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“Fantastic diving”

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Nomad Divers Bangka
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 September 2013

Knowing that Simon and Sophie were just starting up their resort, we decided to gamble on staying here and were glad that we did. We loved the location; the diving at Bangka was incredible and some of the dive sites there were only 15 minutes away, including the dugong which we were lucky enough to see. It was also a reasonable day's trip to go to Lembeh and the Bunaken and the variety when diving all three sites was really great. We felt safe with divemaster Dolphi who pointed out all kinds of things which we never would have seen on my own. There are hammocks to relax in at the end of the day. The resort is set in a mangrove area, which means wading to the dive boat and no beach at mid-high tide. However, a coarsely sandy beach is located a 5 minute walk away. The water here is relatively free of trash which is a nice bonus for Indonesia.

The food here was also a highlight: it was fantastic and varied and we loved that, on days that we were away in Lembeh or Bunaken, we were able to get off the dive boat and have lunch at another partner resort.

The cottages are all newly built and beautiful and kept quite clean. As another reviewer said, they are a bit sparse which is not a problem, but I feel like the flow of the cottage we stayed in might be improved with a furniture rearrangement (one of my pet peeves is the lack of two bedside tables; I ended up keeping my book and headlamp in bed next to me so as not to have to reach over my sleeping husband after I was done reading at night). Some additional hooks might come in handy as well. We had trouble finding places to hang our towels and wet items given that it was often raining outside.

A few small things did strike us that we felt could be improved which I'm sure will be addressed as the resort grows: we found the lack of hot showers quite bothersome. When we were at Nomad in July, there was an unusually rainy, cloudy, and chilly spell in progress (to the point where I asked for an extra blanket after the first night). After diving, especially after our evening mandarin dive (success, by the way!), we were chilly and really wanted a warm shower and found it hard to shower in cold water.

We're relatively new divers, so don't have our own equipment. It was great that all the equipment at Nomad was new, but it was the only place where we've been diving where a dive computer wasn't included in the equipment rental. It would have been nice to have the option of long wetsuits, especially in the colder months.

Sophie and Simon were gracious hosts--Sophie even let me borrow her booties and fins after I got a blister from the rental finds--and very pleasant to talk with over meals. They actively sought our feedback to improve the resort. I think this place will only get better as it grows!

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank AlisaAAM
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 reviewResponded 19 September 2013

Hello, thanks for taking the time to review us, we had a lovely time with you guys! We always ask for feedback as, being a new resort we just want to improve. We had a carpenter here last month making new furniture out of local Bangka wood and have printed and framed some fabulous guest photos for the rooms so hopefully they are now brighter and better! We also have future plans for solar power which will allow each cottage to have its own power supply and also hot water! I agree that after a night dive it would be lovely to have hot water but at the moment it's in the future planning stage only. I hope you enjoyed your travels afterwards, best wishes, Sophie

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Reviews (74)
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53 - 59 of 74 reviews

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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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 reviewResponded 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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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
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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 reviewResponded 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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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
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 reviewResponded 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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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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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 reviewResponded 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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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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1  Thank Michelle F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank Bastianos1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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 #4 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Bangka Island
Price Range: £30 - £50 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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