According to all the literature we received ahead of time – this particular island (and location) is most known for vacations/beaches/watersports. After suffering over use, there was a government shut down in 2019 for clean up and major discussions on limiting visitors after reopening. The pandemic I think caused a change upwards in the number. I was never able to get an answer to “does the number include those who live there as well as visitors or just visitors?” I could be either, but total would be most sane.
The island off which we anchored has no major pier. We tendered in and took the shuttle bus up THE road to what was deemed the center of town. Frankly, the whole island seems to be devoted to tourism. The airport, quite busy, is the next island over with continuous ferry service.
From the city center we walked first along the main road, then through all of the various little lanes full of shops to the beach and up the beach.
with the obligate “you are here and far away from there” sign.
unlike the beaches which are all publicly accessible, most of the fancier resorts were tucked away in groves and behind fencing.
these are the main form of transportation around for locals and a lot of the tourists. There don’t seem to be any regular schedules or routes. OTOH, there is exactly one main road running down the island from one end to the other with only a branch off what my mind keeps wanting to view as the southern end. There are also vans associated with the resorts and the usual number of mopeds, motorcycles and commercial vehicles. Very few POVs.
The only purchase I made was a couple of drink containers from Starbucks. As the counter person there told me, he knew that north had thermoses, but they had place named clear plastic cold drink contains. Just as good, he claimed, perhaps better for here. In any case, I now have Philippines, Boracay, and Manila (from our last stop). It tells me that I should have looked more closely in Hong Kong at my options and gone with what they had.
Somehow the hike back to the port seemed a whole lot longer than the drive in would indicate. Neither of us had been paying as much as we potentially should have but then, there is but the one road. There was this really cool stair set which I recognized from the trip out.
I also didn’t remember the amount of uphill, but then I wouldn’t sitting in a shuttle bus. We made it back to the port with hours to spare some of which I spent soaking some aching muscles in the whirlpool (the thing I really wish was a hot tub)