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Lembeh or Bunaken or both?


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#1 Lasse

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:37 PM

Hello

We are planning a group trip to Indonesia. We are discussing if we should divide the trip between diving in Lembeh and some days in Bunaken/Siladen. Or maybe should we stay the entire trip in Lembeh and try to arrange trips to the North/South of Lembeh strait or also to the east side of Lembeh Island for Reef and Coral diving.

Is it anybody with experience in this? The group will probably be mostly photographers.

We have been looking at KBR, Lembeh Resort and NAD and also Siladen Island resort. Does anybody have any recommendation or experience with this places. Is it worth the money staying on KBR or Lembeh Reswort compared to NAD lembeh?

Please help us out

Regards

Lasse

#2 MikeVeitch

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 03:46 PM

I would definitely suggest NAD, they have the large boats to do comfoortable day trips to east lembeh and bangka, that way you get great coral reef diving as well as the muck and you don't have to lose a day of diving while transfering between resorts.. Simon is very flexible for all of your plans..

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#3 gravity

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 05:18 PM

I would do the entire trip in Lembeh. In my opinion there are a high percentage of mediocre dives on Bunaken.

#4 Sharks at Aliwal

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 11:43 PM

Hi

I have done the trip twice now and stayed at a few different places. On the last trip we spent a total of 14 days diving between the two areas.

If you are looking at mainly photographers I would spend more time in Lembah than Bunaken. We did stay at KBR and they were great. Yes it is more expensive but the diving on the house reef was amazing. You could spend days only there. Great things (2 sets of Pygmy Seahorses within 3 m of each other one set red other yellow and fat!). If you want to spend less I have had many friends that have used Eco Divers and I have heard nothing but great comments.

We used Eco Divers both times at Bunaken and they run a very good dive operation. Great accommodation as well. I personally preferred staying on the island with Froggies. Nothing here was to the same standard as Eco Divers but dive times were 75 mins minimum, it was half price, free internet and laundry daily (also cheaper beer!). My wife definitely preferred Eco Divers thou. I would spend at least a night there (dependant on your length of trip). I have done a day trip before and it is very tiring


Hello

We are planning a group trip to Indonesia. We are discussing if we should divide the trip between diving in Lembeh and some days in Bunaken/Siladen. Or maybe should we stay the entire trip in Lembeh and try to arrange trips to the North/South of Lembeh strait or also to the east side of Lembeh Island for Reef and Coral diving.

Is it anybody with experience in this? The group will probably be mostly photographers.

We have been looking at KBR, Lembeh Resort and NAD and also Siladen Island resort. Does anybody have any recommendation or experience with this places. Is it worth the money staying on KBR or Lembeh Reswort compared to NAD lembeh?

Please help us out

Regards

Lasse



#5 eyu

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 06:46 AM

I have dove with Eco divers before and can recommend them. We stayed at Kimo Bajo in Bunaken, were transported to Lembeh where we stayed at KBR. Did not have to break down out camera rigs, they were transported in a basket and the trip over to the straits was painless. Eco has great dive guides, you tell them what you want to see and they find it.
Since Eco is no longer at KBR and KBR has changed hands I do not have personal experience with the new staff. But would consider following Eco to there new place, Cary doses an excellent job.

Bunaken has good reef dives and of course critters in Lembeh Straits. We did a week in Bunaken and 10 days in Lembeh on our last visit. It was a good balance.

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#6 focker

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 07:28 AM

I wanted to jump in here and ask if there are best times of the year to go to Lembeh?
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#7 eyu

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 08:08 AM

I always go to Lembeh Straits in October before the rainy season

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#8 frisco

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 03:40 AM

Dear Lasse,

if UW macro photography is the main reason for the trip, I would definitely stay only in Lembeh; reef around Bunaken are too crowded, and much diving around Bunaken & Manado doesn't match Lembeh IMHO. We dove a number of times in Lembeh and we always stayed at KBR. Our last trip was in 2009 and KBR did change their management since then, so I cannot comment on the actual management. Lembeh Resort is a very good operation and the Dive Managers, Herg and Kery, do a great job. NAD gets a lot of praise around here, and I would consider it for sure. Eco Divers now runs a small resort based in Bitung and offer a very good price/quality ratio. You could also consider Black Sands if the group is not too big (they have only six bungalows to the best of my knowledge).

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#9 Luko

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 04:14 AM

IMO you are missing Bangka's area spots.
If I were you I would skip Bunaken which I find quite boring with sometimes mundane dives, though I would divide my time between Lembeh and Bangka.
Bangka boasts better coral dives than Bunaken, Sahaung for instance is one of the most spectacular soft coral spot you'll ever dive and as for macro Bangka in a good day can rival Lembeh.
Check out Gangga island (posh), Murex Bangka (the originals) Mimpi Indah or Blue Bay.
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#10 serge

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 04:25 AM

HI Lasse,

if you want to get some coral diving in, then you can get that in Lembeh – no problem. Here at NAD we do Fullday Trips to the east side of Lembeh, where we dive various divesites, that offer spectacular coral as well as big fish (eagle ray, white tip shark, Giant trevallies and lot's of schooling fish ... sometimes even Hammerhead). Then we run day trips to Banka (similar to east lembeh but sometimes also other boats there). And we also do trips to Batu Kapal off the north tip of Lembeh – a cool pinnacle with lot's of softcoral, shark, schooling fish, barracuda and so on. And then there are lot's of coral sites at the end of the strait. We even have seen a Mola Mola here this month ... crazy but true.

... and of course all the nice muck dives ;)

If you are travelling with a group, you don't really need to worry about the trips ... as you will have your own boat (depending how big your group is of course ... ). Only thing could be waves stopping you from getting to particular spots.

But i am sure KBR would offer trips to the other side as well if you request so ... but Lembeh is for sure worth a trip on it's own :guiness:


@ focker: Lembeh is good all year round :guiness:

Greetings from Lembeh,

Serge

Edited by serge, 27 October 2011 - 04:28 AM.

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#11 scubamarli

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 07:59 AM

It really depends on what sort of diving you like. As my diving "tropical" is limited to several times a year, I enjoy the blue waters of Bunaken before heading over to Lembeh. (I have done 4 combination trips over the years). Siladen is my favorite dive site in the park, as well as Tanjung Kelapa on the mainland at the far southern range of the park. Depending on the time of year, you may not be able to dive the coral sites on Lembeh Island (I was skunked one year due to high winds). I agree that Bangka diving is superb, but also not always possible if conditions do not cooperate. I have stayed at 6 different resorts both at Lembeh and Bunaken. My last few stays at Manado area resorts were not impressive. If I had my choice, I would probably stay at Siladen. My issue with some operations is that instead of staying out at the islands for three dives, they "muck" dive on the way back to the mainland, which sucks if you are shooting wide angle with a housed camera. Some operators use large boats, and dumping 16 to 20 divers on a site is not my cup of tea. I prefer the smaller dive boats, where guests numbers are a maximum of 6 to 8. I will stay on one of the islands next visit. As far as Lembeh is concerned, Lembeh Resort is my favorite, but costly. The service, food and guiding are superb. Black Sand is also good if you want a smaller resort, and it is situated on a great site for shore diving. Rooms are lovely and service and food are great.

Have a great trip,
Marli
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