Just returned from a trip to North Sulawesi. Here are my experiences.
Flew from LAX on Oct. 30 to Bali via Seoul on Korean Air. Arrive in Denpasser Bali at 02:15am on 01 Nov. We spent a day in Bali, sightseeing etc. Left Monday 02 Nov. for Manado on Garuda Airlines. Gardua now allows an extra 15 kg for scuba divers. I didn't have to ask for this, they actually asked if I was diver. They do enforce a 7 kg carry-on limit, however.
Arrived in Manado about 12:15pm and went to Kima Bajo resort. Kima Bajo is a very nice resort, located on a hillside, so quite a hike up and down the hills from room to dive shop, resturant, etc. Spent the next week diving at Bunaken with Eco Divers. Walls and lots of coral reefs. Some currents so Sharks, turtles, rays are very common. They do a two tank morning boat dive. Then return for lunch. Afternoon boat dive is usually a muck dive. Night dive available if they get a least 2 people to sign up.
Left there on Monday 09 Nov. and transferred to KBR on the Lembeh side. Didn't have to re-pack everything for the transfer, just put the dive gear in a box, so it was pretty much ready to go when we got to KBR. Trip took about 2 1/2 hr from Kima Bajo to KBR.
Diving at KBR is all muck diving with bits of small corals around. 1st dive is 08:15am, 2nd dive 11:15am, and 3rd dive is 2:45pm. Dive sites are very close (10 -15 mins max), so return to the resort between every dive. Night dives available if they get enough people to sign up. Mandrian fish dives are available on Tuesday and Friday only. Maximum of 4 divers per guide. 1 day we had 3 divers on the boat and 3 dive guides. Everyone had their own personal guide.
Left KBR on Monday 16 Nov. 2 hour ride to the airport. I had to ask for scuba allowance of extra 15 kg in Manado. I was also 9 Kg overweight and had to pay about $31.00 USD. Had the same weight on the flight up, but didn't have to pay then. Go figure.
Left Manado about 1:30 pm and arrive in Denpasser Bali around 6 pm. Flight out of Bali was not until 01:30 am on 17 Nov. At Bali airport, they will not let you in to the ticket counters, (with air conditioning and chairs) until 3 hours before the flight. But $10.00 USD into the palm of the security guard got us into air conditioning and a place to sit down for several hours.
Flew back to the US on Korean Air with layovers in Seoul and San Francisco.
Korean Air/Garuda is probably not the best schedule for getting to/from Manado, but we used FF miles for the flights, so I can put with a little inconvience.