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“Best place to stay on 'pantai barat'”

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Happy Gecko Resort Bunaken (Cicak Senang)
Certificate of Excellence
Bandung, Indonesia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best place to stay on 'pantai barat'”
Reviewed 19 August 2013

We stayed 4 nights and personally like this hidden gem. The room/bathroom is spacious with balcony to relax and enjoy the sea view from up hill. Each bungalows are located far from each other to ensure privacy and surrounded by beautiful garden. Lunch and dinner are great with fresh fish and fruit (however breakfast needs improvement). The backyard is huge and you can see rooster and domestic pig passing around.

The main compound is the restaurant a.k.a hang-out place which is basically a large verandah overlooking mangrove beach. You can see the owner, bu Wileke, usually sitting at the back of bar table eager to answer guests question there. There are only 5 bungalows, while you have 3 kitchen staffs, 2 lovely owners, 2 dive guides with dedicated boat (and a dog), so you can be sure the guests are well taken care here. The dive is simply amazing, well.. this is Bunaken!

PS: This place is not for luxury-seeker as it doesn't have aircon (only fan) and the electricity went off on day time. They said they use solar power to generate electricity. You also have to be kind to many insects (and gecko) coming near you. Those looking for modern comfort can check the hotels downtown in Manado.

Room Tip: Bungalow on higher slope has better sea view
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Tommy_Wijaya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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103 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
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English first
Macau, China
Level Contributor
42 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2013

We stayed 12 nights and can't say enough about the kindness and generosity of everyone at Cicak Senang and their dive shop.

Everyday their chefs prepare the most delicious Indonesian food. We never tired of the meals.

The dive masters have dove on Bunaken for more than a decade and are incredibly knowledgable and safe. They adjusted themselves to our style of diving and were very accommodating, while finding us many special sea creatures. The boat only takes out a small number of divers daily so the boat crew and divers are able to get to know each other and enjoy each others company.

The bungalows are situated on a lush hillside overlooking the water and Sulawesi in the distance. They were quite comfortable and clean. We brought a mosquito net so we could leave all the windows open and enjoy the breeze.

Lastly, Willeke and Jerry are so welcoming and genuinely nice. They felt like family by the time we left and we truly can't wait to return again in the future.

  • Stayed July 2013
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Helpful?
2 Thank Heather D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Valletta, Malta
Level Contributor
206 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 June 2013

Boy was i happy when we turned up at this hotel. The place is mostly run by a European lady who also speaks the local Indonesian dialect fluently, making arrangements all the more easy for you! The rooms had the most stunning views, and the bungalows themselves designed tastefully. I've lived in Indonesia myself for 9 months now, and this hotel served up some of the best meals i've ever had in this country! Clean, affordable, great staff - this place takes 'cheap and cheerful' to a whole other level! Highly recommended!

Room Tip: Ask for rooms as high up the hill as possible for the best views!
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
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1 Thank Chris E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2013

we spent 5 nights in the small resort of 5 bungalows which is run by the dutch girl willeke, her bunaken husband jerry, their two kids, two dogs and a cat. we went diving every day with the guys from the attached dive shop. the accommodation seems to be a bit expensive on the first sight but the bungalows (2 rooms, balcony, and bathroom) are clean and spacious, the attached bathrooms have western toilets and showers and their own well provides constantly water for the sanitations. they serve plenty of delicious fresh food (vegies, fish, rice, fruits, chicken...) which is included in the price and you get free drinking water and coffee/tea as well. cold soft drinks and beer are as well available for fair prices. compared to the other resorts next door you'll be assured to get some good value for your money.

their website www.happygeckoresort.com provides all needed information and is up to date. they organize pickup from harbour/airport which seems a bit expensive but being dropped of right in front of the resort (2 hours after landing in manado airport) turns out to be the much better option than to walk/ojek your way up from the public ferry landing and is definitely worth the money.

the diving around bunaken is great and we found it very cosy to be with only a few other guests on the dive boat instead of being crunched with 20 other people like many other dive operators do there. we enjoyed diving with the brilliant local diver jimmy who speaks good english but as well the other dive guide jamie is a very experienced and funny dude. the dive equipment was in very good shape and the prices are among the cheapest we've seen all over indonesia.

the only down side - not of the resort but the surrounding - is that swimming/beach life is definitely not recommended on this side of bunaken due to the disgusting waste floating on the surface which eventually gets washed up on the beaches. even snorkelling is - depending on the tide and wind - sometimes just horrible and plastic bag and bottle experience.

summing up we had a great stay and would recommend especially to divers as there is not much else to do on bunaken. there is no party at happy gecko, no karaoke and no other annoying hassle going on. just sleep, eat, dive, eat, dive, dive and relax, then start all over again.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank puregin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
graz
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 May 2013

this is a really good place to stay. the bungalows are basic but functional although we were very happy to have brought our own mosquito net with us as there are quite a few lurking around.
the food is good, with fish cooked in every way possible and the occasional bit of chicken as a break from the fish :) there is fresh fruit with every meal as well.
nice view, friendly staff and of course, great diving

Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Grazonb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Barcelona, Spain
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 December 2012

My husband and I spent 4 nights in Cicak Senang last September 2012 and we really had a great time. We arrived at Bunaken after 2 days of trip and still with our busy lives pace, and I have to admit that I first thought I wouldn't be able to stay more than 2 nights because I thought I would get bored. But no, I was even sad to leave the place after 4 nights there.
To sum up our stay:
- we met great people: beginning with Willeke, the owner of the place with her local husband. So helpful and nice, she really enlivened our nights after dinner. And Jimmy, a great local dive master. Then, as the resort only has 5 bungalows, contact with the other holiday-makers is very easy, especially at lunch/dinner time.
- we ate incredibly well. It was our second time in Indonesia and during the 6 weeks we spent there in total, we never ate so well as with Ida's local food. On top, meals are included in the price of the resort, and it's really worth it.
- we did wonderful diving. I have to say that if you don't dive, you will propbably get bored in Bunaken as there is practically nothing to do on the island, not even take the sun. As the Lonely planet says, beaches are full of rubbish coming from Manado, so you can't lie on the sand. But it is not the case of the underwater which is really really beautiful and really worth the trip.

Advice if you go to Bunaken: try to book your next stop beforehand as there is no Internet connection on the island. And don't hesitate to visit the villages that are nearby the resort: people are very nice and are not so used to see tourists who normally remain in their resorts on the coast.

Room Tip: All the bungalows are up the hill behind the restaurant/ reception and I think they all have sea vie...
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank SevcheBCN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tangerang, Jawa Barat, Indonesia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 October 2012

This place had become my first trip with my wife to Manado, and I'm having great time to stay. Great place and friendly service from the owner and all the staffs. Clean place. Clean Room. Very good food. Easy to have snorkling in front of the cottage. Not much mosquito. There are no hot water and no air conditioner, but there is a fan, anyway you won't stay at room whole day, because a lot of great site you will be missed.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Cicak_Senang_Bunaken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Happy Gecko Resort Bunaken (Cicak Senang)

Property: Happy Gecko Resort Bunaken (Cicak Senang)
Address: Liang Beach, Bunaken Island 95242, Indonesia (Formerly Happy Gecko Resort (Cicak Senang))
Region: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bunaken Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 15 Speciality Lodging in Bunaken Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small and cosy dive resort with only six spacious wooden bungalows on a hillside. Great sea views from your private balcony. Breezy seaside restaurant, with great food and cold drinks. Dive center on the premises with good diving at competitive prices. The owner, Jerry, was born and raised on the island and together with his Dutch wife he welcomes you to come and dive Bunaken. ... more   less 
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