Bohol Island: 5 Reasons why this island is the perfect family vacation destination

Plane Landing in Tropical Paradise
Bohol Island, Philippines.

Picking a family vacation destination can be quite complicated. There are so many variables to consider. How many people are going? What kind of place does everyone like? Is the country safe, especially for kids? Can everyone do all the activities available? The questions are endless, but here’s a suggestion that will answer all your questions, the Bohol Island, Philippines.

This beautiful Filipino island checks out all the boxes for a perfect big family trip destination and here and here are five reasons why. 

1. Low-tide beaches

The beaches in Bohol are not only breathtaking for anyone to swim in, but they are especially perfect for kids! Since the tides change throughout the day very slowly, meaning for majority of the day the tides are below knee hight, make it super safe for kids and parents can enjoy their beach day without having to worry too much.

In the mornings, the tide is at its lowest allowing a long view of the sandy beach and low waves. My little sister particularly liked being at the beach in this specific time because of the little ponds that formed, filling with fish, hermit crabs and other cute little sea creatures. Another curiosity that I encountered on the beach were these strange brain-looking sand piles that are formed by crabs while they dig their homes in the sand.

2. Tropical Weather

As a tropical island, Bohol has a consistently warm weather at any season.

December to February is winter season which can have a couple of stormy rainy days but in general this is common favourite season by locals since it’s not-too-cold-and-not-too-warm temperatures.

Another tropical perk that will make you fall in love with this island is it’s transparent waters. You can see fish and other aquatic animals swimming from far away through the warm water and play “spot the starfish” from the beach shore!

Women Relaxing on a Tropical Hammock
Bohol Island, Philippines

3. High Safety Control

In the last couple of years, the security of the Philippines has increased extremely. Especially in public places such as malls, hotels and main streets. 

At the Bohol Beach Club Resort where I was staying, you could see guards all over the property, even at the beach! Which made my family and all the other guests feel safe when the kids were playing in the sea. It decreases the chances of an accident happening and gave an extra safety guarantee for the parents so they can relax and enjoy their vacation to the maximum!

3. So Many Activities

It’s fascinating how many activities you can do in such a small island. Due to its rich jungle biological environment, this Filipino island is packed with adrenaline- and aquatic sports, animal and insect sanctuaries, and nature parks to explore.

On land, the Loboc Ecosystem Adventure Park is a great place to spend they day with activities everyone in the family will enjoy. The most popular being the zip-line that runs across the Loboc River with incredible views of the jungle and water falls. If you are not a fan of zip-lining, you can see the same beautiful view from the cable car that passes through the same path at a much slower pace.

In the water, you can partake in all the usual aquatic sports; rafting, scuba diving, kayaking and so on. But the unique activities you shouldn’t miss in Bohol, are snorkelling amongst the coral reef and go dolphin watching on a bangka, a Filipino watercraft.

Snorkelling and dolphin watching was definitely the highlight activity of the trip for the youngsters of the family. Especially when we helped the boat driver catch urchins and we got to try fresh urchins! It was definitely a unique experience.

For the little ones, the highlight activity was visiting the Tarsier sanctuary. In order to protect the adorable little creatures, visitors can only observe the tarsiers from a safe distance and must have a guide take you though the preservatory forest and points out the tarsiers as she spots them. Tarsiers are quite easy to spot during the day since they are nocturnal and most of them would probably be sleeping on a tree when you see them. But occasionally they will open their big bright eyes making them even easier to spot.

In regards to getting around the island with a big group, the best way is to rent a van with a local driver. Hotels and travel agencies can provide with great packages for day trips that can also include entry tickets making it much easier and faster to get around with a big group.

Another more relaxing alternative is to spend a day at the Bohol Bee Farm and Resort. An incredibly beautiful property with a restaurant, cafe, ice cream parlour, private beach and an organic store. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon.

4. Cheap prices

You might be thinking that you might not be able to do half of these activities because it’s expensive, as it is in most destinations, especially during the holiday season. But I have good news for you! The Philippines is quite cheap! On average, a three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant will cost about ₱800.00  which equals to €14.66. A local 0.33 cl beer bottle will cost ₱200.00 equals to €3.67. Even hotel and resort restaurants prices are much cheaper than your average prices. Making it the perfect opportunity to splurge and go out for a special dinner with the family!

5. Christmas at the beach

Last but definitely not least and in my opinion the absolute main reason to why Bohol is the best destination for an end-of-the-year family trip is having Christmas at the beach!

It might be strange at first, heading over to the beach on Christmas night wearing a t-shirt and shorts to have a buffet dinner with strangers from around the world. But as soon as you reach the beach and see how beautiful and atmospheric it is, trust me, you will have the time of your life.

At Bohol Beach Club Resort, where I stayed, they organised a delicious Filipino buffet with delicious authentic dishes that guests can dine underneath a star studded tropical night sky.

To top off this magical night, the hotel also organises a show full of dance performances featuring fire.

To see more Bohol island photos click here.

First Timer’s Guide to Tokyo

Souvenirs to take home from Japan

Every year when I go to Japan, I reserve half of my luggage for souvenirs. Which includes lots of food, stationaries, beauty products, clothes and actual souvenirs for family and friends. It can be overwhelming for some people to enter one of those 100 yen stores (everything for a hundred yen) or Donki Hotte that’s literally packed with billions of different types of everything. So here’s a list to give you an idea of what kind of things you might want to take back home.

Beauty products

It’s tough to pick just one product or brand because they are all fantastic at a reasonable price. You probably won’t recognise the majority of the brands like Lulumun, Kanebo, Isehan and many others, but you don’t have to remember their names because as my friends say, “If it’s from Japan, then it’s good quality.” So if you find something that you are interested in, buy it!

I usually stock up on face masks, nail polish and eyeliners since I always run out of them and every time I go shopping, I find a new collection. Especially of face masks with funny designs like ninjas, Pokemon, animals and so on. They barely take any space in your luggage so you can go nuts and have a spa party back home.

Another product that I can’t live without is the Shiseido Tsubaki hair set. This is the only shampoo and conditioner that works for my thick Asian hair and it is the only product that makes it shiny and smooth. The incredible aspect of this product is that it’s suitable for every type of hair, many of my friends and family have tried it and they all love it.

Clothes

Most of the “must buy” clothes from Japan are for winter- comfy clothes that keep you warm. Cotton socks and kigurumi (onesies) are the most fun to shop for because there are soooo many different types that they have stores specialised in just them. With all kinds of cute designs like cartoons, every single Disney characters, animals and cool patterns. The onesies might take some space in your luggage, but they are totally worth it once you see how cosy they are.

Uniqlo store – This high tech clothing store never fails to amuse me with their practical clothes. They have ultra-light rain and winter jackets that can fit into a bag the size of your fist! No more struggling to fit your massive jacket inside your luggage! This excellent Japanese brand also has a collection of HEATTECH thermal clothes with so many products like cardigans, leggings, bra tops, shirts and even blankets.

Food

In Japan, there are equally as many non-eatable products as there are eatable ones. If you go to a supermarket wanting to get a snack, you’ll probably spend about an hour and a half picking one because the choices are endless. There is something for every taste, mix and even cooking style – like fried chocolate which is pretty yummy and crispy.

I usually pack my luggage with wasabi snacks, yakisoba instant noodles, and sauces with sesame and for yakisoba and barbecue.

Sweets

I’m not the biggest sweet tooth and I don’t eat sweets very often, but I can’t resist Japanese sugary snacks. Like this heart-shaped Genji mini pie that melts in your mouth and basically every candy by Meiji and Glico. Like the classic Pocky chocolate sticks and the cute mountain and mushroom-shaped chocolates, Takenoko No Sato.

I have recently become obsessed with this matcha (green tea) Kit Kat, which was a surprise to me mixing green tea and chocolate but they actually fit perfectly together.

Electronics

Akihabara is the most famous area in Tokyo to shop for electronics because of the department stores located there, but you can find Bic Camera, Yamada Denki and Yodobashi Camera, at all the main streets of the city as well. Other general department stores like Tokyū Hands and Loft have their own electronic floors with massive sections dedicated to just phone covers and accessories to try.

Bangkok Guide II: Food, drinks & Hotels

Thai food is incredible, healthy and fresh. Most people think this delicious Asian cuisine is extremely spicy, but if you are like me who isn’t the biggest fan of spicy food, you can still make Bangkok a foodie trip. Especially if you’re into the lactose -free and gluten-free lifestyle. Since the majority of classic Thai dishes use coconut and almond milk instead.

Eating is a big part of Thai culture and they believe eating often and little is important for a healthy diet. As a result, In Bangkok, you can literally eat everywhere all day long. From food stands on the streets, restaurants, cafes, bars and malls, you name it.

Above all, eating out is very cheap. The more local you go, the cheaper it will be.

Food

Boat noodle- This dish gets its name from when it was originally sold at floating markets. The cooks would prepare the noodles in their boats, then pass the food to the client using a long hook. You get to pick every ingredient – the type of noodles, broth, meat and sides. My favorite is glass noodles with pulled beef, beef balls and dark soy sauce broth.

Tropical fruits- As a tropical country, Thailand has all the typical fruits- mango, papaya, pineapples and so on. However, being the incredible country that it is, they have their own tropical fruits that you can only find it here, like durian, purple mangosteen, rambutan and many more.

Top to bottom: Crab curry and shrimps, Pad Thai and glass noodles with shrimp and coconut milk.

Khao Pad (Fried Rice) – This classic dish has always been my favorite lunch choice. It’s easy to make and easy to eat, especially by a pool. How can anyone resist a plate of fried jasmine rice with eggs, seafood and vegetables? Depending on the chef, the seafood part variates between shrimp, crab and chicken.

Pad Thai – This spicy fresh dish has an interesting combination of stir-fried rice noodles (thin, long and thick)with an egg, bean sprouts, fish sauce, sugar, chili powder, ground peanuts. For the meat part, you can choose between shrimp, tofu pork, chicken or a combination of several.

Spicy level:🌶🌶🌶🌶

Thai curry – Thailand has developed its own version of curries with its own specialty of chilies.The Gaeng Daeng (red curry) is made with red curry paste, tender beef meat, coconut milk and topped with kaffir leaves. Green curry made with young green chilies, chicken and coconut milk is considered to be the spiciest curry in Thailand. Along with Gaeng Keow Wan Kai (green curry) which is spicy and sweet, all at the same time with bigger red chilies and fish.

Spicy level: Red Curry 🌶🌶

Tom yum (Spicy Shrimp Soup) – This hot dish is the symbol of Thailand. With an incredible aroma of herbs, shallots, fish sauce, prawns, straw mushrooms, chili, galangal that shapes this classic dish.

Spicy level: 🌶🌶🌶

Som Tum (Spicy Green Salad) – Originally from the northeast side of the country, this super spicy salad is full of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Including chilies, garlic, cherry tomatoes, green beans and shredded raw papaya. In different parts of the country, peanuts, dry shrimp, and salted crabs are also added. Creating a unique spicy-sour-sweet flavour to the salad. If you are trying the dish for the first time, be very prepared for a new explosion of flavours in your mouth.

Spicy level:🌶🌶🌶

Tip: Street food has its own unique smell that can be different from other cuisines. For some people, it might take some getting used to.

Not to mention all the sweets

Mango sticky rice with coconut cream.

Mango & sticky rice – This dessert is my favourite. Super simple, easy to make and fresh as can be. Mango is already one of the most delicious fruits you can get in Thailand and combined with sweet sticky rice and coconut cream, it can’t get any better. At some places, the chef adds sesame seeds on top of the rice to give it a crispy touch. This delicious dessert is probably the easiest to find.

Sweet Crepe – These tiny fried crepes are stuffed with meringue, egg cream and foy thong (shredded egg yolk), which makes this dessert so delicious. You can find these everywhere but its best to have it from a food stand, fresh off the grill.

Coconut Ice Cream with peanuts.

Coconut Ice cream – With the brutal yearly hot weather of the city, the best way to cool down is with ice cream and what better tropical flavour to have than coconuts. Ice cream is pretty easy to find at street food stands with a big variety of toppings to choose from like syrups, nuts, sweet corn. Most places even serve your ice cream in a coconut itself.

Sticky Rice in Bamboo – Another delicious way to eat sticky rice but this time it’s more elaborate. The sticky rice is first mixed with sweet red beans, coconut cream and sugar. Then melted on a bamboo cylinder until everything melts together.


Drinks

Thai people love to drink, which makes Bangkok a great place for a night out. Convenient stores in the city are usually closed in the evening, so make sure to get your drinks between 11.00 to 14.00 or between 17.00 to 24.00.

Cha Yen (Ice Tea) – This delicious ice tea with oranges and milk is a traditional Thai mocktail

(non-alcoholic cocktail). It’s refreshing and will win anyone’s heart from the first sip. This tea is like no other, the sweetness of the tea complements so well with the citrus of the orange. Since this drink is loved by so many, you can find it anywhere in the city.

Oliang & Boran Coffee – This Thai drink is perfect for a hot day coffee break in the evening. If you like unique drinks, this one will be great for you. Oliang is long coffee with either roasted rice and caramel, depending on where you have it. If you prefer it warm with milk, this delicious drink turns into Boran coffee. Which Thais love to have for breakfast as a start to the day.

Singha & Chang Beer- A trip to Bangkok can’t be complete without a cold Singha beer. If you thought this beer was cheap in your home country, having it in its homeland will be even better. Singha is originally from Bangkok and Chang is from.

Sangsom & Mekhong Whiskey – These Thai whiskeys are made of 95% sugarcane and molasses, and 5% rice. Great for making whiskey and coke pre-drinks since they are cheap and you can find them at local supermarkets.


Hotels

Bangkok is big and full of hotels, so make sure to research which area you’ll be spending the most time at, and you book your hotel there. So you can walk around the area or make sure there is a BTS train station close by since trains are the fastest and easiest way to get around the city. If you are on a budget and can’t afford a fancy hotel, it doesn’t stop you from going to a fancy hotel and having a drink at the bar anyways. Especially since the majority of luxurious hotels in the center of the city have incredible views of the city, and are great for date night.

Pavilion Thai corner.

Dusi Thani’s Pavilion Restaurant This beautiful hotel has three restaurants, but the best one is the Pavilion gourmet buffet with Thai, seafood, sushi and dessert corners. The hotel has a beautiful wooden décor with Ranad instrumental music and a kids corner. After lunch, make sure to see their beautiful garden and pools.

Millennium Hilton HotelThis incredible restaurant is in front of the Chao Phraya River with a view to the Grand Palace Emerald Buddha, Temple of Dawn, Asiatisque bazaar and China Town. It’s a great place to have lunch, brunch, afternoon coffee and drinks at the rooftop bar.

Amari Watergate Pavilion Hotel Every time I’m in town, I make sure to stay at this hotel. As you step in the hotel, you are greeted by an incredible instrumental Thai band playing bong land, Thai folk music. The breakfast is amazing with all types of Thai fruits, great coffee and everything else you would want from a breakfast buffet. On the — floor there is a great entertainment area with a pool, bar, spa and gym. Close by there are several malls like Central World, Isetan Japanese department, Platunam authentic mall and Siam Paragon. There are also lots of restaurants, bars and cafés close by. The Ratchaprarop and the Chit Lom stations are North and South of the hotel.

You can get dinner and drinks on the 4th floor at the Amaya Food Gallery where you can get brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks at Amari’s great food court with fresh ingredients and an incredible view from the skyscraper.

Amari Watergate hotel's pool.

Lub d Siam Square & Silom Hostel – for backpackers and on a budget

This hotel is heaven for backpackers and anyone on a budget. It’s modern and chill with one of the best locations, right in the middle of Siam. Surrounded by malls, bars, clubs, cafes and it even has its own BTS train station, also called Siam.

This place has several types of rooms, dorms for a group of friends, private rooms and ladies only rooms, all with modern Thai decoration. Other facilities include a laundry room, free wifi, all-day open kitchen, security lockers and two-month free luggage storage. Which are great facilities to help keep yourself fresh and make your trip around the country much easier.

Paragon Inn hotel room & pool.

Paragon Inn – This incredibly cheap and relaxing hotel close to the airport is a great place for a honeymoon away from the Bangkok chaos or for a layover. Each room has a tropical and simple decoration with several outdoor saltwater pools and bathtub. It also has a restaurant, bar/lounge, and room service, so you technically never have to leave your incredible hotel room. If you are coming or going to the airport, there are also shuttle buses and airport transportation from the hotel.

Bangkok Guide: Things To Do

Oh Bangkok, the perfect destination for a treat-yourself trip. A country where you can get VIP treatment for the same amount of money you spend at home. With an incredibly rich culture, cuisine, religion, shopping and nightlife. There is so much to explore. As a tropical country, Bangkok is always hot making it the perfect destination all year round.

Language: Thai Location: Central East Asia Climate: Tropical – very hot and humid Currency: Baht

Temples (Wats)

Bangkok is home to 400 mind-blowing temples and shrines. As a Buddhist country, there are many local shrines around the city where people go visit daily. Shrines are much smaller and quicker to see compared to temples that usually require a half/full day since its very easy to get distracted by all the mesmerising details.

The Wat Pho Reclining Buddha and the Wat Phra Kaew Templeof the Emerald Buddha are a few of the easiest temples to get to since they are located right by the Chao Phraya river and the Grand Palace.

If you are on the Thonburi side of the city (opposite to the Grand Palace), make sure to see the Wat Arun – The Temple of Dawn. This temple has a unique architecture with the main Prang tower located in the center surrounded by smaller towers. The towers are designed with Khmer style and you can climb to the top of the main tower to see an incredible view of the city.

The best way to get here is by taking it to the skies with the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station, or the orange flag Chao Phraya Express boat to Tha Tien (N8) pier.

Tip: Make sure to cover your shoulders, ankles and knees (for both sexes) when visiting temples in Thailand as a sign of respect. Long shorts and skirts, capris, t-shirts and polos are preferred options and definitely avoid tank tops.


Markets

Thai outdoor markets are one of the most fun things to do in the city. You can find incredible house decor, clothes and souvenirs for your friends and family. Everything is incredibly cheap and if you like to negotiate, you’ll have even more fun.

Chatuchak Weekend Market: This early morning market is a great place to start your day at the city’s most famous market. Here you can find literally everything from clothes, accessories, handicrafts, ceramics, furniture, art, food, beverages, books, antiques, collectibles and much more.

market divided into two sides with various tents selling clothes and goods. And right in the middle of the market, there’s a canal with people selling local fruits and foods. There is also an unexpected exhibition of large snakes and a slow loris that you can take photos with if you are brave enough.

When you arrive at the site, you have to take a short boat trip to actually get to the market, which is super thrilling.

Note: These markets are pretty far out from the city with no train station anywhere near it, so the best way to get here is by booking a day trip from your hotel or from an agency. These trips usually include other activities like the banana farm or the tiger sanctuary.


Shopping

Continuing the awesomeness of shopping in Bangkok, make sure to stop by at least one of the many malls of the city. At MBK Center, a large local mall you can get clothes and authentic goods. Isetan is a Japanese department mall located in the equally huge Central World, which incredibly enough has another department mall called Zen. All these malls have VAT refunds, authentic Asian food courts, restaurants, cafes and above all incredible decor. Amongst these malls, my favourites are the Asiatique and Siam Paragon because they are super-malls with numerous things to do.

Asiatique: This night outdoor/indoor bazaar is divided into four districts. At the Chareonkrung District there over a 1,000 small boutiques split into four warehouses. If you are looking for unique fashion and gadgets, the Factory District is your spot.

The Waterfront District is a great place to have lunch and dinner at one of their 40 restaurants by the waterfront. Then head to the Two Square District’s where you can get delicious strong and affordable drinks at one of their many bars.

If you are a Muay Thai and theatre fan, don’t miss a show at the Live Theatre where you can watch a play about the history of the sport as well as a live match. The ticket costs 870 THB ($28) dollars for a 90-minute play, which runs from Tuesday to Sunday from 8.00PM.

There’s also the Thai puppet show and the famous ladyboy Calypso Cabaret show. If you don’t want to pay for performances or eat at a restaurant, there are lots of free street performances and food stands amongst the streets of the bazaar as well.

There’s always so much to do! Luckily the place closes at midnight.

The best way to get here is with the BTS train to the Saphan Taksin station.

This mall is so large that it will require several trips

for you to see everything.

The main part of the mall is dedicated to shopping with 250 stores of high-end fashion and department stores. It has Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium on the bottom floor with a fun boat ride to see the rays and sharks.

The basement is dedicated to food. Where you can find incredible restaurants and food courts from all over the world especially Asia and a great supermarket.

At the top floor, you can have the movie experience of a lifetime at the Cineplex Theatre. Where you can get VIP treatment for basically the same price you pay back home. If you purchase a two-person ticket for 1,500 baht ($48) you get to have a drink and a snack in the beautiful lounge, get a super comfortable deep-seated leather sofa with electric footrests where you can put your complimentary snacks and blankets.

Tip: Make sure to get there at least an hour before the movie to hang in the lounge AND get a 15-minute massage. Which is heaven after a day of shopping and exploring.

Above all, this mall also has three other malls, Discovery, Square and Center that are right next door. Each mall has its own unique style with corresponding stores that you can just hop to after being starstruck by Paragon.

How to get here: BTS train stop to their own stop, Siam Station.


Museums

National Museum: This museum is like no other, it is home to the largest collection of Thai artefacts in the entire country, including King Rama V’s exhibition of his luxurious gifts from his father. Chinese artefacts including Khon masks.

Tip: Make sure to check out this museum on a Thursday when they offer tours with English-speaking guides.

Jim Thompson House: Jim Thompson was an American Entrepreneur who went to Bangkok and fell in love with the country, the silk and the people. The museum is located at his former house, which is designed by Jim himself. As you walk around you get to learn about Thompson’s extraordinary bold life, the silk industry and his store. The house is decorated as a Thai complex with six traditional teaks, a beautiful surrounding garden and a cafe.

The Jim Thompson’s silk store is a great place to buy authentic souvenirs and Thai goods. You can find pillows, bags, clothes, travel essentials and everything you ever wanted with beautiful Thai silks with elephants and beautiful colours.


Boat Ride along Chao Phraya River

Bangkok has a large river with connecting canals. Where you can go on boat trips and cruises, a great day-activity since it can get reeeally hot. From the river, you can properly see the difference between the two sides of the city. On one side you can see the skyline of temples, markets and the Grand Palace while on the other side you can see where the locals live in wooden houses with children playing and freshening up in the water.

At night, there are dinner cruises where you can have a great dinner with performances while surrounded by a lit-up skyline.


Muay Thai

At the home of the legendary martial sport, you can join a class at the many dojos in the city or watch live thrilling matches at stadiums like:

Rajadamnern Stadium: This historical and exciting stadium host matches four days a week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday) at 6.30 PM for 1,000 to 2,000 THB.
Lumpinee Stadium: Just like Rajadamnern, Lumpinee is also a Muay Thai historical stadium but with a more modern structure. One of the reasons to why this stadium is more popular is because you can gamble and bet during the matches. The negotiations are done with hand signals just as they do it in the stock exchange rooms. Prices go from as cheap as 200 to 2,000 THB on Tuesdays to Fridays at 6.30 PM and on Saturdays at 4.00 PM and again at 8:15 PM.
Channel 7 Stadium: This free of charge stadium has an electric energy and it is always frequented by legendary veterans and rising superstars. Since it is free and only offer matches once a week on Sundays at 12:45 PM, I recommend going there at least 40 minutes before the match so you can get good seats.
MBK Stadium: Just when you though the huge MBK mall was just for shopping and eating, on Wednesdays at 6.00 PM you can watch matches in a ring outside of the mall.

Thai Massage

Last but definitely not least, Thai massages- the most relaxing activity you can do in the city.

The art of massage has been part of Thai culture with different types and techniques that have been specialised for generations. Which means there are numerous types of massages for you to try such as aromatic with oils, reflexology, and warm herbs facial, foot and back massages. Some bigger spas even have massages for pregnant women and muscle massages for athletes.

If you are a fan of Thai decor and massages, I highly recommend going to a spa during your trip. Thailand goes beyond when it comes to luxury and hospitality.

I know it might sound like an expensive activity, but since its Bangkok, you can also find cheap but great parlours around the city. Especially in and around malls for as cheap as 300 THB ($7) for an hour. Arunda Oriental and At Ease are great locations for a massage break.

Have you been to any of these places? Let us know what you thought of them. 🙂