The Beach Film

Latin America: The Journey Begins

Latin America, here we come!

We depart for Chile Monday morning from Melbourne, with a stopover in Sydney. From there, it’s a 12 hour flight to Santiago, and once in Santiago, we will be hiring bikes to explore the poetic capital by wheel! Some of history’s greatest ever poets resided in Chile, such as Pablo Neruda and Ruben Dario, who flicked their poetic prose down south in Valparaiso. This is where we will be celebrating Easter – Latin America’s street art capital:

Real street "art" - not substandard graffiti!
Real street “art” – not substandard graffiti!


After celebrating Easter in Chile, we will be catching a bus across the Argentina border into Mendoza – the world famous wine region. The weather is in the mid-20s everywhere we’re visiting, until we go “to the end of the world” a.k.a Patagonia, down South at the tip of Antarctica, where it will be below zero. We decided to prolong our stay in Patagonia, since Sam wants to climb the Perito Moreno glacier, and I want to hike Monte Fitz Roy – two amazing journeys that will take upwards of 10 hours to complete.

We’ll keep you posted with photos and travel stories soon! Leave comments or questions below :)



Philippine Dreams: To-Die-For Beaches, Black Magic, and Spanish Culture

Philippines – a country full of dreams. 

Not so much visited as Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are, this tropical, hectic, chaotic country gives the shadiest parts of Thailand (*cough*Phuket*cough*) a run for its money. Before Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Pearl Of The Orient Seas, I had the pleasure of travelling through this humble, South East Asian jewel that is all too often ignored by backpackers. Perhaps that is a good thing, as comparative to other places in Asia I have backpacked, this was cleaner (Manila is contentious), its beaches in immaculate condition due to an absence of senseless debauchery and hardcore partying, and its occupants (backpackers and luxury travellers) appearing to be there for tame relaxation, rather than an overly indulgent holiday.

The Philippines is the place to go to if you want a cheap trip, without the questionable excess that say, Phuket is reputed for, while chilling out on world-class beaches, and dining on Spanish-inspired cuisine. This, after all, used to be a Spanish colony, and the funkiness of a Latin-Asian mix is just too enticing to ignore. You want to be involved in the Filipino way of life when you arrive. Dark alleyways on Boracay will see you pass dilapidated buildings, occupied by a dozen bodies sleeping on dusty mattresses, before arriving at alluring Spanish taverns that rival those found in Spain (no kidding)!

Fresh seafood markets are an island-hoppers paradise!


Can you name a beach more perfect than this? Probably not.


A sand castle: Next level skills right here!


After you’ve explored the cosmopolitan streets, hiding everything from dwarf bars to surf shops, head down to Talipapa and check out the fresh seafood market. Here, you buy the fish of your choice (including huge prawns and lobsters), and carry it with you to one of the nearby hole-in-the-wall restaurants, who cook it for you to your liking. It’s an enjoyable experience that feels intimate, and you can rest assured knowing that the fish is absolutely fresh (if you go for lobster, they’re alive when you buy them).

There’s also the possibility of going to Bulabog Beach, which is a world-renowned kitesurfing beach full of…kite surfers (naturally). This is great if you’re into the sport, otherwise it’s not the ideal place to go for a swim, since it’s predominantly overrun with kite surfers catching massive winds.


Seafood (3)

The island is split into five main areas: Stations 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Station 1 contains the island’s most famous beach, White Beach. It’s a little more on the luxurious side with less to do than Station 2, which is full of bars, restaurants, night shows and market stalls. Station 3 is quieter, and offers good value for accommodation, if you don’t mind being further away from the action. Station 4 is where Bulabog Beach is, so if you’re into kite surfing, this is the place to be!

Station 5 actually flanks either side of Stations 1, 2, 3, and 4, and contains more resort style accommodation. It’s largely remote, so unless you’re on a honeymoon and really want some alone time, this probably isn’t the most active place to be.


local transport roundup - jeepney in Manila Philippines
A Jeepney: The most pimped out way to ride around Manila!


I’ll have to conclude this post about my time travelling in the Philippines with two interesting observations, which I hope do not deter you from travelling here.

1. In Boracay, I saw a black magic stall containing decapitated monkeys, birds, sharks, boars, and crocodiles, whose heads had been shoved onto the ends of sticks. Interesting, but expensive crystal necklaces were also on display, while the tattooed men in the stall had a shady vibe going on. It freaked me out a little. What I saw in that stall, and the explanation about Filipino shamans (witch doctors), their tools for black magic (dead, decapitated animals stuck onto sticks), and the strong belief in curses made me a tad uncomfortable. I’m well-travelled, but this wasn’t something that flew with me. I had a bad feeling about the place and left soon after I chatted to the men in the stall.

A witch doctor holding a human skull
A witch doctor holding a human skull

2. In Manila, your car will be stopped at the hotel, a dog will be unleashed to sniff it out for drugs, licenses will be checked, and mirrors will be placed beneath the vehicle to check for car bombs. Terrorism is a problem. You never know if the taxi you’re in will explode, but it’s enough of a possibility that men armed with machine guns will undertake these procedures every time you try to enter their grounds. This takes some getting used to.

Bomb blasts and terrorism is a constant threat in the Philippines
Bomb blasts and terrorism is a constant threat in the Philippines

I feel obligated to mention those last two parts, so you know exactly what to expect in the Philippines. The people are lovely, the cuisine flavoursome, and the beaches perfect, but it has a dark side, but not so dark that you can’t go on and have a great time, so long as you are aware of your surroundings.

Finally, I do sometimes hear people say that Boracay is too “touristy”. I’ve been to “touristy” places before, and while Boracay does accommodate for the full spectrum of traveller types, I don’t believe in any way it has detracted from the island’s culture, or the experiences it offers. It has a rustic ambivalence that reminds me of Koh Samui, Thailand – you can find what you want here, but the island doesn’t bend to please you. Instead, it exists proudly to offer you the perfect piece of genuine Filipino paradise, and that’s something you should embrace before full-blown tourism  does destroy it.




Patagonia: Pure Adventure!

In four weeks, we leave for Chile before crossing the border into Argentina. First on the agenda is Mendoza, a region made famous by the wine it produces, and the trekking, water rafting, horse riding, and snow sports it has on offer. After this, we will be making our way to one of the harshest, most isolated places on Earth: Patagonia.

Perito Moreno


Patagonia is located at the very bottom of Argentina, and is home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, and Monte Fitz Roy. Fitz Roy has a reputation for being an extreme hike, despite its average height, due to the sheer granite faces present long stretches of arduous technical climbing. In addition, the weather in the area is exceptionally inclement and treacherous. Bear Grylls did an episode here, which showcased just how unpredictably dangerous the terrain can be. Crevasses hidden beneath the snow appear at random throughout the mountain, which can drop down into pure darkness. Instant death, or at least a painful one, is virtually guaranteed.

Monte Fitz Roy at sunset
Monte Fitz Roy at sunset

Only recently, famed climber Chad Kellog was killed on the mountain when a boulder struck him on the mountain. The area is stunning, and arguably one of the most beautiful, most remote places you can find on earth, but there’s a risk in such harsh conditions. But that’s what travellers live for: To explore new horizons, to see new places, to experience culture, and ultimately, to live freely.

We’ll be updating Backpacker Adventures during our South America and Central America journey over the next six months, and invite you to leave any advice, thoughts, or questions you may have!

Hitting the open road again! It's the only time I feel "at home"
Hitting the open road again! It’s the only time I feel “at home”

Have you visited Patagonia, or know of anybody who has? This will be my first time in South and Central America, so leave me some tips if you like! If anybody happens to be around, some Argentinian wine and travel story trading would be most welcome!

Happy travelling! :)


The Craziest Hotels In The World!

How cool are these hotels?!

1. Äscher Cliff, Switzerland



2. Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland

amazing-hotels-10-1 2


3. Ladera Resort, St. Lucia




4. The Manta Resort, Zanzibar



Image credits: Genberg Underwater Hotels

Image credits: Genberg Underwater Hotels

5. Rayavadee Krabi, Thailand



6. Shangri La, Paris



7. Hotel Ristorante Grotta Palazzese Polignano a Mare, Italy



8. Conrad Maldives, Rangali Island




9. Panchoran Retreat, Bali



10. Hotel Ubud Hanging Gardens, Indonesia




11. Attrap Reves Hotel, France




12. Katikies Hotel-Oia, Greece

13. Hotel Le Sirenuse, Amalfi Coast, Italy



14. Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden




15. The Cambrian Hotel, Adelboden, Switzerland



16. Dedon Island Resort





18. Villa Escudero, Philippines





19. Hotel-Restaurant Öschinensee, Switzerland



20. Astarte Suits Hotel, Greece




21. Montana Magica Lodge, Chile



Know of anymore? Leave them in the comments below!


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Hook Island

Trust Me, It’s Paradise! Hook Island, Australia

“The Beach” film inspired this journey, I’m proud to say. My friends and I were searching for everything Richard was looking for in “The Beach”. It’s harder to find your own piece of paradise than you would think. There are two major components of the backpacker trail that contribute to its culture, and the discoverability of new hidden gems:

1. Being Around Other Backpackers


2. Being A Lonely Backpacker


3. Sharing Your Lonely Backpacker Experiences With Other Backpackers, Thereby Making Those Experiences No Longer Lonely

Some would argue that ironically, while the purpose of backpacking is to see places on a budget (and not waste money on unnecessary expenses, like a triple digit hotel room that you only sleep in for six hours a night and literally spend no time in), and to discover secrets that nobody else you know has discovered, the camaraderie nature of backpacking means that secrets are spilt, and places spoilt. Alas, it is a vicious cycle of staying ahead of the curb when you’re out on the open road.

Hook Island, Australia, offered us a remote location, our own perfect beach, not a soul in sight for the entire time we camped there, and the type of tranquility most people would spend a fortune for. This is what backpacking can offer you: The chance to go off the beaten path, and find your own piece of paradise.




The part of Hook Island we stayed in was abandoned. Around the other side of the island were snorkelers and a couple of boats on day trips, but the part of the island we were on was isolated – nobody came here. At one point, we saw a boat pass by in the distance but other than that, the beach was ours.

With a white coral beach (that isn’t that comfortable to lie down on), bright blue, refreshing waters, large natural rock formations leading into the ocean (which gave us the perfect stargazing opportunity), and only a small fire to keep us warm at night, we were in paradise. The boat operator who dropped us off warned us that if we found ourselves in trouble, that “there’s no way of contacting anyone, but generally if you kayak out into the ocean and find a boat, people are pretty helpful.” A mild concern, but what could possibly go wrong?




For starters, on several occasions I would kayak into the shore with my friend, hop out of the yellow, plastic vessel, and see a shark circling behind us. On two occasions this happened. At night, sharks would regularly swim in as close as 1 metre to the shore, their fins cutting through the water like a wicked blade. Some of the sharks weren’t too big, others seemed a lot larger, but all of them were a decent enough size that they could rip a deadly chunk out of you. This is when we recalled that there is no help, and our phones were in a dead zone. If something were to go wrong, then in the middle of the night, one of us would have to bash through rough, open ocean until we found a boat. That would be impossible, as it’s easy to tip in a kayak in the open water from even the slightest of winds, or smallest of waves.

Luckily, nobody was attacked at any point, but it was unnerving looking behind us on occasion and seeing a fin pop up next to us. In fact, on the very first day within five minutes of getting dropped off, a large, black shark swam up and down the shoreline, only a couple of metres from the sand. We had been found out. We had intruded on its domain, and if we entered the water we risked our lives. This didn’t stop most of us from going swimming though, even though we had clearly seen a few sharks nearby. I stayed on the beach at times, since somebody had to protect all our belongings from being torn to pieces by two metre long goannas! It was strange waking up to a prehistoric beast resting next to the tent, staring at you, but it was the type of experience many people wished they could have, but often don’t. I’ve found with Australia, more so than any other place in the world, that you can really get up and close to some crazy-looking animals and fish. They just exist there. They aren’t too hard to find.





After a few days of camping, stargazing, listening to Bob Marley while sipping on Jamaican rum, kayaking around the open ocean, and hiking up a dangerous, dry river bed (and being swamped by majestic blue butterflies), we decided to head back to Airlie Beach. The boat ride to and from Hook Island is very rough, so for all the travellers out there contemplating the journey, avoid standing up unless you want to become airborne like I did, and come crashing down on your face. One guy cut his head and elbow open on the fall, and the wounds didn’t look too good.

When we arrived back, the boat operator asked us if we had any trouble with sharks.

“No,” we replied, “we were stalked by a few, but nothing happened, how come?”

“Well, there has been a lot of sightings of large tiger sharks and bronze whalers out that way, up to five metres long. They were right where you were camping.”

This freaked us out, since anybody who knows anything about sharks, knows that those are two of the most aggressive species out there, which are regularly responsible for deadly attacks. Given the amount of people who have been eaten all around Australia lately, I wonder how close we were to joining that unfortunate list. Sharks are fast and it’s almost impossible to see them coming, so I would say that based on the facts, it’s a stroke of luck we didn’t swim into any trouble.





All in all, Hook Island offered a remote camping experience, complete with interesting (but dangerous) hiking up rugged rocks into the mountain. As advised, it’s the sort of place where if something goes wrong, you’re out of luck and it’s going to take a combination of several good fortunes in order to get help; but the tradeoff is the type of tropical isolation that comes with castaway freedom, the knowledge that there really is no plan B if something bad happens, and that it’s truly up to you to make your new habitat work in your favour.

Between blistering hot sun, ocean predators, tropical perfection, and the adventurous mountain terrain, which contains ancient Aboriginal cave paintings, I suspect that if Australia were more marketable, or less Westernised, Hook Island would be a highly successful location for a sequel to “The Beach” film.

Airlie Beach

Backpacker Heaven: Seen “The Beach”? Then You’ll Love This!

“The Beach” is perhaps the most iconic backpacker film in recent memory, that has inspired millions of vagabonds to pack up their stuff and just go!

Every single one of my travels has been inspired by “The Beach”, hence the name of this website (The Beach Film). What I’ve learned across different continents however, is that we are all searching for paradise. “The Beach” film made Thailand even more famous than what it was, and spurred countless nomads on a Southeast Asian adventure that has continuously boomed since its release.

But what happens when you’ve been to Thailand, you’ve followed Richard’s path, and you have experienced Maya Bay for yourself? What happens when the world’s backpacker mecca becomes overrun with travellers, to the point that you feel like solitude is not possible? I believe I have discovered a backpacker path that offers all the ideals and values represented, and yearned for, in “The Beach” film.

It’s far away. It’s tropical. It’s dangerous, at times, and above everything, it’s on the backpacker trail of Eastern Australia.

Airlie Beach.

Airlie Beach P1090011 P1090010

This place, to me, is a backpacker mecca of the world that isn’t nearly as publicised as other spots. It contains sharks, crocodiles, deadly spiders, venomous snakes, and dangerous waters, but it also contains an assortment of travellers from all over the world, from as far as Germany, Sweden, Canada, Holland, England, Israel, and Japan. I have travelled far and wide in search of paradise,  just as Richard did in “The Beach”,  just as many others have that I have come across. Airlie Beach often proves to be the highlight of their backpacking trip around Australia, and dare I say, it has a feel about it that Byron Bay has lost.

In Northern Queensland, you will find the fun-filled, backpacker town called Airlie Beach. Gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. A backpacker town that should be more popular than it is, but for reasons unknown, isn’t. In my humble opinion, this qualifies it as a hidden gem that promises to give you many memories, new friends, and experiences that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Want to skydive over the Great Barrier Reef? Want to cruise through crocodile infested waters? Dive with Great White Sharks? Party like there’s no tomorrow? Want to enter a hippy community that by day, is relaxed, chilled, and hot, and by night explodes with nightlife? Above it all, do you want to do this in a tropical abyss that is far away from home?

Airlie Beach streets P1090096 P1090090 P1090023

You can’t get further than Australia, and when you land in Queensland you should skip right past the Gold Coast and go up north. Nowhere else in the world have I seen such a camaraderie amongst backpackers, where strangers meet and become best friends, where experiences are lived and the opportunity to do crazy things is encouraged. Perhaps it’s part of the Aussie spirit:

Go for gold, no worries, just do it! 

I was in Airlie Beach only a few months ago, and before then, the start of 2006. It has retained its exact charm; it is no better or worse, it has simply remained true to what it is, and in the world of backpacking, that is an extremely rare quality to find.

As backpackers move around the gigantic continent of Australia, they arrive in Airlie Beach for a few key reasons. One of them is to experience the backpacker life; discovering tropical beaches, falling in love, and navigating one of the world’s harshest environments. Another key reason is to sail the Whitsunday Islands, where they make stops at Hook Island, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island, and of course, Whitsunday Island, home to Whitehaven beach (rated as one of the world’s best beaches).

Whitehaven Beach: The sand is 98% pure silica, meaning you can scrub your jewellery clean in it!
Whitehaven Beach: The sand is 98% pure silica, meaning you can scrub your jewellery clean in it!

Sharing News is Part of a Traveller’s Nature

Australia is at the top of many backpacker’s to-do lists, but due to its remote location and the expense of getting there, not many people get to do it. But you know what? In the words of Richard, “Trust me, it’s paradise.”

Airlie Beach should be at the very top of every traveller’s list who is heading Down Under. It contains a colourful, vibrant, fun-filled backpacker community that rivals the backpacker scene in Thailand, Bali, and Peru. Sure, Australia doesn’t contain the ancient, spiritual culture of the aforementioned countries, and in truth, it’s one of the best places in the world to live (so the cost of travelling there can be quite high). But what Australia lacks in ancient culture, it makes up for in Airlie Beach: A place too far for most people’s agendas, yet it is that exact inconvenience that makes it all the more special.

If you make the effort to take the spectacular journey, you will be rewarded immensely. I dare any backpacker out there who thinks Thailand is the epitome of backpacker-dom, to go out on a limb and experience what Thailand offered before it became overrun with tourists.

In search of paradise? Want to be inducted into backpacker heaven? Before it’s too late and the crowds overrun it, head to Airlie Beach, Australia. It’s impossible to be disappointed, and if you wish to throw yourself into legitimate backpacker culture, there aren’t too many places around the world that can offer what Airlie Beach does.



Have you ever wondered about the concept of paradise, and if such a place really exists? Is paradise real, or is it a subjective interpretation of perfection, according to one’s ideals and values?

Today I’m going to challenge the latter (against all logic), and tell you that paradise is a real place! While of course, all us travellers have a preferred destination that simply does it for us, I believe there is another place on earth which everybody can appreciate, and that once travelled, explored and experienced, leaves the person in question yearning for more. Paradise is real, believe me, I have been there four times! So where is it, you ask?

It is here:







Santorini, Greece!

For me, after being around the world and seeing so many beautiful, idyllic places, I can’t see how this isn’t paradise! While I’m a new travel blogger on the scene, I’m by no means new to travel: Starting in 2005, I have travelled overseas every year in search of something mesmerising, flawless, and touching. I discovered it in Santorini, Greece, and I implore each and every one of you to go out there and do the same.

Sometimes I’ll share a great deal of knowledge about the places I’ve visited, and other times I’ll refrain from spoiling it for all the first-timers out there. This is a time when I don’t want to ruin Santorini’s many surprises for anyone, but if you’d love to know more about the hidden alleyways, the delicious cuisine, the remote taverns, and the beautiful hiding spots on this wonderful Greek island, get in contact with me and I’ll help you to organise an itinerary you won’t forget!

Is there a place you’ve discovered that holds true in your heart? A place that screams at you to come back, and never leave? Or have you been to Santorini, and love it as much as I do? Comment and let me know, I’d love to learn more about my fellow travellers! 

Check out the Santorini image gallery for more photos on the home page now! I’ve rounded up a few different shots of what I think conveys Santorini’s beauty, paradisiacal qualities, and liberating charm :)


On Our Way to Chile! Stop One of South America 2014!

So the adventures continue well into 2014! 

And so they should. Ever since travelling overseas for the first time in 2005, my life has changed for the better: Seeing new places, having fun with new faces, and absorbing culture on a molecular level which has enhanced my mind and nourished my soul.

To all my fellow travellers out there, I know you feel the same!

In April, we will be flying from Australia into Santiago, Chile, where we will travel, explore, and experience everything the good Chileans have to offer! Valparaiso has really caught my eye, and for those of you who haven’t heard about this port side city, imagine a colourful plethora of street art that illuminates the buildings. Imagine true street artists decorating a quiet, Latin American neighbourhood, then picture yourself immersed in the southern city.


There are very few places in the world I have visited, where a city has literally been painted with such artistic fortitude. I stumbled across this city by chance, actually: Originally we weren’t sure if we would tackle Santiago, followed by a few wine regions, and then thanks to the power of random Google entries and an inkling that Chile MUST offer more than well, wine (not that there’s anything wrong with wine, believe me…), this is what we stumbled upon:




If that’s not enough to make all you backpackers take a second look at Chile, I don’t know what is! I’m excited to see this all for myself, immerse myself in the street art scene, and discover more great artwork that I can share with you all on Backpacker Adventures! 

Have you been to Chile before? Or have you almost skipped over a country you didn’t think was worth visiting, only to discover, like I did, at the last minute that something truly astounding was waiting to be explored? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!

Boracay Sailing

Sailing Around Boracay

Sam and I recently travelled through the Philippines, and found it to be one of the cleanest, most picturesque places in the world. Boracay was basically the perfect beach: bright white sand, clear blue water, and a laid back atmosphere which was driven by the reggae buskers along the shoreline.

Puka Beach

This is a photo of the boat we took around the island, where two Filipino guys navigated the fresh seas, and took us to Puka Beach. In all honesty, Puka Beach is the closest thing to paradise we have experienced.

Puka Beach

Boracay Waters

Boracay Seas

Inspired By The Beach Film!


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