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“Dive trip 3 weeks ago”
Review of Derawan Dive Lodge

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Derawan Dive Lodge
Ranked #2 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Berau
Centurion
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Dive trip 3 weeks ago”
Reviewed June 2, 2013

It was a very long and tiring trip from South Africa to reach Derawan Island. The location of the Dive Lodge is magnificent - right on the beach. The accommodation was very nice and comfortable. The only bad side of our stay, was the food. They did not cater in any way for Western food which meant going diving on 1 or 2 slices of bread with smooth jam - if you were not prepared to eat the spicy noodles or rice for breakfast. Our request for eggs dit not materialise. The service in the dining room was not up to standard.
The highlight of our dives from Derawan was the barracuda dive at Maratua and the snorkeling with the non-stinging jellyfish at Kakaban. It is a different kind of diving than for instance the Red Sea or Maldives. There are not that many coral fish, but rather macros and critters (nudibrancs; frog fish etc.). The Dive Masters were excellent and tried their best to provide an excellent service.
The food and drinks that they take with on the boat for the day out diving, was very basic and again only spicy food and some fruit.
The trip to Derawan was an experience, but I believe not worh the cost and long hours of travelling unless they upgrade on their food and provide for the tastes of the Western public.

Room Tip: 10 Great double airconditioned rooms. Although the rooms at the waterfront have a fantastic view, th...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Summer444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Singapore
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed May 27, 2013

We spent 14 hours to get here from Singapore. The staff were friendly and attentive to our needs. Our Dive guide Ali is excellent together with the rest of the crew. The journey especially the 3hrs land transfer from Berau airport to the pier is torturous. The hotel is very basic and 1-2hrs from all the dive sites. So for every dive day, we spent 3-4 hours to and fro. The current at our first dive in Maratua was so extreme, it was cancelled after 20mins by our guide. Our main aim was to see manta rays where Derawan is famous for. However, we saw none over the 12 dives. We did catch a passing glimpse of a school of eagle rays and the barracudas at Maratua. I would not mind coming back but for the journey. There are more accessible sites in the region where the diving is just as good. Hopefully these graceful creatures will make their way back to Derawan again soon.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank PuayHeng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2013

After 29 hours of transit (3 flights, 3hours bus ride, 20minutes boat trip), we finally arrived from Johannesburg (SA) in Derawan. There was no time to worry about resting or getting over jetlag it was time for diving. We had some amazing dives and think highlights would be the barracuda dive at Maratua channel and of course Kakaban snorkeling with the jellyfish.Unfortunately just one manta at the surface before our dive at Sangalaki. Thanks to Jimmy, Simon, Herdin & Asman for the diving. The rooms were awesome and it was great to experience such a small lodge right on the beach. Food wise I think it should perhaps cater a bit more for western cuisine but as I think it is so remote and not probably visited by a lot of European and African countries, we are not use to very spicy food. The walk in the village was an experience with some nice local pancakes at one of the vendors. Some shopping therapy before flying to Manado ended our 4/5 day trip to Derawan. Would presume we were the first South Africans on this part of East Kalimantan???

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank TwobarScuba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
Reviewed March 26, 2013

Me and my husband stayed for a week at DDL. It took us about 12 hours to go there from Jakarta but it was worth it. The room was nice and clean, the food was delicious, the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Will definitely recommend this place to our friends.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Chemonita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, BC
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2013

Derawan is fast being discovered. A new air terminal has just been completed in Berau and direct flights from Jakarta, Singapore and KL will soon be a reality.

DDL is one of 3 operations run by Tasik Divers and is about a year old. Accommodation is just as advertised... right on the seashore and VERY comfortable. ALL the staff always went above and beyond to make our time here the best it could be.

Derawan is in the middle of nowhere and we had thought that good snorkelling sites would be available from the beach. Not so. It's a 1.5+ hour boat trip to all the sites. (Sangalaki, Kakaban and Maratura) For us the Kakaban site was the best for snorkelling and the jellyfish lake was amazing. The snorkelling at Maratura was not good, lots of bombed coral (we even heard one while we were in the water) and a river of plastic bags and garbage at the surface. The drift site was awesome, like Superman flying along at 12km. We had tagged along with divers who were doing the same sites just 20m deeper. Some of them saw the Mantas and Tiger sharks, we didn't. It was one of the main reasons for coming.

I realize this is a very remote location, but US$50/p for snorkelling was more than I had thought it would be especially since we were tagging along with the divers. Costs for diving/snorkelling are not on the website nor were they mentioned in any correspondence, BUT I never asked either.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank PatchworkServices
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2013

We spent about a week at DDL. Everything was up to our satisfaction. Although the location was a bit far but it really worth the time & money we spent; good food, good room and esp the staff are amazing. They were very friendly and took care of us very well. All our DMs are fantastic! Will definitely recommend this place to my diver friends.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jelly_Jam83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2013

Derawan's a 12 hour trip from Singapore. I didn't mind one bit though - it was so worth the journey!

Derawan Dive Lodge oozes this rustic charm. There's not much to do on the island, but that's the fantastic part! As a diver, it's true that less is more. Less guests/tourists means more fun (especially when diving) and less activities means more time to chill and relax.

The rooms are actually quite huge in my opinion - same goes for the bathroom. Everything's very basic, there's no TV (at the time I was there) but again, I didn't mind. I was more than happy to sit by the entrance of the room on the massive bean bag (love those things) with a cigar in hand while watching the world go by.

The food, to me, is comfort food. I'm a fan of Indonesian fare so I had no complaints about my meals. In places like Derawan, you'd be busy trying to keep flies away from your plate, but the friendly staff took the initiative to keep a lit candle right in the middle of the table to keep flies at bay. Good job!

Oh, don't forget to take a walk around the village behind the lodge. It's not much, but it's nice to see how life in the village is. You can also buy small stuff to snack on.

As for diving in Derawan, one word: superb. We visited sites such as Maratua (this is pretty far away from the lodge), where we saw a very majestic marble ray resting on the seabed; Sangalaki, famous for hordes of manta rays; and my favourite of all - Kakaban, where we snorkelled with thousands of non-stinging jellyfish, played with small schools of fish that seem to follow you everywhere, and dived Barracuda Point, a slow, calm, peaceful morning dive where we saw two curious barracuda hanging around and saw my first shark, a small (and shy) white tip! Special thanks to Noldy, our dive guide for the trip. He's awesome so pray that you get him if you do decide to dive Derawan!

Till today, Derawan remains one of my best dive trips ever. I say go visit the place before everyone else finds out about this hidden gem!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Samantha D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Derawan Dive Lodge

Property: Derawan Dive Lodge
Address: RT 3 Kepulauan Derawan | Tanjung Batu, Berau 12345, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Kalimantan > East Kalimantan > Berau
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Berau
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A unique dive destination for big fish, stingless jellyfish lake, Mantas, turtles and muck diving. Enjoy an adventure of a lifetime with Tasik Divers and stay with Derawan Dive Lodge. 10 room property with a good standard management. We offers PADI/NAUI and NITROX ... more   less 

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