managed by Ben’s team. does receive a referral fee in exchange for promoting the trip, at no extra cost to attendees.

How to Sign Up or Learn More?

Use the contact form below to contact Ben and his team to request more information about them and express your interest in signing up. They will get back to you shortly with full details.

More About Ben and Our Partnership

Ben and Nicole in Alor

Ben (pictured with Nicole) is our friend and snorkeling trips partner. He and his team are based in the U.K. and have over 20 years of experience guiding in Asia and beyond. He has been running his own business since 2010 and is primarily offering guided snorkeling trips, but he started with diving. He began offering snorkeling specific trips because he was aware that snorkelers often get the short end of the stick when thrown in with divers. He and his team love the freedom and low stress of snorkeling, and are very aware of the different needs of snorkelers versus divers, in terms of the reef depth, and calm surface conditions needed.

From our experience going on one of his snorkeling trips we found it very well organized, the guides were fantastic and very helpful, and the underwater experiences were exceptional. Snorkeling groups really get the benefit of all of Ben and his guides’ years of experience in the water, and with different resorts and liveaboards.

All of his trips are small groups of 12-18 guests, or with a similar ratio of snorkelers to guides. And for where they visit, and how packed they are with experiences, they are affordable.

His company is licensed and insured. Barring extreme circumstances they do not cancel trips, and all funds are held in a trust until the trip is completed giving you 100% financial security if they or any of their suppliers go out of business before the trip happens.

Learn More About The Resorts

Siladen Resort Website

Nunukan Island Resort Website

Samboja Lodge Website

Completed Trip Dates

October 5-19, 2019 – slightly different itinerary

Return to the Snorkeling Trips page