Watergius's Journal

The world as I see it

Bunaken – we’ve dived and we love it

Friday – Sunday, 18 – 20 April 2014


Nothing is as excited as going out from your routine and do things that you love.  Even if it is only for a short period, you’ll always hope that after that, you’ll fell refresh and be ready to face whatever it is you’re dealing with everyday.


With only two days planning, I would say that we were quite lucky. We managed to get cheap flight from Makassar to Manado. We managed to book two rooms in a luxury hotel with a discounted price, and we also managed to book our dive for the Saturday plus its ‘accommodation’ with a decent price.


Around 11.30 am central Indonesian time we arrived in Sam Ratulangi Airport in Manado. The airport is located quite far from the town Manado it self, but it should be located not too far from the hotel where we will stay tonight, Grand Luley, according to Google Maps. With this in mind, we screened all the offers for taxi (a regular family car that they called taxi) and decided to go with one driver that offered 150k rupiah to take us there. We did not even bother to bargain the price because I’d called the hotel a day before to ask whether they can pick us or not and what’s the price and the front desk said they were fully booked and the price is 175 k per car. So, 150 k is way cheaper.

And so we dropped all our bags and hopped in into that Avanza car…

I was enjoying the view outside along the road when I finally realized that we were getting closer to the downtown. Something’s wrong here. I then opened my phone, turned on my gps-google maps and told the driver that we’re heading the wrong way. He then RE-ASKED our destination and instead of Hotel Grand Luley where we want to go to, he was thinking other ‘luley’ somewhere in the downtown. Oh come on…

He was kind of upset I guess and so did we.. But hey, look at the bright side, we got free city tour… even though in the end after we arrived in Grand Luley, he charged us additional 50 K rupiah.

Grand Luley Dive and Resort has experienced management changing few times. Last time, this resort was owned by Santika group thus called Hotel Santika. But I guess, they decided to sell it due to economic reason.

Find more about this Grand Luley Dive and Resort here : http://www.luleyhotels.com/

Point to be noted :

– As per our stay here, the bar is still under construction and so did the dive center. So, the pictures of these places is not as it’s shown it the website.

– Some trees were still being planted and there was still some works happening at the walkway to the jetty.


After check in, the first thing that we hit was the dive center. Looks like the luck was still on our side. We manged to secure 5 seats in the boat for snorkeling, which will leave at 2 pm sharp (in about one hour), and we also got discounted price, around 150 k per person. We then changed our clothes, had lunch (which is not too bad by the way), and headed to the end of the jetty where the boat waits.

jetty - Grand Luley

jetty – Grand Luley


The spot that we went to called Lekuan 2. It’s located South of Bunaken Island and North of our hotel. Yeah… Bunaken is so close from Luley, only about half an hour by boat straight to the north.

The boat is actually used to bring divers to their dive spot. But since that spot is beautiful too for snorkeling, they also open a trip for snorkeling and there we were. In total, there were almost 20 people on the boat; half dive and the other half snorkel.

sitting on the ocean _ photo by Azhar Haslian

sitting on the ocean _ photo by Azhar Haslian

The spot was beautiful with many fishes and beautiful corals. We even saw two turtles swam not too deep from us that we managed to free dive so close to them. If you have chances to visit this place, you should dive (I am serious) or at least snorkel.


After snorkel and swam in the pool, we were so hungry. We had enough hotel’s food, but looking for dinner outside hotel is out of the options. Since this place is so far from the downtown and we did not have car, we then decided to try our luck (again) and order McDonalds.

After few hours and many phone calls, our order finally came. horeeyy.. The person who brought our orders admitted that he was the fourth person who was asked to bring our order after the other three before him declined it. We assumed it must be because this hotel is so far north from the town. But anyway, we were having the best McDonalds dinner that night and we tipped him greatly.



The next morning we were picked up from the hotel around 7 by a driver from La Rascasse who eventually brought us to La Rascasse to do our diving.

From all the diving resorts in Manado and Bunaken that we’ve asked, La Rascasse is the cheapest one. Not only cheap, according to review, they are also so professional and we’re about to find it out.

La Rascasse is a France word to say Lion Fish. For more information about this place, you can visit their website : http://www.larascasseresort.com/

The price list may not shown there yet. But here’s detail of our expense there :
– Two or three dives are charged the same amount of money. But since we’re going to fly out the next day, we were only allowed two dives and one snorkeling.

– La Rascasse accommodation was full the day we were there. So, Pak Katiman Herlambang (La Rascasse manager) put us in another hotel not too far from La Rascasse that has working agreement with them called Villa-Dahlia. I would recommend you to stay in Villa-Dahlia better than La Rascasse because their view is so much better. Find more about Villa Dahlia here : http://www.villa-dahlia.com/

– With two dives, one snorkeling, three meals (lunch, dinner, and breakfast) we were charged 1,2 million rupiah per person in total. But this is not included with dive gears that you might need to borrow.


outside appearance can deceive you - Villa Dahlia

outside appearance can deceive you – Villa Dahlia

When we left La Rascasse for our dive, we saw Villa Dahlia in a distance. It’s outside appearance is not promising. It looks like some under constructed hotel (again-after Luley) and not beautiful at all. But our assumption were proven to be wrong when we entered that hotel late in the afternoon.

'trader' in the middle of the ocean

‘trader’ in the middle of the ocean

During our break between dive 1 and 2, a small motor boat came closer. From it came out a lady with all crafts that she made put together in two big plastic bags. This is the way they sell things here in Bunaken, by boat in the middle of the ocean. And, they’re price is cheaper I guess then the price in the downtown.

let's explore Bunaken !! - photo from Miska's ipad

let’s explore Bunaken !! – photo from Miska’s ipad

after dive and snorkeling

after dived and snorkeled

Since La Rascasse was having so many visitors during our visit there, Pak Katiman asked two freelance divers to be our guide. Their name is Jodha (instructor_on the further right in the first picture above) and Adi (I kind of forgot the name but he is a dive master_on the further left in the first picture above).

They’re both so professional and very helpful during the dive. I would recommend them if you are planning to dive in Bunaken. For information, they’re both currently opening their dive center called ManadoDiveClub. I lost their card, but you can follow their twitter here: https://twitter.com/ManadoDiveClub  for more information.

outside appearance can deceive you - Villa Dahlia

sunset view from Villa Dahlia

sunset view from Villa Dahlia is so amazing with Manado Tua and Bunaken right in from of you…




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