The Phillipines

Travel cost; 1000-3000RMB return flight

Accommodation; 60-100RMB/night (hostel)

Daily budget; 300RMB

Of all the places that I have been to on my travels, the beaches and sunsets of the Philippines on Boracay island have been the closest to a perfect paradise. The country is pretty close to China and flights are cheap and regular.  Our itinerary was rushed as we only had 5 days in the country. We landed in Manila, the capital then went to the famous party island a plane, bus and boat ride away.

Manila

Capital of the Philippines is an excellent place to shop, buy your stuff and move on to the islands. The city is home to the Mall of Asia, one of the five largest malls in the entire continent and has every kind of global cuisine, shop that you could imagine.

The first hostel I ever stopped in was in Manila and it was excellent, it was called the green mango hostel and was in a good location and was extremely clean and well equipped with a free beer, breakfast and mangos growing on the trees above the hammock that you could chill on.

I recommend stopping over at Manila and using it as a pits top as the islands are stunning. You can get there by catching one of the many daily internal flights from manila airport.

Boracay Island

Boracay is a paradise island some 300 km from Manila. Famous for its white sandy beaches, excellent nightlife and absolutely stunning sunsets. Up to now it is the most paradise island that I have ever been to and I highly recommend it. Voted Best Island in the world 2012, its beaches have also won numerous world’s best awards and the entire experience is great. We managed to spend only 3 nights on this island but I recommend stopping longer. We went snorkelling and then spent the rest of the time drinking at night and relaxing, swimming in the clear waters in the day. If you can go to this island, go! I highly recommend it.

How to get there

Boracay Island is a bit of a mission to get to but well worth the effort. You can get there by flying to either of 2 nearby airports. Caticlan is the nearest airport however flights are often full, in this case you can catch a plane to Kalibo as we did then take a shuttle bus to Caticlan.

From the port of Caticlan it is then a short 15 minute or so ferry crossing to the island. Once you arrive at the island. You will dock at a number of stations on the island, from which you can then catch a tricycle to your hotel/ the touristy area.

Accommodation

There are many good hostels on the island and if you haggle the average price that you can expect to pay for a standard en suite double is around 150RMB. If booking on the spot be prepared to haggle and don’t accept the first price that a tour guide gives you. The chances are that as soon as you get off the boat you will be hounded so keep a ballpark price in mind and stick to it. Boracay is a tourist island and thus there is huge scope for being ripped off, however, if you haggle the prices can be very reasonable. We haggled a women down from 300RMB to 200RMB per night for a 3 bed en suite.

Prostitutes and lady boys

We were on Boracay for 3 nights and encountered both. At night the strip is lined with lady boy prostitutes and if you go out to dance in a club then there is a good chance that you will be targeted by a prostitute that targets you on the dance floor. So, my best advice is just be aware that they are prostitutes and don’t get hammered and take one home. Also, the strip has numerous lady boy prostitutes on the prowl at night looking preying on tourists. Unless your into that kinda thing, I recommend staying alert.

Rum and good food

Boracay has its own Malibu style brand of rum, it’s both cheap and delicious and I fully recommend it. Also, at night the beach front is full of all you can eat fresh sea food buffets, we lived on these and they were reasonably priced.

 

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