The El Nido Guide 2019

From all the places on Palawan, travellers seek the amazing beaches and stunning backdrops El Nido has to offer.

We’ve created a complete island guide so that you know what to expect.

How to get to El Nido

Generally, El Nido isn’t the easiest of places to get to. However, many people think it’s worth taking the 6 hours bus ride. Make sure to book it at least one day in advance and ask to sit in the front if you get car sick. You can describe El Nido as a vibrant little town with a lot of underdevelopment. Like most of the Philippines, the houses and shops are self build and nothing seems to be finished. But thats the charm of El Nido. 

Big Lagoon El Nido

Once at sea, your mouth will fall open when you see the beautiful rock formations and lagoons.

El Nido tours, which one to choose?

The most popular thing to do in El Nido is to take a boat tour. You can choose from tours A, B, C and it includes lunch and snorkeling gear. Here are the ones we’d recommend.

  • Kraken Tour not the cheapest but highly recommended. Music, appetizers, lunch, drinks, WiFi, toilet, kayaks, paddle board, snorkel materials are included. Check here for more info
  • The Artcafe tours. with Kayak 1900 peso’s. (recommended if you take tour A) no snorkling gear included. Accepts credit card.
  • Northern Hope Tours. Professional and recommended by various sites.

Tip: All tours are best booked in El Nido. (via the website you may need to pay an extra fee) If you want to book an island hopping tour from El Nido to Coron, check all the info about TAO Expedition.

El Nido boat

Diving

Above all, diving is a popular activity in El Nido. There are also plenty dive shops to choose from but I chose Adventurous Scuba. Smaller than some of the flashy expensive dive shops but more personal and professional. 3400 peso’s for 3 dives after a bit of deal making. We had a lovely scuba instructor called Bernie who was really nice to talk with. I can definitely recommend him! They are situated in the same street as the Art Cafe, right at the end on the left side.

Massaaaage

Like the rest of Asia, massages are also widely available in El Nido. Expect nothing more than a few curtains to divide guest, but hey, this is Asia and you only pay 400 peso’s for one hour, which is only 8 Euro. Most massage houses are based in El Nido town. Just follow the “massaaaaaaage” voices and you’re good.

Food & Drink

Someone has to say it so I guess it will be me; the food in the Philippines isn’t that great, unless you stay in a luxury hotel. That being said, it’s OK if you eat meat, but as a vegetarian you’ve got a bit of a problem. There are a few places  in El Nido however, that serve good food and these were exactly the places I would eat day after day.

  • Art Cafe – great curries, fish and breakfast
  • BAZAAR asian kitchen – just opened! Amazing Japanese dishes
  • Deli Nido Café – the best Frappuchino in town hands down
  • Bagel V & V – the girls who work there are a bit moody but the homemade bagels are nice enough to go there

El Nido food

Bazaar feels like a little European community in the middle of El Nido

Where to shop

To be fair, El Nido is not a place to get the best fashion items but there are some nice shops if you walk around. The best shop in town (and maybe even in Palawan)is without doubt Little Corner of Paradise. They sell tops, shirts, bikini’s, summer dresses, jewellery and everything has a beach vibe to it. Run by a French girl, it’s right across from a cute muffin/coffee store that shares the same owner. Another good place for shopping is BAZAAR. Just 2 minutes out of the center, you will find this nice place where you will find 3 stores with fashion food and drinks. Additionally, you can also have a massage upstairs which is definitely worth the 100 peso’s extra from what you pay in town. On Sunday’s they throw a small electro party with DJ’s and cocktails. .

El Nido shop

Where to sleep

There are many accommodations to choose from but don’t expect anything top of the range. Even if you pay a bit more, you will get a basic room. Surely, you can always opt for the expensive resorts, but if you are traveling around, you might be on a budget.

  • Sei Nazioni Cottages – Cute cottages in the middle of town with en-suite options and air-con. book here.
  • The Resort Bayview Hotel – Nice view.
  • Anywhere along Marimegmeg Beach – I’ve seen some nice cottages there you should check out.

Nightlife in El Nido

Thankfully, the nightlife is not to be compared to Ko Phi Phi in Thailand were the beach turns into a place full of drunk teenagers. After dinner people go to the beachbars and the Pukka Bar is everyones favourite. They play cool reggae music with a pretty sick live band that gets the crowd dancing until about 3am. Other beachbars are more chilled and close a bit earlier (around midnight) Bazaar throws a party on Sundays and it nice for drinks, ping pong and the occasional darts. La Place is a lively beachbar situated alongside Corong Corong beach and they host a few parties a week. With a small pool in the middle and the DJ booth high up, they come closest to a real club in El Nido. Expect deep/techhouse music.

Bar in El Nido

Around El Nido

To be honest, I loved getting out of the busy town now and then. My advise, rent a scooter for a day or 2 and explore! (500 peso’s) A few places you can visit are:

  • Duli beach – If you get there before 1pm, you might be the only person on the beach. There is one resort called Duli Beach resort (named after the Sea Turtles that lay their eggs here) and it’s run by a Dutch couple. Rooms are around 1000 peso’s a night and you’ll wake up on an amazing long stretched beach. You might be asked for a fee before entering the bumpy road up to the beach.
  • Nacpan Beach – This is the most touristic beach around El Nido, Palawan. It’s part of Twin beach and you can eat tasty mussels here.
  • Marimegmeg Beach – Just a 10 to 15 min tricycle ride from El Nido town you will find this beach with one of the best views you’ll ever see. There are a few beach restaurants and resorts where you can eat.

Duli Beach
Swing at the Duli Beach Resort (the beach is empty!)

El Nido beach
Walk on Marimegmeg Beach and watch the sunset

For the most part, Palawan’s beauty is truly breathtaking, but be prepared to go back in time a little bit. In essence, El Nido is less touristy compared to Thailand, but more touristy than other parts in the Philippines. Nevertheless, it has beautiful nature and stunning beaches.

Happy Travels!

Elke

More Philippines?

 

3 X TOP PLACES IN LAOS

Located cozily in between Thailand, Cambodia, China, Myanmar and Vietnam, Laos is often one of the South East Asian countries that’s left un-visited when traveling this to part of the world. And that’s a shame, because Laos is a true gem and one of the cheapest countries to travel in.

 If you are a first time visitor to Laos, these are definitely my top three places for visiting!

Been there, Don Det

Don Det is a small island located in the south of Laos, close to the Cambodian border. The island is well-known for its beautiful scenery and relaxed hippy vibe. Staying in one of the bungalows on the island means going back 2 basic with cold showers and toilets that can only be flushed with a bucket. Straightaway, you will feel the relaxed vibe on this island which is very contagious. Soon you’ll be unwinding in a hammock with a fruit shake in your hand. For those who find it hard to sit still cheap bikes can be rented all over the island to go for a ride and explore the breathtaking waterfalls.

Don Det Waterfalls

Don Det, Laos
Don Det

Soaring through the jungle in Laos with the Gibbon Experience

If you’re up for a little more action after being completely rejuvenated at Don Det travel all the way north to go on The Gibbon Experience. Sleeping in the worlds highest tree houses, flying through the jungle of Laos on a zipper-line. Furthermore, you can hike through beautiful woods while contributing to preserving everything that surrounds you. That’s the Gibbon Experience. Of all my travels this is by far one of the most amazing things I’ve done. Make sure you make a booking in advance as the Gibbon Experience is often fully booked.

Gibbon, Laos

Oui oui, Luang Prabang

From Luang Prabang you can get on the night bus to the Gibbon Experience. It goes without saying that Luang Prabang is a town where French influences decorate this charming town everywhere. You can walk through Luang Prabangs enchanting streets or visit one of the many temples. About 40 minutes from Luang Prabang you will stumble upon the Kuang Si Waterfalls which are so greenish blue that you have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. Take a swim in these (cold!!) waterfalls or simply walk around and enjoy the surroundings. When you get back to Luang Prabang pay a visit to the market where delicious baguettes and fresh fruit shakes are sold for just under €1,50.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos

Next to these three highlights Laos has so much more to offer like visiting the Blue Lagoon in Vang Vieng or strolling around its capital Vientiane.

Vang Vieng, Laos
Vang Vieng, Laos

Vientiane, Laos
Vientiane, Laos

Ultimately, I hope you’ll have a wonderful time in this partly undiscovered little piece of Southeast Asian heaven 🙂

Love,

Evelien

The Perfect Guide for Island Hopping in Hong Kong

At the mention of Hong Kong, most people will immediately think of the skyscrapers, densely filling up the tiny space of the city and the busybodies, hurrying from one building to another. The hectic lifestyle can be overwhelming but thankfully, this is only one aspect of the city.

Since Hong Kong is essentially made up of many little islands, 263 in fact! There are many places where you can slow down, relax, and even experience the culture, which sometimes may seem to have been diluted by the westernised city centre. So instead of spending all your time in shopping malls, why not take a ferry to one or some of the many beautiful islands around you?

Tai O

Hop on the ferry from Central Pier to get to the authentic fishing village of Tai O in just an hour. Or if like me, you get seasick easily, get the bus from Tung Chung bus station, although the drive is slightly long and windy up the hills. It is one of the very few islands where you’ll still find stilt houses built above the water. Looks pretty unsteady but there are villagers still living there. Make it a day trip: see the historical sites, stroll through the market, try some of the many local delicacies, like gigantic fish balls, glutinous balls, etc. Even take a boat down the river and maybe see some pink dolphins or two?

Tai O, Hong Kong Islands
Tai O Island

Cheung Chau

Whilst the island is free to visit throughout the year, I’d highly recommend you to go there around April or May, just when the annual Cheng Chau Bun Festival happens. This unique weeklong event is a traditional celebration of Buddha’s birthday. Generally speaking, you can expect lots of music, lion dances and an insane amount of buns. To explain, the buns are piled up into a mountain for competitors climb to the top and snatch as many buns as they can. This results in one of the most spectacular sights you’ll see!

Cheung Chau, Hong Kong
Cheung Chau

Cheung Chau, Hong Kong Island

Mui Wo

Although Mui Wo is an island, it is home to some of the most well-known Chinese landmarks. Such as Man Mo Temple, which is the oldest temple in Hong Kong! Unless you don’t want to get sweaty, Mui Wo is great for hiking, as it is full of hiking trails. If you fancy a swim, you can take a dip in Silvermine Bay Beach. In essence, this is a much cleaner alternative to the overly populated Repulse Bay or Stanley Beach on Hong Kong Island. From Silvermine Bay Beach, you can walk up to Silvermine Cave and Waterfall, which only takes about 16 minutes and worth a visit.

Ma Wan

Given that it was once known as the Abandoned Village, but now, Ma Wan is a thriving residential island, called Park Island. So why go all the way to visit it? Well, you can see the contrasting lives of modern and old-fashion lives. For amongst the many skyscrapers, you will still find some stilt houses (another one!) Make it a day trip – go see Noah’s Ark – yes, they actually re-built Noah’s Ark from the Bible. Furthermore, you can spend a day at the beach and hike around the island. You can get a good view (especially at night) of the biggest bridge in the city, Tsing Ma Bridge. From the pier, however, I’d recommend walking around the island for even prettier views along the way.

Ma Wan, Hong Kong island
Ma Wan Island

Peng Chau

This secluded island is only a 35-minute ferry ride from Central Pier. As soon as you arrive, rent a bike and cycle around the city! Comparatively to Ma Wan, you’ll find a number of temples on Peng Chau, including the most famous Lung Mo Temple. Each temple has a different “speciality” shall we say. For example, if fertility is something that you wish to pray for, visit Seven Sisters Temple. Head to the Golden Flower Shrine and ask for a long line of descendants and your wish might come true. Also, spice up your Instagram feed with street arts of Peng Chau. For a scenic view of Kowloon, take an easy hike up the Finger Hill. Afterwards, take a stroll down the hill to Tung Wan Beach for a relaxing swim. Additionally, you might even see some Chinese white dolphins!

As can be seen, Hong Kong has a lot more to offer! Of the five little islands mentioned above, which would you visit first?

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editor from Hong kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. After spending a year in Paris, she has now moved back to England to embark on a new journey working as a Legal Consultant. She is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, but she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. You can follow her on Instagram.

THE BEST CITIES IN NEPAL

When you think of a new holiday destination, you probably don’t think of Nepal. Which is a shame, because Nepal is a beautiful country with a lot of culture, nature and lovely locals. We have made a guide for you about the most fascinating cities in this landlocked Asian country.

Kathmandu

The capital of Nepal might feel a bit intense at first. It might take some time to get adjusted to the fumes, dirty roads, many motorbikes and crowded streets. But it is one of the cities that has a lot to offer. My suggestion would be to hire a local guide who can show you the highlights of the city with a taxi driver. Local guides can have loads of stories to tell about the history of the stupas and the people and they have knowledge about the Buddhist and Hinduist faith, which makes visiting the temples really fascinating.

Nepal city

Make sure you visit the Swayambunath temple (also known as the monkey temple) and the Boudhanath temple, which are both very impressive. Surrounding the temples, you’ll find both Buddhists and Hindus in beautiful robes walking around saying prayers. Be aware of monkeys walking around!

Kathmandu Nepal

Boudhanath temple Nepal
Boudhanath temple Nepal

The Pashaputinath temple is a holy place for Hindus next to the Bagmati river. At this place, multiple dead people are being cremated and you can see friends and families praying. It can feel difficult to watch, but at the same time it’s fascinating to see the religious locals practicing their faith.
Also take a look at the Durbar square of Kathmandu, which is filled with religious buildings and lots people. You can also do a riksja ride around the city or go walking. The city is filled with shops, so make sure you buy some souvenirs or other bits and bops.

Pokhara

The city of Pokhara is a real backpackers paradise in Nepal and you can see some Western influences here. People from all over the world come to this city, mostly because it is the starting point for many treks, like the popular trek to Annapurna base camp and Poonhill. As a result, Pokhara is filled with clothing shops, bookstores and shops full of accessories, like shawls and bags. Tip: Everything needed for trekking is available here, be sure to try to bargain or ask if you can rent stuff like poles and sleeping bags. You can save a lot of money!

peace pagoda, Pokhara, Nepal
Peace pagoda, Pokhara, Nepal

What to see/do

The main part of the town is fairly busy and if you want to get away from all the tourists, you should go to the old town. You can visit some markets, walk around the crowded streets and take it all in.  There’s also a big lake, the Phewa lake, which is great for a relaxing boat ride. If you decide to take a boat to the other side to the lake so you can visit the World Peace Pagoda. You have to climb quite a few stairs but the temple and the view over the city are worth it. If the Nepal weather is on your side, you can also see the white Himalaya mountain tops in the distance.

Phewa Lake
Phewa Lake, Pokhara, Nepal

Food

Next to that, Pokhara is full of restaurants and you should make sure to try some of the local dishes (some food in Nepal is similar to Indian food). Dal Bhat is a typical Nepalese dish and contains rice with lentil soup and curry. Food tip: Do try some momo’s which are dumplings with meat or veggies. Or order Thukpa, a vegetarian or meat noodle soup. If you find the food spicy you can sooth your mouth with a local milkshake called lassi.

Bhaktapur

Close to Kathmandu there’s the historical city Bhaktapur, which is a lot less crowded than Nepal’s capital. You’ll have to pay a fee to enter the city, but it is definitely worth the money. The city has had a hard time during the 2015 earthquake and the locals are working hard to renovate the temples and buildings that suffered from the quake. You will find many small streets, cute little temples, monuments and squares. You can describe the architecture of the city as marvellous, and the Durbar square of this city might be prettier than the one in Kathmandu. Also, take a look at Potter’s square, where you can find people making all sorts of beautiful pots. There are various small shops everywhere in town that sell clothes, food, souvenirs and typical  stationary.

cities Nepal


Durbar Square, Nepal

Smaller cities: Patan, Bandipur and Lumbini

If you have time left, make sure you visit one or more of these smaller cities. South of Kathmandu lies Patan, which also has an impressive Durbar square and an interesting museum. Bandipur is a small town on the way to Pokhara and it’s the perfect place to just relax. There are few tourists there and you can do some small hikes in the area. Furthermore, if you want to see more temples and religious sites, you should go to Lumbini. Lumbini is the birth place of Buddha and many people from all over the world come to see the temples in this place.

If you want more information about adventure and activities in Nepal, make sure to keep an eye on the website for more future content!

Love,

Merel

* Merel is one of our guest editors in Rotterdam. She describes herself as a daydreaming student who loves to travel. She just came back from a 5-month backpacking trip trough Asia and can’t wait to see more of the world. Check her out on Instagram: @merel_d94.

How to avoid the crowds at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is undoubtedly Cambodia’s biggest tourist attraction. And this is no surprise since the lost city is the biggest religious monument in the world which dates back to the early twelfth century.

These days almost 5 million tourists yearly make their way over to Cambodia to wander around the temples of Angkor Wat themselves, making it a very popular but very busy place to visit. You better think again if you ever dream of having these Asian temples all to yourself, but there are a few tricks to avoid the big crowds and wander around in peace…

1. Watch the sunrise and leave a little early

Watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat is a definite must-do when you’re visiting these temples. Not only is it a truly magical experience when a new day presents itself by rising up against the temples, but it is also a great way to arrive at the temples early. If you want to have a good spot without hundreds of iPad and Selfiestick waving Chinese tourists in front of you, walk right instead of going straight ahead at the famous ‘sunrise temple spot’. You won’t be right in front of the temples, but you will share the view with just a dozen of other tourists. When the sun is up and you captured enough Instagram-worthy shots, head back to your Tuk Tuk driver before everybody else does. Doing this you’ll arrive at the other temples as one of the first, having the temples (almost) all to yourself 🙂

Beat the crowd at Ankor Wat
The most impressive temple of Cambodia, but very busy

2. The further away, the better!

Firstly, ask your Tuk Tuk driver to bring you to the popular temples that are further away first. Many Tuk Tuk’s and tour buses follow a certain route, creating the perfect opportunity for you to do the exact opposite thing 🙂 Also, if you see tons of big tour buses standing outside of a temple, ask your Tuk Tuk driver to take you to another temple which appears to be less crowded first. Clever thinking!

no crowds at ankor-wat

3. Go back at the end of the day

Wandering around the temples of Angkor is extremely beautiful, but also extremely tiring and HOT! If you decided to watch the sunrise you will probably feel very tired around 12pm, making you want to go home and take a nap during the hottest hours of the day. If you buy a one-day-pass this pass is valid for a whole day, so you can come back to the temples in the late afternoon, when most of the crowds already have disappeared. Make sure you don’t go too late as Angkor Wat closes at 6pm.

Ankor Wat Cambodia

I hope the three tips above will help you explore the ancient Ankor Wat in peace and quiet. Enjoy 🙂

Love,

Evelien

Did you know Cambodia is one of the world’s cheapest countries to live in? Check which countries made it to the top 5!

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Sri Lanka Guide 2019 | The 2,5 week Travel Itinerary

If you are you looking for diversity, Sri Lanka is the place to be: stunning nature, wildlife, culture, pristine beaches, incredible photography spots and let’s not forget the amazing food. Sri Lanka has been voted the number 1 destination for 2019 and it’s more popular than ever. We’ve created a 2.5-week Sri Lanka Guide to show you the hidden gems and unique insider tips.

Sri Lanka map
Our 2,5 travel map

Sri Lanka has something for everyone; for the adventurous and those that want to relax

Good to know before you visit Sri Lanka

  • Climate
    The northeast monsoon is from December to March and the southwest monsoon is from June to October.
  • Costs for accommodation
    Compared to other Asian countries the accommodations in Sri Lanka are more expensive. The price for a normal guesthouse is around 20 euro per night. For a more modern stay you pay around 80 euro per night.
  • Getting around
    Transport is super cheap in Sri Lanka! One of the most famous and best option is the three-wheeled moped vehicle that is called Tuk Tuk.
  • Food
    You will find tasty and very affordable Sri Lankan dishes. Rice and curry is the Sri Lankan staple. My favorite is for sure the dhal curry. Also try their delicious roti, flatbreads, egg hoppers with fresh fish!
  • The War
    The 23 year civil war started in 1983 and ended in 2009, so it’s still fresh
  • Tea is a thing
    Sri Lanka is famous for its tea production, the tea production is one of the main sources. Sri Lanka yearly produces 300,000 tonnes of tea!

Start in Kandy (day 1)
We decided to skip the capital city Colombo, and spent the first day in Kandy instead. Kandy is more pleasant, less busy and the famous gateway to Ella. To be very honest, Kandy is not the most lively city. There’s not much to do, except for visiting the famous tooth Temple, a walk along the Kandy river, take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens and visit the commercial and shopping complex in the centre of town. Tip: Check out the Slightly Chill Rooftop Bar which is great for sunset watching with a great view.

View Kandy Sri Lanka
The view from Slightly Chill Rooftop Bar

Where to stay
SWP Eco Lodge with exotic animals such as monkeys jumping around your balcony. Book it here for about €65 per night.


Experience the most beautiful train ride in the world (day 2)
We took the most famous train trip from Kandy to Ella. It is supposed to be one of the most scenic and beautiful journeys in the world and we can tell you it is! This train ride takes about seven hours long, and is an affordable way to see the country with stunning green landscapes of lush tea plantations and breathtaking mountain views. No reservation is needed. A second-class ticket will only cost you 1,50 euro per person! Tip: This is a very busy route so make sure to arrive early as tickets can sell out quickly. Departure from Kandy is at 08:47AM and arrives in Ella around 3:30PM. If you are lucky you will get a seat, but don’t count on it! After a few stops you might get a seat when people go out. The most fun part is that you will easily connect with the locals. They are keen to start a conversation!

Train from Kandy to Ella

One of the best train rides in the world!

Our (train) tips:
» Try to sit at the entrance doors to experience the train ride at its best! You can sit on the floor and leave your legs out.
» Make sure you buy drinks like bottled water before you enter the train.
» Don’t worry about food, at each stop sellers come in with food like fresh fruit and Sri Lankan’s delicacy.


Spent a few days in Ella (day 2, 3, 4)
After an incredible and memorable train ride we arrived in Ella. Ella in Sri Lanka is a peaceful small village surrounded by the beautiful greens tea plantations, about 1000 meters above sea level. So the nights are cool and at daytime around 26 degrees. Ella is perfect for hiking! One of the best scenery is around Ella in the Hill Country. One of the must hikes is the trail walk from Ella train station (Ella town) to the Nine Arch Bridge and Little Adam’s Peak. It takes around 2 hours in total, but you will probably end up staying longer due to all the beauty.

Train ride Sri Lanka

Nine Arch Bridge Sri Lanka

Nine Arch Bridge
Before you will reach this beautiful architectural bridge surrounded by an amazing green jungle you pass by small villages and green tea fields. The bridge was built during WWI and they used bricks, cement and stones only. On one side you can walk all the way down where you not can make the best pictures of the bridge and look up so you can see the sky through the nine arches. 

TIP: Get a drink at one of the cafes and wait for the trains to pass.


Little Adam’s Peak
Little Adam’s Peak is the brother of Adam’s Peak and got its name due to the similar shape. You don’t need a guide and the hike is free of charge. We couldn’t find any sign at the Nine arch bridge, but there’s a shortcut off the road near a small cafe and the friendly locals there will point it out for you. After a 25-minute walk which takes you through the jungle and a small city you reach 98 Acres hotel. This hotel is super close to Little Adam’s Peak and has some breathtaking views! Just order some drinks and enjoy this view and continue your hike. (the food isn’t that great here) It’s 1141 m high, easy to climb, with a fairly good path all the way up. The view on top of this mountain is fantastic! Especially with sunset. Judge it for yourself.

Adams Peak
What a view!

Where to sleep
» Ella Flower Garden Resort
Next tot he trail of Little Adam’s Peak you will find this hotel with a flower garden and amazing view. A Ella Treehouse & Cabanas great way to finish your hike. www.ellaresort.com 
» Ella
Treehouse & Cabanas
Run by a lovey family who are very helpful with directions and suggestions of places to visit. Ella Treehouse & Cabanas is located 2km down the city center of Ella. The rooms are super clean, our room a balcony with  the perfect mountain view, where monkeys playing in the surrounding trees.
Where to eat

» Cafe Ella curry for just 2,70 euro
In this very little cafe on the Main Street of Ella they serve the best curries, biryanis and other local threats. Usually there is a little wait for a table but it is well worth it. Must order: Chicken curry with naan bread.
» Matey hat
At the end of the Main Street on the roadside you will find this tiny treehouse restaurant with around 40 seats, so normally you need to wait for a table. Delicious pumpkin mango curry for 3,70 euro. Matey-Hut/
» Ella coffee avenue: Here you can get some really nice cappuccino’s and café lattes or join one of their cooking classes! ellacoffeeavenue/


Safari in Yala (day 4, 5, 6)
Tissamaharama is the perfect base for nearby Yala and Bundala National Parks. Yala is the most visited and second largest park in Sri Lanka. We decided to stay around here for 2 nights. We ended up booking a full day tour with Yala Wild Safaris for 60 dollars per person. For all the details, and why Yala might not be the best pick for a national park, check our full article about Safari in Sri Lanka.

Safari in Sri Lanka

Where to eat
» Chef Lady Restaurant: A super friendly couple is running this restaurant. The wife cooks and does it well! You can get super fresh fish from the BBQ with fresh French fries or rice and vegetables for very reasonable prices. chef-lady-restaurant-restaurant
» Hot Spot: In the centre of Tissa you will find this restaurant on the main street. The manager is super friendly and helpful. He even hops on his scooter to get you some beers, he takes care of the mosquitos and gives you all the best tips. hotspot.restaurant
Good to know! it’s not an easy task to buy or order alcohol in Tissa and there are not many bars, if you want an (alcoholic) drink, your best bet is in your hotel or just connect with the locals:)


Marco Polo called Sri Lanka the most beautiful island in the world

Mirissa (day 6, 7, 8)
Mirrissa is the right chill out for a few days. Mirissa Beach is crowded, but the southern end of Mirissa is more quiet. Here you find beautiful beaches, surf waves, turtle spot, nice guest houses, good food, cocktail bars and one of the best Instagram spots of Sri Lanka. From Mirissa you can easily visit places like Unuwatuno, Galle and Tangalle for just 1 day.

Mirissa palmtrees

Turtle Bay | Mirissa
A bit more southern you will find one of the most popular Instagram spots foto hierboven of Sri Lanka, Coconut Tree Hill. A lot of palm trees are lined up with a view of white sand and turquoise water. Most people visit this place for one thing only; line up, take the picture and head back to Mirissa beach. TIP: please don’t! From Mirissa beach it takes around a 25-minute walk to this spot. Along the way you pass by Turtle Bay. You will find this spot at the southern end of Mirissa and is the best spot to swim with sea turtles. You can rent snorkeling gear at the restaurant for only a few euros and jump into the water where you spot turtles immediately! Nearby you will also find restaurant Papa mango here: The best lobster we’ve ever had for only 13 euro incl. french fries and salad. You want to eat here all day long!

Where to sleep
» Sea Goggle Resort You can book this stay at Airbnb for €33 per night.
» Mother’s House for just €21,- per night. You can book via Booking.com.

Where to eat
» The Shady lane: This spot is definitely everyone’s favourite. Order avo on toast with various toppings and the açaí bowls! shadylanemirissa
» Allowa Coffee Gallery: It’s in the same price range as The Shady Line, a bit more modern with also nice food. But I definitely prefer the menu of The Shady Lane. Try out sourdough toast with smashed avo or the cream bowl. aloha_coffee_gallery
» Papa Mango for the best seafood such as chilly crab and lobster, very affordable! PAPAMANGOMIRISSASL

Yoga
Across Mother’s House you can practice Vinyasa flow at 9AM for 75 minutes. What a great class! Felicia, the teacher, gave everyone a massage during relaxation. She told me that she will open a hostel in Mirissa soon, Satori Beach Hostel, where you can also practice yoga, keep an eye out!


Weligama (Day 8, 9, 10, 11)
We took a tuk tuk to Weligama and booked our stay via booking.com a few hours before and we arrived at night at Aknara Rest Hotel. Kind owner Sunny welcomed us and arranged some beers. When we opened the doors of our guesthouse in the morning we stepped outside to a beautiful large green lush garden with monkeys everywhere! A beautiful quiet place only 7 min away (walking) from the beach. Weligama has a 2km-long beach break lined in palm trees and surfboard stands. You can rent a surfboard everywhere and in return you get a free sun bed. Hop in for a surf, the best spot for beginners is located at the beginning of Weligama beach.

Surfing Sri Lanka
Weligama is perfect for first time surfers

Where to stay
There are many places to stay but we recommend these two. Both relatively quiet and close to the beach.

» Hotel Aknara Rest www.aknara-rest-weligama
» Elephant Stables Weligama Bay www.elephantstablesweligamabay.com

Sri Lanka
The green lush garden of Sunny, Aknara Rest

Where to eat
Weligama is a bustling little town with lots of local eateries. On a personal I’m not a big fan of kottu – roti mixed with vegetables, egg and/or meat, and spices – but I’m a big fan of their curry and samosa’s!

» Nomads café: for healthy food and good vibes. Take the raw bawls with dates and nuts. Instagram.com/nomadsrilanka

Nomads Café Sri Lanka

» Ceylon sliders: This is beyond good! Iced coffee’s, avo on toast. www.instagram.com/ceylonsliders
» The kip: An all-day brunch spot, offering a simple and ethical menu supporting health and sustainability. Morning feats up here! Homemade peanut butter (vegan friendly) and raw lime cheesecake! Instagram.com/thekipsrilanka
» Soul café: An intimate space on the second floor close at the beach which serves smoothies, juices and a variety of wraps and bowls. Order the tuna tartare. Instagram.com/soulcafeweligama
» For drinks you should visit Hungry birds: For the most fun evenings with the owners! They love electronic music and drinks.

» Take a break and look for the big blue vegan ice-cream truck right on Weligama beach where you can buy delicious ice-creams. They encourage all customers to place any unwanted coconut shells in their “reduce, reuse, recycle” box, so we can contribute to keep our environment clean!

Sri lanka breakfast
Breakfast at Nomads Café


Koggola Lake (day 12 & 13)
We stayed at the amazing Hotel Tri Lanka – heaven on earth! Tri Hotel is situated right next to and overlooking the stunning Koggala lake. This area is well known for its diverse and rich wildlife, especially the variety of birds living here. Because the hotel surroundings are so stunning, we stayed here for 2 days before heading on to our final destination in Sri Lanka. Read more about Tri Lanka Design Hotel.

Tri Lanka lake

Tri Lanka room view


Unawatuna (day 14, 15, 16)
The town itself is small, most people like to spend their time at the beach, but a big part of the beach is occupied. Tip! Visit the city, that offers great shopping spots, nice guesthouses and many local and trendy restaurants. Check out the Palm Swing on Delawella Beach is another great Instagram spot! The palm swing is owned by the locals and they charge 500 rupees for a swing. You will have fun swinging over the ocean waves.

Mirissa Sri Lanka
And even more beautiful with sunset ♥

Where to stay
We spent our last days at this jewel “Hotel Owl & the Pussycat“, opened in 2015 and located in Thalpe, near Anawatuna and Galle and just a two hour drive south of Colombo. It’s the ideal place for who wants to relax and be looked after by the amazing team of OTP. The hotel has various colourful buildings with spacious rooms. Don’t be surprised if you spot some cute furry toys in the hotel. OTP sells them and donates the proceeds to a local children’s charity. LIKE! 

owl and the pussycat hotel
Owl & Pussycat Hotel

With complementary bites in the afternoon and delicious cocktails in the evening it’s just perfect when the sun goes down and the outside area changes into a romantic magical space.There’s a small gate to the beach, but you can’t swim because is too dangerous. But, just around the corner, when you turn right, you will find this beautiful quite beach. www.otphotel.com

Wander-Lust at Unawatuna

What to eat
» Jamu Surf Lodge (Yoga, local food, great coffee, surf) jamusurflodge/
» The HideOut (Mexican Fusio: Homemade Corn Taco, Burrito, Bowls, Smoothie Bowls) thehideoutunawatuna/
» Bedspace (the menu changes everyday. Breakfast & Dinner. Mixing international & local classics) bedspaceuna/
» SkinnyTom’s Deli (best breakfast) skinnytoms/
» King Fisher (Fresh Fish right at the beach) Kingfisher-Unawatuna


Colombo (day 16)
Our final stop before heading back to Amsterdam and we only had some time to eat. Both Tri Lanka and OTP recommended us to end our trip at restaurant Ministry of Crab. And we are happy they did. Through Ministry of Crab they bring the iconic Sri Lankan Crab and the exceptional King Prawns to a global audience, ranging from 500g ‘Small’ crabs to 2KG ‘Crabzillas’ plated! Reservation is needed! Find menu and prices here

Ministry of Crab
Source

And there you have it, a full 2,5 week travel itinerary for Sri Lanka with its spectacular palm tree heaven coastline and sun-kissed sandy stretches. With amazing waves, charming boutique hotels and trendy cafés with healthy options.

Total cost: 1000 Euro per person (excluding the flight). Mind you, we had a collaboration with Tri Lanka and the Owl & Pussycat Hotel. We didn’t hold back however. We ate what we wanted to eat, booked what we felt was comfortable. You can make it as expensive as you want, but remember that accommodations in Sri Lanka are a bit more expensive than Thailand for example.

Enjoy your trip through Sri Lanka and be sure to tell us about it if you followed our itinerary!

Love,

Sarah

The Philippines » The Palawan Guide

Palawan is the place you dream about when you think of paradise. Make the most out of it and come prepared in this guide!

After traveling to Cebu, Bantayan Island and Bohol we flew to Palawan. I was anxious to see it because I had been daydreaming about Palawan for ages.

palawan_map

Getting there

I flew from Cebu City to Puerto Princessa, the capital of Palawan. This is a town with a cute name but be warned; it’s not a place to chill in my opinion. The center is full of cars and tricycles and you need to get out of the center to find a place to chill. I stayed in a wonderful boutique hotel called Balay Tuko Garden. They have a swimming pool and a nice garden for about 40 euro’s per night during high season. Most people travel straight up to El Nido but I wanted to see some places in between. You have a few options: Sebang (the underground river), Port Barton and TayTay.

Puerto Princessa

At the time, it was raining and I was told that most tours around the area got canceled as well as the underground river tour I wanted to do.
If you do want to go, you should book this in advance at Puerto Princessa instead of booking it at the spot. No idea why, but that’s the way it works.
It’s 1500 peso’s and it includes transportation, lunch and entrance fees.  The Underground River is one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world, with a total length of 8.2 Kilometers and you’ll go in a boat with about 5-6 people which will take you into a cave. Yes, it’s a tourist attraction but if you pass it on your way to El Nido, you might as well right?

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Busy Puerto Princessa


Port Barton

I decided to take a van up to Port Barton. 3 hours from Puerto Princessa. After a very bumpy ride with our friendly driver, we arrived in the cute Port Barton. (yes, this town is cute!) At arrival, you are guided to the tourist office where you pay a small environmental fee of 50 peso’s (1 euro) and you are given a few options on where to stay. A young man (called David) offered us a room and although we were a bit skeptical, he took us to a nice place where we met more travelers (lot’s of hippies!) and we only paid 600 peso’s a night. The place is called Pisces and although the rooms are simple, it’s clean and the owners are extremely helpful and friendly.

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Eating coconuts at White Beach, Port Barton

Port Barton is a place for the traveler that wants to chill, save money and enjoys the simple things in life. You can go snorkeling, visit the Pamuayan waterfall (1,5 walk and make sure you ask the way) or check out the amazing white beach. (1 hour walk, no restaurant, bring water) We booked a snorkeling tour for 700 peso’s with David and his crew and I can highly recommend this! You depart at 9am and return around 5pm. You eat a freshly prepared lunch on a beautiful beach and visit some snorkeling spots. 

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Chasing waterfalls

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Fresh fish and veggies at the snorkel tour, Port Barton

Tip » Bring enough cash to El Nido! Do this in Puerto Princessa or even Cebu if you’re there beforehand. There are no ATM’s in Port Barton and El Nido only has one. If it’s empty, you have a problem. If you do get into money troubles, check the western union which is now situated inside the First Consolidated Bank.

Where to eat

Port Barton isn’t that large but has quite a nice variety of nice places to eat.
» Ausan Beachhouse Restaurant  along the beach Eat in a treehouse!
»  
Evergreen  in the village great breakfast and dinner. (my evening meal took a loooong time, but it was delicious)

»  Barton Bistro  I haven’t tried it but I’ve heard great stories!
»  Greenview  beach view and live music on several days in this popular hotel
Warning: Jambalaya Cajun Cafe, (recognisable of a big smiley face on the front) the Lonely Planet describes this as one of the best places to drink coffee but I had a glass of warm milk that they called a latte. It’s also extremely expensive and they are too overconfident.

Where to sleep

» Ausan beachhouse cottages – sleep in a treehouse for about 1200 peso’s
» Pisces – this is where I slept. Good vibes and only 600 peso’s a night. Mind you, it’s very basic, but perfect for the backpacker that wants to save some money. The locals are very nice here.

ausan beachfront cottages
Eat in a treehouse at Ausan Beachhouse cottages. Source

Nearby Port Barton

It’s a long drive from Port Barton to El Nido, so if you have time break up the long trip with a stop at the gorgeous white sand Lumambong Beach halfway between the two. 

» Lumambong Beach – This undiscovered gem is closer down by San Vicente, has a sparkling white sand beach and is completely undeveloped so you’ll have the whole beach to yourself. We’re excited to check out the Binga Beach Resort opening there soon with big glamping cabins right by the beach. It’s currently under construction and they are planning to open in April/May 2019.

Binga-Beach-Sunset


El Nido

After 3 days it was time to move on and travel to El Nido. Another 4 hours in a van. Make sure to book it at least one day in advance and ask to sit in the front if you get car sick. You can describe El Nido as a vibrant little town with a lot of underdevelopment. Like most of the Philippines, the houses and shops are self build and nothing seems to be finished. But thats the charm of El Nido. It’s a fishers town overrun by tourist that come for one thing only; El Nido’s many islands. Once at sea, your mouth will fall open when you see the beautiful rock formations and lagoons.

Which Palawan tour to pick?

The most popular thing to do in El Nido is to take a tour around the islands. You can choose from tours A, B, C and some have tour D (whatever that may be) Usually, it includes lunch and snorkeling gear. To make your life easier I’ve made a shortlist of the ones I can recommend:
» Kraken Tour not the cheapest but highly recommended. Music, lunch, drinks, WiFi, kayaks, paddle board, snorkel materials are included. Check here for more info
» The Artcafe tours. with Kayak 1900 peso’s. (recommended if you take tour A) no snorkling gear included. Accepts credit card.
» Northern Hope Tours. Professional and recommended by various sites. Book here
All tours are best booked in El Nido. (via the website you may need to pay an extra fee)

Furthermore, you can also book the famous Tao Expedition from El Nido.

Big Lagoon El Nido, Palawan
Tour A takes you to the picture perfect Big Lagoon

Diving & more

Another popular activity is diving. There are also plenty dive shops to choose from but I chose Adventurous Scuba. Smaller than some of the flashy expensive dive shops but more personal and professional. 3400 peso’s for 3 dives after a bit of deal making. We had a lovely scuba instructor called Bernie who was really nice to talk with. I can definitely recommend him! They are located in the same street as the Art Cafe, right at the end on the left side.

Massages are also widely available in El Nido. Expect nothing more than a few curtains to divide the guest but hey, this is Asia and you’ll only pay 400 peso’s for one hour. Above all, they are based in El Nido town. Just follow the “massaaaaaaage” voices and you’re good.

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Beautiful diving spots

Where to shop

To clarify, El Nido is not a place to get the best fashion items but there are some nice shops if you walk around. The best shop in town is without doubt Little Corner of Paradise. They sell tops, shirts, bikini’s, summer dresses and jewellery. Run by a French girl, it’s right across from a cute muffin/coffee store that shares the same owner. Another good place for shopping is BAZAAR. Just 2 minutes out of the centre, you will find a nice place where you will find 3 stores (bags, flip-flops, clothes) food and drinks. Also, you can also book a massage upstairs which is definitely worth the 100 peso’s extra from what you pay in town. On Sunday’s they throw a small electro party with DJ’s and cocktails. Bazaar feels like a little European community in the middle of El Nido.

A little corner of paradise, El Nido, Palawan
Beachvibes

Food & Drink

Someone has to say it so I guess it will be me; the food in El Nido isn’t great. It’s OK if you eat meat but as a vegetarian you’ve got a bit of a problem.
There are a few places that serve good food and these were exactly the places I would eat day after day.
» Art Cafe – great curries, fish and breakfast
» BAZAAR asian kitchen – just opened! Amazing Japanese dishes
» Deli Nido Café – the best Frappuchino in town hands down
» Bagel V & V – the girls who work there are a bit moody but the homemade bagels are nice enough to go there

El Nido Coffee, Palawan
Small but great coffee

Where to stay

There are many accommodations to choose from but don’t expect anything top of the range. Even if you pay a bit more, you will get a basic room. You can always opt for the expensive El Nido Resorts but you just don’t want to to that (unless you want to eat nothing else but plain rice for the rest of your holiday)
» Sei Nazioni Cottages – Cute cottages in the middle of town with en-suite options and air-con. 
» The Resort Bayview Hotel – Nice view. Book here
» Anywhere along Marimegmeg Beach – I’ve seen some nice cottages there you should check out.

cottages in El Nido, Palawan
Sei Nazioni Cottages, El Nido town

Nightlife

Thankfully, it’s not like Koh PhiPhi in Thailand were the beach turns into a place full of drunk teenagers. Well, El Nido does it a bit different. After dinner people go to the beachbars and the Pukka Bar is everyones favorite. That is to say, they play cool reggae music with a pretty sick live band that gets the crowd dancing until about 3am. Other beachbars are more chilled and close a bit earlier (around midnight) Bazaar throws a party on Sundays and it nice for drinks, ping pong and the occasional darts. La Place is a lively beachbar situated alongside Corong Corong beach and they host a few parties a week. With a small pool in the middle and the DJ booth high up, they come closest to a real club in El Nido. Expect deep/techhouse music.

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The Kala Bar is part of the Bazaar

Around El Nido

Rent a scooter for a day or 2 and explore! A few places you can visit:
» Duli beach – If you get there before 1pm, you might be the only person on the beach. There is one resort called Duli Beach resort and it’s run by a Dutch couple. Rooms are around 1000 peso’s a night and you’ll wake up on an amazing long stretched beach. Warning »You might be asked for a fee before entering the bumpy road up to the beach.
» Nacpan Beach – This is the most touristic beach around El Nido. It’s part of Twin beach and you can eat tasty mussels here. 
» Marimegmeg Beach – Just a short tricycle ride from El Nido town you’ll find this beach with one of the best views you’ll ever see. There are a few beach restaurants and resorts where you can eat.

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Swing at the Duli Beach Resort (the beach is empty!)

Nacpan Beach, Palawan
Nice food at Nacpan Beach, Palawan

El Nido, Palawan
Walk on Marimegmeg Beach and watch the sunset

To summarise, Palawan’s beauty is truly breathtaking but be prepared to go back in time a little bit. Less tourist (positive), less tasty food than you might be used to in Asia, beautiful nature, but not a lot of beautiful architecture. Beaches enough though! Drop me a line in the comments if you need any other tips!

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Love,

Elke

Safari in Sri Lanka | All you need to know

Yala National Park, the most visited and second largest park in Sri Lanka which is filled with wildlife. Is it a must visit if you come to Sri Lanka or should you pick a different park? Here’s all you need to know.

Safari in Sri Lanka

Which park to pick?
Locals told us that 10% of Sri Lanka is national park. Yala is the most popular and largest park, but not always the best choice. In the North West you will find a higher number of leopards for example. Udawalawe is smaller than Yala but most people say it’s the better one. For one, you can get very close to animals, particularly the elephants. Smaller national parks like Gal Oya and Kumana
 are great because you won’t run into other jeeps and it feels much more private. We booked our tour with Wild Yala Safaris for 60 dollar per person. If we knew everything prior our booking, we may have picked another park.

Get up early
Wild Yala Safaris, and most other safari’s for that matter, will pick you up at 4AM at your hotel so get an early night in! Our hotel was located in Tissa and it takes about 1 hour by jeep to get to the entrance of Yala National Park. Keep your eyes open because we spotted our first massive Elephant when it was still dark outside! When you enter the park you need to wait for about 20 min with the other jeeps before you can enter (a good opportunity to take a quick nap?)

The park itself is beautiful: You won’t find any plastic or other trash

Safari Sri Lanka

Safari in Sri Lanka is an experience we will never forget

The Big Five Sri Lanka Style
In one day we managed to spot 2 leopards, countless elephants, wild boars, several birds, crocodiles, water, monkeys, buffalos etc. We saw most wildlife after lunch which is arranged by the driver and it’s delicious and super fresh. Expect some rice, vegetables, chicken in curry sauce, dahl and fruit. Good to know: the price is almost the same at every other agency, so the experience is what counts. Drivers even help each other when they see unique animals in the park. They call each other and drive as maniacs to the spot.

Safari in Sri Lanka

Wander-Lust Safari in Sri Lanka
Snap Snap

Monkey in Sri Lanka
Monkeys everywhere!

Our tips before going on safari in Sri Lanka:
» Bring some breakfast, toilet paper, sweater or wind jacket, sunscreen and sunglasses
» If you have some, bring some binoculars
» Check out other national parks in Sri Lanka! Yala National Park was on the way and with only 2,5 weeks to go, this seemed like the best option.
» Don’t be too disappointed if you don’t spot a leopard, it’s rare and most of the time they are hidden or far away. 
» 
You can book group or private tours so pick wisely

Check out our full Sri Lanka Guide | a 2,5 week travel itinerary

Love,

Sarah

Tri Lanka | A Little Piece of Heaven on Sri Lanka

When we heard about Tri Lanka – Sri Lanka’s first contemporary sustainable luxury design hotel – we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Tri Lanka is located near Galle Fort, next to Sri Lanka’s largest natural lake Koggala. It’s safe to say it has been one of our best hotel stays so far and this is why.

It’s the perfect place for relaxation and a memory for the rest of your life.

After a 30-minute ride you arrive at this absolutely magical sustainable hotel set by the serene lake Koggala. A natural scenery awaits you at arrival. The hotel is within close reach of the best beaches in the south, 11 amazing suites spiral over a six-acre hill of outstanding natural beauty. Wait when you see their amazing infinity pool overlooking the lake, (which is also known as one of the most popular Instagram spot of the hotel) I couldn’t resist of course, and jumped in to take tons of pictures! 

Tri Lanka design hotel
Our lake villa at Tri Lanka

Tri Lanka bedroom
Waking up to the best view

The natural escape that everyone should experience

The villa is designed to fit between two sets of trees – (no trees were hurt during this process) – overlooking the Koggala lake and surrounded by wild flora and fauna. We’re a big interior design fan and this villa with its natural wood and furniture sits in harmony with the landscape around you. 

Tri Lanka Hotel

Koggola Lake
Tri Lanka Hotel is situated right next to and overlooking the stunning Koggala lake. This area is well known for its diverse and rich wildlife, especially the variety of the birds living here. On the island you can see around 250 birds during summer and 450 birds during winter. You can also spot purple faced leaf monkeys swinging through the trees and bats flying by in the evening. General manager Oliver invited us for the Dhoni boat excursion to spot all of these magnificent creatures along with local boat driver Douglas (who is a great spotter by the way). It was truly a wonderful trip which I can highly recommend.

Tri Lanka lake

De-stress!
You can’t leave Tri Lanka before checking out the glass-wall library where you can enjoy reading the many books they have on display. Tri also offers Yoga classes in a shala floating above the library. Imagine this: After a yoga class, a dive in the pool, or a boat tour and then return to your amazing private villa. GOALS. Enjoy a fresh cocktail on your garden terrace while beautiful birds are flying around with calming sounds of the jungle in the background. Total Bliss.

Tri Lanka

Library Tri Lanka

Tri Lanka accommodation

Ecotourism has never been so inspiring

Tri Lanka room view

Rates
All rooms rates are based on half board. In the morning and evening Tri Lanka serves a daily changing multi-course, made mostly with ingredients from Tri’s own garden. Private dining is also available at the lake edge for that ultimate dining experience. For breakfast we really enjoyed the fresh fruits bowl, ice cream and homemade granola. Rooms are available from €272,- per night for a Water Tower room and €381,- per night for a Lake Villa which we stayed in. 

We can truly say that this was the perfect place to end our trip in Sri Lanka. After trains, safari and bus rides, TRI is a magical place to unwind.

Tri Lanka
Koggala, Sri Lanka
Website / Instagram

Love,

Sarah

The Koh Lipe Island Guide

Walk on white sandy beaches with a fresh coconut in your hand. You will arrive at a picture-perfect tropical island where you want to stay forever! An unbelievable exotic destination that has everything you need to have the perfect holiday. This is Koh Lipe, Thailand.

Koh Lipe is a paradise island in the southern of Thailand’s Satun Province near the Thailand/Malaysia border. The three main beaches of Koh Lipe are Sunset Beach (west), Sunrise Beach (east), and Pattaya Beach (south), all beautiful. The island is famous for it’s white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, coconut trees, snorkeling and scuba diving and its relaxed atmosphere!

koh-lipe-map
Map of Koh Lipe: Source: http://www.thailand-guide.com/koh-lipe

How to get there

There are several options, but we arrived from Langkawi by boat which takes around 1.5 hours. Tip: bring something warm to wear, because sometimes the air-condition is turn up high which makes it freezing. Also, bring some travel sickness tablets, you may need it when the sea is rough. Book your boat ticket in advance, there is no need to print the ticket, as long as you have your QR code on your phone. You need to register before entering the boat and you should do this at the departure gate at least 1,5 hours before departure from Langkawi. Upon arrival, you need to pay 200 bath per person as an island fee, this is normal and you need to pay in cash. It’s a bit of a hassle to get there, but once you have arrived, it will be worth your time.


Where to Stay

Koh Lipe has become very popular over the years, so therefore we advise you to book your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment, especially during the high season (nov – feb). Unfortunately, prices are quite expensive compared to other destinations in Thailand. A hut on the beach for €20,- a night? Forget it. During Christmas we paid at least 100 euro per night. But we don’t want to discourage you, Koh Lipe offers a variety in accommodations, with  not many big resorts, yet. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Cast Away Beach Resort (sunrise beach, mid range)
  • Andaman Resort (sunrise beach, midrange)
  • Serendipity Resort (sunrise beach, high end)
  • Bundahya Beach Resort (pattaya beach, mid range)
  • The Box Resort (walking street, mid range)

Tip: Also check on Airbnb, a lot of guesthouses and hotels also sell their rooms on there.

Koh Lipe resort
Bundahya Beach Resort

Koh Lipe Island Thailand
Sea la Vie beach bar at Sunrise Beach

Things to do

Koh lipe is famous for snorkeling and diving! The incredibly clear water and excellent visibility makes snorkeling very famous on this island. There are many shops on the island that offer snorkeling trips and a full range of PADI and SSI courses.Koh Lipe is surrounded by over 30 islands and hundreds of reefs. You will find a lot of small colorful fish at Koh Lipe, but keep in mind that the coral isn’t what it used to be. Most of the coral is dead because of global warming and the suncreams people use. Ingredients like oxybenzone can harm the oceans. Tip: We use Dermalogica or Badger Sunscreens.

Koh Lipe island guide 2019


Where to eat & drink

From Thai green curry, Phad Thai, Tom kha kai (spicy soup) to Som Tam (Papaya salad), it’s all so delicious, healthy and fresh! They always use fresh herbs and lots of greens. There’s something for everyone, it’s doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian or vegan, enough options. There’s s a great variety in food on the island: From tasty Thai street food to fresh fish you will find right at the beach.
Tip! Learn these words to save you from a chilli pepper disaster! Spicy = mai pet, A little bit spicy = pet noi, Very spicy = pet mak

Best Breakfast & Coffee

  • Elephant Koh Lipe
  • Bloom cafe (amazing coffee!)
  • Tropicana (healthy/vegan options)

Elephant cafe Koh Lipe
Great coffee at Elephant Café

Best cocktails

  • Maya Bar (walking street, great music and cocktails!)
  • Sea la Vie beach bar (Sunrise beach, the food is not so good, but at night the music and vibe is amazing)
  • Reggae bar (Pattaya beach)

Street food Koh Lipe
Street food at the Koh Lipe Walking Street

Best Western food

  • The Box (walking street)
  • La Luna Italian Restaurant

Best Thai Food

  • On The Rocks Restaurant at Serendipity Resort (perfect for a romantic dinner!)
  • Cast Away Restaurant (great for lunch!)
  • Elephant Beach Bar (Sunrise beach, great Pad Thai!)

Koh Lipe Beaches

Koh Lipe has three beaches and because the weather doesn’t change much throughout the year, it’s perfect to lay on the beach..but which one is the best?

  • Sunrise Beach
    This is the best beach, hands down. The water is crystal clear, the sand is white and you can find a lot of quiet spots. All parts of this beach are good, but we relaxed in the middle a lot, next to the Elephant Beach Bar. There is some shade from the trees so great if you have small children. If you walk to the left side of Sunrise beach, you will find yourself a zandbank in the water, great for taking those tropical photo’s! And if you walk towards the right end of the beach (towards Ten Moons Resort), you have a small beach cove, that not everybody knows about. Here you can chill in hammocks and drink fresh coconuts.


beach swing Koh Lipe
In front of 10 Moons Resort, Sunrise Beach

  • Sunset Beach
    This beach has the sunset (hence the name) but it’s smaller doesn’t have many beach bars to chill. Because of this, the beach is more quiet and popular with the older crowd. Worth taking a look at!
  • Pattaya Beach
    This is the beach where all the boats arrive and depart to/from, which makes it the busiest and less attractive beach. At night you can find some bars here with loud(er) music, but there are some restaurants at the end that are nice enough to eat.

Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe
At the sand bank Sunrise Beach

Our advise is to stay on Koh Lipe for at least 4 to 6 days in order to enjoy the island to the fullest. Take in account that it rains more from April through September, but that doesn’t mean you should skip this magical island. Apparently the average temperature is always around 26 degrees, so no matter what time you visit Koh Lipe, the weather will typically be the same. Yes, it takes some time to get there, but once you step on the white sand, you will feel right at home.

Love,

Wander-Lust