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Dive Review of Murex Dive Resorts --Bangka in
Indonesia/Bangka, North Sulawesi

Murex Dive Resorts --Bangka: "Fantastic Staff, Great Accommodations, Treated Like a VIP", Oct, 2018,

by Rik Pavlescak, FL, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 22 reports with 18 Helpful votes). Report 10662.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Booking at Murex Bangka on my own (no travel agent) was easy via email--responses to questions were answered within a day. Payment of deposits was accomplished online.

I arrived in Manado late the night before my stay at Murex Bangka, so I stayed at a hotel near the airport. The pick-up van arrived promptly, as scheduled, at 6:30 a.m. for a 1.5 hour drive to the pick-up point. The pick-up boat was delayed by about 45 minutes: I suspect that the "first day of diving" for newcomers delayed the boat. One nice thing is that Bangka had arranged for me to be able to dive immediately--so the boat arrived with divers, dive guides ready for the first dives of the morning. I had prepared my gear separate from my luggage, so I was all set. The crew quickly loaded my gear and luggage, and we completed two dives and then the boat traveled back to Bangka. Upon my arrival at the resort, I was greeted by friendly staff members and the team quickly took my luggage to my bungalow while I was led to lunch.

Meals were buffet style, with breakfasts including cooked to order eggs or omelettes. Each meal had rice or noodles and two vegetable dishes, along with two meats or fish dishes. Fruit was plentiful throughout the week. Lunch and dinner often started with soup. As a vegetarian (not vegan) I had plenty of choices--sometimes opting for fish/shrimp when it was available.

My "room" was a stand-alone bungalow style mini-home. Spacious bedroom with desk and outlets, separate sink/closet area, Indonesian style bathroom (enclosed but partially outdoors) with rain shower head shower, and toilet. A beautiful outdoor balcony with a daybed/couch and super comfortable cushions, plus an extra chair were a special touch. The room was super clean. At the door was a bucket with water and a ladle to wash feet prior to walking indoors.

Two small drawbacks: 1). Murex Bangka generates its own electricity, so it is offered on a schedule. The stated schedule is 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., although during my stay it usually came on around 5:30 p.m. and shut off closer 6:45 a.m. each morning. The A/C in the room at night and the lighting is excellent. During the day, the staff opens windows so that a cross-breeze can cool the room somewhat. The only challenge is that it is not possible to charge computers, cell phones, batteries, etc. during the day in your room. 2) The Internet signal was practically non-existent throughout the week. I could not send or receive emails, use Facetime, or any other wi-fi services. Cell phone signal was available sporadically, so I could place brief calls (often dropped) to home to check in. Staff was always happy to "restart the router" for the wifi, but even after they did I was unable to get online.

A note: the property is growing/expanding. Some of the rooms are a short walk (it was 2 minutes for me) up a hill with a moderate incline. If you have knee or back problems, be sure to ask for a room along the shore. I suspect these rooms are older--the rooms up the hill are new and beautiful. The walk for me was fine--and I never had to carry luggage or gear uphill--staff carried everything and delivered it to my room before I finished lunch on the first day, and they picked it up and brought it back down on my final day.

For charging batteries and cameras, the resort does have a camera room set up near the beach--about 40 steps away from the dive boats. Plenty of outlets with electricity all day long and towels laid out at each station.

The diving was excellent and varied between corals, small walls, and some muck diving. Plenty of nudibranchs, frogfish, pygmy seahorses, and other macro life. Dive briefings were provided before every dive and covered the basic dive plan and what to expect.

The service was excellent. I had booked 3 boat dives a day, and on one afternoon there were only 2 of us scheduled to dive. Instead of cancelling, they took us out--2 divers, a captain, co-captain, and dive guide. I was also invited to join all of the dive masters on an night dive to see Mandarinfish--they weren't mating, but it was a great dive and I got some photos. I'm not sure what I did to merit the invite, but it was a special treat and fun to see the staff "kick back" a bit and enjoy a dive to themselves.

Ratio of dive masters to divers was kept to 1:4 or better throughout the trip. Our dive guide (Hari) was very helpful in pointing out subjects and carried a tablet on which he wrote the scientific name of almost everything we saw. He graduated for a special school in Indonesia (first of its kind on his island) that graduates students with 4 certifications, including dive master. He is looking forward to becoming an instructor soon. His ability to identify (and remember the names of) various species of nudibranchs and other macro life was impressive.

The boat had a cooler or bucket with fresh water for cameras. No camera table. Most dives were within 10-15 minutes from the resort. During the surface interval water, hot tea, hot chocolate, and coffee were offered, along with cookies and fruit and, of course, a fresh towel.

Back on land, the staff was equally as impressive. Each staff member was friendly, called everyone by name, and checked in frequently to assure that everything was going o.k. On the night before a larger group was leaving (and a new group had just arrived), many of the staff participated treated the guests to a performance of their local band, including singing, some dancing, and a general great time with local music.

Upon leaving Bangka, I was headed to another resort in Lembeh. The Bangka staff worked throughout the week to coordinate a reasonable transfer point. The other resort wanted them to drop me off at the airport and would pick me up from there--however, it would mean a trip of nearly 4 hours, when the other resort was only about 2 hours away. The Bangka team arranged for their driver to take me all the way to the other resort with no extra charge. "The way we see it, you're still our guest--even after you step off of our property" they said. As our boat pulled away from the resort the staff all came down to the beach to wave goodbye and bid us farewell.

Something that made the trip "fun"--puppies! They had eight 5-week old pups on site and it was great seeing them and playing a few minutes each day as I walked to and from my room.

I have no problem recommending Murex Bangka--the diving is great, the accommodations excellent, and I received good value for a week of all-inclusive diving/eating/sleeping.
Websites Murex Dive Resorts --Bangka   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Costa Brava, Roatan, Key West, Cozumel, Key Largo, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Cayman Brac
Closest Airport Manado Getting There Fly from Bali (Denpasar) to Manado on North Sulawesi. About 1.5 hours by van to pick-up point, about 20 minutes by boat to Bangka.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 78-82°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Typical dives were limited to 1 hour or 65 minutes
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Boat has fresh water tanks/coolers for cameras. No table on board for changing batteries. The resort has a camera room lined on two sides with countertops, with plenty of charging stations and fresh towels. Electricity operated in the camera room throughout the day to charge batteries and cameras. The room was locked at night.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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