Denpasar

After a backlog of travel blog posts I am so excited to have reached BALI! 

Now, I consider myself quite the travel planner but when it comes to our first few days in Bali I kinda dropped the ball - I guess because I had spent most of my time planning Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and the Philippines I left Indonesia on the back burner. 

James and I went separate ways in January and Bali was our reunion spot (and where we planned on moving and finding jobs!) - we both flew into Denpasar and beforehand we had decided to have take two weeks to travel the island before settling down and looking for jobs. 

When I saw we were flying into Denpasar - I thought it was the exact town of the airport, but turns out its the city hub and just the name they use to refer to the airport. Denpasar is actually a 45 minute drive away, while Jimbaran or Kuta are much closer! 

Not many tourists find themselves taking a vacation in Denpesar- but rather avoiding it due to city life and traffic. However, as I didn't do too much planning, James and I ended up staying in the HEART of the city at a lovely homestay. My un-organization turned our to be a huge blessing in disquise as we were able to spend out first two days in Bali experiencing the true culture - rather than beach side sipping on a coconut. (Which we have now done A TON!) 

Two days in Denpasar, while not on anyone elses schedule, was perfect. We attended local food markets, walked the streets, had a 15,000 idr coffee (where we live now they are 35,000 idr) and experienced local Balinese life. 

  

Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog
 
Denpasar Travel Blog

El Nido

Spending three nights in El Nido was the perfect amount of time for my adventures in the North of Palawan Island, Philippines. The main draw card in the area is Island Hopping which is a full day activity. With only one more full day in the area I decided to walk around town and explore some of the nearby beaches. 

While the scenery is stunning, the township of El Nido, in my opinion, is nothing to write home about. The town is a bit crammed for space and the hostels are end of the world gross as so many backpackers are trying to squeeze into a small space (I was in a 8 person bunk room with one small fan - never again!) 

Despite the feeling of an overpopulated backpacker town, by taking a 30 minute walk out of town  resulted in lovely beaches and cute cafes on the sand - my kinda of space! 

El Nido Travel Blog
 
El Nido Travel Blog
 
el nido travel blog
 
 
 
 
 
 

Port Barton

Port Barton was my last stop in the Philippines before heading to Bali. After spending several days in El Nido I was ready for a change - a space with less tourists and more relaxation. Port Barton was recommended to me by my G Adventures guide in the Northern Philippines and after speaking with her I knew I had to check this tiny little town out on my way back to Puerto Princessa to catch a plane. 

As I changed my travel plans last minute not many accommodation options were open - but to my pleasant surprise I ended up resting my head in the coolest place in the village... a tree house nestled into the palms, and RIGHT on the beach! 

Port Barton was exactly what I pictured and this was a great place to spend my last few days in the Philippines - already planning a visit back! 

Port Barton Philippines
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Island Hopping in El Nido

Island hopping in El Nido is a huge South East Asia tourist draw card for the little island of Palawan in Southern Philippines and it's essentially the only thing to do while visiting El Nido. 

There are four options when it comes to Island Hopping in El Nido - the most popular being tours A and C which visit the well known locations around the Island. I decided to join tour A and simply had the best day exploring El Nido on the water. 

Palawan Philippines
 
Palawan Philippines
 
Palawan Philippines
 
Palawan Philippines
 
Palawan Philippines
 
Palawan Philippines
 
Palawan Philippines
 
 
 
 
 

Diniwid Beach

I ended up on Diniwid Beach by total accident - and it was one of the best un-planned visit during my visit to the Philippines. 

I set off from downtown Boracay in the morning in search of Chowking's Halo Halo, and determined not to take a tuk tuk, I ended up walking on the road for over an hour - just to reach the shopping mall for a very well deserved Halo Halo! After making it that far I decided to find the closest beach to Chowking to rest my legs and jump into the ocean. Thankfully for me, that closest beach was the quaint Diniwid Beach. 

Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
Diniwid Beach Boracay
 
 

Puka Beach

We spent the day lounging around Puka Beach - a short tuk tuk taxi ride away from the famously popular White Beach of Boracay. The vibe was more laid back and local and we loved resting in the sunshine and jumping in the clear blue waves. 

 

Puka Beach Boracay
 
Puka Beach Boracay
 
Puka Beach Boracay
 
Puka Beach Boracay
 
Puka Beach Boracay
 
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Puka Beach Boracay
 

Downtown Boracay

After spending two weeks in the Northern Philippines it was time to head down South to explore the Islands. The first stop on my Island tour of the Philippines was Boracay - a very popular tourist island destination. While I tired to get off the beaten path in Boracay and explore more remote areas, it was still exciting to walk around the busy 'downtown' area where locals sold hats and sunnies on every corner and the vibe was exciting and alive. 

Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog
 
Boracay Travel Blog

Batad

Batad is a very tiny village only accessible by foot. We started the journey to Batad in Banaue with a stop in Bangaan. After several pit stops we hopped out of our Jeepney and began trekking in the misty rain up the Batad where we were staying for the night at a local homestay. 

While the hike isn't too long (around 45 min) it was a bit slippery in the wet weather conditions so we took our time and slowly made it to Ramon's Homestay - a special place in the middle of the rice terrace amphitheater known as Batad. 

We had quite a unique experience as Ramon's sister had just recently passed away - and following the Ifugao Tribe traditions - the whole family had come from near and far to celebrate her life together in the small village. 

Our group chatted over local cuisine (and rice wine!), observed funeral traditions, and took in the stunning rice terrace surroundings of Batad. 

Batad Travel Blog
 
Batad Travel Blog
 
Batad Travel Blog
 
Batad Travel Blog
 
Batad Travel Blog
 
 
Batad travel blog
 
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Bangaan

On our way to Banaue we stopped into Bangaan to visit a local school and trek down to the tiny village in the folds of the mountains. We were welcomed onto the school grounds and watched the children in their classrooms as well as during a cultural performance which included songs, dance, and traditional tribal games. 

I loved the teeny tiny village nestled into the rice fields. With only a handful of huts and several families living together there was a feeling of simplicity and ease. Bangaan was a perfect stop on our way to the main event - the ampitheater of rice terraces in Banaue 

Bangaan Travel Blog
 
Bangaan Travel Blog
 
Bangaan Travel Blog
 
Bangaan Travel Blog
 
 
 
 
 
 

Journey to Batad

One of the best ways to explore Northern Philippines is on TOP of a Jeepney! Holding on for life we zipped around the mountain side on our way to the famous rice terraces of Banaue. A bit of misty rain did't stop a few of us from jumping on top and going for an extreme ride into the hillside. 

Along the way to Banaue we passed little villages, religious statues, and shopkeepers selling their local produce and fruits. I must admit, riding on top of the Filipino Jeepney was a highlight of my time in the country! 

Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields
 
Banaue Rice Fields