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Gangga Island Resort & Spa
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Reviews (211)
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All reviewsnorth sulawesilunch and dinnerdive guidewhite sandy beachsalt water swimming poolfishthrough immigrationlounge chairscamera roomcoral gardensgrounds are well maintainedpm diveboat ridehot tealarge bathroompost divedive shop
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Reviewed 22 May 2013

Gangga Island Resort and Gangga Divers are a real treat. I have stayed there 3 times now and I look forward to my next stay. The cottages are wonderfully appointed, clean and the bathrooms are spectacular. The food is great in the Restaurant. The staff always has a smile on their face and are willing to give that little extra to make your stay memorable. Diving with Gangga Divers is super. The boats are all locally made and are made from a tried and true design for these waters. They are very comfortable. The crewmen are always helpful and make the boat experience pleasurable. They handle all the gear other than your personal stuff. They carry it to the boat and back to the dive shop for you. They rinse it and hang it to dry for the next day. Just super. The Dive Masters are very helpful and they know how and where to find the best critters to see.
Recommendations - this location can take you to wall diving, Lembeh muck diving, as well as blue water reef diving. As a location - Gangga is perfect. You will enjoy yourself. One last thing - the Camera Room is SUPER!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank Rudy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 May 2013

There are many wonderful things about this resort - dive program, rooms, pool, spa, grounds, but I have to say the best of all was the service, which was just incredible. We were celebrating our 15-year anniversary and they arranged a special dinner on the beach for just the two of us complete with live music and prepared a special anniversary cake just for us - what a great memory! That is just one of many examples of "above and beyond" service. We are have stayed at many high-end resorts around the world and have rarely seen this level of commitment to service. The welcoming and caring attitude of the management and staff outweighed other small issues and led us to rate our overall stay as excellent. Several times, management checked with us to see if there was anything that we needed and how our stay was going, and I think they really cared about our experience. Read on if you want more detail - it's a long review for those who want the specifics.

The dive service was very good as well. You are assigned a guide who remains your guide for the entire trip. Gangga's policy is to have a very low ratio of guests to dive guide, so we either had our guide to ourselves or shared him with just one other diver, which was fabulous. Our guide, Karni, was very nice and really made an effort to look for interesting creatures and point them out to us. You can do three boat dives per day, and a night dive is also arranged occasionally - we did one night dive during our 11-night stay. There is a lot of flexibility - unlike many other resorts we've been to, you don't have to commit to your dive schedule in advance; you can just decide that day and you can change your mind right before the boat leaves with no penalty. That was really nice and contributed greatly to the feeling of relaxation; we could truly choose what we wanted to do "in the moment" rather than having to commit to a specific schedule.

Our only disappointment with the diving was that we had planned to go to both Bunaken and Lembeh during our stay, as the website indicated there were frequent trips available to both destinations. We did manage to get over to Bunaken on our last full day of diving, but it was unclear until the night before if we would get that opportunity. There was some trouble with the boat engines and also the occupancy was low the first week of our stay, so no trips were offered early in our stay. Many of the other guests we met had already been to one of these, and were going to the other the following week, but we spent our entire holiday at Gangga thinking we could go over to both Bunaken and Lembeh and could do a repeat if we really liked one of them. That was not possible. If it is important to you to go to Bunaken and/or Lembeh, it would be better to go there directly and come to Gangga as another part of your trip.

We saw a huge variety of very interesting critters - lots of nudibranchs, crabs, shrimp, lobster, cuttlefish, frogfish, seahorses, and huge schools of small fish. If your preference is large things (sharks, rays, turtles, bigger fish), go elsewhere. Bunaken has a lot of turtles but we only saw one turtle in the 22 dives we did at Gangga. We saw no large fish at the Gangga dive sites.

The camera room at Gangga is awesome - best I've seen anywhere. You get your own workspace with a lockable cabinet including a charge station below.

Rooms at Gangga are very nicely appointed bungalows - comfortable large beds, a desk, a small refrigerator which was great for keeping water cold, a roomy front porch with lounge chairs, and a beautiful, modern bathroom. As some other reviewers mentioned, hot water can be scarce at peak shower times, but you must realize this is a very remote island with limited infrastructure. We found that we could either take lukewarm showers (not bad when you're in the tropics) or adjust our shower times slightly and have plenty of hot water. Air conditioning works great. One thing we were REALLY pleased about - no problems at all with mosquitoes, sand fleas, or other biting insects. That is often an issue in tropical resorts, but not at Gangga.

The beach is pretty and the staff does a good job keeping it clean despite the trash that is prevalent in Indonesian waters, but be aware that currents are very strong and there is a lot of boat traffic in the area. We watched several beautiful sunsets from the beach, but we only swam in the ocean once. The current is so strong off the beach that it's like a rushing river. We did not ever see any other guests swimming at the beach, probably because of the current. There are no "beach activities" provided as are common at resorts in other regions - again, current is probably too strong for activities like kayaking, dayboat sailing, etc. I couldn't find any resorts in this part of the world that provide beach activities so this is not a situation unique to Gangga.

The resort grounds and pool are beautiful. While the ocean isn't great for swimming, the pool is large and has a great ocean view from the infinity edge. Grounds include many varieties of orchids and other flowers and attractive shrubs and trees. Sand is raked and walkways are swept every day; the resort is super clean.

The spa is amazing. My husband went 3 times, and I went twice. Absolutely GREAT massages and very reasonable prices. Nice way to wind down after a day of diving.

Food was plentiful and good, not five star that one would get at a high-end resort, but better than many all-inclusive resorts. Breakfast buffet had omelettes made to order, nasi goreng and fried fish, yogurt, fruit, cereal, waffles, and various breads and pastries. Lunch and dinner included several options including one vegetarian entree at every meal. I ate a lot of pasta and fish and really enjoyed the food. Grilled prawns were excellent but were only available once at the outdoor BBQ. No other shellfish was served during our 11-night stay. Chicken, pork, beef and fish were offered frequently. The pork and beef dishes were typically Indonesian preparations and were not high quality cuts of meat; they were served cut up in pieces with tasty sauces and rice. Drinks are expensive but typically priced for a remote destination ($12-$15 for one drink or one glass of wine). Wine list is extremely limited. There was no diet soda available; iced tea, water, or coffee were the only sugar-free non-alcoholic options.

There is no nightlife but that doesn't seem to be a priority for Gangga guests as most are there to relax and dive. By the time we finished our dinners, we were full and tired and ready to lie down with a good book or review our photos and videos from the day. There is free WiFi available in the lobby for those who want to stay connected.

All in all, Gangga is a beautiful place where one can really relax and forget about everything except diving, eating, sleeping, and being pampered. Guests during our stay were from various cultures - mostly European, a few Americans and Japanese. One noteworthy point is that this is one of the few resorts I've seen that seems very comfortable for single travelers. During our stay, we met several people who had come to the resort alone, and many were repeat visitors. Over half of Gangga's business is repeat visitors, which says a lot about how they treat their guests. You will not regret a stay at Gangga!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank mby3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2013

Once in a while you come across a resort that delivers on all counts and when that happens you experience the unforgettable joy of a perfect holiday.
The Gangga Island Resort is one such place. We were there primarily for scuba diving, which was very good. The dive crew are experienced and outstanding. Safety, briefing, instructions, facilities everything is top notch. From sliced pineapple to fresh towels, they think of everything. Dolphy was our group leader and Anton who took us out snorkeling was a hoot.. The resort itself is a gem, hidden on an Island among old beautiful trees. Just 15 rooms spread across the property ensures that you have privacy and yet attention from the staff.
The food is outstanding. Each meal an experience. Thanks to the chef, a combination of local specialties and international favourites. Even my vegetarian needs were taken care of.
The spa is worth a visit or two or three!. Nothing like a wonderful massage at the end of a days diving.
Sheila, Daby, Herman, the staff take you under their wing from the moment you step off the boat.
Gangga is the kind of place that calls you back.
Once is definitely not enough.

Room Tip: If you want privacy then go for #12. If you want proximity to the main unit then go for #1
  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank MeenMenon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2013 via mobile

The location, service, food and diving are great! The food, both Indonesian and European fare, are of very high standard and we had difficulties deciding what to eat! The rooms are spacious and well appointed. Everything was working which is a miracle considering that the resort is on a relatively small island. The staff are very friendly and helpful. The only area where there could be improvement is the spa which only offers a limited range of treatments.

The resort is located on a small island between Bunaken national park and Lembeh straights in the north of North Sulawesi. So both areas are relatively easy reached by boat, specially because their boats are relatively fast. In the area itself, there is a combination of mug diving on white sand and coral gardens. On the mainland, some black sand diving is also available.

One is under the impression that integration with the locals and some environmental issues are addressed.

I would go there again immediately, if there would not be so many other places in the world to visit!

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank Alex S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2012

Wow, wow and wow, respectively the staff, the resort and the diving.

I work in the diving and hospitality business, we have our own accommodation and dive base, and Gangaa has shown me that we have so much more work to do.

The staff are plenty and always smiling, to be honest I have never had someone fill my water glass for me when it was empty but it was this kind of attention to fine detail and ultimately customer satisfaction that made it simply amazing. Nothing was too much trouble. Iwan looked after our table most evenings and offered very entertaining conversation with his excellent service, even a brief insight into indonesian soccer teams which I really enjoyed. Go Manado!

The resort is beautiful, private and on the beach. Fully facilitated with air con, tv, mini bar, marble bathroom and it just goes on and on. It is amazing that they can hold such a high standard in consideration of the logistical hurdles they must face. You can hear the odd boat pass by with a dodgy old 2 stroke on the back but thats just life by the sea so take it or leave it. Anyway, bravo all round.

The food, it just gets better with lots of fish on the menu, local cuisine and more simple fare to suit the less daring pallet if that is what you desire. We went with local meals and chefs recommendations almost every night and as to be expected it was Indo hot, hot, hot. Amazing to be able to sample local style dishes all the time, we would really like to pass our compliments to the chef! DO NOT MISS THE OUTSIDE BBQ!

The dive team were epic, I would like to commend all the guides and the boat drivers. We usually went with Jacob, Jon and Carnie and Jacob was our personal guide. I really liked the consistency of always having the same guide, it meant we got an idea about what each side expected and the result was epic diving. Jacob was able to show us every single critter that we asked to see, he knew where to go, where to look and how to find everything. This was very impressive as I work as a dive guide myself and understand how hard it can be to meet wild expectations with regard to marine life. All the guides were fun and friendly on the boat trips to and from the sites and the food served on the trips was hearty and filling with alot of flavour.

One final thing that I was very impressed about was the high level of information provided on the need for divers to excercise care in the marine environment they wish to enjoy. For example, we were educated that high power photography lights do hold the potential to distress delicate marine organisms like Pygmy Sea Horses. We were advised on the correct protocol for photographoing these special animals and were very content to obey the suggestions offered by the dive team - 5 shots max! I took 3, one to check my exposure levels on the Gorgonian alone and then another 2 of the horse, they are both rubbish :-). We were also briefed on the importance of avoiding physical contact with the living reef, bravo again.

Staying at Gangga gave us the opportunity to dive Manado, Lembeh and Bunaken, the three pearls of Indo. All sites were awesome in different ways. Bunaken for its massive turtles, Lembeh for its crazy critters and Manado for Pygmy Seahorses and Giant Frogfish, thanks again Jacob!!

If there one one thing Gangga could do better, I really don't know what it is!

Thanks for the experience of a lifetime.

Oh yeah, they have Mandarin fish too.

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank fobabett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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