Derawan: Going solo Vs Group and Where to Stay

Group or Solo

I’m not a big fans of organized trip but I did go with one for Derawan because during my research I found that going there is tricky. However I customized the trip by extending the trip to another 2 nights so total of 5 days where I have 3 full days. Day 1 and day 5 is practically spend on the road getting there and going home. On day 1: Flight to Balikpapan is at 6am and we finally reach Derawan at 5pm (it should be 2hours earlier if we didn’t have problems with the plane and the boat). On day 5 we had to leave at 9.30am

Us enjoying our quiet time at the jetty after the big group has gone

If going Solo, going with 4 people is best in term of cost. You can split the fixed cost such as car rent and boat with 4 people.

If you prefer going by a tour, which can be cheaper if there is only for 1 or 2 of you then I’m recommending Malik from Kakaban Tour. He can be reached here: Kakaban Trip
He has 1- 2 trips each month and the trip ranges from Super Saver, Luxury Package and Private Trip.

Where to Stay

High end:

Near Derawan:
1. Maratua Paradise Resort in Maratua island: I literally drool when I saw the pictures. I saw the outside look and their jetty with really nice red lounges and they look tempting

2. Nabucco Resort in Nabucco island:

in Derawan:
Derawan Dive Resort
They look pretty deserted on weekdays and our impression is not that good about them. We asked if we can have lunch/dinner at their restaurant for a change and they said they only open for their guests. Other tourist said they quoted really expensive price for a dive: USD 75 per dive as opposed to USD 25 per dive quoted by Dive center in Losmen danakan. Most of their cottages are on beachfront rather than over the water. Fews are over the water but I can imagine those would be expensive

Mid to High End
Derawan Cafe.
Their jetty is the same length as derawan Dive and definitely more friendly 🙂 We can eat there alright though with price more expensive than the local warung. Their cottages are all on the beach. There is a good snorkeling spot in their jetty right and left. The corals on the left goes straight to the derawan Dive jetty
Like Derawan Dive they have 24hr electricity and aircon

Mid to Low End
Electricity only available from 6pm to 6 am
Cottages over the water: 300K to 150K
The one with aircon will be around 200-300K and below that for non aircon
The losmen/homestays on the beach and more on the back will be between 50-100K

Some which looks good to me:

1. Reza and Dira Homestay (where we stay and recommend. They only have 3 cottages above the water though and all non aircon)
2. Sari Cottages (have AC and nonAC)
3. Losmen danakan (have AC and nonAC)
4. Mirolis Pelangi Cottage (have AC and nonAC)
5. Derawan Fisheries
I saw two more over the water cottages which looks new but I didn’t know their names. Derawan is a small island so all are within walking distance and if you come on weekdays you can choose the accommodation when you arrive

Reza and Dira Homestay

You can swim with sea turtle which occasionally would swim in front of our cottage

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