Why dive the Derawan Archipelago and the Sangalaki Marine park?

The latest Scuba Junkie dive resort is on Derawan island, diving all of the islands in the Sangalaki Marine Park.  Here we thought we'd introduce you to Scuba Junkie Sangalaki so you know what to expect ahead of your trip including where we are, how to get to us, what the resort is like and what you can see on your dives.

Where is it?

It's true that this area is not so well known, but that's a great thing if you ask us! It means we can take you to beautiful islands and dive sites away from the crowds.
Derawan island is part of Indonesian Borneo - Kalimantan.  It's in the Kalimantan Timur region - Our closest town on the main island of Borneo is Berau, which is one of the places you can fly to in order to reach us, our other closest town is Tarakan - itself an island a bit further North.
Derawan island has a local fishing community, a couple of other resorts and some homestays.  The locals are really friendly and welcoming.

How to get to us?

The area is served my two main airports - Tarakan (TRK) and Berau (BEJ).
From Tarakan airport we can pick you up at the airport and bring you to the harbour, where the transfer boat will bring you to the resort on Derawan.  Our transfer service runs on Mondays and you can expect the speed boat ride to take between 3-4 hours.
You would fly in to Tarakan from Tawau, Malaysia (great if you're combining your trip with Scuba Junkie Semporna or Scuba Junkie KK).  You can also fly to Tarakan from Jakarta.
Otherwise you'll fly into Berau - most of the time you'll connect in Balikpapan (BPN), which is served by flights from Singapore, Jakarta, Bali and other Indonesian hubs.  If you're coming from Scuba Junkie Komodo you'd take this route!
From Berau it's a 2-2.5 hour taxi ride followed by a 30 minute speed boat ride to Derawan. 
We can arrange all of the transfers for you, and if you're not sure which airport is best to arrive into, just ask!

 What's the resort like?

Once you've arrived on Derawan we'll welcome you into the resort.  Our seven water bungalows and our 4-bed water dorm are a very short walk away from the dive centre and chill out area.
We have 3 double water bungalows; 3 twin-bed water bungalows and one bungalow which can be converted between double and twin bed configuration.  Our dorm sleeps 4 and has comfy bunk beds.
All bungalows and the dorm have a spacious balcony where you can relax after your dives and watch Derawan's green turtles when they swim up to eat the sea grass!
The bungalows are fan-cooled, have en-suite bathrooms, a small safe plus they're equipped with an umbrella and a backup torch in case of emergencies (!) and all have black-out curtains and cozy duvets.  As we're built over the water the rooms are pretty cool!

Chill out area

Our amazing chill out area is upstairs, above the dive centre and offers spectacular sunset (and sunrise) views, and is an ideal place to watch for turtles swimming by. 
It's also where you'll eat breakfast in the mornings and log your dives with your guide after diving - Of course we have cold beers and soft drinks available as well as squishy bean bags and hammocks!

The dive centre

We're a PADI 5* dive centre, like other Scuba Junkie resorts and dive centres.  We cater for up to 20 divers and we stock Mares rental equipment - 3mm long wetsuits an open heel fins with booties for your comfort.  We also have Suunto Zoop dive computers for rent.
Our fiberglass dive boats dock straight outside the dive centre so it's easy to board for your dive trips, and our boats are equipped with lifejackets, oxygen, first aid, GPS and a satellite phone.
After diving you'll find the rinse tanks for your equipment (we'll take care of your BCD and reg if you're using our gear), and then you'll have an allocated locker to safely store your equipment overnight.


Yes, yes - this is the part you've been waiting for!  The Derawan Archipelago and Sangalaki Marine Park consists of the islands of Derawan, Sangalaki, Kakaban, Maratua, Semama and Pandjang.  We dive at all islands and they're very diverse!  We leave for diving at 8am and return to the resort around 4-5pm, depending on which island we visit.  When diving Derawan it may be possible to return to the resort between dives, if the tide allows.  Sangalaki is about 45 minutes away, and both Kakaban and Maratua are about an hour away.

Derawan - Has gentle sloping colourful coral reefs and small walls, rarely has currents and is a haven for turtles and macro life.  We'll most often dive Derawan as the first day of your package so that you have time to adjust to your equipment in the easy dive conditions.  We can offer refreshers here if you haven't been diving in a while, too.  It's really common to see turtles around Derawan, plus the usual reef suspects such as moorish idols, snapper, batfish, trevally plus awesome macro such as frogfish, ghost pipefish, and pygmy seahorse.  It's also where we do our night dives which are not to be missed!

Thanks Clare Lancaster for the photo

Sangalaki - This is where we go to look for Mantas!  Sangalaki's topography is quite unusual… Shallow reefs with sandy channels and coral mounds - often these are cleaning stations for Manta rays!  The manta cleaning stations are located on one side of the island, so we often spend our dives here swimming (or drifting) between them.  Often the mantas give us a clue as we can see their wings tips giving away their location as they feed at the surface.  Sangalaki dives are shallow - max 18m, often shallower.  In addition to mantas we also see turtles, leopard sharks, cuttlefish, schooling fusiliers, cool macro life and amazing coral!

Thanks to Aaron Gekoski of SZtv for the photo

Kakaban - Is an uninhabited island and home to the sting-less jellyfish lake - one of only a few in the world!  We visit the lake on our surface intervals for snorkeling!  The reefs and walls of Kakaban never disappoint - we often drift in the fun currents and we see schooling barracudas, jackfish, black tip and white tip sharks.  There are a couple of thresher sharks which we see fairly often and Barracuda Point dive site always throws us some surprises!
Kakaban trips are included with our packages which have 4 days of diving or more.

Thanks Simon Briggs of Feet Do Travel for the photo

Maratua - Is the largest of all of the islands and is a unique, horse-shoe shape.  The diving around it is stunning wall dives with huge gorgonian fans and also sloping coral reefs.  Maratua also has a resident school of barracuda, it too has some fun currents - we usually drift here also while keeping an eye on the blue for tunas, wahoo, rainbow runners and the like.  We also see napoleon wrasse, eagle rays and sharks.
Maratua trips are included with our packages which have 5 diving days or more.

We can also help you with snorkel trips to see the almighty whale sharks!

As with all Scuba Junkie locations you'll have small dive groups with a maximum of 4 divers per guide, safe and responsible diving practices and a commitment to conservation.

So what are you waiting for?!  Get planning your trip - send us an email with any questions you might have!

See you on Derawan!


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