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stewsmith

Lembeh Cottages

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I am looking to head back out to Lembeh next year and would love to hear any reviews from guests/staff from Lembeh Cottages. I have seen the EcoDivers webpage and it all sounds good. The only downside I can see is there is no house reef and it isnt situated on the Strait itself. Apart from that everything looks promising. There will be a small group of 10 or so going and the set up looks perfect for our needs. Info that I am looking for is as follows.

 

How good are the guides at finding the rarer critters

Are they good with handling large camera rigs

What is the food like at the cottages

Are the cottages secure

How long is the morning transfer to the Strait from the cottages

 

 

Stew

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I am looking to head back out to Lembeh next year and would love to hear any reviews from guests/staff from Lembeh Cottages. I have seen the EcoDivers webpage and it all sounds good. The only downside I can see is there is no house reef and it isnt situated on the Strait itself. Apart from that everything looks promising. There will be a small group of 10 or so going and the set up looks perfect for our needs. Info that I am looking for is as follows.

 

How good are the guides at finding the rarer critters

Are they good with handling large camera rigs

What is the food like at the cottages

Are the cottages secure

How long is the morning transfer to the Strait from the cottages

 

 

Stew

 

Stew,

 

I cannot answer all your questions, but can give you some prospective on Eco. I stayed at KBR with a group less than a year ago. Our group leader, Kamala of www.singledivers.com, was invited to spend the day and evening with Eco. I went along as her buddy. They pickup us up about noon at our resort by boat and took us to their "dive boat", which I would characterize as a good sized liveaboard, probably a 70-80 footer. The boat is moored in the middle of the strait off Bitung (sp?) and you take a small boat from the shore pier each morning and evening. We did one dive with the managers; The lady was Louise, I believe, and I cannot remember the name of the fellow. Both are Brits, I believe. They could not have been more hospitable. The boat moves around up and down the strait plus goes up north toward the park on occasion. It should go without mentioning that since you're essentially diving off a liveaboard all day, the diving is much easier than motoring back to the dock after every dive. Also they have crew on the dive boat 24/7, so your gear is secure. But I'd take my camera back to the cottage for routine maint. if nothing else.

 

Their cottages are about a 15-20 minute ride from the pier and were exceptional. Each has three bedroom/private bath units entering into a common area for TV, dinner, etc. Their central area for breakfast, relaxing, drinking, etc. was under construction, but I saw in subsequent photos that it was complete and looks real good. The accomodations were better than either KBR or Kasawari, mostly because they were brand new. Both of the other resorts are fine, but Eco has better accoms.

 

The dinners were exceptional, everything was prepared to order and served by the hostess/chef in the common area of the unit.

 

The only downers were (1) the lack of a shore diving opportunity, but they give you 3-4 dives a day which might be enough for most except the hardcore (like me), (2) the daily transfer from the cottages to the boat and return, probably 30 minutes total each way, and (3) no beach to relax on, although you could relax on the boat if you wanted.

 

There was a fence around the compound and a guard at the gate when we were there. I don't know if it's 24/7 or not. Worth asking.

I did not take my SLR rig, but they seemed to be set up well for camera. Nice table and dedicated rinse tank. With the attention to detail that I saw in all phases of the operation, I'd expect their folks to handle cameras well.

 

If you're not a dive-nazi and willing to endure the daily transfer, this should be a good option to the resorts on the straits. The accommodations and food more than make up for the transfer.

 

Tell them that Harry and Kamala said HELLO!!

 

PM me if you have any other questions.

 

Harry

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As Frank used to say " Nice one Arry "

 

Seriously thanks for this. I dive with Emperor4 times a year in Sharm and know Jim And Carey from their KBR days. I know that they have an eye for detail and their clients are very important to them. I have read nothing but good things about the cottages on tripadv.....r and it seems that you have confirmed everything that I have read. I like to dive dive dive whilst at Lembeh but if I can squeeze 4 day dives in then I will be more than happy. I am sure If i paid enough I would be able to get a couple of night dives in with Kima Bajo, or someone else Thanks for taking the time to reply.

 

All the best

 

Stew

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We were there in February of this year. I believe it was our 8 th trip to Lembeh and one of our best.

 

I agree with the preceding comments and would add the following.

Most, if not all of the house hold staff and all of the boat crew/guides are previous KBR employees. They moved due to their loyalty to Jim & Cary.

The guides have been diving the Straights for many years and are simply the best. They know all the dive sites and also communicate with the guides from the other major resorts on what sites are good and schedule diving to not over crowd a location. They have a maximum of 4 divers per guide.

 

All gear , except cameras is left on the boat over night. You take your camera back to the Cottage at night. At the Cottage, there is a camera room, with house computer in each Cottage.

 

All food is cooked to order.

You place your dinner order at breakfast and they shop it during the day so that all food is fully fresh at dinner.

 

One of the best things is the cost to dive there - one of the lowest in the Straights area!

 

It is good for a small group as you can have several of the Cottage to your selves.

Web site is http://www.eco-divers.com/

 

PM me if I can add any more info

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We were there in February of this year. I believe it was our 8 th trip to Lembeh and one of our best.

 

I agree with the preceding comments and would add the following.

Most, if not all of the house hold staff and all of the boat crew/guides are previous KBR employees. They moved due to their loyalty to Jim & Cary.

The guides have been diving the Straights for many years and are simply the best. They know all the dive sites and also communicate with the guides from the other major resorts on what sites are good and schedule diving to not over crowd a location. They have a maximum of 4 divers per guide.

 

All gear , except cameras is left on the boat over night. You take your camera back to the Cottage at night. At the Cottage, there is a camera room, with house computer in each Cottage.

 

All food is cooked to order.

You place your dinner order at breakfast and they shop it during the day so that all food is fully fresh at dinner.

 

One of the best things is the cost to dive there - one of the lowest in the Straights area!

 

It is good for a small group as you can have several of the Cottage to your selves.

Web site is http://www.eco-divers.com/

 

PM me if I can add any more info

 

Cheers for the re assurance. I will be booking this up as soon as their rates for next year become available.

 

Regards

 

Stew

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Are there optimal times for diving Lembeh Staights area. Thinking of gong this Fall sometime do not know the area that well. Thanks for your insights.

 

Chris

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Are there optimal times for diving Lembeh Staights area. Thinking of gong this Fall sometime do not know the area that well. Thanks for your insights.

 

Chris

 

Dec - March tends to be rainy more so than the rest of the year.

We were there last Feb for two weeks and had two days of scattered rain.

Below 10 ft, you will never notice it!

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I am looking to head back out to Lembeh next year and would love to hear any reviews from guests/staff from Lembeh Cottages. I have seen the EcoDivers webpage and it all sounds good. The only downside I can see is there is no house reef and it isnt situated on the Strait itself.

 

Hi Stew,

 

last year I have been in "Divers Lodge Lembeh" : ( easy to find with google...I don´t know if it is allowed to post the Link)

 

They do have a smal house reef, but it is for shure not the best Place in Lembeh - but Ok for a night dive.

The Resort ist lokated in the Lembeh Strait.

 

Apart from that everything looks promising. There will be a small group of 10 or so going and the set up looks perfect for our needs.

 

From Divers Lodge Lembeh you will not be in such a big group on a Boat.

I have been on a Boat with two of my friends and we had two guides !!

 

How good are the guides at finding the rarer critters

Are they good with handling large camera rigs

 

Those guides do now there dive sites, they will show you a lot of rare critters. But it is not a Zoo, nowbody can guarantee to find the yellow striped, hary pygmae Seehorse :B):

 

They are used to handle cameras !

 

What is the food like at the cottages

Are the cottages secure

How long is the morning transfer to the Strait from the cottages

 

Stew

 

The food is very good, I got a few more kilos on top :huh:

 

You don´t need cash there in the Resort. ( Just give your Purse to the owner, he will store it in a Safe for you )

I did not close my Room there, there is no need to do so !!

 

The trasfer depends on the Critter you want to see and where it shoud be !

So the Boat ride can be 30 Minutes ore around 60 Minutes to the dive Site.

 

Best whishes

Roland

Edited by uwknipser

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I have a couple of questions for those who have been.

What is the best time of year to go?

If you were going would you just stay at the Cottages or would you divide your time and do part of your vacation at the Cottages and part at the Kima Bajo?

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I have a couple of questions for those who have been.

What is the best time of year to go?

If you were going would you just stay at the Cottages or would you divide your time and do part of your vacation at the Cottages and part at the Kima Bajo?

**********************

Yes,I would split my time.

 

Lembeh is 80%macro and maybe 20% W/A IF YOU ASK for W/A ahead of time. Other wise the guides will take you for macro.

Kima/Bunaken Park can be what you make it. Walls, critters and light muck/grassy.

 

Staying at the Lembeh Cottages and Kima is seamless as Eco-Divers runs the diving at both locations.

To move, pack your personal items and the dive crew will handle all your dive gear - no need to pack it.

We do not even take the camreas down - just snug up the strobe arm clamps.

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Thanks for the advice Okuma, that does help. Is there any best time of year to go?

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Thanks for the advice Okuma, that does help. Is there any best time of year to go?

 

It tends to rain more Dec to March. But it is not a prolonged down pour!

Any time you're in the tropics expect a late after noon shower.

We will be there 15 Oct to 30 Oct this year!

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Another question because this all looks very good to me. If any of you had a choice between the two, would you prefer KBR and being on water or the cottages which are a distance away? What are the main differences besides the newer accommodations?

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One more (hopefully last) question. Did you book directly with the resort for your vacation or use a travel agency? I would seem the prices are less to book directly.

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I am still kicking this around and hoping for some input so here is a summary of questions I now have:

 

Would you use an agency to book a trip to Lembeh and possibly one of the boats like the Arenui or Damai?

 

I am torn with all the information regarding The Cottages, KBR, Lembeh Resort, Kima Bajo, ect. Any and all input would be super helpful on places to stay and differences including price.

 

Thanks!

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I am still kicking this around and hoping for some input so here is a summary of questions I now have:

 

Would you use an agency to book a trip to Lembeh and possibly one of the boats like the Arenui or Damai?

 

I am torn with all the information regarding The Cottages, KBR, Lembeh Resort, Kima Bajo, ect. Any and all input would be super helpful on places to stay and differences including price.

 

Thanks!

 

PM sent

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Been to KBR a couple of times, Kasawari and Taska Ria. While KBR and Kasawari have outstanding camera rooms, I did not care for the food at KBR while Kasawari, tho not great, their food was eatable at least. Taska Ria did a lot of the outside walls and I hated their tiny, dirty camera room. However, this was a few years ago and things may have changed since then. If I went back, I would probably go to Kasawari.

Steve

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Been to KBR a couple of times, Kasawari and Taska Ria. While KBR and Kasawari have outstanding camera rooms, I did not care for the food at KBR while Kasawari, tho not great, their food was eatable at least. Taska Ria did a lot of the outside walls and I hated their tiny, dirty camera room. However, this was a few years ago and things may have changed since then. If I went back, I would probably go to Kasawari.

Steve

I am thinking things have changed at KBR because I have read some trip reports from this year that say the food is outstanding. I appreciate your input and hope to get more so I can make a good decision.

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I am a Kasawari fan, although it has lost some of its shine from my first trip. Still, I would probably go back there.

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