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March 2007 Vol. 33, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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New Lodges around Lembeh

from the March, 2007 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Now that Lembehs legend is growing, so are the options. I visited seven other resorts around Lembeh Strait to see how they compare to the veteran KBR for diving, accommodations and price.

Lembeh Resort is the other most established operation besides KBR—it costs nearly the same but has better accommodations. Its lush, hilly location offers 14 spacious cottages with modern Asian furnishings, large open-air Balinese bathrooms with carved doors, and balconies. I took my meals al fresco under a shady roof and by a curvy pool overlooking the strait. The resort opened in 2002; Angelique Batuna and her American husband, Danny Charlton, own the dive center. The ratio is three divers per guide in daylight, and two divers per guide at night. They use one speedboat and three spacious wooden boats. Six nights in a double room with 14 dives (Nitrox included) cost $1,153 per person. (
Bastianos is a chic new alternative at an inexpensive price. Manado residents Candy and Mor Bastiaan opened the 10-room resort last February. I loved my hillside cottage and its canopied bed and pristine Balinese bathroom with natural stone. My veranda was small but made up with amazing views. Four standard rooms have simple tile bathrooms. Fans serve well as AC. Another hangout area had a pool table set among carved Indonesian furniture. Dive equipment is new, and the ratio is three divers per divemaster. Crew use 39-foot wooden boats to hold six to nine divers plus guides. A superior cottage for six nights with three daily dives and meals is $665. (
Nomad Adventure Divers is great for divers who don’t mind roughing it. The inexpensive, ecofriendly resort, set in a tranquil bay off the Strait, was opened last August. Ten rooms are set together in a thatch-roofed, crescent-shaped building and share a patio with great sunset views. My room was spare but was painted in luscious colors and set with stone tile floors. My spotless bathroom was equally colorful. Only the deluxe rooms had AC and hot water but the managers, a married South African couple, were upgrading the rest. Crew now use a wooden boat but Nomad has ordered 30-foot trimarans to carry four customers and a guide. Payment must be made in cash or via direct transfer to a Jakarta or Bangkok bank. Six nights in a double room with 14 dives and buffet meals is $504. (
Sulawesi Dive Quest is the least expensive but offers just as much charm. Its five basic bungalows are set on a rare stretch of white sand beach. Four budget rooms are also available. My hut featured porches with pretty views and clean tile bathrooms, but there was no hot water. The dive operation is also basic with slightly older rental equipment. Five days of diving and all meals with a bungalow is $475; with a budget room it’s $375. (

I also visited three other new dive resorts with different price points. The least expensive is Two Fish Divers (a three-night package is $290;, also the most rustic and still in embryonic stages. Divers Lodge Lembeh (www.diving-on-sulawesi; a six-night package starts at $624) is set on the far end of Lembeh Island and therefore away from the bulk of dive sites. At the top end is Kasawari Lembeh Resort, a chic boutique on the mainland (a six-night package is $1,255;

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