Advantages Diving at its very best
Disadvantages Long haul flights and not the best place to learn to dive
I have been diving in Manado, Indonesia and I would have to say it is one of the best diving centres ever.It is a long flight from the UK and as such it is expensive, when you get to Manado, usually by a stop over on route, you would immediately be aware of the cultural differences (in a good way).
People there are very friendly, and hotel staff and all the locals in general can not do enough to help you.I went in October for the diving, the water was warm, visability excellent, and the marine life incredible. Usually you saw lots of dolphines from the boat as you go out to the dive sites
The boat, while a little primitive, has a very helpful crew. They put all your equipment together, and you just have to stand-up and fall in the water. When you get out they change tanks for you, and at the end of the day they unload the boat and wash all your kit, whether it's yours or you hired from them.In Indonesia you will mostly do wall dives, although there are one or two wreeks and reefs to go and see. Typically you will be looking at the small stuff on the wall, but you can expect to see lots of big stuff like shark and turtles. The coral is fantastic.
However in my opinion this would not be the best place for people to come and learn to dive, the currents can be very strong, and you never know which way they will go. The local guides while they know and often point things out they are a little short on the dive briefings, it is just a case of jumping in going down to whatever depth mentioned and then just see which way the current takes you.Beyond this fantastic diving, there is lots to do on land, while everyone is there for the diving several people brought partners with them who did not dive. But they could crash by the pool, or take one of many trips to see the rain forest, local tribes people and so forth.
Food is a little primitive, but so long as you like rice and curry, you'll love it. Prices are relatively cheap as well once your there.If you want to go somewhere for excellent diving and the cultural impact on the surface go to Manado, and go soon because it won't stay such a quiet and untouched heaven forever.
I went with Regal holidays and I think you would struggle to find anywhere better.
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