Posts Tagged With: Boracay

Boracay Beach Bums

Things I have learned in Boracay so far:

1) It is the Asian version of Mexico, as far as I can tell EVERY SINGLE Asian on vacation is here, right now.  Which is hilarious.
2) Despite being on vacation, the ladies insist on being covered head to toe to maintain their whiteness, and dress up in full-out hats and high heels on the beach, tottering around while their husbands pose them in front of palm trees, souvenir shacks, locals, etc.
3) There is nothing to do here except eat, sleep, drink and do ocean-centric sports like snorkeling, para-sailing, sailing, etc.  And that is just fine by me.
Boracay has been pretty sweet, honestly besides the gorgeous view and people-watching, though, there is not much to do here so three nights was more than enough to check out the sights.  We met a few cool people (Hi Magnus! Hi Tom!) and caught some great rays in the BOILING HOT sun, ate some great food and chilled out after our horrific travel day.  It’s super touristy here, so there are tons of souvenir shops, expensive restaurants and luxury resorts, we are tucked into our little guesthouse just off the beach, I highly recommend Trafalgar Cottages for any backpacker coming through here, it was cheap and cosy and there is a super cute puppy named Nelson to hang out with, along with great friendly staff.  It rained both nights we were here which seriously put a damper on our party plans, we managed to have some nice dinners with our new friends but missed the party scene.  Oh well.
The highlight of our time here has definitely been the parasailing trip we took, it was 1500 Pesos ($35) and included a sweet speedboat ride and AMAZING view of Boracay and the surrounding area.  I was scared, but Chelsea was there with me, taking pics and making me laugh, so I ended up having a great time and wasn’t too scared after all. We were super high up, and even though it only lasted about 15 minutes, it was an experience that will stay with me forever 🙂
Our 3am wakeup was rough the next morning, we had to take a bus/ferry/bus to the airport to catch our 8am flight, which went off without a hitch, until we got to the Manila domestic terminal (aka the fourth layer of hell) and found out our flight had been CANCELLED outright (grrrrrrr ZEST AIR!! *shakes fist*) and that we wouldn’t be able to get a flight until 5pm that day.  So we settle in for another long haul at the airport and managed to laugh it off….Palawan was our next stop and we were pumped!!
Categories: Phillipines | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Roundabout Trip to Boracay

Oh, travel days. How I DON’T love you. That’s right. I said it.

We boarded the plane for Singapore, and had a three-hour stopover there after an uneventful flight.  We figured out that between us we would be taking over thirty flights on our travels!! I think I will be happy to be grounded for a long while after this trip!!
The Singapore airport was UNREAL.  Even in the middle of the night, every store was open, the entire food court was open, and there was tons of stuff to see and do, including some weird Asian gardens (even an outdoor one), an entertainment center, many sweet lounges and lots of WiFi! there is even a rooftop pool but we didn’t see it so maybe it doesn’t exist?  We chilled with some life-size M+M’s though…
After our airport stop there was a supremely uncomfortable and full three-hour flight to Manila in the middle of the night (literally 12 to 3 am for us) and when we got to Manila, there was an overpriced taxi to the domestic terminal and no one for us to talk to about booking a flight to Kalibo and onwards to Boracay.  That’s right, the stupid tourists thought they could arrive at four in the morning and book a flight onwards without any trouble.  RIGHT??? WRONG.  The next flight was at 11am and we were S**T outta luck until then.  So we settle in for a nap on the tiled floor, hugging our bags and trying not to look like the greasy backpackers that we were by that point.
After finally checking in and finding some adequate breakfast in what has got to be the grossest domestic terminal I’ve ever seen (the roof is caving in…) we found, to our delight, that the flight was delayed!! woo!  So there was more waiting and waiting and waaaaiting to do.  Our flight finally boarded two hours late and we took the hour-long flight to Kalibo.  We were delirious by this point, and there was still a two-hour bus ride to go and a ferry trip AND a bus ride to our hotel, but this was actually made very easy for us by the lovely SouthWest Tours Boracay, which handled all our transport arrangements as we were in no shape to do so.  We just forked over about 500 Peso (12.50) and they herded us this way and that until we wound up at our guesthouse, Trafalgar Cottages, where the very lovely Julie awaited us and showed us some beds we could crash in. And crash we did!!
Thirteen hours later we woke up in Boracay, and to our delight discovered our trip was worth it, as it was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen!!
Note: Zest Air (affiliate of AirAsia in the Philippines) is officially the worst airline I’ve ever flown with – most of our flights have been delayed, on was outright cancelled, and they have added an extra layer of stress to our holiday.  I strongly suggest that if you can afford it to save yourself some hassle and book on another airline.  Their customer service is some kind of awful, as well.
Categories: In the Air | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

How To Fly for Dirt Cheap in SE Asia

I am exactly one day away from takeoff!! I’m packed, double-checked and excited to start my journey tomorrow from YYZ.  Before I go I wanted to break down some costs, since this is one of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked in the last few weeks:

What does is all cost?

How much money do you need to make a trip like this?

 

WELL. That’s a good question.  Let’s start 7 or so months ago when I was formulating my trip.  I decided where I wanted to go and what routes to take. After briefly looking into Round the World tickets and travel agents and finding them ridiculously expensive, I set out to create my own budget itinerary and figure this out myself instead of relying on a more expensive travel agent.

  1.  I bought a one way ticket to Jakarta. I know. Not smart or cheap, but it was the kick in the butt I needed to get started planning my trip. IT WAS HAPPENING! ($1200)
  2. I began looking at all the places I might like to travel in SE Asia and pricing them out with AirAsia, the discount airline I chose to book most of my flights with.
  3. Checked with my lovely travel partner to talk dates, flying strategies and places we wanted to see. Bought tickets to Bali, Manilla, Palawan, Boracay)
  4. Then the real fun began.  I knew I had about two months of travel to plan, and no idea what to see. So the cheapest flights won!  Manila to Singapore will cost me $45.00 US ALL IN!
  5. I saved a flight by combining two countries and deciding to travel overland to Malaysia, which happened to be having a huge seat sale to AUSTRALIA! I immediately bought a cheap flight to AUS.
  6. Then – a snag. Flights to NZ weren’t cheap, but I sucked it up and bought the $250 ticket cause I wasn’t going to go see OZ without at least peeking at NZ.
  7. After that I was broke, and metaphorically stranded in NZ for the next three months as I made more $$ and watched the price of my return ticket rise and fall. Then – a week ago, I saw the cheapest price from Christchurch, NZ to Toronto that I had ever seen ($900!) and bought it now that the cash flow was better.

It was a bit of a hit and miss approach, and here is a full disclosure look at how much my flights are costing me in total.

Toronto – Vancouver – Manilla – Jakarta  $1207.00

Jakarta – Bali $ 63.83

Bali – Manila $ 147.00

Manila – Kalibo (Boracay) $ 33.00

Kalibo (Boracay) – Manila $30.17

Manila – Palawan $ 29.23

Palawan – Manila $ 33.86

Clark – Singapore $ 44.60

Kuala Lumpur – Gold Coast (Australia) $ 173.34

Sydney – Auckland $ 261.05

Christchurch – Toronto $ 908.00

Grand Total: $ 2,931.08

Yup!  Eleven flights for just shy of three grand.  Now, AirAsia has not been the easiest airline to book with (one flight has been cancelled outright, one has had the time changed and one had the date changed) but the customer service has been decent via the internet in getting some quick responses to my questions, even via twitter, so props to them for that. I will update after a few flights to see if the amazing prices are worth the travel experience aboard AirAsia.  I took two domestic flights in Thailand last year with them and both went perfectly smoothly, so I’m trusting my own experience with the airline and taking a chance on some cheap flights. Wish me luck!

EXACTLY 24 HOURS BEFORE I BOARD THE PLANE.  I AM VERY EXCITED! ALSO I AM YELLING!

Ask questions, comments, quips or queries below 🙂

xoxoxo

D

Categories: In the Air, Pre-Trip, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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