Great place to stay & dive
Tioman Dive Resort is located on Kampung Air Batang (aka ABC) bay about a 10 minute walk north from the ferry dock. The only motorized transport on this part of Tioman is motorbike so dive staff will meet you at the ferry dock to transport your equipment. TDR has a fully equipped dive shop, a hotel, beachside bar and pool. Our second floor room was very comfortable with ac, king bed, tv, safe, coffee maker and bathroom with large shower. The hot water system for the shower was especially appreciated as you always had hot water at just the right temperature after your dives. They also provided an outside drying rack for clothes or equipment but we found it worked better in the room. We could sit outside our room and watch the monkeys and squirrels playing in the trees. Also provided was a hot/cold drinking fountain, perfect for staying hydrated. Their small pool is used mostly for dive instruction. Beachside bar was a great place to relax after diving & socialize with other divers & staff.
The dive shop aka B&J Dive Center is a fully equipped dive shop offering rental equipment, dive certification, air & nitrox. They have 3 boats, two speedboats with twin 200 & 225 outboards and one slower boat with a sundeck which we did not use. Both speedboats are wide enough to not be crowded and have tank holes shallow enough that travel BC’s with a lower strap do not get stuck. The seating area was wide enough to suit up with the tanks out of the holes and still not interfere with adjacent divers. Storage was under the seating area. Divers could exit by backroll or from each side at rear of boat. The dive ladder with round rungs was adequate for calmer water, which we had the whole week, but seemed too short for rough water. They could be improved with flat rungs and one more step longer. Neither speedboat had toilet facilities but had full length shade and a small bow area for sunning. Except for two dives, all dive sites were within 20 minutes so interval time was spent on board between dives. All equipment was individually bagged and delivered to the ferry dock which was where divers walked to board and then delivered back to the shop by staff. Each diver was responsible for setup but staff was ready & happy to help. Three dives were offered each day, 2 in morning and 1 in early afternoon with night dives also offered. Shore diving was also available.
Any dive shop is only as good as the staff and the staff at Tioman Dive Resort is first rate. Our dive master, Danny, was a local who knew the sites well, found lots of critters, and helped ensure safe, enjoyable dives. Support staff ensured a smooth dive operation.
The dive sites were spectacular, like diving in an aquarium as someone said. We lucked out with great weather and mostly calmer water. The only site that had poor visibility was the wreck site but it had a very large stone fish, perfectly camouflaged First dive out, an orientation dive, we came across a banded sea krate. Most dive sites had numerous different hard & soft coral, multiple varieties of nudi, moray & lots of fish including bumphead parrot fish. Our only night dive at the Salang Bay ferry dock, a muck dive, had large decorator crab, banded pipefish & scorpion fish.
The only downside to this trip, absolutely no fault of TDR, was the restaurant scene. None of the restaurants at ABC bay seemed to have regular hours. It got frustrating to walk 10 minutes one way only to find restaurants closed and then have to backtrack, go the other way and try to find one open, no matter the time of day or night. ABC restaurant at the north end of the paved path seemed to be the most reliable & had very decent Malay selections and prices. No alcohol at most restaurants. Forget trying to find a decent burger. Avoid Aqiss Bistro near the ferry dock, second one on left as you walk north from ferry dock. Waited almost 2-1/2 hours after order for curry chicken and never got served. Absolutely terrible service & no apology.
Friends getaway - 28 Okt 2017