I spent four days on the island, basically touring all the usual tourist spots in Bohol. I hired a motorbike, for 400 pesos a day, and racked up the miles zipping around Bohol and Panglao.
Most tourists end up staying in Panglao, thanks to the beautiful beaches, even though they generally say it’s Bohol. The two terms are kind of interchangeable between tourists to the Philippines which can be confusing if you’re planning a trip to Bohol.
There’s not actually that much to do in and around Panglao though, beyond the beaches, which makes it the perfect place to relax, but if you’re looking for some action and adventure you need to know what there is to do on Bohol island.
Top Tourists Spots in Bohol
If you’re looking for some sort of itinerary in Bohol, check out the map above. I’d recommend you do all this over two days, to really enjoy, and then spend your third day in Bohol cruising the beaches of Panglao.
But read on for more info…
1. Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary
Tarsiers are cute little creatures with huge eyes, found in the trees of Bohol. They’re actually endangered as people take them from the trees as pets and if they get touched too much, or have too much light, they get depressed and kill themselves. Sad story hey?
Head to the Tarsier Sanctuary to see the little cuties. Unfortunately for us tourists it’s a very quick trip, expect to spend about 5 minutes walking round and then you’re ushered out. On the day I went the weather was horrendous which could’ve been the reason but we literally got shown 5 tarsiers for a minute each and then had to move to the next.
There was a tarsier information centre inside, mostly featuring skeletons of tarsiers from times gone by. Despite the quick trip my visit to the Bohol Tarsier Sanctuary was totally worth it – I’d been really excited to see the tarsiers and they were so cute.
You could always go back if you didn’t get enough of the tarsiers, it was only 30 php (40p) to get in and it all goes back into looking after them.
2. Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills in Bohol were the main reason I wanted to visit the island. Not too sure why but since going to the Philippines back in 2013 I’ve had a hankering to see them for real. They’re a natural phenomenon visible from miles around but it’s at the highest point you’ll see them the best, obviously. Pay a small fee and make your way up to the top via bike.
Almost up the top and you’ll find a restaurant, a bar and a few shops, and, the stairs. You need some level of fitness to make it to the top of the stairs, but when you do you’ll see 360 views of Bohol’s Chocolate Hills for miles around.
It was a bit of a mission up there on the bike (two hoursish) but totally worth it.
Also, side note, on the way I stopped in the Tokyo Road Cafe and went for sushi – it was some of the best and most cheapest sushi I’ve ever had. Go there, not the burger place over the road.
3. Alona Beach
Alona Beach is so pretty and gets even better as you walk along it – don’t give in to being a lazy tourist and not walking unless you have to. Walk the length and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views, promise.
Of course you’ll have the usual hawkers trying to sell you stuff as you do in the most popular Bohol tourist spots but the ones I spoke to were friendly enough, and were intrigued when I got my drone out. Alona Beach is a great place for photography thanks to the blue waters and pretty boats lining the shore.
It’s known as the best beach in Bohol, although, really, it’s in Panglao.
Read more about my trips to the Philippines
Also, don’t miss my awesome itinerary for two weeks in the Philippines.
4. Bee Farm
I noticed that the Philippines in general seemed to have a great attitude to sustainability and resources, particularly when it came to bottled water. Most places would only let you refill, rather than buy a new bottle. For somewhere where you can’t drink the bottled water I thought this was a great idea.
The Bee Farm in Bohol was just another example of their dedication to the planet. There’s a restaurant and resort, dedicated to bee cultivation, organic farming, and healthy eating. Go and check it out to see the bees in action.
Find out more about the Bohol Bee Farm on WillFlyForFood.com.
5. Diving and snorkelling
Diving off Bohol is one of the most popular things to do on the island. I’m a certified diver but unfortunately I didn’t go out when I was there, generally because of the weather as I was too nervous it would change when I was at sea – I was scared of the typhoons. Nah thanks. Just don’t go in February.
Most of the diving is off Alona Beach, or at least, that’s where your boat will go from.
– Pic from Dive Bohol
Check out Dive Scotty’s guide to diving in Bohol to find out where you can go and what you can do there. If you don’t fancy diving, then snorkelling is fun too, and less financial and time commitment.
Snorkelling in the Philippines is incredible. I went to Palawan in 2013 and sailed from Coron to El Nido, the snorkelling there was the most amazing I’ve ever seen. Give it a go (if the weather is ok!).
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6. Other beaches / hiring a moped
One of the best things about hiring a bike on Bohol is the opportunity it gives you to explore as much of the island as possible. You could spend a day bouncing from beach to beach along the Panglao coastline, like I did.
Just so you know though, some of the beaches are private and there’ll be security guards stopping you coming in. All the fun is in finding out which ones will let you in. It’s easy to drive the coastal road in Panglao – have fun!
7. Bilar Man-Made Forest
The man made forest in Bohol is a popular place to visit, just on the way up to the Chocolate Hills. It’s basically an archway of trees over the main access road and makes for a really pretty drive out of the sun.
I’d definitely recommend going as it’s right on the way to most of the active things to do in Bohol and all you have to do is drive through and admire the view.
8. Stand up Paddle Boarding in Loboc
Unfortunately the typhoon weather (!) meant I couldn’t do any of the watersports activities in Bohol when I was there. There’s so much to do though, from paddleboarding, to canoeing, to kayaking, and just hanging out in the sun.
9. Hinangdanan Cave
If you’re looking for cheap / free things to do in Bohol check out the Hinagdanan Cave in the north of Panglao. It’s an underground limestone cave with just a ladder down – the blue lagoon looks amazing surrounded by all the stalactites and stalagmites. Definitely worth a visit, although again, the weather ruined it for me.
You go and let me know what it was like, yeah?
10. Danao Adventure Park
You’ll find ziplining, bungee jumping, bouldering and river trekking at the Danao Adventure Park. They have the longest zipline in Bohol and definitely enough entertainment in the Bohol wilderness to keep you busy for the day.
11. Baclayon Church
It’s not the most exciting excursion in the world, well, it wasn’t for me, but seeing as you drive past you might as well check out the Baclayon Church in Bohol too.
Quick look, quick pic, and you can crack on with all the other activities in Bohol.
Package tour in Bohol
You can book the above tour packages in Bohol with Viator, of course you’ll pay more but at least you’ll have someone to show you around and to ask questions to. You’ve also got the security of knowing someone is looking after you should anything go wrong (eg. the weather changes)
I travelled Bohol by myself as I didn’t want to be in a group, but I can definitely see the benefits. Click through to read everywhere you’ll go, and why it’s worth having a guide.
Click to search prices >> Bohol Countryside Day Tour | Bohol Highlights Tour
Check out my video on Siargao in the Philippines
I went here after Bohol, via Cebu. More inspiration for your trip perhaps?
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Where to eat in Bohol
My absolute number one recommendation, and the best meal I had in my whole two weeks in the Philippines was at Tokyo Road House on the way up to the Chocolate Hills. I just spotted it on the side of the road opposite a super busy burger place. God the sushi was so, so good. And cheap too.
Shaka near Alona Beach is also pretty special. Nice healthy breakfasts, coffee and vegan burgers for dinner.
The Giuseppe Pizza and Sicilian Roast is nice, and tasty, lovely vibe too – but you pay for that. Pretty expensive in there but delicious pizza made it worth it.
Getting around Bohol
I paid 450 php per day for the motorbike, from my hotel, and went to see everything for myself. I loved it but admittedly it was a long drive up to the Chocolate Hills and back, particularly when it started to rain. But, if I hadn’t have hired the bike, I would never have had the sushi that made my life so much better, so swings and roundabouts.
Getting to Bohol
I came on the Cebu to Bohol ferry, no bother. It was 500 php (£6.82) with Ocean Jet and I just got my ticket as a walk up. Coming back was a different matter though. Had to wait at the ferry port for 6 hours as they were so busy with the delays caused by the typhoons.
I had plenty of time though. Lesson learnt to not book your onward travel too close to the ferry crossings.
From Cebu I went on to the beautiful island of Siargao, where Philippine Airlines fly direct.
READ MORE: What to Do in Siargao
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Accommodation in Bohol
I’d recommend staying around the Alona Beach area in Panglao. This is where the cool restaurants and bars are, which are always nice to have close to your hotel. I stayed at HM&B Backpackers Inn – alright for a cheap private room but a bit out of it and I was definitely cut off when the storms came in. I wouldn’t stay there again. I paid less than £10 for a private room though.
How about trying some of Trip Advisor’s best hotels in Panglao instead? Nice looking Bed and Breakfasts start from £10 a night, or you could go decent from around £30 (why didn’t I do that?!) or just go for it and get a lux pad for around £90 a night.
Any questions about travelling to Bohol?
Just let me know below!
I was in the Philippines thanks to Philippine Airlines, who provided all the flights.
I sorted accommodation and all the activities. All ideas and thoughts on what to do in Bohol, my own.
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More on the Philippines
Click the link to read all my blog posts on the Philippines to help you plan your trip.