Taking some time to travel to Bora Bora has been on my bucket list for the longest time. Normally, I do not care about luxury travel. As a matter of fact, my luxury travel bucket list is very short. One of them is staying in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives. I got a chance to do that in the first half of 2022 when I stayed at Le Meridien Maldives. The other is flying business class in the famous Qatar Airways QSuites. Little did I know that in the same year as completing two of my luxury travel bucket list I will complete my third and final one!
The biggest surprise of this trip was not the overwater bungalow experience. Ironically, it’s what drew me to go to travel to Bora Bora in the first place. But, it turned out that another activity became the highlight of my experience in this beautiful island in the Pacific Ocean.
VIDEO – Travel to Bora Bora – An Unforgettable Experience on French Polynesia
Vancouver to San Fransisco to Tahiti
In order to travel to Bora Bora, I would need to fly from Vancouver, Canada to San Fransisco.
Upon reaching San Fransisco, Karen and I connected with United Airlines to fly to Tahiti.
The flight was surprisingly pleasant despite United Airlines’ bad reputation.
Tahiti Airport experience
Upon reaching the Tahiti airport, we were greeted by locals playing music in the airport upon arrival. The immigration lineup was quite long since the airport is fairly small and there are not many immigration officers working to process the tourists in the country.
After clearing immigration, we exchanged money at the airport (bad idea unless you’re changing a lot of money because the exchange fee is quite high). Soon after, we took a taxi to our hostel where we would be staying our first night in French Polynesia.
Mahana Lodge Hostel & Backpacker in Tahiti
Our hostel was quite nice with very friendly travellers. Most of them were French and had trouble speaking English. Regardless, they were warm and welcoming. The individuals running the hostel was also friendly; though, English was quite a challenge for them.
Our night’s stay was just right since we just needed to rest before our flight the next morning going to Bora Bora.
Flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora
The next morning, we took a cab to go back to Tahiti airport. After eating a McDonald’s breakfast, we went through the domestic terminal and was ready to board our flight to Bora Bora.
The flight was full as most tourist travel to Bora Bora for the sole purpose of visiting this famous travel destination.
The flight was short and before we knew it, we arrived in Bora Bora.
Ferry from the Bora Bora airport to Vaitape
I was super excited to see the scenery. I’ve watched vlogs of people travelling to Bora Bora so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. After Karen and I received our luggage, we went to the pier to take the ferry to Vaitape (the main town in Bora Bora).
After a nice and pleasant ride, we made it to town.
Bora Bora tourism office
The first thing that we did was head to the tourism office. From my research, booking excursions here gets you the best deals.
Unfortunately, it was still closed when we arrived so Karen and I started goofing off a bit. Karen entered this broken telephone booth. She got freaked out when the door suddenly collapsed on her which lead her to exit immediately.
The individual working in the office is this unfriendly trans guy. He was lazy and standoffish. Luckily, Karen and I met a friendly guy who works with cruise ships and he gave us some fantastic tips on which tour company to go with. He even let us use his mobile phone to speak with the company and they gave us a discounted deal for two people.
Taxi from the Bora Bora tourism office to InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora
After securing our full-day excursion for our last day on the island, Karen and I got a taxi to take us to IHG Le Moana Bora Bora. Apparently, the resorts charge you a lot more money if you take their ferry straight from the airport. The more affordable deal if you stay in an IHG property is to go to Le Moana Bora Bora and take the ferry from there. Going through that method saves you quite a bit of money. If you’re planning on staying in IHG Le Moana or Thalasso, a lot of people also buy groceries in town to save money on food.
We were just staying for one night and two days and had no problem shelling out money to eat dinner and breakfast there. We also had snacks for lunch so we were fine to wait for the dinner buffet.
Exploring InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora
Upon arriving in IHG Le Moana, I was blown away by how beautiful the overwater bungalows are. This is the reason I came to this place and it does not disappoint. I’ve seen the overwater bungalows before when I went to the Maldives but the scenery in Bora Bora looks different so I can appreciate the differences in their design.
Karen and I spent some time exploring the resort while waiting for our ferry to take us to IHG Thalasso Resort and Spa where we would be spending night in.
Those who travel to Bora Bora and stay at either of these two resorts can easily travel back and forth between them since they’re owned by the same company.
Ferry from InterContinental Le Moana to InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa
Before long, it was time to catch the ferry to IHG Thalasso Spa.
I waited around seven years before being able to come here. First, I saved up enough IHG points until I had enough to make a redemption at one of the two IHG Bora Bora properties. Despite having enough points, the availability to stay at either resort is nearly impossible to find. And to make matters worst, even if you can find availability, it is often times with Le Moana where they don’t offer a direct redemption to an overwater bungalow villa. Your only option then if your target is to stay in an overwater bungalow is to book with Thalasso.
Unfortunately, available for that specific resort is nearly impossible to find. But in August 2022, I got super lucky and found just ONE night of availability. I redeemed it right away and was extremely excited that I can finally go to this dream bucket list travel destination.
Check-in process at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa
Upon arriving on the island, we got picked up via a buggy and were taken to the front desk.
They were a bit cheeky asking us why we didn’t take the ferry from the airport. We just said we didn’t know which was the right way to go here and decided to take a ferry from their sister resort.
Despite the cheekiness, the guy at the reception was super friendly and funny. There’s a gay couple also checking in and Karen told me he changed his voice tone when speaking to me versus the gay couple. Apparently, he used a more masculine tone of voice when speaking to me. When he spoke to the gay couple, he changed his tone to a stereotypical gay guy’s voice which was hilarious as hell. I love it.
They took us to a relaxing seating area while waiting to finish the check-in process. We were provided with some refreshing tea and towel complete with an amazing view of the mountain in the Bora Bora main island.
They also put these nice-smelling flowers around our necks.
And also took a photo of us with the mountain right behind us. (They later gave us a physical copy of the photo which is a nice touch).
Booking our meals
After completing our check-in, they told us to wait a bit as our room was still being prepared. We took this time to explore the island resort a bit.
Our destination is the restaurant where we booked our breakfast the next morning. We also booked our dinner buffet for that evening complete with a cultural dance show of some sort.
Hanging out in our overwater bungalow
A buggy then took us to our villa where the friendly man gave us a tour of the place.
After the tour of our room, we spent the entire day just relaxing in the villa. At first, I was wondering if I should be snorkelling or doing activities. I reminded myself that I came to this resort specifically to enjoy our overwater bungalow. And that’s what Karen and I ended up doing all day which is relaxing in this beautiful room. I figure I will be doing plenty of snorkelling when we go on our excursion.
Exploring the resort
In the late afternoon, we also took the time to explore the resort itself. Obviously, I went to check out the fitness centre. I work in the fitness industry and like checking out what gyms look like in different countries.
We also walked along the walkway to see what the other overwater bungalows looked like.
And during sunset, we took some awesome pictures on the swing.
Before long, it was time to head back to our villa to get ready for dinner.
Dinner at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa
The restaurant was lively by the time we arrived. Looks like everyone is starving to death and going to town in the dinner buffet.
It was nice spending time with Karen and enjoying this meal together. Travel is always nicer with your significant other.
The food was surprisingly just okay. It’s nothing to rave about. And most certainly, it is not worth the hundreds of dollars that it costs.
Service was great; however. They went above and beyond to provide me with a custom-made dessert that is lactose-free. It was the best part of our dinner.
After dinner, the cultural show began.
It was neat and they also got me to make an ass of myself by dancing in front of the crowd. I was happy to oblige.
The evening ended with Karen and I feeding fish right underneath our villa with our retractable see-through living room table.
Breakfast at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa
The next day, Karen woke me up super early to tell me about the sunrise. I was still super sleepy so I briefly went out to the balcony and set up my GoPro to make a timelapse video before heading back to bed.
After waking up, I was happy to see the cool sunrise timelapse video. Karen was eager to try the breakfast so we immediately made our way to the restaurant.
Breakfast was so much better than dinner and I went to town to eat the different dishes. Customer service was once again top-notch as they made me a yummy dairy-free pancake since I am lactose intolerant.
Karen chilled out a bit by the hammocks before heading back to our villa one last time.
Using a day room in InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa
Before long, time is up and we headed back to the front desk to check out.
They let us use the dayroom which was a nice place to hang out while waiting for the ferry. Inside the day room was a shower and seats to relax while waiting. I personally took another shower because their facilities are so nice. One downside is that the day room was a bit cold so Karen ended up going outside a few times just to warm up.
Before long, the ferry arrived and we headed back to Le Moana.
Staying at an Airbnb in Bora Bora (Sunset Hill Lodge)
From Le Moana, our Airbnb host came to pick us up with their company van. The customer service in Bora Bora is top-notch for sure and the locals are warm and friendly.
It’s a stark contrast going from the overwater bungalow to an Airbnb. Honestly, I didn’t mind at all. While I enjoyed staying at the overwater bungalow, it was full of arrogant rich tourists which was offputting. I would say that my time in the Maldives overwater bungalow was much better as the other tourists were warm and friendly instead of being snobby and annoying.
Exploring Bora Bora
We decided to spend this day exploring Bora Bora on foot. The first thing we noticed is there are a lot of dogs running around. They can be intimidating as they run toward you. From my experience, they were harmless and are just curious.
Bora Bora is pretty so even just walking around is a nice experience.
We ended up going to the biggest grocery store in Bora Bora to stock up on food to eat for that day and for breakfast the following day.
For dinner, we went to the only Chinese restaurant in town. It was so funny because the server was telling us that the cooks are real Chinese people and asked us if we want to meet them.
Starting our snorkelling tour of Bora Bora
Our last day in Bora Bora is the highlight of the entire trip. The company we booked with (Bora Bora Lagoonarium is the company name I think) picked us up from our Airbnb and stored our luggage in their “office” (their house) before setting off to start the tour.
The tour operators sang songs as we made our way to our first stop.
Fish and corals
Our first stop is to see corals and fish. I was afraid to go in the water at first because it was deep. Even while wearing a lifejacket, it’s still freaky because the current can still drag you away from the boat. I told myself not to overthink it and went in the water. Thank god I did because I had a great time. One of the tour guides took my GoPro to show me the rock fish deep underwater. He caught it on video which was freaking awesome.
Giant Manta Ray
The next stop is the highlight of my trip to Bora Bora. As a kid, I’ve always loved sea creatures. I remember spending lots of time in my elementary school library reading about Manta Rays and sharks. To be able to witness them in person is a surreal experience which brought me back to my childhood.
As I dipped my head down the water and floated face down, I was in awe as I witnessed a giant manta ray swimming in circles right underneath me. It’s one of the greatest things I have ever seen in my life. Truly unforgettable.
The day keeps getting better as our next snorkelling spot showed me something I have never seen before. Not even in books or videos have I ever seen a school of eagle rays swimming together in a big pack.
Seeing the giant Manta Ray was surreal and seeing the army of eagle rays swimming underneath me was just as incredible.
Stingrays and Blacktip Sharks
I love a variety of sea creatures. Our next step took us to a place that is more shallow. This time, I didn’t need the life jacket because we can just walk in the water. In this next spot, there are tons of Stingrays swimming about. These Stingrays are curious and friendly that they actually swim toward you and even jump on you.
They seriously acted like dogs who are keen to meet strangers. At one point, I freaked out because one of them hit me with their tail. I thought I was done for. But the tour operator reassured me that they only sting if you accidentally step on them.
If you dip your head underwater, you can also see Blacktip Sharks swimming. They are so cool. I thought I would be scared but I felt ecstatic to see them swimming around us.
At one point, tons of sharks started coming near us and I cracked a joke saying they are here to eat their favourite food which is the French people. They didn’t get my joke cause they didn’t speak English but the tour guides thought it was hilarious.
Before leaving this spot, the tour guides threw fish in the water sending these Blacktip Sharks into a feeding frenzy. Damn that was cool to see.
Caught in a storm and Dolphins
On our way to our next destination, we caught a glimpse of dolphins swimming by our boats. This was cool except it started to rain really hard shortly after.
And I mean really hard. The wind was so freezing cold and everyone was suffering. Except for me, I thought it was funny to see everyone freaking out.
Our last stop is the Lagoonarium which this tour operator owned.
Here, they had a dining area and also had a pet giant pig hanging around.
Lemon sharks and sea turtles
We spent some time snorkelling with Lemon Sharks here which was cool as hell. I love being able to swim with sharks up close.
They also had sea turtles hanging out in some of the enclosures. I think I rather see them in the wild than trapped in this area.
An amazing meal in the Lagoonarium
Our late lunch was freaking amazing. It was so delicious to eat carby Polynesian food.
The rice with grilled fish and chicken was to die for. It was so damn good, I wish I can eat it again.
Our food didn’t last long as Karen and I inhaled them in minutes.
Pigs, dogs, and crafts
The last activity was the tour guides showing us how to tie this fabric and turn it into a local Polynesian outfit. They did it for both males and females but it definitely looked better on the girls than guys.
Before leaving the island, the pig and dogs in the island said their goodbyes to us.
Back to Bora Bora’s main island
After a nice final boat ride back with matching Polynesian music, we made it back to the mainland.
Our tour operator dropped us off outside our Airbnb as the property owner allowed us to use their outdoor shower.
One last shower near our Airbnb
The Airbnb host is so nice to let us shower before flying out of Bora Bora. We were covered in salty water from the snorkelling tour so it’s nice and refreshing to clean up before flying out.
Flying back to Tahiti
The Airbnb host even drove us back to the pier where we boarded the ferry back to the airport shortly after. I highly recommend this Airbnb for its fantastic hospitality.
Long wait before flying back home with Air Tahiti Nui
The flight back to Tahiti was uneventful. We exchanged the remaining Francs we had before going through security. The wait was long to board the plane which sucks.
We flew to Los Angeles with Air Tahiti Nui. I was so tired I slept for most of the flight. I was sitting beside this annoying person. Good thing I slept most of my flight so I didn’t have to stay awake dealing with this offputting individual.
My travel to Bora Bora is a dream come true. Staying in that overwater bungalow was worth it. And more so, being able to go on that epic snorkelling trip in Bora Bora is an adventure I will never forget.
I see myself coming back to this island in the distant future. Next time around, my plan is to check out Moorea and the main island of Tahiti. Until then, I have fond memories of this paradise in the Pacific Ocean.