Macau Trip




Since Macau is just one ferry away, we decided to include this trip to our Hong Kong itinerary (For info on how to go via ferry, please refer to this link).

Macau has been a Portuguese colony before and now it is a Special Administrative Region of China. Currently, Macau is considered as the gambling capital in Asia because of its many casinos.

(Note: For the Macau budget, please refer to this link which includes the budget in Hong Kong.)

Accommodation – HK$ 797.40 for 1 night with free breakfast

We booked our hotel via TripAdvisor and we selected Best Western Hotel Sun Sun as there were lots of good reviews and the room photos looked cozy. There is also a bus stop nearby 7-11 and you can just walk there if you want to go to the other side of Macau. There, you’ll see the Macau Tower, The Venetian, Galaxy hotel, Hard Rock, and many others.

Ruins of St. Paul

The first thing that we did upon arrival was to go to the Ruins of St. Paul. Your trip must include a visit to this place as this is a popular tourist spot. The museum is just located on the right side of the Ruins. Before leaving don’t forget to try the egg tart that’s sold near the area. Near the place is also the Senado Square. We weren’t able to take much photos of that place as there was a demonstration happening at that time. But on the upside, there are lots of stalls that you can check if you want to buy souvenirs and other clothing apparel.

The Venetian Macao

Here, you’ll see different shops, shows, people in costume, casino, and many others. The food court is located at the upper floor while at the ground floor you can try the gondola.

 

Various photos taken in Macau

Different views of Macau Tower

Tips

  1. When you first reach Macau, some people will approach you and will offer you shuttle services. I would recommend that you take the underpass instead and go to the other side as you’ll find there free shuttle bus that goes to different hotels.
  2. Always bring your map that has Portuguese and Chinese words so that it is easy to show to the locals in case you need to ask for directions.
  3. You can travel in between hotels by taking the free shuttle bus.




South Korea Trip




Before our wedding way back in 2015, my wife and I were already planning as to where would be the best place to go for honeymoon. But since my wife and I are both fans of Korean drama, we’ve decided that South Korea was the best option.

Normally, going to another country requires a lot of pocket money to pay for the entrance fees, accommodation, food, etc. In order to have enough for our travel, what we did was to create a “Travel Fund” . Every payday, we have to save a small portion of our salary (S$100 each) so that it won’t “hurt” our pockets that much!

VISA

First things first – Since I am from a country that requires VISA when travelling to South Korea, let me go through that first. Here are the steps in applying (Please take note that it might be a different case if you are applying in the Philippines). In our case, we are both working in Singapore.

  1. Fill-up the visa application form with 1 coloured passport-sized photo with white background.
  2. Provide original and photocopy of passport and work pass.
  3. Get your bank’s E-statement (recent 3 months) verified and stamped by your bank. If you can’t be present, you can authorize someone on your behalf to do it. This is what I did.
  4. Request a letter from your employer stating your name, passport number, job title, salary, date of hire, date of travel, and purpose of trip. This should be submitted to the embassy within 1 month of issuance.
  5. Go to the Korean Embassy and submit the requirements. My wife also submitted on my behalf since I am working.
  6. We didn’t pay any VISA fee as Philippine citizens are exempted from paying.
  7. Wait for the collection date.

Note: Don’t buy yet your airline ticket unless you have your VISA with you!

For more info and updates, please refer to this link.

PLACES VISITED

N-Seoul Tower / Locks of Love

Korean Tourism Org (trying a Hanbok)

Cheonggyecheon Stream

Gwanghamun Square

DMZ

Myeongdong

Nami Island

Petite France

Everland

Gangnam District

Bukchon-Hanok Village and some coffee shops

FOOD

BUDGET

Here is the summary of our expenses:

Summary of Expenses:
Accommodation Php 15,480.00
Airfare Php 31,610.00
Attractions Php 9,245.00
Meals Php 9,838.40
Pasalubong / Gifts / Souvenirs Php 10,649.38
Transportation Php 6,069.45
TOTAL Php 82,892.23
  • For accommodation, we stayed at Seoul Backpackers as recommended by a friend.
  • If you’d notice, airfare was the bulk of the expense. You can minimize this by looking for promo tickets. In our case, we already booked out tickets at a much later date as we are still trying to arrange for our work leave. My friend who managed to visit South Korea 2 weeks before us had bought their ticket that’s half the price of what we paid.
  • Getting sample itinerary from friends will help you decide where to go and plan your trip effectively.
  • Another tip is to travel to South Korea from Philippines instead of Singapore. It’s much cheaper!

See link below for an itemized cost!

2015 South Korea Budget

Got any questions or comments? Comment on the section below!




Hong Kong Trip




To celebrate our 1st year wedding anniversary, we decided to go to Hong Kong and Macau. We were supposed to visit Hong Kong last August 2015 but due to some travel promo issues, it was postponed and was moved forward to 2016.

Since it was my first time travelling to Hong Kong and my wife has been there last 2010, we decided to stay longer – 10 days and 9 nights to be exact. Some would even tell us that it is quite long for a Hong Kong trip but that didn’t matter because we want to escape from our busy work and have fun.

Accomodation

It’s our first time booking a room via AirBNB but the experience we had was not pleasant. The room was small (the AirBNB photo looks big) and you can’t barely even put your luggage. The only upside is that it is a walking distance to 3 MTR stations – Kowloon, Jordan & Austin. I guess it’s a lesson learned for not paying attention to the reviews. My tip is to get a hotel instead.

Budget

Please click this link for our budget (including Macau).

Food Photos!

Random Photos taken in HK

 

Attractions

Disneyland

Coming to Disneyland brings back lots of memories from my childhood. Try to be as early as possible to avoid the crowd or if you want to have your photo taken with your favourite mascot.

TIP – Don’t leave yet after the parade as there will be fireworks display.

 

ICC – International Commerce Centre

We were fortunate as we had the opportunity to visit (and have lunch) at the 88th floor of the ICC (International Commerce Centre) since my work colleague has invited us to visit their site. ICC is the tallest building in Hong Kong. This building is near Kowloon Station.

The Peak

You have to be early if you want to take the tram. Since we were late at that time, we took the long way by taking the bus. Unfortunately, we can’t see much as it was foggy. For more information on how to go to the Peak, please visit this link.

Repulse Bay

After ICC, we decided to visit Repulse Bay as recommended by my work colleague. To get there, please refer to this link.

Mongkok

If you want to buy cheap shoes, then Mongkok is the place for you. They sell cheap sneakers especially New Balance and Adidas brands.

Ngong Ping Village

In order to go to the Ngong Ping Village, you need to take the cable car. You have the option to choose whether you want the transparent glass bottom or the opaque one. Riding it is terrifying because there are strong winds and you can even feel your cable car swinging. Once you’ve reached the end of the trip, you can see the village and you can walk your way towards The Big Buddha. There are also several shows and shops that you can check while in the village.

Hong Kong Museum of History

If you love museums, then this place suits you. You can see the rich history of how Hong Kong became the place it is today. There are a lot of exhibits and you can take photos of the artifacts found.

All I can say is that the overall trip was memorable and fun.




Cambodia Trip




Last August 2016, we were trying to find out where to go next and we were torn between going to Vietnam and Cambodia but upon checking that the air ticket was cheap, we decided to go to Phnom Penh.

Be prepared to have USD when you travel to Cambodia as almost all of them accept this currency over Cambodian Riels.

Below are some of the details of our travel which you might find useful.

Air ticket for 2 – S$ 427.84 (Php 15,188.32) – no check-in, via Jetstar

Hotel- Mito Hotel – 2 nights – S$75.18 (Php 2,668.89)

Review

1. Staff is courteous and friendly.
2. They will even give you welcome drinks and bring your luggage to your room.
3. Before leaving the hotel, they will keep reminding you to take care of your belongings as it might get snatched.
4. The room is cozy.
5. Free breakfast is delicious.
6. Inside the hotel, you’ll find a massage parlor (Happy Foot massage) and restaurant (M cafe).
7. Outside there are tuktuks… just negotiate the price with the driver.
8. They have a taxi pick up service (15 USD)
9. The location is near Central market and Royal Palace

Royal Palace

The Palace is not as big as the one that they have in Thailand but place is not crowded. Just be careful before you enter, some tuktuk drivers will tell you that the palace is closed and instead they will offer you to go somewhere else, of course by riding their tuktuk. Good thing we had our coffee first near the palace area, and after that we tried to find the main entrance. It is not closed after all.
Tuol Seng Genocide Museum

 

This is a great place for you to visit if you want to know the history of the S21 and Khmer Rouge. I would suggest that you take the audio tour so that you understand it better. There, you’ll see the photos of the victims, and they were identified not by their names, but by numbers. You’ll also see the victims’ skulls there.

Before you leave the place, you can see the 2 survivors detailing how they were tortured. I just felt sad for them…

National Museum of Cambodia
This place is near the Royal Palace and it’s just a walking distance. I just felt that I was not able to enjoy going to this place for 2 reasons – the place is so hot and not air-conditioned plus the fact that you cannot take photos inside.
Central Market
 
Wat Phnom