What can I say about Derawan Island?
Derawan was the best. It has a very friendly atmosphere and a less touristy feeling then any other island I been on in Indonesia. Everyones faces light up when you say hello to them especially the children. There is something magical about Derawan and I wish I could have stayed there longer.
We took a small speed boat to the island for 200,000 ($16.70 US) but the locals tell me we could have gotten it cheaper, like 150,000 ($12.50 US) for the ride to the island but the ride back is always 250,000 ($20.80 US).
I stayed at Lestari 0554-23723 when I was on Derawan Island.
Stay in room 13 or 14. They are the last rooms on the end of the Jetty (Dock) and give you the best views.
With so many turtles swimming around the island all day long your going to really enjoy having a room out on the water. We even saw a large manta ray swimming right next to our room one night.
We payed 150,000 ($12.50 US) a night and it's been our favorite in Indonesia so far.
There is only electricity on the island at night when they turn on their generator, but this helps you to get out and have fun during the day.
If you want to go SCUBA diving then call Dayet 0812-5354-8999.
He has lived on the island most of his life so he has perfect knowledge of the dive sites. Dayet also has some of the cheapest prices for diving and all the equipment we used was in great condition.
I did 2 dives at 250,000 ($20.80 US) each. However they were realy close to the beach so it might cost more to do other dive sites.
My 2 dives were at Dharma Point & off the end of the Derawan Resort Jetty (Dock).
I saw: 3 Hawksbill Turtles, 1 Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlips, many different kinds of Parrotfish, 1 Clownfish, 2 Lion fish, 8 Titan Triggerfish & a few other types of Triggerfish I don't know, 2 Pufferfish, many Moorish Idols, 2 Blue-Spotted Stingray, a school of Large Batfish and a few Beaked Coralfish, Squirrelfish & the biggest Lobster I have ever seen.
Dayet also comes in handy if you need someone that speaks english or if your interested in buying some whisky & vodka because you can't find any on the island unless you know someone or want to pay 96,000 ($8.00 US) per drink at the overpriced resort.
Ask him where you can find some BBQ for dinner. They can grill a fish on a little metal grill that will make you want to move there.
April's Resto 0813-5058-2483 is the best place to eat and April can speak pretty good english so you shouldn't have any problem ordering what you want.
They can also get you large Bintangs at 30,000 ($2.50 US) and will help you with any questions you might have.
If your looking to go to Malaysia after Derawan island ask April about catching the ferry for 200,000 ($16.70) per person to Tarakan (2 hours). You'll have to pay the 250,000 ($20,80) for the little speed boat back to the mainland first (30 min).
From Tarakan, depending if you want to catch the morning boat to Tawau (Malaysia) you can stay there for a night or take another ferry to Nunukan (2 hours 30 min) is 170,000 ($14,20 US) and stay at Hotel Melati Indah +62-556-23453 with rooms from 108,000 to 170,000 ($9.00 to $14.20 US). There are electric problems in Nunukan all the time so the Hotel Melati Indah will turn on their generator at 5:00 p.m. After all the places I've stayed in, this hotel comes in like an oasis, with it being close to the peer, having friendly english speaking staff, with a free tour of the city and real toilets, & showers with the best water presser in Indonesia it's the best option to recover for your trip onward to Tawau (Malaysia) 1 hour and cost 100,000 ($8.30 US).