Up until now if you asked me what my idea of a backpacker paradise was, I would have not even hesitated to answer Koh Rong Island in Cambodia. Now however, I may have found something that has pushed Koh Rong off of the top spot. I proudly present you with… Drum roll please… Boracay Island in the Philippines.
Located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, Boracay is one tiny island of 7,107 islands that can be found in this spectacular archipelago. In 2012 the island was voted the best island in the world by International travel magazine, Travel & Leisure.
I am totally in love with this place and here I will tell you why…
1.Look at that beach!
White sand that stretches for as far as the eye can see. Crystal clear water perfect for swimming, snorkelling, paddle boarding or just relaxing. The 4km stretch of sand at Boracay White beach is one of the, if not the most beautiful beach I have ever seen! It is perfect. It is not too crowded either. I was here in peak season (November to April) and the beach outside or hostel at Station 3 was practically empty! The beach is clean and there is nothing on the floor of the sea, just soft silky sand to put your little feet on!
White Beach Boracay
2. Street / beach food
It is true, the restaurants can be a bit expensive but that can be easily solved by a backpackers favourite meal… Street food (Or beach food in the case of Boracay). Chicken and pork kebabs, sausages, chorizo or any type of meat you can think of on a stick for that matter. Fruit stalls are everywhere. Fruit shakes and smoothies for a £1. (yes I do think of everything in £s, I am English after all!) Fried rice and vegetables. I love street food every were I go and the Philippines is no exception. You cannot walk more than five minutes in Boracay without a food stall or street BBQ.
Street food stall in the Philippines
3. Happy hour cocktails
It is always happy hour on Boracay. Well, practically always. Ranging from 2pm until 8pm in some bars and 6pm until 10pm in others. ‘Buy one take one’ This means buy one get one free to us westerners. Two cocktails, beers or any kind of drink for a £1 each. Be sure to check which drinks are included before ordering but I got all of my drinks for £1 during happy hour. Watching the sunset with a fresh fruit cocktail on White Beach is one of the best activities in Boracay!
Travel blogger Sally Munt enjoys a cocktail in Boracay!
My first night on Boracay, I went for a walk about 9pm and nothing much seemed to be happening. Couples having drinks and families finishing off their evening meals. The bars and clubs were practically empty. ‘Erm, maybe this will be a quiet week for me’. I could not have been more wrong. On Boracay white beach, the party does not get started until 11pm in the bars and 1am in the clubs. Don’t worry though, you can stay out and party until sunrise if you wish. The clubs are packed, most free to get into and the music allows for every taste. Dance, Jungle, HipHop and they do love a 90s boy band and rock anthem in the Philippines.
Relax by day and party when the sun goes down…
There is more to do than just party on this island. Scuba diving, snorkeling, glass bottom boat rides, sailing trips, cliff jumping trips, markets, horse riding and helicopter tours. You can also head over to Bulabog Beach for some of the best kiteboarding and windsurfing in the Philippines. Some of them are not too cheap, but you can get a good deal and barter on a lot of them. I even found and amazing Gym for £1 a day so I did not feel guilty after all the Chorizo on a stick and San Miguels I had drank. Just exploring the island by foot or bicycle is great fun.
Exploring the island
6. Relax in paradise
Boracay is beautiful (see point 1). The best thing about this island is that it allows you to do as much or as little as you want. If you wish to lay on the beach all day or chill out in a bar with a cocktail in and you can. No one will judge you. I definitely will not. The Filipino people are so friendly and laid back, they will probably sit and chill with you.
Boracay for me truly is a backpacker beach paradise. You can get here cheaply if you avoid the major airports such as Caticlan and Kalibo and take a bus from Iloilo. Accommodation can also be cheap. Dorms at The Treehouse in Station 3 are 350PHP in peak season, that is less than £6 a night!
Backpackers get to Boracay now!
About the writer: In December 2013, 31-year-old Brit Sally quit her job as a Sales and Marketing manager to go off and explore the world. She loves animals and parties and is not ashamed to say she is super tight with her money. She writes about her cheap adventures around the world on her blog, Sally Around The World.