Beginning your trip in the Philippines in Bohol is a great idea. It is a very diverse island, you can found something unexpected around each corner. So what to do in Bohol Island? From rice terraces to paradisiac beaches to waterfalls to the tarsier sanctuary and last but not least to the famous Chocolate Hills, Bohol is one of the most adventurous islands in the Philippines. If you are visiting Bohol for the first time, then I hope this travel guide can help you plan your trip.
We spent 3 days in Bohol. We are telling you everything about our trip on this island: how we organised our 3 days, what was worth to do, our top 3, our favourite restaurants etc. The key spots we visited are the following: Dumaluan Beach, the Chocolate Hills, the Tarsiers, the Loboc River, the Cadapdapan Rice Terraces and the Can-Umantad waterfalls.
Day 1 – Dumaluan Beach, the Hinagdanan Cave
We arrived from Manila at 9.00am at Panglao airport. First of all, we took a local bus from the airport to Tagbilaran city for 50 PHP / person. And from there we took a tricycle to our hotel – be ready, you have to negotiate the cost with the driver. As a tourist they will always try to double or triple the cost otherwise. Tricycle price within the city is usually about 20 PHP per person and a bit more if you have baggages.
We were really lucky as our hotel allowed us to check in early when we arrived at 11.00am. And that was it, we could now enjoy our first few hours in the Philippines. For the rest of the day, we decided to just chill and relax, and tried to accommodate our bodies with the jetlag.
We decided to rent a scooter for the next 2 days to visit around. Firstly we wanted to visit Panglao Island. However, we read a lot of negative comments about Alona beach due to the crowd of tourists and the fact that the beach is dirty. So we drove on the North of the island first. Further we stopped at Hinagdanan Cave. We paid small entrance fees – 110 PHP for both of us. It is a little more if you decide to swim there.
After this, we went for a well deserved massage at Nuat Thai.
Then we took the direction of Dumaluan Beach on the south. The entry fee for both of us and the motorbike was 75 PHP. The beach is nice. And above all, the sand is almost white and there was almost no one there.
We drove back to our hotel which took us 45 minutes to enjoy a beautiful sunset – perfect time to fly our drone around. The view from the infinity pool was awesome. See at the end of the post more information on our hotel.
Note – there is only one airport in Bohol, which is now on Panglao island. The Tagbilaran airport closed in 2018.
Day 2 – The Chocolate Hills, the Tarsiers, the Loboc River
The Chocolate Hills
Direction the Chocolate hills with our scooter – 1h30 drive!
Beautiful landscapes, we stopped a few times to fly our drone and take some shots as they were some farmers doing the rice harvest.
A few minutes before we arrived at the Chocolate hills, we had to pay a small entrance fee of 50 PHP / person to enter, then we arrived at the parking area. There are about 100 steps to climb and then from the balcony, there is a beautiful view on the Chocolate Hills. It is amazing. In the summer the hills turn brown due to the heat. In total, they are more than 1,200 hills in this area.
We went back down to fly our drone about 15 minutes away from the Chocolate hills’ viewing point as the drone is not allowed there after 8.00am.
The next destinations were just a few minutes away. It was animal’s power :)! We went to the house of butterflies 🦋- the visit took us about 20/30 minutes. We had a guide who explained the key characteristics of the butterflies, which have a life span of 21 days!
The Tarsiers – Tarsier Conservation area vs Tarsier Sanctuary?
We also discovered the tarsiers – cute tiny primates, which essentially live during the night. The silence is necessary as they can be scared easily. There are about the size of a hand! We visited both the Tarsier Conservation area and the Tarsier Sanctuary. We recommend the second one which is more preserved and it seems that tarsiers are more taken care of – you visit the sanctuary in a complete silence. A guide came with us during the visit, they know exactly where each tarsier is. In total, we saw 6 tarsiers there. The entrance fee was 60 PHP per person.
The Loboc river
We had lunch at Fox & The Firefly as it was recommended by a traveller blog. If you want to discover our recommandations where to eat in Bohol – read this post.
It is an eco lodge where we had lunch barefoot. The menu offers several tasty options. The hotel was already sold out when we booked ours but the small cottage seemed really nice! It must be great to spend a night there.
Then we found a spot on the Loboc river where we could fly the drone to have a few nice shots.
We didn’t do it but if you still have some time, there are several activities offered on the Loboc river – it is one of the most touristic area in Bohol. You can have a lunch cruise for 2 hours – we saw several boats which looked quite touristy with live music and buffets on the boats. You can also rent a paddle. And at the end of the day – it is also possible to go for fireflies watching!
On our way back we flew the drone one more last time at Guiwanon Beach. It was great at there were a couple of children playing in the water. They spotted the drone and were interested with it. We took a lot of photos and laughed a lot :).
Day 3 – Anda Beach, Cadapdapan Rice Terraces, Can-Umantad Waterfalls
We decided to do a one day tour with a solo guide to go on the other side of the island. Our guide came to pick us up at the hotel at 8.00 am. The first stop was Anda beach, it is about 2,5 hours drive from Tagbilaran city. So as you can imagine the journey was a little long and even longer if we have done it in motorbike. Nevertheless luckily our tour guide was very talkative and it was a great opportunity to learn more about both Bohol and the Philippines.
When we arrived at Anda beach – we were so surprised to discover that the beach was completely empty. Individual Kanapoe are available for free to lie on the towel. We walked in the sand along the beach and we had our lunch there. We stayed about 2 hours.
Cadapdapan Rice Terraces
Then direction Candiday. It is the home of the Cadapdapan Rice Terraces. The landscapes there are amazing. Since I was young, rice terraces are one of the key pictures associated to Asia. I was desperate to see the rice terraces! Hence, Alexis found this compromise to avoid to go to Banaue rice terraces north of Manila as it would have took us minimum 3 days. Farming is the first source of revenue for the Philippines. They have up to 4 harvests per year. The road to go there is a “massage road” according to our guide (i.e. very chaotic with many rock and holes) for at least 4 kilometres for one way and quite hilly. I wouldn’t imagine doing it in motorbike.
And then we went to Can-Umantad waterfalls. We were lucky as there was also no one there. So we had the falls just for ourselves. Although it is possible to swim, we didn’t try it as the water temperature was around 18 degrees ! Too cold for Alexis, who is from Marseille ;)!
The total price for both of us for the full day was 4500 PHP. There were not many options to take this tour like group tours to lower the cost. Our hotel was offering a similar tour for about 6000 PHP. We finally booked it online with Klook this website is a really good one with several tours across the Philippines. It is definitely worth to have a look at it, if you are looking for a guide tour.
Finally, we decided to go to Alona beach for our last evening. It is usually a very busy area with many tourist shops and dozens of restaurant along the beach. However, at that period due to the coronavirus it was not crowded. We recommend to stop at the Oasis resort as the food was really tasty. If you take a tricycle from Tagbilaran it is about 300 PHP one way.
- Firstly the Chocolate Hills – the view is amazing! It is easy to understand why it is the main tourist attraction in Bohol.
- The Tarsier Sanctuary as these creatures are so cute
- Bohol speciality food is the peanut and we loved the home made peanut butter 😉
Our hotel – Kasagpan Resort
We stayed at Kasagpan resort, which we recommend without hesitation. Firstly, it is a very nice place to stay in the north of Tagbilaran city. But most importantly, the infinity pool offers an amazing view with the sunset :). There is also a nice restaurant and the breakfast is really tasty. For instance, we definitely recommend the Kasagpan healthy breakfast – muesli, peanut butter, banana and coconut served in a coconut shell :). In short, there was no better way to be welcomed in the Philippines. It was a perfect choice to begin our stay in this country.