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Benefits of GPSMyCity Travel Article Apps? 

Travel Article App GIVEAWAY (Limited Period ONLY) 

GPSMyCity is a company that publishes iOS and Android travel related app which includes self-guided city walks and even travel articles of specific places of interest written by passionate travellers all around the world! Featuring over more than 1000 cities, this mobile app is imperatively useful on the go!

GPSMyCity is basically for a community of like-minded independent travel explorers who love to saunter through cities and explore new places of sights of interest, without the hassle of a time constraint that one would face, if in a tour group.

Hence, with GPSMyCity’s self-guided city walks apps and travel article apps all downloaded into your mobile device, you would be your very own personal tour guide. Because in GPSMyCity… … You could always “Lose Yourself Without Getting Lost”… … Well unless your mobile device battery decides to fail on you. 😛

 

Benefits of GPSMyCity Travel Article Apps?

So what are the benefits of downloading GPSMyCity’s self-guided city walks apps and travel article apps?

1. SAVE function (It’s FREE!)

So to be honest, a few years ago, when buying prepaid data SIM cards in foreign countries were really not an option for me, I did the most obvious way to save a travel article or important information I found online: PRINTING.

Yes, good old fashion hardcopy! Hey, hardcopies never fail you, unlike unstable data connection… … Right? The downside to this, other than wasting paper and destroying the Earth, would be that they added extra baggage weight to lug with you all around whilst exploring new places. Furthermore, it gets crumpled easily especially when your bag is not waterproof and you get caught in the rain. #beentheredonethat

Then came screenshots. Screenshots of sections of travel articles I deemed important etc., and at the same time, ultimately increasing so many images in my Camera Roll on my phone that on the day that I actually want to use it? I have a hard time finding it! Yes, I have poor organisation skills… But…

Now… … With GPSMyCity’s travel apps, we all can have the luxury of reading travel articles without having to carry along extra baggage or piling up on images in Camera Roll. And the best part, we can all read it OFFLINE. Yes, no need for mobile data at all! You could read the articles you want on the plane en route to your lovely vacation destination, or even in the forest during your hikes, if you would like to confirm certain details about the hiking routes etc. Because to be honest, we all know, even with mobile data, the connection in the middle of nowhere can be pretty unstable. Hence, the SAVE function really does put one at ease! 😀

All you have to do is to click on the SAVE button on the top right corner of the app, and you would have downloaded the travel article you want under “Downloads” to be read OFFLINE. It is really that simple, and FREE!

2. AUDIO function (It’s FREE!)

And there’s this cute AUDIO function in GPSMyCity travel article app that allows you to listen to the travel article whenever you want! It’s basically an audiobook, but TRAVEL related! That’s kinda cool don’t you think so? Haha!

3. MAP function (Upgrade)

If you go for the upgrade version of GPSMyCity travel article app, at a small fee per article, you would be converting the travel article to a GPS-guided version. You would be getting travel routes (either by foot, car and bicycle) to your attraction of interest. This upgrade really does give you a peace of mind with great convenience.

Basically, with the upgrade MAP function, the map will display all the attractions mentioned by the author in the travel article you were reading. There is no need for the hassle of going through an extra step of looking up the directions on Google Maps to get there!

In addition, with build in GPS function, the travel app gives you the exact route from your current location to your selected attraction of interest! How hassle-free is that?! You could literally “Lose Yourself Without Getting Lost”!

Just hit the bottom 2nd button from the right, and you will be on your merry way to data-free exploration at the palm of your hands! Perfecto!

4. WALK Function (Upgrade)

The bottom right WALK function is a useful tool for you to create personalised self-guided walk; solely featuring attractions of your choice! You are your own travel planner.

There are times when we may not want all the itinerary stated in the travel article due to lack of time or even differences in interest. Hence, with this WALK function, you have the option to select some or all the sights mentioned in the travel article.

Now, you would have your own personalised travel itinerary at your fingertips; really easily for you to work with and manoeuvre around! Hence, making your travels so much leisurelier!

 

Travel Article App GIVEAWAY (Limited Period ONLY)

With this, I am happy to announce that I am partnering with GPSMyCity to convert my travel article “Sights & Sounds: Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai” on TravelWhenever, to a GPSMyCity travel article app that can be viewed offline!

To add on to this, for a limited period only, GPSMyCity will be giving away FREE upgrade of my travel article app for an entire week (3 July 2017 – 10 July 2017). During this period, my travel article on GPSMyCity can be upgraded to a GPS-guided travel article version which includes the MAP function and the WALK function (mentioned above); FREE!

So if you have no data, or wifi, or even unstable internet connection? No worries! This upgrade would give you the confidence and convenience of self-travel OFFLINE!

With thousands of travel articles at your fingertips when you download the FREE GPSMyCity app, what are you waiting for? You can access the travel article apps by first downloading the GPSMyCity app on your mobile device.

Once you have downloaded the app, you can browse by city to see which articles are available. You can download any travel articles for free using the SAVE function for offline reading, or for an upgrade to get the GPS-guided travel article version.

To find my travel article “Sights & Sounds: Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai” and get the FREE UPGRADE (3 July 2017 – 10 July 2017), click here.

With GPSMyCity in your pocket and all times, hopefully this will drive your passion a little deeper to head out and explore places with confidence!

And always remember to Travel Whenever!

Dee

 

 

How to get there?

Dress appropriately?

What you might experience?

TIPS?!

Operating Hours:

Wat Rong Khun

Weekdays: 08 00 – 17 00

Weekends: 08 00 – 17 30

Art Gallery

Weekdays: 08 00 – 17 30

Weekends & National Holidays: 08 00 – 18 00

Entrance Fee:

FOC

Recommended length of visit:

1 – 2.5 hours

(depending on how intense you want to immerse yourself into the temple enigma)

A trip to a temple is definitely not something I would be intrigued by in the past; I am more of a cathedral kinda girl. I was, and still am, into spires that reach way up high into the sky, not to mention the vintage architecture and at times, not so salient but fascinating details engraved into the thick concrete pillars.

Well, all that changed when I saw how majestically unique Wat Rong Khun was on Google! The white structure that glistened under the sun was a win for me instantly!

 

How to get there?

Car

Since we had the car, getting there was pretty simple and so straightforward; with the help of Google Maps of course! We stayed at The Imperial River House Resort in Chiang Rai, quite centrally located I would say. But then again, with a car, anywhere is centrally located. Haha! 😀

From the resort, it was approximately a half-hour drive to Wat Rong Khun. The landmark to look out for would be the Central Plaza Chiang Rai; this mall was our beacon when travelling around Chiang Rai.

Tuk- Tuk

Not renting a car? Then the tuk-tuk is probably the next most convenient alternative! There are public buses to be taken from platforms 7 and 8 at the old bus station; which costs 20 baht each way. But in my opinion, that’s just a hassle, unless of course, you are on a budget.

But with the time spend walking and searching for the old bus station (there are two bus stations- new and old), it really does save time and effort by hopping on a tuk-tuk instead! I am sure you can haggle over the price with them too. Best of all, you could ask the tuk-tuk driver to wait for you. So it’s a two way package.

 

Dress appropriately?

To enter the main Wat Rong Khun temple building, visitors need to dress appropriately; meaning no shorts, no short skirts, no tank tops and definitely no spaghetti strap tops (applicable to both guys and ladies). They have staff stationed at the entrance and would call out to you if you are inappropriately/ indecently dressed.

Safe dressing would probably be those baggy pants that you would see being sold literally everywhere in Thailand, and literally almost every tourist was wearing it (both guys and ladies). I got mine from Siem Reap in Cambodia at USD $2.50. I regretted not getting more; they were so comfy like PJs! The ones sold in Thailand were definitely priced more than USD $2.50, just FYI.

For skirts, the staff present was pretty strict about the length of it. I saw her chasing a mother and daughter out because of their skirt length. They were wearing skirts with length to their knees, well… … I reckon that was considered inappropriate according to the staff. So to play on the safe side, if you really want to wear a skirt, keep it long to below the knee? Preferably near to the ankle area?

I wore a tank top during my trip there. I could enter and roam the vicinity of temple, which includes the temple gardens, the other smaller buildings and all that jazz. However, to enter the main Wat Rong Khun building, I had to put my outer layer on; which made me look like some hipster hobo. But oh well… …that works too!

 

What you might experience?

Wat Rong Khun

Obviously the highlight has to be the main Wat Rong Khun building. This white temple is just ethereal with a concinnate blend of white purity and dark impropriety. Upon arrival at the site of attraction, the Wat Rong Khun just shined like the leading star it was meant to be. Hordes of people from everywhere posing in front of and beside the building even before entering.

At the entrance, you would be greeted by morbid heads that hung from the trees with grassy mosses growing out of them; heads of humans, ghouls, demons, Gollum and Batman. Yup, you got that right… … Gollum from The Lord of the Rings and Batman, well… … from Gotham City!

I was honestly surprised when I saw Batman’s head hanging from the tree in the temple gardens. Gollum, I can (sort of) understand… … but Batman?!?! Haha! It was hilarious! I never expected to see a superhero within temple grounds. Because isn’t that worldly affairs? Hhhhhhmmmm… …

To get into the main temple hall at Wat Rong Khun, you would need to cross the bridge guarded by two demon guardian sculptures on each side; and passing a myriad of hands reaching for the surface. The ocean of hands, on both sides of the bridge, intensely reaching for the surface just gives me the shudders.

In my humble interpretation of what these all meant to me is that the hands represent the sea of the dead. Because they were trapped in their worldly affairs when alive, hence, even at death they couldn’t let them go that they were still unhappy. As a result, they are stuck in this plight and are trying to reach for someone to grab onto; to pull them out. Or if you think about it from another perspective; maybe they are trying to pull someone to join them? I don’t know about you, but that’s how I felt. It was quite a morbid few seconds of thought after I saw this.

Photography isn’t allowed within the temple hall, and footwear has to be removed before entering. The temple hall is a small space, with a monk sitting at the centre meditating, and people praying alongside. There was a painter busy beautifying the walls of the temple hall during the time I was there. The painter does have some extraordinary skills I have to say.

What caught my attention were SpongeBob SquarePants and Spiderman. Yup, I am not kidding… … Mr SquarePantsee and Spidey were painted (though not very prominent) onto the wall in the temple hall!

I recalled making a quick comment to J asking, ‘Wait, is that SpongeBob? What is he doing here?’ And J responded, obviously without thinking much, ‘Oh so now we know SpongeBob is a deity. Likewise for Spiderman.’

I was speechlessly puzzled! It was hilarious.

Golden toilet

Within the site of Wat Rong Khun, there exists one prominent golden building just beside the main temple. You couldn’t ever miss it. Alas, during my visit, it was codon off to the public. Probably you would have better luck on your visit!

Garden vicinity and surrounding buildings

With majority of tourists flooding the main Wat Rong Khun building with selfies and wefies, to achieve somewhat serenity (if even possible) would be to amble around the garden vicinity! There are actually quite a few things to do and see.

For instance, making a wish in the wishing well which has zodiacs characters engrave around its rims? 😀

If that isn’t to your fancy, then writing down your wishes and prayers on an aluminium key-looking ornament and then hanging it up for 30 baht?

As you wander through the temple garden, you would see hundreds of such ornament being hung up. Some under the sheltered walkway, and some made into a tree- like structures! It was pretty amazing.

The main Wat Rong Khun building is not the only white building within the site. Somewhere towards the back exists such a white building too. Not well patronise by tourists, this is a great spot to avoid the crowds and get a shot without being photobombed by people. Obviously this building is not like the leading star of Wat Rong Khun upfront, but this is good enough!

 

TIPS?!

Go EARLY!

Operating hours is between 8 am and 5 pm. I would suggest arriving at Wat Rong Khun between 7.30 am to 8 am if you want an unimpeded shot of the main white temple building, and to avoid the entourage of tourists flooding in in the late morning.

Take the shot NOW!

I was complacent in thinking that I would have a next time to get the shot I wanted.

Because of the hordes of people, I wanted to return back the next time to get a better shot with fewer people. But good lighting waits for no man; or woman. The next time we were there, the sky was melancholic; totally regretted my decision.

During this trip, I learnt one thing. Take the shot when there is good lighting! DO NOT wait! You might never have a second chance to!

My trip to Wat Rong Khun was not really complete as constructions and decorations are still ongoing. Many areas were codon off to the public too. So maybe you would have better luck than I had!

This article has been converted to a travel article app on GPSMyCity. For more information, click here.

So 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

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Location of resort

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Facilities

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Service of staff

🙂

Morning buffet spread

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Overall Rating

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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

How to get there?

Best time to visit?

Sights & Sounds within Cataract Gorge

Recommended Walking Route

Have a lazy Sunday to spare in Launceston CBD?

Well… … Cataract Gorge is imperatively a place to visit for days when you feel like giving your feet a shot at being the mode of transportation.

No car. No bus. No train. And frankly, no grappling with maps or GPS! Whoo hoo…!

A super frivolous weekend focused solely on nothing, really. With no major agenda for the day… … Just let your feet bring you places! We all definitely need days like these in our itinerary; what I like to call ‘Buffer Days’. A whirlwind vacation is no vacation at all- if you know what I mean. 😀

During such ‘Buffer Days’, I am basically the lyrics of Bruno Mars’ The Lazy Song. Just a sinuous minor change to a few phrases and it will all make perfect sense. Watch this… …

Today I don’t feel like doing anything

I just wanna walk aimlessly

Don’t feel like picking up my phone (GPS)

So if I get lost, just let me be

‘Cause today I really don’t feel like impelling

Ooh hoo Ooh hoo

So… … Maybe I am not a songwriter for the obvious reason, but hey, the lyrics really nailed it spot on!

What’s perfect about Cataract Gorge is that even if you get lost (which is highly impossible), no worries! You are still very close to the vicinity of the city- which means there will be loads of people to ask for directions, ’cause it’s after all the day you don’t feel like picking up your phone (GPS), right? *winks*

 

How to get there?

Address

Operating Hours
Cataract Gorge Reserve, 74-90 Basin Road, Launceston TAS 7250, Australia

24/7

Note: Certain sights within the Gorge are not 24/7

a) On foot- The Healthier Choice!

We stayed at Hotel Launceston (Address: 3 Brisbane Street, Launceston TAS 7250, Australia), so it was approximately a 2 km walk to Cataract Gorge; roughly 30 minutes tops.

If you decide to stay at Hotel Launceston too (which was not a bad stay- reasonably decent), here are the directions.

Directions from Hotel Launceston to Cataract Gorge (~ 30 minutes walk)

1. Leisure stroll pass Launceston City Park on Brisbane Street.

2. Make a turn right onto George Street and a left onto Paterson Street.

3. Continue straight all the way on Bridge Road, passing Kings Park.

You will know you are near the ‘entrance’ of the Gorge when you espy the iconic Kings Bridge suspended over the Tamar River/ South Esk River. Just tranquil when the morning sun hits the bridge with the dense trees as backdrop and the calm river sprawled beneath it. Definitely a enthralling way to start the odyssey into the Gorge! 😀

b) By car

If your stay is further away, or just don’t wanna walk, a quick car journey of approximately 15 minutes tops from the CBD will get you to the destination.

Main parking area is located at the First Basin- follow the signage from York and Frederick Street.

If it isn’t already obvious enough, the mode of transportation unquestionably will be on foot. You get to have the experience of walking through the streets, and to take your time to see the humble buildings together with the less salient landmarks- plus points! 🙂

The walk on Bridge Road just before seeing Kings Bridge (near Stillwater Restaurant & Café) has this quirky wall graffiti. I don’t know about you, but it is such little sights (though seemed to be very mundane) along the way that makes the whole walk so much more meaningful.

Zooming by in the car does get you to the destination fast, but you are really just missing out the smaller yet better things in life! It’s not about the final reach, it’s the climb, no? ;D

 

Best time to visit?

Summer. This is by far an understatement, but yeah. Summer is definitely the best time to do any outdoor activity. It is also the time when facilities are open; and open for longer hours. Facilities include the outdoor swimming pool at the First Basin.

A time when you get to see the Gorge’s open field suffuse with sunlight. And many locals welcome Summer in a paroxysm of joy with evidence of enjoying a picnicking or sunbathing- the perfect time for a nice family and friends chillax.

 

Sights & Sounds within Cataract Gorge

There are just way too many larking activities to do and sights to see at Cataract Gorge. Here are just some suggestions (in no particular order).

Sights & Sounds #1

Address/ Telephone Operating Hours Admission Fee (Inclusive of GST)
First Basin Chairlift Located near the First Basin Café.Address

69 Basin Road

Cataract Gorge

Launceston TAS 7250

Australia

 

Telephone

(03) 6331 5915

(Chairlift Office)

 

DailySpring & Fall09 00 – 17 00

Summer

09 00 – 17 30

Winter

09 00 – 16 30

Adult

AUS $12 (One Way)

AUS $15 (Two Way)

Concession (Seniors & Pensioners)

AUS $10 (One Way)

AUS $12 (Two Way)

Children (< 16 years old)

AUS $8 (One Way)

AUS $10 (Two Way)

NOTE: Children < 4 years old can travel for FREE.

This is the world’s longest single span chairlift, that covers approximately 457 metres with the terminal ends at the First Basin (near the Basin Café), and at the Cliff Grounds (near The Gorge Restaurant). You could hop on for a ride on either terminals.

The low speed chairlift provides an opportunity for a wide- angled pseudo aerial view of the ancient rock gorge. You probably will not be blasé about the view you are receiving from up there.

Sights & Sounds #2

Address Operating  Period Admission Fee
Swimming pool Located near the First Basin Café.Address

69 Basin Road

Cataract Gorge

Launceston TAS 7250

Australia

November – March

FOC

The outdoor swimming pool is just located below the First Basin Café. During Summer, we saw loads of families and groups of teens having a day of fun chilling by the pool, and picnicking on the open field around the pool vicinity. The atmosphere was shrouded with inordinate amount of giggles, shrieks and staccato laughter here and there. It was an experience that just screams a definite Summer!

Sights & Sounds #3

Address Operating Hours Admission Fee
Alexandra Suspension Bridge Located near the First Basin Café.Address

69 Basin Road

Cataract Gorge

Launceston TAS 7250

Australia

 

Daily

FOC

This is probably a must- snap landmark, aside the Kings Bridge (at the ‘entrance’ of Cataract Gorge). Situated just upstream from the First Basin, this bridge gives the view of both sides of the Gorge.

Standing in the middle on the suspension bridge will present you a distant view of the swimming pool, the Cliff Grounds and the First Basin from a slight elevated angle. Turning your attention to the back, you will see a gentle current flow of water down the South Esk River which pours nicely into the First Basin.

We managed to catch local teens in action as they set their air floating mattress to sail onto the First Basin. We also saw adults standing near the edge of the ‘cliff’ and making several plunges into the waters of the Basin, which was then followed suit by the kids as well.

Hhhmmm… … How safe was it? I don’t know. I was kinda not in congenial with the whole idea of plunging into the waters like that, but hey, who am I to judge right? They looked like they had done that way too often, so I guess swimming in the First Basin is a yes? I really do not know.

Sights & Sounds #4

Main Walking Tracks
Short Walks & Treks

1.      Cataract Walk

2.      Duck Reach Circuit

3.      Zig- Zag Track

There are so many tracks at Cataract Gorge. Some are mere short ones for those who just want a sneak peek on the tracks and the vistas it provides, and a few longer tracks for the energetic who wants a punch at it. I reckon the more popular walks would be the Duck Reach Circuit Track, and the Zig- Zag Track.

The Duck Reach Circuit Track, though rates level 3 with some uphill sections, is still suitable for children. This circuit leads further up the Gorge to the Second Basin and to the Duck Reach- which is the earliest municipal hydroelectric power station in Australia. This hydroelectric power station is now a popular tourist attraction, open as a museum (Interpretation Centre) since 1995. The walk takes about 1.5 hours to complete one full cycle.

Cataract Gorge is just too huge with most of the tracks somehow connected. The added bonus is that the Gorge is definitely well-maintained with clear signage to inform you which track you are leading to.

Depending on what you want to see, the many tracks to choose from will get you spoilt for choices! Imperatively a great morning walk for the entire family!

 

Recommended Walking Route

Route:

Cataract Walk–> The Gorge Restaurant–> Causeway Track –> First Basin Cafe –> Alexandra Suspension Bridge –> First Basin Cafe –> Zig- Zag Track

Difficulty:

🙂

Scenery:

🙂 🙂 🙂

This is definitely not the must- walk route to take, but I feel through this route, we sort of cover most of the Gorge. We get to see the highlights Cataract Gorge has to offer, so I’m pretty much satisfied with it.

Cataract Walk

The Cataract Walk starts from the ‘entrance’ of the Gorge, at Kings Bridge. There are two ‘entries’ into the Gorge. The one on the left takes you through the Zig-Zag Track, and the other takes you through the Cataract Walk.

You might really want to consider the latter option, as the Zig-Zag Track from the ‘entrance’ takes you up steeper incline, whilst the Cataract Walk basically bring you through levelled ground. So unless you want to get your adrenaline pumping right at the beginning, the latter option just describes a way to pass a lazy Sunday!

The leisure Cataract Walk takes you through picturesque cliffs and rock formation with the semi-serene South Esk River flowing down the bank. After a distance of walking, you will notice a flight of steep ladder steps that leads you to a lookout, where you can espy the Alexandra Suspension Bridge from afar. The mounting up stairs to get the elevated view does give the Gorge a new perspective to it all.

The Gorge Restaurant

The walk to The Gorge Restaurant could be your respite for lunch. There are quite a few peacocks, peahens and their peachicks running loose outside the eatery. Toddlers and all were pretty much fascinated by the beautiful creatures. Playground facilities for kiddies are in this area as well.

The First Basin Chairlift terminal is also around this vicinity. Hence, if you are feeling kinda sluggish, a ride across the First Basin could be your ticket with a majestic view! 😀

Causeway Track

I do strongly suggest a walk through Causeway Track instead of taking the chairlift. I can vouch a nice photo along the way with the backdrop of the iconic Alexandra Suspension Bridge! I don’t think you would want to miss that!

First Basin Café

We had our lunch at the First Basin Café. The food portion was huge (for us), and the coffee wasn’t too bad. Best of all, the Café has a nice landscape view of the swimming pool and open fields below. You could also see the chairlifts passing by.

Not fancying Café food? A food kiosk just outside the Café has light snacks too!

I would recommend the Café though. #justsaying

Alexandra Suspension Bridge

The stroll to the suspension bridge was definitely a great way to walk off lunch. Just a short amble pass the swimming pool and you can get an awe-inspiring view of the vicinity! Without a doubt, a time to snap a hell load of pictures!

Zig- Zag Track

To get back to Launceston CBD, we had to get to the ‘entrance’ of the Gorge; either retracing our steps through Cataract Walk, or out through the Zig- Zag Track.

Well… … We all know retracing steps can be a little dreary, so Zig- Zag Track it was! Now going via this route is undeniably efficient-making in terms of energy consumption. Because most of it was descends. And when gravity works with you, life is so much easier. 😀

So that was how we ended a lazy Sunday (with gravity working in our favour) at Cataract Gorge!

Notice that I did not include the Duck Reach Circuit Track. Reason being we weren’t that all prepared for the walk all the way to the power station, and back. Besides, it was a lazy Sunday after all, so a simple easy- to- do track that covers the main highlights is good enough for us.

It all depends on what you want to get out of from the walk. If I were to visit Cataract Gorge again, then the Duck Reach Circuit Track will absolutely be the route I would take! 😀

It was definitely a gratifying laidback day packed with simple walks, good company and enchanting views. Totally no frets at all, just the way I like it on a weekend! If you are ever in Launceston CBD, I would definitely recommend a lazy weekend day trip at Cataract Gorge!

Remember to Travel Whenever!

Dee