Author Topic: N Sulawesi  (Read 5507 times)

PatH

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N Sulawesi
« on: July 22, 2008, 19:45:32 UTC »
We are planning a 14 day trip next May.   Want to spend a week at Lembah and a week at Bunaken.   Seems there are many choices with a wide price differences for resorts and dive operations.   Our priorities are great diving, good food, and reasonable accommodations.    Appreciate any input and suggestions.

Travelnsj

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Re: N Sulawesi
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2008, 01:36:24 UTC »
I really liked the Lembeh Resort. Reasonable, excellent diving, great meals and nice resort. I have a trip report posted.
I endeavor to pursue....Spend most of my diving time in the Indo-Pacific region. Lembeh Straits, Raja Ampat and Palau are my favorites!

Wayan123

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Re: N Sulawesi
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2008, 13:37:34 UTC »
I Like Lembeh Resort as well, a very well run organisation http://www.lembehresort.com/
Lots of options on the other side Two fish are good or alternatively still dive bunaken from Manado where I like either http://www.murexdive.com/ and http://www.lumbalumbadiving.com/bunaken-information.html

Dane Foucher

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Re: N Sulawesi
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2008, 14:23:48 UTC »
We have been to that area twice....... first time we did KBR on the straits then Hotel Santika for Bunaken diving with Thalassa Dive Center.  Second time, we did the Aggressor boat in the straits then Kima Bajo Resort in Manado for the Bunaken diving.

KBR, while it is older, has the absolute best dive operation and divemasters.  The resort was clean, good food and service, and well run.  Would definitely recommend.

We did not like our trip on the Aggressor...... most of the diving done in the strait, so there was no need for the liveaboard.  The divemasters were not near as good as those from KBR.  Many dives wasted looking but not finding critters, whereas with KBR, they found them.

Hotel Santika is also older, but also very clean and went out of their way to make us happy.  We liked diving with Thalassa but did not like the island lunch between dives #2 and #3.  It was crude and unsanitary and not very appetising.  The divemasters were very good at pointing out the critters, and took care of all your equipment. 

Kima Bajo is absolutely beautiful, but maybe a tad more expensive.  Good dive operation, but maybe a little less personable.

frogfish2

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Re: N Sulawesi
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2008, 05:03:44 UTC »
I've been to Lembeh Strait twice this year - once to KBR (Kungkungan Bay Resort) in March, and then to Lembeh Resort last month. Both are first-rate, well-run operations with excellent dive guides who really know their stuff.  (Some of the dive guides at both KBR and Lembeh Resort go back to the days when Larry Smith was pioneering Lembeh muck diving at KBR, so anyone who goes back that far will meet up with old friends.)

Both resort have luxurious, comfortable a/c rooms, though there is a difference between the newer (or newly renovated) cabins and some of the older ones at both places. The boats are appropriate for their use, and the DGs and boat crews know how to handle cameras and housings. Both resorts have well-appointed (but not air conditioned) camera work rooms near the dive deck area.

I'd have to give Lembeh Resort a slight edge when it comes to food, and for the nice view of the volcano.  Balancing that is the fact that some of the rooms at Lembeh are located up the cliff, which can be quite a climb.

It's worth noting that the management teams at KBR and Lembeh Resort cooperate in planning dives so that their clients don't end up landing on the same site at the same time.  This is still a problem with some of the other operations in the area who don't participate in this system. 

This is also an issue with visiting live-aboards.  We were forced to divert from our planned dive at Nudi Falls one morning when two big tenders from a visiting Phinisi live-aboard (that I won't name here) raced into the dive area (after we had arrived and were finishing gearing up) and dumped twenty divers into the water.   But that was just unprofessional, asshole behavior on the part of the live-aboard operator. 

Personally, I can't imagine why anyone would want to do Lembeh from a live-aboard when there are such excellent land-based options available.   (On one night dive, I noticed that the fleet liveaboard was anchored in the same bay where we were diving.  The bay was dominated by a village featuring a local night club from which very loud (and very bad) Indonesian disco music was blasting across the water from terrible, distorting speakers.  I remember thinking to myself that I was very glad I wasn't going to be sleeping on that boat that night....

All in all, both KBR and Lembeh Resort are first-class operations.  I don't think you could possibly go wrong either way.   

Frogfish2

oasisofmaragal

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Re: N Sulawesi
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2008, 07:17:10 UTC »
I really loved the Kasawari Resort in Lembeh. Understated elegance, decent prices, superb diving.  Nus, formerly of the AquaOne boat in Thailand is Manager and is training staff to his and Ali's high standards. Food was good, always something to please, try the pineapple fritters dipped in chocolate mousse! Did I mention that the beds are decadently comfy? :D

mbode

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Re: N Sulawesi
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2008, 18:09:07 UTC »
In Lembeh have a look at Divers Lodge Lembeh, only 6 spacious bungalows, excellent food and one dive guide for every two guests guaranteed (http://www.diving-on-sulawesi.com/). On Bunaken I allways stay at Froggies (http://www.divefroggies.com/). Spacious bungalows, good food and also only two guests per dive guide. Both operations have experienced and highly motivated dive guides.

mwood9

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Re: N Sulawesi
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2008, 15:28:09 UTC »
My vote for value and attention is Two Fish Divers.  They run resorts at both Bunaken Island and Lembeh Strait.  Nice new cabins, excellent divemasters with very low ratios (1:2-3 typical) and CHEAP.  Rainy season for a nice cabin is under $100 per night pp all inclusive.  Run by British ex-pats, they will shuttle you for no extra charge between resorts, and they only have 8-10 at Lembeh and 20-25 or so at Bunaken max.  They have trained their local people very well.  I went in early 2008 and am going back in early 2009.  Fly through Singapore on SilkAir unless you are young and adventureous and don't mind Jakarta and landing in Manado late at night and getting a hotel. Excellent macro photography in Lembeh, wide-angle in Bunaken. --Michael Wood

 

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