Slam's Garden is a mid-range property according to Southeast Asia standards and a basic bargain property based on Western standards. As previously mentioned, this is not an oceanfront property. Unless that was the sole purpose of your travel, then the 3 min walk around the corner is worth the savings, especially if you are diving. After traveling through Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines in rooms ranging from $20-30 a night, Slam's Garden fan room offered quite a few features that were previously missed.
The property appears fairly new, so there are no signs of wear and tear or a need for a major renovation. The linens and towels were in good condition instead of stained or with holes. The shower is separate from the toilet, whereas before the toilet and the whole bathroom would become drenched after a shower. The room was cleaned daily with a two night stay. In fact, the decor in the room was simply, but quite charming. I felt like I was actually staying in a hotel instead of someone's back room. The entire property is quite lovely with the hammocks and artistic landscape.
The true measure of this location is that the cheapest room, the fan room, was well maintained contrary to the practice of all the other places I stayed. I stayed in the fan room during mid September. I specify the time, because I don't believe that fan room will be comfortable year round. I am actually acclimated to extremely warm conditions and still woke up in a mild sweat. I would recommend that Slam's Garden change the cute curtains to a heavier shade that doesn't blow when the fan oscillates. You may need to ditch your jammies to stay cool, but be prepared to show the staff and other guests all your curves and dimples.
Aside from the flimsy curtains, my only major complaint is the cost and quality of food. After one dinner with Slam's Garden, I went exploring and found numerous cheaper options around the island. Sometimes the difference was half the cost. The island is a minute big. For some Westerners we have Targets and malls that are bigger than this island. Walk about.
1. Bring a Torch
This is a rural island. A flashlight comes in handy to avoid tripping and stepping into puddles when walking about.
I dived with Thresher Shark Divers, the dives offered unique encounters, but the life was not abundant. Some divers were disappointed.
3. Affordable Dining
There is an alleyway next to Thresher Shark Divers that heads towards the village. When you reach the first pathway turn right for cheaper dining options. There are more on the island if you look about, but this is a starting place.
4. Getting There
Add at least an hour to the length of the bus ride. Ceres is a reputable bus company. Unless you are taking the first bus or traveling on a fairly cool day, I recommend the air-con bus. As we approached 11 am riding the non-air bus started to become uncomfortable.
Negotiating the boat ride across is the sole reason I will never return to Malapascua again. For budget travelers who consider booking transport through their lodging steep, find a way to pay. If I had to do it again, I would still take the bus, but arrange the boat crossing with the hotel. The ticket booth and the boat captain are working together to charge as much as possible for the transfer across. This is a real problem during low season when there are not as many tourist passengers. I specify tourist, because the locals are crossing for minimal to free. The tourist are paying for their transit.
The public boat is 80 pesos.
The captain charged an extra 200 pesos after attempting 300 pesos.
The low tide transfer was 20 pesos, but it is ALWAYS low tide.
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