3 Must Do Things On A Day Trip To Holkham & Wells-Next-The-Sea

The beach at Holkham is a beautiful long stretch of sandy beach backed by beach huts, sand dunes and pine woodland. The award winning picturesque beach is perfect for a day trip or a UK getaway. There is so much to see and do in the area as well as the area of North Norfolk. The small harbour town of Wells-Next-The-Sea is walking distance from the beach and the nature reserve. The harbour is protected by salt marshes from the open sea and used to be one of the great ports of eastern England in Tudor times. The harbour is still active today and mainly used by sailing and crabbing boats.

We visited Holkham and Wells-Next-The-Sea on a day trip, we set off early from our hometown of Milton Keynes and made the most of a warm sunny day (a rarity in the UK). If you don’t live far you could easily spend a whole day there, however if you’re also seeking out a potential UK beach break then Holkham would be a great place to stay for a few nights or a week as there is so much to explore along Norfolks North Coast. So here are my must do things while visiting Holkham and Wells-Next-The-Sea.

Holkham National Nature Reserve

Holkham National Nature Reserve is a huge area and spans across 9158 acres which start from Wells-next-The-Sea and goes all the way to Burnham Overy. The area is made up of a unique variety of habitats including salt marsh, sand dunes, pine woodland, beach and grazing marsh. The majority of the landscape is man-made and was reclaimed from salt marshes back in the 17th and 19th centuries. Holkham is also home to lots of wildlife in particular birds, the area attracts a large number of flocks but also single rare migrant birds also.

Holkham National Nature Reserve is a must visit, we parked at Holkham Hall and the parking was only £4 for the day, and only a short walk to the beach, there is parking slightly closer which is about £9 for the day. Once you walk over to The Lookout Centre there are two options; a route which takes you straight down to the far end of Holkham beach, or a slightly longer nature trail walk which also takes you to the beach but closer to the pretty harbour town of Wells-Next-The-Sea.

We opted to take the more scenic route and walked along the nature trail towards the beach and Wells-Next-The-Sea. The nature trail is really peaceful and took about 40 minutes to walk along the gravelled path, which is surrounded by lots of trees, flowers and foliage and you can hear lots of birdlife. There are lots of different nature trails in the Holkham National Nature Reserve, however if your only visiting for the day, I would recommend doing this short nature walk at the start of your day, so you can have the rest of the day free to relax on the beach.

Holkham National Nature Reserve NorfolkHolkham National Nature Reserve NorfolkHolkham National Nature Reserve Norfolk

The Beach, Beach Huts & Sand Dunes

The Beach stretches between Wells-Next-The-Sea and Holkham and is honestly one of my favourite beaches in the UK! The beach itself is huge and spotlessly clean and easy to spread out from others and find your own little spot to relax on. With its soft powdery sand backed by pine woodland and sand dunes, it has something for everyone to enjoy. After lunch in Wells Town we sat down at that end of the beach for a while relaxing, then decided to walk past the many beach huts before reaching the grassy sand dunes towards the Holkham end of the beach. We walked through the sand dunes and dipped our toes in the cold sea.

Walking from one end of the beach to the other is a must do as there’s so much to see and you can take in the whole landscape by doing so. We walked the full length of the beach before heading back to the car, towards the Holkham end it was slightly quieter and had more dunes, woodland and wildflowers backing the beach. The beach that end is still sandy but with more shells and pebbles. Spending some time on the beach there is an absolute must and was our favourite part of our day spent there.

Wells-Next-The-Sea Beach NorfolkWells-Next-The-Sea Beach NorfolkWells-Next-The-Sea Beach NorfolkHolkham Beach NorfolkHolkham Beach NorfolkHolkham Beach Norfolk

Wells Quay

Once we reached the beach from the Holkham National Nature Reserve we decided to walk into the town of Wells-Next-The-Sea to get some lunch before getting settled on the beach. As you walk from the beach you can see the salt marshes straight away which act a barrier to shelter the town from the open sea. Once in the town visit the Wells Quay which is home to an array of little independent shops selling a whole range of things from gifts, sweets, beachwear and accessories and much more. Two shops which I loved and if your a girly girl like myself or your partner is then check out Natural East and Glitter and Mud which are next door to one another and overlook the harbour.

As well as lots of cute little shops there are some great places to grab some food from including several fish and chip shops, we saw lots of families sat along the wall at the harbour front delving into bags of fish and chips. My husband and I are both vegetarian so decided to eat in the Wells Deli as they had lots of vegan options, although some of the fish and chip shops we could see had some vegetarian and vegan options available too.

When you have had some lunch then take a little time to explore the narrow lanes and streets of the town before heading to the beach for the rest of the day. We loved Wells-Next-The-Sea it is a gorgeous little town. If you’re not feeling like the 20 minute walk back to the beach then you can hop on the Wells Harbour Railway, which is a miniature railway which carries passengers from Wells Town to the beach for only £1.50 per person. The short train journey is great for families with children, but also great if you have had a big lunch and just went to get to the beach quickly as we did.

Wells Quay NorfolkWells Town NorfolkWells Quay NorfolkWells Harbour Railway Norfolk

Helpful Information

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How To Spend A Long Weekend In Norfolk: Norwich, Norfolk Broads & The North Coast

Norfolk is a county in the East of England and is part of East Anglia. It’s a county which is bordered by Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. The county of Norfolk is surrounded by 90 miles of coastline and its famous for the Broads National Park, countryside, forests and the historic city of Norwich.

The county of Norfolk can sometimes be overlooked or associated with posh old people, but I can honestly say the past few times I have visited Norfolk I have been pleasantly surprised and asked myself why I hadn’t visited sooner?! I am the worst person at always jetting off to exotic locations rather than exploring my own home – the UK. Coronavirus this year has made us all slow down and appreciate just what we have on our doorstep.

My husband and I decided we fancied a little break after lockdown and somewhere that wasn’t more than 3 hours drive away from our home. So we opted for 3 days in Norfolk, and left our home Friday morning and spent our first day in Norwich, our second day kayaking and sightseeing around the Norfolk Broads and our last day doing a mini coastal road trip (a typical English weather day on our last day and it poured with rain for most the day). If your looking for a long weekend away then head to Norfolk it really does have something to suit everyone.

Norwich

Norwich is steeped in history from over the years and this still shows vividly through the cities unique and charming architecture and is the most complete medieval city in the UK. It’s been a city since 1094 and is the county town of Norfolk. Norwich used to be the largest city in England after London during the middle ages and right up until the industrial revolution. Norwich has two universities and has a hipster vibe to the place, I was really surprised at how cool and quirky Norwich actually was full of stunning buildings and cute shops and cafes. There’s plenty to see, do and eat in the city, even if you don’t spend a weekend in Norfolk, if your not too far away from Norwich it would also make an excellent day trip, just set off early so you can make a full day of exploring this pretty little city.

Sights & Activities

Cow Tower

Cow Tower is one of the oldest artillery blockhouses in England, and was constructed in approximately 1398 and was to assist with the cities defence. The inside of this brick tower is closed to the public, however you can wander around the outside and there is an information plaque just by it. It’s close to the city centre and within walking distance of Norwich Cathedral, Pulls Ferry and situated next to the river which is lovely to walk along.

Cow Tower Norwich

Elm Hill & Tombland

Elm Hill is a medieval street in the heart of the city located in Tombland, this cobbled street is the most famous street in Norwich and full of historic charm with merchant houses, thatched roofs, arts and crafts shops and cafes. There’s plenty to see and do and you can even do a self-guided walking trail (pick up a map from the tourist information centre or from specific shops in the cathedral quarter). The streets a great place to visit all year round and has a quintessentially traditional English feel to it, and lots of great spots to snap pretty photos.

There was a big fire back in 1507 which destroyed a huge majority of the street, but the street and it’s properties were rebuilt shortly after. The only surviving building from that fire was The Britons Arms which was originally a Tudor inn, but today is a family-run coffee shop and a must visit.

Tombland is in the very centre of Norwich and used to be the hub of activity before 1066 before the Normans arrived. There are lots of historic architectural gems to see in the area such as Erpingham Gate, Ethelbert Gate, Tombland Alley, Augustine Steward House and The Maids Head Hotel to name a few so pin these places on your map and seek them out.

Elm Hill NorwichElm Hill NorwichErpingham Gate Tombland NorwichTombland Norwich

Norwich Royal Arcade

Norwich Royal Arcade is a beautiful shopping arcade which was built towards the end of the Victorian era. The Royal Arcade is in the city centre and full of cafes, specialist shops, vintage boutiques and gift shops. If you enjoy shopping but prefer shopping from independent shops then this is the place to come!

Norwich Royal ArcadeNorwich Royal Arcade

Norwich Castle

Entrance Fee: £9.90 Per Adult

Norwich Castle is one of the cities famous landmarks and is perched on top of a hill overlooking the city. The castle was built over 900 years ago by the Normans as a royal palace. Today it stands as a museum and art gallery, there is a range of displays from various natural history, archaeology, fine art and much more. When we visited the museum was closed due to COVID-19 so we just had a walk around it to admire the building itself.

Norwich Castle

Norwich Cathedral

Norwich Cathedral is another one of the cities famous landmarks, the cathedral’s construction began in 1096 and was completed in 1145. The cathedral is run by the Church of England and is one of the most complete Norman cathedrals in all of England. The cathedral is a grand and stunning building with lots of intricate details both inside and outside. The cathedral is free to enter and explore and there are lots to learn about the cathedrals 900 years of history. There are some gardens, a cafe and lots to explore around the cathedral and visit the cathedral quarter of the city.

Norwich CathedralNorwich Cathedral

Pulls Ferry

Pulls Ferry is set along the River Wensum and is a 15th century watergate, the channel running up to the gate is much older. A canal used to run under the arch of the building and was built by monks to help with transporting stone and building supplies to build the cathedral which would have been offloaded there. The building is privately owned and you can access the outside of the building and walk around it, there isn’t much else other than a sign with information on about Pulls Ferry. I would recommend stopping by here as the walk along the river is a really enjoyable and relaxing thing to do in the city, and you can see many of Norwich’s famous landmarks which are closeby.

Pulls Ferry Norwich

The Lanes

Norwich Lanes are a must when in the city, these beautiful lanes, alleyways and courtyards are full of quirky appeal and lots of historical architecture. These narrow lanes are mainly pedestrianised and have lots of traders from boutique shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, galleries, museums and even an independent cinema and community theatre. We loved exploring the lanes and seeing what specialist shops were selling, the whole area has a real buzz about it.

The Lanes Norwich

Norwich Market & Jarrold Department Store

Norwich Market is an attraction in itself and is one of the oldest and largest markets in England. The market is bright and colourful and situated in the heart of the city. It doesn’t just sell your typical wares you would find on a market, but a whole range of unique stalls selling vintage fashion, crystals, homewares, homemade goods and lots of food stalls and delicatessens as well as your more obvious market stalls selling fruit, veg and flowers etc. We loved wandering through the market and found lots of cool things to buy.

Just a stone’s throw away from the market is the independent 250 year old department store – Jarrolds. This family-run business is a great little place to have a browse and shop, they have several other shops dotted around Norfolk but the one in Norwich is their flagship store.

Norwich MarketJarrold Department Shop Norwich

Food & Drink

Alchemista Coffee

Alchemista Coffee is a unique independent cafe in the city centre and serves up amazing food and drink, and specialises in quality coffee. Try out one of their speciality coffees or signature cocktails. We visited in the morning before we headed to the Norfolk broads and we got there just in time before there was a queue out the door, this cafe seems really popular with locals. I had the black toade coffee and it was delicious!

Alchemista Coffee Norwich

Erpingham House

Erpingham House is an absolute must visit if your vegetarian or vegan they offer a full plant-based and plastic free menu. Not only do they have a really good sustainability ethos and menu but the restaurant, bar and cafe themselves are stunning, the decor is very insta-worthy and very feminine, I dragged my husband there for dinner. It’s set in a beautiful old building and spread across three floors. I opted for the hoisin jackfruit pancakes which were amazing! Erpingham House is the perfect place to come and has a luxe vibe to the place. The service was also really good, add this restaurant to your Norwich itinerary!

Erpingham House NorwichErpingham House NorwichErpingham House NorwichErpingham House Norwich

Little Shop Of Vegans

Little Shop Of Vegans is the cutest shop and full to the brim with vegan products that I didn’t even realise existed. It’s a great place to come to pick up kitchen staples but also a great place to pick up lots of vegan snacks too. They also have a plastic free section too selling lots of sustainable toiletries. We bought a few items to take home with us to try and some snacks for the weekend. My husband and I are both vegetarian but dabble in veganism and love finding places like this as it gives us lots of ideas to make some more simple vegan switches.

Little Shop Of Vegans NorwichLittle Shop Of Vegans Norwich

Thai Kitti

Thai Kitti is a family-run restaurant and is a great place to come in the centre of Norwich serving up Thai comfort food. We went there after our day out on the broads, they have a lot of choice on the menu with a variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes as well as meat dishes.

Thai Kitti NorwichThai Kitti Norwich

The Tipsy Vegan

The Tipsy Vegan was our absolute favourite place we ate at all weekend in Norfolk! It’s set in an old pub in the lanes area of the city and serves up delicious vegan comfort food, tapas and cocktails. It’s an intimate restaurant and the staff were really friendly and helpful. We opted for the tapas for lunch and selected several dishes from the menu all of them were cooked to perfection, my absolute favourites were the bao buns and coconut crusted tofu bites which I still dream about to this day! This small restaurant is a great place to visit any time of day for either brunch, lunch or dinner or just a few cheeky cocktails, make sure this place is on your must visit list.

The Tipsy Vegan Norwich

Accommodation

Suburban Bedouin Tent

If your looking for an affordable and eccentric place to stay then this Surbuban Bedouin Tent is the perfect place to stay for the weekend. As we visited Norfolk in the summer holidays and during the summer of COVID-19 where no one was really travelling anywhere outside of the UK. We found that a lot of places were fully booked or ridiculously overpriced, which for a UK break I just can’t justify. As I was searching for accommodation in and around Norwich I stumbled across this little Airbnb and it was an absolute gem. It was quiet and comfortable and at only £50 a night it was really affordable.

It’s set less than a 10 minutes drive out of the city centre of Norwich and our host Gary was really warm and friendly and couldn’t do enough for us, and even welcomed us with some traditional mint tea to get us settled in. The tents tucked away his back garden and feel really private and aren’t overlooked. Inside the tent is decorated beautifully and has a proper bed inside and is adorned with soft furnishings and lanterns. The bathrooms are in the house but you could access the bathroom from the back door which we had keys to, we also had access to the kitchen and there was parking available.

If you’re looking for an affordable stay in Norfolk and to be within driving distance of Norwich, Norfolk Broads and Norfolk’s coast, then this really is the perfect spot to stay and something a little bit different to your box standard hotel or bed and breakfast.

Suburban Bedouin Tent Airbnb NorwichSuburban Bedouin Tent Airbnb NorwichSuburban Bedouin Tent Airbnb Norwich

Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads is a huge national park full of waterways, lakes, rivers, marshes and countryside and has unique wildlife, flora and fauna. In between all the water are lots of lovely quaint towns and villages. The city of Norwich is in the national park, so it’s easy to reach the Broads from there. Spend a full day exploring the Broads as there is so much to see and do, especially if the weather is nice then there are lots of lovely walks to do around the area. The weather wasn’t great when we visited so we just opted to drive around and stop at various viewpoints and mills after a morning of kayaking on the Broads.

Sights & Activities

Hickling Broad

Hickling Broad is the largest out of all the broads and is a great location as it’s not too far from the Norfolk coast. Hickling is surrounded by pretty villages, pubs and a whole array of local wildlife that call this broad home. The best way to experience the Norfolk Broads is by getting out on the water either by hiring a boat or by doing some water sports such as paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing. We decided to hire a double kayak from Norfolk Outdoor Adventure which was £35 for two hours and included all our equipment. We spent the morning kayaking around the broad and saw lots of birds and wildlife. It was such a great way to start our day around the broads.

Norfolk Outdoor Adventure Hickling Broad NorfolkHickling Broad NorfolkHickling Broad Norfolk

Horsey Windpump

Entrance Fee: £7 Per Adult

After kayaking we drove to Horsey Windpump as it’s not very far from Hickling Broad, this mill has been there since 1912 and is one of the more well known mills in the area and is owned by the national trust. Due to COVID, it was closed however you could still walk around the outside and the tea room next to it was still open. Normally there is an entrance fee to go inside the mill so you can get views of the surrounding area.

Horsey Windpump Norfolk Broads

Stubbs Mill

Stubbs Mill was another mill we drove to as it wasn’t too far from Horsey Windpump, this brick mill was constructed between the late 1700s and early 1800s. You can’t enter inside but you can walk around the outside. When we visited we were the only ones there it’s quite hidden away and down a country lane. There also looked like there were plenty of nature trails nearby you could walk on a nice day.

Stubbs Mill Norfolk Broads

Thurne Dyke Mill

Thurne Dyke Mill was built beside the River Thurne in 1820, this was my favourite mill we visited as the surrounding area was stunning and there were lots of boats cruising down the river, there’s also a pub across from it so you can stop here for a drink too. The windmill is closed to the public like many of them are but you can still admire the building and the surrounding areas from outside.

Thurne Dyke Mill NorfolkThurne Dyke Mill Norfolk

Wroxham Barns

We stopped at Wroxham Barns for some lunch there’s a restaurant, tearoom, local arts and crafts shops and shops selling local produce. It’s a great place for families too as there are play areas and animal farms for children. I would recommend coming for lunch and a wander around the independent shops, we spent about an hour or so there in between driving around the Broads.

Wroxham Barns NorfolkWroxham Barns Norfolk

North Norfolk Coast

The North Norfolk Coast is a long stretch of coast with millions of years worth of history surrounding it. There are award winning beaches, salt marshes, coastal trails, pretty villages, seaside towns and inland there is plenty of countryside and nature walks. North Norfolk is also home to a big part of the UK’s largest wetland – The Norfolk Broads. The north coast of Norfolk is a great area to explore either for a day trip or you could easily have a UK holiday in the area and spend days at different beaches. The weather wasn’t great the weekend we visited so on the last day of our weekend away in Norfolk we decided to just drive along the coast and stop at different beaches and towns to sightsee.

Sights & Activities

Mundesley & Overstrand

Mundesley is situated on the eastern corner of the North Norfolk Coast and not too far away from the beach town of Cromer. The beach at Mundesley is backed by colourful beach huts, cliffs and a promenade. The beach is a lovely long stretch of sand and is spotlessly clean, you can easily find a nice quiet spot to yourself by just walking along a little bit away from the promenade. Overlooking the beach is the UK smallest museum which is the Mundesley Maritime Museum which is now used as a coastguard watch. Aside from the large beach, there’s plenty of nature walks and coastal villages to see in the area.

Overstrand is joined to Mundesley beach a little further along and is slightly quieter and again has lovely long stretches of sandy beaches and a backdrop of green cliff edges. Even if you just want to spend the day at one spot I would recommend walking along the coast between Mundesley to Overstrand or you can drive between them within minutes.

Mundesley NorfolkMundesley NorfolkMundesley NorfolkOverstrand Norfolk

Cromer

Cromer is the next town along from Mundesley and Overstrand, it’s a traditional seaside town with a Victorian pier full of attractions. We had planned to spend the afternoon in Cromer but it didn’t just rain it poured so we decided to skip past Cromer and carried on to Blakeney where the weather was much drier. I would recommend either spending a full day in Cromer or allow a bit of time to spend a few hours in the area if you’re doing a coastal road trip like we were. Cromer’s streets are filled with little shops and cafes to explore and if you enjoy shellfish then try some Norfolk Crab which the area is known for.

Blakeney & Morston Quay

Blakeney is an area of natural beauty providing stunning panoramic views over its vast coastline, this pretty village has traditional Norfolk cottages and buildings with lots of gift shops, boutiques, cafes and pub restaurants. It’s especially popular with families who come to try their hand at crabbing. Many people base themselves in Blakeney for holidays due to its central location on the North Norfolk Coast. We stopped in Blakeney for the afternoon and spent some time wandering it’s pretty streets and grabbed a bag of chips for lunch.

Blakeney is also the place to come if you’re interested in taking a boat to see the seal colony out on Blakeney point. I would highly recommend pre-booking your tickets, especially during the summer months as there are only several small boat tours that operate this tour. You can also purchase tickets in Blakeney and then head over to Morston Quay where the boats depart.

We booked through Bishops Boat and it was £13 per adult and the tour is about an hour long. This was an absolute highlight of our trip as you don’t really expect to see such a vast amount of wildlife in one place in the UK. The seal colony and seabirds were great to see and we had so many seals swimming around the boat too, this is an absolute must have in Norfolk.

Blakeney NorfolkBlakeney NorfolkMorston Quay NorfolkBlakeney Point NorfolkSeal Colony Blakeney NorfolkSeal Colony Blakeney NorfolkSeal Colony Blakeney Norfolk

Stiffkey Salt Marshes

The Stiffkey Salt Marshes are an important area of natural beauty and one of the country’s richest areas in wildlife. The area is full of plants and wildlife and the reason it’s so biodiverse is due to the muddy creeks which become flooded by the tide every day. Protected by the national trust the vast expanse of pristine saltmarsh form part of the Blakeney National Nature Reserve. The salt marsh is an important conservation area for breeding birds. You could spend a full day walking and spotting wildlife in this area, however if you are limited on time you could just make a flying visit on your coastal road trip. We drove over to Stiffkey while waiting for our seal tour time slot over at Blakeney.

Stiffkey Salt Marshes Norfolk

Transport & Getting Around

The city of Norwich is incredibly easy to get to and also to travel around. The city is accessible by train, coach and buses from other areas of the UK. Norwich also has its own international airport. We drove from our hometown of Milton Keynes which is about a two and half hour drive. We parked at St Andrew’s multi-storey car park which was cheap to park at for the day in comparison to other UK cities. Once parked we didn’t need the car for the rest of the day, Norwich is a small city and most places are easily accessible by foot and everything is within walking distance. If you did want to use public transport then there are plenty of buses and taxis around to get out of the city and around. I would recommend driving around the Norfolk Broads and the North Norfolk Coast as you can stop as and when you want in places and it’s the easiest way to get around.

Itinerary

Norwich

  • Morning: Grab a coffee and some breakfast at Alchemista Cafe, and spend the morning shopping and wandering around Norwich Market, Jarrolds, The Royal Arcade and The Lanes.
  • Afternoon: Have lunch at The Tipsy Vegan and afterwards visit The Little Shop Of Vegans which is across the street. After lunch head to Norwich castle and either wander the outside of it or pay to enter the museum. Explore Elm Hill and the Tombland area before heading to Norwich Cathedral. Spend the late afternoon walking along the river and stop at Pulls Ferry and Cow Tower for a quick spot of sightseeing.
  • Evening: Head for some pre-dinner drinks at one of Norwich’s many bars or pubs, then have dinner at Erpingham House.

Norfolk Broads

  • Kayak / visit Hickling Broad > Stubbs Mill > Horsey Windpump > Wroxham Barns > Thurne Dyke Mill

North Norfolk Coast

  • Mundesley > Overstrand > Cromer > Blakeney > Stiffkey Salt Marshes

Top Tips

My top tips would be to get up early and make the most of each day so you have a full day exploring each area as there’s so much to see and do! There’s still plenty we would have liked to have done but just run out of time. We found the city of a Norwich and Norfolk County to be a very relaxed and slow paced, not like other places in the UK, we had a really relaxing weekend exploring Norfolk and it really was a perfect weekend away minus the weather.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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A Stay At The Boutique Puri Mas Resort In Lombok

Puri Mas Beach Resort & Spa is an award winning boutique hotel located close to Senggigi beach in Lombok. The resort is split in two with a beach resort that has 45 rooms and villas with a beachfront location, and then there is the spa resort which has only 2 villas and is located 10 minutes away inland. Both resorts are adults only and no children under 12 are permitted, so it makes for a romantic and peaceful getaway. This hotel is honestly the best place we have ever stayed!

It’s such great value for money, we paid just over £50 per night bed and breakfast, obviously, this can vary depending on the season and which room type you opt for etc.

There are various options of room types at the beach resort, we chose the cheaper option which is the quirky garden room, it was huge and so well decorated. We had a beautiful bedroom with four poster bed, a small open air lounge and the best bathroom ever – which was also open air, so you could literally shower or have a bath under the stars but in private. All the furniture in the room is traditional Indonesian wood furniture and everything in the room feels of really good quality and well made.

Puri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa Lombok

The room and all the grounds of the hotel were just so well thought out and well kept. The gardens were beautiful and the whole place was extremely tranquil! The infinity pool is stunning and overlooks the beach and ocean. The gardens have carp ponds, spice gardens and yoga areas. The hotel offers its guests lots of inclusions such as welcome drinks, breakfast, internet, yoga classes, shuttles between the spa resort and there was also water sports equipment available on the beach.

Puri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa Lombok

We only stayed in Lombok for 3 nights but had the best stay at Puri Mas, we loved it so much we have recommended it to several friends who have also stayed there, and all came back raving about how great the hotel is. You cannot fault the place, the staff provide excellent service, tasty food, beautiful traditional Indonesian styled accommodation and well kept gardens and grounds all at pretty affordable prices – what more could you ask for?!

We stayed at Puri Mas Beach Resort and Spa and ate around the pool a few times, and had breakfast every morning in the hotel. The food was always fresh and delicious and the service was great. The hotel offered both traditional Indonesian dishes but also western food. We also visited the spa resort one night for a beautiful dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary. If your staying at Puri Mas I really would recommend booking a dinner at the spa to eat in one of the Javanese pavilions. The spa resort is simply stunning and set with a backdrop of lush greenery, the grounds are full of flowers and plants with so much attention to detail.

Puri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa Lombok

The beach resort drove us 10 minutes down the road to the spa resort which is absolutely stunning! We booked the set Indonesian menu and ate outside in one of the Javanese pavilions which we had to ourselves. The attention to detail by the staff was incredible the table was decorated beautifully with flowers and leaves. The food was all really fresh and tasted amazing, and the staff were attentive and looked after us so well. After our meal, they drove us back to the beach resort. The whole meal was just flawless and so inexpensive, this was a real highlight of our trip!

Puri Mas Resort And Spa LombokPuri Mas Resort And Spa Lombok

The hotel also offers a shuttle service into Sengiggi which is great to venture to in the evenings for some dinner and drinks. The hotel is also happy to organise tours or days out for you too.

If you’re looking for somewhere that is luxurious and full of authentic Indonesian charm with a beachfront location and with the option of a serene spa at affordable prices then look no further than Puri Mas Resort. !

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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How To Spend A Weekend In Margate

I had never really ever considered going to Margate and I hadn’t really heard much about it, other than when it was in the Only Fools and Horses episode when they have their disastrous jolly boys outing to Margate.

A little a while a go one of my oldest and closest friends asked me to be her maid of honour at her wedding, so straight away I knew I had to organise her an epic hen weekend with the other bridesmaids. When I asked my friend where she would like to go on her hen do her reply was ‘I really fancy going to Margate’ shocked at her response half expecting her to say somewhere hot and exotic abroad or a big city in the UK, I decided I best get to work researching this small British seaside town.

Margate is a small town in Kent which sits on England’s southeast coast. While googling I was pleasantly surprised at how trendy Margate seemed to be, with lots of cafes, bars and vintage shops on offer, the hen do planning had officially begun!

When we arrived into Margate we were so amazed at how lovely everything was and it was so good to see a Great British seaside town being bought back to life, and small businesses booming in the area. We honestly had such a great weekend in Margate and it really exceeded our expectations, so much so I really would love to go back for another weekend in the future. If your looking for retro seaside kitsch – then don’t delay and head to Margate!

Sights & Activities

Dreamland

Entrance Fee: Unlimited ride wristband from £8

Dreamland is one of Margate’s main draws, like many British seaside towns Margate has its own amusement park. Dreamland is along one of the main streets and directly opposite the beach. It has something for everyone from rides, entertainment , art installations, arcade games, food and drink vendors, music venues and even a roller disco. We didn’t really know what to expect from Dreamland half expecting it to be your usual tacky seaside amusement park, well it did not disappoint one bit!

While from the entrance it doesn’t look particularly appealing, once your in its full of vibrant colours and a really relaxed atmosphere. It was also really good value for money, and I would recommend purchasing the unlimited ride wristband. We spent a few hours on the rides and wandering around. We were lucky when we visited as queues weren’t too bad, however I can imagine in the height of summer the park being a lot busier. Dreamland is an absolute must when in Margate!

Dreamland MargateDreamland MargateDreamland Margate

Haeckels

Haeckels is a shop and spa which promotes coastal natural ingredients as well as conservation and beach clean ups. This small luxury skin care brand showcases many of Margate’s coastline natural ingredients. I stumbled across this little shop overlooking the seafront just before heading home, and wish I had known about it before as they offer a variety of spa treatments onsite too. If your a girly girl like myself then make sure you pop into Haeckels for some skincare retail therapy or even try out one of their spa treatments.

Haeckels Margate

Margate Clock Tower

Margate Clock Tower is in the centre of town and was constructed to celebrate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria in the late 1800s. When walking along the Margate Main Sands or heading to Dreamland this beautiful Victorian clock can’t be missed! It’s one of Margate’s stand out landmarks.

Margate Harbour Arm

The Harbour Arm is a concrete pier in Margate overlooking Margate Main Sands and the beach front high street. The pier was created in the early 1800s for its lighthouse. Today as it stands it’s a small extension of Margate’s trendy scene with a few small cafes, restaurants, galleries and even a micro pub (The Harbour Arm) and showcases many art exhibitions and music events which run during the summer, check individual businesses for opening times during the winter period.

A symbol of Margate also stands at the end of the Pier, Mrs Booth is a famous statue in Margate. It is also known as the shell lady, and is a large scale replica of the shell lady ornaments sold in all of Margate’s souvenir shops. The Harbour Arm is a lovely pier to walk along (although very windy) and you get amazing views over the seafront.

Margate Harbour ArmMargate Harbour ArmMargate Harbour Arm

Margate Main Sands

Main Sands is Margates main stretch of beach and has its own tidal pool. The beach is really clean and well kept and a sandy beach too. The promenade is great to walk along both during the day and the evening. The beach is really popular with dog walkers and families and during the summer has beach bars and seafood stalls. Just by the Turner Contemporary by the Harbour Arm are some steps to sit on and enjoy the sounds of the ocean and beach views.

Margate Main SandsMargate Main SandsMargate Main Sands

Old Town

Margate is a regenerated seaside town and when stepping into the old town you can see why so many hipsters are attracted to this trendy part of town. All of Margate oozes retro seaside chic. The old town is really quirky and full of buzzing cafes, galleries, vintage shops, junk yards and niche shops and has lots of colourful street art.

The old town really is the hub of Margate and you can easily spend hours wandering the old streets and dipping in and out of its many eccentric shops. Some of the shops that stood out in the old town were Peony Vintage, Madam Popoff Vintage, Pothead, Little Bit, The Light Keeper, Kings Emporium, Handsome Freaks and Fort Road Yard to name but a few. It’s really great to see so many independent shops and businesses open, it’s so refreshing to see and a nice change from your standard high street chain shops. A trip to Margate wouldn’t be complete without a meander through its colourful old town!

Margate Old TownMargate Old TownMargate Old TownMargate Old Town

Shell Grotto

Entrance Fee: £4.50

The Shell Grotto has to be one of Margate’s more kooky attractions, it was discovered in 1835 and is still steeped in mystery to this very day with so many unanswered questions who, what, why and when?! These once hidden passageways are covered in millions of shells, and its definitely one of Margate’s more eccentric attractions. The Shell Grotto is a must go and see, it really is such a cool place to visit, I have never been to anywhere quite like it before!

Shell Grotto MargateShell Grotto MargateShell Grotto Margate

Food & Drink

Beet Bar

Beet Bar is a little hidden vegan oasis tucked behind a street in the old town. This quirky cafe delivers the most delicious healthy vegan food, juice drinks and health shots, the service was really welcoming too. The avocado on toast with sun dried tomatoes was just what we needed for a hangover cure and it came with a small dessert of your choice, I chose the mango sticky rice and it was just delicious! I really liked the decor in Beet Bar and its just really cool cafe to visit, and has great food and drink at affordable prices!

Beet Bar MargateBeet Bar MargateBeet Bar MargateBeet Bar Margate

Fez

Fez is a wacky bar located on Margate’s high street, this micro bar has a friendly atmosphere, and the decor is very off the wall with a floor covered in sand, and bric a brac covering the walls, ceiling and every surface going. We popped into this cool little bar in the afternoon for a quick drink, and we did try to come back in the evening but got there too late as last orders are at 11.30pm.

Fez MargateFez MargateFez Margate

GB Pizza Co

GB Pizza Co is situated looking out on Margate’s seafront and is small little locally owned restaurant which serves up delicious fresh wood fired pizzas. We came here for a late lunch/dinner and the pizzas were just fab and they have prosecco on tap too, what more could a girl ask for?!

GB Pizza Co MargateGB Pizza Co Margate

Harbour Cafe Bar

Harbour Cafe Bar is a cute and cosy cafe overlooking the sea and serves up cooked food as well as a selection of hot drinks and cakes. It’s a great cafe to have a pit stop in for a slice of cake and a drink.

Harbour Cafe Bar Margate

Mar Mar

Mar Mar is the new place to go in Margate and is honing in on the recent trend of plants and succulents. Stepping into this cafe/shop is liking walking into an exotic jungle set just on the streets of Cliftonville. A selection of cakes are made daily onsite. I had a delicious chocolate and coconut flapjack and chai latte, and afterwards did some plant shopping to bring home some cute little succulents, which hopefully I don’t kill! As well as selling lots of plants they also sell lots of cute stationary, accessories and books.

Mar Mar MargateMar Mar Margate

Sundowners

Sundowners is Margate’s only LGBT bar, club and restaurant and overlooks the coastline. Set in an old building we headed there for a few drinks before we were meant to hit another club in Margate, but we all ended up having such a good time in Sundowners we ended up staying. The night we visited they had a Boy George tribute act on which was fantastic. It had such a great vibe and everyone both staff and punters were so friendly, everyone just gets along and starts up conversation in this place.

The Bus Cafe

The Bus Cafe sits on the promenade and overlooks the beach. This old 1980s double decker bus has been converted into the cutest cafe and cooks up delicious fresh and seasonal food and uses as much local produce as possible. The cafe also does lots of good within Margate’s community and supports lots of local charities, and as well as doing all this also ensures it’s not creating to the waste problem and uses only biodegradable and recyclable packaging. This cafe has gorgeous views of the beach, delicious food and great staff. The Bus Cafe is also next to a few little street food stalls and Ziggys Bar which during the summer months I can imagine are really popular.

The Bus Cafe MargateThe Bus Cafe MargateThe Bus Cafe MargateThe Bus Cafe Margate

The Old Kent Market

The Old Kent Market used to be a cinema and bingo hall years ago, and has been lovingly restored, and still holds lots of its original charm. The market has a range of different stalls selling food and drinks, as well as some micro pubs and bars. There are also some units selling crafts and a variety of products and services.

The Old Kent Market MargateThe Old Kent Market Margate

Accommodation

Sea View Terrace Air Bnb

As Margate is a seaside town it has a good selection of hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses to choose from. As we were a group of 11 we opted to search on Air Bnb, and we stumbled across the most beautiful 4 storey beach front townhouse situated in Sea View Terrace. It was perfect for our group with 6 bedrooms all with en-suites, it was great for 11 girls trying to get party ready! The downstairs space was also amazing and meant we could have pre-drinks and hen party games without feeling like we were crammed in. The house was in such a great location we could walk into the town centre within a few minutes, and it was a refreshing stroll along the beach promenade.

Sea View Terrace Margate Air BnbSea View Terrace Margate Air BnbSea View Terrace Margate Air Bnb

Transport & Getting Around

Margate is really easy to get around once you have arrived, I would recommend going around the town on foot, as everything is easily walkable and you get to walk along the seafront and take in Margate’s cool and quirky vibe.

Top Tips

The only tip I would have is for girls with long hair, oh my god Margate is windy (or it was when we were there), so expect to look windswept the whole time or just wear your hair up so you can actually see where your going!

Important Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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3 Days In Bohol & Panglao Island

Bohol is an island and province in the Philippines and situated in the Central Visayas region of the country. The province of Bohol consists of the main island Bohol along with several other smaller islands that surround it. Bohol is a great place to visit, for such a small island it has a huge variety of things to see and do. Bohol is most famous for its quirky geological formations, coral reefs and its most recognised little primate – the Tarsier.

The island of Bohol had a short stint of independence at the turn of the 19th century, so many of the locals still refer to Bohol as the Republic of Bohol. When visiting Bohol you can see the island is steeped in history and has been influenced over the years which appears in its Spanish colonial architecture.

Bohol has something for everyone whether you want to go jungle trekking, cave exploring, wildlife spotting, admiring history and architecture or chilling on beautiful paradise beaches, this tiny province in the Phillipines really does have it all.

Sights & Activities

Babclayon Church

Entrance Fee: Museum 50 PHP / Church is free to enter

Babclayon Church is the oldest christian settlement in Bohol and second oldest church in the Philippines. Located only 4 miles away from Tagbilaran City which is Bohols Capital. It was created back in 1717 and was built using coral stone. It has undergone some major renovations over the years as its encountered various damages over the years, but endured most of its damage from the 2013 earthquake.

The church is also part of the UNESCO world heritage, next to the church is an old convent that is home to the church’s musuem which houses lots of religious artefacts and antiques. We visited after going to the Loboc River as it’s not too far from there, and had a wander around the outside and inside of the church.

Babclayon Church Bohol

Bilar Man Made Forest & Eco Park

Bilar Man Made Forest and Eco Park is a stretch of man made mahogany forest, and a lot of visitors stop by on route to the Chocolate Hills and Loboc River. The Forest has huge trees which cover the sky completely when stood underneath, the forest can be viewed from the main road or the viewing platforms set in the forest. The forest is so dense and thick that it is much cooler under the trees than outside of the forest which is much warmer.

The reforestation plan was started back in 1953 to combat the huge deforestation that occurred after locals sought refuge during World War II, the damaging slash and burn farming method destroyed much of the original forest. You can’t miss the man made forest you are bound to drive through it at some point on your trip.

Chocolate Hills

Entrance Fee: 50 PHP to enter viewing deck

The Chocolate Hills is Bohols most iconic sight and attraction, the hills cover a vast area in the centre of the island and consists of atleast 1260 hills, but there are many more that are spread out. The hills are covered in green grass which turns brown during dry season, which is where they get their name from.

This unique geological formation has a viewing platform in Carmen Town which gives you a 360 degree view of the hills, which seems never ending. The hills vary in height from 30 meters to 120 meters, and are sometimes considered the eighth wonder of the natural world. The site is also part of UNESCO world heritage. The Chocolate Hills is a must as not only is it one of Bohol’s top attractions, but also one of the top places to visit in the the Philippines.

Chocolate Hills Bohol

Loboc River

Entrance Fee: 550 PHP for buffet lunch river cruise

The Loboc River is one of the most beautiful rivers I’ve ever been to, the rivers source is located in the town of Carmen in the centre of Bohol Island, and takes its course through Loboc and to the south of the island where it then meets the Bohol Sea. The scenery around the river is so green and tropical, with lots of palms, coconut trees, banana groves and vegetation surrounding the river on each side, there are small boats used by locals which you will see passing, as well as local children swinging from trees and jumping into the river.

The river is a popular tourist attraction and has lots on offer for visitors such as standup paddle boarding, paddleboard yoga, bird and firefly watching, river crusing buffet lunches and cultural displays.

When we visited we decided to book on one of the river cruises which serves up a traditional filipino buffet lunch. The river cruise is a great way to see the river and float along on a floating restaurant, they also have local musicians playing traditional Boholano songs, and the leisurley cruise takes you to Busay Falls. Just by the falls is a small floating cottage where a local rondalla group (filipino music which was introduced by the spainish) performs dances and music.

I would really recommend the lunch cruise along the river as the food and the views were amazing and it was a really relaxing and peaceful part of the day.

Loboc River BoholLoboc River BoholLoboc River Bohol

Mag-Aso Falls

Entrance Fee: 50 PHP

Mag-Aso Falls are twin waterfalls which are 25 feet in height and surrounded by wild plants and trees, and located about 30 minutes drive away from Tagbilaran City. The waterfalls are a really nice and quiet place to come and visit as its not one of the most popular tourist attractions.

You can swim in the pools of the waterfalls, however when we visited it had been raining heavily and we were advised to not get into the waterfalls as it may be dangerous as it had higher levels of water. I’d suggest asking at the entrance if its safe or not to get in. Theres loads of stairs and rails to get down to the waterfalls and it is a lovely walk down through the forest. When we visited we were the only ones there, and it was so nice having the area to ourselves to admire the scenery.

Mag-Aso Falls Bohol

Panglao Island

Panglao Island is located to the south of Bohol Island and less than 10 miles away from Tagbilaran, its known for its popular beach resort of Alona Beach. This small paradise island is connected to Bohol island by a road, so is easily reachable. The island has beautiful pristine beaches which attract both local Filipinos and overseas visitors.

Just a few minutes away by banca boat from the beautiful beaches are colourful coral reefs and world famous dive sites. As well as stunning beaches on offer the island is also home to several other sights and attractions such as Hinagdanan Cave, Bohol Bee Farm, Nova Shell Museum and the Saint Augustine Church to name a few. I would really recommend visiting all of these and they can easily be done in half a day!

We loved stepping down into Hinagdanan Caves, it’s a beautiful small cave with a lagoon pool and a real natural treasure! The Nova Shell Museum was also really interesting and a great place to stop at, it showcases all of the shells that are found around the island. The Bee Farm is an absolute must for lunch, if you want healthy organic food with great views it’s the perfect spot!

We visited Panglao for the day but actually wish we had booked accommodation on Panglao and based ourselves there instead of Tagbilaran. If you are planning a trip to Bohol, I would really recommend basing yourself on Panglao Island as the rest of Bohol is easily accessible from there.

Read more about Panglao Island: Best Places To Visit On Panglao Island

Panglao Island

Philippine Tarsier Foundation

Entrance Fee: 50 PHP conservation fee

Tarsiers are the worlds smallest primate and have been around for millions of years, they are tiny with long tails, huge eyes and they can rotate their heads by 180 degress. They are the only primates which are entirely carnivorous and feed on insects, lizards and snakes. There are a five types of tarsier species which used to inhabit many of the worlds rainforests, but today can only be found in certain parts of the Philippines, Indonesia and Borneo.

The tarsiers that can be found in the forests of Bohol are the Tarsius Syrichta species, there are several so called sanctuaries dotted around the island of Bohol, however a lot of them allow visitors to hold them and have their photos taken with them. These places are not sanctuaries and are doing more harm than good, as tarsiers are timid and can be easily scared so handling them can be detrimental to their mental and physical health.

Always do your own research prior to visiting any animal or wildlife sanctuaries to check that they are legit and your not investing your money into nothing more than a tourist trap. I have made mistakes in the past and visited animals in other destinations without researching prior to the visit, and then later realising the animals were mistreated or were not being cared for in the correct way, and as an animal lover was heartbroken when I found out that I had paid into such a cruel system.

If you would like to see tarsiers then make sure to visit the Philippine Tarsier Foundation non profit sanctuary and conservation program which covers 167 hectares of protected timberland area and covers three areas – Corella, Sikatuna and Loboc. We went to Corella and a guide took us through to some of the woods where we could spot some tarsiers living wild in the trees and bushes. You are allowed to take photos but the flash must be off, and you have to be really quiet and you are not allowed to touch them. This was a real highlight of our trip to Bohol.

Philippine Tarsier Foundation

Sevilla’s Twin Hanging Bridge

Sevilla’s Twin Hanging Bridge are two bamboo constructed bridges which hang over the Sipatan River and located in the town of Sevilla, each bridge has a one way system you cross over on one, and walk back over on the other. Originally these bridges were just made of bamboo and rope, but as its tourist numbers have increased steel cables have been added for extra safety. Originally the bridge was used by locals to cross the river, but today is one of the islands top attractions as it has views over the river and the surrounding greenery.

Sevilla's Twin Hanging Bridge Bohol

Shiphaus

Entrance Fee: 20 PHP

Shiphaus is a pretty quirky attraction and located not too far away from the Chocolate Hills. This strange building is shaped like a shipping vessel and its owner is a local ex mariner captain. It was created back in 2011 and has some hotel rooms which you can book into which continue the nautical theme. There is a roof deck and all staff are dressed in sailor uniforms, when we went they also insisted that we dressed as sailors too, I left the photos out of this blog as they were so cringey! The staff pretty much had us doing one of those cheesy couples photo shoots, it was all part of the fun I guess. If your visiting the Chocolate Hills its worth going to as its something a bit different.

Shiphaus Bohol

Tagbilaran

Tagbilaran is the capital city of Bohol, its the only city on the island and the hub of commerce. The city is busy with traffic and people, there is a variety of malls, shops, cafes and restaurants as well as a few sights such as St Josephs Cathedral which showcases Spanish colonial architecture. There are also a few statues and monuments one of the most popular ones being the Blood Compact monument which depicts a friendship treaty between the natives and the king of Spain back in 1565.

While in the city also take a wander into some of its museums such as the National Musuem of Bohol which house lots of Bohol memoribilia and historical information and artefacts. I would suggest going into Tagbilaran one afternoon to have a browse, but dont expect to be blown away by the sights as there are much nicer areas all around the island. We went into the city shortly after we arrived in Bohol to grab something to eat and had a walk around to see what it had to offer.

Food & Drink

Bohol Bee Farm Resort

Bohol Bee Farm Resort is located on Panglao island and is an absolute must visit, this gorgeous organic farm has the most beautiful restaurant built onto a small cliff overlooking the ocean, and serves up fresh organic dishes. Before your food is served they provide squash bread and pesto and mango spreads which were amazing. I ordered the honey glazed chicken which was delicious and beautifully presented with flower garnishes.

There is a cute gift shop selling souvenirs and locally made products and produce, and a small ice cream shop. We had a look around the gardens and went down to the sun deck which provides stunning views of the sea. You can also stay overnight as there are suites and chalets available to book. There are beehive tours you can go on at selected times too. I would really recommend visiting for lunch and to wander around the resort, it really is a lovely relaxing spot to visit.

Bohol Bee Farm Resort

Garden Cafe

The Garden Cafe is a Tex Mex and American food restaurant with a cowboy theme, which may seem a little out of place in the Philippines, but this restaurant employs deaf waiters and chefs and the menus provide a beginners guide to sign language. Its a great little place to come and visit for comfort food, while also providing job opportunities for the hearing impaired.

Gerarda’s

Gerarda’s is a family run restaurtant in Tagbilaran and is well known by locals, it serves traditional Filipino food in a traditional setting. The service was friendly, and we saw lots of locals coming in for big family meals. We tried a few dishes and the waiter recommended the Binagoongan Baboy which is a Filipino pork dish, all the food was really tasty and filling. If you want to try some typical Filipino cuisine this is the place to come!

Payag

Payag is another authentic Filipino restaurant which is set in a Spainish styled home in Tagbilaran. The restaurant is famous for its chicken inasal which is chicken marinated with several ingredients such as lime and coconut, its basically Filipino barbecue chicken. We opted for some lechon which is an extremely popular pork dish in the Philippines and some sizzling gambas. All the food was delicious and fresh and the setting was traditional and homely. Payag is another great place to go if you want to try a variety of Filipino dishes, and are staying close to the city.

Payag Bohol

Accommodation

Ocean Suites Boutique Hotel

Ocean Suites Boutique Hotel is situated next to the Blood Compact Monument in Tagbilaran, and is an ocean facing hotel with an infinity pool. Unlike other areas in South East Asia, I have to admit you don’t get as much bang for your buck or nowhere near the same level of accommodation in the Philippines. So make sure you set your expectations as I found accommodation in the Philippines to be similar or a little more expensive but without the same high standards of other places such as Indonesia, Thailand etc.

Ocean Suites Boutique Hotel was a lovely hotel however, and the public areas were clean, slick and modern. The rooms are a bit more basic, nice enough but nothing particularly special. I wouldn’t quite call it a boutique hotel unless referring to the public areas. The location was great though, and not too far from the city centre, and the hotel had amazing views over the ocean and you could see Panglao in the distance. The hotel also has a bar and restaurant which serves tasty food and drinks and had a relaxing atmosphere.

The cafe area in the hotel was fantastic and served the most delicious cakes, and was nice to sit and have a drink and cake after a long day exploring. The staff were really friendly and helpful too. If you want to base yourself in Tagbilaran then I would recommend booking into Ocean Suites.

Personally if I were to return to Bohol in the future and knowing what I know now, I would suggest looking at accommodation options on Panglao Island. I didn’t realise how close and accessible the island was prior to going to Bohol, but as it’s connected to Bohol by a road it is extremely easy to reach all of Bohol’s main attractions, and after a day of exploring you can sit on the beach with a drink and watch the sunset!

Ocean Suites Boutique Hotel Bohol

Transport & Getting Around

There are several options to reach Panglao you can get a flight to Panglao International Airport which only opened back in 2018, it’s a small airport and there are just a several flights going in and out daily from Manila, a few other places around the Philippines and direct flights from Seoul in South Korea.

It’s now much easier to get to the island, we visited when it still had the older airport at Tagbilaran, and there were no flights from Cebu that we could find. So we took the ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran. The ferry is easy, regular and cheap and takes about 2 hours and costs less than £15 each. We went with Oceanjet ferries and booked in advance.

Bohol is pretty easy to navigate around and there is a variety of options to get around the island. When in Tagbilaran city everything is within walking distance, however when exploring the rest of the island I would suggest booking a driver for the day or booking onto a day tour for ease, and to go and see all the main sights.

We booked a driver for two days, one day we got driven all over Bohol and the second day we went to Panglao. It’s really affordable to do and personally would recommend this rather than booking a tour group, as you can spend as little or as much time as you want in certain places, and have more flexibility. When going short distances just hop in one of the many tricycles zipping about the streets.

3 Day Itinerary

  1. After arriving grab lunch explore Tagbiliran and it’s sights and attractions.
  2. Visit Bohols main sites; Philippine Tarsier Foundation / Bilar Man Made Forest & Eco Park / Chocolate Hills / Shiphaus / Sevilla’s Twin Hanging Bridge / Loboc River / Babclayon Church.
  3. Start your day at Mag-Aso Falls before heading over to Panglao Island then visit Panglao Islands top attractions; Hinagdanan Cave / Bohol Bee Farm / Nova Shell Museum / Saint Augustine Church / Alona Beach.

Top Tips

My best bit of advice for visiting Bohol would be to base yourself on Panglao Island, I really wish that’s what we had done. It’s so close and convenient when exploring the rest of Bohol, but you have the beautiful beaches to chill out on after a day of sightseeing.

When visiting Bohol avoid the so called Python Sanctuary at all costs! When we were driving around the island our driver took us there, we hadn’t done any research prior to going and as the driver said it was a sanctuary we agreed for him to take us there, which now I regret! The place is like hell on Earth for the animals living there. Monkeys are kept in tiny cages and the conditions are just heartbreaking, as soon as we stepped in we decided to leave straight away. I emailed several animal charities afterwards to see if I could get these animals help, but didn’t have much luck! Seeing the animals kept in those conditions still haunts me to this day, and made me feel so helpless, and I’m so annoyed that we paid into this awful place!

Important Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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Best Places To Visit On Panglao Island

Panglao Island is located to the south of Bohol Island and less than 10 miles away from Tagbilaran, its known for its popular beach resort of Alona Beach. This small paradise island is connected to Bohol island by a road, so is easily reachable. The island has beautiful pristine beaches which attract both local Filipinos and overseas visitors.

Just a few minutes away by banca boat from the beautiful beaches are colourful coral reefs and world famous dive sites. As well as stunning beaches on offer the island is also home to several other sights and attractions.

We visited Panglao for the day but actually wish we had booked accommodation on Panglao and based ourselves there instead of Tagbilaran. If you are planning a trip to Bohol, I would really recommend basing yourself on Panglao Island as the rest of Bohol is easily accessible from there.

I would also recommend allowing some time to visit other close by islands, we didn’t have enough time to visit them but really wish we did. I’ve heard it’s better to book a private tour boat, and head to Balicasag Island and Virgin Island to spot wild dolphins, snorkel, dive or swim and stroll along Virgin Islands pristine white sand bar. You can book to see these islands on a half day tours.

Panglao Beaches

Most people visit Panglao island for its beautiful beaches, marine life and slower pace of life. There are plenty of beaches to choose from all around the island, I always recommend when staying on any beach always walk along the beach as you always stumble across something new such as another area of natural beauty, a cool restaurant or little beach shack, you can’t beat a good beach walk. Here are just a few of Panglaos beaches to explore;

  • Alona Beach: Is one of the most popular beaches with tourists, and has lots of resorts, cafes, restaurants, bars, dive shops and water sports all available along the beach front.
  • Danao Beach: Is a mix of white sand and rocky shores and has a more natural feel to it, it’s not too far from Alona Beach either.
  • Doljo Beach: Doljo Beach is a long stretch of white sandy beach lined with palm trees and isn’t very developed and isn’t too far from Momo Beach.
  • Dumaluan Beach: This beach is similar to Alona Beach and is not far from it, but it is much quieter. This beach is a great place to base yourself as it’s a good alternative to Alona Beach and you get the best of both, close enough to all the amenities in Alona but the quieter more serene beach of Dumaluan.
  • Momo Beach: Momo Beach is one of the quietest beaches and hasn’t got lots of hotels and resorts, it’s a great escape for people that want to get away from tourists.
  • Panglao Beach: Panglao Beach is only a small stretch of beach but a beautiful one, and doesn’t have many resorts along the beachfront.
Alona Beach Panglao

Bohol Bee Farm Resort

Bohol Bee Farm Resort is located on Panglao island and is an absolute must visit, this gorgeous organic farm has the most beautiful restaurant built onto a small cliff overlooking the ocean, and serves up fresh organic dishes. Before your food is served they provide squash bread and pesto and mango spreads which were amazing. I ordered the honey glazed chicken which was delicious and beautifully presented with flower garnishes.

There is a cute gift shop selling souvenirs and locally made products and produce, and a small ice cream shop. We had a look around the gardens and went down to the sun deck which provides stunning views of the sea. You can also stay overnight as there are suites and chalets available to book. There are beehive tours you can go on at selected times too. I would really recommend visiting for lunch and to wander around the resort, it really is a lovely relaxing spot to visit.

Bohol Bee Farm Resort Panglao

Hinagdanan Caves

Entrance Fee: 25 PHP / Bathing Fee 100 PHP

Hinagdanan Caves are small tucked away caves and can only be accessed by some small ladder steps which has to be done in single file. We loved stepping down into these beautiful caves with crystal clear lagoon and limestone stalactite and stalagmite formations. With the caves growing popularity there are several souvenir shops and cafes located nearby. These caves are a must visit, I would recommend going early to avoid the crowds, and wear shoes that have good grip as it can be quite slippy in the caves. There’s a small entrance fee to enter the caves, and an extra cost if you wanted to swim in the caves lagoon.

Hinagdanan Caves PanglaoHinagdanan Caves Panglao

Nova Shell Museum

Entrance Fee: 50 PHP

Nova Shell Museum this quirky little museum is a really good place to visit its really interesting and a great place to stop off at. It showcases all of the shells that are found around the island and other areas of the Philippines. It’s only a small museum and doesn’t take much time to look around the huge variety of seashells. I would really recommend adding the museum to your Panglao itinerary, as it’s a really sweet and eccentric little space.

Nova Shell Museum Panglao

Saint Augustine Church

Saint Augustine Church is great place to stop at to admire some of the islands history. This Spanish baroque style church has mural ceilings, a watch tower and ruins. It’s interesting to see and learn about the church’s history and understand about the Spanish colonisation in the Philippines.

Saint Augustine Church Panglao

Transport & Getting Around

There are several options to reach Panglao you can get a flight to Panglao International Airport which only opened back in 2018, it’s a small airport and there are just a several flights going in and out daily from Manila, a few other places around the Philippines and direct flights from Seoul in South Korea.

It’s now much easier to get to the island, we visited when it still had the older airport at Tagbilaran, and there were no flights from Cebu that we could find. So we took the ferry from Cebu to Tagbilaran. The ferry is easy, regular and cheap and takes about 2 hours and costs less than £15 each. We went with Oceanjet ferries and booked in advance. From Tagbiliran you can grab a taxi easy enough that can take you to Panglao.

We booked a driver for the day and visited Panglao, it’s really affordable to do and personally would recommend this rather than booking a tour group, as you can spend as little or as much time as you want in certain places.

1 Day Itinerary

  • Hinagdanan Cave
  • Bohol Bee Farm
  • Nova Shell Museum
  • Saint Augustine Church
  • Alona Beach

Top Tips

My best bit of advice for visiting Bohol and Panglao would be to base yourself on Panglao Island, I really wish that’s what we had done. It’s so close and convenient when exploring the rest of Bohol, but you have the beautiful beaches to chill out on after a day of sightseeing.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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Day Trip To Bintan Island From Singapore

Bintan is an Indonesian island located in the Riau Archipelago, and it is the largest island in the province. Bintan is only a short 1 hour ferry ride from Singapore’s Tanah Merah ferry terminal. It’s a great escape from the city and a lot more accessible than you might think.

The Island is diverse and is a great add on to any trip to Singapore, you can go to Bintan on a day trip, or spend a few nights there and unwind. Bintan has it all from luxury resorts, white sand beaches, water sports, golf clubs, mangroves and historical sites and villages.

I can’t recommend Bintan enough it’s so easy to get to from Singapore and while there you can enjoy paradise beaches, beautiful sunsets and meet some of the friendly locals at Lagoi Bay.

Sights & Activities

Lagoi Bay

Lagoi Bay is a new purpose built complex and is in the heart of Bintan Resorts. The area is still quite new and very pristine with several restaurants serving up local cuisines and delicacies, and there are a few small souvenir shops too. Lagoi Bay is great for families as there are several small play areas, a children’s train and a petting zoo as well as the gorgeous beach which was full of locals and their families having a day out. There are a few other small attractions around Lagoi Bay such as a museum and a lantern park to name a few.

We were really glad we visited Lagoi Bay for a few hours as there’s lots to see and this is where many locals come and visit too. I don’t think many westerners come to Lagoi Bay as we got stopped frequently by locals wanting to talk to us and practise their English and wanting photos with us, all the locals we met were so sweet and friendly and we loved chatting with them.

All the resorts and the ferry terminal run free and regular shuttle buses to Lagoi Bay, so if you can try and peel yourself away from the sun lounger and go down and see everything that Lagoi Bay has to offer you won’t regret it! When we visited it still seemed fairly new so there were still quite a lot of empty shop fronts, but I reckon in a few more years Lagoi Bay will have lots more small businesses and visitors.

Lagoi Bay BintanLagoi Bay BintanLagoi Bay BintanLagoi Bay Bintan

Nirwana Gardens

Nirwana Gardens is a gorgeous resort located on its very own private beach called Mayang Sari and situated a short 10-15 minute drive from the Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal. The resort is huge it has just short of 250 guest rooms, with swimming pools, shops, bars and restaurants all available for guests and day visitors to use.

Both times I have visited Bintan I have come to Nirwana Gardens as the beach there is stunning, and they have a small stand at the ferry terminal where you can organise going to the resort for the day. They have a day pass which works out at approximately £12.50 per person, and that includes your pick up and drop off at the ferry terminal, full use of their private beach, swimming pools, restaurants, bars and changing facilities as well as WiFi access and they provide you with a beach towel, and your met with a welcome drink. It’s such great value for money and a great place to base yourself for a day of relaxing.

If lounging around on the beach isn’t your thing then there is a range of water sports available at an extra cost on their private beach. I took my snorkelling mask with me for the day and went in the sea for some swimming and snorkelling which was a great way to cool down from the sun.

Nirwana Gardens BintanNirwana Gardens BintanNirwana Gardens BintanNirwana Gardens Bintan

Food & Drink

Spice Restaurant

Spice Restaurant is part of Nirwana Gardens Resort just set back from the beach. The first time I visited Nirwana Gardens we didn’t leave the resort as we accidentally missed the first ferry so didn’t have very long on Bintan. We had a gorgeous lunch at Spice Restaurant and a beautiful view over looking the beach even though it was raining it was lovely to be under cover watching the weather, and by the time we finished lunch the sun came out so it was perfect timing. Spice Restaurant serves up Indian and Indonesian dishes and a good selection of cocktails. It would also be a romantic place to come for dinner and to watch the sunset.

Waroeng Cek Bakar’s Masakan Khas Melayu

Waroeng Cek Bakar’s Masakan Khas Melayu is located in Lagoi Bay tucked between the plaza and the beach, it has both indoor and outdoor seating and serves up local Indonesian flavours, as well as several Singapore and Malaysian dishes. There was plenty of choice and being vegetarian I found plenty of dishes to choose from too.

As well as having a large menu serving up delicious Asian cuisine this cafe is also great to stop by for a cold drink or ice cream. The staff here were also super friendly and we chatted to them after our meal, they couldn’t do enough for us. We really enjoyed our lunch there and may have over ordered on the food as we were all starving by the time we got there. The food there was really delicious but also so cheap. If you visit Lagoi Bay make sure you pay this place a visit.

Indonesian Lunch Bintan

Transport & Getting Around

Ferry

The easiest way to get to Bintan from Singapore is by taking one of the regular ferries which is run by Bintan Resort Ferries and leaves from Tanah Merah ferry terminal in Singapore and goes direct to Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal in Bintan. There are several ferries that go back and forth daily. I would advise however if you are going for the day to get up early and get the first ferry out and then return either by the last or second to last ferry back, to make sure you get the most of a full day there.

If you can try and prebook your tickets to get your more desired ferry times, however we turned up on the day and managed to get the last few seats heading out, and we booked the last ferry coming back as the second to last was full, but in the late afternoon we asked Nirwana Gardens to call to see if they had any cancellations for the slightly earlier one, which luckily they did and it was only £2.50 to amend the booking.

Make sure you allow plenty of time both ways at the ferry terminal as you have to go through immigration and customs at both ends, so allow for at least 30 minutes before your ferry departure. Something else to note is that Bintan is 1 hour behind Singapore so it’s great arriving to Bintan as you haven’t lost any time, however going back to Singapore you loose an hour.

Getting the ferry over to Bintan is really easy and not as complicated or as expensive as you might think. Tickets are normally around $70 SGD return which is about £40 per person. All you need to do is take is your passport and day bag, and for any cabin crew wanting to visit on a layover take your crew ID and the crew gendec paperwork, so that immigration can see your on a layover in Singapore, and won’t cause you any issues getting back in or leaving Singapore when your due to fly home.

Shuttle Bus

Bintan Resorts and Lagoi Bay run regular complimentary shuttle bus services from the ferry terminal to the hotels and Lagoi Bay as well as putting on shuttles between the hotels and Lagoi Bay. They also have shuttle buses running in Singapore from Singapore Changi Airport to Tanah Merah ferry terminal.

Top Tips

My best bit of advice is if you have time maybe stay over night in Bintan, and try and get out and see more of the island as there are several island tours available which I’m hoping to do on a future trip. If your on a budget and visiting for the day you can skip the resort and head straight to Lagoi Bay on the free shuttle bus from the ferry terminal and spend the day at the Lagoi Bay beach.

While visiting Bintan don’t just stick to staying in a resort head out to Lagoi Bay even if it’s just for lunch and to mix with the locals, they are honestly some of the most friendly and sweet people I have come across on my travels, and they genuinely showed an interest in where we were from and wanting to practise their English.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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Amazing Places To Visit In Singapore For Free

Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise your trip. Singapore has so many free attractions and places to explore. If your on a tight budget or just can’t justify making big splurges, then read this blog for lots of Singapores top free attractions and places to go sightseeing in the city.

Arab Street & Haji Lane

Arab Street (also known as Bussorah Street) and Haji Lane are neighbouring streets and located in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood. Arab Street has the famous Masjid Sultan Mosque one of Singapore’s most popular attractions, which stands proudly overlooking the palm lined Arab Street. There are plenty of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants along Arab street, as well as shops. It’s a lovely street to wander and there are plenty of photo opportunities.

Step across to the parallel bright and colourful street of Haji Lane which is filled with artsy wall murals, hipster cafes and independent boutiques. There are some gorgeous shops to browse, but if retail therapy isnt your thing, there is plenty of street art to admire along Haji Lane.

I would recommend visiting both streets in the morning to avoid the crowds especially if you want to take some good photos. Check out Selfie Coffee on Haji Lane where you can not only get your morning coffee fix, but can get your selfie photo printed on top it! It’s a great spot for people watching outside, and something a little different for your coffee break.

There is lots to see on both of these streets, and it’s easy to spend a morning or afternoon in this area. Just a stones throw away is the Malay Heritage Centre too, which has lots of information on the history and heritage of the Malay community in Singapore. The centre isn’t a free attraction, however it’s only a few Singaporean dollars to enter if you did want to visit.

Masjid Sultan MosqueHaji Lane

Botanical Gardens

Singapore’s Botanical Gardens are world famous and are the first and only tropical gardens to be placed on the UNESCO world heritage site list. The gardens have over 150 years of history and are set across 82 hectares, the gardens are popular with both Singaporeans and visitors. There is a huge array of plant life on display and a variety of gardens to explore such as the Ginger Garden, Rain Forest Garden, Trellis Garden, Healing Garden and many more, but the main draw of the Botanical Gardens is the National Orchid Garden.

All the gardens are free to roam around, the only exception is the National Orchid Garden which does charge a small admission of only $5 SGD, which is definitely worth it! The orchard garden was by far my favourite in the botanical gardens, along with the ginger and rainforest gardens. You could easily spend a full day in the gardens as there is so much to see. If your limited on time I would suggest maybe selecting a few gardens that you think you would enjoy, or at least go to the Orchid Garden you won’t be disappointed at the vivid colours of the orchid flowers, they are simply stunning!

Botanical Gardens SingaporeBotanical Gardens SingaporeBotanical Gardens Singapore

Bugis

The area of Bugis has lots of places to go sightseeing, it’s located not too far away from Arab Street and Haji Lane which are in Kampong Glam. Other attractions to visit are;

Chijmes is a great place to pop your head into especially at night when the area is lit up beautifully with twinkly lights. It was once a convent back in the 1800s but has been converted into a beautiful area for restaurants, bars and cafes. It’s also located just by Raffles Hotel, so if you don’t want to spend money on food and drinks come to the area for just for a wander around these colonial heritage sites. You can also shop until you drop at Bugis Junction and Bugis Street, or if your on a budget why not window shop at Bugis Junction and browse the stalls at Bugis Street?!

Chinatown

Chinatown in Singapore is a great place to explore at any time of day or night, the colonial buildings and shop houses are beautiful to look at. During Chinese New Year there are lots of displays and decorations that line the streets too. There are lots of temples and shrines to go and visit for free in Chinatown such as;

The two most popular temples are the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Sri Mariamman Temple which are both grand and with lots of intricate detailing. There is also lots of market stalls, shops, restaurants, hawker centres and Chinatown Street Market.

Chinatown SingaporeChinatown Singapore

Emerald Hill Road

If your doing a bit of sightseeing around Orchard Road take a break from the restaurants and shopping, and wander down Emerald Hill Road the terraced houses are some of the most sought over in the city and are prime real estate. These beautiful ornate terraces take you back to days gone by, its a nice sight to tick off and won’t cost anything. You only need 20 minutes or so to wander this pretty street, just be mindful that people do live in these properties.

Emerald Hill Road

Fort Canning Park

Fort Canning Park is a a must for any history fanatics, the 18 hectare park sits on a hilltop and is steeped in historical landmarks and artefacts. Some of the main sites are the fort gate, remnants of a fortress, maritime corner and a military complex from WWII. The park grounds are lovely to walk around even if your not a history buff and there’s also a spice garden and some sculptures to look out for too.

Gardens By The Bay & Garden Rhapsody Light Show

Gardens By The Bay is one of Singapores top attractions and most recognised landmarks, the main feature is the Supertree Grove which is in the centre of the gardens. The gigantic trees are really impressive and are great to walk around, they are surrounded by lots of other gardens, sculptures, plants, play areas and ponds which are all completely free to look around! The only attractions that charge admission in the gardens are the Cloud Forest Conservatory, Flower Dome Conservatory and the OCBC Skyway.

Depending on your budget I would recommend paying to go up the OCBC Skyway as it’s only $8 SGD, and you get the most incredible views over the gardens and Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Keep an eye out for the local resident otters that live close by in the Marina by the gardens, they can be spotted frequently swimming and playing in the water.

Make sure not to miss the Garden Rhapsody Light Show which is on twice every night at the Super Tree Grove at 19.45 and 20.45. It’s a stunning music and light show which is free for all to sit and watch. The light show is magical and a must in Singapore!

Gardens By The BayGarden Rhapsody Light Show

Geylang & Joo Chiat (Katong)

Geylang is one of Singapore’s more seedier areas and known as the red light district in the city, however the area is pretty untouched and unmodernised and still has a certain charm to the district. It’s a melting pot of ethnicities and full with traditional eateries, bars, shops, temples, mosques and more. Visit the Sri Sivan Temple which is a stunning Hindu temple. When in the area visit Geylang Serai Market which is one of Singapore’s oldest Malay settlements and is one of the biggest and busiest wet markets in Singapore. The market is a social hub for the community and provides a unique Malay culinary experience, try the Piseng Goreng (banana fritters) they are a real sweet treat!

Joo Chiat is also known as Katong, this neighbourhood is the heart of Singapore’s Peranakan community. The community are descendants of Chinese settlers who married locals and have created a blend of cultures between Chinese and Malay traditions. This area of the city has lots of colourful shop houses, hidden temples, workshops and local eateries. Seek out the beautiful multicoloured houses on East Coast Road and Koon Seng Road. There are also some small temples to visit called Kuan Im Tng Temple and Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple which if your in the area are great places to go and see.

While in the area pay a visit to Kim Choo Kueh Chang which is a traditional Peranakan shop serving up rice dumplings and other traditional rainbow sweet treats preserving the communities traditions since 1945.

Koon Seng RoadKim Choo Kueh Chang

Little India

Little India is one of the most colourful neighbourhoods in the city, the small narrow streets are filled with spicy aromas. This area is a complete contrast to other more sanitised areas of the city. There is plenty to see, do and eat in this vibrant district. The good thing about Little India is it is one of the smallest neighbourhoods in Singapore so everything is easy to find and most attractions are within walking distance of each other.

Little India is great for delicious eats, make sure to visit in time for lunch or dinner as there’s some amazing food around. If your wanting street food check out the Tekka Centre. Theres lots of sightseeing to be done in the area, I would recommend walking along the Buffalo Road which is a busy street full of bright buildings, Indian produce shops and stalls selling flower garlands. Stroll into the Little India Arcade to pick up some keepsakes from your trip and to browse the beautifully made Indian wares. One of the most popular sights in Little India is Tan House which is a rainbow coloured building. Little India is bursting with temples, which are so bright and colourful with beautiful designs, such as;

Little India SingaporeLittle India Flower Garlands

Marina Bay, Spectra Light Show & Merlion

Marina Bay is a popular landmark in the city and world famous for its stunning and futuristic architecture surrounding the waterfront. Go down to the waterfront in the evening and splurge on a cocktail in the Marina Bay Sands hotel for spectacular views, or grab a cheap drink from Gluttons Bay Streetfood market and wander around the waterfront to see the skyline lit up at night. Make sure not to miss the Spectra light and water show which is on every night at 8pm and 9pm. There are plenty of places to sit around the water edge and watch the 15 minute light and water display. While your down at the waters edge take a walk along to see Singapore’s mascot the Merlion, this large statue and fountain is a must see when down at the waterfront.

Marina Bay

MacRitchie Reservoir Park & Treetop Walk

Singapore is a green city and there are so many hiking trails and parks to explore. The MacRitchie Reservoir Park is popular with Singaporeans and nature lovers, it’s a great day out and offers lots of recreational activities such as hiking, kayaking and canoeing. It’s a huge nature reserve with pristine forest and has lots of native wildlife, and it sits on Singapore’s first reservoir. There is a choice of hiking routes so plan your route before you go as it’s bigger than what you would expect.

There are lots of long hiking routes in the nature reserve but if your short on time and still want to experience the park then spend a morning hiking the Treetop Walk which is a suspension bridge which sits up above the canopy providing views over the forest, be cautious with the macaques and try and stay away from them as they weren’t very friendly. The hiking loop to the Treetop walk and back takes about 3 to 4 hours and is an easy walk, just go prepared with plenty of water and allow time.

Mac Ritchie Reservoir Park Treetop WalkMac Ritchie Reservoir Park Treetop Walk

Raffles Hotel

The world famous and one of the most iconic places to visit in Singapore is the Raffles Hotel, this is a must on any visit in the city as it’s steeped in colonial history. Most people come from all over to visit the Long Bar for a Singapore Sling which is Singapore’s signature drink and was invented there. However if you want to visit but don’t like the cocktails price tag (approx £15 per drink), then you can still visit the front and walk around the building to take photos and admire the colonial decadence, also visit Chijmes across the road to discover more of Singapore’s colonial heritage.

Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island is located to the south of Singapore and can be easily reached by cable car, MRT, driving, walking, Sentosa Express and cycling. The island is linked to the mainland and is a resort island full of hotels, theme parks, beaches, trails, museums and more. Once on the island there is a whole range of free activities to do, my personal favourite on Sentosa are the three beaches which are Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach and Tanjong Beach.

Personally I love Palawan Beach as it has a suspension bridge across the water to the southern most point of continental Asia, and feels like a lagoon rather than the sea. Siloso beach is great for grabbing a spot of lunch, Coastes is my favourite as it’s a lovely beach bar and restaurant and not too badly priced for a salad. Tanjong Beach is good for beach bars and clubs, I would recommend walking along all three and seeing which one takes your fancy, you can also get the free beach shuttle bus which runs between all of the Sentosa beaches.

It’s a great place to come just for a bit of beach time as it has lots of facilities and amenities and the beaches are really clean, however if beaches aren’t your thing then check out some of Sentosas other free attractions;

Sentosa Island

Southern Ridges

Southern Ridges is one of Singapore’s top attractions and connects the jungle to the city. The wave like walkway provides gorgeous panoramic views over the jungle, skyline, southern islands and out to the South China Sea. The whole trail can take between 3 to 5 hours depending on your pace and how often you stop there is also a canopy walk and forest walk.

Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru is the oldest housing estate in Singapore and is a mix of new and old buildings. The neighbourhood is steeped in history and over the years has been regenerated, and is now one of the hippest neighbourhoods in the city. It’s a great place to come for a coffee and quick bite in one of its hipster cafes, and do a spot of retail therapy in one of its niche shops. It’s a great place to spend a lazy morning wandering around.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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An Overnight Stay On Borneo’s Survivor Island – Pulau Tiga

Pulau Tiga is part of a small group of uninhabited islands located in Kimanis Bay off the western coast of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. The island is also referred to as Survivor Island, as it was the location for a reality tv series filmed there. The island has plenty to offer adventurous travellers from snorkelling, scuba diving, trekking, mud bathing and best of all true escape from modern life, with limited WIFI its the perfect place for a digital detox and enjoy a much slower pace.

Pulau Tiga translates to island three in Malay and is referring to the three humps seen on the island from a distance. Formed after a volcanic eruption towards the end of the 19th century, it is the youngest island in Malaysia’s stretch of the South China Sea along Sabah’s west coast.

The island is one of three islands which make up Tiga Island National Park, the other two islands are called Kalampunian Besar and Kalampunian Damit (Snake Island), known as snake island as it’s a breeding ground for a variety of snakes.

Borneo’s Survivor Island - Pulau TigaBorneo’s Survivor Island - Pulau TigaBorneo’s Survivor Island - Pulau TigaBorneo’s Survivor Island - Pulau TigaBorneo’s Survivor Island - Pulau Tiga

Pulau Tiga has several forest trails but the most popular one being the trail to the islands mud volcanoes, with its mineral rich mud bubbling away. Pulau Tiga has some great snorkelling and scuba diving spots with vibrant coral and diverse array of marine life. The island has lots of wildlife species with a variety of eagles and hornbills, macaque monkeys, monitor lizards as well as other snakes, reptiles and insects that all call the island home.

Borneo’s Survivor Island - Pulau TigaBorneo’s Survivor Island - Pulau Tiga

Accommodation

Pulau Tiga Resort

The island has limited accommodation, there is a Pulau Tiga Resort which has 23 wooden chalets and rooms or there is the luxurious boutique Borneo Eagle Resort which has 13 villas available. There is also a small campsite available for people to pitch a tent, however with so many macaques and monitor lizards roaming around, I’m not sure how comfortable I would feel sleeping in a tent?!

You can visit Pulau Tiga on a day trip from Sabah, however, I would recommend that staying overnight on the island. We stayed at the Pulau Tiga Resort for one night and loved the place, the island was so quiet and relaxing. We had the beach to ourselves which was absolute bliss, and even when we went through the jungle on a trek we hardly saw anyone. If you want a break from modern day life then this is the place to come!

Pulau Tiga Resort is an amazing place to stay, we absolutely loved staying there. The price of this accommodation may seem expensive for a basic chalet however the price does include breakfast, lunch, dinner and bottled water as well as your boat transfer to get to and from the island. We also got picked up from our accommodation in Kota Kinabalu and driven to the jetty.

The chalets are simple but have everything you need for a comfortable stay with a bed and hot shower and a veranda to sit out on, just be aware of the macaques roaming around, one even tried to get into our room!

Even though it’s a little on the pricey side for one night we honestly would do it again as we had the best stay! I just don’t think visiting the island on a day excursion is enough time to enjoy it fully.

Pulau Tiga Resort BorneoPulau Tiga Resort BorneoPulau Tiga Resort BorneoPulau Tiga Resort Borneo

Transport & Getting Around

To get to Pulau Tiga is quite straight forward it’s about a 2 hour drive from Kotu Kinabalu to the Pulau Tiga jetty in Kuala Penyu. The boat to the Pulau Tiga Island takes another 40 minutes. I would suggest booking through Amazing Borneo as they offer 1 day trips and the overnight trip. Once on the island, there aren’t any roads and everything is accessible by foot and hiking trails.

Must Do Itinerary

  • Snorkel & water sports
  • Volcanic mud baths
  • Pagong-Pagong Beach
  • Larai-Larai Beach
  • Walk around the whole island (6 hours if you have time)
  • Batu Barung also known as Bird Rock
  • Take the boat to Kalampunian Damit (Snake Island)

Top Tips

I would recommend taking plenty of reef-safe SPF lotion and bug spray as the island doesn’t have any shops, and it’s covered in jungle. Be very careful when walking around the island and try to avoid the wild macaques, and don’t carry food on you as they will try and take it.

Important Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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A Day Trip To Phang Nga Bay From Phuket

Phang Nga Bay is a national park and sits in between mainland Thailand and Phuket island. These droplets of limestone islands sit in the emerald green Andaman Sea. These jagged rock formations, cliffs, and small uninhabited islands with mangrove forests and caves are a great place to explore. This bay is full of hidden lagoons which you can reach by kayak and going through the small caves. The bay also has plenty of coral reefs dotted around in its waters.

This gorgeous national park is a must especially if you’re staying in Phuket or nearby to the area as the bay is easily accessible. The bay can easily be done on a day tour and there is plenty to see and do.

Phang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand Phang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand

One of the most famous landmarks in the bay is Koh Ta-pu also referred to as James Bond Island as the famous James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed there back in 1974. This rocky pinnacle juts out of the ocean and looks top heavy, and like it shouldn’t still be standing! The surrounding areas are spectacularly beautiful although can be crowded with many other tourists doing similar day trips.

Another area of interest in the bay is Koh Panyee which is a quirky village that’s built over the water on stilts, with a giant rock column at one end of it. At lunchtime many tourists on the tours stop by to eat and shop for souvenirs. Originally fishing was the main industry for this Muslim community but today about half of the locals work in the tourism industry, while the rest still continue to fish. The village has its own school, a mosque, a health centre, lots of small handicraft shops, and a few restaurants overlooking the sea where you can enjoy fresh seafood. Khao Khien is another place worth visiting as it’s close to Koh Panyee, and has ancient paintings of boats and animals on the rock walls.

Phang Nga Bay is an amazing place for cruising around on a boat. The limestone cliffs create a picturesque backdrop and scenic appeal and have an abundance of wildlife. The area is protected from both the northeast and the southwest monsoon seasons which means the waters remain calm all year round.

The hidden away lagoons in the islands which are referred to as hong (hong meaning rooms in Thai) are collapsed cave systems being overlooked by the sky and surrounded by towering limestone walls. The mangroves in the lagoons are rich in unspoiled flora and fauna. Many of these hongs were only revealed when they were picked up on aerial surveys.

Phang Nga Bay Phuket ThailandPhang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand

Many of the tours that run around Phang Nga Bay offer sea kayaking, where you can paddle through the caves into the mysterious centres of the islands such as Koh Panak and Koh Hong. Just make sure when kayaking through you might need to lay back, so you don’t hit your head and also make sure your mouth and eyes are closed, as many of the caves have bats in, and the last thing you want is any bat droppings going into your mouth or eyes.

Thailand was somewhere I had dreamt of going for many years all throughout my teenage years after I watched the Beach my infatuation for Thailand began, and after I graduated from university my then fiancée (now husband) decided to book a trip to Thailand – our first trip to Asia which sparked our obsession for the continent. For our first trip to Thailand, we booked a two week itinerary and went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

To be honest, we were really young and not very well travelled at this point and didn’t do much research before we went, so hadn’t even heard of Phang Nga Bay, the only reason we really ended up in Phuket was that we wanted to easily be able to reach the Phi Phi islands. While we were in Phuket we saw plenty of tours being offered to Phang Nga Bay and decided to book on one, and I’m so glad we did, the scenery was like nowhere else we had ever been before.

If your staying in Phuket this is an absolute must visit, this beautiful marine park is touristy and many tours operate there, but the area is large with so many limestone rocks and islands that I didn’t ever feel like it was overcrowded. The only place where it was busy was by James Bond Island which is understandable as it’s the main site. We really enjoyed our day trip here and loved kayaking into the mysterious lagoons and seeing lots of sea birds and eagles flying around, the whole place is a nature lovers dream!

Phang Nga Bay Phuket ThailandPhang Nga Bay Phuket ThailandPhang Nga Bay Phuket Thailand

Transport & Getting Around

Phang Nga Bay is easily doable in a single day and personally, I would recommend booking onto one of the many tours available by long-tail boat, speedboat, cruise or chartering a yacht. Leaving from any point along the east coast of Phuket will take you straight into the bay. There are also several launching sites on the Phang Nga province mainland too.

Top Tips

When going to Phang Nga Bay go prepared with a waterproof bag and waterproof cover for your phone or camera so that they have extra protection if you’re out sea kayaking. When booking onto a tour try and opt for one of the smaller boat tours and try and get on one that maybe starts a bit earlier to try and beat the crowds to James Bond Island.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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