Sangihe and Talaud are a chain of islands stretching north from Sulawesi in the direction of the Philippines. There are many active volcanoes here and a very fertile soil. Much of the products are sent by boat to Manado, like coconuts, rattan, nutmeg and ebony. The total land area is 813 sq. km, population about 240.000. The largest islands are Sangihe, Siau, Biaro and Tahulandang.

Bamboo brass band from Sangihe
A unique bamboo brass band from Sangihe. Photo © Olav Hjellum

The highest point is Gunung Awu (1.850 m), an active volcano.

Church on Sangihe
Church on Sangihe. Photo © Olav Hjellum

The major islands in Talaud are Karakelong, Salibabu and Kaburuang. Sangihe and the neighboring Talaud islands are supposed to be a paradise for divers, you can for example dive on an active, underwater volcano here.

Beach on Sangihe
Beach on Sangihe. Photo © Olav Hjellum

The islands can offer peaceful, lovely beaches, some ruins of Portuguese fortresses and several volcanoes where you can climb to the top. In addition you can explore caves and waterfalls.

Tahuna
Tahuna is the capital of Sangihe. Photo © Olav Hjellum

The capital is Tahuna on Sangihe Besar, another important town are Lirung on Pulau Salibabu in the Talaud group of islands north of Sangihe. Tahuna and Lirung can offer some accommodation.

Tahuna, the capital of Sangihe
Tahuna, the capital of Sangihe with the airport. Photo © Olav Hjellum

The Sangihe islands can be reached by boat from Bitung that leaves every second week.

Elisabet 2, passenger vessel
Elisabet 2, passenger vessel from Manado to Tahuna. Photo © Olav Hjellum

There are more frequent departures from Manado, but with less comfort than on the larger boats from Bitung. The trip to Tahuna is about 11 hours, to Lirung about 15 hours. Once a week there is a flight from Manado to Naha close to Tahuna and further to Melanguan close to Lirung.

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Bjørn Grøtting

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Photographer based in Norway. See a collection of my best photos in the portfolio. Licensing of images is done through Photoshelter or alamy.
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