we flew to LBJ airport with garuda. As divers, we are allowed another 23kgs extra for dive gears per person with garuda, as long as you show your dive card certificate.
LBJ aiport has just been renovated, it is quite modern and convenient to all hotels and resorts. Komodo area is known to be more of backpacker area, where there is only 1-2 luxury resorts or real dive resorts in the area.
If you stay in town lbj, the food is surprisingly good, especially Italian restaurants (meditteraneo or made in italy). The owners even speak italian. It is one of the best italian food outside italy that we have tasted.
If you stay at jayakarta suites hotel in LBJ town, do not eat there. That hotel food is the worse ever. much cheaper and better to take a taxi to go to meditteraneo
Most hotels and motels in labuan bajo (LBJ) town are catered to the casual diver (1 -2 day dive for the whole trip). The boat used in town are usually very big and spacious but very slow. it takes 1-2 hour min each way to go to nice dive sites.
Hence we also booked at komodo resort to be closer to dive sites.
DJI_0319 by luxe miles, on Flickr
Pro of komodo resort:
very close to dive sites
excellent italian food (again, as owner is italian), excellent pizza
nice big boat, slow boats
nice bean bags on top of boats to relax
excellent 4 g cellphone signal
very friendly indonesian staff
it has very strong fan on the ceiling (great for drying clothes or chase away insects)
Cons of komodo resort:
very busy all the time. no personal service
lot of mostiqoes and other biting insects in the island (more than normally at other dive resorts)
european dive masters are usually seen smoking everywhere at all time.
dive only last 30-40 min,
very strict divemasters (non indonesian) that require all to follow in a duck line (even if no currents), they kept banging the tank for your attention almost continuously, very ennoying.
no help for setting or changing tanks from staff or dive guide (guides busy smoking between dives)
Not good for photographers. No rinse tanks. Lots of currents.
DJI_0317 by luxe miles, on Flickr
DJI_0315 by luxe miles, on Flickr
conclusion: very convenient resort close to dives sites in komodo. excellent food. "lazy" divemasters. Would i come back? Only if the diving is better managed and more friendly to the photographers. Komodo resort is not catered to serious photographers.
one big pro of komodo area: the komodo dragons! we were so lucky to witness a live hunt and kill of a deer by a komodo dragon. It is very rare to see the hunt and kill live in person, even the national geographic crew that even camped on the island for 3 weeks did not get the shot of the kill.
We were able to get so close and videotaped the kill in glorious HD 3D video, in 3d photo, and in 4k video!
sample of the komodo kill in jpeg (taken from my 3d still camera)
DSCF8089 by luxe miles, on Flickr
BUNAKEN OASIS RESORT (bunaken, manado)
DJI_0062 by luxe miles, on Flickr
we flew to manado (MDC) with garuda late at night, connecting through bali (DPS). Surprisingly we were picked up at the airport even late at night (10PM) by the bunaken oasis staff at the airport, and taken to a very exclusive boat (only the 2 of us in the boat as guests, super private), and in less then 20 minutes were were at the island bunaken.
We were greeted in the boat with water, fresh cold towel and enjoyed the moonlight trip to the resort. The staff asked and chat with us about our preferences while we were on the boat (we told him we like fresh fruits)
Once at the resort, it seemed like all the staff were there and waiting and greeting us, there were so many staff even late at night on the deck, in the lobby. (we were the only ones checking in at that time). Even the manager faisal and his managers came out and greeted us and... sang us a surprised happy birthday with cake (it was our birthday). They knew it was our birthday and prepared it even before!
The managers then showed us our room and ... fresh fruits were waiting for us in the room!
PROs of bunaken oasis:
- NEW resort ! everything is new!
- the rooms are large and new. it is total luxury with private view of the seas on all villas
- bed is extra comfortable
- there is a hot / cold water dispenser in the room ! we love it! no more asking for extra water, and cold hot on demand! all luxury resort should have it
- food is excellent. the best one one we tried so far from most dive resorts in indonesia (we have been to a few, komodo, misool, wakatobi, siladen etc)
- the dive boats are new, modern, with showers (hot!), and they are fast
- they limit to maximum 4 divers per boat, so lot of space for expensive camera, dive gears (scooters), and to lay on the bench and sleep ! (unlike other resorts where there is 12-15 guest in similar boat, no place to sit, no space for camera). They have a lot of boats.
For the whole week we had a private boat (no other guests as resorts was not fully booked)
- they only want to go dives sites at time and location that is good to avoid other crowds and other resorts ( so you feel like you have your own dive boat and dive site)
- very good dive gears (aqualung) and wet suits for rent at resort
- excellent camera room, the biggest, brightest (we need bright lights for camera set up), and the most "well air conditioned" camera room we have seen so far.
- Diving: staff automatically give you water before and after each dive! (it is like they know what we wanted. Before we always have to reach for our bottle water at other resorts)
- warm fresh face towels and fresh fruits after each dive!
- full diving service: no need to lift any finger : they will carry the heavy expensive camera for you, set up your equipments, change tanks, even analysed the nitrox (with you nearby). The staff even will help you with your dive gears, putting on your fins for you!
- snacks at all time, in the boat, in the lobby, in your room (fruits as we requested)
- automatic service: no need to mention any words, all the staff perform all functions seamlessly and without any hints of attitude!
- excellent spa and bar!
- FREE laundry! yeah! we love free laundry ! fast laundry service.
- not much mostiquos seen.
- 2 kind of slippers provided for free!
- located right in the middle of the bunaken park.
- Plus lot of other pros....
- we were able to take amazing 3d underwater photos and videos
- we wish that there is a strong fan in the ceiling !
- steps... but we did not mind it all all. Keep in mind this bunaken OASIS resort is like the expensive luxury thailand resorts or luxury seychelles resorts: located in the hills and they are designed to have privacy and excellent view at all villas!
luxe miles, on Flickr
In conclusion, Bunaken OASIS (there is a lot of "bunaken" named resorts) is simply the best dive indonesian resort we have been so far. For sure it is the most luxurious resort in the manado area.
It is like the luxury maldives resort, seychelles, but located in a very good place for diving (manado), but without the maldives prices. We are very hesitant to post any reports about our new find, as we want to keep this place for ourselves ! tell them the 3d guy sent you (as long as we can still book a villa when we go...)
Edited by luxemiles, 16 September 2017 - 11:39 PM.