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Cleanliness of room

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Service of staff

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Basic Amenities

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Planned itinerary of activities for 3D2N

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Meal spread

(Buffet/ Set Meal)

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Overall Rating

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Cabin type we stayed in

Suite Ocean Full View
Location of cabin

Second level of cruise

Average cabin size (m2)

17.0
Rate for 3D2N/pax (USD $)

202.50 (inclusive of meals on board)

Day 2 Highlights

Morning Sunrise 

Cruising on Bai Tu Long Bay 

Kayaking around Cat Ba Island 

Swimming near Cat Ba Island 

Lunch Set Meal on Day Boat 

Exploring Fairy Cave a.k.a Small Cave and Big Cave 

Sunset Gazing 

Dinner Set Meal on Pelican Halong Cruise 

TIPS?! 

This is a continuation of the pervious article on the 3D2N tour with Pelican Halong Cruise!

Click here if you are interested in how we spend our Day 1 with Pelican Halong Cruise at Halong Bay!

Day 1 was all about chilling on the junk boat and experiencing life on the tranquil Halong Bay waters as the locals row us all into semi-oblivion. But… … Day 2 was all about us rowing ourselves on the glistening Halong waters like there was no tomorrow! Yay!

It was such a precarious experience but in hindsight it was so invigorating I would do it again without a doubt. To experience Halong Bay over a mere night was really not enough. I was so glad we decided to do a 2 night’s stay! And I would recommend this so for everyone!

Click here to watch our vlog on YouTube during this trip!

 

Day 2 Highlights: Morning Sunrise

You know how living in this fast-paced society where we (well… at least for me) leave our homes even before the sun exhumes its full glorious self? And once out the door, we plugged into our little world we call Spotify and gambolled about with our daily work and life itself?

And on weekends? Oh sure… We could really wake up to smell the fresh air and all, but honestly sometimes, do we really have the energy to rise above all?

But hey, on vacations, ah, now that’s a different story. Somehow on vacays, energy levels were high. We tend to want to wake up or in this case, we were (sort of) compelled to wake up with full force pumping because of the itinerary set aside for us by Pelican Halong Cruise! Haha! It really wasn’t an enigma to where our source of energy came from. I am sure anyone who had been on a vacation would know this feeling. 😉

I remember being awoken not by the alarm, but by the many heavy footsteps of early risers on the junk boat. I was, and still am, usually not the one to draw the curtains and peep to see what was plastered outside at our peripheral vision. As such, I still recall that I was just coming of the toilet, still in my PJs, when my cabin mate shrieked. And I peered out to see… …

The SUNRISE.

It was really a blessing and a gift to be able to experience this sunrise at Halong Bay, which was unimpeded and concinnate with the calm(ish) Halong waters and distant limestone cliffs! It was behooved to start snapping away, obviously!

So, still in my PJs, I scoured my backpack hurriedly and through my camera lens, it was the SUNRISE in all her glory. The Halong Bay’s air was so fresh as we opened the slider window and allowed a whiff of crisp morning Bay air in. The view was impeccable. And at that point of time, I really did feel so lucky to have eyes to see, and lungs to be filled with fresh air.


 

Day 2 Highlights: Cruising on Bai Tu Long Bay

So after the epic awakening by my cabin mate’s shriek and crazy snapping of the dramatic sunrise, we headed for our quick scrumptious breakfast and went back to our cabin to prepare for the day’s adventure! By half past 8, we were on a small boat towards a bigger one for our cruise on Bai Tu Long Bay.

So… … here’s the catch. Apparently, we were the only ones in the group who opted for a 2 night’s stay on Halong Bay. As such, we were the only ones, 2 girls (yes only 2 of us), on this huge day cruise, sailing on Bai Tu Long Bay! That was totally hilarious. We initially thought the cruise was going to get other passengers from other junk boats, but well… it was not the case.

Hence, unknowingly, we had booked ourselves a private cruise?! Haha! 😀 What a way to start the day right? #presidentialtreatment much?

Because it was only us on board, we had a nice chat with the cruise captain. We learnt about his life, his family and what he did on a daily basis. It was really heartening to connect with the locals. They really do have much to offer, we just have to take a step to see and understand.

And as preempted by the captain that the journey on Bai Tu Long Bay to Cat Ba Island was going to take a while (~ 1 hour), we decided to use the time to enjoy the Bay’s breeze and of course… SNAP PICTURES!


 

Day 2 Highlights: Kayaking around Cat Ba Island

The cruise boat anchored at a distance away from the shore of Cat Ba Island. The captain set the kayaks into the waters and off we go- wild and free! It was such a galvanising experience. Because there weren’t any kayaks around us at all, we were practically owning the Bay for that temporary moment. We were cognizant of the serenity around us, and the late morning rays that reflect on the waters were just imperatively perfect.

Soon, the captain came towards us in his kayak, and told us if we would like to, we could kayak towards the shore and have a swim along the island coast. We decided to kayak a little longer considering it was such a beautiful calm morning.

Words really cannot describe how splendid the whole scene was. It was just amazing!

 

Day 2 Highlights: Swimming near Cat Ba Island

We spend a great deal of time by the beach on Cat Ba Island. It was as if it was our private beach area! Totally mind-blowing how pristine the waters were! There wasn’t a single soul around us, excluding our captain, who was busy digging for cockles by the beach.

We swam and laid by the beach. It was really an experience unimaginable. We still couldn’t fathom the fact that the entire day’s adventure was so exclusive! Hahah! 😀

Soon after, a local lady who was rowing along the Bay, selling snacks and drinks, approached us! Asking us if we wanted some food! 😀

In total, we spend about an hour(ish) kayaking and swimming near Cat Ba Island. I reckoned we could extent the time if we wanted to.

 

Day 2 Highlights: Lunch Set Meal on Day Boat

The lunch meal provided by the cruise was really massive. It was probably meant for at least 4 people! Not a hyperbole. Honest!

The lunch experience on board the day boat started with the captain, who then became our head chef and waiter, coming out with two Vietnamese drip coffees. It was my first time seeing such an intricate coffee setup. We asked more about how to make such a coffee and the captain delightedly gave us the steps to do so.

Because it was a drip coffee, we had to wait for the coffee mixture to drip through the metal filter before drinking the filtrate. And goodness, was the first taste of the coffee AMAZING. I was really impressed.

The captain’s assistant came out with our appetizer- potato puree! It was warm to the belly, and really apt after a nice swim! Then the main course came. Or should I say main courseS. It was a plate of ‘Vietnamese style rice and meat’ and ‘burger with fries’ EACH! I mean a plate of either was way more than enough for us, but to have a plate each of the rice and burger? Haha!

To honour the hard work of the chef, we really did try our best to finish as much as we possibly could. Overall, the meal, which was absolutely prepared meticulously, was really satisfying! No complains at all!

 

Day 2 Highlights: Exploring Fairy Cave a.k.a Small Cave and Big Cave

Small Cave Big Cave
Entrance Fee VND $30k

VND $50k

We sailed on for about another hour after lunch towards the Fairy Cave for some exploration! Because it was close to high tide, we only had time to squeeze in one of the caves as part of the itinerary.

Though the Fairy Cave was dubbed the Small Cave, it was actually big enough for a good caving experience which lasted about 40 or more odd minutes with the captain, who now was our cave guide! Man of many roles he was. Haha!

We each held on to a small torch and we followed him into the cave. At times, I felt like Alice in Wonderland, falling through a hole, and into an amazing world. Well, in a less glamourous sense, and what actually happened was that, we were walking through a rocky opening into a few moist dark and humid secret tunnels. It was really neat to be honest.

I remember vividly a little opening we had to crouch to enter. And when inside, the guide asked us to turn off our torches. We did so and it was pure darkness. I couldn’t even see my own hand if it was placed inches from my face. We had to follow the voice of the guide. At that point, I was a little nervous. I probably had some trust issues. I remember he was asking us to place our hands into some smaller hole. I was skeptical, and was unwilling. I started shrieking like a little wuss even before placing my hands inside. Haha! In hindsight, it was pretty hilarious.

The scene on the outside was amazing too. We didn’t need torches. The sunlight from outside shone in like a beam of hope!

 

Day 2 Highlights: Sunset Gazing

So when there were sunrises, then there must be sunsets right? And you would think that having seen 2 sunrises and a sunset on Halong Bay, the views and feelings would get old? Well… Totally NOT at all!

We got back on the main Pelican Halong Cruise by half past 3, and were already chillaxing on the sun deck and waiting for the sun to set. During this time, you could access the wifi near the captain’s cockpit and connect with the world outside the Bay… … Or if your phone somehow cannot get any signal, then be like me- enjoy the Bay’s breeze and snap more pictures!

I cannot describe how marvellous the sunsets on Halong Bay were; as with the sunrises earlier! It was by far the best I ever had.

 

Day 2 Highlights: Dinner Set Meal on Pelican Halong Cruise

Because we were pretty beat up after a long day of adventures, the manager of the cruise was so very much kind and thoughtful enough to bring our dinner to us in our cabin!

I really do have to mention that the meals on board Pelican Halong Cruise were without a doubt having a great deal of standard. With huge portions and meticulous presentation of the foods, there was really no error at all!

 

TIPS?!

(a) Bring your camera

There is no need for contemplation to whether you should bring your non-waterproof camera up the day boat. You just have to bring it along. The views were so prefect and important that it would be such a pity if I wasn’t able to capture them!

(b) Set aside time for the Big Cave?

We did not have enough time to explore 2 caves due to high tide, hence, if you would want to have the option/opportunity to do both, then maybe you could speak with the captain and express interest?

In hindsight, it was easier for us to request to explore both caves, considering that we were the only 2 passengers on board! Haha! But in my opinion, I feel 1 cave exploration would suffice? Would prefer a more chill and laid-back kinda plan.

(c) Pack in your own beverage?

And yes, in my previous article, I did already mention to bring your own booze and what not right? So I shall not say more again. Haha! But really, a bottle or two of Somersby or Strongbow won’t hurt right? 😀

Hope this prods you to capture some beauty around you! ‘Cause the world is really perfect when you have a kind heart willing to see it!

So remember to Travel Whenever!

Dee

 

 

Cleanliness of room

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Service of staff

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Basic Amenities

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Planned itinerary of activities for 3D2N

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Meal spread

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Overall Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Cabin type we stayed in

Suite Ocean Full View

Location of cabin

Second level of cruise
Average cabin size (m2)

17.0

Rate for 3D2N/pax (USD $)

202.50 (inclusive of meals on board)

Day 1 Highlights

Arrival on Tuan Chau Island + Check In 

Buffet Lunch with a View + Exploring the Junk Boat 

Luon Cave 

Relaxing on the sun deck (Free & Easy) 

Making Vietnamese Spring Rolls 

Dinner Set Meal 

TIPS?! 

Halong Bay, located in the North East region of Vietnam, is a fairy tale on its own, especially at sundown or at sunrise. A picturesque sight that will imperatively blow you away. Surrounded by calm emerald waters and ever so periodic sights of thousands of towering limestone cliffs and islands. Some with shapes that look somewhat familiar to us (with a wee bit of imagination) and hence were given names by locals. Names of islands include, Dog Stone Islet, Incense Burner, Fighting Cock, Coconut Tree Island etc.

For someone wanting to go on an escape from the buzz of city life, then this cruise would really take you away, literally, from the city. Stuck on a junk boat as it cruises along Halong Bay, I reckon you wouldn’t be bored at all, well… at least I wasn’t. There’s really so much to see and do. Packed with engaging activities for everyone, I would say, even without strong wifi connection (at least on my mobile device back then) I really wouldn’t mind at all.

It was a tranquil, very relaxing experience on board the Pelican Halong Cruise during all the 3 days, and 2 wondrous nights!

Click here to watch our vlog on YouTube during this trip!

 

Day 1 Highlights: Arrival on Tuan Chau Island + Check In

The Pelican Halong Cruise package included a shuttle bus pick up from our hotel stay at Oriental Central Hotel in Hanoi city to Tuan Chau Ferry Terminal. The bus would pass the Red River Delta country side, where you could get to see open fields of rice paddies and local villages.

Because the drive to Tuan Chau Island takes approximately about 3.5 hours, a quick respite of ½ hour, for both driver and passengers at Hai Duong province was an essential. At the respite vicinity, you could do some local snack shopping as well. It was basically a big souvenir, snack, clothes and coffee shop. There was a wide variety of light snacks and beverages, including local crackers, chocolates and nuts. There was also a lot of souvenirs both perishable and non-perishable, like local cookies in packets, T-shirts and magnets. And if you walk around to explore the shop, you would see an area where local ladies were busy and meticulously threading out frames of beautiful masterpieces.

We arrived on Tuan Chau Island at around half pass noon. Boy, was it a long journey. But even though the sun was at its relentless peak, the air felt crisp and hopeful. The breeze from the waters beside the ferry terminal was cool. It was such a pleasant day! Very thankful.

We were led into Pelican Halong Cruise Lounge and served a simple welcome drink while the customer service lady confirmed our personal particulars to check us in. While waiting for all cruise passengers’ baggage to be loaded onto the junk boat, we had about an hour before boarding, which was plenty of time to chill at the lounge, or go out to explore the nearby vicinity along the ferry terminal. And of course, we went out to snap photos! Haha!

The waters were invigorating. Under the strong sun rays, they glistened like crystals floating on the water surface. And the distant towering forest cliffs as backdrop just excited me for I could only imagine what was installed for the next 3 days!

It was half past 1 when we were slowly making our way onto the Pelican Halong Cruise and into our cabin, the Suite Ocean Full View! Located at the second deck of the junk boat, the view was impedingly perfect! A small cosy room with the wooden slider window/door that opens to a welcoming view of Halong Bay’s emerald waters, limestone cliffs and islets, is something we don’t get to experience every other day! Marvellous!


 

Day 1 Highlights: Buffet Lunch with a View + Exploring the Junk Boat

Lunch was set to be about quarter past 2. Oh man was the spread luxuriously generous. Looking at the wide variety of food just made me ravenous. There was a mix of Vietnamese and international dishes, from Vietnamese vegetable rolls to Japanese salmon sashimi and sushi to fried rice and stir-fry seasonal vegetables and meat skewers. All so tasty to the palate!

One thing I noticed and appreciated about the chefs at Pelican Halong Cruise was that they really took pride in the food they made; down to the meticulous detail of food presentation. Incredibly skilful and passionate people at what they do. I remember seeing a dish which had ‘fish net’ made out of carrots as a presentation piece! Very impressive handiwork I have to say!

As we stomach our bellies with delectable, the junk boat was cruising through the jade-green waters of Halong Bay. Passing incredible views that were impeccable. Limestones cliffs and islets, glistening crystal water surfaces, and perfect cerulean sky. It really wasn’t every day that anyone could say that he/she was experiencing a constantly changing view as he/she was dining for lunch! It was perfecto!

After a very fulfilled lunch, we went around the junk boat exploring.

The bottom deck access was where the entrance to the boat was, and it was also where the 18 cabins for reside were. Then to the middle deck of the junk boat (where we resided for the next 2 nights), there was a small viewing deck at the front with a small table and 2 chairs, perfect for soaking in the Halong Bay’s breeze and maybe taking a beer or something. It was also a designated smoking area. The middle deck had the other 10 cabins as well. Lastly, the highest deck- the sun deck. The sun deck was where the magic happened. Most planned itinerary by Pelican Halong Cruise, like the cooking demonstration, squid fishing and morning Tai Chi exercise class were conducted on the sun deck.

The sun deck was also the place to get impeded panoramic views of Halong Bay. #speechless And the deck was also where the wifi signal was at its best, especially nearer to the captain’s cockpit. Personally, I got none on my cell phone. But it really doesn’t matter, the uploading of Instagram pictures could always wait right? 😀


 

Day 1 Highlights: Luon Cave

This was quite a memorable part of Day 1 on board Pelican Halong Cruise.

Before Vietnam, I had never done caving, or stepped into a cave before. But my trip to Vietnam really brought me to another world. A world of confine yet massively high ceilings of moisture and dim lights; where sometimes, not walking through forest to a peak, but wandering through limestone walls and uneven rocks was also an adventure on its own!

Well, this trip to Luon Cave was really nothing as I described actually. Haha…! This caving experience was really family-friendly oriented. We didn’t even have to walk, but just sat back on a bamboo boat that was manoeuvred by locals ladies, all so relaxed and enjoying the view!

By evening at about 4, the manager of the Pelican Halong Cruise got all of us to gather at the bottom deck to get our safety vests on. And soon, we were transferred to a smaller boat, and then up on the bamboo boat, where the local lady started her manoeuvring skills on the Bay.

Luon Cave is located on Bo Hon Island, which is about 1 km away from the famous Hang Sung Sot a.k.a Surprise Cave a.k.a Cave of Surprises or other similar variations. Visiting Hang Sung Sot was part of the Pelican Halong Cruise itinerary for Day 3.

Luon Cave has the shape of an arc, which was 60 meters in length, and between 2.5 and 4 meters in height depending on the Bay’s tide. This cave could only be accessed by small boat vessels, either by a kayak or a bamboo rowing boat. When the Bay’s tide rises, visitors have to cower down to pass through the cave.

The bamboo boat I was on must had at least 8 adults on board, it was so heavy, but with the two paddles, the local lady paddled as if it was nothing! I could only imagine if I was the one doing it, we would either go around in circles, or not move at all! There were other bamboo boats, and even kayaks (from other junk boat tours) within our peripheral vision. As the lady paddled, and we floated on the jade-green waters with surrounding cliffs and biodiversity towering above us, everyone was quiet. Mesmerised I reckoned. It was very soothing and serene. I remembered, only hearing the waters from the paddling and occasional sounds from birds. It was the most placid experience. It was like, you were surrounded by people, but yet still in a state of Zen. It was just amazing.


 

Day 1 Highlights: Relaxing on the sun deck (Free & Easy)

Then it was back on board the Pelican Halong Cruise! And no need for much explanation, of course the sun deck was by far the best place to be on the junk boat when you need some Halong Bay’s breeze!

Since it was already sunset, the sky was in its epic hues of blue, orange and pink. It was beautiful. Slowly every island or islet in the distant, that once had colour of green and brown, turned to dark silhouettes with a dreamy fairy tale backdrop of sunset colours. Very epic! I was pretty much kept busy with my camera, snapping all the way through because every sight just seem so flawless!

During this time, if you are feeling a need for SPA massage session, you could book a slot with the cruise manager (charges are applied based on the SPA menu). If not, just chill out at the sun deck, have a drink, and just enjoy the cool evening breeze!


 

Day 1 Highlights: Making Vietnamese Spring Rolls

So it was already pitch dark past 6 pm at Halong Bay. It was really chilly by then. Most people had gathered at the sun deck for a cooking demonstration and some hands-on making of the Vietnamese spring rolls!

I, personally, was pretty excited for it. First of all, I LOVE eating spring rolls. And secondly, who doesn’t like a cooking demonstration right? Yummylicious! Nuff said!


 

Day 1 Highlights: Dinner Set Meal

After a light snack of Vietnamese spring rolls (though I wished I had maybe a couple more in my belly, ‘cause they were just so nice along with the sauce!) on the sun deck, we made our way slowly to the dining area for dinner!

And oh boy, was dinner anything but ordinary. So we sat at our tables, and when everyone arrived, the lights went off! It was pitch black. So imagine the surprise everyone was in, because we were only expecting a dinner with no extravagant entertainment. Then suddenly, the chef and the waiters came out all in rehearsed formation with our entrées in hand. Music played, fairy lights turned on, and the waiters walked to their assigned table and placed a pineapple centrepiece (with mini table candles) with fried meat roll sticking out of it.

The manager of the junk boat then made a mini speech, and the lady head chef explained a little about the dishes that we were going to eat. Could really feel that passion and love for what they do. Really admired their work ethics.

Then a mini surprise came for a couple, when the manager of the junk boat announced that a couple was celebrating their anniversary. Everyone cheered as music played, and the couple had their dance in front of us all. It was some experience to be part of this! Haha! 😀

The lights turned back on, and we started with our first entrée. Next up, was a seafood and meat skewer, and then our main course! I had the beef with mushroom sauce and some fries and steamed vegetables. It was not too bad; filling definitely!

Overall, it was a hearty meal with an astounding ambience.

And so that wraps up Day 1 on board the Pelican Halong Cruise on Halong Bay!

 

TIPS?!

(a) Bring your camera

I was contemplating if I should bring my non-waterproof camera on the mini trip to Luon Cave, and I am forever grateful that I did so! I managed to capture so much ethereal beauty that I would always hold dear to.

Furthermore, with hindsight, I would trust the lady paddling the boat. It was stable, and I felt safe the whole time when I was in it. Of course, I cannot vouch for the other boats, but looking at the rest, they seem all pretty stable and safe!

(b) Pack in your own beverage?

If I would to head back to Halong Bay, and honestly I wouldn’t mind at all, I would definitely pack in a bottle or two of Breezer prior to boarding the junk boat! I mean, since I am not into beers and all that, a Breezer or two is definitely nice to unwind as I look out into the calmness of the Bay and enjoying the breeze! 😀

Hope this prods you to capture some beauty around you!

So remember to Travel Whenever!

Dee

 

How to get there? + TIPS?!

Getting around Bohol Island? + TIPS?!

Place to stay? Henann Resort Alona Beach

Sights & Sounds on Bohol Island? Bohol Countryside Tour!

Dumaluan Beach

Manmade Forest

Chocolate Hills

Hanging Bridge

Hinagdanan Cave

Bohol! A little island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. Its capital? Tagbilaran City!

Since we were travelling around Cebu (which is another island province to the West of Bohol), we decided to spend a few days exploring this nearby area where the major geographic landmark attraction lies in Carmen, Bohol; the Chocolate Hills!

 

How to get there? + TIPS?!

Option #1: Cebu City to Bohol

If you are going straight to Bohol from Cebu city, then this is quite a hassle- free option!

Take a metered- taxi from your hotel stay in the city or from the airport and get the driver to take you to the ferry terminal. As there are a few ferry terminals in Cebu city, let the driver know you are heading to Bohol, so he could direct you to the right ferry terminal that actually has ferry services that operate from Cebu city to Bohol.

If I did recall correctly, the taxi ride costs about 60(ish) pesos from our hotel at Best Western Plus Lex Cebu to the ferry terminal. It was definitely less than 100 pesos for sure.

We were brought straight to the ferry ticketing booths. There were a few ferry companies to choose from, with a wide selection of timings (clearly pasted at the front booths), comfort levels (wider seats, etc.), and duration of the ferry journey.

We took OceanJet.

Since the ferry ride is at most 2 hours long, we weren’t particular about which ferry company to choose. As long as we could get to Bohol the quickest, we were pretty cool with any!

Option #2: Cebu City to Liloan (Santander) to Dumaguete to Bohol

So if you are already travelling around Cebu, and obviously deviating far from Cebu City, then this option is really feasible! I stand by this!

I usually do not like to retract my steps, and I would try to find all sort of ways not to do so, unless I really can’t find any viable option. But, fret not, in this case I have found it!

It really does save you a hell load of travelling time as compared to you heading back to Cebu City AGAIN (which, mind you, is an approximately 4 hours bus ride if you start from Santander- South end of Cebu island), and to take Option #1 when travelling to Bohol!

‘Cause is there a saying that goes something like this- if you are riding with the locals, then you ain’t doing it wrong?! Right? 😀

So here goes… …

If you are travelling from Cebu city to explore other parts of Cebu (countryside) along the way… …

Then, from your city accommodation, take a metered- taxi to the Cebu South Bus Terminal; located near Elizabeth Mall. Get the AIR-CON bus tickets as the price difference is really not that much anyway!

These bright yellow Ceres public buses are by far the cheapest mode of transportation around Cebu, and are really hard to miss! Get on the bus that is bound for Oslob-Liloan Terminal or Liloan Port (you can stop at small villages en route to Liloan). The place you should be looking to alight is at Liloan Port. This is a mini bus and ferry port a.k.a Puerto Del Sur Passenger Terminal, Lilo-an Santander Cebu. You do not need to be afraid as to where you should alight because this Liloan Port is the terminal end for the Ceres bus!

If you are travelling from anywhere else in Cebu, but not from Cebu city… …

Then, just make sure you take any Ceres bus that is bound for Liloan Port or hire a private driver if you really want to ensure you are heading the right way. Ask your accommodation staff or any locals for help on which bus to board, I am sure they would help.

Liloan Port where you can purchase your ferry tickets to Dumaguete! The ferry would disembark at Sibulan Terminal over at Dumaguete.

Click here for ferry schedule from Liloan Port to Sibulan Terminal (vice versa).

Do take advantage of the fact that you are already at Dumaguete, and spend a day exploring the city! Take the first (and probably the only) ferry out to Bohol the following day!

It’s a definite win-win situation! You get to explore more places, en route to Bohol, without even backtracking! Yay! 😀

To ensure you do not miss your limited ferry ride out to Bohol, check out the ferry departure timings and its prices for OceanJet here!

TIPS?!

1

Don’t buy ferry tickets in advance!

There may bound to have ferry cancellations for who knows what reasons; you never know right? Hence, I feel there is no need to purchase your ferry tickets much earlier, online or what not.

If you have the intent to leave for Bohol, then just purchase the tickets then and there.

2

Check ferry departure timings online first!

Ferry operating companies, just like any airline flight companies, usually have departure timing schedules and price quotations on their official websites, along with the dates you would like to board.

So double check the timings prior, and head down to the ferry terminal slightly earlier to purchase the tickets to avoid missing a ferry and having to wait a long while for the next one.

3

Bring loads of seasick candies!

If you are a person who is easily down with motion sickness like me, go get yourself a bag or two (or three even, you never know 🙁 ) of sour gummies- gummy bears, gummy worms, anything sour!

The ride may be only about 2 hours, but it could be the most antagonising 2 hours of hell if you are nausea throughout. What I like to do is force sleep if possible, and if it doesn’t work (which usually it does work), then sour candy stuffing is my next best alternative.

 

Getting around Bohol Island? + TIPS?!

Getting around Bohol is ain’t as cheap in my opinion as there ain’t many taxis available once away from the capital; Tagbilaran City.

Upon disembarking the ferry either coming from Cebu city or Dumaguete, you would be greeted very welcomingly by private tour representatives, private drivers, hotel transfer staff from various hotels around, etc. It was extremely overwhelming I would say.

We didn’t arrange any hotel transfer thinking we could definitely get a taxi somewhere near the wharf. Well, it turns out taxi drivers love quoting prices way over the roof, and they refuse to go by the metered pricing. And well, there ain’t that many taxis around either. So either you get into the overpriced taxi, engaged a private driver or get the hotel transfer which obviously ain’t cheap as you pay for security I guess.

So how to get a good cheap(er) deal?

TIPS?!- Getting CHEAP(ER) HOTEL TRANSFER!

The key lies in your observation skills! Look for OTHER hotel transfer drivers with signboard of their guest names. These are drivers on official work duty to pick their guests from the wharf and back to the hotel safely.

What you need to do is to speak with these drivers and tell them you are going to whichever hotel you have booked. They will then quote you a price, and obviously you will have to say a flat,’NO.’ Then, ‘walk over’ to another hotel transfer driver, and try again. Usually within the first try, the first driver you spoke to earlier would budge and deduce the price. And if you still find it too pricey, and you can reject. #actofhaggling

Usually you would not need to reject them at all, because what they quote the second time is usually quite reasonable. What they are doing now is earning a quick buck using the company car. So either way, it is a win-win for everyone! Plus, it’s a added win for you because you will obviously and definitely be the first to alight at your hotel/resort! I mean, the driver cannot possibly be seen with non-guests in the company car right?

So there you have it, cheap(er) rates for hotel transfer from the wharf. The driver wins with extra earned pocket money, and so do you!

1. Taxi/ Tricycle within the capital; Tagbilaran City ONLY

Whilst travelling through Tagbilaran City, we saw taxis and tricycles (motorbikes with an attached passenger seating) here and there. Though not a lot like what you would see in Bangkok, Thailand, but it was definitely more compared to the other parts on Bohol island.

Taxis here are not metered- taxis, so remember to haggle if you need to before getting into one. Usually they quote prices double the metered- pricing. Tricycles work the same way.

2. Rent a motorbike

If I knew how to ride one, I would gladly use this mode of transportation. It is so much cheaper, and it’s basically a road trip through Bohol on two wheels! Yes, please!

But, alas, I know nuts about riding one. Maybe I should really consider learning.

3. Engage a private van/car

This is by far the easiest, idiot proof way to go. Though pricey, it was the best and fastest mode of transportation, aside motorbiking of course.

How this works is that you engage a private car driver (or a van, if you have a group of people), tell him where you want to go, and he will take you there. Basically, you plan your own tour itinerary around Bohol countryside, with your own personal ‘chauffeur’.

The ‘chauffeur’ did tell us his recommended itinerary, however, we just eliminated those that we found not as appealing and replaced them with sights/spots we wanted. Hence, I find this very flexible. It’s like a road trip, just that you are not behind the wheels. Talk about having the ‘princess treatment’, which I clearly do not need, but oh well, blame it on me not being able to ride a motorbike! I guess there’s always a hefty price to pay for being a ‘princess’ with a personal ‘chauffeur’.

We jammed packed as much countryside seeing within the time frame we engaged the chauffer’, which is a whole day affair from 9 am – 5 pm.

More of the countryside tour is down below… …

4. Ride the public bus

Unless you have all the time in the world, I do not ever suggest this mode of transport. It would take you ages to travel from one attraction to the next. So really, don’t even bother.

Either you get yourself the ‘princess treatment’ and engage a private driver, or ride a motorbike! Or just go on one of those group tours, if you do not want to plan your own itinerary.

5. Walking burns calories

And if all else fails, then well, the cheapest mode of transportation is your legs. Haha! #workthosecalories

 

Place to stay? Henann Resort Alona Beach

Cleanliness of room

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Location of resort

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Facilities

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Service of staff

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Morning buffet spread

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Overall Rating

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This is by far the most lavish stay we had when in the Philippines. Which honestly, it is worth every penny we chipped in. Putting their staff service aside, this resort left us in awe, and still do. With a massive resort layout, and way too many swimming pools (not complaining here) that just awash the ground level, this resort just makes you believe you are living in celestial heaven. Just ethereal!

This is a new resort. During our stay, there was an entire block of rooms still under renovation. The best thing is all the facilities are well and running, so it really doesn’t affect the guests at current. I reckoned it was why the rates we got for the room ain’t as expensive as it would be, since the resort is still in the midst of rolling out.

Room type we stayed in

Superior Room
Rate/night (USD $)

114.96

The triumph card this resort has, I would say, is its location. Alona beach is very strategically located at the resort’s very own ‘backyard’! With limited transportation available on Bohol island, oh man, this is a definite plus point!

We got to waste the afternoon and night away by the beach, and not worry about transport back. Furthermore, there are many seaside restaurants just within minutes of sauntering along the beach. Indulge in a seafood feast, or enjoy a nice pizza, there are way too many food options here to satisfy your dinner cravings!

And if you are lucky, night street flame performers would get your adrenaline pumping and totally knock your socks off in admiration! To add on to the fun, and if you are a real daredevil, just volunteer yourself to be part of the flame throwing act! Now, that would be an experience you would remember for sure! 😀

Well, I guess this is a classic case of minimal service, and yet customers/guests would still return for all the other ‘perks’ the resort offers. And by ‘perks’, I really do mean the awesome location!

Sights & Sounds on Bohol Island? Bohol Countryside Tour!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0KDYDVJwMY[/youtube]

Rate (PHP $)

2900/ hired car (4 seater)
Duration

09  00 – 17 00

 

Dumaluan Beach

Dumaluan beach was definitely more happening than over at Alona beach. Crazy as this sounds, but it was true. Happening in the sense that more people are swimming in the water, more children are playing by the coast, and well, the sum it all; the day vibe was just much more upbeat! However, if you prefer a more night party scene, then Alona beach is more your groove.

Personally, I prefer Dumaluan beach. I am more of a day person. Haha!

 

Manmade Forest

The manmade mahogany forest stretches across 2 km. It is located between Loboc town and Bilar town, and it is the main road way en route to the long awaited Chocolate Hills at Carmen town! Basically, this was more of a pit stop!

The tall, similar height and densely planted mahogany trees were the corollary of the 1960s National Reforestation Program! So I guess, the people of the present are indeed reaping the benefits of the past!

Once in the canopy of the mahogany trees, the view was pretty much surreal when looking up! And with very few cars passing, snapping pictures in the middle of the road was really pretty much just a norm! Haha! 😀

 

Chocolate Hills

Entry fee/pax (PHP $)

50

And the long awaited Chocolate Hills at Carmen town! I saw this on Google whilst researching, and this definitely got my heart intertwined!

I loved pictures of them when they were all stained chocolaty during the dry season (late November to May), and when they were lush green on wetter season. Either way, it was just perfect to be looking at them under the bright illuminating natural sunlight when I was there!

So obviously we had to work for our views, and climbed a long flight of stairs; which would then open up to the viewing point of the Chocolate Hills! Magnificent!

TIPS?!

We each had to pay the entrance fee before the car could even advance further for us to alight. A receipt, together with orange stamp-looking coupons, would be presented to you.

Keep the receipt as the ticketing guy would have already noted your hired car license plate number on it. After you are done swooning over the Chocolate Hills, you could present the receipt to the booth near the area you alighted prior. They would then alert your hired driver to come get you!

The area is kind of small for all visitors’ cars to be parking there, so they use this system of relay!

 

Hanging Bridge

Entry fee/pax (PHP $)

20

According to some websites, this bridge at Sevilla town (which in my opinion, is hugely misleading and exaggerating) is said to be the ‘most dangerous’ bridge to cross. Well… … I embarrassingly believed those websites, and thought to myself, “Oh yes! A little adrenaline rush? Why not? Let’s do this!”

Well, if I had knew it was going to be like how I had experienced it, well… … Let’s just say, I would not go back for seconds. #justsaying

I mean it’s not that terrible. It’s just a… … Bridge. That. You. Cross… … -.-‘

There are some minor pit holes which your slipper could get caught in, and when you walk through the bamboo deck, the bridge would sway. With added people on it, the swaying gets rougher. Oh yeah… … But that was just about it. Nothing too adrenaline-rush-worthy.

Not to mention, every step you take, the bamboo deck might cave in a little under your weight (which is pretty normal, unless you are weightless that is). So I really don’t see the deal here. I don’t know, that’s probably just me. Maybe to others, it is quite scary. After all, I did hear screams.

There are two bridges, which allows you to move only in one direction (to and fro).

One for you to cross over to the other side of the Sipatan River, where there is a mini shop selling souvenirs and fresh coconut water, and the other bridge is for you to cross back. This really reduces the human traffic on the bridge, which makes it so much safer.

So no worries! Pretty much safe! That is… … Unless you are afraid of dogs like J. Haha! I recall there was a brown spotted white dog, just aimlessly crossing the bridge to and fro, and that totally got J’s legs to jelly mode on the bridge. It was hilarious.

To think that she could still help me snap some shots; kudos to her for being such a good sport! I wanted to snap some of her but I guess she just wanted to get the hell off the bridge with her jelly legs! Haha! 😀

 

Hinagdanan Cave

Entry fee/pax (PHP $)

25 (without swimming)
Car parking (PHP $)

15/car

If you have been to caves in Vietnam, then you would know Hinagdanan Cave is not even close. However, I would say this is a humble substitute? There is an option for swimming in the lagoon, and the entry fee to that would be slightly more than PHP $25.

There would be local guides loitering around the entrance of the cave offering to take you for a tour in the cave. If you do not want one, then remember to politely decline, or else they will tag alongside you into the cave, and oh hey, you just might have gotten yourself a guide in the cave. Haha!

The cave is small to not get lost in, hence, in my opinion, there is no need for a guide at all. If you are planning for a lagoon swim, be prepared to be photographed by other visitors who are in there. There is no such thing as a private swimming affair in the small cave, just for you information.

Overall, I would say this limestone cave on Panglao Island in Bohol is a refreshing start to a series of cave exploration around the world?

Carpe diem, you never know what the future would bring, so remember to Travel Whenever and start exploring!

Dee