Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Boracay's beautiful beaches

After 2 days in Manila, we were on on our way to beautiful Boracay! A long day of travel - plane, bus, ferry and then finally a car to our hotel. First impressions - Boracay didn't look very touristy...the road from the port to the hotel was very narrow, and it seemed like we were driving through a tiny village - thatched roofs, brick walls, mango and plantain trees, palms reaching to the sky - if Manila brought memories of Mumbai, Boracay invoked the lush Konkan coast! It was quite a drive, the houses slowly giving way to hotels and then the bigger resorts, and finally there we were - Ambassador in Paradise!!

Ambassador in Paradise 

Our room

Again, first impressions not too good - I think we were all feeling underwhelmed and a little let down - all this way for this? Don't get me wrong - it was a very nice hotel, and a very nice room - but at the risk of sounding really spoilt, I will say - we've stayed at better, luxurious hotels, and at the prices we were paying, Ambassador didn't really hit the mark! The pool was an absolute joke - I get that the whole point of a beach resort is, well, the beach - but still, shouldn't a luxury resort have a decent pool? Another highpoint of these luxury resorts is the lavish breakfast buffet - again, very disappointing at the Ambassador!!

And then the spectacular, famous White Beach - beaches at Bali, Maldives were pristine, untouched, a true tropical paradise - here the beach is more commercial, more crowded. And I guess we went at the wrong time of the year - there was a lot of algae or seaweed in the water - had to wade through that gunk to get to the water. Then when the tide went out, all that slimy greenery was left on the beach - not really the best for a walk on the beach!! I'm not sounding too happy about Boracay, am I? Well, my rant is now done - getting to the good part now!

The best part about Boracay?? For the first time on a beach vacation, we were not captives at the resort. A short walk down the beach is the D'Mall - with tons of restaurants and bars, massage parlors, souvenir shops, and everything else imaginable!! Happy hour starts at noon here, and the party continues day and night!! Great place to people watch, get a good meal - or if the fancy strikes you, a foot massage or hair braided right on the beach!! Live bands, karaoke, fire shows, the cool breezes off the ocean - very easy to lose yourself in the easy cadence of life here!!

And then there was the water-sports! I'm usually too chicken for anything of this sort - but had made up my mind to go para-sailing here!! It was quite the adventure - a small speedboat took us from the beach to a huge floating dock in deep water. Manasi and I feeling a little green around the gills at this point - still determined to see the whole thing through. Another boat, stepping into the harness, strapping ourselves to the chute, butterflies, butterflies, butterflies - and then we were off!! Flying over the water, what an extraordinarily exhilarating feeling - I've never felt this unfettered before!! Then, they brought us lower - and I thought we were going to dip just our toes in the water - but a splash, and we were laughing with the shock of the cold water!! Too soon, they reeled us back in - and it was back to the dock!!

The floating dock

Geared up

Ready for take-off

Up, up and away!

Splashing in the water!

I believe I can fly!!
The other activity that Ajey wanted us to do - ride an ATV. Well, he could drive one, and Manasi and I had a dune buggy - we drove all the way up to the highest point on Boracay, and spectacular 360 degree views of the island!! Manasi was a little wary with me driving - I actually managed to crash the buggy within 5 minutes of getting in - hey, the brake pedal wasn't where I thought it should be - but we made it there and back quite safely!! Also included with the ATVs was admission to the weirdest museum ever - no seriously, you have to see the pictures, hands-down the weirdest museum ever!! And a really weird ride - a 2 person bicycle on a kind of suspended rail. The whole contraption looked really rickety, and I was happy to pass!! Again, quite a day of adventure!!

And oh, the gorgeous, gorgeous sunsets!! Can there be anything more beautiful than this glorious explosion of colors, more poignant than this one last defiant blaze before darkness creeps in? Last time I remember seeing such wonderful sunsets was in Goa - again, that resonance with India everywhere we go here!!

Yes, I had a wonderful time!! The days had a lazy, hazy quality - and time stretched so that it seemed like we were there much, much longer than just 4 days!! And we met so many wonderful people - everyone is so relaxed and mellow, it's easy to strike up a conversation with complete strangers!! It certainly will count as one of our more memorable vacations - all those adventure sports were a first for me!! Would I go back?? Yes, but only if I could find an easier way to get there!!! Until then, Boracay will remain as a well-loved memory!!


  1. You are very right about the resort stuck places Gauri. Glad you had fun and I liked the captures. Hope I will visit Boracays sometime soon. Thanks for the info :)

    1. Thanks, Tara! Do let me know if you need any more information to plan your vacation - will be glad to help!

  2. Lovely images and it looks like a lovely place as well....

  3. Beautiful pictures and looks like great places to visit.

  4. Thanks, Santosh and Alok! Boracay is really quite beautiful!!