We have just returned from a diving vacation. In the marketing it is promoted as the next best thing after Sipadan Mabul. This is not true. The diving is less spectacular, the waters are murky compared to Sipadan and there is a lot of currents. The hotelstaff is friendly and will give service if you ask for it. It is not so natural as with the Malysian people. The waterbungalows are nicely located, comfortable and kept clean well by housekeeping. As for the comparison, there is none with the waterbungalows at Mabul resort, those a much more luxurious. The food is mediocre at best, every night rice and french fries, lots of fried fish and many nights the same vegatable. Only water (not cold) and tea are available inclusive, the rest you buy, which you mostly do if you want cold water or some lemonade.
The divemaster Andreas is fantastic and has greatly contributed to a nice diving vacation.
Three issues are important to know. The rental diving equipment is below standard, it is broken or not working.
The transportation to and from the mainland is a struggle. The hotel advertises with a beautifull boat, but in fact the boats the used for us were dangerous and mind you you have to travel over open sea. On the way up from Tarakan we had to sit on a polyester bench for 3 and a half hours with rough seas and no working toilet on board. On the way back, because we were the only ones we were transported on an old open diveboat, with no proper functioning engines, no seat, we sat on matrasses from a beach chair, no life raft, no working instruments on board, very dangerous. We heart the day before this would be the boat, and there was no way that they would let a bigger boat come from the mainland, probably because it woudl cost them too much.We saw three groups depart during our stay all very upset with the transportation, but in the middle of nowhere you have no choice.
The last issue is the currency. We were told we could pay in dollars and euros. Yes you can but the owner tried to get 40% gain on changing money. After we complained to the travel agent about the above issues by phone, the resort changed the currency exchange, but still it was ridiculous, plus they have different rates whether youpay with a 50 or 20 euro or dollar bill.
In our search for a destination, this diving vacation was not a cheap one and in price comparable with Sipadan/Mabul.
It is definitely less value for money and we would not recommend this place at this price to anyone.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Maratua Paradise Resort is an intimate and comfortable resort resided on Maratua island. We have exotic water villas, the main hall, turtle station pavillion, dive centre all located on stilts over the water as well as beach chalets lining along the seashore. Our packages include diver & non-diver package and both includes full board meals, tea and coffee, snacks and accomodation. In addition, we can also conduct excursion to nearby island of Kakaban and Sangalaki subject to a minumum of 4 guests joining the excursion. For further details, please contact us. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Maratua Paradise Hotel Maratua Island