Should we visit Bohol ?
During our trip to the Philippines, we hesitated a lot before visiting Bohol. Indeed, it is difficult to choose among the multitude of islands that there is in the Philippines.
Bohol is a rather controversial island. On one hand, it is very touristy, too much so. On the other hand, it is home to the famous Chocolate Hills, which are thousands of hills emerging from the earth. They are a real attraction on the island of Bohol, partly because this phenomenon is not explained to this day.
We decided to visit Bohol, despite the mass tourism, to see these Chocolate Hills. Was it the right choice? We share with you in this article the pluses and minuses of this island of the Philippines!
Visit Bohol in the Philippines
What to do in Bohol?
1 – Visit the Chocolate Hills
This phenomenon is exceptional in the world and the landscapes are very beautiful. It is possible to see the sunrise or the sunset, from the Chocolate Hills Complex, to have a clear view of the hills. The parking for the platform costs 100 php 1,50€.
You can also, like us, venture into the Chocolate Hills on a scooter. That is how you will get the best views, without tourists around. Because it is you, we give you the GPS location of this incredible place (pictures below). You will be able to climb this hill which is located near the house of locals, please do not leave any trash behind. EDIT December 2019: We have removed the GPS coordinates of this location following the testimony of a person who visited the family in question. The man told him that he was beginning to be disturbed by the influx of French people who were going to his house, because of our article. So, from now on, we will let you explore the area according to your traveler’s instinct.
As we told you, the Chocolate Hills phenomenon has not been explained. Several hypotheses are emitted. Could it be the tears of a giant who had his heart broken after a heartache? Could it be that two giants fought and left the island of Bohol upside down? Of course, geologists have also tried more scientific theories, which I will not detail because it bores me deeply. In fact, it does not matter, just choose the story that you like the most. Personally, I prefer the most poetic hypothesis: that of heartbreak!
Note: There are paid activities around the Chocolate Hills, such as a quad bike tour.
2 – Explore the surroundings of Loboc River.
We spent half a day riding our scooters on the roads of Bohol. Looking for the best spots on the Loboc River, we were not disappointed by the beauty of nature
There is a very touristy Twin Bridge that goes over the river in Bohol: do not go there. We found two bridges much prettier and with zero tourists! GPS coordinates of the first one– and those of thesecond one.
For a fun activity, go to the zip line at Loboc Ecotourism Adventure Park to go over the river. The price for a ride is 400 php (about 7€).
3 – See waterfalls.
The Camugao Falls are beautiful and can be reached in about 20 minutes walk. The access to this waterfall is not free (less than 1€ per person, parking included). Do not go there before noon because the sun will not have finished lighting the whole waterfall.
Other waterfalls to visit in Bohol: Malingin Falls, Kawasan Falls, Mag-Aso Falls, Busay Falls.
4 – Visit Bohol and its beaches
It was recommended to us to go to Anda, east of Bohol, for the tranquility and the beauty of the beaches. We did not test it, but we invite you to go and look at the pictures on Instagram to see if this place is to your liking.
5 – Day trip to visit Bohol
You want to visit Bohol but only have one day? This tour is top to discover all aspects of the island. You will pass by the Chocolate Hills, the Loboc River and other typical places.
What to avoid in Bohol?
Here are the reasons why we are rather divided on the island of Bohol. These are our opinions, so it is a matter of taste above all.
- Mass tourism: it is especially visible in the south of the island in Panglao. We advise you to avoid this area, either for your activities or for your accommodation. We made the mistake of spending our nights in this area… If however you like seaside atmospheres, find our accommodation here. The island of Bohol is very popular with Chinese and Korean tourists. Besides, you will see a lot of signs and maps translated in these languages on Panglao.
- Bohol is dirty, especially the south. The beaches of Panglao are spoiled by a lot of plastic and glass waste.
- The island hopping proposed in Bohol is more expensive and rather disappointing compared to the other boat trips we could do in the Philippines. Discover all our travel guides on the Philippines.
- The prices on the island of Bohol are higher than elsewhere in all expense items: accommodation, scooter rental, food and activities. If you want to know the budget of our 3 weeks in the Philippines, go to the bottom of this page in the practical information section!
To book your island hoping in Bohol, go here: turtle and dolphin watching
It is beautiful, but the landscape is denatured by mass tourism.
Virgin Island is one of the classic island hopping stops in Bohol.
Should you visit Bohol during your trip to the Philippines?
It is up to you to decide if the Chocolate Hills are worth a visit. They are, in our opinion, the only attraction that differentiates Bohol from the other islands of the Philippines. The Loboc River and the waterfalls are very beautiful but you can find this type of landscape elsewhere.
Visiting Bohol: practical information
If you decide to go to Bohol only for the Chocolate Hills, two days are enough. Otherwise, count on three or four days to do all the places of interest in Bohol.
Where to sleep in Bohol?
We advise you to find an accommodation around the Loboc River. It is very nice and relaxing. Here is a hotel in which we had lunch, the Fox & The Firefly Cottages, a real haven of peace.
Find other selections on Booking.com
How to get to Bohol?
We arrived in Bohol from Siquijor by boat for 15€ per person. The trip took 1h30. You can also come to Bohol by plane. The international airport has recently opened and more and more flights will be offered… which means that there will be even more tourists coming to visit Bohol!
Check out the rest of our trip to the Philippines with our guide to El Nido which will be out soon. You will also find articles on the islands of Coron, Siquijor and Siargao. The practical information about our 3 weeks in the Philippines with our complete itinerary, budget, dangers etc. are on this page.