Best countries to visit for when you’re on a budget

If you have the wanderlust virus , you know you feel need to travel as much as possible. However, your bank account doesn’t always agree. If you still want to enjoy the beauty of a long stretched beaches, feel the sun glowing on your skin and discover new cultures, we are happy to tell you that you can do this on a small budget. These are 8 countries you should visit if you don’t want to break the bank.

1. Cambodia, Asia

Daily budget: 15 euro or less

Cambodia is a very cheap destination, even by Southeast Asian standards. If you’re really on a budget and you keep your daily spending to a minimum, you can live on an amount of 10 to 15 euro’s per day. Firstly, accommodation can be found for as little as 4-5 euro’s per night (for a simple hut or hostel) and even the alcohol is cheap here. Secondly, if you eat the local food, you won’t spend more than 4 euros on a 2 course meal. Flights cost about 500 euro’s if you book ahead of time.

Angkor Wat. travel on a budget
One of the cheapest countries for travel

2. Thailand, Asia

Daily budget: 20 euro or less

If you’ve been to Thailand, you know you can live there as a King or a Queen. When I was there I had a massage almost every day and it only cost me about 5 to 10 euro’s. Thailand has one of the finest cuisines in the world but you can dine here for about 5-10 euro’s per person. (this includes your drinks!) It’s the ultimate backpacking country with a lot of cheap accommodation available. Thailand also has many options, you can make it as expensive as you want.

Koh Lipe. best countries to visit when you're on a budget
It’s never boring in Thailand

3. Georgia

Daily Budget: 27 euro

This destination is high on demand and made it on many top destination lists for 2019. Why? Adventure seekers have discovered the stunning nature of this country, plus it’s very affordable! Because Georgia isn’t rampaged by tourists, prices remain low, also for accommodations. If you decide to go backpacking for 14 days, you can do it with a budget of 400 euro per person. This is unheard of in western European countries. Time to out Georgia on your bucketlist? 

georgia
Stunning Georgia

4. Albania

Daily Budget: 28 euro

Never though of Albania? Well, time to change that! Albania is an underrated country with many mountains, canyons and the Ionian coastline. Albania isn’t full of tourists and therefore prices are very good! Be the first to discover hidden beaches and coves, or walk around in the Albanian Alpes. 

Albania, countries to visit when you are on a budget

5. Nicaragua

Daily Budget: 28 euro

We do not understand why we haven’t been here yet, because this place has it all. Untouched beaches, cute towns, rough nature, volcano’s and it’s extremely cheap to trek around. Above all, the country is relatively tourist free, which is also a big plus for many amongst us. Hotel rooms are an average of 15 euro per night. On average, a couple can live comfortably in Nicaragua for 1200 euro per month, not bad!

beer in Nicaragua
Have another beer in Nicaragua!

6. Greece, Europe

Daily budget: 30 euro or less

I’m speaking out of experience because as you might know because I have been to Greece many times. Firstly, food is one of the cheapest in Europe. For instance, you can feast on a large main course for only 6-9 euro’s. A beer will cost you about 2 euro’s. You will pay double the price in places like Mykonos and Santorini but if you visit the main land or Islands like : Folegandros, Lefkas or Naxos, you can definitely add Greece to your budget destination list.

Greece is great if you're on a budget
Lefkas (Lefkada) is great for budget travel

7. Philippines, Asia

Daily budget: 25 euro or less

It’s not the cheapest of the Asian countries we’ve mentioned but it certainly deserves a place in our top 8 and the reason it’s at number 7 is because of the long flight. The flight is by far the most expensive part of your trip but if you’re lucky you can get a cheap flight at around 600 euro’s per person. On the other hand, the Philippines are pretty untouched by mass tourism (unlike Thailand for example), as a result it can be more difficult to get around sometimes. That’s way you tend to spent more on boats, domestic flights etc. Read more about The Philippines.

Philippines Bohol
Relaxing in the Philippines

8. Bolivia, South America

Daily budget: 25 euro or less

Bolivia is a very popular destination for backpackers, simply because it’s very affordable to travel. There is something for every budget. Even the good hotels offer reasonable prices. (a 4 star hotel is available for as little as 80 USD) 

9E975C5901
Chill.. cuz your money isn’t going anywhere

In short, budget travel is possible, it just depends on the country you want to visit. And let’s be honest, the above options aren’t so bad right?

Love,

Wander-Lust

More tips?

All you need to know about the TAO Expedition in The Philippines.

Are you a Adventurous Traveller? Do you need a break from modern society? If so, this 5-day Boat tour in the Philippines is the escape for you! Sail into paradise and explore the most remote islands between Coron and El Nido in the North of Palawan! This is everything you need to know before booking the Tao Expedition.

You live like the local people during this expedition! Wi-Fi? Not on the TAO sailing boats! Sometimes there is a possibility to use power, but that’s it! This is a good way to take time for yourself and get away from all those Social Media Notifications popping-up all the time!
While you are on the boat with 15 to 20 other explorers, you are completely free in the things you want to do! Try to catch some tuna while fishing from the back of the boat, help the chef preparing a meal, get behind the wheel like a real sailor or share your travel stories with the crew while you enjoy your jungle-Juice! It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you have the time of your life!

Philippines

The days on the tour are packed with adventure! The great thing about this trip is that you are never sure where you end up! Because of the climate in the Philippines the weather isn’t always your best friend! That’s why they change routes all the time and you are never sure what you see/do and where you will be sleeping. However there are some highlights you are definitely NOT going to miss while exploring the islands and waters between Coron and El Nido!

Tao tour Philippines

Jump in the turquoise blue waters and Snorkel in the most amazing spots of this tropical archipelago! Enjoy the Beautiful sunsets and after a long day on the boat, chill on the beach and watch the milky way sparkle in the sky! The Tao expedition brings you back to basics, it disconnects you from the modern world and re-connects you with nature! The crew exists of local people who know everything about the area you are sailing in, they have respect for nature and everything you can find there! This is what they try to learn to the people who came and joined them on the tour!

Beach Philippines

The best time for the TAO Expedition
The best time to take this tour in the Philippines is between October and May, this is the dry season. There is also the possibility to ​book an expedition​ during the rainy season from June till September, but expect some rainy days! It is not possible book during the month September.

Prices
The 5-day Tao Expedition will cost you $545,- (Php26.900,-) in low season and $655,- (Php32.400,-) in peak season! Of course this is a lot of money, but if you look to it in a different way it is not that bad.
This price includes:
● 5 days of travel
● 4 nights of TAO style camping
● the wild open nature and island living
● Freshly prepared meals, snacks and drinks (drinking water, tea, coffee, sunset
cocktails)
● mask and snorkels (no fins)

TIP: Bring extra cash upon checking in for Alcoholic drinks and Merchandise. Recommended amount: $60,- (Php3.000,-) – $100,- (Php5.000,-) per person

Filipino fresh fish
Fresh food at the TAO Expedition

Everyday you have an activity, from snorkeling to fishing! You have the transport covered from A to B, Coron to El Nido or the other way around! All meals are included and you get the most amazing beaches to sleep on every night! If you see it this way, $109,- (Php5.380,-) / $131,- (Php6.480,-) for a day is a good price for a unforgettable trip in the Philippines!

Other Experiences
TAO offers way more then just this tour. The following tours are available at the moment:
● Boat Expeditions (5 day, 3 day, sailing or private)
● Island Stay
● Combo Experience
● Mountain Treks & Retreat
Have a look ​here​ for more information about the different tours.

Sleeping on the beach, Philippines
Not a 5-star hotel, but a priceless view (photo by @wanderlust.nl)

How to get there?
You can book this tour from either Coron to El Nido or the other way around. To get to Coron you can take a Domestic Flight with a 40 minute transfer to the town. When you are in Manilla there is also the possibility to take a Ferry to Coron which leaves once a week and will take you 12 to 14 hours. For price details and time schedules visit the 2GO​ website. When you start your Boat tour from El Nido there are two options. Fly direct to El Nido, or fly to Puerto Princesa and take a 6 hour bus ride to El Nido.

Good To Know
This is not everyone’s idea of a holiday! It might be bad weather, it might be rough waves, limited privacy, barking dogs, crowing roosters, mosquito bites, jellyfish stings, sunburns. But that is all part of the experience: the unexpected, the unknown, stepping outside of your comfort zone. Still interested? Book early to avoid disappointment. (and early is months in advance, especially during the high season)

Keep on exploring!

John

*John is one of our guest bloggers from Nijverdal. He’s a guy from the Country with a desire to travel, a passion for sports and a love for food. “Never try, Never know!” Follow him on Instagram!

For more Tips & Recommendations for the Philippines check out the ​previous posts:

 

7 x Weirdest Travel Foods Around the World

When you travel far and wide, you come across the strangest foods. I’ve been to a lot of countries and even though I’m a vegetarian, I see some weird stuff passing around the table. Let’s check out 7 of the weirdest travel foods around the world.

1. Chicken Feet in Hong Kong, China
The first day I arrived in Hong Kong, these lovely..eh Chicken Feet were served at my table of DimSum. The guy next to me dared and ate a few. He told me the next day that he spent most of the night on the toilet. In China this is an absolute delicacy. They are fried and served hot or cold as a snack before dinner. To me it was one of the most disgusting things I had ever seen..

Chicken Feet Hong Kong
Chinese chicken feet, served on my table…awesome. (Bleh)

2. Shirouo no odorigui (dancing ice fish) in Japan
A friend of mine traveled through Japan and came across the most amazing restaurants. The Sushi is overflowing and taste fresher than ever. He was willing to try everything and usually he let the chef surprise him. 
It was when he stayed at a traditional guesthouse when he was served one of the weirdest travel foods he had ever tried. Shirouo no odorigui. Small, almost transparent, fish that swam in a bowl of water. The idea is that you dip them into soya sauce and then eat them alive. (yes, alive!) The fish “dance” in your mouth, which explains the name! My friend tried it, but told me he wouldn’t do this again anytime soon..

Dancing Fish Japan
Dancing fish

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
My friends traditional Japanese meal with the dancing fish top right

3. Witchetty grub, Australia
When I backpacked through Australia, I was offered this nutritious travel food that the aboriginals eat as a snack. Witchetty Grubs are basically fatty larvae who you may recognize from The Lion King, when Simba meets Timon and Pumba. (I love that movie!) Anyway, I was walking though the outback and my tour guide dared me to eat one if we found them. I said yes. Thank god we didn’t find any.


Juicy Witchetty Grubs..

4. Balut, Philippines
I’m off to the Philippines in a couple of weeks and I am really curious about the food they serve there. I’ve been told that I will have a hard time coping as a vegetarian-going vegan, because they serve a lot of meat. But one of their infamous delicacy’s is Balut. So what is it? It’s an egg. Not bad right? Wait for it.. Balut is a fertilized duck embryo boiled in the shell. So you’re basically eating a baby duck. Enjoy! :-s

Philippines-042013002(pp_w900_h599)
Not for me!  (source: http://dustincolephotos.com/)

Did you know that insects contain more protein then beef, pork or chicken?

5. Snake wine, South East Asia
What about some wine tasting in Southeast Asia? Not common right? Well, they do have a very special wine on offer. Snake wine. This popular alcoholic beverage is believed to have important restorative properties in countries including China and Vietnam. They sometimes mix the alcohol with the snakes bodily fluids, such as blood. Salut!

red wine
You want some Sssssssnake with that?

6. Haggis, Scotland
You may think that all the weird stuff come from the Asian countries. Not quite. In Scotland they eat something rather…disgusting if I may say so.
his mixture includes sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, onion, oatmeal, spices, and stock. This traditionally stuffed-into-a-sheep’s-stomach-dish, dates back to the 1400’s and is served as a main course on Robert Burns Day.

7. Fried Insects, Asia + Worldwide
When you walk around Khao San Road in Bangkok, you will see a dozen hotdog-like-stands, selling fried insects. Scorpions, Crickets, Larvae, Cockroaches and in some cases even Spiders (God help me). A few years back, people were shocked to see these disappear into someones mouth but times have changed. They now sell insects at trendy food markets and in some supermarkets all over the western world. I tried a worm croquet and a fried cricket once before, and believe it or not, it actually tasted pretty good. Good to know that insects contain more protein and less calories as beef or pork. If we would eat more insects and less meat, we could help mother earth a great bunch actually. This could well be the food of the future. Try it!

Food stall
Crickets for dinner? Not so weird after all

Are you brave enough to try these weird travel foods? I rest my case.
Enjoy your meal!

Love,

Elke

Hungry? Check out our travel inspired recipes!

Our Favorite Wanderlust Moments of 2016

Damn, 2016 is coming to an end and wow, did it go by fast! Many new memories have been made and adventures shared. Time to look back at some of our favorite wanderlust moments of 2016!

Elke’s trip to the Philippines December – January 
It was on our bucketlist forever and Elke finally crossed it off her list last Dec-Jan. She traveled to Cebu, Bohol and Palawan where she saw the most amazing islands. “It’s like Thailand 20 years ago and even more beautiful” To read all her tips about The Philippines, have a look here: wander-lust.nl/the-philippines/

Favorite Wanderlust Moments of 2016
In El Nido, Palawan

Sarah’s trip to Malaysia – November
For 3 weeks Sarah traveled through Malaysia visiting Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi and Borneo. She was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Malaysian people are extremely creative and you will see street art, local handmade goods and delicious food everywhere. If you’re planning to go, you must read her articles about Malaysia: wander-lust.nl/malaysia/

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Our city trip to Prague – April
It was our first trip together funny enough and we had so much fun! The life is cheap in Prague so we enjoyed it to the max trying out all the best food spots and checking out the nightlife. From cycling tours to getting lost, finding a hipster Vietnamese bar and drinking a lot of beer. We also discovered that we are perfect travel partners! Read our city guide to Prague here: wander-lust.nl/falling-in-love-with-prague/

Wanderlust in Prague
Perfect travel partners 

Switzerland during Springtime – May
If there is something you should do when you live in Europe, is to grab your car and drive up to Switzerland during springtime. The incredible nature, mountains and lakes are stunning! Elke drove up to Lutcerne, Vitznau and hiked up the Rigi Mountain. It’s not the cheapest place to visit but the views are more than worth it! Must do for 1017! wander-lust.nl/why-you-should-visit-switzerland-this-summer/

Hotel Rigi Kaltbad, Switzerland
Stunning views from the Rigi mountain

Our secret trip to Valencia – June
We didn’t know where we were going and found out at the airport when we scrashed our SRPRS.me card. Valencia it was! The weather was great, the food was great and the whole city break was great. Although it was Sarah’s 2nd time, we managed to discover so many new spots! wander-lust.nl/our-secret-trip-to-valencia/

Watermelon in Valencia
Eating watermelons in Valencia

Glamping in Portugal – June
This was a very special trip because we didn’t really know what to expect. We got invited by Into The Wild Algarve, a couple that left their hectic lives in Amsterdam to move to Portugal and start a Eco-Glamping Resort. We were their first official guests and they made us feel so at home. The care that they treated us with, really touched us. We enjoyed outside Yoga, Supping, Vegan Cooking and discovered the beaches of the Algarve. Check our report here: into-the-wild-algarve/

Into the Wild Algarve Tent
Our bohemian glamping tent

Swedish Lapland – June
After our visit to the travel bloggers conference (TBEX) in Stockholm, Sarah checked out the Swedish Lapland for a few days. She discovered the untouched nature, fishing, ice sculpture, spa’s and sleeping in the light. (it doesn’t get dark there in June!) wander-lust.nl/relaxing-activities-in-kukkolaforsen-swedish-lapland/

Grilled fish
Smoking freshly caught fish in Sweden

Elke’s trip to Norway – August
“Cried when they landed, in the bus and cried when I saw the first mountain.” All because it was so beautiful. What a stunning place! Together with Visit Norway Elke and a bunch of journalists visited the Fjords where she learned how to kayak. wander-lust.nl/my-amazing-trip-through-north-west-norway/

Visit North West Norway
Crying 3.0

So there you have it, new memories were made, hidden gems were discovered and many new hotspots were found. These were our favorite wanderlust moments of 2016. We hope we’ve inspired you this past year! It was great to see that some of you actually did the trips or took the route we wrote about! Get ready for 2017 as we have more exiting things planned!

For more impressions about all our trips, check our YOUTUBE Channel where we add all our travel memories! We need more subscribers so hopefully you guys can help us out! 😉

Love,

Elke & Sarah

El Nido to Coron Tour » The more Affordable option

One of the things I really wanted to do whilst on my trip in the Philippines, was to take an island hopping tour for 3 days.
Meaning; from El Nido to Coron in Palawan.

This is a tour that not all tour operators offer. The most famous one around is the TAO tour. (they are highly recommended by the Lonely Planet)
They have become extremely popular over the last year because of all the media attention they have been given. They have the biggest and most badass boat in Palawan and they are extremely well organised. BUT. (Yes, there is a but) they are very very expensive. For a 3 days, 2 nights tour, you will need to pay 25.000 peso’s per person. This is almost 500 euro’s! Besides this shocking fact, they are fully booked if you don’t book in advance. (yes, there are people who pay this) I did however check in with them to see what my options were but they were fully booked.

I thought this tour wasn’t going to happen.. Until I walked through El Nido town and saw a sign outside of a tour operator saying: ” El Nido to Coron 3 days, 2 nights, leaving 25th of December” I walked in and learned that this tour was offered at only 11500 peso’s. Jackpot!
Yes, that’s still about 250 euro’s but half the price then TAO’s tour. Tip » Be aware that they will ask you to pay in cash. This is normal in El Nido but if they offer credit card payments or paypal, you should take that option as you need your cash in Palawan due to the lack of ATM’s.

crew el nido to coron tour
The crew!

The ultimate tour, but then cheaper

What to bring:
» Sun protection +30 or more
» Bikini/Swimwear
» Towel (one that dries quickly
» Mosquito repellent
» Sunglasses
» Hat (for sun protection)
» Something warm (it can cool down at night)
» Toiletries but minimal (toothbrush, face cream etc)
» Slippers or watershoes
» Sea sickness tablets
» Paracetamol (just in case)
» waterproof camera or case

Elnido to Coron tour
Day 1 from El Nido to Coron

Day 1
We departed at around 10 in the morning. We were told to be there at 9am but the man from the tourist office told the rest of the group 10am and forgot to tell us. Make sure you confirm the right time and double check this. Getting out of El Nido town is always a beautiful sight with islands and beaches surrounding you. After 2 hours we stopped for some snorkeling and it was one of the most beautiful coral reefs I have ever seen! Unlike some places in Thailand, the coral is very much alive and full of colors. After 30 minutes of snorkeling, we continued our way to a beach where we could relax and enjoy our first lunch. On the first day you will be at sea a lot so prepare yourself for a sore bum and perhaps some sea sickness.
At around 4-5pm, we arrived at our first camping ground. A simple island with nothing special but big enough to walk around the beach for about 20 minutes. Dinner is always freshly prepared and really tasty! Vegetable curry, Shrimps, Chicken or Pork and fresh Watermelon.
The men of the boat (crew of 4), set up all the tents and prepare your food so you can relax. We made a big campfire and enjoyed the full moon. After all, it was Christmas!

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Our tents at our first camping site

El nido to Coron island hopping tour

Processed with VSCO
Waking up like this..

Day 2
The sun rises about 6am and that’s a pretty special moment so if you’re awake, you should get up and watch it. After breakfast we headed to the Linapacan islands, which have some of the cleanest and clearest waters on earth. It’s a great place where to snorkel and relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in Palawan. You will also get to meet the Tagbuana, the local people of Linapacan, and discover their culture. Here you can buy bread, sweets and soft drinks if you want. You will also visit 2 more snorkeling spots and spent the night at an island where there is a small village and a change to wash yourself. (don’t expect much!) This is also the only island that has a toilet. After a full day of swimming and exploring, I was tired before 10pm so decided to call it a day.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Bluest sea ever?

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Local children of Linapacan

Day 3
This is the last day and probably the most relaxing day of all. I was used to the sea by now and enjoyed flying fish and water splashing against my salty skin. We were heading up north and stopped for lunch at the most beautiful beach ever. Apart from the occasional resort guest, you and the baot crew have this island for yourselfs. Be sure to wear sun protection or a hat as there is no shade. The water is shallow and clear and we stopped here for 2 hours before arriving in Coron at around 6pm. From here you can choose to continue your way here or go back to El Nido. 

Don’t head back at night!
I decided to go back as I wanted to celebrate New Years in El Nido but Coron has a lot to offer so plan your trip wisely! 
We went back at night as it was full moon and bright enough to see but it took us 10 hours to get back because of the stormy weather. Nope, that’s something I wouldn’t do over again. Thank god, nothing happened! 

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Jump!

Total Cost:
On the website it says 18.000 peso’s and on the leaflet in the tourist office (in El Nido) it says 11500 but if they are not fully booked, you should be able to get it at 11000 or less. Remember, it’s all a game. I paid 10500 in the end.
Tour operator: El Nido Paradise The best period to do the El Nido to Coron Tour is between Dec – March when the typhoon season is gone.

Included:
» Breakfast, lunch, dinner
» Water, beer, rum
» Tents, sheet, small pillow (No mattress!)
» Snorkeling gear (No flippers)
» English speaking guide
» Eco Fee

Tip » Be aware that there are no showers or toilets on the first island and that on the second island you have a barrel of rainwater that you need to wash yourself with. If you can’t handle that, this trip is not for you. It’s the perfect way to travel from El Nido to Coron although I do think the TAO tour offers the best experience. Is it worth 500 euro’s? I’m not sure but at least you have a few options. Another tour I heard of is the Native Exploration Tour. They only offer a 5 day tour though for 20.000 peso’s.

For more tips and recommendations in Palawan check my previous post!

Love,

Elke

The Philippines » Cebu & Bohol

Flying to the Philippines is a long haul, and for me it included a stopover in Seoul, South Korea.
You will arrive at the capital of the Philippines, Manila. The first tip I will give you is to get a white metered taxi. (And tell them to turn the meter on!)
The line might be a bit longer but you’ll pay at least half the price than the yellow ones.
My second tip is to get the hell out of Manila as soon as you can! Yes, cities like Bangkok Kuala Lumpur or Singapore have their charming features but Manila was just a overcrowded noisy city to me.
That said, I haven’t been to every corner of town to discover what’s good but many travelers waste 2 days here before they depart to the islands and most people wished the had done this a bit sooner. In my case I arrived late at night so I had no choice but to stay one night and I decided to stay in a hotel not far from the airport. 

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Philippines inside Habits & Tips:
Before you continue reading this blog, there are some things you need to know. Just like any other country, The Filipino’s have their usual habits.

When you travel around the Philippines, you’ll notice a few things that will only happen here. Been there? You may just recognize these! 

»They Repeat your meal order. I love this. Every time I ordered a meal in a restaurant, the waiter would kindly repeat the order to make sure she got it right. Wishful thinking!
» They wrap the ends of the cutlery and beer bottles in a tissue before serving.
I don’t really know why but I guess it looks neat.
» They hardly ever have knives.
After a few meals I discovered that I was always served with a fork and a spoon. Apparently (and this is a funny one) when they Spanish colonized The Philippines, they didn’t want to give the people knives because they were scared the Philippians’s may use these against them.
» Basketball is huge
They don’t know our football heroes but they sure know how to play ball. Wear a basketball shirt and you fit right in.
» Almost everybody speaks English.
Except some of the older generation, everybody can understand you. How easy!
» They don’t sell tampons in the Philippines
Impossible to find! Ok, for the female traveler, this is an important tip. If you don’t have tampons, you can’t swim if you have your period. That sucks. Bring along a box (or 2)

» Terminal and environmental fees
At some ports, airports and checkpoints, they ask for a fee. Sometimes as little as 20 peso’s but at Puerto Princessa you need to pay 400 peso’s per person for domestic flights. Why? See it as taxes. Manila airport is now including the terminal fee with your purchased flight.
» Don’t trust the ATM’s
Don’t rely on the banks and ATM’s. They don’t always work or accept your card. Sometimes they are just simply out of cash and you can withdraw a maximum of 10.000 peso’s. (200 euro’s)
» Bring some water shoes
You know those pointy black sea things they call Sea Urchins? Well, I stepped on one and it hurt like hell. (still removing the stings after 2 weeks) It happened in a perfect white beachy environment. So be careful in the water.

Cebu & Batayan Island
I flew over to Cebu the next day.
Cebu is an Island shaped as a banana and it’s part of the Visayans. From Manila it’s only a 1,5 hour flight.
Tip » book your domestic flights early in advance to avoid high cost! I booked mine about 2 months in advance and it only cost me about 38 euro’s.
I flew with Air Asia and Cebu Pacific Air during my trip and I had a much better experience with Cebu Pacific.

Ph_locator_map_cebu

Where to stay?

If you use Cebu as a first layover (and you want to recover from your long flight) I highly 
recommend the Radisson Blue hotel. It’s near the airport and port so perfect if you want to continue your travels the next day. They have a large outside swimming pool, gym, spa, restaurant and the beds are freaking huge!

I enjoyed an aromatherapy massage and it totally recharged my batteries. Just what I needed. Rooms are available from 110 euro’s so that’s not too bad if you share. (Keeping in mind that this is ranked a number 1 hotel on tripadvisor)
You can book here.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
The best bed in Cebu for sure!

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
The house Spa of the Radisson Blue recharged my batteries

Cebu is a large island with so much to choose from but I decided to visit the chill Bantayan: a small island north-west of Cebu. To get there you must take a bus to Cebu’s northern port called Hagnaya. This busride can be about 4 hours long so make sure you catch the last boat there.(17.30) Otherwise you’re stuck there.
The boat takes about 75 min and cost 200 peso’s plus a 10 peso terminal fee.
(You will notice that at most ports, the Philipino’s will charge a small fee to enter the terminal. This is normal.)
Bantayan island is perfect for people that want to chill on the beaches, eat and…well, that’s pretty much it! You can hire a scooter for a day (500 peso’s) and discover the island and it’s villages plus beaches along the way.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
The busride from Cebu City to Port Hagnaya is long but the best for looking outside the window

Tip » bring cash! There are 2 ATM’s on the island but it doesn’t accept Maestro or MasterCard so I was lucky to have brought some euro’s with me so I could exchange these for Peso’s in a local pawnshop. You are best to withdraw cash in Manila or Cebu.
I often felt that my boyfriend and I were the only “travelers” on the island. This way we really connected with the locals.
When I was there, a typhoon raged over the north part of the Philippines and Bantayan suffered from heavy rain. At the time we were discovering the island, one of these heavy showers hit us and we were offered shelter by a Philippine family. (Chickens included)
Lucky for us, we only had one day of rain but if this happens while you’re there the boat back to Cebu might not depart so keep an eye on that.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
The small house where I took shelter from the heavy rain

Where to stay?
I slept at the Coral Blue Oriental Beach Villas & Suites run by a German man and his Filipino wife.
Without doubt one of the best views on the island. I slept in a deluxe suite which had a large bathroom and a balcony overlooking the sea. Not a bad way to wake up! The completely wooden build huts are cute but spacious. They offer scooter hire, port pickup & drop-off and a pool table.
You can book here.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Breakfast at Coral Blue

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
My deluxe suite overlooked the clear blue sea

Where to eat?
Apart from the Coral Blue restaurant, I also enjoyed lunch at Cou Cou’s (sizzeling squid!) and had dinner at Caffe Del Mal (great pizza’s and homemade pasta’s). Both restaurants are in the same street all walking distance from the Coral Blue Resort.

“The Philippines resembles a place called heaven”

Bohol
After 2 days, I made my way back to Cebu and I was lucky to catch the last fast ferry to Bohol.
Bohol is yet another island but this time on the east-side of Cebu. It’s pretty easy to reach by ferry (the fast service takes 2 hours) and will cost 600 peso’s each.

Ph_locator_map_bohol

Where to stay?
I was invited to stay at the Bohol Beach Club and all I can say is WOW. What a privilege to stay here. The resort was build in 1984 but got a make-over 2 years ago. The most impressive part is without doubt the beach. It’s called white beach (I wonder why) and it’s part of the Panglao island that’s part of Bohol.
The sea is blue, shallow and clear. The hammocks are ready for you to lay in after the tasty breakfast at their resort restaurant. (They also have the best dinner menu I’ve come across in Cebu btw!) And they have a pool with a 12 hour lifeguard. Let’s not forget to mention their massage ladies who can give you a massage at sunset for about 12 euro’s for one hour. Heaven on earth. Okok, all of this sounds pretty great but it’s not the best place for the backpacker that’s on a tight budget.
Rooms go from 150 euro’s per night (breakfast buffet included)
Still want to experience heaven? (and you deserve it!) then book here.

Bohol Beach Club, Philippines

hammock chillzone, Philippines
Picture perfect. I couldn’t believe how perfect this beach looked at the Bohol Beach Club

Processed with VSCOProcessed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Breakfast Bohol Beach Club, Philippines
Everything feels right at the Bohol Beach Club, even breakfast!

But I didn’t just chill at the resort, no I’m way too restless to lay on the beach all day so I wanted to explore a little.
I only had 2,5 days which of 1 I chilled on the beach so I decided to have lunch at the Bohol Organic Beefarm (highly recommended if you are staying on Panglao island)
The Bohol Beefarm is a great place to walk around, have lunch and eat their homemade ice-cream. They harvest their own herbs and the menu looks a lot healthier than most places you will find in the Philippines. Check their website for more info.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pure herbs at the Organic Beefarm in Bohol

Lunch at Bohol BeeFarm, Philippines
Organic chicken, brown rice, flower salad and their secret sauce is what makes people come back

On the last day we rented a scooter and drove inland. I was sitting on the back and all I was thinking was; Fuck. It’s sooooo beautiful here. (sorry for the F word but seriously, it was F-ing beautiful!) The island is very green with leaves growing all the way to the top of the branches.
We wanted to see the Chocolate Hills and even though it’s Bohol’s main tourist attraction, I still wanted to see it. It takes about 2 hours to get there by scooter. We stopped at a place called Bohol Nut Huts. A place to stay, eat, relax and a change to see the loboc river up close.
The food here is basic but cheap and you’re going to need a cold drink after a hour long drive (and a sore bum!)

View from Nut Huts Bohol
I shot this picture of the Loboc river from the Nut Huts Restaurant

After our short break it was time to continue up towards the Chocolate Hills. Now, don’t get your hopes up, you’re not going to find a valley full of chocolate like in some kind of dream. These hills are covered in green grass that turns brown (like chocolate) during the dry season, hence the name.
Legend says that the hills are the dried up tears of a giant… but I leave the preferred story up to you.
Once we started to drive into the “hills” area, I must admit that I was impressed by the amount of hills (there are at least 1,260 hills) and their beautiful colors.

Bohol Chocolate Hills By Wander-Lust
Like a postcard picture (shot with my Olympus OMD 😉

When you drive up, you’re asked for a small fee (terminal fee) which is probably bullshit but it’s only 2 euro’s so why say no if you can help a community right?
Just after we left, a big cloud followed us and poured all his rain over the area which lasted about 2 hours. Stopping for shelter at different spots, we didn’t have the time to see the worlds smallest monkey; The Tarsier. It’s a shame that I missed it because these small creatures are suppose to be super cute. It’s on the way from the Chocolate Hills so if you have enough time, try to visit the Tarsier Sanctuary.

Next week I will post about my trip to Palawan and a special island hopping tour!

Love,

Elke

*all pictures are shot with the Olympus OMD

More Asia? Check here!
Thailand 4
Thailand, Koh Lipe

Packing Guide » Backpacking the Philippines

Finally! I am going to cross another country off my bucketlist. I’m going to the Philippines!
It’s been on my list for a while so I’m really exited about packing my bags for this trip. It’s hot and moist in the Philippines and I’ll be backpacking so I’m writing this packing guide accordingly.

The trip
Amsterdam » Seoul (stop) » Manila » Cebu » Palawan » Manila » Seoul (stop) » Amsterdam

The Backpack
A lot of miles, a lot of traveling. I’m going to travel for 3,5 weeks so I will bring a backpack. After 7 reliable years, it was time to ditch my old one and get a fresh pack.
I got the The Alpamayo ND from Lowe Alpine. This backpack is perfect for this trip and I’m going to tell you why;
This Alpamayo ND is especially designed for women so it fits perfectly. It supports your back, you can access you bag easily from the side and top and it has useful features including stretch bottle pockets, removable hydration pack and unique tip grippers.
Buy it here!

The ultimate backpack for the Philippines

Carry on luggage
» Small Backpack from Eastpak. Funky and handy for day trips
» Hipbundel from Eastpak. This is super handy for cash, passport or other important documents. Love the print on this one!
» My new sunnies from Komodo / Look fresh, look sharp
» Sony Action Cam / Never miss any action!
» Ipod with my new headphones from skullcandy / The sound is amazing on these!
» Travel journal / Great for those long hours in the plane, bus or boat.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetcarry on essentials philippines

Travel Gadgets
I love travel gadgets! Every year I find new amazing stuff that I want to test or simple want to get.

On this this trip I will bring 4 travel gadgets that I can’t leave without.

My Olympus OMD-E10 camera is my newest baby and I won’t go to a beautiful place without it. Pictures and video’s are amazing and it has a build in stabilization which makes live a lot easier! More info about this camera here.
My Sony Actioncam for those underwater action moments!

Can’t leave the hotelroom without a emergency phone charger that you can easily take to the beach or a restaurant.
I use the
Powerbank Pro 9000 charger from Avanca. It’s extremely powerful with a capacity of 9000mAh. Depending on the device you connect to this powerbank, your battery will be charged one or several times. Get yours here.

The perfect camera for the PhilippinesProcessed with VSCO with hb1 preset

The worst thing that can happen to you, is to lose your luggage on arrival. This clever interactive tag from Moustag makes sure your bags are easily found.

If your bag is found you will receive a notification on  the Moustag app. Besides this you can also keep track of where you’ve been and share this with your friends. Pretty cool right?

Moustag wander-lust

 

Skin products
Ok, I am not a girl who uses a lot of make up and foundation. Mainly just because I can’t be bothered but I am getting older so I should look after my skin.
I won’t leave for the Philippines without my Dermalogica products! I swear by their products because of a few reasons;
» They don’t test on animals (happy me)
» They only use natural ingredients
» They truly care about your skin! (they only sell 50+ sunscreen because this is really what our skin needs)
They sell a really handy travel kit which includes the multi active toner which I will bring in my carry on bag so I can moisturize during the flight (check my previous blogpost about in-flight skin tips)
My advice is to get your skin analysed and find the products that suit your skin. Visit their website for more info.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset2015-11-23 11.17.33 1

                                                    All my favorite travel products!

So what will you bring?

Love,

Elke

More packing guides? Check here!

2015-07-13 01.24.08 1_resized