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

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Amazing Places To Visit In Singapore For Free

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

Arab Street & Haji Lane

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

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

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

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

Masjid Sultan MosqueHaji Lane

Botanical Gardens

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

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

Botanical Gardens SingaporeBotanical Gardens SingaporeBotanical Gardens Singapore

Bugis

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

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

Chinatown

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

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

Chinatown SingaporeChinatown Singapore

Emerald Hill Road

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

Emerald Hill Road

Fort Canning Park

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

Gardens By The Bay & Garden Rhapsody Light Show

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

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

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

Gardens By The BayGarden Rhapsody Light Show

Geylang & Joo Chiat (Katong)

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

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

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

Koon Seng RoadKim Choo Kueh Chang

Little India

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

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

Little India SingaporeLittle India Flower Garlands

Marina Bay, Spectra Light Show & Merlion

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

Marina Bay

MacRitchie Reservoir Park & Treetop Walk

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

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

Mac Ritchie Reservoir Park Treetop WalkMac Ritchie Reservoir Park Treetop Walk

Raffles Hotel

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

Sentosa Island

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

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

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

Sentosa Island

Southern Ridges

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

Tiong Bahru

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

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

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A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism

A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism

Sustainability holds huge importance in today’s current climate both at home and now when travelling. Companies and people are starting to consider their impact on the world and how they can reduce it. The travel industry is forever evolving and changing, and now the industry along with governments are starting to realise it must change to a more greener way of working, to ensure a long term sustainable future and to protect destinations so they don’t become ruined.

There are so many eco companies popping up and companies are becoming more environmentally alert. Just beware that some companies are jumping on the bandwagon and trying to greenwash everything, when in fact they are far from being sustainable! There is plenty of information out there on green travel, and just because you have decided to take an extra moment to consider your impact while travelling doesn’t mean you have to stay in a tent, cooking on a solar powered camp stove and singing and dancing barefoot around a camp fire!

The truth is that sustainable eco tourism is all about making simple choices in order to lessen your negative impact on a destination. I myself am not perfect when it comes to eco living and travelling, I work for an airline, I drive to work, I sometimes still buy items wrapped in plastic etc. However in the past few years I have really started to focus on the way I live my life and what I can change both in my day to day life, and while I’m travelling to amazing places around the world.

Like most people the thought of climate change, air pollution, deforestation, water shortages and mass waste production breaks my heart. I’m a huge people, animal and nature lover and the thought of the way I live my life having an affect on another area of the world, impacting a community or disturbing the lives of wildlife was enough for me to make a few simple changes.A Complete Guide To Sustainable TourismAgain no one will ever be perfect it is impossible in this day and age to live completely sustainably, unless you move off grid and live self sufficiently. However for us average working folk there is a lot we can do, and just making some small changes and tweaks it can have such a huge impact. As the saying goes “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

I wanted to write a blog about sustainability for a while now, and want to focus this post on environmental travel, however there will be some parts of this blog that cross over into your home life too.

This blog contains lots of information on accommodation, flights, transport, wildlife, travel eco products and more. You can use these tips when travelling domestically or abroad. You don’t have to religiously stick to all of these tips and don’t put to much pressure on yourself, the fact that your even doing a little bit of research into sustainable travel is a step in the right direction. Just remember there will always be judgement with whatever you do, and all you can do is what you can and what works best for you and your lifestyle.

Accommodation

When planning your trip one of the first things you will look at is where to stay, there is whole range of things you can do to ensure you lessen your impact. Here are few main points that you can focus on when booking your accommodation and when your staying at there too.

When booking your accommodation look to see if there are any eco hotels, lodges, resorts, camping or glamping in the area. Eco accommodation isn’t always easy to track down as major booking sites don’t have an eco filter option on their search bars…yet! A good way to find eco accommodation is to google – eco accommodation followed by your destination, and see what comes up. Also Ecosia is a great search engine which plants a tree for every search, other good booking sites to use are:

However more and more pressure is being put on accommodation providers to improve their sustainability. So if you can’t find an accommodation that’s eco friendly or that fits your needs, then you have the option to book your accommodation through B’n’Tree. This site allows you to book through all major booking agents and plants a tree for every booking with just one click.

There isn’t just one governing body to certify if an accommodation provider is behaving in an eco friendly way, there is a whole range of green tourism schemes, with some being more reputable than others. If you wanted to see how environmentally friendly your sleeping arrangements are have a look to see if they are accredited by Earth Check, Green Key or Green Globe which are some of the more reliable eco tourism accreditors and labels. However take note that to gain an eco certificate the membership costs are very expensive and time consuming, and many smaller accommodation providers might be just as eco friendly but don’t have accreditation. So check their website to see if they have a sustainability section outlining the way they run.

Even if you’re not staying at an eco hotel there are still several ways you can make a difference to your environmental impact such as:

  • Avoid using the hotel miniature toiletries and take your own.
  • Conserve water – opt for a shower and don’t leave water running unnecessarily.
  • If you do have rubbish that can be recycled ask the reception if they have a recycling scheme.
  • Reuse towels and request your bedding to not be changed. Would you have fresh towels and bedding every day at home?! By doing so it saves water and reduces harsh cleaning chemicals.
  • Turn off all appliances and lights when you’re not in the room.

A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Glamping

Food

When in your destination, shop and eat local by going to local markets and restaurants, and try and avoid chain restaurants not only does it help towards the local economy but less likely produce will have been imported in. Small businesses will tend to use local food and produce that has been sourced locally. Eating locally also gives you the chance to interact with the locals providing a more authentic experience, while getting to try lots of new and different food.

Consume less meat as producing it uses far more energy and water, and creates more waste than fruit and vegetables. If you’re a meat eater I’m not saying give up meat entirely, but maybe opt for the odd plant based meal or reduce your intake of red meat, and choose a healthier meat or fish alternative for yourself and the planet. If you want to find vegetarian or vegan restaurants in your destination download the Happy Cow app for guides on vegetarian restaurants in the area.

When eating avoid throw away cutlery and single use packaging if possible, refuse straws and eat in places rather than take away, if you have the time. Take your own reusable travel cutlery and if you’re opting for take away, take your own lunch box/wax wrap and see if the restaurant can put your food in there for you. I know this isn’t always a possibility, but having your own travel cutlery is always easy to carry and pack to avoid using disposable plastic cutlery. If tight on space when packing instead of packing a lunchbox why not pack a reusable wax food wrap or some disposable paper bags. Although the paper bags are still waste it’s a much better alternative than plastic packaging.A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Local Markets

Flights

There is no denying that the aviation industry is key player in the cause of global warming and releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. However many airlines are slowly changing their ways, and investing in better and more fuel efficient aircraft and reducing waste onboard. When travelling overseas there isn’t always much choice but to fly, and especially when most people have limited annual leave. There are however some simple tweaks and considerations you can make to your journey to make it slightly more environmentally friendly.

When booking flights always try and opt for direct flights when and where possible, and if your budget allows for it. The take off and landing of a flight burns more fuel than when the flight is cruising at altitude. When flying direct your limiting your take offs and landings which reduces the amount of carbon going into the air.

Many airlines are now paying into carbon offsetting, it’s by no means a perfect solution, but it’s a step in the right direction and still better than doing nothing at all. Carbon offsetting helps fund projects and schemes all around the world to help balance out the effects of carbon emissions from the aviation industry. Carbon offsetting is a good way to help reduce your impact, and as a passenger when booking your flight most airlines will now give you the choice to pay into carbon offsetting. You don’t have to pay a lot in, just as much as you can afford or think is reasonable, even if it’s just a few extra quid – every little helps.

When packing try and pack as light as you can, as the heavier an aircraft is – the more fuel it burns. Lighter aircrafts produce less carbon emissions, so really have a think about what it is your packing and plan your day to day outfits to avoid over packing, and anything that isn’t necessary leave it at home.

Local Customs

Always try and support locals and their businesses as it’s better to contribute to locals and their economy rather than huge international chains. When visiting a place always respect their local customs and traditions, and read up about a place before travelling there so you’re aware of their customs. There are so many pros and cons to the tourism industry and the affects it can have on a place. In one way it’s great as local communities can make a living from the industry, but also it can have a negative impact of diluting the culture of a place. My best bit of advice is to be culturally aware and respectful and dress in an appropriate way, and be aware of where you are visiting and the people around.

When visiting developing countries sometimes low income families will send their children out to beg on the streets, as hard as it is the best thing to do is not give children any money as it encourages the families to not send them to school. Instead if you want to help take some books and pencils instead and keep them in your bag and if you come across any children then you can give them stationary or stuff to learn and create with which will help them more in the long run.

If you really want to feel like you’re making a difference in a place then why not have a look into volunteering or working along side an NGO (non-governmental organisation) there are a whole range of volunteering schemes all around the world, so do your research and see which would suit you best.A Complete Guide To Sustainable TourismNature & Wildlife

In all destinations a huge factor when visiting anywhere should be consideration for its nature and wildlife. Always respect nature and wildlife and take care when visiting somewhere of natural beauty. Ensure you take any rubbish with you and find somewhere to dispose of it, and if possible find somewhere that recycles it (if it’s a recyclable product). Some hotels recycle so take any rubbish back with you and put into their recycling. Try and avoid making waste if you can by taking your own cutlery, refusing carrier bags and straws etc.

If you spot some litter pick it up and dispose of it into a bin, whenever I visit a beach I always try and make a conscious effort to pick up at least 5 pieces of rubbish and dispose of them. In some places and especially in developing countries where there is little to no waste management, and there is so much rubbish it’s an impossible task for one individual. If that’s the case make more of a conscious effort to not add to an already huge existing problem in that place.

When visiting a beach and swimming in the sea always choose a suncream that is ocean and reef friendly and not full of harmful chemicals that will harm coral and marine life. Take all rubbish and waste with you because if it is left on the beach it can easily blow into the ocean or be dragged into it with the tide. Rubbish and plastic pollution is already causing so many issues for marine life, wildlife and seabirds and it can be fatal for them. When snorkelling or scuba diving always refrain from touching or standing on any coral reef as it can cause huge damage to their fragile ecosystem.

One of the most important sustainable tips I could give is to avoid animal tourism such as elephant riding, selfies with tigers, dolphin shows and cuddling a monkey – the list goes on…I am guilty that in the past I have contributed to negative wildlife tourism, I was naive and didn’t do my research and assumed because somewhere had added sanctuary to the end of its name that it must be a great and caring place for the animals, how wrong I was?!

Most places that are offering a hands on experience with wild animals are more than likely out for personal financial gain, rather than providing what’s best for the animals. If your visiting a destination because you want to experience wildlife then do your homework before hand.

I had always wanted to swim with dolphins, but I didn’t want to swim with them in captivity. When I visited Kaikoura in New Zealand I found a tour that offered a small number of visitors to swim with wild dolphins, and some of the profits went back into the local marine conservation. They took us on a small boat and we just got into the water and it was completely on the dolphins terms if they swam near us. It was a once in a lifetime experience and we’re so lucky that the dolphins were inquisitive and came swimming up to us, that in my opinion is a far better experience than swimming with them in a tank, where they are more than likely mistreated and forced to do tricks and swim with you.

Researching into wildlife tourism is always a must before visiting anywhere and always avoid purchasing any animal product souvenirs such as coral, fur, feathers, reptile skin, turtle shells and ivory etc. Some animal items are illegal and if they’re not, they should be. Morally it is wrong to harvest animals for their body parts to make decorative items out of. Sometimes endangered species are exploited in this awful trade which has a huge effect on their numbers in the wild, and can bring some species to the brink of extinction.A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Wildlife

Shopping

I love shopping and I’ll admit I’m a bit of a shopaholic, however when travelling I always keep my eye out for locally produced souvenirs over mass produced ones. Not only are handmade souvenirs normally of better quality, but also have more meaning and more care gone into them. By purchasing them you are contributing back into the economy or helping a family make ends meet. Remember when travelling to always pack a light reusable shopping bag, or if you’re walking around and have a bag or backpack then refuse a carrier bag and pop the item you purchased into your bag.

Tours

When booking onto tours and activities check the sustainability of a tour or activity, and ensure it’s not having a negative impact on the destination. There are some tours that contribute a donation for every booking back to a charity or environmental scheme. A good example of this is when I visited the Cook Islands there were two tour companies offering a boat trip out on the lagoon, however I swayed towards booking the one that donated a percentage of their sales to local marine conservation. There are plenty of eco tour operators, google eco tours followed by your destination to see if there’s any available for your trip. If in doubt or not sure on where to find eco tours then go to Trip Advisors Eco Tourism Forum and ask a question.A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism

Transport

If you aren’t time constraint, then have a look at other modes of transport alternatives to reach your destination, such as Eurostar or ferry to get to mainland Europe from the UK. If your travelling around in a country or continent then there’s plenty of options for trains, boats or buses instead of an internal flight or short flights. If crossing over borders triple check visa details and read up on anything you may need to know about, like you would when flying into somewhere.

In your destination, explore as much as possible by foot or by cycling, and use public transport when and where you can such as trains, subways and buses etc.

Travel Accessories & Products

Go prepared when travelling the world and take some key items with you to help you reduce the waste you leave behind in a destination. Here are some great accessories and products to take with you on your next trip;

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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Cultural Things To See & Do In Bali

Bali is a paradise island situated in Indonesia, Bali is known all around the world as a tourist hotspot, and there are so many reasons why people are drawn to this beautiful tropical island. Bali is known as the island of the gods, as its a really holy place full of temples and shrines. Many locals put out daily offerings to the gods with beautiful flower petals arrangements and burn candles and incense.

The island has a rich and diverse culture and most days of the week you will witness a procession of locals heading towards one of the many temple ceremonies. Bali is covered in forested volcanic mountains, green rice paddies, beaches and has coral reefs surrounding the island. The island itself is very spiritual and draws visitors from all around the world who are seeking peace, yoga and meditation practises.

We only spent 5 nights in Bali which definitely wasn’t enough! We stayed in Ubud and did a day trip around some major sites around the island, but would definitely love to go back and spend longer exploring some different regions of Bali. Many people that visit Bali split their stay between different areas and divide their time between the beaches and the green forested areas in the centre of the island. Bali has so much to see and do, you could spend weeks exploring its sites. In this quick guide are some of the main cultural sites and attractions to see if you’re limited on time.

Sights & Activities

Balinese Dance

Entrance Fee: 100,000 IDR

There are many places all around Bali that host ancient Balinese traditional dances and theatre shows. Many of these shows are artistic and express stories through the art form of dance and specific body movements with gestures being demonstrated using fingers, hands and eye expressions. These dances are truly unique to Balinese culture and are widely connected to the Hindu religion and Bali folklore. The dances all have different meanings and Balinese names such as Barong, Legong and Baris to name a few.

There are shows held all around the island but Ubud is a very popular place to view one of these performances due to it being the cultural and historical hub of Bali. There are shows every night in Ubud at several locations. I would suggest when travelling around Bali that you aim to see one of the shows in Ubud as they are frequent.

We went to one of the shows held every night at 19:30 at Ubud Palace, there is a different show every night which all perform various Balinese dance styles. The shows at Ubud Palace are only about £6 per person so really affordable. I really recommend spending one evening going to watch one of these shows as it’s great that these traditions are being kept going, they are truly unique and like nothing you have will have ever seen before.

Balinese Dance Ubud

Goa Gajah

Entrance Fee: 50,000 IDR

Goa Gajah is a Hindu temple and archaeological site located just outside of Ubud and is also known as the Elephant Cave due to its close proximity to the Elephant River. The site is said to date back to the 11th century, but with some fragment, relics found close by dating back even earlier! Entering through the face in the rock you step into a small cave which has some small statues and offerings, once you pass through the small narrow cave you come out to two bathing pools with statues. You only need approximately one hour or so to explore this historical site, it’s gardens and surrounding area. Go with knees covered or you can hire sarongs at the entrance. I really enjoyed visiting this site and if you can try and get there early to beat the crowds. We hired a scooter and drove to the temple as it isn’t too far from Ubud centre, however a lot of set day tours stop here too if you prefer booking onto tours.

Goa Gajah BaliGoa Gajah Bali

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are located in the centre of Bali and span over 600 hectares of rice fields following the hillside of the Batukaru Mountain Range, they are part of UNESCO world heritage sites. You could easily spend a few days exploring this area of Bali as there are beautiful mountains, small villages and lots of great local restaurants.

We stopped here on a day tour we booked and stopped to admire the views and for some lunch. It started to rain heavily while we were there, so took the views in undercover. The terraces are stunning, and I honestly have never seen a more vivid shade of green in my life! This area is the very definition of rural Bali if you’re looking to escape the crowds then look into staying in the area at one of the many mountain retreats on offer.

If your staying in Ubud and don’t fancy venturing very far for rice fields, then not to worry as all around Ubud there are plenty of rice terraces with the most famous ones being Tegalalang Terraces. Many tourists don’t leave the resorts or beaches which makes the rice fields a great place to escape and explore in peace and quiet.

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Monkey Forest

Entrance Fee: 80,000 IDR

The famous Monkey Forest is located in Ubud and is seen as an important spiritual and economic centre for the village of Padangtegal which also own the forest. Hidden in the forest are several ancient temples to visit as well. The forest is stunning and like many areas in Bali provides the most beautiful shades of green. The forest has a mysterious feel to it when wandering around and it’s great to watch the monkeys play. There is a large variety of species of trees as well as hundreds of monkeys that call this forest home. You can also feed the monkeys with fruits that you can purchase at the entrance too, do not take any food or drink from outside into the forest to ensure the monkeys don’t become aggressive to steal the food and also to ensure they are getting the correct diet of food. This was one of my favourite areas in Bali it had a really magical feel to the area and I loved watching all the monkeys and being amongst nature. If you’re in Ubud I personally think the Monkey Forest is a must!

Monkey Forest Ubud BaliMonkey Forest Ubud BaliMonkey Forest Ubud Bali

Taman Ayun Temple

Entrance Fee: 10,000 IDR

Pura Taman Ayun is in the heartlands of Bali and situated approximately 30 minutes drive from Ubud. It is a huge royal water temple surrounded by a moat, it was the main temple of the Mengwi Kingdom which survived until 1891. The temple was built in 1634 and was renovated back in 1937. The temple is full of traditional Balinese architectural features which spread throughout the many shrines, buildings, courtyards and gardens. The name of the temple translates into a beautiful garden. The temple forms part of Bali’s UNESCO world heritage site. It’s well worth a visit, especially as it’s not too far away from Ubud if that’s where you are basing yourself for your trip.

Taman Ayun Temple BaliTaman Ayun Temple Bali

Tanah Lot & Batu Bolong Temple

Entrance Fee: 60,000 IDR

Tanah Lot is a rock formation with a Hindu shrine dedicated to the Balinese sea gods, the temple forms an important aspect of Balinese mythology and spirituality. Tanah Lot is situated just offshore on the south east coast of Bali. It was created back in the 16th century by a Hindu priest. Some of the temple and rock has been restored, as they suffered badly from erosion from the large waves and high tides over the years. When it is high tide the shrine cannot be reached when it is low tide people can walk across to the rock formation and the low sea level exposes small caves and crevices.

The complex also has nearby shrines such as Batu Bolong Temple which is on the beach of Canggu, the name translates into perforated rock, as the name suggests it sits out into the ocean and the rock has a hole in the middle. This temple is popular with many Hindus who go there to pray daily.

These shrines are a must visit on any trip to Bali, I would suggest going early to avoid the crowds or try to be there for sunset, however it is much busier around that time. Unfortunately when we visited the heavens opened up and we got soaked, I would love to go back and revisit.

Tanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple BaliTanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple Bali

Ubud

Ubud is the cultural hub of the island, full with beautiful Balinese buildings, temples and green spaces. The area surrounding Ubud is full of jungles and rice terraces. Ubud is a very on trend place with plenty of spas, yoga retreats, fashion and homeware boutiques not to mention there are lots of traditional arts and crafts available all around Ubud from local workshops and markets.

The village of Ubud is also a foodies dream with so many cute hipster cafes and restaurants to pick from. Ubud really has it all apart from the ocean, but it is the greenest place I have ever been to and has so much nature surrounding it. I would suggest staying in Ubud for a couple of nights on your trip to Bali at least, and if your not a beach lover you could easily spend your whole trip in Ubud and get out exploring all the temples and historic sites. You can base yourself in Ubud and do plenty of day tours around the rest of the island too.

Most days we would take our scooter out and go driving around the area stopping at temples and then in the afternoon grab some lunch and hit the local markets such as the Art Market (Pasar Seni), Street Market and the Traditional Market which are a few we visited! There are so many markets and also night markets to explore if your a shopaholic then leave plenty of room in your suitcase.

Ubud BaliUbud BaliUbud Bali

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Entrance Fee: 50,000 IDR

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is one of Bali’s most famous temples and is placed on Lake Beratan which is Bali’s second largest lake. It is in the highlands of the mountainous region of Bedugul, and the temple is dedicated to several Hindu gods. There are signs that the temple dates back as early as 1556, but was rebuilt in 1633. The gardens of the temple are stunning with gorgeous views over the lake, temples and mountains in the distance. It’s a really calm place to visit and much cooler with its mountain air. This was our first stop on our day tour around the island if your planning on visiting Ulun Danu Beratan Temple I would suggest booking a private driver or book onto a tour that stops there, as it’s high in the mountains it might not be the easiest drive for someone not familiar with the roads.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali

Transport & Getting Around

Getting around Bali is pretty easy and most locals and tourists tend to opt for scooters, as they’re quick and easy to get from a to b and cheap to run and hiring them doesn’t cost much at all. When hiring a scooter make sure to wear a helmet as there have been so many horrendous stories of tourists having accidents not just in Bali but all around South East Asia.

You can also hire bicycles around the villages but Bali roads aren’t for the faint hearted especially on a bike! Some are in quite a poor condition too, so speak to you accommodation provider who will be able to recommend good places to hire bicycles and some hotels even have them to hire out as well as scooters. There is public transport in the form of a van crammed with seats like a bus called bemos, these aren’t a popular choice with either locals or tourists as they run on a set route, and are few and far between as most people tend to opt for scooters or private drivers.

Bali is easily accessible by many flights that land into Ngurah Rai International Airport with flights from all over the world and Asia. You can also get boats to Bali from both Lombok and the Gili Islands with plenty of different options available.

As we were limited on time we booked a full day island tour through Perama Tours who are reliable and great value and are an Indonesian based tour operator. The tour we booked took us to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Munduk Waterfall Valley, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Taman Ayun Temple, Tanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple. They have a variety of tours available if you’re tight on time then booking day tours are a great way to get out and see everything you want to see and with the knowledge of a local.

Top Tips

Bali is an incredible place to visit and it is an extremely popular tourist destination so do go with an open mind and expect crowds. Don’t always go expecting you’re going to be the only one at a popular tourist spot, don’t let Instagram fool you! Many of these travel influencers that get these amazing photos will get up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds and a do a lot of photoshopping, so don’t be shocked if you go somewhere and it is heaving with people.

Bali is full of many religious sites and temples so dress modestly with shoulders and knees covered. A lot of the religious sites will allow you to hire sarongs to cover yourself too. Also note that many high end bars and restaurants have a dress code too, and beachwear in some places may not be allowed, check prior to going to certain places to avoid any disappointment.

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 Gili Islands From Lombok

The Gili Islands are a group of three tiny islands clustered close to one another. The islands are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are situated near the coast of northwest Lombok. The islands are a popular spot for tourists for their white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and coral reefs just offshore.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Each island although similar in appearance all have quite a different vibe from one another. All of the Gilis do not have roads and do not permit any motorised vehicles on them, so the main way to get around each island is by foot, bicycle or by cidomo (horsedrawn carts). Just be careful with hiring a horse and cart as I have heard many stories of the horses not being cared for properly.

Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is the largest of the islands and attracts the majority of visitors, it takes approximately 30 minutes by boat from the northwest of Lombok and regular daily fast boats depart Bali directly to Gili T. Gili T is popular with tourists as it has the most going on in comparison to the other Gili Islands – restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. Gili T was once known as a hippie party island, but today is popular with both backpackers and families.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Gili Meno is the smallest Gili Island and by far the most peaceful and underdeveloped, and is popular with honeymooners and the more mature traveller. The island is ringed by pristine beaches and coral reefs. Most accommodation is on the east side of the island with the most beautiful beach on offer, although there is some development going on in the west of the island. Inland on Gili Meno are homesteads, coconut plantations and there is a salty lake.

Gili Air is the island closest to Lombok and is a good island to visit if you want the best of both worlds – less busy than Gili T, but with still a little bit of nightlife, and chilled out enough so you can do plenty of relaxing. The snorkelling is really good right off from the main beach too. The beaches on Gili Air are said to be the best out of the three islands.

We visited the Gilis on a day trip from Lombok and booked a boat trip through Perama Tours which picked us up from the hotel in the morning and took us to the harbour where we then had a private boat that took us snorkelling around all three of the islands, and we stopped at Gili T where we had a wander around and had lunch and got to spend some time on the beach.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

After lunch, we got back on the boat for some more snorkelling around the islands. The Gili islands also have lots of scuba diving trips and courses available too, and the scuba diving is meant to be amazing! Snorkelling is really great around all of the islands and we were lucky enough to swim alongside a beautiful turtle.

Gili Islands Indonesia

The Gili Islands are an absolute must when planning a trip to Indonesia, and you could easily spend your whole holiday there or add it on to a Bali or Lombok itinerary. Personally, I would love to go back and revisit the Gilis and next time I would like to spend a few nights there. I would recommend that if you have time to spend a couple of nights on the islands. However if you are limited on time like we were, a day trip is a good idea so that you can get a taste of the islands.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Transport & Getting Around

The quickest and easiest way to get to the Gili Islands is from Lombok, as they are much closer in proximity than Bali. From Lombok, there are several transfers that can be booked as well as cheap public boats. Each of the Gilis has public boats in their harbour areas that leave when at full capacity.

Depending on which Gili Island you are visiting there are several departures from Lombok to the Gilis throughout the day, there is Teluk Nare Harbour which is where the ferries and speedboats come in, and Bangsal Harbour which offers public boats across to the Gilis. From both these ports, Gili Air is only a 10 minute boat ride, to Gili Meno it is 15 minutes and to Gili Trawangan its around 20 – 30 minutes.

Once on the Gilis you can easily get between each island by hopping on one of the boats which runs between them all regularly, and they are all between 5 – 10 minute boat ride apart from one another.

There are also plenty of options to reach the Gilis from Bali, which are longer boat journeys but easily doable and can take anything between 1 to 5 hours depending on which option you choose and where you depart from. There are fast boats and also ferries which run between Bali, the Gili Islands and Lombok. The ferry option is a cheap option, but I would only recommend to people on a tight budget and travelling for an extended amount of time. I would suggest anyone who is on holiday for a few weeks to go with the quicker options. You can also charter private boats to take you across from both Bali and Lombok.

We booked through Perama Tours to go from Lombok to the Gili Islands as they have daily tours but you can also book boat transfers through them as well.

Top Tips

The Gili Islands although set up for tourists, they are a little more behind with facilities to that of its popular island neighbour Bali. Make sure to carry cash as well as cards as ATMs are only in a few hotels in Gili T, and cards are accepted but monly in modern establishments.

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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5 Things To See & Do In North Lombok

The island of Lombok is placed between the popular tourist island of Bali and the remote Sumbawa Island of West Nusa Tenggara. The residents of Lombok are predominantly Muslim, which makes it very different from Bali which is mostly Hindu. Before the independence of Indonesia, Lombok was mainly ruled by the chiefs of the indigenous Sasak tribe, which still dominates most of the population today.

Lombok has something for everyone from stunning sandy beaches, jungles and waterfalls, with plenty of surfing and trekking on offer for adventurers. Lombok itself doesn’t have a very big nightlife scene, however if you’re looking for something a little more lively then head to the island of Gili Trawangan for a few nights. The island is also home to Indonesia’s second largest active volcano – Mount Rinjani which is popular with hikers. Lombok is definitely more suited to travellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle and looking for a quieter destination with plenty of off the beaten track natural wonders.

We only had 3 nights in Lombok and had a day trip out to the Gili Islands. I really would love to go back to Lombok and spend some more time there in the future. I really recommend that if your travelling to Bali and the Gili Islands then make some extra time and visit Lombok for a few nights at least, as it’s a complete contrast to Bali and the Gilis.

Sights & Activities

Malimbu Hill

Malimbu Hill is a gorgeous coastal viewpoint and is located 10 minutes drive from Senggigi. There are two viewpoint options one which is Malimbu Hill which is a grassy hilltop covered in palm trees, which is a perfect spot for watching the sunset, or there is Malimbu Cliff which is a higher viewpoint. We didn’t really get chance to stop here as we were on a Lombok day tour, but did get a quick glance over the view, and could even see the Gili Islands in the far distance. I would recommend visiting for sunset to take full advantage of the ocean views.

Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest

Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest is a stunning jungle viewpoint set along a winding mountain road about a 35 minute drive from Senggigi. There’s a small lay-by to pull over in, which has lots of wild macaque monkeys roaming around because many tourists feed them. This is a great place to stop off and admire the forest views and of course see the monkeys climbing the trees and waiting to be fed.

Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest LombokBaun Pusuk Monkey Forest LombokBaun Pusuk Monkey Forest Lombok

Senaru Village

Senaru Village is a traditional Sasak village which is located next to the Mount Rinjani Trek Centre where the Rinjani trail begins, it’s approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Senggigi. The Sasak inhabitants are the cultural guardians of Mount Rinjani and its surrounding forest. Visiting the village is a great insight into local life and getting to see the authentic thatched houses. It’s a great place to stop off at before visiting Sendang Gile Waterfall or if your heading to Mount Rinjani.

Senaru Village Lombok

Sendang Gile Waterfall

Entrance Fee: 10,000 IDR

Sendang Gile Waterfall is located close to Senaru Village and close to the base of Mount Rinjani. Lombok has many waterfalls to go and visit, but this one is a popular one due to its location and ease, as its an easy 15 minute walk from the entrance to view the waterfall. It’s a gorgeous waterfall surrounded by greenery and nature, on a hot day it’s really refreshing to take a dip in the pool or to fully submerge yourself underneath the falls. We booked a day tour so all prices were included in the tour price. I would really recommend visiting Sendang Gile waterfall or at least one of of the many waterfalls Lombok has to offer such as Benang Stokel, Benang Kelambu, Tiu Tedja and various other waterfalls dotted around the island.

Sendang Gile Waterfall Lombok

The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are a group of three tiny islands clustered close to one another. The islands are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are situated near the coast of northwest Lombok. The islands are a popular spot for tourists for their white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and coral reefs just offshore. Each island although similar in appearance all have quite a different vibe from one another.

Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is the largest of the islands and attracts the majority of visitors, it takes approximately 30 minutes by boat from the northwest of Lombok. Gili T is popular with tourists as it has the most going on in comparison to the other Gili Islands – restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.

Gili Meno is the smallest Gili Island and by far the most peaceful and underdeveloped, and is popular with honeymooners and the more mature traveller.

Gili Air is the island closest to Lombok and is a good island to visit if you want the best of both worlds – less busy than Gili T, but with still a little bit of nightlife, and chilled out enough so you can do plenty of relaxing.

We visited the Gilis on a day trip from Lombok and booked a boat trip through Perama Tours which picked us up from the hotel in the morning and took us to the harbour where we then had a private boat that took us snorkelling around all three of the islands.

The Gili Islands are an absolute must when planning a trip to Indonesia, add it on to a Bali or Lombok itinerary. I would recommend that if you have time to spend a couple of nights on the islands. However if you are limited on time like we were, a day trip is a good idea so that you can get a taste of the islands.

Read more about The Gili Islands: A Day Trip To The Gili Islands From Lombok

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Transport & Getting Around

Getting to Lombok is pretty easy to reach from Bali, there are plenty of flights to Lombok airport which is what we opted for. We booked a flight with Lion Air which is a 20 minute flight and cost us about £30 per person return, however this can vary depending on when you travel. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Kuta from the airport and it’s an hour drive to Senggigi.

You can also head to Lombok by public ferry from Padang Bai Port in Bali which is really cheap and easy to do, however the ferry does take between 4 – 5 hours to reach Lembar Port in Lombok, which is approximately an hour away from both Kuta and Senggigi.

Lombok isn’t the easiest island to get around with regards to public transport as mostly it only operates in bigger towns on the island. Renting a car, motorbike or scooter is the best option or booking onto day tours if you want to explore more of the island if your short on time.

As we were limited on time we just booked all our tours through Perama Tours who are reliable and great value, and are an Indonesian based tour operator. We booked Perama for a Gili Islands day tour on our second day in Lombok, and on our last day, we booked a full day tour of Lombok where they took us to Malimbu Hill, Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest, Senaru Village and Sendang Gile Waterfall.

Top Tips

Lombok although set up for tourists, it is a little more behind with facilities to that of its popular island neighbour Bali. Make sure to carry cash as well as cards, as ATMs are only in the major towns and cards are accepted only in modern establishments.

As Lombok is mostly Muslim – make sure to cover up and dress modestly in the towns. Beachwear is fine when on the beaches and in the resorts, but covering shoulders is advised when in the towns and villages.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx5 Things To See And Do In North Lombok - Pintetest 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.

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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