I did my visa run in Laos this past summer at the height of the Thai crackdown on tourist visas, and I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be let back into the country. Plus, I had unwisely chosen to stand in line for a very stern looking immigration officer wearing dark sunglasses, yikes.
When my turn finally came, the officer took off his glasses and peered down at me and unsmilingly asked, “why are you so pretty?”
I wasn’t sure how to react, but eventually let out a nervous giggle, and we proceeded to laugh awkwardly at each other for a good twenty seconds before the he stamped my passport and waved me through, no more questions asked. At least I didn’t cry or puke.
Since then I’ve often asked myself why things are so pretty, usually as a joke when they really aren’t because that visa-run morning I definitely was not looking pretty. But in Boracay I asked myself this question countless times in all seriousness.
Like actually, how can one little island be so freaking beautiful?!
When I was first looking for a beach to go to in the Philippines I didn’t even consider Boracay, because I thought it would be too overrun by tourists. But finding coordinating flights from Kuala Lumpur to Manila and then to a beachy paradise (I only had a week so didn’t want to waste a night in Manila) proved to be a bit of a nightmare. So when Miriam told me to just go to Boracay and I found a direct flight from KL to Kalibo for $60 I was sold.
In the end I was happy with the decision, not just because Boracay is beautiful and totally deserving of the hype, but also because it was just so easy. The two hour journey from Kalibo airport to Boracay was a breeze, finding accommodation was stress-free, and the beach hawkers, while annoying, knew how to whip up some delicious mango smoothies.
I had read that Boracay was expensive, but while my hostel bed was a little pricey at $14/night, I still easily spent under $25 a day. I rarely paid more than $2 for a meal, and most of the time I was just lazing on the beach, which didn’t cost anything.
But if you still want some tips, Justine at the Travel Lush wrote a great budget guide for Boracay.
I spent my first two nights at Trafalgar Cottages on Station 3, where I split a double room with a girl I met on the boat to Boracay. We each paid $6/night without breakfast. The room was very basic with a shared cold shower, but the location was nice.
I also spent a few nights at MNL Beach Hostel on Bulabog beach, where I paid $14/night for a bed in a female dorm with breakfast. The hostel was clean and they provided shower and beach towels, but the staff weren’t exactly friendly. I really only stayed there so that I could be in a dorm and meet other travelers.
Jameela Deen says
Ok i’m gonna go for the obvious comment to get it out of the way:
ok people now you can just copy paste my comment haha
Haha Boracay was really easy to photograph. Such a pretty place!
Paula Through the Looking Glass says
OMG i have to go here! it is definitely on my list for 2015!
BTW ive just been reading up about this whole Visa situation as i’m planning to move to Bangkok next year and have heard it’s got pretty tight since new regs in August…when did you do your last Visa run?
Ive written a post about it on my blog if you’re interested in reading or have any views
I did my visa run in August, when it was the tightest I think. Since then they’ve lost a lot of foreign English teachers, so the general actually told immigration officials they needed to relax. So it seems easier again? The situation here is so strange though, so that could change any time. And thanks for the link, I’ll check it out!
Boracay looks amazing! Those sunset pictures..wow!
The sunsets there were unreal. I barely had to edit my photos, they were already so pretty and colorful!
this looks so amazing. I’m craving a good beach these days and I definitely would have assumed boracay would be super expensive. good to know its not
Yeah I thought it would be expensive as well. There of course were plenty of expensive places to eat, but it was really easy to find budget food and accommodation as well, phew!
Marie @ Marie Away says
OK, I’m probably going to have to use that last photo as my new background. Seriously stunning, the colours, the clear water, the white sand. Looks like a dream.
It really was so beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever had to do so little editing on my photos, ha.
Miriam of Adventurous Miriam says
I’m so glad you enjoyed Boracay. It has a way of making you stop and see life for its simplicity and beauty. If there is a paradise on earth, this must be it! Thanks for the mention <3
Thanks for steering me in the right direction, Miriam!
Marias reiser says
WOW I love your pictures!! I visited Boracay last year, what a place! I would love to go back… Btw, just discovered your blog, and it is awesome! 🙂
Tusen takk, Maria, glad you found my blog! I’m already thinking about when I can go back to Boracay again, haha.
becky hutner says
i too did not even consider boracay when i was planning my philippines trip last year. my heart was set on palawan, already tricky to get to & then post hurricane, forget it! so boracay it was. i have mixed feelings about the place but you are absolutely right in that a) it’s easy. b) it’s (damn) beautiful. if stress-free beaching is what you’re after, this is the place.
To be honest I had mixed feelings about Boracay as well (my next post will cover a bit of the island’s ridiculous side) but there was something so nice about having an easy and beautiful beach. When I first got there I sort of regretted not making the trek to Palawan, but at least I had a stress-free holiday, like you said!
These photos are so beautiful! And your visa run story made me laugh out loud. 🙂
Boracay was so beautiful! And that immigration officer was the weirdest, I still laugh about how awkward the situation was.
Looking at these amazing beach pictures make me craving for some warmth and sunshine especially now that it’s starting to get cold in Europe and the winter season is coming soon. Christmas in the Philippines? 🙂
Sounds like a good plan to me 🙂 Though actually I hate spending Christmas away from snow. Luckily I’ll be in Norway the Christmas!
Your photos are AMAZING! I think I will need to bookmark this post so I can return to it when I am in the midst of the cold Canadian winter and dreaming of a pretty beach getaway. Sigh…
I’m so excited about spending a cold Christmas in Norway, but I’m probably going to be missing beach weather like crazy while I’m actually there!
Can I have two tickets to Boracay, please? You’ve sold it to me 🙂
I’m already planning a trip to the Philippines this summer, but was thinking to skip Boracay for more time at Siargao and around El Nido.
But your pictures are just toooo pretty indeed! 😀
Two tickets if you’ll take me with you, because I’m already itching to go back to Boracay! Boracay was really easy, but it seems like Siargao and El Nido are maybe even more beautiful, and less crowded! I would love to visit someday.
Lucy @ The Wanderlust Scout says
Wowsa, it is so very pretty. I would be askign the same question ha! I MUST visit.
Ps I love awkward passport patrols – boy, have I had a few!
http://www.thewanderlustscout.com || http://www.skeeterandscout.com
Haha I think the passport guys just get really bored and like messing with the tourists.
I’m so glad that you seemed to love Boracay as much as I did. I still don’t understand how some people are turned off because it’s too touristy and expensive. I still say it’s one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen and it comes pretty damn cheap. Good for you for getting by on $25 a day. It goes to show that Boracay is totally doable for budget travelers like us, no matter what the budget. Thanks for mentioning my article too 😉
Yeah thanks for your tips! I felt like such an insider refilling my water bottle at water stations, not like those suckers paying for it on the beach! Haha.
OK, so why is this place SO pretty? how is this even possible?
Seriously, someone tell me how one place can be so flawlessly gorgeous!
Renate @ Renate's Travels says
Oh my lord, I want to go there NOW. NOW NOW NOW. Haha, your pictures are amazing! And what a deal from KL! I’ll definitely be scanningn the net for “cheap” tickets to the Philippines now.
I know, I’m already dreaming of going back! There are some super cheap flights to the Philippines, so I bet you could grab a good deal 🙂
Glad to know you loved Boracay! I’m from the Philippines and I haven’t even been there! HAHA. Great photos! 🙂
Whaat? You need to go to Boracay! Though there are so many beautiful islands in the Philippines so you have plenty of choices 🙂
Tea Martinez says
I just came home from Boracay. So many tourists! I can’t wait to go back there. 🙂 I tried parasailing, helmet diving, island hopping, snorkelling. It’s the best. 🙂
Wow, it sounds like you definitely made the most of your time there!
Martina Donkers says
Woowwwww… Why IS it so pretty? 😀
Wow. Love those sailboat photos!
Danni @Leftnleavin says
Silvia, these pictures are beautiful.
The Philippines are(is?) the next stop we are planning on our ten month RTW trip and I am having a ridiculous time trying to decide where to go. They actually have too many gorgeous places to go. Right now we fly into Coron, Palawan, and might take the ferry to El Nido, fly to Manila for a couple days, then down to Bacolod for a marine camp. After that we have the time/money to stay for another week. Do you think Boracay was worth it or should we try for some quieter but more difficult to get to places like Siargao Island?
I would love to know what you think. Thanks for sharing!
You’re going to love the Philippines! I wish I could have traveled more there. I enjoyed Boracay, but I was also just looking for somewhere really easy. The beach itself wasn’t so impressive, so if you have the time I would definitely go somewhere a little quieter like Siargao. I wish I could have done that myself, but by the time I got to the Philippines I was exhausted so I just went for the cheapest direct flights, which were to Boracay.
Dani @ Left N Leavin says
Thanks Silvia. I think we are going to book Siargao and Bohol tonight 🙂
Awesome, I’m excited to read how the trip goes!
Hi! Nice blogpost. I have a doubt.. was that a last minute planning? I meant, were you able to find that air ticket price on short notice? Which airline did you fly? I have one wee “open” to plans yet, from Bangkok and I feel like a Philpine beach could be great. But then I have to go back to Ho Chi Minh city where my fligth back is planned. So, not sure if I’d be able to go “unplanned” and decide on the go close to the date, or if I should do all the plannign and “fix” the plan one month and a half earlier (now). Thanks for your insights! chers!
It was last minute planning – I booked my flight just a few days before leaving! I’d suggest look on Skyscanner now and then keeping an eye on flights. Good luck, and have fun!
I suggest you also visit Coron, Palawan. It will take your breath away. 😛
Oh I would love to visit someday!
edward reed says
Wow. its looking amazing. I really love this post. thank you for the sharing.
Juan Carlos says
I am always envy to those travellers and bloggers who already visited Boracay because until now I was not been there yet even if it was located in my Country Philippines he he