Having done a fair bit of travelling throughout South East Asia in the last four years, I’ve realized that there should be an order in which you visit countries. For example, Thailand should be first on the list: it’s cheap, easy to navigate, incredibly tourist friendly, and there’s a wide range of things to do and see. Somewhere like the Philippines could easily be second. I had previously traveled to El Nido, Palawan and Boracay, where I went on some of the most incredible island hopping tours and woke up to an immaculate white sand beach every morning. So, heading to Bohol for my third trip to the Philippines was, to be honest, a bit of a disappointment.
Panglao Island, Bohol is a good destination for those who are looking for an easy to get to short beach holiday. Panglao Island is a less developed version of Boracay, which for some might be great as it’s not as crowded (though it certainly looks like it’s becoming that way) or Westernized. However, that also means there’s not quite as much to do. In an attempt to fit as much as possible into a vacation, here are 10 things to do in Panglao Island, Bohol; from lounging on the beach and eating fresh seafood, to exploring Bohol during the day and watching a fire show at night.
Hong Kong’s food and beverage industry is saturated with a variety of bars, restaurants, and clubs; upscale and casual. Maison Eight’s concept attempts to roll all three, and then some, into one sky-high location in Tsim Sha Tsui. Calling themselves an “all day, all night” destination, Maison Eight has four different areas designed to suit all needs: a French restaurant, “Esmé”, a ballroom, a cocktail bar opened by Salvatore Calabrese, and a private room, “Le Club 1829”, on the top floor. The following review of Maison Eight is based solely on my experience dining at the French restaurant, Esmé.
With private dining being an evermore popular option for diners in Hong Kong, one of the older and more well-known establishments is The Butchers Club Private Kitchen. Though slightly out of the way, tucked in the south of the island in Tin Wan, this dining experience is well-worth the trip (and the price tag). This is a meal you want to ensure you arrive hungry for, as you’ll be feasting on an array of some of the best seafood and meat you’re likely to find in the city.
La Paloma, a spacious Spanish tapas restaurant in Sai Ying Pun, welcomes you with a splash of color the moment you set foot inside. Aside from the warm and inviting interior design, the food is sure to please. Having just launched a new menu, La Paloma offers diners a range of affordable and downright delicious Spanish dishes that are perfect for sharing. If you haven’t been yet, now’s the perfect time to make a trip to La Paloma to try their “sexy” new tapas!
Aside from the Bohol Countryside Tour, another popular trip is the Panglao Island Hopping Tour which takes you out onto the water for a day of dolphin watching, snorkeling on Balicasag Island, and finally to The Virgin Island. You can easily book this tour through your hotel or find someone selling these tours along Alona Beach. Be sure to negotiate a price beforehand; expect to pay 1,200 – 1,800 PHP depending on how many people are in your group, time of year, and how good your haggling skills are. If you’ve gone on other island hopping tours in South East Asia before (like the surreal island hopping in El Nido), this tour will likely be incomparable, and, at least for us, was not at all what we had expected.
Bohol is a small island in the Philippines, just south of Cebu, that is well-known for diving, its Chocolate Hills, and Tarsiers. One of the most popular tours offered is the Bohol Countryside Tour; a day-long tour consisting of seven different sightseeing spots throughout the island. We had wanted to do this tour to get a glimpse of Bohol, but didn’t want to go to a few of the sightseeing stops, so we ended up hiring a private car for roughly the same price as a group tour and had a much better experience.
The original Juhu Beach Club opened in California after the success of Chef Preeti Mistry on the hit TV series Top Chef, and given Hong Kong’s well-regarded claim as a foodie-haven, it’s understandable Preeti had her eyes set on this city for her next restaurant. The food served at Juhu Beach Club uses a mix of Indian spices with a Californian flare, both of which balance the dishes out well.
Hong Kong has opened its doors to the first renowned authentic kushikatsu restaurant from Osaka, Japan: Jan Jan Kushikatsu. Kushikatsu is basically a fancy way of saying fried skewers, which may sound simple enough to make, but what sets kushikatsu apart from other deep-fried Japanese fare is the special oil, batter, and dipping sauce used. Nestled in an unassuming building in Wan Chai with practically no signage is where you’ll find Jan Jan. Be prepared for a big Japanese “welcome” the moment you walk through the door and into the homey restaurant.
If you were to ask a handful of people who live in Sheung Wan what one of their favourite restaurants in the neighborhood is, you can bet that at least half, if not more, would say Chachawan. This well-established restaurant serves up authentic Issan Thai food in a small yet lively environment. The dishes at Chachawan are unique to Hong Kong, have an interesting complexity of flavours, and are just straight up delicious.