“The best things in life are free.” But for a small cost you can get some unreal life experiences!
So how do these families manage to make it all over the world? Are we travelling with lotto money? Are we mobsters? Perhaps you think we made a best-selling App?
We have no claim to fame, nor do we have any glamorous sort of income. But we can tell you that for 4 people (2 adults and 2 kids) in August 2012 we managed to get to Boracay, Asia’s Best Beach for under $30.
I’m sure you are still reading, cause you want to know how, right?
How to get to Asia’s best beach for under $30
It all started when we had booked 3 weeks in Manila, Philippines. The Philippines is in the western Pacific Ocean and Manila is known as the most densely populated city in the world.
Granted, with the mass of population and the peak hour traffic running 24 hours non-stop, 3 weeks in Manila was too long. We needed to hit up a beach or island getaway.
I have endless emails from airlines offering discounts. Some end up straight in the trash, some I review thoroughly.
So during another rainy, chaotic day when the weather left us no choice but to spend another day at home, a Tiger Airways marketing email came through and seemed to be the one shining ray of sunshine in otherwise flooded Manila.
“1 peso flights to Boracay” it advertised. Having no idea what Boracay was or where I did some quick research to find it was definitely a place we had to visit. I can’t believe it had never made it to our travel bucket list earlier.
Boracay: The journey to the Best beach in Asia
Recently voted, on Tripadvisor.com’s 2012 Travellers Choice, as Top Beach in Asia and 2nd best beach in the world, Boracay is a small island off the Philippines.
1 peso equates to less than 2 Australian cents. How could anyone resist such a deal? I immediately looked up flights on a Saturday and found only one flight left at the advertised sale. For Sunday, the very next day!
Spontaneity and me are not too close so I decided to give the relationship another chance and booked it. (On a side note: The return flight was not 2 cents, however $150 AUD later, including all taxes, for 4 people I was still stoked with the sale.)
There are two airports near Boracay. One is Caticlan, merely a boat ride away, but our flight was landing in Kalibo, a 1.5/2 hour bus trip away from the boat ride. We decided to keep up our spontaneity and just figure it out when we got there.
Our flight was at 6:15pm. When we stepped on board, the last family which we always aim to be, I swear you could of heard a pin drop. It was empty. There were perhaps 6 rows of people. Granted this would have made for a very pleasant hour flight if there hadn’t been so much turbulence from the alarming storm outside.
But we did land safely and on the ground there was no rain.
At Kalibo we simply stepped outside the very small airport and there were plenty of staff there loading up buses as the flights come in. We didn’t have to do much work to find our way on a jam-packed bus towards Caticlan.
The driver must have been in a hurry cause the tyres loudly protested his refrained brake use around corners and we were at the boat port in minimal time.
While the bus fare included the boat fare there was still some environmental fees to be paid before boarding the long boat.
The boat doesn’t leave until every seat is filled or every bus that left the airport arrives, so there was a slight wait.
It is also important to note that a travel backpack might be better for this travel as the jetty to the boat is swaying and not easily passaged with 3 roll on suitcases (the small carry on kind) and 2 sleepy toddlers. You can get a porter for fairly cheap; just make sure you have small change.
By now it was more than dark. The journey across the black ocean was less than 10 minutes and included a free, exciting lightening display courtesy of Mother Nature.
At Boracay’s dock porter’s and tricycle drivers quickly inundated us. Motorized tricycles are a common means of passenger transport everywhere in the Philippines. Motor-tricycles are built around a motorcycle and can accommodate three to four passengers (although I’ve seen more) with luggage placed on the roof.
Caius and Josh sat next to the driver and Mia, I and our bags were seated on two bench seats in a compartment behind the rider and front seat. The journey was exciting and thrilling with my 3-year-old daughter smiling from ear to ear, despite the lateness.
Check out Boracay Beach in this video:
The White Beach, Boracay
Finally, we had arrived!
Our hotel was located on a strip called The White Beach. We couldn’t see much that night and all stumbled into bed, but the views the following day accurately portrayed the beaches name.
We had completed our first epic adventure, as a family, to get to a remote tropical island and we had done it under $30.
What an expedition! Let’s rehash:
Costs to get to Boracay
- Taxi from our apartment to Manila airport $3.50
- Plane to Kalibo $0.02 (not including return flight)
- Bus to Caitlican $14.72 (including boat)
- Boat to Boracay $7.00 (environmental fees)
- Tricycle to Station 1 on the White Beach $2.30
- 3:30pm until 10:30pm = Total $27.54
Things to do in Boracay
Our hotel was on the beach. Literally 5 steps from it.
Boracay may only be 4.5 miles long, but it has the best beaches in Asia. Pure white powdered sand, crystal clear blue water and swaying palm trees.
Once you have arrived on Boracay there is plenty to fill your time with. From lazy days snoozing on the sand, making sandcastles, swimming in magnificent sapphire water, collecting shells to water sports including jet skis, boat rides, snorkelling, windsurfing, cliff diving, etc.
There is a small outdoor shopping mall and restaurants, massage places, and clubs that line the beach all ready to complete your relaxation therapy. These restaurants range in any cuisine imaginable and really turn up the heat in the evening with cross-dressed fire-dancing entertainment.
We decided to forego the caves & island hopping for a more relaxed approach, eating, playing, swimming, eating, massage, sleeping, eating. All of life’s finest activities on one small island for a negligible price.
If you are looking for an island escape with minimal cost, I suggest taking a look at Boracay, Philippines. It’s one of those holidays that will leave you wanting more.
Read More: Things to do in Boracay Island with kids
Have you been to Boracay, Philippines before? Or have you ever nabbed a sweet travel deal like this one before?
We rented our house and our dog, packed only 3 suitcases and now this family of four are traveling the world. Leaving our Australian home in May 2012, with a 2 year old & a 3 year old, we determined to make a lifestyle change beneficial for our family.
It’s an open-ended, unplanned round the world trip discovering amazing places for toddlers (& we have fun along the way) that you can share by visiting our family travel blog or Facebook page. We look forward to bumping into you around the world.