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“Eccentric and relaxing dive center - great for a longer stay”
Review of Mangga Lodge

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Mangga Lodge
Ranked #5 of 13 Speciality Lodging in Bira
Singapore
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Eccentric and relaxing dive center - great for a longer stay”
Reviewed 21 August 2014

Mangga is not for everyone, and its charms take a while to reveal themselves. But first- stay at Bara, not Bira, if you want a real beach, and not the Jersey Shore. Bira is teeming with people and drinkstands and rubbish. Bara, much like many Indonesian beaches, does have some rubbish, but is far less crowded. At Bara you can stay at Mangga, Bara Beach Cottages, or the more rustic dive center.

Mangga does not front on the ocean, and it doesn't have puffy towels or a huge breakfast buffet. It's not a generic fancy hotel.But it does have a very serious and experienced dive center with both a dive instructor (Elvis, the owner) and a divemaster. My husband and our 10 year old did a first, easy dive that hooked them completely on diving. But the waves were too big to do much on other days for inexperienced divers. We will come back once we learn to dive. Everyone else there had come to dive, and they raved about the sharks and fish they saw.

Mangga also has a lovely third-floor tower with climbing yellow flowers, a view of the ocean, monkeys that come and sit in the tamarind tree in the morning, bright green birds flying through the trees, open sitting areas outside the (more expensive) rooms, a dog named Betty, and birds that Elvis is rehabilitating. Heaven for kids to wander around and feed the fish and eavesdrop on the kittens hidden on the top floor. We found it a wonderful, relaxing place to stay-- we extended our time there by three days.

Note: the food is better at Bara Beach Cottages, so ask if you can eat lunch or dinner there. At least have a beer there and enjoy the ocean. And there is no Wifi at Mangga, but you can ask Stefan at BBC about using his wifi hot spot. One reason the prices are more expensive at Bara is that everything needs to be brought in-- e.g., all the water--and half the time things are running on the generator because the electricity goes out. It feels like you are at the end of the world. And you are.

Just to respond to the last reviewer: the ferry doesn't run if the waves are too high. And- having met someone who survived the sinking of an Indonesian ferry by swimming for 24 hours- that is a good thing in the long run.

Final note: better to book by emailing Elvis directly via Mangga's website, rather than book through Agoda or Booking.com. If you feel you must reserve via the latter (which is not necessary), do it through Booking.com. Agoda messed up our reservation and it was initially a problem, but Mangga fixed it.

In short: our girls still say wistfully, "We wish we were back at Mangga."

Room Tip: The second-floor room above the kitchen has a king sized bed and two bunkbeds; they sleep a family n...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank GigiSingapore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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44 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 August 2014

Positive: The beach is lovely if you are able to look away from all the garbage. The place is at a pleasantly silcent distance from Bira. The neighbouring restaurant at Bara Beach Bungalows (BBB), only a few stairs up from the beach, has good food at half the price of Mangga Lodge. BBB also has ocean view, wifi, and top service by the extremely kind manager Stefan and his staff. Stay at BBB if you can afford to pay a little bit more than at Mangga Lodge.

Negative: Booking.com said Mangga Lodge has wifi. Truth: No wifi. Booking.com said there was only one room left. Truth: We were the only guests, all other rooms were empty. Booking.com said they would accept credit cards. Truth: They do not - we had to spend half a day of our holiday to travel to Bira to get cash (and wait for the driver while he was doing his business there). Lonely Planet says that the neigbouring restaurant at BBB is a nice place to enjoy the sunset. Truth: There is no sunset here, the sun sets behind the hill behind the restaurant. Avoid the restaurant at Mangga Lodge which has bad food at double price of neighbouring BBB and no view, it is simply dark and overgrown. Lonely Planet is very positive about Elvis the owner. Truth: Even though it was high season, Elvis had left for holiday. What did Elvis think when he established a dam with plants between the bungalows? This is a perfect hatchery for mosquitos which fills up your outdoor bathroom in the evenings. To us it is totally incomprehensible how this overgrown lodge (and construction site) - could get so good ratings. Value for money? Very bad, we payed exactly the same price at Mangga Lodge as we payed at three stars hotel with large swimmingpool with pool service, big breakfast bouffet, daily room cleaning, and panoramic ocean view in Labuanbajo. Why at all go to Pantai Bara, which if you arrive from Makassar, will costs you a long and quite expensive drive? Well, we went there to take the, according to Lonely Planet, weekly Sunday boat to Labuanbajo, Flores. However, this week there was no such boat ....

Room Tip: Avoid the bungalows near the mosquito dam.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Reisglad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Bira hotels

Bali
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2014

The nearby beach is quite nice but has lots of rubbish - cans, plastic bottles etc. The hotel is very expensive for what you get. The bathroom stank and the water in the shower didn't drain. Cheap aircon in the room didn't work very well - kept switching on and off. As for the food, it was tasteless and very very expensive. Also the management is not friendly. Far better value is to stay in Bira where rooms are a third of the price and you can get good food at one of the restaurants there.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank tempodulu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sanur, Indonesia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2013

I didn't stay here but I enjoyed few hours on its beach and I found a very lovely beach.
Coconut tree, 3 colors sea and sands just like flour.

I also tried their restaurants. Ice cream and pineapples pancake, kinda delicious

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank windapth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jakarta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 October 2013

At first I create my booking trough booking.com with a status confirmed, but then when I call the hotel before I check in, they said that they don't have my reservation trough booking.com and the hotel was full booked until Mid November. Then I confirmed to booking.com and they said they already call the hotel but didn't get any response. As a hotel that already registered in an international system like booking.com, their management is terrible. And also the staff that picked up my phone was not nice and didn't answer what I'm asking about but just keep telling me that the hotel was full.

Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank AzaliaSeptihani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 September 2013

What an amazing place. Mangga lodge sits back from the empty white sandy beach and turquoise water. With palm trees all along the shoreline.
We dived at Mangga Lodge for 3 days and I wish we could have stayed longer . The currents can be quite strong but Elvis, the owner, is so knowledgeable about the area he can organise the dives to suit your experience.
On every dive we were joined by inquisitive white tip and black tip sharks .
I would recommend pre booking your diving with Elvis , as there are only a few dive centers in Bira and when we were there Elvis was the only one actually open.
We will return to Bira and definitely stay at Mangga lodge.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mantaray2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dahab, Egypt
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 September 2013

We did not stay at Mangga lodge but we did dive from there.
The owner Elvis really knows his stuff about the diving in this area which is a great bonus as the currents can be very strong and in all directions including down.
If he says you will see a shark resting on the sand at 15m you probably will see one.
It is best to book ahead for diving as they only have a limited amount of scuba gear and as they were at the time we were there the only dive center operating it saves being told you can't dive.
The diving is excellent and quite challenging with steep walls and as mentioned before strong currents. The upside of this is the amount of sharks you see. After 6 dives we had seen over thirty sharks, White tips and Black tips being the most common.
The beaches are straight out of a holiday brochure with bright white sand and leaning palm trees.
Bira is well off the beaten track and is a 5-6 hour drive from the airport at Makkassar but give yourself time to relax and dive while there and the journey is worth it.
We will definitely be back to see Elvis and next time stay at his Mangga lodge.....

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Clive H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mangga Lodge

Property: Mangga Lodge
Address: Bira-Bulukumba | Selatan, Bira, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Sulawesi > South Sulawesi > Bira
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 13 Speciality Lodging in Bira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Mangga Lodge Bira, Indonesia - Sulawesi

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