Seoul, South Korea – To experience the KPop culture

Annyeonghaseyo!

In college, I was addicted to KPop. Yes, I’m not ashamed to say that. Haha! In 2015, One of my closest friends invited me to join her 2016 birthday celebration in Seoul. Who was I to decline to that kind of invitation, right? We had 10 months to prepare. We applied for our Korean Visa just 2 weeks before the trip (Hope this helps) and luckily we were approved! I promised to spend not more than Php20,000 for this trip. I heard from friends who had been to Seoul that it is not that expensive there. I was wrong. I had to sacrifice some things and skip meals. Don’t worry, I have managed to survive and I didn’t feel hungry at most times (kinda used to taking late lunch).

Fellow Filipinos, here are some things to expect in South Korea:

  • High-speed Internet connection.
  • A decent meal is worth Php300-500. That’s about Krw8,000.
  • Clean.
  • Safe.
  • Some can speak and understand English. So do not worry about language barrier.
  • They are tall – Ok, most of them.
  • Street food and convenience store food can save lives.

Let’s talk about the basics first:

  • We stayed in 24 Guesthouse Myeongdong. We booked a double bed with private toilet thru Booking.com. We paid Php2,500/night. This is a good location because our hostel is very near Myeongdong shopping area, the tour pick-up points, NSeoul tower cable car station and the bus stop from and to Incheon Airport.
  • We also pre-booked our 2-day activity on FunKorea.com. I highly recommend this. We walked more than 12 hours a day so you’d probably also like to rest en route back to the hotel. 1st day includes Nami Island, Petite France & Garden of the Morning Calm. Day 2 is Everland.
  • Buy T-Money card. This will be very helpful if you’re going to use the subway/ buses and it is available in almost any convenience stores. I loaded KRW40,000 (Php1,700).
  • Download Seoul Subway Map App so you can easily navigate thru the winding subway stations in Seoul. Trust me, the subway will be very helpful in getting you to those places you want especially if you’re on a tight budget.

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To Seoul – I got my RT fares (Manila to Incheon) from Cebu Pacific for Php4,000. This is when they held the promo in December 2015. I heard from a fellow traveler that Cebu Pac always has 3pm flights to Seoul. AirAsia has 7am available flights to Seoul.

To Myeongdong, Seoul – We arrived in Incheon around 9:00 am. We headed to the bus terminal counter and paid KRW15,000 (Php635). We were lucky that we got on the last trip at 10:00 pm. The last bus stop is Myeongdong so don’t worry getting lost.24 Guesthouse is very near the bus stop. You just have to cross the road and walk for 5-8 minutes.

To Gyeongbokgung Palace  Ride the subway to Gyeongbokgung station and head to Exit 5.

To Lotte Mart – Via subway, go down at Seoul station then head to Exit 1.

To Ihwa Mural Village – Via subway, go down at Hyehwa Station and take Exit 2. From the station, you have to walk around 20-30 minutes up the hill. It’s going to be an uphill battle!

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Day 0 – DINNER/ REST.

Day 1

8:00 am to 9:00 am – Prepare. Have a heavy breakfast

9:00 am to 9:30 am – Take the subway to Gyeongbokgung Palace

9:30 am to 10:15 am – Take photos and watch changing of the guards at the main entrance

10:15 am to 3:00 pm – Pay for the entrance fee. Tour the palaces. Take heaps of pictures. There are 4 palaces that you can explore. You can just walk going to the other 3 from Gyeongbokgung.

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm – Late LUNCH

4:00 pm to 6:00 pm – Enjoy Bokchon Hanuk Village. Rent the traditional Hanbok.

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm – Go back to Myeongdong.

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Walk around Myeondong street/ Shop/ DINNER/ Rest

Day 2

8:00 am – Pick-up time from Myeongdong to Naminara. Don’t be late!

8:10 am to 6:00 pm – Whole day activity. Nami Island, Petite France & Garden of the Morning Calm (Make sure to request Garden of the Morning Calm after Nami Island)

7:30 pm – Head to NSeoul tower cable car

Day 3

8:30 am – Pick-up time from Myeongdong to Everland.

8:45 am to 5:40 pm – Travel time to Everland. You may enjoy the park for 7 hours. 6:00 pm is the last public bus to Myeongdong so better get your silly ass over there on time.

7:30 pm to 8:00 pm – Travel time from Myeongdong to Cheonggyecheon Stream via subway

8:00 pm to 9:40 pm – Walk along the stream. Look for Youth Avenue. Drink, eat and chill.

10:00 pm – Last train to Myeongdong is at 10:00 pm so better be on time!

Day 4 – is actually our free day. We went to Lotte Mart where we saw clothes on sale. We bought pasalubong and headed to Ihwa Mural Village to take some more pictures.tLre51469970215

  • Php3,000 – Hotel share
  • Php5,300 – 2 day activity via FuntasticKorea.com
  • Php1,620 – Travel tax
  • Php4,500 – RT tickets Manila to Incheon
  • Krw15,000 | Php632 – Bus from Incheon International Airport to Myeongdong

Day 1

  • Krw1,000 | Php42 – Bottled water
  • Krw1,500 | Php63 – Egg & rice for lunch
  • Krw2,500 | Php105 – Sandwich from convenience store
  • Krw1,500 | Php63 – Noodles from convenience store
  • Krw40,000 | Php1,670 – Palace entrance fee
  • Krw20,000 | Php840 – T-Money load

Day 2 to 4

  • Krw870 | Php36 – Bottled water (I swore to refill it)
  • Krw15000 | Php640 – NSeoul Tower cable car fee
  • Krw25,000 | Php1,050- Souvenir
  • Krw2,500 | Php105 – Decent meal sharing
  • Krw8,000 | Php335 – Other food expenses

Total of Php20,053 – Including RT airfare, activities and accommodation. If it wasn’t for the overflowing bread and strawberry jam that the guesthouse provided I would be dead. Haha! I also packed sandwiches so I can take it with me and eat it during lunch. I didn’t eat dinner on our first night so I could save. I had always ate heavy during breakfast so i’ll be fully fueled for the day during the trip. Remember to take heaps of photos! So many picturesque locations that were shown on K-Dramas. Enjoy!

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam -To the winsome city of Saigon

Saigon is a busy city compared to Siem Reap. First thing that I noticed is that there is a lot of motorcycles. These motorcycles are everywhere! Be careful when crossing the streets; even when you’re walking peacefully on the sidewalk they will start invading your space especially during rush hour! Haha! Also, i have to deal with the language barrier. Most of them don’t understand nor speak English so what I did was I screen cap the addresses of the places where I wanted go and showed it to them.

When I arrived in Saigon I literally don’t know where to go. I met Satya (worked in Norway for 10 years as a Geologist but quit her job to live life to the fullest) who was about to head back home. I asked her if she’d like to chat over coffee and she agreed. I heard so much interesting travel stories from her and learnt about what’s life after 20’s. I walked with her to the bus station bound for the airport. She recommended District 1 because it’s the backpackers area in HCM. I got lost for a bit but found Lee Hostel. I stayed here for 2 nights for đ68,000 a night. I met Faun (from California with a very bubbly personality); she helped me book a bed thru her credit card and also I went down with her in the Cu Chi tunnels. Vietnamese men were so tricky during the war. You get to learn their techniques and how they lived below the tunnels. I went to the War Remnants Museum after and got very emotional. Seeing photos of how the Americans tortured and killed their enemies was just heartbreaking. I saw tourists crying outside the museum too because of this.

I went to Ben Thanh Market to buy souvenirs. T-shirts are freakishly cheap here. This is such a memorable experience because I celebrated my 27th birthday eve here. I met 3 gorgeous Canadians during my stay in Lee hostel and told them I’m travelling solo for my birthday. So after my tour, when I entered the room, everyone in the dormitory formed a circle and was drinking. Surprisingly, they were celebrating my birthday! It was such a good night because I met people from different countries. Thank you Anna, Jenny, Jacq, Michael, Adrian, Rachael, Halley, Amalea & Kate, George, Chris, Damiano, Bas and Jelle for this! And also we all did pub crawl and it was crazy! I also had the chance to reconnect with an old colleague from Stellar Philippines. Thank you Mommy Tess for treating me a fancy dinner at the Secret Garden. It was extremely satisfying since I haven’t had a full board meal during my stay in Cambodia. tLre51469970215
$1 – Cab fare share to District 1.

$2 – Highlands Original Vietnamese Coffee

đ136,000 – Lee Hostel 2 nights stay

đ80,000 – Cu Chi tunnels bus fare

đ110,000 – Cu Chi tunnels entrance fee

đ40,000 – 2 bottles of water

Day 3

đ20,000 – Motorcycle experience to Ben Thanh Market

đ200,000 – 20g Original Vietnamese Coffee powder for Beefy.

đ440,000 – Souvenir shirts, magnets etc.

đ77,000 – Share for alcohol and soda

đ60,000 – 3 bottles of water

đ100,000 – Motorcycle fare (got lost in District 4 or something)

đ100,000 – Meals

đ250,000 – Starbucks Tumbler

đ30,000 – Pub crawl fee

đ250,000 – Bus ticket to Phnom Penh

Total is đ1929,907 / Php4,085 – such a priceless experience I had here. Come to think of it I only spent Php4k in this country. The next morning I bought a bus ticket back to Phnom Penh. I hate the feeling of leaving my new friends behind but we all have different plans, so. I spent a night in Phnom Penh for $3. I would not recommend the fan room in Happy House Hostel. It was just so sad but I guess I got what I paid for.

$3 – Happy House fan room 1 night

$9 – Bus to Siem Reap

$5 – Breakfast + bottled water

$25 – Shopping in Siem Reap night market

$1.5 – I had rum coke in Angkor What? Bar

$5 – Tuktuk to Siem Reap International Airport

Total is $48.5/ Php2290 – So in conclusion, I only spent Php15,500 during the whole trip. When I arrived in Siem Reap, I didn’t stay in New Home hostel anymore because I wanted somewhere near pub street. The tuktuk driver recommended a hostel. I asked the receptionist if I can just leave my things and charge my gadgets. He said yes without asking for any payment. Thank you! I also recommend to take at least 2 weeks travelling these cities because I missed out on Hanoi, Mui Ne and more in Vietnam. You can go all out for 2 weeks (I can’t because I have work).

Siem Reap, Cambodia – to see the majestic Angkor Wat sunrise

In 2015, I told myself that I want to spend my birthday in Cambodia. It’s a dream to blow my candles in Angkor Wat while watching the sunset. It was a random thought that may change my life forever. I’ve been wanting/trying to travel solo and I took advantage of the seat sale Cebu Pacific had in December 2015. I bought my 7-day RT tickets for Php3,800. I remember having trouble getting the perfect dates (July 10-16) but thank heavens I was able to get ’em. I did a research about solo travelling in Cambodia and learnt that most of the bloggers and/or travellers crossed Cambodia to Vietnam. I thought that was a great idea – it’s hitting 2 birds with one stone. I asked myself “Why not?”

As months passed by, I saved Php20,000 enough to cover the trip (I heard it’s going to be dirty cheap there). A few days before my flight, I booked an overnight stay in a private room in New Home Hostel for $10 just to show an address at the Immigration. The hotel staff also suggested a tuktuk pick-up from the airport to the hostel for $5. I said yes since I’ll have no idea where to go upon arrival lol So here’s what I did during my 7 days solo backpacking trip in Cambodia & Vietnam:

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4:30 am – Start the Angkor Wat tour

5:00 am – Buy tickets (I bought 1 day pass)

5:30 am – SUNRISE!

6:00 am to 12nn – Explore Angkor Wat, Bayon temples & Terrace of the Leper King

12:00 nn to 1:00 pm –  Lunch/ Rest

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm – Ta Prohm

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Go back to town to rest

5:30 pm – Head back to Angkor Wat for Sunset

6:30 pm – Dinner/ Rest

7:00 pm – Night Market & PUB STREET! Then call it a night.

When the hostel owner asked me if I’ll stay another night (since my bus will leave at 7am the next morning) I said I want to transfer to a bed in a shared room to cut expenses. He let me use the same private room for half price ($5). The owner also bought the bus ticket to Phnom Penh for me. Thank you! I wasn’t able to see the sunset because past 1pm it started raining really hard. I saw it as an opportunity for me to roam around town to try street food. I did not think that the tuktuk ripped me off since I used it all day – we even went to Pubstreet and roamed around town to find Paracetamol. So for me it was a good deal.

Filipinos, remember that we don’t have to pay for anything at the Immigration. We have 21 days free access. I met a Filipino in Phnom Penh and he shared that he was asked to pay $2 for tax purposes at the border when crossing Vietnam. My experience crossing Cambodia to Vietnam was a breeze. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you! Haha! Also, in Cambodia, they prefer USD than Riel. So better change those PHP into USDs!

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$5 – Tuktuk fare from Siem Reap Airport to New Home Hostel

$10 – Private room (good for 2-3)

$20 – Tuktuk rental (whole day)

$20 – One day access to the Major temples

$3.5 – Late lunch I had in front of the Leper King terrace (Chicken Pineapple)

$2 – 2 Bottles of water

$1 .5 – Noodles

$5 – Overnight stay in New Home Hostel

$10 – Bus to Phnom Penh

Total is USD 77/ Php3,623 – The Angkor Wat ticket is expensive I know but it was worth it! I Kat (Filipina from Davao) as I was walking along Bayon temple and she said that she rented a tuktuk for only $17. Use your haggling skills! Side note – I was astonished by how the people built the temples and carved every detail on the walls. The experience was exhausting but seriously worthwhile.

Day 2 (July 12)

That was a grueling 6-hour bus ride to Phnom Penh. I literally didn’t know where I was when I got down the bus stop but I kinda like that feeling. The place is busier, and compared to Siem, Phnom has tall buildings. I talked to a tuktuk driver to drop me off at Base Villa hostel, showed him the address and negotiated about the price. He was asking for freaking $9! We settled at $3 after a few minutes of friendly discussion. Base Villa was nice. It has a mini pool, a bar, AC rooms and the beds are comfortable. I paid $5 for 1 night. I arrived there past 2pm & wanted to make the most out of my short stay. I asked a tuktuk driver just outside the hostel for a 4-hour city tour (Killing Fields, Wat Phnom and Royal Temple). He gave a price of $18 but after a few minutes of talking we agreed on $15 (not bad since the Killing Field is too far from the city proper).

I recommend to take the audio tour in the Killing Fields so you get to know more about what happened there. It was a sad event but you’ll learn so much about Khmer history. After the Killing Fields we went to Wat Phnom. It stated there that you have to pay $1 but I didn’t see. Last stop was the Royal Temple. The tuktuk driver left me here and gave me a map to help me get back to Base Villa. I ate dinner here while watching the sunset. I had the chance to walk around the area then I headed back to the hostel. I bought my ticket to Vietnam when I arrived in the hostel. I met a solo traveller from Chile. He’s staying on the top bunk and we talked about our countries similarities.

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$3 – Tuktuk from bus station to Base Villa hostel

$5 – Overnight stay in a dorm

$15 – Half day city tour

$1 – Killing Fields entrance fee

$13 – Bus to Ho Chi Minh

$3 – Food expenses

Total is Php5,459 for 2 days in Cambodia. I could’ve spent less but I chose to see the historical areas rather than not. I’ve learned so much about their culture.The tuktuk driver even had me go to their home and introduced me to his sister who works in a salon. I noted that I spent so much in transportation (buses/tuktuks) but I wanted this so, wth. Haha! I had to endure that back breaking 7 hours going to Saigon. Note that the hostels that I stayed in were capable of booking bus tickets so I did not have any difficulties choosing which bus. Also note that I avoided taking the night bus because according to the people I met and blogs I read that it is not safe (things were stolen, accident prone etc). Check out what happened next here.

Bali, Indonesia – To lose and find oneself in the Island of Love

According to a good friend of mine, Janelle, that Bali is a safe place for lone travelers. Hopefully this blog post will help you out plan your trip to Bali!

Accommodation: A lot of affordable hotels here ranging from Php1,000 above. I chose to stay overnight in Champlung Mas Hotel because it is in along Legian, there’s an outdoor pool and it is 4 minutes away from the beach. Per night would costs Php1,200 via Agoda. For my succeeding days, I was sheltered by my best friend in Kuta Beach Heritage Hotel for free.

Tour/ Transpo: Bali Asia Tours – I highly recommend Wayan as he knows a lot about the places we had visited. Plus he will bring you to the safest money changers and stores. For short distances, you may rent a motorcycle for Rp 500,000 a day. Rp 10,000 for gasoline.

Pocket Money: Php18,000 (minus the Travel tax of Php1,620, cab fare of Php300 and another Php550 for date of purchase tax). Remaining cash is Php15,500. Make sure to convert all of these to USD.

ETA 7:00 AM

I rode a cab from Ngura Rai International airport to Champlung Mas for 20 minutes. I was told by the receptionist that they are still preparing my room so they asked me to go back at 2pm. Ffrom 8am to 11am I walked around Kuta beach and checked some shops around the Art Market. Quiksilver, Ripcurl, Volcom and so much more are on sale. 50%-80% off on some clothes. So another tip is DO NOT BRING too much clothes. You’ll be obliged to buy one here for you to wear immediately. I had a heavy meal at a food joint in Kuta beach for Rp45,000.E8XQc1469970159

12:00 nn – Got back before 2pm because I needed to check my Facebook. The hotel staff informed me that my room was ready.

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM – One of the activities Bali is famous for is Surfing. They will offer you $40 for a 2-hr ride but please haggle. I got mine for a cheaper price. I met Ogie. First local I had a long conversation with. Waves here in Bali is bigger than in the PH. I tried surfing at some spots in Ph but here is the biggest I’ve experienced.

5:30 PM to 7:00 PM – Make sure to stay at the beach and watch the sunset. Some food stores will offer a free bean bag if you buy a bottle of Bintang. One of the perks of travelling alone is meeting new people, right? I met Andy, a local, who offered to take me to a cheap eatery nearby to taste the Goat Satay. Rented a motorcycle to roam around the area. Bottle of Bintangs all the way til 10:00 PM. So basically, enjoy the Kuta beach while you can. You’ll know why. Haha!tLre51469970215

  • Rp250,000 20 min taxi ride from airport to hotel
  • Rp100,000 On sale Hurley singlet
  • Rp45,000 Chicken capcay meal by the beach
  • Rp38,000 10 sticks of goat satay with rice & local iced tea
  • Rp15,000 bottle of Bintang w/ bean bag (+ an awesome view)
  • Rp50,000 motorcycle rental for 1 day
  • Rp10,000 gasoline
  • $25 for 2-hour surf (which is Rp300,000)

TOTAL of Rp 808,000 = Php 3,228.92

DAY 2

Woke up 6:00 am. Checked out 8:00 am. Met our tour guide, Wayan. Drove to Kuta Beach Heritage hotel to meet my best friend and her partner. Last pick-up at The Stones hotel for Chian and An. This day we rode an elephant at the Bali Zoo, did a purification bath at Tirta Empul, went to Kintamani to see the Batur Volcano & Lake, and lastly went to Luwak Coffee Plantation to try the Civet’s poop.

Arrived at Kuta around 8:30 PM. We were already exhausted so we decided to just sleep.tLre51469970215

  • Rp900,000 30 min Elephant ride at Bali Zoo
  • Rp10,000 donation for sarong at Tirta Empul
  • Rp100,000 buffet lunch overlooking Batur volcano
  • Rp33,000 2 pc. chicken meal breakfast KFC
  • Rp20,000 fruit shake
  • Rp5,000 bottle of water
  • Rp110,000 car service (5 pax)

TOTAL of Rp 1178,000 = Php 4,707.51 – TIP: Skip Elephant ride if you already rode an Elephant somewhere else. It’s expensive here.

Day 3 is for southern Bali. I never expected for this day to be exhausting compared to yesterday. We went to 2 beaches – Pantai Pandawa Beach (make sure to try the Snickers ice cream & take a jump shot) & Padang Padang Beach (stay at least 2 hours in Padang Padang to rest, it’ll be worth it), then we watched the sunset at Uluwatu Water Temple. Be careful of monkeys here.

Started with a 30-minute camel ride at Hotel Nikko. Tomkun is the youngest camel here (just 8 years old!) and during the whole ride he was just smiling. Aw!

  • Rp850,000 30 min camel ride
  • Rp800,000 15 mins flyboard aka ‘Ironman’
  • Rp5,000 Isotonik drink
  • Rp10,000  tickets to Pandawa beach
  • Rp20,000 Snickers ice cream
  • Rp100,000 Ayam lada hitam (black pepper chicken)
  • Rp15,000 watermelon shake
  • Rp110,000  car service (5 pax)

TOTAL of Rp 1800,000 = Php 7,193.14 – I didn’t pay for my fly board. Thanks to Fred & An for sponsoring my fly board. They know that I’m on a tight budget.

DAY 3

We planned to go out for half a day then rest til my flight back to Mnl. Went to souvenir shops, Tegalalang Rice Terraces, Gemstones shop (my friends had a free chakra reading), Ubud Centre Art Market (make sure that you buy all your souvenirs here because it’s cheaper & you can haggle) and back to Ubud. Best thing about today is that we had lunch facing the rice terraces.

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  • Rp65,000 Ganesha Incense holder
  • Rp35,000 scented oils souvenir
  • Rp20,000 medium dreamcatcher
  • Rp10,000 small dreamcatcher
  • Rp25,000 Love stone incense holder
  • Rp13,000 Snickers chocolate bar
  • Rp100,000 Bebek Goreng meal with Iced tea
  • Rp110,000  car service (5 pax)
  • Rp320,000 2 Starbucks Bali tumblers

TOTAL of Rp 698,000 = Php 2,789.34

Total expense in Peso is Php17,918.919. Again, minus Php2,800 for the fly board (since I didn’t pay for it). We arrived in town around 6:00 pm. We still had time to check out the outlets stores of Nike, Hurley, Billabong, Quiksilver etc. I went on a stroll alone in Legian just to check the place out one last time. Headed to the airport afterwards.

MY TOTAL EXPENSE = Php15,118.91. Just a little above the budget and fortunately I survived!

I felt so great after my Bali trip. If you’re also after the thrill and want to experience Bali, I recommend that you stay here for a week (yes, 7 days. or better 2 weeks!) to enjoy the night life & the beaches.

Disneyland, Hong Kong – To search for Toy Story’s Jessie

My family and I planned this trip in 2003 but an incident happened between HK nationals and Filipinos that time (ehem, bus raid). So we decided this year is the best time to actually go there. We got a piso fare from Cebu Pacific.

Accommodation: Tour package via WOW Travel & Tours for around Php 8,000 – 3 days and 2 nights (with land transfers, accommodation, city tour & Disneyland). We chose Shamrock Hotel along Nathan Rd. because it’s super near malls, restaurants and outlet shops (Adidas, Nike, SuperDry etc.)

Pocket Money: Php 7,000 (Travel tax of Php1,620 already off)

Day 1

We got the second to the earliest flight to HK International airport and arrived there mid day. We met a bunch of people that’s also included in the tour package then we rode a bus going to our respective hotels. Shamrock Hotel has a nice location I would recommend for first time travelers to stay here if not on a tight budget. The breakfast meal is NOT worth it though. It is also next to a train station, lots of 24hour stores and shops so worry not.

Day 2

We went to the Avenue of Stars and saw the famous Jackie Chan monument. We also went to this River Boat ride but please please SKIP this – It is not worth it. Mid-day we went straight to Disneyland HK. Make sure to try all of the rides. There are some peculiar places inside HK Disneyland. My personal favorites are Toy Story Land’s RC Racer, Mystic Point’s Mystic Manor, Grizzly Gulch’s Runaway Mines, Adventureland’s Jungle River Cruise and Tommorowland’s Space Mountain.

I’ve tried almost every ride. The 10 year-old in me was awaken and wanted to try just about everything. The effects were cool and it is really like you’re in another dimension (especially for the Toy Story land and Grizzly Grutch). I saw my first coach from college who taught me gymnastics. He is working here already as an entertainer and too bad I was not able to hug him. We contacted thru Viber.

The grand entrance of my favorite ride, Mystic Manor! It was just so magical.

Don’t forget to watch the fireworks display at 7pm at the center of HK Disneyland. It is the most spectacular thing inside this theme park. I was almost left behind by the bus because I got separated from my parents after dinner (i tried a lot of rides kasi) so make sure you never get separated. Luckily they told me the parking slot # and where to meet. It was just embarrassing for the other passengers. Arrived 10pm at Shamrock Hotel.

Day 3

We just stayed in the vicinity of our hotel because we’d like to rest. Plus, my parents were feeling tired already since we had a lot to do the previous day. We went to different stores and of course – splurged! Bought a pair of shoes from Nike, shirts from Adidas and SuperDry. I uploaded a photo on Facebook and a close friend of mine, Gladsy, and her friend, Ralph, were in HK as well. We met and headed to Lan Kwai Fong to experience night life. Locals said it is a crazy place during weekends. We went there on a weekday we still got to meet new people and partied with them ’til 4am.

  • $20 HKD for a bottle of Jack-Coke
  • $15 HKD  for a bottle of Corona
  • $30 HKD share for a cab for 3 pax going to Lan Kwai Fong

Day 4

We went to HK International Airport around after lunch and headed back to Manila. This trip is a success! All I ever wanted to see in HK Disneyland is Jessie. I tried almost all of the rides and got to experience the magical fireworks display in HK Disneyland. There are lots of places to go to when you visit HK. Make sure to make time for these places:

  • Macau – We weren’t able to go to Macau since we don’t want to stress our parents too much.
  • Ocean Park – Same reason.
  • Ngong Ping Sitting Buddha
  • Shopping places like Temple Street, Ladies Market in Mongkok and street stalls around the metro. We didn’t have trouble shopping as Tsim Tsa Shui offers a lot of malls already.

No trip budget breakdown this time as I was with my parents and it was almost an all-expense paid trip. I bought my own clothes btw. Haha. I ain’t spoiled.

Ayutthaya, Thailand – To break free from the norm

It was so amazing when this trip happened. My friends and I were just talking about how we would like to take our adventures in a whole new different level. We’ve been on mountains and beaches then we thought we’ve never been outside our beloved country. One of my friends, Ruthan, grew up in Thailand. She mentioned that she’ll go there latter part of this year with her Mom (currently working there). We all agreed that we’ll definitely join her.

After 4 months of preparation (yes, physically and financially) we booked our flights. This is the first time that I would fly alone to a new place. This trip is just memorable. My flight was at 6am via Cebu Pacific. Arrived at Suvarnabhumi International Airport few minutes after 10am and my friends were there to pick me up.

Pocket money is Php18,000 (including travel tax) so imagine how scared I was to budget this for 5 days. Take note that ฿1 is Php1.32 — which is almost the same.

DAY 1

Start the trip at the Grand Palace! There was a heavy traffic when I arrived. I was so hungry luckily my friends gave me a sandwich and a drink get thru (thank you, Ruth & Jera!). It took us 1 hr 30 minutes to get to the Grand Palace.

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  • ฿400 shared for taxi ride for day 1 tour, not metered. If metered taxi flag down is ฿35.
  • ฿40 for a ride of tuktuk but preferably in short distances. You can haggle.
  • ฿100 KFC lunch meal
  • ฿500 Grand Palace entrance fee (I was lucky I look Thai)
  • ฿50 Wat Arun entrance fee
  • ฿100 Wat Pho entrance fee (Again, I was lucky I look Thai)
  • ฿100 dinner meal
  • ฿60 bottled water

Total is ฿1,350 – that’s Php1,776.69. PS: Don’t wear shorts or bring your own sarong. Some temples wouldn’t allow tourists wearing shorts. My accommodation was basically free because my friend’s Mom has an apartment inside a university.

Day 2

This day is dedicated to the old city of Ayutthaya. Temples we visited are Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Wat Mahathat and the Elephant conservation. We headed to the Floating Market as well to buy souvenirs. It is really cheap here and you can also ask for discounts.

I was not able to keep track of my expenses during this day. But I remember sharing ฿400 again for the taxi and spending around ฿150-200 for meals. We went back to the apartment right after this trip because all we did was walk.

Day 3

Thailand is just like The Philippines. For the whole week that I stayed here I bought a lot of clothes. Quality of these clothes are H&M-F21 quality. I bought a LOT and I sold it to my friends and colleagues (double the price!). It was that good!

Here are some spots where you can find a lot of goods for a cheap price:

  • Siam Paragon – for expensive items
  • MBK Center
  • JJ Mall
  • Tokyu Department
  • Platinum Fashion Mall
  • Chatuchak Weekend Market
  • Bangketa of course! A lot of cheap good finds!

You can just take the train or bus to reach these locations. Make sure to ask for a cheaper price if you’re gonna shop at street stalls or better yet bring a calculator for easy haggling.

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  • ฿3500 for clothes that I bought from stores like H&M, Uniqlo etc.
  • ฿160 – 200 bus fares to shopping centres
  • ฿90 skytrain tickets to Chatuchak
  • ฿100 for snacks
  • ฿150 lunch meal
  • ฿150 van to Ayutthaya

Total is ฿3,850 – so that’s Php5075.39. I bought a LOT of clothes so this is worth my money. I was so thankful that I paid for an extra 20kg check-in baggage to Manila. Hehe!

Day 4

This day is solely for Chatuchak Market (which happens only weekends) and saw a lot of great finds with cheap prices. Make sure that you’re an expert in haggling already if you’re going to stop by this market. A local vendor that we had a conversation with was very happy that he gave me a keychain for free. It is shaped as a male organ, so.

I remember buying a lot of souvenir displays and clothes. I bought a blue and red walking shorts for ฿650 (F21 quality), a DIY lamp shade with Buddha design ฿120, 3 pcs of tank tops with really cool beer logos for ฿600, a brown dope bag (expensive!) for ฿400 and a lot more. Again, I did not keep track of my expenses. My flight back to Manila is 10am so I left the apartment at 7am via the taxi that we rented during the tours. You can refund the taxes that you paid from shopping in mall stores in the airport. Just make sure you have the receipts. I had around ฿200+ when I arrived in Manila.

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – To feel what ‘Truly Asia’ meant

This is just a photo blog of the sites we saw around KL. This is my first out of the country trip with the family. This was special because this is where I started to feel the urge to travel and experience different cultures. I didn’t own a GoPro yet when I went here so pictures were taken with iPhone4 and Samsung Tab.

I remember we arrived at KL International Airport and I was so excited to go out and explore. We took a cab going to the hotel and it took us roughly 1 hour to get to Kuala Lumpur. I heard from a friend that you can take a train from the airport to KL for just 28 mins. We stayed in MyHotel KL.

Jalan Alor offers a lot of food choices. This is the place where usually had lunch and dinner during our stay. Authentic Malay, Indian, Chinese and Persian cuisines just all around the vicinity. We went to the Petronas Twin Towers (didn’t have an idea that they have a huge mall inside where I got lost), Batu Caves (my favorite), Menara KL Tower, KL Central Museum (where you can watch shadow play for free), Resorts World Genting (rode the cable car going up the mountains), Strawberry Farm,

We went to some shopping spots too like the NU Central, Farenheit88, Bukit Bintang Plaza, Pavilion KL and Star Hill. Every one of these places is accessible by bus.
My favorite is the Batu Caves. My Dad finished the steps up that’s why I am so proud of him. Maybe I got the eagerness and aggressiveness from him. Haha! We played with the pigeons around the area and even watched a cultural bath.