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Maria Alexandra Laborde
Works at LatinAbroad.com
Lives in Tampa, FL
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Maria Alexandra Laborde

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Chiang Mai  #ladyboys , monks, and micro flights: My day of contrasts in #Thailand !

http://www.latinabroad.com/2016/04/10/solo-female-chiang-mai-ladyboys-monks/

^ CLICK for more photos and full story ^ #ChiangMai  
2 magic nights with the Chiang Mai ladyboys, a mountain micro flight + exploring forest temples and monasteries. Part 4 of my SOLO Thai adventures.
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SPECTACULAR Chiang Mai cabaret show! Click below to watch my 'BEST Of' video:

http://www.latinabroad.com/2016/04/23/video-chiang-mai-cabaret-thai-ladyboys/

^ Dude looks like a lady! ;D ^ #Thailand   #Cabaret  
Video of the spectacular Chiang Mai Cabaret! Snapshots and clips from my fantastic, gorgeous Thai ladyboy shows, 2 nights in a row. Ala Aerosmith's classic!
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TOP show in #Thailand , by far! Click below to watch the BEST #ladyboy s from the Chiang Mai Cabaret 

#chiangmai  
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Fascinating #CentralAmerica  ancient cities: the top 5 sites you should visit!

http://www.latinabroad.com/2016/04/01/must-see-ruins-central-america-ancient-cities/

Also featuring #Mexico  which I know I know, it's technically North America :P
Photos, history of top 5 must-see ruins in Central America - Latin American ancient sites you must visit in Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico
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The unique way I went Chiang Mai temple hopping--while eating up the city's famous Northern Thai cuisine. Click here for more of my solo female adventures!
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Curious about #Couchsurfing ? Check out my experience as a solo female traveler 'winging it' in Chiang Mai, #Thailand  by clicking below!

http://www.latinabroad.com/2016/03/16/review-couchsurfing-chiang-mai-experience/

scooter ride VIDEO included ;)
Me solo winging it in Thailand! My experiences Couchsurfing Chiang Mai, scooter through the mountains, meditating at temples in the jungle, ladyboy cabarets
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Costa Rica's Irazu #volcano : incredibly accessible, breathtakingly beautiful

http://www.latinabroad.com/2014/09/24/irazu-volcano-tour-photos/

#costarica   #centralamerica  
Got one full day in San Jose, Costa Rica? Definitely go for the Irazu Volcano tour! The National Park's stark, eerie terrain will wow you with its beauty.
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Maria Alexandra Laborde

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INCREDIBLE videos of Guns N Roses cover band plus an AC/DC guitar solo from freakin' #THAILAND  , of all places!

CLICK: http://bit.ly/ThaiGunsNRoses to watch ;-)

#classicrock  
Top-notch Guns and Roses cover band + AC/DC guitar solo, discovered at the night market in Chiang Mai. Click here for videos of Welcome to the Jungle cover!
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Weird facts about Spain: do you know any of them? 

Find out by CLICKING -> http://bit.ly/MySpainFacts

#Spain   #españa   #europeanphotography  
Photo essay of 5 unique facts you didn't know about Spain. Or maybe you know them all right, but you may still learn a new thing or 2 about Espana.
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#HongKong  at its finest! My favorite attractions, written for Wandering Trader.com ;)

http://wanderingtrader.com/travel-blog/top-things-to-do-hong-kong-tourist-attractions/

#chinatravel   #Asia  
The top tourist attractions in Hong Kong are combined with mystery, beauty, and history. All of the best things to do in Hong Kong are confined within the small
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Tribe meets white man for the first time: AMAZING

#natgeo   #travel   #Papua  
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Fascinating look into #Brunei  by fellow blogger +GloboTreks 
Brunei is this small muslim Southeast Asian country that has identified itself with strict social rules, many of them unfathomable to me. Here's my perspective on Brunei based on my experience.
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the more you know! Love to learn something every day ;-) thanks for that! Have a good one
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Have her in circles
3,269 people
antoine alex's profile photo
Visit Bosnia's profile photo
Wisaam Salam's profile photo
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Nipu Barua's profile photo
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Work
Occupation
Translator, travel writer & digital marketing manager
Skills
digital marketing, social media management, translation, newsletters, blogging, basic SEO, Spanish, basic Bahasa Indonesia, basic Arabic, networking, tourism PR
Employment
  • LatinAbroad.com
    Founder & Editor-In-Chief, 2011 - present
  • TravelTheMiddleEast.com
    Founder & Editor-In-Chief, 2011 - present
  • Freelance Social Media Manager
    2014 - present
  • Translation & Marketing Manager
    2012 - 2013
  • Translator & International Marketing Assoc.
    2010 - 2012
Basic Information
Gender
Female
Story
Tagline
Author of two travel sites, nomadic translator & freelance travel writer, sprinkling Latin spice RTW!
Introduction
An open-minded, highly-energetic woman with the spirit of a child. A world citizen, Puerto Rican at heart, carrier of an American passport (and all of its wonderful rights). Editor-in-Chief of two travel sites, adventure junkie, nomadic translator & polyglot-in-training, sprinkling Latin spice all over the world!
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Tampa, FL
Previously
Malang, Indonesia - Caguas, Puerto Rico - Cairo, Egypt - Ifrane, Morocco - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Maria Alexandra Laborde's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Guns N Roses Cover Band + AC/DC Guitar Solo: VIDEOS
www.latinabroad.com

Top-notch Guns and Roses cover band + AC/DC guitar solo, discovered at the night market in Chiang Mai. Click here for videos of Welcome to t

Chiang Mai Cabaret VIDEO: Dude Looks Like a Lady!
www.latinabroad.com

Video of the spectacular Chiang Mai Cabaret! Snapshots and clips from my fantastic, gorgeous Thai ladyboy shows, 2 nights in a row. Ala Aero

5 Amazing Facts You Didn't Know About Spain
www.latinabroad.com

Photo essay of 5 unique facts you didn't know about Spain. Or maybe you know them all right, but you may still learn a new thing or 2 about

Chiang Mai Ladyboys and Monks: Day of Contrasts in Thailand
www.latinabroad.com

2 magic nights with the Chiang Mai ladyboys, a mountain micro flight + exploring forest temples and monasteries. Part 4 of my SOLO Thai adve

Must-See Ruins in Central America: Amazing Ancient Cities
www.latinabroad.com

Photos, history of top 5 must-see ruins in Central America - Latin American ancient sites you must visit in Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador,

Chiang Mai Temple Hopping and Thai Food Photo Essay
www.latinabroad.com

The unique way I went Chiang Mai temple hopping--while eating up the city's famous Northern Thai cuisine. Click here for more of my solo fem

Couchsurfing Chiang Mai: Winging it in North Thailand
www.latinabroad.com

Me solo winging it in Thailand! My experiences Couchsurfing Chiang Mai, scooter through the mountains, meditating at temples in the jungle,

Irazu Volcano National Park via Public Transportation [Photo Essay]
www.latinabroad.com

Got one full day in San Jose, Costa Rica? Definitely go for the Irazu Volcano tour! The National Park's stark, eerie terrain will wow you wi

My first 24 hours in Chiang Mai Solo: Winging It in Thailand
www.latinabroad.com

My first 24 hours in Chiang Mai as a solo female traveler, eagerly awaiting response of a Couchsurfing host. Part 1 of my "Winging It in Tha

When a Journey of a Lifetime Becomes a Lifelong Journey: 8 Years Overlan...
www.mappingmegan.com

When people say “Life’s a journey”, some take this literally. Overlanding his way around the world for the last 19 years, Christopher Many i

Clungup and Goa Cina: Malang Beaches PHOTO ESSAY
www.latinabroad.com

Check out two of Malang's best, Clungup beach and Goa Cina, through my PHOTO ESSAY. CLICK for stunning shots of my favorite Javanese beaches

Barcelona Free Attractions and Tips: My Favorites
www.latinabroad.com

CLICK the picture to check out Barcelona's free attractions, events, and accommodation

First-time Koh Samui: Must-Sees (and Off-The-Beaten-Path)
www.latinabroad.com

First-time Koh Samui visitor? Check out my guide, including where to stay, must sees, and even some off-the-beaten-path gems. CLICK for PHOT

Koh Tao Attractions: My Top 15 Sites, Eats + Activities
www.latinabroad.com

My top 15 Koh Tao attractions, including day trip ideas and restaurant recommendations from my 2 weeks around the island.

Icelandic Road Trip: Stops, Outdoor Activities, Unique Stays
www.latinabroad.com

My Icelandic road trip ideas: routes, outdoor activities, and unique stays - including gorgeous pictures to inspire your own trip

Things to do in Fajardo Puerto Rico: Beach Thursday photo essay
www.latinabroad.com

Things to do in Fajardo Puerto Rico: The doorway to the outlaying islands of Vieques & Culebra, this beach town has much to offer. Enjoy!

Chiang Mai Photography Workshop: Blacking Out by a Market
www.latinabroad.com

Imagine blacking out and losing consciousness by a local market amid a Chiang Mai photography workshop? Happened to me! CLICK HERE for PHOTO

Singapore Food Guide: 10 Must-try Spots and Dishes
www.latinabroad.com

Singapore food is a spicy reflection of its multicultural heritage. Follow me as I taste the most traditional dishes, plus some of the most

Puerto Rico Trips: Unique Itineraries + My Favorites
www.latinabroad.com

Seeking unique Puerto Rico trips? Look no further! Photos and routes of my favorite off-the-beaten-path Puerto Rican towns. CLICK here for d

Crazy Bangkok Sights and Quirky Experiences: My Top Moments
www.latinabroad.com

A tuk tuk foodie caravan. The ping-pong show gone bad. Check out unique Bangkok sights and my top moments in the city! Quirky Bangkok photos

Friendly staff, great spotters, MOLA-MOLA! What a great time I had diving with Dive Concepts Lembongan. I arrived right in the middle of huge manta and mola-mola season. I got extremely lucky and saw a huge, gorgeous mola-mola on my very first dive with them at Buyuk site! Unfortunately, I was diving with them for 2 days (5 dives total) and just missed their manta ray day trip, as waves were huge and weather not favorable. Regardless, I had an incredible time and so I good mix of macro, beautiful colorful coral, great variety of reef fish, and some exhilarating drift dives. These waters are teeming with life, thanks to those very strong currents and microclimates. Accordingly, don’t bring anything less than a 5mm wetsuit! Diver to guide ratio was good during my visit: only about 4 to 5 divers per guide. Equipment was in okay condition, not malfunctioning/in bad condition but not brand-new either. They could change a wetsuit or 2. Other than that, everything wonderful. Some of the things we saw during our dives: spotted box fish, cornet fish, red toothed triggerfish, coral grouper, big red scorpion fish, bluefin trevally, client fishes, unicorn fish, fat nudis, several echinoderms, and too many different varieties of reef fish to remember. All in all, a great diving holiday. Worth freezing your butt off over! ;)
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Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
What a unique, fun experience! I have been to several food tours around the world, but this was by far one of the funnest. Even pre-tour, this company was very well-organized. We got a detailed email with PDF guide, maps and everything, and all emergency phone numbers another necessary info. Extremely helpful. As for the tour, it was a group of almost 15 people (if I recall correctly), but each solo traveler or couple had their own dedicated tuk tuk driver - so imagine a caravan of tuk tuk's going all over the city at night, eating it up! I love that we stopped at some popular spots, but also others where we were the only tourists (and got the oddball looks haha). One of my favorite moments though was walking into one of Bangkok's most popular temples at 11 PM. It was DESERTED, such a contrast from when I visited earlier that day. And since I had gone without a guide in the AM, I got the historical lesson during this PM food tour. So great! Oh, and how can I forget the secret spot, on a rooftop, with beautiful views of the city? Great place for drinks - and the first round is included in your ticket. I don't want to give you any more details of the tour though because I want you to still be surprised ;) In a nutshell, the mix of food and historical/cultural tidbits provided by our knowledgeable guide made this tour special. Also, its pace allowed for socializing and really taking in each dish, each place. And I mean, going all over the city by tuk tuk caravan? Really?! What a brilliant idea!
• • •
Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
There was a time when a young traveler, hoping Southeast Asia for 2 months, decided to go diving to Koh Tao for about a week...but ended up staying almost THREE! The wonderful staff, accommodation, and dive shop at Koh Tao Regal and Crystal Dive Resorts made me skip Koh Samui altogether and extend my time with them -- it was that good. Please view my review of the dive shop, under Crystal Dive Resort, separately on TA. Here, I'll focus on my stay at the wonderful Koh Tao Regal. LOCATION: I really liked it was so close to the port. Many cafes, shops nearby - including the best breakfast spots on the island (Zest + Capuccino). Food / restos and souvenirs on that side of town (Mae Haad) are cheaper than on Sairee beach btw, another plus. Still, you could walk to the center of Sairee within 15 minutes if you wanted to. Really liked that. It was so quiet on our resort at night, only walked a few minutes to the dive boat in the AM, got to relax by our resort pool between dives / surface intervals. Love love. POOL / GROUNDS: nicely laid out, compact, beautiful clean pool with view of the ocean. Bar kept playing the same playlist / 15 songs or so over and over though. I went right before the high season kicked in, so it was quiet and so was the resort. Nice time to relax. Spa was unfortunately closed during my stay - but price list for services was commensurate to other spots I saw in the area. FOOD: my favorite part! Beachfront restaurant is semi circle shaped, with ocean views everywhere you look. You get good Western food and pastas here for a fraction of the cost at restaurants anywhere on Sairee beach or even Mae Haad / Ban Ko Tao for that matter. Salmon bruchetta and noodle soup were meh, but everything else I had was delicious. OMG, that 4-cheese homemade gnocchi...TO DIE FOR. Rich, high-quality cheeses; good portion size; even better price. Really, it is ACTUALLY homemade gnocchi. Must try. WiFi quite decent for Koh Tao from resto, btw. otherwise, extremely poor signal to know Wi-Fi in rooms, depending on the day. A bit of a shame, but I was diving or exploring the island most of the time anyway. ROOM: I had a standard room, #109 on the bottom floor. Gorgeous view of both the ocean and the pool from my bed (!), in addition to direct access from my porch to pool area. Also, real close to beautiful beachfront restaurant. Highly recommend this room, request it if you can. I'm confused about the posters that said they had a mosquito problem - I kept my door closed and never had an issue, even if the door student closely. And those mozzies LOVE me! Very clean, spacious, great closet / storage / shelving. Melted away on that bed at night, so comfortable -- linens always smelling great. Mini fridge available + free water bottles given daily as well - other nice torches. Huge bathroom, great hot showers + water pressure. Basic toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, even cotton buds). My only complaints? No phone to call reception, no safety box provided (give valuables to reception or lock them up in your luggage). Also, no towel racks in the bathroom - there were some in the closet, but wouldn't air out as well. On a side note, you could find small scratches on furniture, water stains on the wood, etc. Time for a refurb maybe? These aesthetic faults, however, did not affect functionality nor my stay in any way. All in all, a 5-star experience! Comfortable, convenient, beautiful. Can't wait to go back.
• • •
Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
I took their evening Chinatown tour, as I had already been sampling Thai food for almost a month in the South and BKK. Before this tour, I had not been truly exposed to any Chinese food outside really bad, greasy American-style. So what a treat it was! That being said, I wouldn't recommend this particular tour to someone who has been to many other Chinatowns around the world or expats living in Asia. Back to the tour: stops were a good mix of street vendors and established, yet local restaurants. Portions were massive, most "samples" at each spot being meals in themselves - I could barely walk by the end of it! A good mix of savory and sweet, even traditional drinks. Our guides Benz & Joker were informative enough and responsive to questions, but also gave us some time to be independent and have our own conversations with other travelers in the group. I actually liked this. As another poster said, there was more historical information given than about the particular ingredients or background of each dish. However, if you asked questions, they were always answered. So if you want to know more about the ingredients of a particular food, I would say you should just ask. All in all, a very good experience for a Chinese food newbie like me. My only recommendations would be to add a few more stops - even if that means less food at some of the current stops - in addition to talking more about the cultural background and history of the dishes, including ingredients. That way, travelers can get a better sense of the history and different dishes of Chinese cuisine available in Thailand.
• • •
Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
19 reviews
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I stayed at the Koh Tao Regal Resort (see my separate review for it) and went diving with Crystal several times over 3 weeks (note, I didn't stay at Crystal resort). Outstanding staff, new diving equipment (older BCD's and equipment used for courses at the pool, I saw). They even have a decent restaurant (reasonably priced), good bar with great vibe by the dive shop. Perfect for those early morning boat trips. Divers/guide ratio was great too, about 4:1. Most days I had my own guide or just another buddy and me, as I went in the low season. Great spotters, great guides, just great service. Everybody's so friendly there, even at night I would go back just to chat with the guides and other travelers as a solo traveler. Laid-back scene. Just love love love! I also had the Crystal team videotape me on my last dive at stunning Chumpon Pinnacle and let me tell you: the marine life put on a show. I mean just wow. Look at the screenshots I took of the video. Their videographers are very talented too, so I highly recommend hiring them as well for at least one of your dives ( I personally recommend to film either Sail Rock trip or Chumpon like me). I'm already thinking about coming back to do my Divemaster training, as you get free diving FOR LIFE once you do it with them because in their own words "once you dive and do a course with us, you're part of our family. We want our family to keep coming back." In short, Crystal Dive is a reflection of the great vibe and atmosphere of Koh Tao that makes you want to come back for more. And more. I may even live there after my experience…! Thank you for all the wonderful times Manu, Jade, Kiwi, Rich, Matt, and DOC! 5 stars, definitely recommend.
• • •
Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
I stayed in Koh Tao for nearly 3 weeks, so I didn't want to stay in the same side of the island entire time. As such, I dove and stayed with both Crystal / Koh Tao regal at Mae Haad and Big Blue at Sairee Beach -- great decision! I was a bit concerned about Big Blue's size first, especially the first time I hopped on one of their big boats with a massive group. Rest assured though, they diligently split divers into groups (according to experience) and planned the dives in a way that you barely ever saw the other dive groups. Their guide to divers ratio is very similar to Crystal, about 4-5:1. Rental equipment was in good condition. DIVING: wow, just great. my favorites during my stay here were Nangyuan Pinnacle & Cave plus No-Name and Twins! At the latter, we saw huge barracuda tunnels that made me feel like I was in Sipadan for a moment. Truly magical. Another unique experience I booked through Big Blue was their brand-new UV Night Dives -- now let me tell you, that was something. You done special red goggles over your mask, black light torches, and head out. Your special visor and torch interact with the chemical composition of corals and marine life to make them glow in the dark. You have to try it at least once. RESTAURANT/GROUNDS: While Crystal / Koh Tao Regal Resort had a more relaxed, laid-back vibe, Big Blue was a great backpacker hangout. The restaurant is always buzzing with divers and backpackers whether they're staying at Big Blue or not. plenty of seating, loungers, umbrella out at the beach. Be warned though, even in the low season he was packed, so despite its size, hard to find a seat! As for the restaurants food, it was okay. I ordered or Pat Thai and their BLT sandwich once and there were satisfying, albeit a bit overpriced. BAAAD Wi-Fi though, don't rely on it. If you need it, ensure you buy a data plan for your phone with a local SIM card. So 3 out of 5 stars for the restaurant alone, as there better places to eat in the area. STAFF/SERVICE: nice, friendly, helpful. However, my non-diver friend any element came over to visit felt that the place was too 'cliquey' - no one talked to her, not as friendly to her. But that was her experience, not mine. I had a blast. They offer free taxis / transfers to the pier every day at 8:45 AM and 3:45 PM. Extra charge applies outside these times. ROOM/BATHROOM: I stayed at private room 303 upstairs, not the dorms. It got a bit hot even with the AC on during the day, but very comfortable at night. Common Asian style bathroom, with shower and toilet combo (no curtain). I had been living in Indonesia for several months, so this wasn't a problem to me. Size was appropriate and everything was clean. Water pressure left much to be desired though (probably because I was on a higher floor). Great balcony though. Nice views of the pool, mountains, and even a bit of ocean. Please note, no Wi-Fi in rooms either. I could have also done with hangers or a towel rack in the closet and bathroom. LOCATION: toward the end of Sairee Beach, so you get a fabulous stretch of coastline that is often deserted in the low season. Fabulous. Yet, you are within a few minutes walk to some of the best restaurants on the island -- must eat at BARRACUDA! Some of the best seafood I've had anywhere in the world, not just Southeast Asia. Really! Must try. Separate review at a later date. All in all, my stay at Big Blue was a comfortable, budget-friendly one with superb diving. Pretty much what any backpacker or budget-conscious traveler expects from Koh Tao. Recommended! make sure you make space during your surface intervals or before flying to climb to the viewpoint at Ko Nangyuang - it's beautiful.
• • •
Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
One of the most unique places I've ever stayed at. Rough around the edges, but when the ocean and its cooling breeze is surrounding you everywhere you go, any other "worry" is quite minor in comparison. You are even completely FREED from mosquitoes due to its unique location - seriously, magic. ROOM: small, akin to an interior cabin in a cruise ship, no phone to call reception. Had great sleeps in my private regular room so can't complain though. I always wanted to be outside in the open deck looking at the ocean, socializing or diving anyway! Still though, the bed and pillows were to die for -- even the sweet aroma of the sheets lulled me to sleep in no time. Strong A/C. Shower was hot, but no freshwater (as everywhere else in the area). GENERAL AREAS: The general platform includes the bar, dining area, and "dive shop." It's open, breezy, and a great place to socialize. As a solo traveler, I was always hanging out here or in the back platform (sundeck) looking at the stunning sunsets while sipping drinks and talking to fellow travelers. Absolutely loved the vibe. So easy to find buddies to go down to the house reef - which is absolutely SPECTACULAR by the way (read below!). Another service they offer is a free daily trip to the village at 4:30 PM, returning at 6 PM, in case you want to leave the rig or simply explore Mabul island to buy souvenirs and see how the locals live. I didn't take it advantage of this though because I was always diving or too comfortable taking in the 180-degree ocean views (hehe). DIVING: excellent staff, DM's, and instructors. Knowledgeable, friendly, safe, punctual. Some are better guides than others (naturally), so just make sure you let them know what you like to see and they'll go hunting with you. I specified I like macro and they would appoint a guide that's good at finding the little guys. Equipment was in pretty good shape, minus a few BCDs that were showing their age (albeit still functional, from my experience). One thing I didn't like much: Sipadan trip only includes 2, instead of 3 dives like other operator I used in the area. If you want to dive more, you have to pay extra for an afternoon trip (2 extra dives). Cost per diver will depend on how many people from the morning trip wants to go back. You do get unlimited house reef dives though, and let me tell you - it is OUTSTANDING. on a night dive here I saw a stunning flamboyant cuttlefish (bright red/orange/blue) doing quite a show for us; moray eels; sleeping parrotfishes; Chevron barracudas; pipefish; several nudis. on a day dive the Seaventures house reef I saw a nice school of yellowtail trevally; tiny cuttlefish; adorable juvenile yellow box fish; many schools of several types of reef fish. FOOD: top-notch! Aside from the average breakfasts, lunch and dinner were delicious -- very nice variety. A type of fish, chicken, vegetable's, soup and rice were the usual fare -- mixing traditional Malay with international dishes. You can tell the chef worked at 5-star hotels before coming here. Even the pastries and dessert were excellent. And OMG PLEASE plan your stay at around a Thursday night: they have a BBQ that is TO DIE FOR. Grilled lamb, chicken, prawns - all incredibly well-seasoned and prepared. There's even live music! Their multi-talented staff grab some instruments and start playing classic rock covers. Fun times. So, why did I mention "rough around the edges" earlier, you may ask? Well, the dive rig could use a refurb. Certain areas are seriously rusting away - although not interfering with accommodation area. I wonder though, how would you go about refurbishing a RIG?! Just make sure you're always wearing shoes when outside your room. Seriously though, I can't wait to go back. There's this magical vibe to the dive rig - always being surrounded by that beautiful blue ocean. And of course, the extremely friendly, helpful staff and great divers/travelers the resort attracts. Will I do my Divemaster internship here? Well… MAYBE! ;)
• • •
Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago