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Recommended Travel Route
Divers planning to visit Gorontalo will have the best connections and flight choices by arriving in Indonesia via Jakarta. Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya Air and Lion Air have daily flights connecting Gorontalo with Jakarta via Makassar (previously known as Ujung Pandang). This allows divers to take advantage of multiple, cheap flights from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore to Jakarta. Divers can also fly from Denpasar (Bali) to Gorontalo in one day.
Wings Air, a subsidiary of Lion Air, now has daily flights from Manado that allow travelers to and from Gorontalo to connect with Silk Air from Singapore. Tickets can be purchased on-line from the Lion Air web site. Sometimes the web site refuses credit card payments. In that case, contact Miguel’s Diving for solutions. Divers checking onto this flight can ask for the sports equipment (alat olahraga) waiver on any overweight baggage because of diving equipment.
Please contact us for current domestic flight information.
Direct International Connections to Sulawesi
One solution for those wanting to dive in Gorontalo is the international connection to North Sulawesi via Manado. Silk Air, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, provides routine flights to Manado directly from Singapore. As of late February 2010, Air Asia no longer flies to Manado.
As mentioned above, Wings Air flies daily from Manado at 1825 hrs, allowing divers from Singapore to arrive in Gorontalo the same day. The plane leaves Gorontalo at 0530 hrs, allowing plenty of time to check-in to a returning flight to Singapore. Please check the Lion Air web site above for the current schedule. The overland route from Manado takes a full day whether by private transport or by bus.
Air Asia connects Kuala Lumpur with the brand new terminal at Makassar (Ujung Pandang) in South Sulawesi. Lion Air has a new late flight that may allow travelers arriving in the evening in Makassar to connect to Gorontalo. Air Asia’s evening departure back to Kuala Lumpur allows plenty of time for travelers to connect from flights from Gorontalo. See Air Asia’s web site for current information.
As part of is plan for regional expansion, Garuda Indonesia now flies every day from Singapore to Makassar (Unjung Pandang). This provides a good option for divers wishing to arrive in Sulawesi from the south.
Indonesia’s Visa Policy
In 2010, Indonesia revised some of its visa procedures to make things easier. Please check the current requirements and options from the Indonesian embassy web site.
Gorontalo Airport Transfers
Divers with reservations with Miguel’s Diving have airport transfers in Gorontalo included in their dive package. Typically there will be four passengers per vehicle. The ride takes about an hour.
Language & Communication
Visitors to Gorontalo can experience Sulawesi untouched by mass tourism. This also means that little English is spoken. Bring an Indonesian phrase book. Gorontalo people are genuinely friendly and feel proud that outsiders come to visit their homeland. WIFI is available at your hotel. Cell phone coverage is available, although at times its capacity is overloaded.
Indonesian banks will only accept brand new, unfolded, stain-free US dollars (usually only $100 bills). Banks in Gorontalo do not accept Euro, so we cannot. Travelers are suggested to change money prior to arrival in Indonesia or at your arrival airport, since moneychangers are not readily available outside airports in Sulawesi. Travellers’ cheques will receive a much less attractive rate than cash USD100 bills at an Indonesian bank. ATMs for cash withdrawals are readily available in Gorontalo and other locations in Sulawesi. Miguel’s Diving can now accept Visa and MasterCard. There is no surcharge.