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Trip Report: Beijing-Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Cebu-Bohol (& Back)

Trip Report: Beijing-Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Cebu-Bohol (& Back)

Old Oct 9, 06, 8:18 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Trip Report: Beijing-Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Cebu-Bohol (& Back)

Trip Report: Beijing-Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Cebu-Bohol (& Back)

While this trip was for vacation and was not a mileage run it felt like it at times. Due to last minute scheduling I put together the above trip to save money. I tried to include relevant info for travelers to the area.

Beijing – Guangzhou:

I booked tickets on eLong.net for roughly 900 RMB during the peak Chinese Autumn Festival. Chine Southern flies out of their own terminal in Beijing which is quite nice. All the majors in China have about the same service so I cannot recommend one over the other.

Guangzhou:

The airport is about 30 KM north (45 minutes) of Guangzhou City. Taxis will cost you about 110-150 RMB back/forth depending on where you are going/departing from.

Ramada Plaza Guangzhou: This hotel is highly recommended. It can be booked online for 395 RMB via elong.net. They just opened so it is spotless and beautiful. It could easily be a 5-star hotel based on amenities etc. They have wireless, business center, restaurants etc. Even though paying only US$50 we were put on the executive floor. Very much like a Sheraton. Also, it is close (10 RMB taxi) to Guangzhou East Train Station which delivers you direct to Hong Kong’s Hung Hom Station.

Guangzhou – Hong Kong: Express trains for Hung Hom in Hong Kong depart hourly. During peak travel times they say to book ahead but even on a peak travel day it appeared to have open seats. Tickets can be purchased online at www.throughtrain.kcrc.com for either HK$190 or HK$230 depending on train and class. I traveled on the KTT Express and it was beautiful—similar to express trains in Northern Europe. The trip takes roughly 2 hours and delivers you to Hung Hom in Hong Kong, which is near most of the tourist sites.

Hong Kong: After a brief stop a Gaylord’s, supposedly the cities best Indian (cannot say but it is good) we took the Airport Express train (HK$80) to the airport to catch the inaugural Cebu Pacific (www.cebupacificair.com) flight from HKG – CEB. The flight leaves at 12:55 AM so you have a full day in HKG but arrive at CEB at 3:30 AM. Flights on Cebu Pacific are cheap. We got round trip tickets with taxes for HK$1150. The flight was delayed an hour but it was a new plane so I assume the pilots/flight attendants were getting accustomed. The interior on the plane was nice leather/pleather.

Cebu: Arriving in Cebu at 4 AM means nobody else is in the immigration cue but means that you arrive during one of those times were it makes early check in difficult if you don’t want to pay for the previous day-the Day’s Inn is cheap and nearby as well as the Waterfront Hotel. We decided to head straight for the Weezam Ferry at Cebu City Pier. The Cebu City Pier is about 20-25 minutes away and should only cost 150 pesos for transit via taxi. If you can get them to use the meter it will cost only 115 or so.

Note: There is an ATM outside the exit for the departures terminal but it is only Cirrus and not Plus.

Cebu – Bohol: Boat travel in the Philippines is extremely common as well as how friendly Cebuans are. Boats start leaving the Cebu City Pier at 6 AM. There is also an ATM at the Pier that accepts Plus/Cirrus in another building—not the Weezam building. I tried to use it but it was out of order. I am not sure if this is a frequent occurrence but I did see a Citibank ATM on the drive from the airport. Round trip tickets to Bohol are 500 pesos for the 2 hour trip. If the weather is nice I would recommend requesting the viewing deck unless you love frigid AC and like to hear their “Ride the Weezam” theme song for the entire 2-hour trip.

Bohol – Panglao/Alona Beach: Once in Bohol there will be plenty of cars/vans interested in taking you wherever you want to go. All rates are negotiable but the standard rate of the 30-45 minute trip to Panglao is 500 pesos. If you need money have them take you to a bank in the city on your way to Panglao. The Allied Bank accepts Plus ATM cards.

PS. Don’t forget to check out the fee-free international ATM card thread. When I travel international (actually I live internationally) I use Capital One for purchases and Commerce Bank for ATM withdrawals. Both are fee free.

Panglao: They say that it is advisable to book ahead during December-April but it was quite quiet during October. Alona Beach is nice and I would rate it on as a 6-7 on a scale of 1-10. Beaches in Koh Samui, Thailand or Perhentian Islands, Malaysia are nicer and the water clearer. We tried a couple different places to stay:

Bohol Divers: Since we arrived at 10 AM we took the first place that was available. They are doing major construction and as a result no lockbox for passports etc. The grounds were decent as well as the rooms but there are better places. The restaurant had good food and nice views. Non-AC rooms start at 800 pesos and AC rooms at 1600 pesos. 0% credit card surcharge.

Alona Tropical: We stayed at Alona Tropical for 3-4 nights. The grounds are nice and rooms are 1000 pesos for non-AC and roughly 2000 pesos for AC. 10% discount during non-peak season. The beach in this area is really nice and they have a guy maintaining it all day long. Their restaurant was also right on the beach and had great views and pretty good food. 10% credit card surcharge.

Bohol Bee Farm: Highly recommended. Rooms start at 3000 pesos including breakfast – 15% if you book directly. The grounds are extremely well sculpted and the organic restaurant is awesome—I usually shun organic foods because I think it is a gimmick but here the food was fresh and excellent. Prices were similar to other resorts also. I definitely recommend staying here at least one night. The resort is on a rocky cliff so the beach below isn’t spectacular but the water is clear. They have a pool but you won’t want to leave you shade under the trees while you swing in a hammock. When we checked in we were offered their 2-bedroom house, The Colony, for a discount rate. It usually runs 5000 pesos a night but we negotiated 0% credit card surcharge on top of the discounted rate. They normally charge 5%.

Alona Kew Whitebeach: While we didn’t stay here we met several people who worked here and it looked really nice. A tad on the expensive side but the grounds were very nice.

Bohol Beach Club: Stopped by to look at it was pricey and nothing special.


Notes:
-AC rates tend to be 2x non-AC rates.
-50% of the resorts were under renovation/construction for the upcoming peak season.
-Boholians are extremely genuinely friendly and nice. If you have a problem they will help.
-Mopeds can be rented for 400 pesos a day. Watch out for kamikaze dogs. I had one stop right in front of my travel path to stop and stare. I avoided him but ended up with some bruised and scrapes.
-The beach on the northern part of the island is much nicer. You can stop by for the day and there are two resorts up there. One is gorgeous but US$150/day. All resorts let you visit for the day if you spend a set amount in their restaurant etc.
-There is a bookstore in the City Mall in Tagbalaran.

The way back was similar to the above including boat to Cebu (reserve early on Sunday nights just in case), flight to HKG, train to Guangzhou and flight to Beijing but I wanted to note:

Hotel Ibis NorthPoint (Hong Kong): Decent budget option in Hong Kong. Booked online via Ibis’ web site for HK$550 night. There is 13% taxes on top of that so a total of HK$620 or so. Rooms are small but clean and it is a HK40-50 taxi ride from Kowloon Airport Express Station. During peak seasons it seems they don’t adjust their rate as much as other hotels so you might want to use them during transit.
bidhere23 is offline  
Old Oct 9, 06, 9:58 pm
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PS. Cebu Mactan International Airport - Just for you Cebu flyers I wanted to note that they will not let you take any liquids/gels onboard when flying to HKG or the USA. The confiscated my toothpaste, shaving cream, deodorant. For some reason they weren't very through and didn't confiscate the honey I purchased at the bee farm. They actually have a 2nd x-ray machine after the emmigration checkpoint to look for liquids/gels......
bidhere23 is offline  
Old Jan 27, 07, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by bidhere23 View Post
Trip Report: Beijing-Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Cebu-Bohol (& Back)
<snip>
Hong Kong: After a brief stop a Gaylord’s, supposedly the cities best Indian (cannot say but it is good)
I have been visiting HK regularly for 10+ years, and just ate at Gaylord for the first time. "Good" does not come close to describing the meal I just ate. I feel cheated that it has taken me so long to find the place.

I'm no gourmand, but I've eaten a lot of Indian food on 3 continents, and just had the best Indian meal in my life there. I just got back to my hotel room and felt compelled to write something, somewhere about it.

Sevice was so-so, but the food was truely fantabulous. I don't have the words to say more than that.....
dgwright99 is offline  

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