Philippines forum

Bali or Boracay??

  • MissB87

    Joined Travelfish
    26th August, 2010
    Posts: 1

    Hey guys,

    My partner and I are planning a little get away for October and are not quite sure what to do. We have been to Bali many times and it has become a very special place to us, so we have to spend some time there. We have 3 weeks to fill in and were thinking of spending 10 days in bali and 10 days in Boracay.

    We just cant find enough infomation to make a decision on if Boracay is worth it.

    We would like to know what general prices are like.... for a meal, beer, can of coke.... how does it compare to Bali.

    We also went to phuket and koh samui in July this year and we werent very impressed there, loved Bali a million times more, do you think we will feel the same about Boracay?

    Also how hard is it to get from Clark to Boracay?

    Thanks heaps.

    #1 Posted: 26/8/2010 - 07:52

  • Advertisement

  • goonistik

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2010
    Location Philippines
    Posts: 560
    Places visited:
    At least 9


    My friend characterizes Boracay as "red light district by the beach." So if you are looking for a party place than Boracay is for you. I was there in the 80's and I saw mass tourism beginning to ruin the idyllic charms of the place so I refuse to go back.

    There are better destinations than Boracay in the Philippines. It depends what you are looking for.

    I believe seair flies from clark to boracay. Otherwise, you'd have to go to Manila to get flight or a boat trip.

    #2 Posted: 26/8/2010 - 14:38

  • renrendiaz

    Joined Travelfish
    28th August, 2010
    Posts: 18

    Going to Boracay,it is place that you can have both having party at night and relax on a white sand by morning.

    #3 Posted: 28/8/2010 - 19:49

  • bronzedwarr-

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2007
    Posts: 41

    In my opinion, Boracay is better than both Phuket and Koh Samui ( Both of these places are hugely over rated, with Phuket being being particularly bad if you ask me... ). It is, however, quite developed but for some reason that isn't such a big deal.

    White Sand Beach is quite simply stunning even with the over development ( Head to the 'Fridays' resort end for a quieter, more relaxed feeling during the day - But find accommodation at the opposite end of the beach as this end is for the super rich... ).

    Food is not that spectacular here. Mainly catering to Korean and Russian tourists ( They dominate the island! ), its wall to wall 'Mongolian BBQs' which vary in quality hugely - If you do go, make sure you check out the wonderfully named 'Nigi Nigi Nu Noos e Nu Nu Noos and take advantage of their 'As many eggs as you can eat' breakfast! Excellent value!

    Beer is phenomenally cheap in the Philippines ( Cheaper than any other SE Asian country ), expect to pay about 50 pesos for a San Miguel beer in most bars ( Frequent happy hours make it even cheaper! ). Also check out the local rum, Tanduay, the cheapest drinkable spirit I've ever seen. A litre bottle costs about 80 pesos from Budget Mart on White Sands Beach ( These prices are for Feb 2010 ).

    Getting from Clark to Boracay is not easy. Travel in the Philippines is never easy! There are apparently flights from Clark to Kalibo/Caticlan ( Nearest airports to Boracay ) but they don't leave at convenient times so if you're in a hurry or are just impatient ( As we were! ) then you have to do the following...

    We flew from KL with Air Asia to Clark arriving at about 11am, you then need to grab a bus from outside the airport, the touts will make sure you don't miss one!

    Its about 2-3 hours to Manila, depending on traffic, you'll then need a taxi to the Ninoy Aquino airport catching a flight to either Caticlan, the closest airport to Boracay, or Kalibo ( Which is what we did - It was cheaper! ).

    If you go to Caticlan airport, its a simple boat trip from the port to the island - Job done. If you go to Kalibo, like us, you need a minibus to Caticlan, which is another 2 hour bus journey - Once again, the touts will direct you to where you need to go.

    We did the whole journey from KL to Boracay in one day arriving on Boracay at about 9pm... Probably the most tiring day ever but, as I said, we're impatient and at least you can spend the next day snoozing on one of the best beaches in the world.

    Hope that helps!

    #4 Posted: 28/8/2010 - 21:03

  • LGR_2010

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd April, 2010
    Posts: 23

    Not sure about goonistiks comments - I definitely wouldn't call it red light district by the beach and Boracay has changed since the 80s and even 90s. Yes, it's a more crowded now, but still a nice place to visit.

    I'm from Manila and what's great about Boracay is that there's lots to do -though not sure what you're after - there's a lot of variety and choose with food and accommodation, water activities and island hopping (I recommend a trip to Puka beach or Crystal cove).

    I also would recommend that you also consider Palawan - check out Coron Island on the web. It's about a 50-minute plane ride from Manila on Cebu Pacific.

    Hope this info helps.

    #5 Posted: 29/8/2010 - 22:57


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6955
    Total reviews: 10

    Bali has a kick ass little salsa scene. That would be decisive for me.

    #6 Posted: 8/9/2010 - 10:41

  • JiroIsCount-

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd December, 2010
    Posts: 24

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Theres nothing special in Boracay....
    I will choose Bali over Boracay....

    Boracay is crowded....water is a bit dirty now bcoz of those irresponsible tourists!

    Foods are expensive and foods are all the same...not much choices

    Not much activities in Boracay ..only night party....

    Few years ago (around 7 years ago) this place is a paradise...Now it aint anymore....

    You hear ppl talk about "oh there so many tourist there in Boracay!" doesnt mean they like it....In countries like South Korea, they showcase Boracay as splendid and beautiful...they advertise too much..thats why many Koreans come and booked a trip to Boracay......but the big question is... What is the return rate of tourist in Boracay?!....

    Google Boracay and you can see pictures that are really beautiful....GO to Boracay and you will see its different .........locals and tourists abused the beauty of Boracay...Local govts and eco organizations have had campaign to revived the beauty of Boracay.....and now its called BOOOracay...

    Trust me .... Boracay is nothing really special....IT WAS but not now anymore.....

    sorry Boracay fans.. ;)

    #7 Posted: 29/12/2010 - 08:39

  • fi0na

    Joined Travelfish
    6th January, 2011
    Posts: 5

    hi, all! i'm a filipina and i'm trying not to be offended by the comments here. the first time i went to boracay i was only 12 and i'm going back there for the nth time next week. yes, commercialism has changed it but if you know where to stay and hang out, boracay is still paradise. i would've preferred it to stay as it was when i first saw it -- no electricity, no pollution, simpler accommodations and restaurants -- but of course, we can't control the big companies from putting up big resorts. i do hope they're taking care of it. i'll see for myself next week. MissB87, if you and your partner love the night life, then boracay is for you. you can also try kite surfing. will check that out myself. it's on the other side of the densely populated strip. it's in bulabog beach (my friends will be staying at lazydog where a lot of kite surfers hang out). there are quiet places there--just stay in station 1 and further beyond it. from clark to boracay, there's a shuttle bus that'll drop you off at megamall (a huge mall in ortigas center). you can book at any of the hotels nearby. or you can go to the airport right away if you have tickets from manila to caticlan. it's best to travel early in the morning so that you'll get to boracay by noon. traffic can be horrible during weekdays so again, get an early morning flight (i'm leaving at 6am) to avoid the heavy traffic. take cebu pacific air or seair to caticlan. from there, you can take a ferry to boracay. one of the best places i've stayed at is true home. i think their rate is about 2,500 pesos (about $55). there are many places you can choose from, but the best ones are in station 1.

    if you prefer snorkelling and island-hopping, el nido is for you. it's a group of islands in palawan and it's the most beautiful place i've ever been to. you don't even have a to be a diver to see marine fishes! just bring your snorkelling gear and you're all set! my friends and i stayed at cliffside cottages a few years ago. it's only 300 pesos (about $7) per night! our neighbors were a german couple who were staying there for 3 months, i think. you can eat lobsters in el nido for only 500 pesos (about $12) for 4 people. there's a small restaurant run by a local named manang vicenta. just give her money in the morning for her to buy fresh seafood and she'll cook it for you. hope she's still there! the first time i went there the only available plane was soriano air. it was so expensive! so my friends and i were quite relieved that food and accommodations were cheap. seair travels to el nido now and i think it costs a lot less than soriano.

    coron is also beautiful! but personally, i could've appreciated and enjoyed it more if i were a diver. if you've got lots of money go to misibis bay in bicol. guimaras island has a lot of beaches as well. if you love tropical fruits, that's where the best mangoes come from! cebu also has pristine beaches--i'm planning to go to camotes island next year. camiguin island in the south is also awesome! it's a small island with 7 volcanoes!

    since almost all international flights are in manila, you might also want to spend a day or two in the capital. there's a guy, carlos celdran, who gives a tour of manila--just google "walk this way."

    it saddens me that our tourism isn't as good as thailand's. there are hundreds of beautiful places in my country. for the members of this thread (and the entire forum) who didn't fall in love with the philippines, i apologize for whatever bad experiences you've had.

    MissB87, i hope you'll enjoy your stay in my country. eeek! i sound like a tourism officer. hahahaha! enjoy!

    #8 Posted: 12/3/2011 - 23:41

  • gwapo

    Joined Travelfish
    4th June, 2011
    Posts: 49

    Fiona, I dont know if you have ever been to Bali,Koh Samui or Phuket to make a comparison.
    IMHO Bali was the place to go 25 years ago along with Phuket. ,Koh Samui was a paradise in late 80s and early 90s.Boracay has changed completely in the last 10 years,it is a tiny island now becoming totally over developed,almost bursting at the seams.Having said that I enjoyed a great stay there last July 2010 and have flights booked for a 3 day stay this September.
    The sand really is like talcum powder and beats Goa and Varadero hands down.
    I just hope the municipal government can deal with the pressing environmental issues.Where's the next Boracay? Pagudpud? Romblon?

    #9 Posted: 17/6/2011 - 22:42

  • fi0na

    Joined Travelfish
    6th January, 2011
    Posts: 5

    hi, ephraim! i've been disappointed with boracay many times yet it somehow manages to retain its charm. i was there last march with my family. business owners and locals have been making efforts to save it. i hope the government's part of that endeavor too.

    among the places you mentioned, i've only been to phuket. i felt like i was the only asian tourist there. i was surrounded by americans and europeans!

    i haven't been to pagudpod or romblon. so far, my favorite's el nido. they also have beautiful beaches in mindoro occidental. there are lots of beautiful islands here--saw them when i took a boat from coron to el nido in 2007. that was a crazy 8-hour ride but it was fun!

    have a great time here in september!

    #10 Posted: 24/6/2011 - 17:23

  • Advertisement

  • gwapo

    Joined Travelfish
    4th June, 2011
    Posts: 49

    Thanks Fiona,
    Just going to Boracay for 2 days this time. Had a great time last July at the superb Boracay Regency resort,a group of 6 of us. The Koreans seemed to outnumber other nationalities 10 to 1. 3 of us will go this time its a budget trip and flights with Air Philippines express cost P798 each way as we are avoiding the high season. Drove to Pagudpud last January but the weather was bad and blue lagoon beach was deserted so we went back to Laoag. Can recommend in Laoag and in Vigan

    #11 Posted: 26/6/2011 - 21:54

  • RickWarren

    Joined Travelfish
    9th January, 2012
    Posts: 21

    Bali or Boracay but not both. Bali is a sizeable island packed with much of cultural interest and worth a week and Denpasar is not where you want to be. If you want cultural destination with a little bit of beach, do Bali. If you want primarily a beach holiday, do Boracay.

    Thanks in advance.

    #12 Posted: 17/4/2012 - 04:34

  • migsaquino

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2012
    Posts: 15

    BORACAY, definitely!

    Powdery, white sands. Pristine waters. All night parties.
    Need I say more?

    #13 Posted: 27/11/2012 - 10:02

  • Gerohn

    Joined Travelfish
    28th October, 2012
    Location Australia
    Posts: 13

    I think that you can't compare the two. Boracay is 7 klms long and 1 klm wide. That is vastly different in size alone. The Cultures are different, depending on what part of Bali you are in. I haven't been back to Boracay since 2005, and I am not likely to. I will keep the images as I want them to be, not a Tourist Resort Place stacked with Hotels ( I am told it is now). There are many beautiful places and beaches in the Philippines. Although I have never been there, and maybe next month on our trip we can get there, I would think Palawan has a lot more to offer with Culture and beauty than Boracay. Pagadpud, is beautiful, Kapaluan Vista Resort. Baler, Aurora is an amazing place, and I have heard they have opened the roads north of there. I sugget you travel to Sagada, spend time there, its totally different from your beach trip, very beautiful place.

    #14 Posted: 11/12/2012 - 04:15

  • Paul999

    Joined Travelfish
    8th January, 2015
    Posts: 7

    Boracay definitely! I have been to Bali and did not like it! Superhot and no wind for relief! And the touts in the touristy areas try to cheat you for money in every which way they can!

    Not the case in Boracay, nice and breezy and sure touts some will overcharge you, but my first experience was someone actually gave me money back after I gave him too much!

    I've actually been living in Boracay for 3 years now, I like it that much, and those people calling Boracay a red light district by the beach, don't listen to them, they don't know what they're talking about. It's a very one sided view. Boracay has many things to offer...

    #15 Posted: 29/1/2015 - 02:07

  • Cajsa321

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2015
    Posts: 13

    I will choose Bali. I have been to the beautiful place once with whole of my family and really loved the amazing and beautiful attractions if Bali. Bali is an very attractive place full with tremendous places.

    #16 Posted: 17/4/2015 - 06:00

  • dpeterk

    Joined Travelfish
    6th May, 2015
    Posts: 4

    I've been to Boracay more than twenty times and have friends there. I'd say most of the people who've gone there don't leave unsatisfied at all, and many get addicted to going there over and over again. The prices are still reasonable, though rising, and the vibe and fun are great. Food, live music and fun await, though Boracay is much smaller than Bali. I've been to Bali twice but not since 2006, and since I live in Korea, the Phils is easier to get to than Indonesia for me.

    Phil food isn't universally appealing, and the prices at good restos in Boracay aren't that cheap but still reasonable. You can get San Miguel bottles for under US$1 easily. Plus the Boracay sunset, DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON HOW AWESOME IT IS!

    You have flights from Clark to either Kalibo (1.5 hours away from Boracay) or Caticlan, but take the flight to Kalibo as flights to Caticlan are often pricey and can be rerouted to Kalibo due to weather.

    #17 Posted: 6/5/2015 - 01:11

  • Paul999

    Joined Travelfish
    8th January, 2015
    Posts: 7

    "Plus the Boracay sunset, DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON HOW AWESOME IT IS!"

    Yeah I agree, I just started creating a new post today about those sunsets actually...

    In the post I show my best sunset pictures of Boracay...
    Have a look here:

    (the complete post is not finished yet, but the sunset pictures are).

    #18 Posted: 6/5/2015 - 01:59

  • Paul999

    Joined Travelfish
    8th January, 2015
    Posts: 7

    "My friend characterizes Boracay as 'red light district by the beach.'"

    That is crossly exaggerated. I mean, yes there are working girls around in the night, especially later at night... But it's really not that bad...

    To prove that point... Here is a very good article from a family with small kinds that traveled to Boracay:

    They had a great time there, and they say it's family friendly, which I agree with.

    #19 Posted: 6/5/2015 - 23:41

  • ethelMIC

    Joined Travelfish
    13th May, 2015
    Posts: 2

    I still go for the magnificent Boracay. I’ve been there 3 times already. My wife and I spent our 5th wedding anniversary there and it’s truly magical. We enjoyed our stay, lots of water activities and I love the serenity in Bulabog Beach with aquamarine water, powdery sand and good food (love the adobo!). Can’t wait to go back there in September. We already book room rates at 7StonesBoracay suites with 15% discount.

    #20 Posted: 13/5/2015 - 01:17

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 1065
    Total reviews: 2

    You might also consider Phu Quoc Island as well as Hoi An (Vietnam) in addition to Bali. It would be easier to get to Hoi An since Air Asia flies via KL to Danang Airport. Hoi An is wonderful with some of the best food in SE Asia and a relaxing environment.

    #21 Posted: 6/7/2015 - 11:15

  • dpeterk

    Joined Travelfish
    6th May, 2015
    Posts: 4

    Yeah, whoever said Boracay is a red-light district obviously has no idea of what the island is. Goes to show you how much disinformation is out there.

    That said, the Phils has 7,107 islands and a few are gaining in prominence. El Nido was featured in the closing scene of "The Bourne Legacy" and has been called the Phils' best beach. The problem is getting there. They have a chartered flight of around US$300 per person RT to go there, but for most people, getting there means an hour flight then several hours by bus. The completion of the airport at San Vincente (supposed to be this year, but in the Phils, construction and projects are often delayed) will cut travel time to El Nido to just 1.5 hours by bus from the airport.

    Pagadpud has been used to film many Philippine movies and TV dramas and is good for those who really wanna get away from it all (but I need Wi-Fi to do work).

    #22 Posted: 6/7/2015 - 19:06

  • girlunspott-

    Joined Travelfish
    9th July, 2015
    Posts: 3

    Boracay is absolutely cheaper than Bali. It's also a much smaller island so there are less things to do. I actually think of Boracay is the party capital of the Philippines when it comes down to it. There are plenty of other things to do in there other than party though of course. I'd recommend seeing Boracay because it's changing really quickly and in a few years, it'll never be the same again. I love Bali, but it's always nice to see something new. If you weren't impressed with Phuket, then Boracay would probably let you down too.

    I did write a guide for Boracay, complete with hacks and island secrets. So if you do decide to go there, you might want to read it for some advice :)

    #23 Posted: 9/7/2015 - 11:48

  • Gogomobile

    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2015
    Posts: 410

    Boracay and Bali are awesome. Dont go to Thailand.

    #24 Posted: 13/7/2015 - 08:36

  • maxhere

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd September, 2015
    Posts: 2

    Are you not disappointed by Bali over time? At least when I travel to a country repeatedly - especially in those areas with growing tourist industry - I always find out the place is changing very fast so after some years it is not what I remember it anymore. It sort of can't be any special for me anymore because the place that was once special is not there anymore. If I were you I'd go for Boracay if it's a new place for you. There's a lot of fun. Try kite surfing, have fun on the beach and go party at night. Here's a photo gallery of one of thenot too crowded beaches.

    #25 Posted: 3/9/2015 - 21:53

  • leaweber

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd September, 2015
    Posts: 1

    Bali will probably be a bit cheaper. I also thought the weather there in October might be better

    Averages on Bali 27 C, rain probability 46%

    On Philippines October is the rainiest month of the year though...

    #26 Posted: 8/9/2015 - 03:23

  • augustus01

    Joined Travelfish
    28th September, 2015
    Location Philippines
    Posts: 4

    Boracay is the better choice for me.

    #27 Posted: 28/9/2015 - 21:11

  • angelx08

    Joined Travelfish
    15th October, 2015
    Posts: 4

    To be honest, I wasn't impressed with Boracay. Too crowded and the beaches are nothing special. I would rather choose Palawan over Boracay. I'm planning to go to Bali next year and all of my friends who have been there loved Bali.

    #28 Posted: 15/10/2015 - 01:29

Have questions? Jump to our menu of forum quicklinks

Add your reply

Your reply

Check this box if you want to be notified of replies.

Please be familiar with our user guidelines before you post. Thanks!

Businesses planning on plugging their guesthouse / hotel / karaoke bar should read our "Addition guidelines" very carefully.

You need to be logged in to answer an existing post on the Travelfish forums. Please login via the prompts just above and refresh this screen -- before writing your post -- and you'll be in business.

Hotel Deals of the Day
best price guarantee