Tag Archives: Video

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Ubud Activities

Ubud Bali Royal Palace 🎼 Music & Dance

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Ubud, located in the uplands of Bali, offers a captivating blend of culture, art, and natural beauty. As the island’s cultural capital, Ubud boasts colorful art galleries, engaging museums, and serene temples set against jade-hued rice fields.

Don’t miss the Locavore restaurant, renowned for its fusion cuisine, or the picturesque Campuhan Ridge Walk with stunning valley views.

For an artistic experience, visit the Museum Puri Lukisan. Whether you’re dining at upscale restaurants or witnessing elegant Balinese dance performances, Ubud promises an unforgettable journey. 🌿🎨🍽️



Ubud Activities to keep you in the zone…

Our first destination in Bali was the spiritual city of Ubud. We divided our time (4 nights) between 2 guesthouses on either side of the city center. One of the places we would stay had a large swimming pool: An important feature since Ubud is a good distance inland – 13 kms from the nearest beach.

We also earmarked a few promising restaurants.

The goal of searching out all possible activities in Ubud is not necessarily the best way to appreciate and enjoy this traditional and cultural town. The ideal thing to do here is just to relax and soak up the atmosphere, and then go out and sample some of the excellent food on offer.

Of course there are a number of venues at the center of town that you should not (and cannot) avoid.

You don’t need more than 3 or 4 days to discover what Ubud has to offer. That gives plenty of opportunities to visit the town, wander around the paddy fields, check out the central temples, idle away a few hours by your guesthouse pool, and target a few outstanding warungs.

Ubud Bali Royal Palace - Music & Dance

You’ll find plenty of statues with tea-towels on their heads…

Music & Dance at the Royal Palace

Located next to the central crossroad of Ubud is the Puri Saren Royal Palace. Entrance is free, and you can wander around during the day to enjoy the Balinese architecture and the relaxing garden settings.

The place is not very big, so you don’t need more than 20 minutes or so to take a look around.

Ubud Bali Activities

They’re small, but don’t to mess with these guys 

Denpasar to Ubud

Every few nights you can pay to watch ceremonial Balinese dancers perform inside the Palace courtyards.

Alternatively, you can just turn up outside the Palace to catch one or more of the regular street performances of music and dance.

Ubud Bali Royal Palace - Music & Dance

Evening ceremony in front of the Royal Palace

Most nights in Ubud there is an organised performance in or around the various temples. These are normally scheduled between 7 pm and 9 pm and are free to watch.

Ubud Bali Royal Palace - Music & Dance

Ubud – Traditional Balinese music and dance

After 9 pm everything starts to shut down as the tourists wait to take their complimentary shuttles back to their guesthouses.

Visit Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest is apparently the biggest tourist attraction in Ubud. You can pay IDR 50,000 (€3) per person for the privilege of wandering around this enclosed area which is home to some 600 or so Macaque monkeys.

Ubud Bali Activities

“Hey, Bubbles! I can see my house from here…”

The monkeys are small but can be quite aggressive and daunting in numbers. Feed them at your peril!  The forest has onsite medics available to treat the inevitable monkey bites and scratches.

If you don’t relish the full-on experience, you can still observe the monkeys close up without even entering the forest. The monkeys go where they like – in or out of the forest – and they don’t much care if you’ve bought a ticket or not.

Just make sure you hide away any food.

On the hunt outside <em><strong>Monkey Forest</strong></em>

On the hunt outside Monkey Forest

We found scores of monkeys hanging around the car park and the outer walls of the forest. They offered plenty of entertainment and photo opportunities.

Overspend at Ubud Market?

You will no doubt be sold the idea that the Ubud market is the place to buy all your holiday souvenirs and trinkets – Don’t believe the hype.

The Ubud market is undoubtedly the most expensive place to do your shopping. If you’re fresh off the boat, and not yet up to speed with real prices, you’ll end up with a big hole in your wallet.

Even if you have a good idea what you’re doing, the shopkeepers drive a hard bargain. After all, you’re just another tourist and there’s no shortage of those in Ubud. This applies not just to souvenirs but also to the fruit and vegetable sellers. Best head away from the center to do your shopping.

Better still, wait until you get back to Denpasar where you’ll find some real bargains – exactly the same stuff as in Ubud but at a fraction of the price.

Ubud Bali Activities

Ubud Bali Activities

Following our 4-day break, we were next heading to a large, lush island off the south coast of Bali. We planned to stay in Lembongan for 8 nights. Our idea was just to relax on and around the island’s beaches, and enjoy some leisurely water sports.

All Hotel Options in Bali

If you enjoyed Ubud Bali Royal Palace – Music & Dance, check out our Bali & Lembongan 2-island itinerary. You may also like:


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A Philippines Travel Plan 🗺️ to Central Visayas

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If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines, don’t miss out on exploring Central Visayas! This region boasts some of the country’s most beautiful islands and top-notch tourist destinations, such as Cebu, Bohol, and Dumaguete.

From diving with whale sharks in Oslob to lounging on the white sand beaches of Panglao Island, Central Visayas offers a wide range of activities that cater to every type of traveler. In this and our related articles, we’ll take you through the must-see attractions, local cuisines to try, and practical tips to help you plan your Central Visayas itinerary.

So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure-filled trip to the heart of the Philippines! 🌟🏝️



Planning the Trip

The initial inspiration for our Philippines Travel Plan came from the discovery of very reasonably priced flights with Emirates running from Rome to Manila (€528 return). Since Rome is a small hop from our home base in Europe, this seemed a perfect opportunity to extend our trip with a couple of nights in Rome both before and after the main trip.

However, the main itinerary was a 20-day trip around the Philippines.

Philippines Travel Plan from Manila to Cebu and Bohol

Choose your destinations wisely

The biggest problem we had planning the trip was the amount of choice available. There are so many islands and possible routes through the Philippines that it can become quite overwhelming. Clearly, you have to be extremely selective in order to put together a practical, enjoyable plan.

Despite the choice, there are also limitations regarding transit options between the destinations you do select.


We like to plan circular routes so that we don’t have to backtrack through places we’ve already visited. In the Philippines this is difficult to do if you will be taking local flights. The problem is that for a relatively short visit of 20 days, you will need to take a few flights in order to make the best of your available time.

Our first plan was to avoid the so-called touristy areas of the central Visayas, and travel to Palawan. The problem with this plan was that due to our limited time frame we would have to fly from Manila to Puerto Princessa, and then back again to Manila from Puerto Princessa. This would involve a fair amount of back-tracking, which we really want to avoid.

So we dropped this plan (hopefully to be revised on a future visit), and concentrated on exactly what we wanted out of this trip. For these 20 days, our priorities were as follows:

♦  Have an active trip, moving from place to place, on foot as much as possible.
♦  Select 4 or 5 destinations where we can relax for a few days at each.
♦  Select destinations offering engaging and diverse activities.
♦  Eat the tastiest local food and fruit.
♦  Avoid backtracking or spending time in airports.
♦  Choose the best budget accommodation with the highest visitor reviews.
♦  Do all of the above on a budget of €35 per person per day (food, lodging, and transport on the basis of 2 sharing).

We did a lot of research online, and the results led to a complete turnaround. To achieve the goals of our wish list, we concluded that the best route would in fact be centered around the area we originally wanted to avoid – the Visayas. (see map).

We chose our destinations based on the availability and quality of the accommodation we could book in advance online. On previous trips, we’d sort of winged it with the accommodation, and left it to chance where we ended up staying.

The trouble with this is that you often have to settle for inferior rooms, and it can actually turn out to be more expensive than booking in advance. Added to that is the extra time needed to find accommodations and to check them out (it wasn’t often we were happy with the first place we found).

So we made a shortlist of places to stay in the Philippines based on high, recent customer reviews, and beautiful locations. Once we had this list, we narrowed our choices to a shortlist of 5 destinations that could be combined into a viable route.

On this basis, our route through the Philippines would be:

1. Manila to Cebu
2. Cebu to Moalboal
3. Moalboal to Pangangan Island
4. Pangangan Island to Panglao Island South
5. Panglao Island South to Loboc
6. Loboc to Panglao Island North
7. Panglao Island North to Tagbilaran for flight back to Manila


Our Travel Plan – Manila to Cebu

Since we wanted to keep our city-stays to the minimum, we decided to skip Manila completely on our way in. We would have to leave from there anyway at the end of the trip, so we reserved 2 days at the end for that. Our plan instead was to arrive at Manila, clear customs, then take the first flight out to Cebu.

This would mean spending 6 hours at Manila airport following a long-haul flight from Europe, but it would save us time and costs in the long run.

I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to our transit through Manila Nasay International airport: The place has a terrible reputation for chaos, noise, lack of services, and massive check-in queues.

If we took a short stay in Manila before heading off for the islands, we’d have to experience the airport twice, so we concluded it may just be better to wait in the airport for a connecting flight, and head off again as soon as possible.

Hotel options in Manila

So, we booked online an early flight from Manila with Philippines Airlines. Leaving at 5 am (about 6 hours after our arrival), and arriving in Cebu City an hour later.

Arriving very early in the morning at a destination in the Philippines has its drawbacks. For one, most hotels allow check-in from 2 pm. If you want to check in earlier, there may well be a surcharge involved, so you can end up paying almost the same as for 2 nights.

In our case, we did a wide search for hotels in Cebu City that allowed early check-in at no extra cost. There aren’t many! In the end we settled on the New Era Pension Inn Cebu. It had good reviews, a central location, early check-in, and is walking distance from the Ayala Shopping Mall, and not far from the SM Shopping Mall.

It also included breakfast. Not bad at €32 for a double.

Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas

Philippines Travel Plan – Cebu City

Our plan was therefore to take a taxi from the airport directly to the Ayala shopping mall, where we should be able to get breakfast as they’re supposed to be open 24/7. All the taxi drivers know the mall, and the fare should be around 200 pesos (€4). We could then walk the 400 yards to our hotel, and check in around 9 am.

After that, we would have all day in Cebu City, before leaving early the next morning for Moalboal. We were not planning to stay any longer in Cebu City: We were keen to get away from the metropolis in order to spend our time in a more relaxed environment.

Hotel options in Cebu

Philippines Travel Plan – Cebu to Moalboal

Thanks to Google Maps we were able to locate the South Bus Terminal from where we would catch a bus for the 3-hour ride to Moalboal. This place was on our hit-list from early on in our research. It appears to be a beautiful beach location with plenty of snorkeling/diving possibilities.

Also the place we booked to stay, the T Breeze Coastal Resort seemed to be the perfect place to relax properly following our long journey from Europe by plane and bus.

We were able to book this place for €33 per night.

Philippines Travel Plan from Manila to Cebu and Bohol

Snorkeling in Moalboal

Our plan was to take it easy in Moalboal for a few days while we acclimatize (i.e. get sun burnt 😎), and to eat plenty of tropical fruit.

Hotel options in Moalboal

Moalboal to Pangangan Island

After 3 nights in Moalboal, we would head back to Cebu City to take a ferry over to Tubigon in Bohol. It is a 3-hour trip to Cebu City, followed by a 1-hour ferry ride to Tubigon.

From there, we would travel 20 km down the coast to Pangangan island where we’d booked a 3-night stay at the Isla Hayahay Beach Resort (€33 per night for a double – no breakfast).

Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas

Philippines Travel Plan – Pangangan

There are a number of ferry companies operating between Cebu and Bohol, but the one with the most trips per day to Tubigon is Starcraft. They charge 200 pesos per person economy (280 business class). Supercat ferries also go to Tubigon but only 3 per day at inconvenient times.

It’s about 20 km from Tubigon to Pangangan island. Our Guest House offered a pickup from Tubigon to Pangangan for 850 pesos. Hopefully, we would be able to get a tricycle for the 25-min trip for much less than that.

We would be staying 3 nights on Pangangan Island.

More snorkeling and kayaking, and hopefully some decent local food.

Hotel options in Bohol

Pangangan to Panglao Island South

From Pangangan, we would head straight to what would probably be the most touristy location of our trip to the Philippines: Alona beach on Panglao Island.

To get there, we planned to take a bus for the 65 km journey. The bus should cost around 50 pesos to Tagbilaran, then we could either walk or take a trike from there (another 15 km).

Apparently, the sand on Alona beach is amazing – if you can claim a small patch for yourself amidst the crowds that allegedly flock here. If it’s too over the top, we don’t mind wandering around to find more secluded locations, and hopefully some areas for snorkeling.

We’d booked ourselves into the Ashiyana Resort, which is close to the beach and gets very high traveler reviews. At €30 per night for 2 including breakfast, it was well within our budget.

I’m glad we booked well ahead – this place was already fully booked for our dates 2 weeks before our arrival (we booked it 4 weeks in advance).

Philippines Travel Plan from Manila to Cebu and Bohol

Philippines Travel Plan – Alona Beach

We would stay for 3 nights at Alona, before changing scene by heading inland. I reckoned that by this time we”d need a break from sand and sun 🥵.

Get to Bohol from Manila

Panglao Island South to Loboc

Our next destination would bring with it a welcome change of scene and pace. We planned to head up river into the jungle to Loboc on Bohol Island.

The journey is approximately 40 km mainly along the coast before heading up into the hills. For this we would most likely take a bus from the Tagbilaran Panglao bus terminal. There are 3 direct buses everyday: the trip takes around 40 minutes.

When we arrived, we would be staying at the Fox & Firefly Cottages (previously, the ‘Paddle’s Up Guesthouse’). Luckily, we had also booked here early, since all they had left at 2 weeks notice was their mixed dormitory. We’d booked our Sagwan Room cottage for €28 per night (exclusive breakfast).

Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas

Philippines Travel Plan – Sagwan Cottages

Here, we were hoping to do some zip-lining, stand-up paddle tours, and trekking.

We would spend 3 days at Loboc, then head back to the beaches in Panglao for the last time before making our way home.

Loboc to Panglao Island North

For our last two days in the Philippines islands, we decided to return to the beach to soak up our last rays of sun before returning to a damp and cold Europe.

We wanted to be close to the airport so we didn’t have any last-minute transport issues. We chose a place to stay on the Northern side of Panglao island, presumably a bit quieter than Alona beach to the south.

The Seaside Boutique Hotel came highly recommended, and fitted our budget at €27 per room per night (including breakfast).

Philippines Travel Plan from Manila to Cebu and Bohol

Philippines Travel Plan – Bohol Bee Farm

We also want to take the opportunity to visit the Bee Farm Restaurant nearby, which gets shining reviews, as well as the less frequented Dumaluan beach, and the Panglao Island Nature Resort.

Hotel options in Panglao

Tagbilaran to Manila

Tagbilaran airport is just 9 km from the Seaside Boutique Hotel, so no problem getting there for the morning flight. We would arrive in Manila at around lunchtime, and would take a white cab from Departures to our hotel. I read online that the white cabs are cheaper than the yellow cabs, and that you can avoid queues by not taking a taxi directly from the Arrivals terminal.

The fare should be around 250-300 pesos, and apparently we needed to ensure we had a metered cab.

Philippines Travel Plan - Central Visayas

Philippines Travel Plan – Jeepneys in Manila

We would have 2 nights in Manila, staying at the Oasis Park Hotel in Ermita (€30 per night excluding breakfast).

After that, it would be back to the airport and our return flight back to Fiumicino, in Rome, Italy.

Hotel options in Manila

Plan Your Travel | Travel Your Plan

Of course, all this was just the theory. Having a plan is important, but things tend to go off-plan from time to time.

The first destination on our list was Rome, where we planned to spend our first night before jetting off to the Philippines the following evening. We had already booked our hotel and ear-marked a really popular restaurant for the evening. With luck, we would also squeeze in a trip to the Vatican.

See how our actual Philippines Travel Plan panned out. You can also check out our other Tropical Travel Plans.


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