The Best Things to Do in Panglao, Philippines

things to do in Panglao
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After spending 8 months in Southeast Asia, when I arrived to Panglao it’s safe to say I was pretty burned out from traveling.  Lucky for me, Panglao was the perfect place to lay low for three weeks while I recovered from my burnout.  And even luckier for me, Panglao happened to be my favorite island in the Philippines.  Some people liken it to Bali before it was “Bali”, and I don’t necessarily agree with that – but you can tell that Panglao has something special.  The locals are friendly, the island is laidback, there are beautiful beaches, and tons of great restaurants.  Here are the best things to do in Panglao!

 

If you’re traveling to the Philippines, don’t miss…

 

Is Panglao Worth Visiting?

Panglao was my favorite island in the Philippines, so I would say that it is absolutely worth the visit!  It doesn’t feel *too* touristy, but there are still people around and fun restaurants and bars to hang out at.  Plus there’s a really great expat community which is evident depending on where you’re hanging out.

Not to mention the island is affordable and the beaches are beautiful!

 

For more islands in the Philippines, don’t miss…

 

The Best Time to Visit Panglao

The best time to visit Panglao is during dry season which lasts from November to April.  This period also coincides with the peak tourist season, so popular spots can be busy.  For a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of late October and early May when the weather is still pleasant but with fewer crowds.  The rainy season from June to October brings more frequent showers and occasional typhoons.

I visited Panglao during the month of May and overall the weather was perfect.  There were a few cloudy days and some rain, but nothing that changed my plans or affected my days out.  I could also tell that it was a quieter time which I personally enjoyed.

 

How to Get to Panglao

Panglao is easy to get to – you can arrive by boat or by air.  The airport in Panglao – Panglao International Airport – accepts flights from all over the Philippines.  It’s located right in the middle of the island so once you arrive, chances are you won’t have to go far to reach your hotel.  To search for flights, I recommend using a big search engine to compare prices across different airlines.

If you arrive by boat, the most popular places to come from are Siquijor, Cebu City, or Oslob (just to name a few).  When you arrive, you’ll either arrive at the Tagbilaran Port (located in southwestern Bohol), or if you’re coming from Oslob you’ll arrive at Momo Beach.  Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted with many tuk-tuks and taxi’s that you can negotiate with to get you to your hotel.

To book a ferry ticket, check out 12Go, Bookaway, or OceanJet.

 

How to Get Around Panglao

One of my favorite things about Panglao is how easy it is to get around!  Not only are there tons of tuk-tuks available on the streets, but the roads are great so it’s easy to rent a motorbike and drive around too.

I chose the motorbike route and was able to ask my hotel for a motorbike and they set me up with one of their friends bikes.  The cost for your motorbike should be 350-450 PHP/day depending on the size of your motorbike.  If you plan to rent for multiple days, inquire about a discount!  Locals usually offer a discount for rentals >3 days.

Lastly, if you stay in the south of the island between Danao and Tawala you can pretty much walk everywhere and won’t need to rely on transportation unless you want to visit other parts of the island.

 

Where to Stay in Panglao

Amorita Resort

There are tons of great hotels in Panglao from budget to luxury hotels.  I stayed on the island for three weeks and started my stay at a budget option – Hope Inn Panglao; before moving to a luxury hotel – Amorita Resort.  I would highly recommend both options depending on what your budget is.

More hotels in Panglao that I was eyeing include…

 

BOOK YOUR STAY IN PANGLAO HERE!

 

The Best Things to Do in Panglao

Below you’ll find some of my top recommendations for the best things to do in Panglao!

 

Best Beaches & Beach Clubs in Panglao

Panglao has some great beaches and affordable “beach clubs” (although I wouldn’t necessarily classify them as “clubs”).  Here are my favorite spots on the island…

  • Alona Beach – Perhaps the most popular beach in Panglao but very beautiful and in the best part of the island (there are no chairs/umbrellas here)
  • Bohol Beach Club – This is a resort, but if they are not full, they do allow you to visit for a fee; unfortunately when I visited, the hotel was full so I wasn’t able to stay.  However, I walked around the beach and it was beautiful!  Plus there are proper chairs under palm trees which was a huge plus for me.
  • Oceanica Resort – This is a resort but anyone can visit the beach for free where you can lounge in hammocks or under umbrellas in bean bags.  There is no minimum spend on food and drinks and as far as I can tell, they are not requiring you to purchase anything when you’re there (although the food is good so I’d recommend it!).  They also have happy hour every day from 7 am-7 pm.

 

Best Restaurants in Panglao

One of my favorite things about Panglao was that there were tons of great restaurants to choose from!  I ate at many different places and here are my top favorites on the island…

  • French Bubbles Restaurant & Bar – Great cocktails and even better food
  • Gavroche – French; great for lunch
  • Kajun Bohol – If you’re craving fried food and burgers
  • Narcos Cantina – Small, vibey, outdoor Mexican restaurant – don’t miss the margaritas and quesadillas!  This restaurant is open until 4 am if you’ve had a late night and need a snack before going home…
  • Tomar Tapas x Bar – Located in the Amorita Resort, (you can visit if you’re not a guest), this is a perfect choice if you’re looking for something a bit nicer
  • Wonderland Sayaw Thai Food – Casual, delicious Thai option

 

Visiting the Tarsier Monkeys

There are two places you can go to visit the Tarsier Monkeys when you’re in Bohol, but I would highly recommend the Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary because they’ve truly created an optimal environment for Tarsier Monkeys to thrive in.  Tarsier Monkeys are nocturnal and need to sleep during the day to hunt at night, so the best thing for them is to respect their sleep habits.  When you visit the Philippines Tarsier Sanctuary, you’ll be taken on a short, guided walk to view a few monkeys that are sleeping.  You won’t see a lot of monkeys and you won’t see them in action, but it’s a true sanctuary and the monkeys are respected and looked after as they should be.

 

Visiting the Chocolate Hills

Another popular activity when you visit Panglao, Bohol is to visit the Chocolate Hills.  These are a geological formation of over 1,000 hills spread over 20 square miles.  It’s named the Chocolate Hills for the green grass that turns brown during dry season.

If you want to join a tour of the Chocolate Hills with other countryside attractions, check out these tours…

 

Philippines Essentials – What You Need & Need to Know About Traveling to the Philippines

TRAVELING THROUGH THE PHILIPPINES

  • The easiest way to book bus tickets/ferry tickets in the Philippines is through Bookaway or 12Go
  • To book a flight to the Philippines use a big search engine (like Kayak) to compare prices, then book directly through the airline (if you’re from the US sign up for Going to get free email alerts on flight deals)
  • Download Grab to get a taxi or motorbike (select cities)
  • I highly recommend travel insurance when traveling through the Philippines – I use and recommend SafetyWing
  • If you want an English speaking driver waiting to pick you up at the airport, use Welcome Pickups (select cities only)
  • If you need a SIM card, aloSIM for an easy and affordable e-SIM – use code “KYLEE5” for a discount

ACCOMMODATION IN THE PHILIPPINES

  • To easiest way to book hotels in the Philippines is through Booking.com or Expedia
  • The easiest way to book rentals in the Philippines is through VRBO

TOURS IN THE PHILIPPINES

  • For tours and activities in the Philippines, I recommend using Viator

WHAT TO BRING TO THE PHILIPPINES

 

Like I mentioned, Panglao was my favorite island in the Philippines.  If you plan to visit the Philippines, I hope that you make time to visit Panglao!  If you have any questions about things to do in Panglao, let me know in a comment below!

 


For more information on things to see and do in the Philippines, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel by searching “#ppinphilippines” or under my highlights for “Philippines”; alternatively, head to my TikTok and search for the saved “Philippines” highlight


 

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Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no cost to you.  Passports and Preemies is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees.

 


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Kylee is a NICU nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee has been a NICU nurse for 9 years and a travel nurse for 7 years. Since starting her career in travel nursing, she’s worked in six different states, 10 different hospitals, volunteered as a nurse in North Macedonia, worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia, and has traveled to 45+ countries. Her favorite travel nurse assignment was in Seattle and her favorite destination is Georgia (the country). Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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