Embracing the Wild Life with 8 things to do on Bowen Island + GIVEAWAY

This post is sponsored by Sakroots to promote the launch of the new Wild Life print by Niki Pilkington.

Call us biased but we’re proud to say we live in the most beautiful province in Canada, where Mother Nature has graced us with the most comfy climate and stunning scenery! This year, we’ve set a goal to embrace the wild life in British Columbia by exploring as many islands as we can. We started with a weekend getaway on a small island just 20 minutes from Vancouver by ferry: Bowen Island.

8 Things to do on Bowen Island

1. Enjoy the scenic ferry ride

Hop on the Queen of Capilano run by BC Ferries! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Snug Cove. Crossing time is only 20 minutes and passengers don’t need tickets for the return ferry.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do on Bowen Island

2. Go kayaking

The kayak season runs from April to mid October. You can check out an abundance of wildlife while you paddle from beach to beach. Keep your eyes peeled for orcas, dolphins, seals, and bald eagles. We didn’t get a chance to do this as the sea was too choppy; the conditions were so bad that other ferry routes were canceled! We’ll be back again in the summer to explore the gulf by kayak.

3. Chill out at Snug Cove

Take a stroll along the picturesque marina with buildings from the early 1900’s. Snug Cove was once a summer resort where Vancouverites spent holiday time, and housed the largest dance hall in BC.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do on Bowen Island

4. Visit Artisan Square

Artisan Square is a quaint cultural hub where you can find a collection of shops, restaurants, and galleries. It’s a 20-minute uphill walk from Snug Cove- or you can catch a 5-minute ride with one of the friendly locals by hitchhiking. Don’t miss organic chocolatey treats at Cocoa West Chocolatier!

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do on Bowen IslandKollecting Koordinates - Things to do on Bowen Island

5. Feast your heart out

With a population of just over 3,500, we were surprised to find the wide variety and high quality of dining options on Bowen Island. Sample Spanish tapas over vino at Barcelona, pig out on wood-fired pizzas at Tuscany, or indulge in French bistro fare at Artisan Square (legit French pastries baked onsite!). You can also find hearty pub food or sip on award-winning coffee. Eating clean is easy peasy on Bowen where many bistros use organic and garden-fresh ingredients.

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6. Zip around on a scooter

Scooter season runs from mi-April to mid-October. Weather permitting, this is by far the best way to explore the island!  Bowen Island is so small that it only takes 30 minutes to get from one end of the island to the other. Why not do it in style in a retro Yamaha Vino?

7. Attend a yoga retreat

Practicing in this geodesic dome at Nectar Yoga B&B is one of the best things to do on Bowen Island. Yoga enthusiasts from all over the world travel here to attend events and workshops immersed in nature. Namaste doesn’t get any better than this!

Kollecting Koordinates - Nectar Yoga BnB

8. Go hiking

With over 10 walks and hikes to choose from, Bowen Island offers trails for every kind of hiker. Stroll with ease around Killarney Lake or challenge yourself by summiting Mount Gardner, where you will be rewarded with views of Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do on Bowen Island

SAKROOTS GIVEAWAY – WIN AN ITEM FROM THE NEW WILD LIFE COLLECTION

I’ve partnered up with Sakroots to promote the launch of the ‘Wild Life’ print by illustrator Niki Pilkington. The winner will receive any Wild Life item of their choice.

The contest will go live on my Instagram on Monday, April 17 at 7PM PST. To enter:

  1. Follow @sakroots and @kollectingkoordinates on Instagram
  2. Post a photo showing how you live your wild life
  3. Tag and mention @sakroots and @kollectingkoordinates in your photo
  4. Use the hashtags #SRWildLife #sakroots in the caption

A winner will be selected by Sakroots and announced after 24 hours. This giveaway is open to everyone with a US-mailing address. Terms and conditions can be found here.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Sakroots. Special thanks to BC Ferries for providing us with complimentary fares to Bowen Island.

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Kollecting Koordinates - Things to do on Bowen Island

Bai Tu Long Bay cruise with Indochina JunkKollecting Koordinates - Bai Tu Long Bay

We originally wanted to sign up for the 3d2n cruise around Halong Bay. Unfortunately the sail schedule didn’t work with our dates. Instead, we did the Bai Tu Long Bay cruise on a newer, more luxurious boat: the Dragon Legend. Out of all the cruise companies, we chose Indochina Junk based on their reviews. It’s slightly more expensive but you get what you pay for.

It was cold and gloomy when we visited in December. While we didn’t get to swim in the bay, we got to see this beautiful UNESCO site in another light. The limestone formations were extra serene against the  breeze and drizzle.

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the itinerary

Day 1: pickup from hotel – embark and check in at Hon Gai harbor – set menu lunch on board – cruise to Vung Dang / Cong Dam area – kayak (it was too cold to swim in December) – dinner – relax

Day 2: Tai Chi on the sun-deck – breakfast – explore Thien Canh Son Cave – kayak – check out – lunch – disembark – puppet show at Yen Duc village (we slept on the van) – arrive in Hanoi

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Approaching the Dragon Legend from the smaller boat

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Set-menu lunch with a view

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Beautiful cabins with a in-suite jacuzzi tub

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Delicious set-menu dinner

pho with squid we caught ourselves

Pho for breakfast of course! With squid we caught the previous night!

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the verdict

the not-so-good:

  • our driver on the way there wasn’t very friendly
  • WiFi wasn’t working in our van on the way there (the cruise manager made an effort to correct this and put us on a van that does have working wifi on the way back, so kudos!)
  • the shower drain doesn’t really drain. Water collects at the opposite end and makes a little flood outside because there’s barely an edge. We had to turn the water off every few minutes (mid shower so it’s freezing!) to kick the water over to the side with the drain. That really didn’t do anything because it’d start to flood as soon as we turned the shower back on.

the good:

  • There were literally no other boats in sight on our route along Bai Tu Long Bay. This made the whole experience extra special and intimate
  • I hate long drives, but the 3hr ride to the port and back wasn’t even bad! Their luxury vans are very comfortable and are equipped with WiFi
  • Excellent service by all the crew members!
  • The cabins on the Dragon Legend are massive and beautiful, there’s even an in-suite jacuzzi tub
  • Wide variety of delicious food and drinks; everything is super fresh
  • Squid fishing wasn’t included in the itinerary but our crew invited us to do this at night. This was so much fun!

The 2d1n cruise on Indochina Junk’s Dragon Legend was an unforgettable experience. Bai Tu Long Bay is much quieter; we recommend it over the more well-known and popular Ha Long Bay. Hopefully they’ve fixed the shower drain problem by now!

Bai Tu Long Bay

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post; these are my own honest opinions:)

 

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Kollecting Koordinates - Bai Tu Long Bay