Indonesia’s Borneo Islands offer amazing islands that are perfect for snorkeling, diving, island hopping and a lot more of water activities. Each island is truly a paradise that is made up of interesting dive sites and islets, and there is a beautiful island residing around Derawan, which is the uninhabited and stunningly beautiful Sangalaki Island.
Sangalaki Island is one of the richest diving grounds in Indonesia that is surrounded by wide lagoon and shallow reefs well extending out to the sea. Sangalaki Island can be described as an alluring dive spot where you can swim across the water along with the graceful moving mantas that have wings up to 2 meters wide. Sangalaki Island and its surrounding reefs are protected as Indonesian Marine Park. Diving in Sangalaki Island is the best way to see large Manta Rays up close, as they are often seen around here.
The Island of Sangalaki is located in Berau, off to the eastern coast of East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The best route to reach the island is to fly from Singapore or Sabah directly to Balikpapan. You can also reach Balikpapan from Jakarta, Bali and many other major cities if you are travelling in Indonesia. From Balikpapan, then take a one hour flight to Berau (Tanjung Redeb) where the Sangalaki Dive Lodge boat will take you on a two hour journey down the scenic Berau River to Sangalaki.
The Sangalaki Island is deserted, yet the diving and snorkeling activities are spectacular because it is surrounded by shallow lagoon. There are no walls and little drift, just an abundance of rare and exotic marine life, including giant turtles, and the famous schools of Manta rays, or devil-fish.
Yes, Sangalaki Island is the world Capital of Mantas where the familiar set of Manta Rays emerges from all directions. There are three dive sites where you can see Manta Rays easily, which are Manta Run, Manta Parade and Manta Avenue on the northern coast of the island. Here, you can also explore the corals while a group of 20 to 50 Manta rays circling overhead. Here, you can swim with the elegant moving Mantas that have wings width of more than 2 meters.
They are wonderful in small numbers, but seeing them in massive numbers like that is an awesome experience that you can only get while diving in Sangalaki Island. You can admire the corals and sponges, and observe the unique nudibranches, Coral Trout, orange-striped triggerfish and barramundi under the shadow of a ray hovering overhead. Salangaki Island is known as well of its proliferation ground of green turtles, as the island houses a Turtle Foundation. You can see the turtles come ashore on the beach to lay their eggs at night and small baby turtles can be seen regularly here. The currents vary from gentle to moderately strong, so if you are a beginner you probably want to hire a guide to dive here.
Sangalaki Island in Derawan is an attractive dive destination as it is known for the large manta rays that come here. The amazing sensation of looking through their giant mouths cannot be described, it must be fabulous. You can also witness the turtles laying their eggs at the beach on this green turtles conservation island. Whether you are a diver or just a traveler, this beautiful island is worth to visit.