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“Beautiful Island but not a good resort”

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Bembaran Beach Resort
Reviewed 6 December 2013

Went there as a group of 3. The island is stunningly beautiful. The boat trip from the mainland is quite rocky (wavy) but I guess it's seasonal.

The beach, room and the dining lounge is nice. There is no electricity on daytime. Wifi only available at the dining lounge. It is not an issue anyway because you will be outside enjoying the scenery or going to the seas for snorkeling or diving. The place is so relaxing. You can rest at the dining hall watching tv, sleep on the hammock or on the beach chairs. You can order some fresh coconut too for your pleasure.

The food are buffet style and is very nice. You get three meals a day so you no need to worry about hunger.

The room are comfortable and the bed is nice. The chalet are new and looks nice with local paintings hung on the wall. the downside is the water quality. It is a bit smelly (smell saltish) and we feel sticky even after bathing.

I am not satisfied with the service by the staff.
We went for snorkeling. We have two session of snorkeling on the first day and one session on second day. The staff attends lady tourist and chit chatting with them for long time and ignoring me when I'm getting the equipment for snorkeling. In the end I am the one that have to ask for the equipments.

On our first day we done snorkeling at two spots. We were never been informed that the two spots are actually means two session combined. There is no staff to guide us and we are left with question marks of what our next activity is. We have to ask the staff every time for information. Only when we get down from the boat we know that our two sessions are indeed finished for the day.. If we didn't ask, we would be wasting our time for the next "session". We feel like we are begging for the staff to tell us anything. We definitely do not feel being welcomed here.

Regarding the snorkeling, the boat actually ties their boat onto a coral. It is disheartening to see this.

My friend who went for scuba diving actually being denied taking the last session on the next day because she is taking flight on the night. Based on the information we get before we reach this island, one can insist on diving on the day they taking flight but they will need to sign an indemnity form. But here my friend is totally denied from getting the form as well.

We went to see the sunset at a village at the opposite side of the island. The villagers are friendly and the kids will be very friendly to you. Only later we know that the young girls are actually after my girlfriend's necklace. They ask from her whether she can give them her necklace, when she declined, they went to the other tourist to ask for their accessories instead. They are "friendly" with you but they actually want something from you. Staff and villager never scold the children for doing this. So tourist beware of your belongings. If you don't understand their language do not lend them your belongings otherwise they think you are giving it to them.

My friend wanted to buy the beer, and when she paid for it, the seller (in the dining lounge) didn't return the change, assuming the change is a tip. My friend was very angry because she never said it is a tip, and he just kept the money quietly without informing my friend, When my friend ask from him the change, he said he got no money for change. So basically he pocketed the change money. Very bad service.

There is no tour guide to guide us anyway and we followed other tourist group with tour guide for night walk and sunrise.

On our day back the boat operators rush us back to the mainland, going through the rough seas. It was raining heavily and the sea is very rough. Several times when the high wave comes we thought we will be swimming in the sea.

Thank you for the rough ride, we swear we will never visit the island again.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank seeput
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6 - 12 of 12 reviews

Reviewed 4 June 2013

basic facilities are offered with functioning air conditioner rooms, comfortable bed and homely malaysian cuisines served for breakfast,lunch and dinner. The staff here are friendly and makes the atmosphere in this resort really calming and makes you feels like in your own hometown. Diving here is no paradise but heyyy the visibility of the waters are really great and few dive site could really amazed you.What i really would like to advise is bring your own toileteries although body soap,shampoo toothbrush and paste are provided, it might not suit to your preffered "cleaning material" as it is also basic materials.Wifi connection is also available in this resort(yeapp,take picture and post it to your social network immediately!!) Overall, do not expect a lavish lifestyle here but embrace the island's life.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank evyron2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2013

You must first love nature to be here. Place is rather spartan. Our family and friends spent two night here for a diving trip. The place was pretty basic but again it is a place for divers and watersport activities. It ain't Club Med! But most divers wouldn't mind. Aside from the beautiful beach, the water and corals were pretty amazing too.

The meal was pretty modest and basic too. So, you might want to bring your own ration to top up cause there is no shop selling any there unless you want to wander into the village. Electricity is only available after 5pm. So, do bring a good book to read apart from watching the sunset and indulging in the water activities. You are after all expected to enjoy the nature. For its price and the nature that if offers, this is not such a bad place. Would come back to dive again.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank lynd_anwar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ZamzaniPamin, Manager at Bembaran Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 23 May 2013

Bembaran Beach Dive Lodge offers guests with basic facilities. We have 4 "Kampung" chalet room and 2 Long House room furnish with lighting, socket points, ceiling/wall fan, air-con & attach bathroom. Every room is furnish with a dressing table and cupboard to put belongings. Currently, there are 6 rooms with the capacity of 20 people on the lodge. This year 2013, we are adding 6 additional rooms as well increasing the occupancy to a total of 40 people. Because our dive lodge is new, feedbacks and comments are most welcome for us to improve.  Guests are put up with beds, pillows, blankets, towels and basic toilet amenities. Guests are  reminded to bring personal toiletries. Please bring along insect repellent for your personal comfort as every guest is in the natural environment of the island. Therefore, wet places especially bushy areas are where mosquitos are most active importantly in the evening. Please be caution. Mosquito Coil may be provided upon request.

Full board meals are provided at the lodge’s Bembaran Cafe.

Breakfast (7am to 9am)
Lunch (12pm - 2pm)
Dinner (6pm – 8pm)

After Hours : We have ala carte menu that you could request from the bar shop chargeable locally at the lodge.

The island is blessed with long stretches of beaches which is good for walkabouts.
Bembaran’s electricity supply is available from 2.00 p.m. to 10.30 a.m. daily. It is powered by our three (3) resort generators. Currently, the government’s electrical supply (island generators located at the main fishing village) is not able to support most of the resorts/lodges at Mantanani Island, as it is already powering the two (2) island fishing villages. They are undergoing upgrades in the near future. Hence, the limited supply of power at the moment. The electricity supply voltage is 240v, 50-cycle system. A 3 square pin contact plug is needed. We have a small shopping facility on the lodge at the bar shop that you could still get somethings like snacks, beverages, sun block and lotion and etc chargeable locally. Anything important and necessary is advisable to be brought by you. 

A “Mobile Telecommunication Tower” will be installed in 2013 on the island which will provide good mobile reception/network to the island. The dive lodge is also a WiFi zone.

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Reviewed 3 November 2012

I stayed here for 2 nights. The rooms are basic but comfortable, with fan and fully functioning traditional mandi (bucket shower). The staff were very friendly especially as I was the only English speaking tourist - most tourists are from China. The food was ok but they were seriously lacking in drinks. I did have to keep asking the kitchen for water but there were no soft drinks available to buy, just beer.

My biggest bug bear was how people were allowed to snorkel. Most people couldn't swim and were crashing about in the water. There were no warnings about how to treat the coral. Aside from the actual resort much of the beaches are covered in plastic bottles. If you walk around to the villagers side of the island most of the kids are playing with the plastic waste in the sea.

Ths island is beautiful but an ecological disaster in motion.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank Pandapops73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ZamzaniPamin, Manager at Bembaran Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 23 May 2013

Coral reefs are the foundation of the economy on the Mantanani islands, mainly for the growing tourism industry. However, fish bombing is known to be a major problem in the area. In 1997, a study recorded an average of 2.5 explosions per hour in Mantanani (Pilcher & Oakley), and fish bombing continues today, with significant impacts on the islands’ reefs. The capacity of Mantanani’s reefs to continue to provide the ecosystem services mentioned above is being severely degraded by this fish bombing activity.

Mantanani’s reefs have been surveyed previously. The results of an earlier study showed that Mantanani had 64.6% Live Coral Cover in 2000 (Cabanan, 2000). Over the last 12 years, LCC has fallen to 43%, a reduction of some 30%, changing the condition from ‘Good’ to ‘Fair’.
It appears that blast fishing has largely contributed to the destruction of the reefs around Mantanani. During the surveys, it was clearly observed that most of the sites surveyed were greatly impacted by blast fishing.

However, it was also observed that some reefs are recovering. By controlling the
anthropogenic threats (destructive fishing, anchoring), this can help the reefs to recover faster. A lack of enforcement from local authorities has also lead to widespread use of explosives to fish.

The following recommendations are being discussed to improve the health of coral reefs around Mantanani:
1. The establishment of a marine reserve area or protected area is needed. Protecting reefs in gazetted areas can contribute to increasing their resilience to both natural (storms and disease) and man-made (dynamite fishing and overfishing). It will also help populations of fish and invertebrates to recover.
2. Set up long term coral reef monitoring at selected sites involving government departments and
stakeholders (local population, academia, tourism operators and NGOs).
3. Continual education and awareness campaigns for the local community to raise awareness of the impact of reef destruction on their livelihoods. Also, it is advisable to educate tourism operators and tourists on correct ‘reef etiquette’ to minimise tourism impact.
4. Implementation of legislation and regulations for coral reef management and enforcement is important. Regular sea patrolling needs urgent implementation.

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Reviewed 27 October 2012

Stayed for 1N2D (wouldn't recommend for any longer).

Basic lodgings on a beautiful island. AC doesnt really work and the shower is a bucket. There is electricity from 5pm until 8 am which is great and there is good wifi and there is a plasma TV (no English channels-but who needs TV on such a beautiful island). The activities include: night walk (crab catching) and viewing the sunset on the inhabited side of the island (big eye opener for seeing the other side to paradise).

The buffet was ok, however food was only bought out once and once only. After all the other travellers had helped themselves, there was no food left which was really disappointing. Could ask for water from the kitchen staff but this wasn't ideal-it should be available the whole time.

The island is beautiful but the coral is in terrible condition in places. My partner and I are both divers, but we only did a snorkelling package. The trip mainly caters to asians and unless we didn't hear ....there is no warning not to touch the coral or take the coral and some of the coral was even written on!!!!! But then again there's no hope when the boat anchors to the coral.........!!!!! Very very disappointing. Also was frustrating that on our final day we weren't allowed to go snorkelling on the 2nd trip when there's plenty of time!!

I would only ever go back for a day trip-if at all.

Room Tip: Be aware that the weather conditions effect the trips and ours was initially cancelled (not ideal wh...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Varcher7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ZamzaniPamin, Manager at Bembaran Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 23 May 2013

We are grateful for the valuable feedback. As we have just been operating for only 2 years now plus construction, we will work on the feed backs to well improve ourselves for the future.

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Reviewed 27 August 2016 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: August 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank Rapacanu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor China Member
Reviewed 6 December 2015
Google Translation

  • Stayed: November 2015, travelled with friends
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Thank A TripAdvisor China Member
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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Additional Information about Bembaran Beach Resort

Address: Pantai Dugong | Mantanani Besar Island, Kota Belud, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Kota Belud District > Kota Belud
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 8 Speciality Lodging in Kota Belud
Price Range: £82 - £517 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bembaran Beach Resort is a charming beach dive lodge located on Mantanani Island of the coastal area of Kota Belud. Kota Belud is well known for its beauty and concentration of cultures.DescriptionThe long term goal of the dive lodge is to become the best choice in Mantanani Island, Kota Belud for beach lodging by creating a differentiated experience capitalizing on low budget rates and its unique location in one of the most attractive parts of Sabah West Coast. BBR plan to be more than a great beach lodge. We plan to create an atmosphere that surpasses the standard fare for Kota Belud. Expanding our exposure via the Internet and introducing Kota Belud to people those have not yet discovered this year-round paradise will allow us to maintain an average occupancy rate and average profits.Creating an “Eco friendly Dive Lodge” which is often more beautiful and palatial than where they are traveling from will ensure many return guests. The riches of Kota Belud have always drawn a significant number of tourists to the West Coast area. BBR has two distinct competitive edges that differentiate it from the competition. The first is the low budget rates. Despite this, we recognizes that their mission is to ensure that their guests have a comfortable stay with them. BBR second competitive edge is the location where we are secluded at the Southern Point of the island.The facility is so wonderful in part because of the traditional style chalet which is a memorable place to stay. It is also unique because of the location, overlooking the ocean, a beautiful area surrounded by our own beach front and our second beach (dugong beach, Mantanani Paradise) which is a 8 minute walk. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bembaran Beach Resort Kota Belud, Sabah, Malaysia

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