When a student hands me this piece of paper with a huge grin plastered on his face.
The majority of travelers who go to Puerto Princesa, Palawan in the Philippines are not there for a long time. Usually they stop for a night or two at most before heading north towards El Nido and/or Coron. Because the turnover of travelers is quite high, there isn’t much to do in Puerto Princesa.
I was like many of these other in-and-out travelers, as we only had a three night stay in Puerto Princesa before I made my way on a long and exhausting journey up to El Nido. Though my time in PP was short, I tried to make the best of it by going to see most of the touristy things I found online, as well as the obligatory wanderings of a backpacker who has found themselves in a new place.
When I get beauty advice from students:
Student: “Your nails are white.”
Me: “They sure are.”
Student: “They’re really long.. you should cut them.” Then runs away.
I have been wanting to do this hike for quite some time, but was waiting for a clear day to appreciate the views a bit more. Since clear days come few and far between in Hong Kong, we decided to just try our luck one morning when we didn’t have much planned for the day. At the top of Lion Rock, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking, panoramic views of Kowloon and the Hong Kong Island harbourfront (if the smog isn’t in full force that day).
We spent our final two days of our Bali holiday in Jimbaran; just 15 minutes south of the airport. I had heard good reviews from coworkers about Jimbaran and wanted to try to see as much of Bali as possible during our short trip. Unfortunately, Jimbaran did not come close to our expectations and was the least enjoyable part of our trip. Allow me to explain..
Regardless of how cliche it now is, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to visit Padang Padang Beach; where the filming for Eat Pray Love’s beach scene took place. We were looking forward to seeing whether this beach lived up to how it was portrayed in the movie.
To begin with, it’s definitely not an easy beach to get to. In fact, nothing is that easy to get to if you’re staying in Jimbaran. So, we rented motorbikes for the day (though I highly recommend you don’t due to an awful experience we had) and set off to find this beach. We were on the road for at least half an hour before we found it – you’ll know you’re there when you see cars and motorbikes lined up on the side of the road right before a bridge. And lots of tourists, of course.
After leaving the Gili Islands, we went back to Ubud for one night as we didn’t get a chance to do the Mt Batur sunrise trek when we were there earlier. I love hiking and didn’t want to miss what was to be an incredible hike up during the night (which I had never done before) in order to see the sun rise up behind the massive mountains of Agung and Rinjani on Lombok.
I highly recommend you visit a few tour stalls before settling on a price. We were being quoted between 550,000 – 750,000 IDR ($50 – $71 CDN) per person from a few companies. Then we came upon one tour agency that offered us 600,000 IDR for both of us. We were so glad we took the time to look around before making a final decision; this price was half the cost of all the other companies and the itinerary was the same. The name of the trekking tour company was Pineh Trekking and we had no complaints during our trek.
I have quickly learned that preparing your travel itinerary ahead of time can save you a lot of unnecessary stress and money on Advil for those sure-to-happen headaches. Finding and booking a place to stay is one of the things I make sure to do ahead of time when going on a shorter trip.
Depending on the time of your visit to the Gili Islands, I would highly recommend booking ahead of time during their high season. We figured that most accommodation would be sold out, however, we were surprised to have multiple locals approach us when getting off the boat asking if we needed a room. We didn’t look into details regarding the price, area, or set-up since we already had something booked. However, I suppose it is good to know that you can head over there without any real plan (though doing this during high season would not be the wisest decision, unless you enjoy sleeping on the beach).