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“Amazing Pulau Bangka”

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Nomad Divers Bangka
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing Pulau Bangka”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 August 2013

Nomad Divers, run by Sophie and Simon from England. It has been open only four months and offers only four bungalows at this stage. The property is nestled among the mangroves with a small stretch of sand out front and around the beach-front structures. It is quiet and remote (10-15 minute walk to the village) but I never felt bored – perhaps I was too busy diving or feeling exhausted. The bungalows are spacious, clean, if not a little sparsely furnished, and have a huge outdoor bathroom.

Everything here moves. It is very much a living island. Hermit crabs, lizards, monitor lizards, frogs, geckos, three friendly and playful dogs, small snakes that come out at night and fish in the water’s edge, tarsiers, and so on. It was quite cool.

So the diving…..what can I say. Brilliant. Excellent variety which I like – couldn’t imagine doing the same dive 3 or 4 times in one day over the course of a week. Bangka has walls with deep drop offs, incredible coral gardens, black and white sandy and rocky bottoms for great muck diving, drift dives, pinnacles, boulders.... it goes on. It does not however have large pelagics frequenting the waters although there is a resident dugong and I did manage to see an eagle ray. The great thing about the location is that Bunaken and Lembeh, the more famous and popular sites, are an easy day trip away. I did trips to both and still preferred Bangka.

Lembeh is purely a muck diving location, aside from a Japanese cargo wreck which I dived to get my nitrox certification. We had some poor visibility as it bucketed down the night before and didn’t find too much. Bunaken has a massive wall surrounding the island that descends 100’s of metres and the appeal of venturing out into the blue to search for hammerheads, white tips, pilots whales and mantas. We did three dives around the wall, saw one massive beast of a turtle, but drifting along the wall just bored me in the end. The coral was still amazing.

Back to Bangka….the variety of corals, both soft and hard was incredible. And you could spend weeks and weeks hunting for so many species of fish it isn’t funny. This was something I really enjoyed, finding various elusive creatures. I must make a comment here on my guide Rudolfi (Dolfi), a local guy, whom has been diving the area for some time. He had an excellent eye for the macro stuff. I don’t know how many times he showed me something minute and I signaled to him….”how the hell am I supposed to photograph that with this?!?!” One of the best aspects – I think I only saw other divers once on the 12 dives I did in Bangka itself.

I can’t recommend Nomad Divers enough. Simon and Sophie have something pretty good there and it will only get better as they continue to find their feet. It is a very affordable alternative to the 3-4 star resorts around. The staff are very good (Mama, cook, and Papa Dolfi, boat captain, and Dolfi as guide). And if there is a decent group of people there, get them to organise a spit roast pig over the coconut husks. Have a go at turning the manual bamboo spit and carving the beast.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank James V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sophie F, Owner at Nomad Divers Bangka, responded to this review, 19 September 2013
Hi J2! Thanks for reviewing us, as a seasoned traveller it was great to have your feedback and it was nice to dive Lembeh and Bunaken with you, we know you enjoyed that pig and think of you whenever we roast one on the beach! Enjoy the rest of your adventure and hope to catch up and see where you end up! Sophie
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70 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 August 2013

We basically walked up (metaphorically) and had a really relaxed few days of excellent diving, wonderful food and top notch company.
Sophie & Simon have built a great little resort on the basis that people arrive as guests and leave as friends. Their success is self evident and they clearly work very hard to make it look easy.
If we'd arrived on Bangka at the start of the holiday we probably would have spent the whole month there!
Keep it to yourself though, it's beautifully quiet and we don't want to spoil that now do we....

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank SimonClooney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sophie F, Owner at Nomad Divers Bangka, responded to this review, 19 September 2013
Hello! Thanks for taking the time to write on here, we had such fun with you two and hope to see you soon, next time you're in Singapore pop over and we'll show you the cus-cus, which we have found, and the tarsiers, which we haven't yet... but we will keep trying, we know they're here!
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Delhi
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2013

My friends and I stumbled across Nomad Divers because our original plans in Sulawesi went a bit wrong - that was such a lucky break! Sophie and Simon (and the three dogs O-Ring, Scoobs and Samson) absolutely made our holiday! They only set up for less than a year. Nomad Divers is a relatively basic and small resort (only 4 cottages) but it has all the necessary comforts, plenty of Bintang and a feel of somewhere secret and exclusive and away from beaten track. We loved it so much we cancelled the final destination of our holiday just to stay there for a couple more days. The diving is excellent - there are very few other divers around to get in your way, the waters are amazingly clear and free from any litter, the fish, corals, and pygmy seahorses are amazing. I even did my PADI Open Water course whilst I was there (Sophie is an excellent and patient instructor!). The food was also amazing - cooked by Mama Dolfi - a pig roast on the first night and freshly caught crab and tuna on the next two nights and nasi goreng to die for! This is a definitely a place to go to get away from it all, switch off your mobile phone (there's hardly any reception and no internet anyway) and have a few days diving in paradise!

Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank Glenn K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sophie240, Owner at Nomad Divers Bangka, responded to this review, 27 January 2014
Hello! You guys were completely mad and we had a brilliant time! We hope to see you again this year for more amazing diving and lots of fun! Thanks for the review!
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2013

Being an PADI IDC Staff instructor with several thousand dives, ive seen a few dive schools in my career. On visiting Nomand divers for my first dive holiday and no work for a long time i was litteraly knocked off my feet. Right from the initial contact with the owner Sophie through till our departure off the island i was filled with faith that there are good ones out there. For such a bargain Nomad will look after you, entertain you and take you on some breath taking dives. The resort is a little hideaway in its own paradise and lets you forget the world exists. The Bungalows you stay in are new, clean and well looked after and you will be fed 3 delicious meals a day. As for the diving they have bagged a winner. The local dive guide they have is hands down the best ive seen in asia, with good English and a real zest for diving he will find you stuff you really have never seen. Al in all i have nothing but praise for what Sophie and Simon are doing and for taking the time and effort to get it right. They are super nice people, professional and hugely accommodating to there guests and have no doubt with go from strength to strength. If you ask me, you have found your dive holiday here, book now.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Kipp H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sophie240, Owner at Nomad Divers Bangka, responded to this review, 27 January 2014
Hello! Thanks for reviewing us, no guest has ever had a dugong experience like yours and neither have I! Good luck with everything in the future and we hope to see you here again!
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Saint Athan,, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2013

Arriving in Manado I was greeted by the always enthusiastic Sophie and was whisked away by car to meet our boat which took us to the resort.
The accommodation was very comfortable and the private beach in where the resort sat was something out of a holiday programme with crystal clear waters and a sandy beaches. Once I had mastered how to get into a hammock without falling out...there was no stopping me in my bid to chill out, unwind and recharge my batteries.
The diving was out of this world, I have never seen such variety in colours and life. We even took a little day trip to Lembeh to check out the diving in this iconic location.
Whilst staying I decided to further my diving qualifications and sat my PADI rescue divers course. Sophie was my instructor on this and put me through my paces and made sure that whilst challenging it was always fun.
The final night we had a hogg roast which was delicious.
I'll be looking forward to my next visit and I'm saving thr pennies already

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Michelle F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manado, Indonesia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 June 2013

After visiting many dive resorts over the world it's so refreshing to find a place like Nomad Divers. It's a very small resort with just a few rooms offering a very personalised, 'at your own pace' service, making you feel every bit on holiday. The resort is owned by a friendly English couple, Simon and Sophie, who are with you throughout the day, leading the dives and joining you for meals, making sure you leave as friends and with a smile on your face, which we did. The food was great, local dishes full with flavour, on our leaving night they arranged a BBQ right on the beach, with the friendly locals singing for us - it was very memorable. They also serve the best cups of tea anywhere in South East Asia - that's a fact
I've dived a lot in north sulawesi, most notably in the famous sites of Bunaken and Lembeh and would say Bangka, sitting right in the middle, is the perfect combination of them both. There's amazing macro life - Flambuoyant Cuttlefish, Mimic Octopus, Pygmy Seahorses etc, but they also have the big stuff too, like - Turtles, Black Tip Reef Shark, Eagle Rays.... with the added bonus that they're one of the better places in the world to see the elusive Dugong. We weren't lucky to see one cause we only stayed a couple of nights but I'm sure I'll be heading back for another chance soon

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Bastianos1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Larkspur, Colorado
Level Contributor
457 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 254 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2013

My husband and I are always seeking a resort in North Sulawesi with great dive sites nearby and were thankful to find that with Nomad Dive Resort in Bangka.

We were amicably greeted at the Manado airport and whisked away in an air conditioned van to the tip of North Sulawesi. We took a 60-minute boat ride to the resort. This is a new venture of for our hosts Sophie and Simon from the UK and we had a wonderful stay.

Our beach cottage was only steps off their stunning beach and the dive boat. We were greeted by dolphins on our way to our daily dives. Another diver had spotted a dugong during our trip. We saw giant broadclub cuttlefish, many nudis, eels, frogfish, scorpionfish and much more.

The food was excellent (with nice local fruit) and the accommodations were more than comfortable. All of our dives near the resort were fabulous and unique for the area. We have done over 1000 dives worldwide with 200+ in North Sulawesi (Lembeh Straits and Bunaken) and this area added an interesting third dimension of critters and dive topography that left us wanting more. Their dive boat had a 4 stroke motor (no smoke) which was awesome. The dive boat was equipped with oxygen and their rental dive gear was all new, a pleasant surprise.

We could hear tarsiers (small primate with big eyes) vocalizing in the trees in the pre dawn hours. We were amazed by the hospitality of the resort hosts and the Bankga dive sites. The value for our stay was excellent and will be back again soon.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Oceandweller7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sophie F, Owner at Nomad Divers Bangka, responded to this review, 19 April 2013
Thanks for taking the time to write your review, we're so glad you enjoyed the diving - we love the variation between here, Bunaken and Lembeh - and we had a great time with you!
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Additional Information about Nomad Divers Bangka

Property: Nomad Divers Bangka
Address: Bangka Island, Bangka Island 95000, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bangka Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Bangka Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a small friendly scuba diving resort on Bangka Island, North Sulawesi. With daily trips to Lembeh and Bunaken you can enjoy a huge variety of diving with us. We have four bungalows with en-suite bathrooms and balcony and a beachside restaurant, bar and dive centre. ... more   less 

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