Just back from a two week dive trip to Tasik Ria Resort in Manado. This is a resort/dive centre set up. I had the best time ever. I have never dived in this part of the world before and so I was in absolute awe of some of the marine life. I dive with my own equipment and so can't comment on this aspect of the dive set up. The dive team though consisted of very able dive guides with excellent knowledge of the indigenous marine life. My group were all photographers and the dive guides were amenable to all of our demands about the pace of the dives and helping us tick off our wish lists of unusual marine creatures for our portfolios and albums. The dive team was managed by Thomas who put a lot of effort into meeting our needs. Sometimes the dive guides were a little more hands on with the marine life than I am used to seeing but I suspect that this was a reflection of their eagerness to please us and help us to take the photos that we wanted.
At the end of each dive day the dive staff would hose down our wetsuits and dive gear and next morning our BCD's would already be on the tanks ready for us to analyse and check. Safety was a priority and there was a role call before we left the dock each morning and then after every dive during the day before the boat would leave a particular dive site.
Dan is the general manager of the resort and he is full of enthusiasm and really did go the extra mile to make us comfortable and keep us all happy. He would even bring occasional items of shopping from town for us.
The resort is somewhat of a retreat in that it is an hour away from town (traffic permitting) and there aren't really any amenities too close to hand. A taxi ride can get you to local restaurants but after diving all day we were usually too tired to consider that as an option.
The food at the resort is good and balances local dishes and flavours with international favourites such as burgers, quesadillas, chicken kiev and the like. Dinners were buffet style and supplemented with an a la carte menu.
Breakfast has a reasonable selection usually consisting of waffle and toast making facilities, an egg station, fresh fruit, cheese, bread, various types of porridge (including a local recipe chicken and rice porridge), a hot buffet usually consisting of rice or noodles, a potato dish, grilled tomato, chicken sausages, and a bean casserole, and various local condiments and garnishes.
I thought that the for on the boat was brilliant and I looked forward to a hearty lunch every day after my second dive. Lunch would be buffet style - rice, noodles, salad, a meat dish, a fish dish and fresh fruit. Snacks were available on the boat throughout the day and there was fresh water, facilities for making hot drinks and a cooler with soft drinks for purchase on an honesty system (take a drink and make a note so that it could be charged to your room).
The resort has an excellent spa. Each guest is given a voucher for a free 'jet lag' massage upon arrival and to be redeemed on the first or second day of your stay. I had a couple of hour long aromatherapy massages during my stay and they were excellent. The environment and setting for the spa is beautifully planned and is like stepping into a corner of paradise with relaxing meditative music to add to the ambiance. Various members of our group went for treatments and everyone emerged from the spa looking totally relaxed and spaced out. I was very impressed.
The rooms are comfortable and have those little touches that help to make you feel at home - bathrobes, a fridge/minibar/snacks, a water cooler, kettle and tea/coffee making facilites, basic toiletries and enough space for you to spread out and move around. I had a sea front room which actually was a little detached beach bungalow consisting of one room and bathroom. There was seating outside on a small patio and a wooden rack for drying clothes/dive gear. I felt very much at home there.
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