Life is in the detail

Avoid the crowds that congregate at Angkor Wat at sunrise, and instead head to the ruins of Preah Khan, which is almost deserted and incredibly atmospheric at first light.

Jacqui - Original Diver

Image of Jacqui Brooks

Jacqui Brooks

Original Travel Expert

I have extensive travel experience throughout Far East, Australasia & Pacific Islands, North America and Indian Subcontinent.

My travels

Travel Things I Want To Do Before I Die

  • Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
  • Return to New Zealand in summer time, so that I can tackle the Tongariro Crossing, and spend a few days kayaking and camping in Abel Tasman
  • Spend a week diving in Raja Ampat
  • Learn the Argentine Tango in Buenos Aires
  • Explore the Galapagos Islands, and snorkel with sea lions

Best Moments

  • Staying with the Iban Tribe in their traditional wooden Longhouse in Malaysian Borneo. The food, dancing, and rice wine (!) made for a very memorable evening
  • Riding pillion on a vespa through the city streets of Ho Chi Minh, visiting local restaurants and bars, and sampling some 'delicacies'
  • Sky diving over Lake Wanaka in New Zealand, on a crisp winter morning!

Toughest Travel Moment

  • Sampling the Vietnamese delicacy of Duck Embryo from a lovely street vendor in Hanoi, and pretending to enjoy it so as not to offend her

Weirdest Travel Moment

  • The near final leg of a 24 hour overland journey from Lombok to the Komodo Islands, using public transport. Arriving in the town of Bima in Sumbawa, we were transferred to a smaller 'bus' for the journey on to the ferry port. Our bus was missing half a windscreen - the driver's side - and so he wore a motorbike helmet for the drive. Needless to say, I avoided that side of the bus.

Explore my blog posts

Whale Shark, Djibouti

Our Top Bucket List Diving Experiences

Looking for ideas for your next diving holiday? Here are our top bucket list diving experiences to inspire your next diving adventure with Original Diving.

Diving lesson

The Top Five Places To Learn To Dive

Divers are really astronauts; gliding weightless through the ocean we observe alien worlds carpeted in vast fields of colourful corals with equally bizarre, enthralling inhabitants - from the foreign clicks of dolphins communicating to minute technicolour slugs (nudibranch). And best yet,…

Raja Ampat

Longer Term, Longer Haul

What with all the recent confusion surrounding air bridges, travel corridors and quarantine, short-term travel is still very much up in the air. Or not. It's hard to keep up, sometimes. Looking further ahead, though, we believe that a year hence travel will have returned to at least a…

Turtle and fish

Virtual Diving

Some in the travel industry fear the emergence of virtual tourism; we're not in that camp. We know that seeing somewhere on a screen - even if you are able to turn your head or move your mouse to see more - is no substitute for a real dive in a gloriously remote location. What virtual…

reef sharks

Dive Under The Radar

The world's best dives: regularly topping just about everyone's bucket list, and for good reason. But the world's ocean covers a mind boggling 139,000,000 square miles, and as the world's largest playground (official title), there are endless opportunities for adventures. Whether you're a…

School of fish

Ten Reasons Why You Should Become a Certified Diver

A whopping 14 million viewers were wowed by the groundbreaking docuseries, Blue Planet II, when it first aired in 2017, and people's fascination with all things ocean-related continues to grow, from Ocean Film Festivals popping up across the world to power-house brands creating fashion from…

Top Dive Sites in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat has many names; Four Kings; the crown jewel of the Coral Triangle; the underwater Serengeti; the end of the rainbow (okay, that one was us), but no name can quite do justice to the diving in Indonesia's Raja Ampat. Home to the highest marine biodiversity on earth, descending into…

yellow frogfish

The Best Macro Diving in the Philippines

When it comes to diving, it's safe to say that the Philippines offers a bit of everything and on my recent adventure there, I was lucky enough to have a taste of some of the best sites across the country; from thresher sharks in Malapascua to the beautiful coral reefs and walls around Bohol,…

coral reef

Where to Dive in Spring

Spring in Blighty: a season typified by daffodils in full bloom, the half-forgotten sensation of warm sun on bare skin and channelling The Sound of Music while frolicking through fields. But lest we forget, the British weather can be rather… unpredictable. Elsewhere, however, some of our…

jack fish maldives

The Top Dive Sites in the Deep South of the Maldives

It's no secret that the glistening lagoons, atolls and channels that marble the Maldives harbour some of the best diving in the world, and yet some of the best sites remain relatively unknown. Often hailed in hushed tones as the Galapagos of the Maldives, divers can mingle with all the 'big…

bait ball mexico

Where to Go Diving in 2020

Whether you're interested in learning to dive or an old hand looking to expand your portfolio of deep sea adventures; a trend-setter among your dive buddies or simply curious on where the best places to dive are this year; discover our definitive list of the best places to go diving in 2020…

whale shark oman

The Top Seven Short Haul Diving Destinations for 2020

Itching to get your wetsuit back on but don't want to fly halfway across the world? Fear not, as there is some incredible diving just a hop, skip and a jump from the UK, meaning you can have breakfast in Blighty and be sipping on cocktails after an epic dive by dinner (and we're not talking…

pygmy seahorse

Where We've Been in 2019

21st December 2012 was supposed to mark the end of the world, according to Mayan prophecies anyway. Thankfully, we've lived to see the decade end - and boy has it been a corker. The last decade has seen the creation of iPads, Fitbits and 4G, and the first image of a black hole was unveiled.…

french polynesia

Diving the Tuamotus, French Polynesia

French Polynesia is a watery wonderland for divers. Boasting some exceptional big fish diving (think wild dolphins, schools of over 200 reef sharks, manta cleaning stations, fish spawning, big schools of barracuda and jack) in warm, tropical waters, there is so much to explore above and…

anemonefish

Off the Grid in the Banda Sea

Nutmeg. Flavour saviour of curries, the razzle-dazzle in puds, elixir to mulled wine... you get the gist. But have you ever considered where it originated? Introducing the Banda Islands (otherwise known as the "Spice Islands"), the sole producers of nutmeg and mace in the 17th century and…

hermit crab

Insider Guide: Underwater Photography

Ever been baffled on how underwater photographers snap the most minute creatures in such magnificent detail? Perhaps wondered whether the winners of Wildlife Photographer of the Year were carefully planned or super lucky (or both!)? Us too, so we interviewed professional underwater…

Six Senses Laamu4

Conservation in the Maldives

A glistening archipelago of pearl drop islands, turquoise lagoons and incredible (understatement alert) diving, the Maldives is one of the most coveted paradises on earth, yet also one of the most fragile. However, where unregulated fishing practices, plastic-pollution and climate change are…

Arenui liveaboard Komodo

Top Five Liveaboard Diving Destinations

When you set sail on your liveaboard to destinations unknown, and with a salty ocean breeze ruffling your hair, it's hard to argue with the old proverb about the journey being as important as the destination. As your skipper plots his course between the most coveted diving destinations, a…

Angsana Ihuru aerial

Five of the Best House Reefs

Coral reefs are some of the world's most colourful and diverse ecosystems, and a hidden treasure to feast the eyes upon for any scuba diver and snorkeller. But why should you wait for a boat trip from your hotel when you can access these underwater Edens straight from the shores of your…

Use It Or Lose It - Make the Most of Your Remaining Holiday

Did you know that us Brits have some of the lowest annual holiday allowances in Europe? And to add insult to injury, the boffins in the Original Diving Office for National Statistics (sounds dangerous) tell us that almost a third of us don't even use all of our holiday days, even though 69%…

humpback whale listing image

Our Top 5 Destinations for Epic Marine Encounters

From seals, to humpback whales, to hammerhead sharks. You'll want to pack a couple of logbooks for these mad marine destinations…

blackwater diving

Top Five Dive Sites for Blackwater Diving

Ever been night diving? Blackwater diving is night diving on steroids. But rather than exploring reefs, divers are suspended in the pitch black of the open ocean. Why? Because that's when the diurnal migration (aka the world's largest migration) occurs, with countless platonic animals of the…

Louisa Fisher

She’s an A-Lister

Excuse us for a moment of unabashed self-promotion, but we're delighted to share that our Head of Diving, Louisa Fisher, has been named one of Travel & Leisure's A-List advisers. We pride ourselves on our unparalleled knowledge of diving destinations across the globe and, having…

solomon islands wreck

Winter Escapes

Summer may be nearing its end, but a spot of winter sun always provides a beacon of hope once the nights draw in. And this winter's going to be a corker, from swimming with whale sharks in Tanzania to being seduced by the songs of humpback whales in Oman, mingling with mantas in the Maldives…

Meet the rest of the team

We’re seasoned travellers who combine our personal insights and exceptional knowledge to create memorable trips and experiences.

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