Kungkungan Bay Resort Review0
Overall Impression: A 5-star experience
Getting There: That’s a bit ugly from the USA but getting to any location in the Indo Pacific from the USA is no better. This just has to be considered. As long as you know going in you can prepare accordingly. Bring extra sleeping aids, meds, change of underwear, snacks etc.
Transfers: The ride to and from Manado to the resort is roughly 2 to 3 hours depending on traffic. It can be a bit of a “white knuckle” ride for the faint of heart. Like anywhere in this part of the world the traffic is crazy and the drivers are crazier but there were no crashes or dead bodies on the road so you just take it in stride. They will tell you that you need only 2 hours to get back to the airport but that can be cutting it close. I would advise 2.5 to 3 hours to be safe. The airport is air conditioned and nice – better to be early than risk missing a flight.
Check-in: They will be ready for you when you drive up. Check-in is fast and easy. A quick briefing is given the explain the “lay of the land” and you are released to get to your room.
Grounds: The grounds are meticulously maintained with beautiful shrubs and flowers everywhere.
Rooms: The rooms are spacious, very clean, well furnished, air conditioned, and pleasant in every respect. There is a small fridge and lots of bottled water. They tell you “DON’T DRINK THE TAP WATER”. This of course is true everywhere in this part of the world. So they give all bottled water you can possibly drink. The bathrooms are large with plenty of hot water with soap, shampoo, conditioner and a hair dryer provided. There are plenty of railings on the outside deck to dry your gear before departure. You will need a power adapter to charge items in your room. All the outlets are 220 volt European plugs.
Staff: The entire staff of the facility is first class. They are well dressed, polite and very accommodating. Some don’t speak English very well (the grounds keepers for example) but they are all extremely friendly and if they don’t understand you, they will get someone who does. Of course, the staff you need to interact with the most speak English very well – the counter staff, restaurant wait staff, dive crews etc.
Food: The food is plentiful and very good. Everything is “menu driven” so you select what you want to eat from a large menu of choices and it’s prepared specifically for you as you want it as opposed to a buffet.
Internet Access: Web access is solid from all the rooms. It’s not very fast and they implore you not to download movies or upload hundreds of images but it’s great for checking in at home and getting emails. It is better than most places in this part of the world.
Security: They have a full-time security staff. They will give you a room key but there isn’t much point unless it makes you feel better.
Camera Room: They have a large well-lit camera room with lots of power outlets for chargers. Outlets are both 220-volt European plugs and 220-volt USA plugs. I suggest you bring a power strip so you aren’t crowded. Compressed air is provided for blowing off camera gear.
Rental Gear: Although I didn’t use any of it, their compliment of rental gear appears plentiful and well maintained.
Dive Crews: The dive masters and crew are very professional, well trained and knowledgeable. Tell them what you want to find and they will find it for you.
Boats: The boats are in good repair and covered from direct sun exposure. It may be a good idea to remove your BCD before attempting the ladder after a dive however as it can be a tough climb when “geared up”. Water and fruit are offered on the boats.
Diving: This is a muck diving location. If you want unlimited visibility and large creatures, this is not the place for you. This is the best macro, small stuff location on earth. Vis varies from 5 to 10 meters (15-30 feet) most days; sometimes a bit better. However, for macro photography and seeing the tiniest of the tiny, this is the place to go. Blue Ringed Octos, Ghost Pipe Fish, Pigmy Seahorses, Nudies, Sea Pens, Tiger Shrimp……it goes on and on. Post dive you are met at the dock with coffee, tea or hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies.
Summary: As noted in the beginning, this is a 5-star diving location. 5-star is a relative term however. This is not the Ritz Carlton or Waldorf Astoria. It is a relatively remote dive location on the other side of the planet. With that considered, it is clearly among the best locations you will find anywhere.
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