Ultimate Bucket List Guide To The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is set over miles and miles of valleys, moors, hills and pretty villages and towns in northern England. It is located in the county of Yorkshire and sits central on the Pennines in North Yorkshire and Cumbria and also includes a small part of Lancashire. Unlike some overseas National Parks the Yorkshire Dales isn’t a wilderness area, it’s full of lots of wildlife but also home to many people who farm the land and live and work in the area.

This national park has so many recreational activities to offer its visitors from hiking, walking trails, waterfalls, lakes, cave systems, ravines and limestone formations. The Dales is famous for the Three Peaks which are Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent mountains, the peaks form part of the Pennine range.

If your looking for some adventure and love the outdoors then the Yorkshire Dales are for you, they offer a good balance of stunning outdoor sights and you can stop, refresh, shop, eat and drink in its quintessential English villages and towns. You could spend weeks in the Dales and explore so much and not get bored once. We spent a long weekend up in the Dales and had 4 days to go sightseeing, however there was still plenty more we could have seen. We chose to visit some of the top sites in the area. So if your short on time here are the absolute bucket list must dos when in the Dales!

What To See & Do

Bolton Abbey

Entrance Fee: £10 per car for parking

Bolton Abbey is one of the Dales top attractions it’s an area of stunning natural beauty sitting on the River Wharfe, and just a stone’s throw from the town of Skipton. The area has plenty to do with lots of walkways and countryside to explore and ancient priory ruins from the 12th century. You could easily spend a full day venturing around this area, it’s popular with families especially in the summer who come to have picnics and BBQs. There are also several cafes and places to get food and drink from at Bolton Abbey too. We visited in the morning and parked at the Bolton Abbey car park so we could easily explore the priory church, ruins and stepping stones, we spent about an hour or so there which was just enough time, however I would love to go back and spend a full day exploring the area. So if you have the time I would recommend spending a full day at Bolton Abbey.

Bolton Abbey

Burnsall, Grassington & Linton Falls

Burnsall, Grassington and Linton Falls are all closeby to Bolton Abbey and are all situated really close to one another and are easily accessible and easy to visit all of them in one morning or afternoon. Burnsall is a tiny village but draws many visitors because of its picture postcard setting. It’s surrounded by beautiful green hills and sits on the River Wharfe. There’s an arched bridge in the centre of the village which is a perfect spot for a picnic. There are several hiking trails which lead off from Burnsall as well. It’s a nice spot to stop off at to admire the views or to just grab a drink or something to eat as there are a handful of pubs and cafes and a village shop.

Grassington is only a few miles away from Burnsall and is another picturesque Dales market town, it has a cobbled square in the centre which is surrounded with lots of independent boutiques and craft shops, cafes and pubs and has quite a lively buzz to the area. Surrounded by the Dales it’s a great place to base yourself too as there is lots to see and do in and around this area, and with plenty of amenities close by.

A mile up the road from Grassington centre are Linton Falls which are some waterfalls situated on the River Wharfe, they aren’t very tall however they are the largest falls on the river and are very dramatic and powerful. There is a bridge over the top of the falls where you can witness their full force crashing through the jagged limestone rocks. A little upstream of the Falls there is a restored hydro-electric plant which has been restored and reopened and is supplying electricity through water power once again.

BurnsallLinton Falls

Haworth

Haworth is an absolute must when in the Dales, this pretty village has a vintage feel and feels like you step back in time with its cobbled street overlooking the moorlands. This village is most known for the Brontë sisters who wrote the famous book Wuthering Heights, which draws many literacy enthusiasts. As well as the village being steeped in history and heritage it has lots of independent businesses from specialist shops selling crafts, homemade produce, homewares, gifts, art galleries, cafes, tearooms and more for such a small village there is a lot to see and do.

We booked an afternoon tea at Forteas Tearoom which is a 1940s tea room and is another great experience to have while in the village, it’s a unique and quirky tearoom, service and the food is excellent and it’s such good value and you won’t leave hungry! If afternoon tea isn’t your thing then pop in for lunch or drink and a slice of cake. Haworth is my absolute favourite village in the Dales, and I can’t wait to go back. If you only have time to stop at just one of the Dales villages or towns then make sure it’s Haworth!

HaworthForteas Tearoom Haworth

Ingleton Waterfalls

Entrance Fee: £7 per person

Ingleton Waterfalls is a nature lovers dream, and one of the best nature walks in the UK in my opinion. This waterfall and woodland walk takes approximately two and a half hours and is just over 4 miles in a loop. It’s a pretty easy and accessible walk, which trails through woodland and moorland and along the way you will pass Pecca Falls, Hollybush Spout, Thornton Force, Beezley Falls, Rival Falls, Baxenghyll Gorge and Snow Falls. This was one of the highlights of our trip the scenery is truly stunning. We went late morning and it was busier than we would have liked but we still enjoyed it, I would recommend getting there for when it opens as I imagine it wouldn’t be as busy at that time.

Ingleton WaterfallsIngleton Waterfalls

Lund’s Tower & Wainman’s Pinnacle

Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle are located in Sutton-In-Craven set on top of a hill overlooking the Dales. The views up there are unreal! Both are stone-built towers also known as follies. Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle are also referred to as the salt and pepper pots by locals. We visited in the morning and pulled up on the side of the road as close as we could to them and walked up to them which was an easy walk up and we had the area to ourselves. The views were some of the best we saw in the Dales and we walked up the steps in Lund’s Tower for even better views across the moors. We spent less than an hour walking up to it and around so it’s the perfect place to start your day before venturing off to explore more.

Lund's TowerLund's TowerWainman's Pinnacle

Malham Cove, Gordale Scar & Janet’s Foss

Malham Cove is a huge 230ft curved limestone cliff formation, it attracts walkers and rock climbers from all over. It doesn’t feel like something you would normally see in the UK, the sheer scale of the rock makes you feel so small. While visiting Malham Cove also check out Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss as they are all within walking distance of one another.

Gordale Scar is a huge limestone ravine with overhanging cliffs and waterfalls, the landscape of Gordale Scar is just epic and looks like a scene from a film. I couldn’t believe the amounts of times I’ve visited Yorkshire and not been to the area of Malham which holds so much dramatic and stunning scenery!

Janet’s Foss is a waterfall and pool in a woodland area and feels like a scene from a fairytale as you walk through trees, ferns and pass moss-covered rocks. Along the footpath are several trees which have had lucky pennies pushed into the bark where people make wishes to the queen of the fairies, so it’s a great place to come with children as the whole place has a magical feel to it.

Malham CoveGordale ScarGordale ScarJanet's Foss

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct is just over the border from Cumbria into North Yorkshire, this viaduct is a huge structure on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. It was constructed back in the 1870s. The construction cost a lot of the railway builders their lives and many died due to accidents while constructing the viaduct. This huge structure is built 32 meters above the moor and made up of 24 arches, not only is the viaduct an impressive, but it has spectacular views stretching across the moorland and the three peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. This is also the starting point to where many people start their journey on the three peak challenge. You can spend time hiking around there or there is plenty of places to pull over and just admire the view.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Skipton & Ilkley

Skipton is a charming market town and is often referred to as the gateway to the Dales, the cobbled high street is popular with locals and visitors with lots of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs to visit. This market town has lots of history, one of its main heritage sites is the 900 year old castle – Skipton Castle. Bolton Abbey is also just a fewmiles up the road which is a great place to wander. I would suggest visiting Skipton for a few hours either over breakfast or lunch grab some food and wander the shops and make sure to have a browse in the beautiful shopping arcade – Craven Court. 

Either before or after visiting Skipton head into the former spa town of Ilkley as it’s only a 15 minute drive away. It’s another one of the Dales picturesque towns full of Yorkshirecharm. If you fancy a traditional afternoon tea then head to the famous Bettys Tea Room. Have a stroll along the River Wharfe and if it’s views your after head to Ilkley moor for panoramic views.

Craven Court SkiptonIlkley

Where To Stay

Catgill Farm

If you love the outdoors then why not camp or glamp in the Dales?! There are so many amazing places to stay from cottages, hotels, guesthouse and campsites the Dales isn’t short on accommodation options. We opted to glamp and came across Catgill Farm when we were searching for quirky places to stay. We booked one of their timber pods which had an en-suite, firepit, hot tub and views over the Wharfe Valley. It was honestly a perfect set up, the glamping pods aren’t the cheapest, it cost us £430 in total but between 4 adults wasn’t too bad for 2 nights. On our first night in the Dales, we stayed at the premier inn as nearer the time to our trip we all realised we had the day off so decided last minute to head up a day earlier.

Catgill Farm also has bell tents available to book as well as a campsite. We loved the timber pod as it was great for self-catering in the evenings and we cooked pizzas in the outdoor pizza oven and both nights spent the evening in the hot tub which was absolute bliss after lots of walking during the day. The glamping options are great for families too as while the kids are in bed the parents can enjoy the hot tub, firepit and views. The location is also a great place to base yourself as it’s set in Bolton abbey and a few minutes drive to the Bolton Abbey car park, and all other areas of the Dales are within easy reach.

Catgill Farm GlampingCatgill Farm Glamping

Transport & Getting Around

The best way to get around the Yorkshire Dales is to drive, by driving you have all the freedom to make quick stops at places of natural beauty and stunning viewpoints and get directly to where you want to go. It’s the easiest way I personally think to really get the most out of your trip. However if you don’t drive there are plenty of bus and train services available and taxis in Yorkshire are much cheaper than down in the south of England.

4 Day Itinerary

  1. After arriving spend an afternoon strolling around Skipton and Ilkley.
  2. In the morning walk up to Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle for amazing views, then head to Haworth for the rest of the day and book in for an afternoon tea at Forteas Tearoom.
  3. Start your day by exploring Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss grab a pub lunch from the Buck Inn. In the afternoon visit Linton Falls and then head into Grassington for a walk around and finish your day in Burnsall for picturesque views.
  4. Depending on where your staying I would suggest starting your day at Ingleton Waterfalls to beat the crowds, however if like us you’re going to stay at Bolton Abbey start your day by exploring some of the ruins and stepping stones in Bolton Abbey, then head to Ingleton Waterfalls. Before heading home after your long weekend make a stop at Ribblehead Viaduct for more gorgeous views over the Yorkshire landscape.

Top Tips

Pack for all types of weather and take walking boots as some of the walking trails can be especially muddy.

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 Day Trip To The Isle Of Skye From Loch Ness

The Isle of Skye is one of Scotlands top destinations to visit and after visiting I can clearly see why! Isle of Skye is connected to Scotland’s northwest coast by a bridge, and is 50 miles long and the largest of the Inner Hebrides archipelago. This island has so much to offer its visitors from its rugged landscapes, quaint fishing villages, medieval castles and lots of wildlife such as eagles, seals, otters, dolphins, whales and deer to name a few!

We visited the Isle of Skye in just one day, however you could spend days and days roaming this island especially if you are into hiking trails. If you come in the summer there are lots of whale watching tours and wildlife kayaking tours available to book. We started off our day early as it took approximately 2 hours to drive to the Isle of Skye from where we were staying by Loch Ness.

There is so much to see and do on the Isle of a Skye I really wish we had more time there as there was still plenty to see. Even if your short on time on your highlands trip be sure to keep one day spare for a visit to the Isle of Skye.

Sights & Activities

Broadford

Our first stop on the Isle of Skye was in Broadford and we visited the cute and quirky Market Square there, it’s a few small units which sell lots of antiques, souvenirs, crystals and trinkets as well as serving hot drinks. We had a look around and grabbed a hot chocolate before venturing off to explore the rest of the island. Broadford is the first stop after the bridge onto the island, and a popular stopping point for many tourists.

Broadford Isle Of Skye

Duntulm Castle

In the northeast of the island there is lots to see we drove upto Duntulm Castle which is just fragments and ruins left of the castle, but it provides beautiful views over the coastline and the landscape behind. We stopped there briefly and also wandered down to the rock pools below.

Duntulm Castle Isle Of SkyeDuntulm Castle Isle Of Skye

Dunvegan Castle

Entrance Fee: £14

As the day was coming to an end we decided to make one last stop before heading back to the mainland, and we drove over to Dunvegan which is on the west coast of the island and famous for Dunvegan castle. The castle is stunning and has been well preserved, and is the only Hebridean castle to be continuously occupied by the same family for 800 years – the Macleod Clan.

The gardens and grounds of the castle were created in the 1800s, and are an oasis compared to the barren moor lands that surround the castle. As we came late in the day we didn’t have long before the castle closed so we walked in and around the castle, and only went through some of the gardens. Dunvegan Castle is an absolute must visit when on the Isle of Skye as it is an important and typically Scottish landmark on the island.

Dunvegan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

As we reached the mainland after being on the Isle of Skye we made a quick stop at Eilean Donan Castle to see it lit up at dusk, the 13th century castle is perched on top of a small tidal island where 3 sea lochs meet, Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh. It’s about half a mile from the village of Dornie. The castle is open to visitors too, and has been featured on several films and tv series and is one of the most photographed castles in all of Scotland.

Eilean Donan Castle Scotland

Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen is an area covered in small grassy hills with lochans (ponds) in between which makes this place look like a scene from a fairytale.

Fairy Glen Isle Of Skye

Highland Cows

Most visitors that visit the Isle Of Skye expect to spot lots of highland cows everywhere, but they aren’t as common as your may think. While driving around we saw one heard of highland cows so pulled over to get some photos, we only saw these ones and didn’t see anymore after that. I would suggest if you want to get a photo of this famous highland animal to grab your chance as and when you do see some!

Highland Cows Isle Of SkyeHighland Cows Isle Of Skye

Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls

In the Trotternish Peninsula there is Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls which both can be viewed from the same viewing point. Kilt Rock is 90 meters of sheer cliff drops. It gets its name as it resembles a pleated kilt. The Mealt waterfall plummets over Kilt Rock from the top of the cliffs to the rocky coast below and is fed by Mealt Loch.

Kilt Rock Isle Of SkyeMealt Falls Isle Of Skye

Old Man Of Storr

One of the Isle Of Skyes top walking routes is up to the Old Man Of Storr, which is situated on a large rocky hill, and is a large rock formation that stands tall. We visited the Old Man Of Storr but from a distance as the walk up to it can take over an hour. Just as we got there it started to rain and the clouds started coming in. So we walked a little bit up to get a better view but then came down before we got soaked.

Old Man of Storr Isle Of Skye

Portree

The day started to go by so quickly and before we knew it, it was mid afternoon so we headed to get some lunch in Portree which is the islands capital and largest village. Portree looks like a postcard with its pretty pastel coloured buildings over looking the natural harbour. There are a few boutiques, a visitor information centre and some restaurants all serving up fresh seafood. We grabbed a quick bite to eat there from one of the chippys and strolled around some of the shops.

Portree Isle Of Skye

Skye Musuem Of Island Life

Entrance Fee: £3 per person (cash only)

North of the island is the Trotternish Peninsula where the Skye Musuem Of Island Life is located which is an original highland village, and gives visitors a chance to see what island life was like 100 years ago. The museum has lots of information, artefacts from days gone by and was really interesting to see what the villages would have looked like.

Skye Musuem Of Island Life Isle Of Skye

Other Sights…

If you have longer on the Isle Of Skye then why not check out some of these sights too;

1 Day Itinerary

    Broadford
    Old Man Of Storr
    Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls
    Duntulm Castle
    Skye Musuem Of Island Life
    Fairy Glen
    Portree (Wander around and grab a late lunch)
    Dunvegan Castle
    Eilean Donan Castle (When getting back to the mainland stop at the castle at dusk to see it lit up)

Top Tips

My top tips for visiting the Isle Of Skye is to pack for the weather make sure you pack plenty of warm and waterproof clothes and hiking boots with you. As much as I hate hiking boots as I think they are the ugliest invention known to mankind, they are highly functional on the Isle Of Skye.

One other tip is to research before you go and maybe download maps.me and pin out where you want to visit, as when we went to the Isle of Skye we went without a plan and ended up driving back on ourselves as we realised we had missed one of the major sights. If your time constraint then planning out an itinerary will mean you make the very most of your trip too.

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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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

3 Days In Bohol and Panglao Island - Pinterest Pin

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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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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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How To Spend 4 Days In Borneo’s Sabah Region

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and Asia’s largest, it is a rugged jungle filled island located in south east Asia’s Malay Archipelago. The island is split into three, one part of the island is Malaysian and has two states which are Sabah and Sarawak, the other part is Indonesian which is known as Kalimantan, then there is the tiny nation of Brunei. Kota Kinabalu is the capital of the Sabah state and Kuching is the capital of Sarawak in the Malaysian states of Borneo.

Borneo is known for its ancient biodiverse rainforests which is home to a huge array of wildlife from orangutans, proboscis monkeys, irrawaddy dolphins, clouded leopards, pygmy elephants and saltwater crocodiles to name a few.

The island is a naturally stunning, but as well as having amazing wildlife and topography, its also a melting pot of culture and home to many ancient indigenous tribes. Borneo used to have headhunting tribes, today the tribes no longer headhunt but still continue with ancient customs and traditions to keep their culture alive. Borneo is home to a variety of cultural groups with lots of Chinese communities, Malays, indigenous groups and many more.

Whatever you’re into Borneo has something for everyone from nature enthusiasts to beach lovers to adventure seekers you name it Borneo has it all!

Sights & Activities

Kinabalu Park

Kinabalu Park is part of the UNESCO world heritage sites and is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. It’s ecosystem plays a vital role in the area and is home to a huge variety of plants, trees, birds, animals and insects. Kinabalu Park is situated approximately 2 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu.

This unique natural park has so much to offer it’s visitors with stunning views of Mount Kinabalu, botanical gardens, hot springs and lots of treks and trails to explore. This is the perfect day trip out for nature lovers. If your lucky you might be able to see the world’s biggest flower the Rafflesia. It is a rare and exotic parasitic flowering plant and can take up to 15 months to bud and only bloom for up to 7 days.

We had a Kinabalu Park tour booked through Amazing Borneo, but I went down with a 24 hour sickness bug and started feeling unwell on the bus on the route there. The tour company was kind enough to stop and organise our transport back to our accommodation. They also went the extra mile and called our accommodation to make sure we got back ok and if they could assist with anything further e.g. hospital etc. They also sent someone to give us a full cash refund of the tour! You can’t get much better service than that. I was absolutely gutted to miss this tour and lose a full day of our Borneo trip but it is somewhere I definitely will return to in the future.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary

Entrance Fee: 60 MYR

Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary is a great observation spot to go and see these weird looking indigenous monkeys, the sanctuary is privately owned and located in the middle of a mangrove forest. The owner who originally planned on developing the site for palm oil plantations nearby realised the monkey’s predicament and decided not to develop their habitat into plantations, and instead opted to make it a sanctuary where they can live freely. The sanctuary has created two viewing platforms on the land where they put food out daily for the monkeys so that visitors can view them and how they interact with each other.

This sanctuary is a great place to get up close to the monkeys especially if your short on time and don’t have the time to venture into the deepest rainforest to view them. We visited the sanctuary after going to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre which we booked the full day as a tour and took an internal flight to reach Sandakan from Kota Kinabalu.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary SabahLabuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary SabahLabuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary Sabah

Kg Pukat Fisherman Village

Kg Pukat Fisherman Village is a village built on stilts over the sea in Sandakan, and the village is full of local fisherman living there with their families. If you like seafood this is a great place to come as there are small restaurants and stalls where the locals selling the fresh catch of the day. There is also dried seafood which you can purchase to take away with you too. We didn’t eat at the village but had a look around as its interesting to see these quirky huts built over the water and seeing the local villagers going about their day to day lives. If you’re in Sandakan this place is a great place to stop off at to get an insight into local life. We went there towards the end of the day before heading back to the airport for our domestic flight back to Kota Kinabalu. Our tour guide recommended the place and even though we didn’t spend long there, we were really glad we got to see this peaceful sea village.

Kg Pukat Fisherman Village Sabah

Pulau Tiga (Survivor Island)

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 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.

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!

Read more about Pulau Tiga: An Overnight Stay On Borneo’s Survivor Island – Pulau Tiga

Pulau Tiga (Survivor Island) BorneoPulau Tiga (Survivor Island) BorneoPulau Tiga (Survivor Island) Borneo

Puu Jih Shih Temple

Puu Jih Shih Temple is a Buddhist temple and the largest Chinese temple in Sandakan and located just outside of town overlooking Sandakan Bay on top of the hilltop of Tanah Merah. The temple was built back in 1987 and provides amazing views of the town and its coast. The temple is bright and colourful with plenty of gold detailing and incense filling the air of the temple. This temple is a must when in Sandakan town!

Puu Jih Shih Temple SandakanPuu Jih Shih Temple Sandakan

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Entrance Fee: 30 MYR

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is an amazing place conducting incredible work into rehabilitating orphaned orangutans. Orangutans are native to Malaysia and Indonesia however they are currently only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. They used to inhabit many places all over south east Asia and south China, but due to the destruction of their natural habitats, they are now critically endangered. Orangutans are icons which are most associated with Borneo. What these intelligent and beautiful primates are going through is utterly heartbreaking, but thankfully places like Sepilok are at hand to give these apes a helping hand and to try and get their numbers back up in the wild.

The rehabilitation centre was founded back in 1964, and the site is situated in the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo and on a large protected plot of land on the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. Today approximately 70 orangutans are living free in the reserve. There are also about 25 young orphaned orangutans that are housed in the nurseries being taught and shown how to live and survive as an orangutan in the forests.

Recently rehabilitated individuals have their diet supplemented by daily feedings. The food supplied by the centre is purposefully designed to be repetitive and boring, so it encourages the orangutans to start to forage for themselves. Visitors can see them on viewing platforms from a distance and measures are put in place to ensure people stay quiet as not to disturb them. Visitors are restricted to walkways and are not allowed to approach or handle the apes either.

The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which have been treated at the centre include sun bears, gibbons and elephants.

When visiting Sabah this should be top of your must do list as not only is it an amazing once in a lifetime experience. Sepilok is considered a useful educational centre and you will learn so much there about these apes. This was the highlight of our trip and a real pinch me moment when we saw the apes climbing through trees above, it was quite emotional and overwhelming too, the whole thing was just incredible and just a once in a lifetime experience.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre BorneoSepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre BorneoSepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre Borneo

Food & Drink

English Tea House & Restaurant

English Tea House & Restaurant is probably the most random place to stop at for lunch and isn’t typically Bornean. However North Borneo used to be part of the British colony until 1962, and this quaint English tea house is located next to the Agnes Keith House in Sandakan. It is a museum dedicated to an American author known for her three autobiographies about life in British North Borneo.

The tea house is a great spot to come for lunch as the gardens are so peaceful, and sat on top of a hill with great views over Sandakan Bay and the surrounding town. The restaurant has both traditional English dishes such as fish and chips and afternoon tea, but also serves up Malay dishes too. We normally opt to eat at more authentic places but came here for lunch while in Sandakan as it’s a bit of a novelty.

English Tea House & Restaurant Sandakan

Accommodation

Masada Bed & Breakfast

Masada Bed & Breakfast is a small hostel and bed and breakfast situated in Kota Kinabalu and is in a central location within walking distance of all nearby attractions, malls and restaurants etc. We based ourselves at Masada and booked into a private room with a shared bathroom, they offer all guests a complimentary breakfast which is basic but enough to fill you up for the morning. There are dorm rooms available as well which is a great option if your travelling solo.

It’s a spotlessly clean and the staff were really helpful and friendly, and it’s great value for money it only cost us about £15 per night for both of us. We didn’t really want to spend much on accommodation in Borneo as we were planning on being out most of the day exploring, apart from the one day I got sick and had to spend a whole day in our room running backwards and forwards past the reception desk to the shared bathrooms (not one of my finest moments in life)! The staff were great though and kept checking on me to see how I was doing.

Honestly can’t recommend this bed and breakfast enough it’s a great place to base yourself and meet other travellers from all around the world. We met some really lovely other travellers, the whole place just has a really friendly vibe, and you will get chatting to everyone staying there over breakfast or sat chilling in the lounge area.

Transport & Getting Around

We based ourselves in Kota Kinabalu as it’s a small city and everywhere can be reached by walking, so walk everywhere as much as possible around the city as you get to see so much more! However there are minibuses which circulate the city and go to the airport looking for passengers and are really cheap too. There are also taxis available but can cost quite a bit even to go a short distance. There are also opportunities to hire cars and scooters, just be careful as some of the roads outside of the city can be quite rough.

We walked everywhere around the city and then booked all our tours through Amazing Borneo. I cannot recommend them enough, they are the BEST tour company I have ever used! We booked our Pulau Tiga island experience with them as well as the Sepilok Orangutan tour, and we just booked our flights from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan through Malaysian airlines and they had a guide meet us at the other end.

I would suggest when visiting Borneo to book yourself a base and then book day tours and overnight excursions through Amazing Borneo as all the entrance fees and transport costs are all covered under one price. Tours in Borneo aren’t the cheapest, but you get what you pay for and the knowledge of a local guide and everything included. If you’re going into the rainforests then you will need someone who knows and understands the areas and the risks so that you are kept safe, and also not damaging any of the local wildlife and plants.

4 Day Itinerary

  • Head To Pulau Tiga island in the morning on your first day for an overnight stay and spend both days exploring the island and enjoy some serenity. (suggested – Amazing Borneo Tour)
  • On your third day start the day early and take an internal flight to Sandakan and visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, English Tea House & Restaurant, Puu Jih Shih Temple and Kg Pukat Fisherman Village before catching a flight back to Kota Kinabalu. (suggested – Amazing Borneo Tour)
  • Visit Kinabalu Park where you can see stunning views of Mount Kinabalu, hot sprints and botanical gardens. (suggested – Amazing Borneo Tour)

Top Tips

Borneo is extremely hot and humid so wear light and comfortable clothing but also be mindful Borneo is a predominately Muslim country so try to cover shoulders and knees and dress modestly when out and about. Make sure to pack some light walking boots or trainers for good grip when venturing out into the wilderness.

If it’s your first time going to Borneo I would suggest starting in the state of Sabah it’s got everything from wildlife and pristine beaches and the terrain is much easier to navigate compared to Sarawak which is normally recommended to more seasoned travellers as its slightly more off the beaten track.

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

How To Spend 4 Days In Borneo’s Sabah Region - Pinterest Pin

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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

A Day Trip To Phang Nga Bay From Phuket - Pinterest Pin

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What To See & Do In The Scottish Highlands In 5 Days

The Highlands of Scotland are located in the north west of the country and spreads out to the many islands off the coast. The Highlands offers the ultimate wilderness break, and if solitude is what your after, then look no further! These areas are sparsely populated and full of so much natural beauty it’s the perfect relaxation getaway and great for a digital detox too.

Scotland’s natural playground really does have something to offer everyone from vast empty coastlines, mountains, lochs, historical castles and monuments and so much more, the landscapes are truly breathtaking!

My husband, myself and our two friends managed to get some cheap flights up to Inverness, hired a car and booked a glamping geodome for all four of us to stay in. We did so much in 5 days however there is so much more to see, and if you go in the summer months then there are lots of wildlife tours you can book onto too. We visited the first weekend of October so unfortunately many of the wildlife boat tours had stopped running.

We honestly had such an amazing trip and were so surprised that a domestic trip could be so good. Normally I am the worst for jetting off to exotic far flung countries, but after our break in the Highlands I definitely want to make a more conscious effort to explore more of the UK!

Sights & Activities

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK, situated in the north west Highlands and part of the Grampian mountain range. It is close by to the town of Fort William, and attracts many tourists and hikers from all over. We checked the weather before going and worked out which was the best day for us to hike up it, we only made it half way up as the weather conditions changed. It became very windy, so we made it to a lake which is about half way up the mountain and stopped there for a bit and started to head back down.

The walk up is amazing and you get the most incredible views of the mountains and the natural beauty that the Highlands have to offer. To hike to the very top of Ben Nevis would on average take between 4-5 hours, however this is fitness and weather dependent. Make sure when you visit you wear walking/hiking gear, and take plenty of water and snacks with you as once you start the hike there isn’t anywhere to stop and buy anything. However the water from the streams is so clean you can drink straight from them. If you plan on hiking up to the top be sure to allow for a full day to get up and get back down again.

Ben Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis Scotland

Bridge Of Oich

The River Oich is part of the Great Glen and has a suspension bridge designed by a brewer turned engineer. The 46 metre Bridge of Oich was built in 1854, a few years after floods swept through the Great Glen and destroyed the original stone bridge.

Bridge Of Oich Scotland

Cairngorms

The Cairngorms is the UKs largest national park and has so much to see and do from mountains, forests, lochs, waterfalls, villages, distilleries and plenty of wildlife. The Cairngorms is also the most popular ski resort in the UK, and attracts many visitors who are interested in snow sports, rock climbing and mountain biking.

We visited the Cairngorms and started off our day in Aviemore which is like the gateway to the national park and is popular with visitors. We had lunch there and a wander around many of its shops before heading off on a road trip driving around the Cairngorms and stopping off to admire the views. You could easily spend your whole holiday in the Cairngorms as there is so much to see and lots of hikes and trails to follow. As we were short on time we just spent a full day there, but I would love to go back and explore some more!

Cairngorms ScotlandCairngorms ScotlandCairngorms Scotland

Commando Memorial

The Commando Memorial is close to Spean Bridge and was created in 1952 to commemorate the British Commando Forces which were put together in World War 2. The monument is a large bronze statue of 3 commando soldiers which overlooks the training grounds of the Commando Training Depot which was established in 1942. It provides amazing views over Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr too.

Eilean Donan Castle

As we reached the mainland after being on the Isle of Skye we made a quick stop at Eilean Donan Castle to see it lit up at dusk, the 13th century castle is perched on top of a small tidal island where 3 sea lochs meet, Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh. It’s about half a mile from the village of Dornie. The castle is open to visitors too, and has been featured on several films and tv series and is one of the most photographed castles in all of Scotland.

Eilean Donan Castle Scotland

Fort William

Fort William is a town in the western Scottish Highlands, on the shores of Loch Linnhe. Fort William is great base to explore Ben Nevis. The town has a cute little high street filled with pubs, cafes, restaurants and lots of souvenir shops. We came into town after visiting Ben Nevis for some lunch and a look around the shops.

Isle Of Skye

The Isle of Skye is one of Scotlands top destinations to visit and after visiting I can clearly see why! Isle of Skye is connected to Scotland’s northwest coast by a bridge, and is 50 miles long and the largest of the Inner Hebrides archipelago. This island has so much to offer its visitors from its rugged landscapes, quaint fishing villages, medieval castles and lots of wildlife such as eagles, seals, otters, dolphins, whales and deer to name a few!

We visited the Isle of Skye in just one day, however you could spend days and days roaming this island especially if you are into hiking trails. If you come in the summer there are lots of whale watching tours and wildlife kayaking tours available to book. We started off our day early as it took approximately 2 hours to drive to the Isle of Skye from where we were staying by Loch Ness. Some of the main places to visit on the Isle of Skye are;

We started to head back to the mainland before it got dark, there is so much to see and do on the Isle of a Skye I really wish we had more time there. Even if your short on time on your Highlands trip be sure to keep one day spare for a visit to the Isle of Skye.

Read more about the Isle Of Skye: A Day Trip To The Isle Of Skye From Loch Ness

Isle Of SkyeIsle Of SkyeIsle Of SkyeIsle Of Skye

Loch Ness & Fort Augustus

Loch Ness is the most famous loch in Scotland and is surrounded by mystery with tales of sightings of a Loch Ness monster living deep beneath this freshwater lake. Loch Ness contains more water than all the lakes in England and Wales put together. Loch Ness is about 23 miles in length and offers plenty of natural beauty, with lots of hikes and trails all around the legendary loch. Just behind our Geodome was a gorgeous trail with stunning views over the Loch, my husband and I were even lucky enough to see 2 deer dash out in front of us and into the trees.

There are plenty of cruises and boat tours available on Loch Ness, however we opted to walk along it, and visited Fort Augustus to admire its views over Loch Ness. Fort Augustus is nestled on the most southern tip of Loch Ness and lying on the 60 mile long Caledonian Canal. Fort Augustus is a tourist hotspot and there you can watch boats steering through the large locks. There are lots of shops, restaurants, cafes, tours and cruises of Loch Ness in Fort Augustus too.

Loch NessFort AugustusLoch Ness

Mallaig, Morar & Arisaig

Mallaig, Morar and Arisaig are all seaside villages/towns located on the west cost of the highlands. We came to these on our last day and drove along the coast and stopped at their harbours and beaches. Mallaig is a fishing port town and is also extremely popular with Harry Potter fans as the Jacobite steam train which runs from Fort William to Mallaig and was featured in the Harry Potter films.

We came to Mallaig first and stopped there for lunch and a saunter around the shops and port, after that we then drove along the series of beaches known as the Silver Sands which dot the coastline from Morar to Arisaig. We stopped at lots of these beautiful beaches and coves and had them all to ourselves, they were so peaceful and rural.

Our last stop before having to head back to Inverness to catch our flight home was Arisaig which is a small village which leads on from Morar and is situated on an inlet in the Morar peninsula surrounded by the blue sea, rocky coves and powdery white sand. I absolutely fell in love with the west coast of Scotland the beaches were absolutely gorgeous and so clean they were hard to believe they were in the UK.

Mallaig ScotlandMallaig ScotlandMallaig ScotlandMorar ScotlandMorar ScotlandMorar ScotlandArisaig ScotlandArisaig Scotland

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle is situated on Loch Ness and is one of the Highlands most famous castles. With a 1000 years of history the castle ruins gives visitors a taste into medieval times. As we were driving back to our Geodome from the Cairngorms we saw the castle so quickly pulled over to view it, the castle was stunning and we caught sunset just in time.

Urquhart Castle

Food & Drink

Chlachain Inn

Chlachain Inn is located in Mallaig, there isn’t a huge choice of places to choose from in this little port, but this looked nice from the outside and had a warm fire going inside, we stopped in here lunch and the food was great. I opted for the halloumi burger and it came with the most delicious relish!

Chlachain Inn Scotland

The Bothy

The Bothy is a traditional pub and restaurant next to the Caledonian canal in Fort Augustus. It has lots of traditional Scottish food on offer and the portions are huge! So make sure to go hungry, I had the mushroom pie which was was so delicious and just what I needed on a cold day. The Bothy is also a great place to visit for a drink too, as it’s set in a gorgeous 200 year old cottage and it has a friendly atmosphere.

The Bothy Scotland

The Cluanie Inn

On the way back from Isle of Skye we stopped off in Glenmoriston at the The Cluanie Inn. The great thing about Scotland is that it is full of cosy pubs and inns. We all weren’t massively hungry so stopped in there for a drink and a small dinner. The place was really popular with tourists and had a good range of food and drinks on offer.

The Cluanie Inn Scotland

The Grog & Gruel

The Grog and Gruel is on Fort Williams high street, and is a small alehouse and restaurant. There is a variety of dishes available and lots of American and Mexican food available to order. I decided on the vegetarian haggis which was really tasty. They pride themselves on offering a big choice of local and regional brewed ales and craft lagers and hearty comfort food.

The Grog & Gruel Scotland

The Wildcat

The Wildcat on Fort William high street is a vegan and zero waste cafe, which also has a refill shop at the back of the cafe and sells organic and ethical every day products. We stopped in here for a slice of cake and a chai latte, which was honestly one of the best chais I’ve ever had. The cafe has a very hipster look and feel to it and is a really great place to stop for a pick me up.

The Wildcat Scotland

The Winking Owl

The Winking Owl is a chalet restaurant in the town of Aviemore in the Cairngorms. It cooks up Scottish and international dishes with amazing views over the mountains. We came in here for lunch before exploring the rest of the Cairngorms. There is also a lunch menu available and we ordered the brie wedges to share to start with and they were amazing!

The Winking Owl ScotlandThe Winking Owl ScotlandThe Winking Owl Scotland

Accommodation

Inver Coille Camping & Glamping

When we were originally looking into where we wanted to stay, we knew we wanted something quirky and cosy. We came across Inver Coillie Camping and Glamping which offers several glamping options such as Geodomes, bell tents and pods. As there was 4 of us we opted to book one of their geodomes, and we were definitely not disappointed!

The campsite is nestled in a beautiful wooded area along Loch Ness, and only a 10 minute drive into Fort Augustus, it’s a great location for exploring the Highlands. Everything has been well thought out at the campsite, all the glamping pods are all well spaced out, bathrooms are immaculately clean and heated! When you book a Geodome you are provided with your own allocated bathroom which is code locked, which is great as you can leave all your toiletries in there. There is also a picnic area with fire pit and recycling bins. Just by the bathrooms there is also a communal area of sinks for washing up etc.

The dome we were allocated was gorgeous and we had the woods directly behind and a beautiful stream running just outside the dome. Inside the dome there is a double bed and a day bed which converts into a double. There’s a table and chairs and small kitchen unit which has a hob, and all the kitchen utensils and crockery you need along with a kettle. The dome comes with a starter pack of tea, coffee, sugar and biscuits. They also supply you with a bag of logs on arrival for the log burner, after that you can then buy extra at the reception. The log burner was amazing and made the Geodome so warm and toasty.

There was no WiFi or signal at Inver Coille but actually it was really nice to be able to fully switch off from the world. There was some solar run lights in the Geodome and some battery operated fairy lights but no electricity, however they supply you with a battery pack so you can charge your electricals, and you can leave gadgets charging in their reception.

If your looking for something a little bit different from your average guest house or hotel, and want a truely unique experience then I would definitely recommend glamping in the Highlands and get the chance to experience the outdoors a little more.

Inver Coille Camping & Glamping ScotlandInver Coille Camping & Glamping Scotland

Transport & Getting Around

As the Highlands covers a huge area I would recommend hiring a car, we picked up a car as soon as we landed at Inverness airport and dropped it off before we flew home. Having the flexibility of a car is great and means you can pull over at beautiful spots and find places you didn’t know existed along the way.

With Scotland’s rapid weather changes it’s also good to have a car to escape the rain. The roads are pretty quiet in the Highlands, just be prepared to drive along a lot of country roads, and the weather can take a turn for the worse at any moment.

Hiring a car was pretty inexpensive, just make sure to book in advance to get a good deal. Make sure to check out driving laws in Scotland as well, as there are a few variations compared to other areas in the UK.

5 Day Itinerary

  1. After arriving into the Highlands spend some time exploring Loch Ness and Fort Augustus and grab some pub grub at The Bothy.
  2. Get up early and start the climb up Ben Nevis, if you have any energy left after grab some food and have a wander in Fort William, and make some quick pit stops at the Commando Memorial and Bridge Of Oich.
  3. Set off early and have a full day exploring the Isle of Skye, and when coming back to the mainland at the end of the day stop at Eilean Donan Castle to see it lit up at dusk.
  4. Spend a full day exploring Aviemore and the Cairngorms.
  5. Drive to Mallaig, Morar and Arisaig and spend the day exploring each of these small villages that are all close together.

Top Tips

My top tips for visiting the Highlands is to pack for the weather make sure you pack plenty of warm and waterproof clothes and hiking boots with you. As much as I hate hiking boots as I think they are the ugliest invention known to mankind, they are highly functional in the Highlands.

One other tip is to research before you go and maybe download maps.me and pin out where you want to visit, as when we went to the Isle of Skye we went without a plan and ended up driving back on ourselves as we realised we had missed one of the major sights. If your time constraint then planning out an itinerary will mean you make the very most of your trip too.

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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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Muscat Mini Guide

Muscat is Oman’s capital and is situated on a port in the gulf of Oman surrounded by deserts and mountains. Muscat was never somewhere I ever thought I would travel to or ever really fancied travelling to to be honest. Several years back though I got rostered a Muscat through the airline I work for. So I decided to make the most of my 24 hours there, and I can honestly say I was not disappointed!

Muscat was somewhere that really took me by surprise. The landscape was baron but stunning with vast amounts of rocky mountains, and gorgeous turquoise blue ocean which could be witnessed for miles upon miles. The locals were all so warm and welcoming too. It was somewhere which I didn’t really know much about and after visiting once I am so desperate to go back and do lots more exploring.

While I was on my 24 hour layover in Muscat a colleague and myself decided to book onto a half day tour of sailing along the Omani Gulf and searching for wild dolphins and going snorkelling. The tour was amazing it picked us up from our hotel at 8.30am, and took us down to the port where our boat was waiting for us, the tour company run small groups so there were 8 of us in total. The boat was a modern boat which had a nice deck and outside seating area.

After we set sail on our boat we could really admire the Muscat landscape in the distance and could see all the beautiful rocky coves that surround the sea. It wasn’t long before we were out on the open ocean and all of sudden spotted hundreds of wild dolphins jumping out of the water and swimming around and underneath the boat.

I couldn’t believe how many dolphins there were out there. It was truely breathtaking to see them swimming freely and enjoying themselves. We also saw a few baby dolphins with their mums too which was just incredible!

After we sat watching the dolphins for a while, our boat driver took us to a rocky cove where the water was crystal clear and calm, and it wasn’t too deep and a perfect spot for snorkelling. We got on our snorkels and jumped into the warm water, and got to see lots of colourful fish, coral, sea cucumbers and even managed to swim alongside the most beautiful turtle and watched it coming up for air from the boat.

After we spent a while swimming and snorkelling we sailed back to the harbour and were driven back to our hotel where we finished our tour at about 12.30pm so it’s a great little tour which doesn’t eat into too much time. The boat company also included soft drinks and fruit to snack on, the tour only cost about £30.

I did this the other year so unfortunately can’t remember the exact tour company I used back then. However a lot of my colleagues that go to Muscat frequently use a tour company called Hunter Tours, which offer a whole range of excursions.

Muscat has so much to offer and I am so desperate to go back and would even consider a holiday there, as I found it a lot more laid back and welcoming compared to other Middle East countries. There is so much natural beauty around the Oman Gulf that I would really recommend a trip here to any nature lovers out there.

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