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Diving around Derawan and Sangalaki

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Diving around Derawan and Sangalaki

Really interested in diving around this area but have heard extremely mixed reviews.

Has anyone been there recently that can pass on any information??

Im struggling to find prices for diving too.

Heard some crazy stories about "boat mafia" charging ridiculous prices from the mainland to Derawan, is this true?

Hope to hear from someone soon!

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11. Re: Diving around Derawan and Sangalaki


I wasn't able to get to the blog that you linked! I'm looking at going to Derawan Island in a month, but I've been hearing horror stories about garbage. When did you go, and did you see much garbage? Did it effect the swimming at all? I want to go to Maratua, but it's twice the price (if not more!). My main goal is awesome beaches, and clear water. Thanks!


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12. Re: Diving around Derawan and Sangalaki

Also, if you have any advice on other places to go for that, I'd love to hear them! We were looking at Boracay, but it's super expensive. I'm not too worried about accommodations as long as I have awesome water and a great beach. Thanks again!

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13. Re: Diving around Derawan and Sangalaki

I recently visited Derawan and can assure you that it is well worth it if you like diving. It takes ages to get there and it's pretty expensive too, mind you. For more info see my blog posting on Derawan and the surrounding islands: http://bit.ly/17VDMl9

Jakarta, Indonesia
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14. Re: Diving around Derawan and Sangalaki

I went to Derawan last year and same as yo-yo36 I stayed at Derawan Dive Lodge (by Tasik Divers) my main contact person was Daniel, you can find the phone and email address on their website (http://www.derawandivelodge.com/) they provide transportation from Berau airport for around IDR 500,000 per car (you can share the cost with your travel buddies) one way, the transport service included car from Berau Airport to Speedboad Marina and private speedboat from marina to Derawan (only 30 minutes). I'm not sure if they provide transportation from Tarakan but you can ask them to make sure. My cousin went from Tarakan and she said the wave was quite big and it took too long of a boat trip (around 2 hours in a boat with strong current, feels alot longer), so my suggestion would be to go from Berau, yes it does take 2 hours by car before you get to the speedboat marina but the road condition is way better than the sea condition from Tarakan, you can catch some zzzzs on the way to the marina.

I went diving in Derawan and Sangalaki but didn't go to Maratua since I didn't have dive certificate yet at that time and the dive spot is better suit for experienced divers. You definitely need to go there before the place gets more accessible, because then it will be crowded and 'decorated' with more trashes.

Hope this helps....

15. Re: Diving around Derawan and Sangalaki

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16. Re: Diving around Derawan and Sangalaki

I just left Derawan this morning and can share some diving advice:

Diving around the different islands of the Derawan Archipelago can be difficult to organise for the solo traveller - unless one is happy to dive only at Derawan itself, which is good for the small stuff (macro). That’s not me.

PRICING. Pricing works per dive or for a bundle of three dives. The boat is either not required or free if diving around Derawan itself. For going diving off Kakaban, Sangalaki or Maratua (or a combination of them), the boat is a pricey add on in view of the 1h (or more) journey each way.

The actual prices are about the same amongst the different villager-owned operators. As at July 2016, they are IDR350K per dive and IDR1.5m for a small boat and IDR2.0m for a medium boat (to one island only, more for combinations). Prices at the Derawan Dive Resort and Derawan Dive Lodge (aka Lapauta) are higher.

Where there are variations in price amongst the villager-owned operators, it would be wise to check for like-for-like, eg. is one operator quoting a bigger boat?

WORK TO GET WHAT YOU WANT. I spoke to every foreigner on Derawan in order to get the trips that I wanted, ie. Kakaban and separately Sangalaki. It would have been pricey to go by myself.

Don’t rely on the diveshops will work on your behalf to form a group. Eg. Kedek at Danakan Divers said he would put me and my new friends with a Japanese group. But in his absence, his second-in-charge didn’t seem interested. My phone calls and TXT messages went unanswered.

COME WITH A FRIEND. Don’t assume that the more people you have, the cheaper it will get. Eg. a small boat takes 2 people and dive gear while a medium boat takes 3 people and dive gear. The cost per person is nearly identical. Some coming with one friend is good enough.

DON’T LEAVE IT TILL THE EVENING BEFORE. Don’t assume that they will be able to take you when you want to go! For example, we went to Manta Diveshop in the evening asking for a particular combination of islands, for a certain number of people. By the time, they made the phone calls to get the required boat and the dive guide, it was late. And the dive guide was unavailable.

That left us with an awkward situation of going to Derawan Ocean Dive at 2100 asking to dive in the morning. The boss Osland declined as there had been no prep down for equipment, tanks and boat. We managed to negotiate a 1000 departure in order for him to prep.

Some phone numbers of various villager-owned dive shops. There's not much point organising anything in advance until you get there though.

MANTA DIVING (name of shop)

Dany Prasetyo 0813 2039 1474

Darmawan 0811 542 0156

Yudi Setiawan 0812 2391 5630


Icuk 0813 4722 9602


Osland 0812 5433 9636

Edited: 9:13 am, July 21, 2016
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