Old Oct 23, 14, 9:57 am
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Programs: UA1K, *G & Wife of UA1K MM
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Map| 2 Reviews | 100% Recommended


Moyo Island West Sumbawa Regency Moyo, ID 84301

Amanwana (0 Photo)


As many of you know, we started planning this trip over a year ago. We had always planned to avail the 4-night Nature package, but we were also considering the week-long Komodo Expedition. Alas, the economy did not cooperate with us and given that the Expedition is now pricing out at USD $22k for a single couple we decide we’d need to put that off for another few years. (Interestingly, when you book with two couples the cost works out to only $13k. They are also using a brand new boat now!)


We knew in advance of our stay that the GM Kevin would take care of us - which he did, checking in daily, making recommendations, etc. And we knew that the service would be great. But what we didn’t expect was how close-knit the staff would be. You can really feel how much they like their jobs and each other. There was even a rumor that the old GM Ian was coming back to celebrate his birthday. Lastly, I was pleased with how they handled my sunburn. A staff member showed up at my door with huge chunks of aloe which they have growing in the garden alongside the chef’s fruits and vegetables.

Decor and Room

The tents here were definitely more rustic than Aman-i-Khas, but we knew this ahead of time and were able to comfortably settle in. We had originally requested #18, thinking it would provide a nice combination of privacy and view, but there was a lot of exposed (dead) coral in front of that tent which left the beach looking rocky and really hampered the view. Kevin had his staff show us a few more tents and we ended up choosing #4 as anything higher than 8 seemed to be adversely affected by low-tide coral exposure. All of the tents were identical and the layout was well thought-out with lounging areas up front to enjoy the ocean view and bathroom facilities in the back. One nice feature about the tents was the large, canvas-covered water cooler. This is great for the guests because water is always available, and it’s got to be better for the environment than bottles. Aman should look into getting these at all of their hotels.


We loved the “chalkboard” approach to dining. Each meal held 3 new possibilities (local, western, other) but we were always free to request something not on the menu. The food was good but not necessarily great. There were a couple of standouts, though – fresh-made yoghurt, pastries, anything with moyo honey (especially the honeycomb ice cream) and for a taste of home, they made a really good cheeseburger and fries (be sure to order the Bintang with that).

Activities and Critters

The things we loved most about Amanwana were the critters. We’d be having a meal or just walking to/from our tent when we would spot geckos, crabs, rhesus macaques, megapods and wild boar. In addition, we carefully chose our activities to deliver “Planet Earth” moments.

The first thing we did was snorkel on-property. At the time we were there, the best spot was just off the jetty to the left along the upper most parts of the house reef. The coral there was a little bleached but there were signs of color and new life. There were lots of fish in incredibly varied species and some sea turtles as well. At one point, we did a guided night snorkel. It was beautiful to be out in the calm water under the stars but we didn’t see much fish life we hadn’t already seen in the daytime. Our guide suggested this was due to the full moon. Nevertheless, we enjoyed waving our hands in the water to see the plankton light up. Mr. Ericka also did some snorkeling along Turtle Street and saw a lot of larger fish, barracuda, etc.

We did our first dive on the house reef, going a little further out than our snorkel. I took the Discover Scuba course and found Wana’s setup to be perfect for the novice – you start in the shallows off the beach to learn some skills and gain confidence, and then gradually go deeper. On this dive, we discovered fish species in the Flores Sea are similar to what you see in the Maldives but often in different, exciting colors. Later, Mr. Ericka dove Labuan Aji. I had trouble equalizing so stayed topside for that one but there were many wonderful little guys – make sure to ask about the now famous tiny crab that has taken up residence in a soft coral.

For our next adventure, we booked a day charter to Satonda, the volcanic island best known for its crater lake. The crew had brought along a kayak so that we could explore the lake. We were the only ones on the water or even the shoreline and could see a congregation of flying foxes and several of the most beautiful blue mountain butterflies. We also did 2 dives along the coastline of Satonda. These were the best dives of our trip if not our lives. The soft corals and fish life were phenomenal though the staff insists there is even better diving by Komodo. Lastly, we were able to enjoy lunch on the deck of the boat and gaze out over Tambora. If you don’t know the story of Tambora, look it up. It was the largest volcanic explosion ever recorded and affected weather patterns across the world for years. Think Krakatoa on steroids.

Besides the hikes close to the resort, we made a point to do the guided bat cave trek. The hike was a bit long, but not overly challenging. Once inside we got to see, and smell, what we think were false vampire bats…lots of them. It was pretty cool the way they would fly up in your face and their sonar allowed them to dart out of the way just before collision. I should warn future trekkers that there was guano and cockroaches but that’s all part of the experience. We had really hoped to see a python in the cave, but our deadly snake experience wouldn’t come until later. On the walk back, our guide took us past the Amanwana deer breeding station. Unfortunately, there aren’t many deer left on the island and the resort is trying to get the numbers back up.

We managed to take a break from all the activity by having an Amanwana massage in the jungle cove. The setting was very pretty but we did hear some vehicle noise during our treatments.

On our last day, we did the Amanwana signature waterfall excursion. Sure, the waterfalls were beautiful and the rickety little bridges were charming. Yes, we swam in the crystal clear water and drank from a coconut. Yes, Diana swam there too. Now, let’s talk about the snake! It was the most lovely shade of green, posing in a low-lying tree limb for us. Our guides told us it was poisonous but once back at the resort, Kevin wasn’t so sure. He said it would probably only be poisonous if it had a reddish tail. Now that we are home, our photos and a Google search reveal it to be a bamboo (aka white-lipped) pit viper. Reddish tail. Poisonous. Cool.

For our last night, we booked the private beach barbeque. The staff set up candles and fishing lanterns leading to a spot of sand in front of the water sports center where they had a bonfire and more candles artfully buried in the sand. We opted to eat off of the menu rather than eating a custom meal from the grill. It’s nice to know guests have an A and B option for this where you get all of the romance of the private beach dinner but don’t necessarily have to book the private chef.


Issues were few and far between at Amanwana. We missed having music in our tent (in Bali, we left the gamelan music to play on loop) but we understand the sound would carry too easily from one tent to another. This is where the property’s music pavilion comes in handy. On a more serious issue, we were shocked by the wine prices. We know this is a problem throughout Indonesia, but we can’t recall ever seeing it this bad. Wana was charging USD $20 for a glass of wine that costs $6 per bottle in our local grocery store. Luckily, each adult may bring one bottle into the country and Wana is happy to open it, keep it chilled as appropriate and serve it to you in your tent or at the restaurant. Looking back, I see now what a generous welcome gift the bottles of wine and champagne are.


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