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pakman

Bali: Where to stay for Nusa Penida diving...

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OK, it's been awhile since I've been to Bali. Since I'm off to Cocos in few weeks on my own, I owe my gf a nice trip together and we've decided on Bali in mid-october (mola mola season :) ). Of course If I had my way, I'd dive 5x everyday of the holiday... But alas, my gf isn't a hardcore diver so she'll most likely want to stay at some foo foo overpriced resort/ spa in Jimbaran Bay or some other posh area...

 

We definitely want to get out to Nusa Penida/ Lembongan to look for Mola Molas. So I'm trying to figure out where would be a compromise to stay (nice resort but without too long of drive to the boat launching area), maybe on the west side for those great sunsets. Last time I dove in Bali was when I got certified ages ago and I remember using a dive shop in Sanur and most of the shops that ran trips to Lembongan/ Nusa Penida left from Sanur. But I wasn't particularly fond of staying in Sanur. BTW, what's the usual schedule for Nusa Penida day trips. What time do they depart, how many dives, and what time do they get back.

 

For the second part of the trip, we'll likely stay at Mimpi or Scuba Seraya for a couple of days diving in Tulamben.

Edited by pakman

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What's wrong with Sanur? Sure there's no nightlife compared to Seminyak but at least it's quiet. Food is decent as well but there are more choices on the western side.

For cheaper, non-Bvlgari resorts (which sucks btw), I suggest you look at the Parigata Villas in Sanur. You get a private pool etc etc. The Villas is actually 10 min walking distance to the launch site in Sanur. Eric Cheng stayed there once.

For the west side, I'd stay out of Kuta and most of Legian. Seminyak has a few nice chic foo foo places, some of which are very nice. The Ulin and Elysian are both very nice.

The dive boats usually leave around 8 and get back around 2. If you do 3 dives and go to further places like Manta Pt etc, think 3.30 return. Personally I'd stay in Sanur. I hate feeling salty and grimy for too long and you run into rush hour traffic both ways.

However my suggestion is to do a couple of days diving then head up to Ubud for the pampering. I know the Uma Hotel is doing some nice deals now. And Mozaic down the street is probably the best nouvelle cuisine restaurant in Bali. Chris Salons knows his food!

Good luck trying to find a spot in Oct for Seraya. Tim Rock is running a shootout for most of mid Oct. I'll be there around that time too but running around Bali.

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Tim who? Spaces still available BTW.. :)

 

There is places to stay right on the islands.. but not sure the name.

 

Will find out and let ya know...

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Ah thanks Drew on that info. Been awhile since I been around Sanur. If the departure times are 8, I won't mind staying in Seminyak or Jimbaran and dealing with the traffic. But good idea on Ubud. I've been there but its the gf's first time in Bali so I'm sure she won't be happy if we're only diving every day... :)

 

MV- ah, that's right... you misfits will be there the same week... excellent, maybe I'll use that as a good excuse to get more diving in.

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Tim who? Spaces still available BTW.. :)

 

There is places to stay right on the islands.. but not sure the name.

 

Will find out and let ya know...

 

Oh yeah, you're part of the gang too. Will probably pop by to say hi sometime.

 

Errr if his gf wants to stay at the 4 Seasons or Karma, I doubt she wants to stay on Lembongan... althought the Lembongan Island Villas is pretty fun to get away from Bali... you just can't get away from the tourists for some reason. :)

 

Pakman, do yourself a favor and book at the Uma for a few nights and hit the spa at the Begawan Giri (ask the manager at Uma to arrange it, they won't let you walk into the Begawan if you're not a guest). Then book a table at Mozaic for food and then drinks at the Alila overlooking the Ayung. I guarantee that the Begawan Spa and food will make your gf be very amenable to diving for molas.

If you are really sneaky, arrange to go to Puri Jati at the Zen Resort. It's about 400m to Puri Jati the muck sites. Send her to the spa and you can go moisturize your skin and housing. :)

Bali and gf really does mix if you get the formula right.... trust me... it's taken a lot of practice to get it right! :)

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Ah the Begawan Giri spa... Heard about that.

 

OK, now back to the diving. Which Sanur dive shop would you guys recommend for mola molas?

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The last 7 years I've been exclusively using BIDP since they were the first with EAN on the island. I've used a few of the others including Aquamarine, Ena and others before. BIDP is my preferred ops for most diving in Bali for a few reasons:

1. They own their boat so there's not a different boat every day.

2. The boat has a head (not important to me but try explain to a prissy princess gf about peeing in the wetsuit)

3. They are local owned and run and find the best local food at various locations. Important for me :)

4. Guides are excellent and understand shooters.

5. Blah blah blah

 

I of course prefer to stay in Sanur when I am diving Penida/Lembongan. But do look at Puri Jati. Zen is a nice place but pretty isolated. Good for 2 days. That's all you'll need for the dive site. :)

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Ah the Begawan Giri spa... Heard about that.

 

OK, now back to the diving. Which Sanur dive shop would you guys recommend for mola molas?

I just came back from 2 weeks in Bali. Stayed at a small resort called the Water Garden Hotel in a town called Candidasa. Beautiful place and well away from the loud raucousness of the main tourist drags, well I'm an old codger who likes my sleep!! Couldn't fault the place. Nice pool, nice food, talk about romantic, very secluded and nice. Quite reasonable too.

 

I was diving with Aquamarine who run an island wide service. Their boats are noored, as most are, in Padangbai which is just a 15 minute drive from the resort. They send the vehicle from the main town every morning. Pretty much the same other reasons as Drew listed:

 

1. They own their boat so there's not a different boat every day.

2. The boat has a head, s'funny, ours had a toilet!!

3. They are British owned and run

4. Guides are excellent and understand shooters.

 

No one dive shop can be suggested as being more prone to getting good Mola encounters, you just gotta dive, dive and keep diving. Mind you, I saw one and wasn't prepared for the thermoclines there which can be pretty darn significant. Surface temp in the mid 20's C and then dropped to 18 at 30m, 16 at 40!! I had a 5mm and hoodie which wasn't so bad but another guy with us had a shortie and was bald....... :)

 

I think both Aquamarine and the Water Garden Hotel have web sites.

 

Cheers,

Mark.

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Hmm... a friend had suggested Candi Dasa area as well.

 

Mark, how long of a boat ride is it from Padang Bai to Nusa Penida?

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Hi all.

 

The sun still sets in the West even south of the equator, Pakman, while Nusa Penida is still east of Bali ((and has been since the Jurassic). You have a choice: you can either watch the sun set from where you stay and commute to Sanur on the bypass highway, or you can stay near where the boats leave in Sanur. Actually, at this time of year (southeastern monsoon), Sanur gets the better breeze anyway.

 

The word on the molas may have got out a bit more successfully than I would like. I'm hearing that there are just too many divers recently, especially on the weekends, and its affecting the molas. I had thought I would finally get some mola hunting in this year just last weekend, but when I heard about the crowds of divers (and fewer and fewer molas), my friend and I decided just to dive Sanur for the hell of it. At least our carbon emission footprint for the day was lower. Actually, we had two ok dives. I can tell you that the water temp was at least 25 and the molas that we didn't see here in Sanur were just as big and friendly as the molas that apparently none of the hundreds of divers in the 20 degree water at Crystal Bay on Nusa Penida didn't see there. So there!

 

(My advice, at least while for the rest of this month while the crowds are heavier, would be to do Nusa Penida on weekdays when there seems to be slightly less crowd pressure than Saturdays and Sundays. Or else arrange to stay in Nusa Lembongan and get to the mola sites before anyone else gets there. And bring your 5 mm suits and hoods.)

 

Like Drew, I dive with BIDP in Bali. By now, I'm sure I've done several hundred dives with Avandy (a good friend) and his people, and I think they're one of the best dive operations I've ever used anywhere in the world. Of course, there are other operators in Bali. as well. Contra Mark, however, and nothing against Aquamarine in particular, but if Annabel now has her own boat, it must be brand new, and I'm surprised she doesn't mention it on her website and that I never see it at the beach here in Sanur. The last I heard, Annabel is still chartering when she has customers who wanted to go to Nusa Penida. I did hear she did a longer term charter last summer during the mola season. The problem with operators who don't own their own boat isn't that they aren't good dive masters or anything, but while they save on overheads, they may not have been able to hire a decent boat when you want to go diving.

 

And Mark, I know Annabel makes a big point of advertising her company as the "only British owned and operated dive shop in Bali", and yes, she definitely is British (though her DMs and instructors aren't), but since you're coming to Indonesia, why would you prefer to dive with a "British owned and managed" dive operation over anyone else's, for example, owned by an ... Indonesian?

 

Although Aquamarine doesn't have their own boat, several other operations besides BIDP do, but there are boats and boats. Some I would be willing to ride in to NP, others I wouldn't (nor would I let any member of my family). The Lombok Strait can be treacherous. If I couldn't go with BIDP (and they are very busy right now), I'd probably go with Bali Hai, despite the fact that it's "Australian owned and managed." (insert smiley here - some of my best friends are Aussies!) Bali Hai is also a bit of a high volume operation for my tastes, but they operate their own boats, know what they're doing, and their people are also experienced and well trained.

 

Lots of places to stay here in Sanur, but I'm told that tourist arrivals in Bali are up 30% this summer (most of them apparently looking for mola molas), so it's not as easy to book a room during high season (now) as it has been the past few post-bomb years. And you can probably forget discounts - some places have reinstituted high season surcharges for this first time in five years. In Sanur, I'd probably try the Parigata, in Batujimbar or maybe LaTaverna (on the beach, run by a friend).

 

Good luck. Message me via the board when you get here - I might be around.

 

Frogfish (Robert Delfs)

Edited by frogfish

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Thanks for the info Rob. How are the crowds around mid Oct which is when we're planning to be out there? Might take your advice on the avoiding the weekend. I think we fly in on Sat. And maybe we'll do some topside touristy stuff on Sun and do the diving starting mon...

 

Yep, will definitely be bringing my 5mm and hooded vest. An Aussie colleague of mine and his wife were out there last year and had water temps dropping below 20c in below the thermoclines. They did get some great mola mola video footage.

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Pakman, the crowds should have thinned out by late September and I'd think it would definitely be OK in October. It's a nice time to be here, and by then, weekends at NP probably won't be a problem either. Yes, it does get cold underneath.

 

Frogfish

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I always thought being British just means there's no sex and lots of tea with spots of milk?

 

Pakman, the boatride from Padang Bai is about the same as Sanur. What you get in padang bai is cheaper accomodation and more dive ops in one row sort of atmosphere. It WAS once a lot less touristy but sigh... Some of the sites in Padang Bai/Tepekong/Biaha are nice and worth looking at.

However if your gf (which I think being your quality time with her, would get choice of accomodation) wants Jimbaran 4 seasons stuff... she's going to be VERY disappointed with Candidasa in general. Not a lot to do aprés dive.

Also realize that a lot of the mola sites are advanced drift dives and often deep. There are some funky currents in the area and it gets pretty hairy in the channel. One of my gf loved the mola mola dives... but she loved the Begawan much more.

I do understand about being on the western side. Something about an infinity pool, looking on the sunset with a gf ....

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** Correction **

 

I've just been informed that Annabel at Aquamarine here in Bali may have purchased a boat last month. If so (and my source is one that is usually "impeccable"), then my post above stands corrected. I'm sure this will be a first class craft, and a welcome addition to the list of safe, well-found day boats operating here in Bali.

 

Frogfish (Robert Delfs

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Yep, just got an email this morning from a local Bali diver confirming that Aquamarine has a new boat.

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Told ya so!!!

 

frogfish, thats no so pro an attitude mate. Your base location makes it more than easy to confirm or deny the issue of a dive shop owning a boat or not. Not a good thing to publicly state they don't have a boat when you don't know and as it turns out they do! I was diving from it one month ago! I thought I made that clear in my posting.

 

Definitely back up what Drew mentioned about currents, they can get pretty damn freaky at times, I had Scubapro Split Fins with the Gates Z1 and Wide lens set up, some dives weren't that long!!

 

Candidasa suited my needs, peace and quiet, somewhere to relax and read a book at the end of the day. I'm not the night club, party hardy kinda person so each to their own. If you want some semblance of nightlife etc then maybe Candidasa may be a bit too reserved for ya.

 

Cheers,

Mark.

P.S The trip was my first time to Bali so I prefered to dive with an operation who 'by the looks of it' had a good reputation, were well organized and could give me the flexible schedule I needed. As it was Aquamarine stepped up to, and surpassed, that mark.

 

P.P.S There was not a lot of tea drinking going on. I won't go into the other matter of Brits not being 'up for it'? I'd just make you all jealous!!

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Have you thought about staying on Nusa Lembongan? there are a few little resort out there, not a whole lot to do there but if the gf just wants sun and a beach i'm sure she'd be happy.

 

Edit: Pak, i'm sure the last thing you want to do is go diving with a bunch of Limey's on your hols, so might i suggest the new-ish dive op by Bali Hai on Lembongan.

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Pak, i'm sure the last thing you want to do is go diving with a bunch of Limey's on your hols, so might i suggest the new-ish dive op by Bali Hai on Lembongan.

 

boat full of limeys I could deal with. A boat load of fellow Korean divers is what scares me more! :)

 

Bali Hai? hmm.. what an absolutely original name... :) Thanks for the suggestion, but I think we'll stay on the mainland side for that portion.

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damn pommies, i would stay away from them as well...

 

 

:)

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Told ya so!!!

 

frogfish, thats no so pro an attitude mate. Your base location makes it more than easy to confirm or deny the issue of a dive shop owning a boat or not. Not a good thing to publicly state they don't have a boat when you don't know and as it turns out they do! I was diving from it one month ago! I thought I made that clear in my posting.

 

Back off, CamDiver. I made it absolutely clear in my posting that if they had a boat now, then it was a new one (and it is). I also corrected my post as soon as I heard from a reliable source that the situation had just changed.

 

Frogfish

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boat full of limeys I could deal with. A boat load of fellow Korean divers is what scares me more! :)

 

Bali Hai? hmm.. what an absolutely original name... :) Thanks for the suggestion, but I think we'll stay on the mainland side for that portion.

 

I don't know Pak. A boatful of Hyunjung Kims I can totally live with. Plus Australians are really convict pommies ... in fact they are just rejects from all. Sorta like the US :)

 

Staying on the big island is just easier for choice of great accomodation.

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Hyun Jung Kim??? Naw... Now maybe a boat load of Lee Hyori! :)

Edited by pakman

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Thing is though Pak, if you leave your mrs alone on Bali during the day you will have a sex-starved albino Yapese man sniffing around like a stray dog....

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Thing is though Pak, if you leave your mrs alone on Bali during the day you will have a sex-starved albino Yapese man sniffing around like a stray dog....

 

that is a scary thought... bad enough having to beat the Bali beachboys off with a stick...

 

Naw, I'm sure Yapboy will be too busy being your wingman Simon... Take one for the team Mike!!! :) someone has to jump on those grenades - I mean those supersized female yobs from downunder...

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Hey ... you obviously haven't met Megan Gale. Ozzie chicks are hot... just forget the Pauline Hanson types.

 

Hey get back to thinking about Bali and romance.

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