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“Solid choice for budget diving in Tulamben”

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Matahari Tulamben Resort, Dive & SPA
Ranked #1 of 12 Hotels in Tulamben
Certificate of Excellence
Mountain View, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Solid choice for budget diving in Tulamben”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Matahari was my introduction to the world of budget resorts. The old adage "you get what you pay for" holds true, but there is room for some wiggle at the edges. At Matahari, you get slightly more than what you pay for.

I purchased a 5.1 million IDR package that included rides to and from Matahari, SSI open water dive certification course including 4 ocean dives, 3 nights stay, 3 days breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a one hour Balinese massage. I purchased an additional dive for $40 ($25 for dive master, $15 for equipment rental), and people that need neither can get their tanks topped up and their gear ported for $5 or $10 - I believe it is $10, but the same price for a couple as it is for a single person. Matahari, like every service provider in Bali, offers better deals for couples than singles.

The grounds are a pleasant, well-tended jungle garden filled with hammocks and beach chairs. The dives are nice - the SS Liberty wreck lives up to the hype (but go in the morning if you can to avoid heavy dive traffic) and the drop-off hosts a stunning coral collection. There is also a coral garden starting just a few meters off shore, which is less interesting but a good easy dive to get used to the area.

Nothing at Matahari will match a top quality resort, but if you come to Tulamben you should be coming for the diving and snorkeling anyway. That said, the rooms are comfortable and clean with wifi and A/C, the staff is helpful, the food is edible, and the location is right on the shoreline. The front-desk was happy to lend me an American power adapter. And did I mention it is super cheep? There were some ants in the room and geckos on the balcony, but in Bali these are unavoidable unless you are in an ultra-hygienic modern concrete-and-steel building, which Matahari is not.

All of the staff speaks some English, and the dive and front-desk personnel are fluent. I did experience some language barriers with the wait staff which resulted in the accidental ordering of an extra drink when I was trying to pay for the last one, but I didn't mind the wasted $2.

Tulamben is fairly empty and small, so don't expect to do much outside of the beach. There are small shops that sell beverages, cigarettes, and sun screen, and that's about it. There is a bar down the street with a pool table operated by a German man, but I found the dinner room at Matahari to be busier and offer more conversation.

I was happy with the dive instructor. He had a laid-back manner and got us under the pool water right away. He was big on hands-on instruction and not so enthusiastic on the academic stuff - asking us to read the SSI manual to pass the written test on our own time in the evening. That suited me just fine - I didn't fly to Bali to sit in a classroom. Underwater, he had a wonderful calming manner and I felt safe with him which is important in a sport that is fundamentally terrifying to our subconscious mammalian brain.

After 3 nights at Matahari, I was sad to leave. I had gotten to know several of the guests and dive staff and was having a good time. I left a certified SSI open water diver and was taken care of for 4 days for less than $500. If I dive Tulamben again, I will stay here.

Room Tip: I was in the cheapest room and it was perfectly comfortable. Only pay up for better rooms if you lik...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Jacob L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (103)
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England
Level Contributor
53 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 May 2014

We stayed at at the Matahari for 8 nights in May and are currently planning our return next year. I think that says it all!

Suci is very prompt and informative when replying to emails and delivers on her promises.

We booked a bungalow which was ideal for our needs. The bed was large and comfortable, the shower was hot, there was even a second sink and work area where you can rinse through your swimwear and test dive cameras etc before diving again. There was then a separate area with a wardrobe, digital safe (I don't think crime is a problem in Bali but better safe than sorry), a large fridge (with bottled water supplied every day) and a table and chair area. The air con worked well and was welcome relief from the Bali heat. Outside our door we had a small patio area with table and chairs and a space with rack to dry clothes. Mosquito nets were provided but not needed when we were there.

The rooms were cleaned every day. It seems there is only one key to each room so you either have to leave your key at reception or hand it to cleaning staff if you meet them and then collect your key at reception when you return.

The resort runs from a narrow frontage on the main road all the way down to the stony beach. The larger rooms - our bungalows - are nearer the dive centre and restaurant/beach.

All the staff were friendly and helpful. We particularly appreciated the welcome from the divemasters. They all appear to young local lads who like to have a laugh with guests. They are, however, very good divemasters and were very helpful to us even when we decided to dive unguided. Advice was given on best entry/exit points depending on the weather, what to look our for on each site etc. Porters were called promptly when required and full tanks always immediately available with proper fills of 200 bar.

You have the option of diving in a group, with a private guide or on your own (with a buddy) depending on your level of qualification and experience.

We did not try the spa but heard good reports.

We arrived at the Matahari courtesy of our dive school in Padang Bai but Suci arranged our transfer back to the airport. The driver was very courteous and a careful driver. He even made a couple of stops at my request to shop on the way as there are no real opportunities in Tulamben - one overpriced shop.

We believe we made the right choice as many of the other dive centres were on the other side of the road and did not have the option of stepping out of the dive school straight into the sea and onto the coral gardens and Suci's Place (complete with underwater statues).

We did not see any sharks when we were there but they do sometimes arrive apparently. Don't bank on seeing them. We did see one large bumphead parrot fish but missed the shoals leaving/returning to the Liberty due to timing of our dives but they do seem to be a daily occurrence.

There are now 2 cash machines in Tulamben which is very useful. One takes Visa and the other Mastercard. The limit is either 2,000,000 or 2,500,000 per transaction - so about £100 or £135. There are a couple of "supermarkets" but they have limited supplies although you can stock up on toothpaste, soft drinks and alcohol, biscuits etc. Otherwise it a small place which seems to exist purely to support divers.

We intend to return and will choose the Matahari again. Definitely recommended for divers.

Room Tip: The cheaper rooms are near the main road but that should not be a problem. We were very happy wit...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank EvelynEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1 review
Reviewed 26 May 2014

We stayed in May-14 for 5 days. Overall, the place is great! Worth it for the price we paid. Since this is family owned resort, don't expect for luxury resort service, just communicate with them for all your request/problem and they will help to give a solution (We leave early from our initial booking, and since we already paid full, we ask for extra day we paid to compensate with transportation back to Ubud, win-win solution!).

Room:
-The room were simple and nice (we stayed in Superior),
-The room has always got clean everyday as long we put the key in receptionist.
-Thin blanket, so just put high temperature for air-con :).

Dive center:
-3 dive spots just near from the dive center, so easy to do the beach entry
-Easy arrangement for dive schedule, just inform what do you want/request, they will easily sort out the problem.
-Since Nitrox is free, we took Nitrox SSI course with Didi as Instructor, fun learning.
-Ask about the weather in advance for diving in that month (if you have a flexible date to visit).
-DMs and Dive instructor were nice, so ask any question diving related to them.

Restaurant:
- Tasty food. Our favorite was Fish grill with Balinese sauce.
- The staffs were attentive and friendly.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Falahuddin_Rizani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
54 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2014

It's a great place, has a tranquil environment. Rooms were basic & clean. Alright for it's price. But the beds were a little too soft for my liking. Service crew were always smiling. Restaurant food was mediocre. We did dives and the instructors were friendly. But the shore dives were more taxing than boat dives as it is a rocky beach. A place recommended overall. Check out other restaurants nearby at night. It's a small town but with dim lights so if you decide to walk about at night bring your phone or torch

Room Tip: They are along the same stretch, not much of a difference.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank mahfreakinlaif
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 24 May 2014

It is my second time here, and I'm bringing four friends over to get their OWC cert with Matahari. We stayed in Matahari for a total of 4d3n while they get certified as new divers by end of the trip. One important figure of the resort is the owner, Suci, who replies your email promptly and personally. This reassured me that someone will be there to pick us up when we arrive and rooms will be ready upon our check-in. Especially that Tulamben is remote, and is three-hours drive away from Dempasar airport.

We are a group of 6 who stayed in their superior and standard room. The room is basic, equipped with a comfortable bed, a safe box, and aircon (superior)/ fan (standard). It is not fanciful, but definitely satisfy all basic needs (especially a clean bathroom equipped with hot shower). The staff cleans your room everyday whenever you leave your keys with the reception before you go for your dives, and thoughtfully replaces the bottled water in the room.

The cafe is situated facing the sea and he dive center. It is definitely a good place to relax during your surface intervals. It faces a good view of sunrise and moonrise!!! Friendly staff who serves you promptly, and food is rather good! You can just make a note to the staff of your room number and they will charge it to your room directly. This saves us a lot of trouble to return to room to get cash inbetween or after dives!

This place is a treasure for divers! Though facilities may not be fanciful, the service and sincerity from the Balinese exceeds its shortcomings.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rosalind T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed 19 May 2014

We took a diving package from Matahari, and I can say it was really well worth it for the price! The owner, Suci, also gave us special rates for Nitrox Courses and additional fun dives.

I won't be able to say that this is the BEST place in Tulamben, as this is the only resort and dive centre I've been to in this area. The rooms were comfortable, clean, working AC, spacious enough for me and my friend, you'll definitely be able to fall asleep after a full day worth of diving.

Food was also included in the package, and there's huge variety to choose from. Since there wasn't much to do in Tulamben, we spent most of our time inside Matahari, and it was sufficient for us. An hour long Bali Massage was also included in the package, and it was a good experience.

For diving wise, I guess it really depends on which DM you are assigned to, some really have good eyes, spotting many small creatures such as frogfish. The diving is also very flexible, there were only 2 of us assigned to 1 DM, and we basically have full control over when we wanted to dive, and where we wanted to go (for shore dives). Dive sites, including USAT Wreck were all walkable distance!

My friend and I were rather new divers, and the DM was patient in guiding us to set up our dive gear for the first few times. Once he saw we were proficient, the subsequent dives he set up all gears for us! Really convenient.

Take note that there is only 1 Dive Instructor for the dive centre, but they are able to manage it well for my group of friends taking both OW and AOWD courses with plenty of DMs around.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Keith W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jakarta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
199 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 May 2014

I stayed here recently for my diving trip. The price is modest for the accommodation and unlimited dives package. This dive center had five diving schedules with a guide per day and even if you are the only person diving during the schedule, such as in my visit, they still committed to pair you with a guide. But if you don't dive quite often in a day maybe it's cheaper to pay per dive rather than taking the unlimited package.

The location of several dive spots are nearby, just need to walk a little bit. These sites are beautiful. The food was good, it is over my expectation actually considering this is a rather remote location. The staff are okay and polite...well not too sociable though. If you have a specific dive interest or needs, such as photography or maybe you would rather to go slow with your dive, you should mention it in advance as not all the guides are quite familiar or had the same interest.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Leo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Matahari Tulamben Resort, Dive & SPA

Property: Matahari Tulamben Resort, Dive & SPA
Address: Jl. Kubu-Abang, Tulamben 80853, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Bali > Tulamben
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Tulamben
#3 Romantic Hotel in Tulamben
#6 Family Hotel in Tulamben
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Matahari Tulamben Resort, Dive & SPA 3*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With direct access to the beach, Matahari Tulamben Dive Resort & SPA offers an outdoor pool and a restaurant with stunning ocean views. Free Wifi Hotspot. The Dive Center provides convenient access to the Coral Garden and only 5 minutes walk to the USAT Liberty Wreck. Enjoy relaxing massages and beauty treatments in the lovely SPA.The homely Balinese-style rooms are all with private bathroom and equipped with either air conditioning or a fan. The low cost standard rooms have only cold water.The resort offers free parking, motorbike rental and laundry service as well as a tour desk for trip planning (included climbing).Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at beach restaurant, which serves appetising Seafood, Balinese Specialities, Indonesian and International cuisine.Transfer time from Ngurah Rai International Airport to Tulamben is 2,5 hrs and is available for a fee. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Matahari Tulamben Hotel Tulamben
Matahari Hotel Tulamben
Matahari Tulamben Hotel Bali
Matahari Tulamben Resort, Dive & SPA Bali

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