What does a non-diver do at a dive resort?
Tulamben on Bali's east coast is totally a dive resort. Diving is the main attraction, that's why people come, and every hotel and guesthouse is set up to cater to divers. I'm here to tell you that I, a non-diver, had a lovely time on dry land. How could you not when there's a pool, food, booze, and a seaview like this:
As you see in the photo above, there's no beach at this hotel. The terrace and pool area come right down to the water's edge. In any case, the natural shoreline is rocky. It's Paradise Palm Beach Hotel, if you're wondering.
So why was I there if I'm not a diver? I was traveling with 2 friends who are. They were particularly keen on diving here because there's a shipwreck just offshore, the sunken USS Liberty. I'm told it's literally just meters from the beach. It's somewhere under the water in the middle distance of the picture below, on the right side of the frame:
While they were diving, I lounged. I paddled in the kidney-shaped pool. I ate. I gazed at the sea. I also read. The rooms were very simple -- sorry, no pics to show -- but they did provide one priceless amenity rarely seen in a budget hotel: AN ADJUSTABLE READING LIGHT ATTACHED TO THE HEADBOARD OF THE BED. In 3 weeks of traveling in Bali and Timor Leste, this was the only time I had an actual reading light in my room. And when I say budget, by the way, I mean under 35USD for the room category I chose. When I checked Agoda.com just now, room rates started at around 20USD.
My friends, exhausted from their underwater adventures, didn't get up to the see sunrise. I did. How could I not while staying at a waterfront hotel on the eastern side of the island? The sunrise was spectacular:
I wasn't the only one there. Apart from the staff, a young Japanese couple also staked out a couple of loungers in the pre-dawn dark. I noticed later that they, too, were non-divers. A little bit later, the sun was nearly at full strength:
Guests were also stirring. At that point, I claimed my favourite table:
It was also the best spot for wifi and the easiest place from which to hail the staff, who were behind the bar just out of the frame, behind me. There was sometimes a bit of a splash from the waves, but that was fine with me. I insisted that we sit here for every meal for the 2 days that we were here.
I found the staff very accommodating. They were completely unfazed when I asked them to store our supermarket-bought stash of Balinese wine in their refrigerator. Yes, Balinese wine. Believe it or not, the island has a winery or two. Hatten does a nice light white and a rose if memory serves. Is it a world-beating vintage? Of course not, but it serves its purpose and is VERY affordable:
So that's how a non-diver had a lovely time at a dive resort. Divers, if you have impressions to share about the diving in Tulamben, please comment below, on the Lotus & Persimmon Facebook page, or in our gallery on Instagram (@lotusandpersimmon).