Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
What to see: macro/muck diving; nudibranchs and other sea slugs, shrimp, crabs, cephalopods (wonderpus, mimic octopus, coconut octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, bobtail squid), frogfish (including hairy), pipefish, pipehorses (lembeh seadragon), seahorses (pygmy and thorny) and much more
Level: Best for advanced divers with interest in rare critters and underwater photography, possible for all levels, however most of the sites are muck diving where good buoyancy control is a must, nitrox recommended
Who should go there: Divers who are looking for special critters, small stuff and underwater photographers.
How to get there: Flight from Bali, Jakarta and many other cities in Indonesia (USD 20 to 60) or Singapore (from USD 200) and transfer to resort (1 hour by car and around 15 minutes by boat)
Where to stay: At one of the dive resorts, see below.
Rates: The daily rates including three dives per day, staying for one week vary from USD 100 to 300, with Two Fish being the most economic option. In general it gets cheaper the longer you stay and the more dives you do per day
Climate: Around 30°C all year round, rainy season November to March
Water temperature: 25-26°C in summer, 28-29°C in winter
Visibility: 5 to 20 m, average a bit over 10 m
Season: All year round
Favorite dive sites: Hairball for the hairy frogfish, nudifalls for sea slugs
My trip: I flew from Singapore to Manado and did dive with Two Fish for USD 100 per night including accommodation in a basic budget room, full board and 3 boat dives per day. We were diving in a small group of two or three divers with a very experienced guide who found all the amazing critters for us. The resort is located at the Lembeh Strait nestled at the base of the hills, like most of the resorts are. I can fully recommend Two Fish. They are in many different locations now including Bali, Lombok, Bunaken and Lembeh. It is possible to book packages to dive in the different locations.