Strategically located between diving destinations of Pulau Bunaken and the Lembeh Strait, the Bangka Islands are part of what makes the region so diverse. This is where to go for pinnacle diving, and it's also a prime spot for big fauna: dolphins, manta rays and at least nine species of whale all migrate through these waters around March and April and again in August and September. At all times you're likely to see tuna, batfish, jacks and barracuda. There are often fairly strong currents but these make the plentiful soft corals bloom.
The main eponymous island has been threatened with large-scale mining, which locals fear could spell disaster for the environment. While the legal battles have been won for now, nothing is ever permanent in Indonesia. So, stay at one of the increasing number of dive centres on the islands or visit from Bunaken or Lembeh – while there's still something here to see.