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Raja Laut

Updated Feb 2014

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(If you are too short of time to read my detailed report, you can also jump directly down to a summary with recommendation)

Our Stay 2013

Because of our pleasant experience two years ago we wanted to stay again in the RAJA LAUT also this time. We had booked in time and so we could take our bungalow immediately .

Also this time we found properly kept clean lodging. Also nothing has changed in the service and the friendliness of the manager and his staff.

Already at our last stay I had decided not to dive next time with our rented boat independently, but with the diving centre of the RAJA LAUT. As well my special interest was the diving with Nitrox. Cause the manager and dive inctructor Roberto had just completed his last preparations to be able to offer NITROX diving - now beside only few dive resorts on Bunaken. Then already few days after our arrival the premiere should take place.

A nearer description you find below...



The Raja Laut Dive Resort

RAJA After we had already stayed in 3 different Resorts of the lower price range, we wanted in addtion to spend the last week in the RAJA LAUT. This dive resort had opened just 2 years ago. Because we knew the Indonesian owner Silvia already for many years, we were already twice invited there to an Open air party during our already 6-week stay on Bunaken. Thus we had seen the resort already and have been taken with it, so that we decided to spend there this one week.

Eingang zum Raja LautWe had not booked and, hence, had called often in vain there to get a free bungalow. It is not further surprising that even in the low season mostly all 4 cottages of the small Resorts are fully booked. In the short time of the existence has probably got about very fast that one can stay and dive here very cheap and well. Then later I have experienced, by the way that also some customers from other Resorts have moved to the Raja Laut. If it is because they were discontented there, or because they made a course in the diving centre with Roberto and thus got to know the resort.

When we came by motorbike to the Raja Laut, we entered the Resort from the street by a gate . We were warmly welcomed by both owners Silvia and Roberto and were immediately brought to our bungalow. We were glad that just one of three "Superior" - bungalows had become free. Over a way paved with stones we were accompanied there. Our bungalow was built - like the others - of local wood in the traditional Minahasa style and was covered with palm leaves. We love these roofs. Not only because they look nicer, 4 Bungalows im Raja Laut Resortthan corrugated iron roofs in many other Resorts, but also because of the isolating protection against the sun. All cottages are arranged in a line at the upper end of the plot area and offer from their balcony a free view across the easily to the beach sloping ground to the sea.

The garden looks very clean and cultivated. Because it was layed out only a short time ago, however, it will last a few more years, until all tropical plants will show up in full size and bloomage.



Our Bungalow

When we had reached our new home by a few steps and had opened the door, we looked in a very big room (approx. 45 square metres). It was furnished with a nice wardrobe, a double bed with mosquito net, two little bedside cabinets and a chair. Walls, floor and ceiling existed were made of varnished planks. Clean sheets had been put on the bed and there were innerspring mattresses. We had enough space to put down our luggage. Several outlets allowed me a comfortably charging of my diving torches and further devices. Ceiling fan as well as several lights could be switched on by several switches. All windows were provided screens, so that the mosquito net around our bed had never been used.Unser Bungalow mit Veranda

Beside the bed a closeable door led in the big bathroom (the length corresponded to the total length of the bungalow). The completely tiled room was in a modern style furnished with washbasin, a big mirror and a toilet bidet combination. The shower area was open upwards and the floor covered with pebbles. The shower supplied well regulable cold and hot water. This was not salty, because it is, as Roberto explained us, transported by boats from the desalination plant of the village to the Resort.

The balcony is as big as the bath and also accessible by a lockable door. Beside a hammock a seat group, consisting of 2 comfortable easy chairs with upholstery and a round small table invites for staying. On the front side bamboo shades protect against wind and rain. Once these should be also used by us. Anyway the rainy season had already begun. Also as a protection against the morning sun they were rather functional.



Frühstück im Raja Laut

As soon as we saw in the morning from our balcony that one became active in the kitchen, we proceeded in the open-air restaurant direct at the the beach. It was built, like the cottages, of palm wood and bamboo in the traditional Minahasa style. The kitchen was separated from the dining area by a wall. A service hatch allowed the contact between guests and kitchen staff. The floor consisted of fine sand.

All necessary was ready for the tea and coffee preparation. Hot water could be taken from a thermos jug. Usually pancakes were baked which we could spread with various jams. I preferred toast with fried egg, tomatoes and onions for the breakfast which was prepared to me if requested.

If one came to dinner, the long wooden table was already set. Plates and cutlery were placed on clean sets and with glasses or cups one could help oneself. By request we got drinks from the kitchen. Unfortunately, sometimes there was not enough cool beer or coke in stock. In this case it made sense and was successful to draw the attention of Roberto to it who always tried to satisfy his guests. Mittag- und Abendessen im Restaurant des Raja Laut

For our choice tasty dishes were attractively ready to the self-service in bowls and on large plates. Every day there was fresh fish with rice in the most various preparations. The vegetables were stewed, baked in batter or prepared as a soup. Furthermore there was chicken in tasty sauce or Sate (skewers with meat in peanut sauce) for the choice. And because Roberto (who sat with Sylvia mostly with us at the table) even on Bunaken would not do without Italian cuisine, also pastas were offered to us some days. As dessert tropical fruits were served, like papaya, pineapple or bananas. The latter hung, by the way, throughout the day ready for "picking" in the restaurant. And another speciality in Raja Laut: Almost every day there was fresh cake to coffee in the afternoon.


Not only we were inspired by taste and variety of dinner in this Resort. Also the other, predominantly German-speaking guests there enthused about it. Beyond it, nobody had to leave the restaurant hungry. On the contrary: At the end there were mostly lots of food left

  Restaurant des Raja Laut   Freiluft-Restaurant mit Blick aufs Festland  

Open air restaurant with service hatch from the kitchen
and small library, among others a lot of literature about the underwater world

  View from the restaurant over the sea to the mainland  


Good Night

The worry, not to be able to sleep in our bungalow near the street because of the motorbike) traffic (in particular in the early morning hours), was luckily needless. This was due to the considered architecture of the cottages by which the bathroom absorbed the biggest part of the noise. Also from annoying compressor or generator noise we remained unmolested, because these apparatuses were placed in brick-built buildings far enough away from the bungalows. While there was on other places on Bunaken often at night extreme odour nuisance by waste incineration in the neighborhood , here we were lucky in this regard.

At an older age I have become more sensitive against heat at night. Hence, cottages with firm walls and metal tin roof have become out of question for me. In particular if there are no protecting trees which offer protection against the direct sun. Also in this regard we had made a good choice with RAJA LAUT Resort, particularly as on the eastern side of the island in the afternoon the sun could not develop its effect any more so strongly. During the night the with screen protected air vents above the windows provided enough draught, so that the ceiling fan very seldomly had to be used.

The day

Napoleon am Hausriff

Our daily routine was determined by 3 meals and one or two dives with our rented boat. In the meantime we went snorkelling in the house reef immediately in front of our Resort. As almost everywhere around the island it is an underwater paradise with a variety of corals and fishes. Also this year we were still so fascinated, as 10 years ago when we discovered the "aquarium" of Bunaken. One need not be a diver to explore here the specific world of the coral reef with his countless kinds of coral fish, anemone fish, red fire fish, parrot fish, sweet lips, butterfly fish, boxfish, triggerfish, but also mouraines, bluespotted rays, and Napoleons (picture). With some luck one can watch passing reef sharks, eagle rays, barracudas or gigantic turtles at the reef front, a little more than 100 m from the beach.

In the diving-free time we also walked to the village of Bunaken, approx. 300 m away to visit once again old friends, or along the concrete way in the northern direction to Tanjung Parigi. If one likes to cross the wood in the direction of Liang Beach on the west side of the island, one should pay attention that one does not move in a circle and above all always has in mind the way back (don't start too late, remember junctions, use the sun or a navigation device as a help). But don|t worry: The way through the jungle is not longer than 700 m.

    Insel Bunaken mit Wanderwegen    

We spent the rest of our time on our veranda with reading, sorting underwater photos in the Netbook, writing e-mails or just being lazy in the hammock and enjoying the fantastic view over the sea. To go online, one can borrow from Roberto a wireless usb adapter for a moderate fee.

Sylvia, die Besitzerin des Raja LautThen after the dinner we mostly used the opportunity to sit sociably together with Sylvia and Roberto and the other guests having a Bir Bintang. Besides, the humor of both owners to a special degree contributed to a relaxed and wanton mood. In a small Resort with only 4 bungalows where usually sit no more than 8-10 guests at a table it is apparent, that there was a familiar atmosphere (as it is hardly to be found somewhere else on Bunaken).

Whenever an occasion could be found, there was a party in RAJA LAUT. If these were the birthday of guests, a farewell or any anniversary. Beside Roberto and Syvia (picture on the right) all residents of the Resort took usually part, but also locals joined with pleasure. Because the Bunaken people party with pleasure, particularly if there is palm wine for free. Then after the dinner the house band prepared their partially self-made instruments in the open-air restaurant. Party im Raja LautThen it was made music with enthusiasm and in the course of the evening the music became better and better (why oh why?). During such a party there were presented a mixture of traditional and modern Indonesian, but also international songs. Some of us danced and some remaind seated and took pleasure in the general sociability.



As already at other place mentioned, I dived on my own by a rented boat and with dive guide, so that I had only filled my tanks in the Resort. - Flaschen-Füllraum mit 12 Ltr. Flaschen und KompressorThis is possible, by the way, only in the low season. In the high season are only divers or guests accepted who want to learn diving.

Because I would like to recommend you as divers this Resort most warmly, I have cast of course also an eye at this field. Above all the enthusiastic stories of the other guests have convinced me of the fact that it is fun to dive with Roberto and his team. Above all their own passion and their experienced eyes to see things which one would never discover. The groups were small (2-3 divers per guide). According to the age of the resort the diving equipment is new throughout, maintained well and exists above all in enough numbers and in all sizes. A view in the tanks-filling room showed 12 Ltr aluminium tanks an also new compressor.


  Neopren Tauchanzüge   Lungenautomaten  
  Diving suits, boat and ABC equipment in all sizes and in sufficient number available   View in the equipment room with regulators  

Roberto is considered to be one of the most experienced dive inctructors (PADI) on Bunaken. He offers courses in English, Italian, Spanish and Indonesian from discover scuba diving up to divemaster. There must be a good reason if guests from other Resorts come just to him to learn the diving. And due to my observations they came with pleasure and were successful. Though I will make no divemaster course with Roberto. However, I will dive there in our next visit by sure.

Tauchlehrer Roberto  gibt einen Tauchkurs
Dive inctructor and 2 students (after passed test)

New: NITROX - Diving in RAJA LAUT (2013)

From 7 o'clock we sat at breakfast. Meanwhile the preparations for diving ran in the background. Since at 8 o'clock should be departure. Because after two morning dives Roberto wanted to come back with us again in time for the lunch.

If one had a look in the direction of the divecentre, one could get the impression that everything was well organised. Our diving equipment was already ready in baskets. Everything was checked once again for completeness and then tanks and baskets, as well as fresh Aqua (drinking water) and snacks were transported to the diveboat.

Aboard we checked first the completeness of our equipment. Then Roberto handed over to me a measuring instrument for the examination of the O-2 content of my tanks, as well as a dive log for filling in. Then the diveboat RAJA LAUT with its three 45 HP of engines started in the direction of our first dive spot Lekuan III.
After less than 10 minutes we had arrived. While the boat was fixed at a buoy, Roberto began with the detailed briefing with which in particular the diving security played an important role. As maximum a depth of 25 m were determined. Even more is also not necessary, by the way, all around Bunaken. Today we were glad about the luxury of the mini groups. Denis and Andreas dived with Roberto and I had the divemaster for myself alone.

The dive spot was nearly free of current. It was a wall covered with fantastic coral formations with gorgonians and sponges. There we discovered crawfish, morays and lobsters. Round us butterfly and emperor fish romped about. My dive guide was always a few metres ahead and showed me pretty slugs and flat worms which I would have overlooked without him. Highlight of the dive for me was a Flashing File Shell. I had seen thus a impressing specimen, which generates permanently light flashes, once a few years ago when diving in the Lembeh-Strait. But I had not believed that one can also find this here at Bunaken. Probably a secret of the dive guide of RAJA LAUT.
After 50 minutes we still enjoyed at 3-metre depth the coloured activity of anemonefishe, damselfishes and passing snappers and fusiliers.

Arriving aboard snacks, Tea and coffee were offered to us immediately. We used the diving break for a sunbath on deck.

Also the second dive at Lekuan I, this time with Roberto, was for me again a magnificent experience, although this place with its many turtles is familiar to me very well by repeated visits during the past years. I can save me further description, because you can find lots of it, also as videos on the web.

I have also gladly accepted during the following days the new offer of Nitrox diving. Anyway I deem the extra charge of 5 euros adequate, above all if I remember the laborious transport of the oxygen to the island of Bunaken (see picture below).

  Discussion with Roberto in front of the Dive Center   Roberto filling tanks with nitrox  

Discussion with Roberto in front of the Dive Center


  Dive Instructor filling Nitrox in RAJA LAUT Dive Center  
  Briefing on the diveboat  Raja Laut by Roberto   Hilfe beim Anlegen der Tauchgeräte  
  Briefing by the Dive Instructor befor our first dive  

The team on board was very helpful


  laborious transport of the oxygen to the island of Bunaken   On deck of RAJA LAUT Dive boat  
  Laborious transport of the oxygen to the island of Bunaken   Djati with Andreas and Denis on deck of RAJA LAUT Dive boat  




We appreciated most notably

  • The amusing and familiar atmosphere
  • Engagement and warmth of the owner Sylvia and her life partner, the dive inctructor Roberto
  • Ample room in the bungalows. The possibility to have put up a third bed
  • Tasteful furnishings and cleanness of the bungalows
  • The cultivated tropical garden with partly old, shade-gibing stock of trees
  • Free view over the sea to the mainland
  • Noise protection by well-thought-out architecture of the bungalows
  • Good service by the always helpful staff
  • Varied, very tasty dinner
  • Cleanness and hygiene
  • Kept clean sandy beach with direct access to a fantastic house reef
  • Usually 24 hours of electricity, depending on the power supply system (photovoltaic power plant)
  • High safety standard during the diving
  • High-quality and cultivated diving- and snorkel equipment in being enough number
  • The competence and the trained eye of the diving staff
  • Full service during the diving
  • Very inexpensive complete bundles diving, staying, dinner
  • Since 2013: Diving with Nitrox


RAJA LAUT belongs on Bunaken to the rather cheaper resorts. It ranks in this category, however, at the upper end with regard to the price. However, it has to offer astonishingly a lot. A very varied cuisine with tasty and plentiful dinner, spaceous and clean bungalows and a good around service for divers. I recommend it, hence, to all divers who do not want to put up at one of the very cheap Homestays because they expect a minimum in cleanness and comfort. Divers and snorklers find here ideal conditions with regard to security, competence of the staff and well maintained diving equipment. These conditions are not fulfilled in every cheap dive resorts on Bunaken. Who would like to make a diving course and looks for an experienced and likeable PADI-Instructor, makes here the right choice. Since 2013 in the RAJA LAUT Dive Center is offered also NITROX - diving, as well as a course for that.

Because the small RAJA LAUT dive resort is booked up not only in the high season already months before, I urgently advise you to book in time.


Should you have got interest in further information, you find them on the Website of the Resort


An here some photos...

  Nachbarbungalow (Standard) im Raja Laut   Blick von unserer Veranda richtung Restaurant  

Next-door bungalow (standard)

  View from our veranda in the direction of restaurant. On the left the filling station of the dive centre is to be seen  
  Blick vom Restaurant Richtung Sandstrand   Raja Laut Resort vom Meer aus  

Below the restaurant lies the beach. The reef is accessible from here still free of mangroves

  Raja Laut dive resort from the sea  
Pictures of a party in RAJA LAUT
  Party im Raja Laut   Roberto der italienische Besitzer des Resorts  
  Bartholo plays the bass

  Die Geburtstagstorte wird angeschnitten   Party im Raja Laut  

Birthday girl Julin cuts the cake

  Here our boatswain Feki is to be seen
(blue cap)

  Papa Klaus mit indonesischen Freunden   Novita greift zum Instrument  
  Papa Klaus with Indonesian friends   Novita, friend of the house playing guitar


Weiter Musikanten auf der PartyBand