Island hopping in Boracay is a must do. It is a full day activity. My itinerary included Puka Beach, Snorkeling, Crystal Cove, Cliff Jumping at the Magic Island and Helmet Diving. I would strongly recommend that you go to the Puka Beach, whatever else you may drop or add, it is stunningly beautiful.
Our first stop on the island hopping trip in Boracay was Puka Beach. It is also known as Yapak Beach. The sand here is mixed with crushed Puka Shells yet it is soft to walk on. The water is mesmerizing. You can rent the beach chairs from the vendors. My stop was not long enough to walk the length of the beach, but given a chance I would love to go back to Puka Beach again.
Snorkeling at Boracay
I quite love snorkeling. It is not as complicated as scuba diving and yet it gives me a glimpse of the wonderful underwater world! The corals at Boracay were beautiful. I now use my GoPro to take pictures too. But like everything else I need to get a hang of the GoPro to take better pictures! What I saw was much more beautiful than what I captured!
Crystal Cove Island
There are two coves on the Crystal Cove Island. We visited the Cove 2 first. It is fun to get into the water and then walk to the other side of the narrow cove. They have put in ropes to help the visitors negotiate the path inside the cove.
The views from the island are beautiful. We walked around the island a bit. I usually like to walk around to my hearts content but the day was hot.
So we headed out of the Crystal Cove to our next activity, which was cliff jumping.
Cliff Jumping at Magic Island
Then we went Cliff Jumping at the Magic Island. It is basically a cliff with various platforms. The highest is 10 meters and it is from that you see me jumping down in the picture above!
I was scared, I just didn’t allow myself to think much before jumping. You can read about the experience in more detail here.
I was happy to sit down and eat food after he cliff jumping experience. Being a vegetarian I don’t get to eat much of a ‘local cuisine.’ But every country that I have visited I have got vegetarian food. Here you can see my lunch when we went Island Hopping!
Our last activity for the day was helmet diving. The person in the scuba gear was the instructor. The helmet is heavy but it doesn’t feel so underwater. Helmet Diving is much more restricting when compared to scuba diving. But it is infinitely easier to do helmet diving.
I was happy to head back to my hotel, The Lind, after the end of the activities. The Island Hopping at Boracay was fun. I will remember it for a long time to come.
PS. My trip to Philippines was sponsored by the Philippines Tourism Board as part of TBEX.
As I walked the narrow platform over the cliff, it looked incredibly high. Even though the height was clearly marked at 10 meters it felt like a long distance to the water below. I have done cliff jumping before in Rishikesh. When I realized Cliff Jumping was on my itinerary in Boracay, Philippines too, I said I would decide to jump or not after looking at the cliff. I did it on the Magic Island. Within five minutes of reaching there I was standing at the edge of the platform, staring at the height below. I was ready to do Cliff Jumping in Boracay, Philippines.
At the Magic Island they have build platforms of various heights over the cliff. They are narrow planks protruding over the cliff. That way you are sure you will fall in the deep water below. The platforms start from 3 meters and the highest is 10 meters. My group members started to jump from the lower platforms first.
I knew for sure that I was going to jump only once. I cannot indulge in madness again and again. So I decided to jump straight from 10 meters.
I gave my SLR to one of our tour guides, Chris, and my cell phone to Jun, who was the senior guide on the tour. I figured that between the two someone will get a picture.
As I walked to the platform’s edge, I was scared. I still wanted to go ahead, I do get these fits of craziness. As I was almost on the edge Jun called out, “wait, I need to get your camera started again.” I held the railing and waited for a go ahead from Jun. He called again saying he had my camera back!
This time I quickly walked to the edge, I didn’t give myself much time to think! There was only one way to go, down. I knew from my previous experience that I had to keep my hands close to my body or it would hurt. It was over within seconds. As I surfaced, there was a collective shout of ‘good job’ from friends!
When I went back to them everyone told me I had to do it again as they could not get it on the camera! I replied, “I would not do it at any cost, not for a month at least!” They laughed and showed me the pictures.
And then Ciaran Blumenfeld of Momfluential showed me the slow motion video. I was overjoyed. I can’t thank her enough for making that video. Thanks to her I can relive the moment again and again! My next thought was to share it with the family but in the same breath I knew they would not be thrilled.
When I posted the picture on FB, Seshadri (my husband) simply typed my nickname with a question mark! I told him it was indeed me.
My sister saw the post on Twitter and this was reaction
You are jumping from there? Hen? https://t.co/ln86MPCLri
— Alka Dwivedi (@alka_d) October 18, 2016
When I said yes, she replied galat baat (not good). I told her chup (to keep quiet). My father told me today, “You went in straight but you could get hurt if you went at an angel.” My father never tells me not to do a thing, but it was his roundabout way of saying he was not thrilled at all.
I have already done cliff jumping twice now, so I guess I might do it again! But then I will for sure not jump from something incredibly high. I do not go chasing adventures but when they come my way, I somehow end up engaging with them! You can read more about the cliff jumping activity with prices on this blog from Philippines.
And while I have a lot to write from Philippines, come Wednesday and I should be traveling again!
PS: I was in Philippines as a TBEX Speaker and Boracay was my post TBEX FAM Trip.
Island hopping is the most popular activity in Krabi! There are two popular island tours in Krabi, the Phi Phi Island Tour and the Four Island Tour. I have now done both plus I have hopped over to Hong Island in a private speed boat. I love the beautiful islands of Krabi by the Andaman Sea. However, you need to keep a few things in perspective to enjoy your tour. The pictures in this post are from the Phi Phi Island Tour but many experiences are common to both the trips!
It is Going to be Hot and Sunny if You are Lucky, Else it Will Rain!
I have been to Thailand seven times by now. I have been there in various months. But whenever I went it was warm/hot and sunny! It is lot of fun if you are coming from a cold country! If you are from India it could feel a bit like home!
Be prepared mentally that you are going to be in the sun for the whole day when you go island hopping. But I would take sun any day on a beach rather than the rain!
Most of us will do the tours in a shared speed boat. Private speedboats are available but they cost a bomb. On both my trips, the four island trip last year and the Phi Phi Island tour this year, I firmly remained on the deck of the boat and got baked. But that is my choice. There is a covered area in the boat but I never ever considered it.
When they Say it is a National Park, It means no Commercial Activity
Our first stop on the Phi Phi Island Tour was the Bamboo Island which is a national park. That means, no resorts, no restaurants, nothing. You only get to enjoy the stunning natural beauty. If you ask me it is a very good thing. So, as soon as you hear the word national park forget shacks, forget beer, forget everything and enjoy the nature!
When they Say Snorkeling they Mean You Snorkel on Your Own
On the island hopping tours snorkeling opportunities are available. But they give you a snorkeling mask, a life jacket and assume that you know how to do it. Some of the snorkeling sights are in the bays and deep sea. If you do not know how to swim or use the snorkeling mask, chances are you will not be able to do it. Of the two, knowing how to swim is more important. If you ask nicely, someone will tell you how to use the mask but if you do not know how to swim then you may not have the confidence to venture in the sea.
Personally I liked the snorkeling more on the Phi Phi Island Tour. On the Four Island Tour the snorkeling was average.
The Lunch is a Buffet Lunch
Phi Phi Don is very popular with backpackers. It is the party island as well. You will find plenty of restaurants, shops, beer and hotels here. We had our buffet lunch on this beautiful island. Whatever is in the set buffet is included in your tour cost. If you want anything else, it will be extra.
They cater to vegetarians easily but it would be Thai food. Do not expect Indian food on the island tours. When I did the Four Island Tour, the lunch was a packed lunch, we didn’t even go to a restaurant.
The Maya Bay
The Phi Phi Island Tour includes a trip to the Maya Bay. This beach became extremely popular because of the movie ‘The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. But that is what, it became popular, so it is crowded. I wish I read this BBC story on the Maya Bay before I left for Krabi though. Most of the islands are popular with tourists and get packed during the season.
Baby on the Beach
We found this cute baby on the Maya Bay. The parents had gone in the water. They could see the baby all the time. Anyway this is a small island with nowhere to go without boat! There are no restaurants, hotels or hawkers. The cute baby got so much attention from everyone. People would come, coo and then go on their way! After a while the mother emerged but the baby and the people around were not willing to budge!
Your Guide Will Speak Some English
A lot of people speak some English in Thailand, particularly if they work in the tourism trade! But it helps to remember that English is not their first language. They are mild mannered and they expect the same in return. Or else they keep quiet and don’t cooperate, which I believe is fair!
Our guide (on another tour) in Krabi drove off in his Hilux Pickup Truck after the tour got over! We all were happy to see that he was doing well!
Wear a Swim Suit beneath Your Wrap
Island hopping means being in and out of water for the whole day. It helps to wear a swim suit and put a wrap over it. You need your beach slippers. On many beaches you will go bare foot! If you wear a dress that doesn’t dry off easily it can be a little difficult to enjoy the day.
A Blessed Day
There was an elderly couple on our boat. They spoke almost no English. The gentleman took this picture of mine. He signed to me to raise my hands, which I happily did. Later in the day they gave their camera to me asking to take their picture. I asked them to raise their hands too! Who says we need to know the language to communicate. Politeness, grace and friendliness get conveyed by gestures and body language!
I do not say this often, but I do feel truly blessed for the travel opportunities I get, the day in Krabi was one such day!
PS. I wrote this post with an Indian audience in my mind.
PPS. My trip to Thailand was in collaboration with Byond Travel.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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