Singapore Trip




The first time I visited to Singapore was way back in 2011. The trip was short, but seeing the environment made me decide to work here. Yes, I am based in Singapore and I’ve been working here for 5 years now.

Security

I would say Singapore is the safest country I’ve been. You can use your mobile phone while walking without thinking of someone snatching it. You can even go home late at night worry-free.

Transportation

In terms of transportation, everything is reliable and comfortable. You can take MRT or bus if you’re using public transport.

Singapore’s MRT map (some are still under construction)

Recently, Singapore started to have bicycle sharing apps that you can try (Obike, OFO, or Mobike) especially if your are going for short distance trips.

Food

Singapore food is diverse, given that it is a multicultural country having  Chinese, Malay, and Indian locals.

Here are the must try food when you are in Singapore!

Satay

Chili Crab

Nasi Lemak

Nasi means rice and Lemak means coconut.

Hokkien Mee

Bah Kuh Teh

Cereal Prawn

Stingray

Ice Kachang

Ice Cream

Places to Visit

Merlion

You cannot say you’ve been to Singapore if you haven’t visited this iconic statue of Merlion. This is located just in front of The Fullerton Hotel.

Nearest MRT station – Raffles Place

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands is a hotel (with infinity pool on top) with casino, high end shops, cafes, skating rink, and exhibition centre.

You can also take a boat ride at the lower level for S$ 10 per head.

Nearby is the Helix bridge which you can take if you are heading to Makansutra Gluttons Bay.

Another area nearby is the Esplanade and Art Gallery Museum.

Nearest MRT station – Bayfront

Universal Studios Singapore (USS)

Located at Sentosa Island, USS is one of the most-visited place in Singapore. Due to a wide variety of rides, not including the mascots and other performances, this is the place which you should not miss.

To get there, you can either do the following:

  • Take the mono rail from Vivo City Harbourfront (cost you around S$4 thru your EZ Link or buying a ticket) and alight at Waterfront Station.

  • Take a stroll at Boardwalk
View from the Boardwalk
  • Take a cab/Uber/Grab
  • Take a cable car from Mt. Faber

To get to Mt. Faber, you need to take a cab at Harbourfront MRT taxi stand. You’ll be alighting near the Imbiah Station.

Sentosa Island

How to go there is pretty much the same as going to USS. Here you can try to go the Palawan and Siloso beaches. You can try also Luge, Segway and Skyride. They also have various 4D shows you can try.

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay have two domes – Cloud Forest and Flower Dome. In Cloud Forest, you’ll see waterfalls, stalactites and others. This dome is similar to a rainforest. They also show a short clip on climate change and how we can contribute in helping save the environment. Flower Dome on the other hand, has various display of flowers and cactus. The centre display is often change depending on the occasion (Cherry Blossoms, Christmas theme, etc.)

Nearest MRT station – Bayfront

Singapore Flyer

Nearest MRT station – Promenade

Makansutra Gluttons Bay

Come to this place if you want to eat authentic food and find a good view of Marina Bay Sands.

East Coast Park

If you’re in for cycling then this is the place for you. There are shops that let you rent bikes

Chinatown

You can see a lot of traditional Chinese shops in these area. This place is also well-decorated every Chinese New Year. The picture above was taken sometime ago during CNY festival.

Orchard Road

This is a shopping district in Singapore. The whole stretch are lined-up with so high-end shops..

Haji Lane

Bugis Street

You can visit Bugis street if you want to buy souvenirs (aside from the ones in Lucky Plaza Orchard) and other street foods.




Bangkok Thailand Trip




 

Last July 2016, we decided to celebrate our birthday in Thailand since this is just near from Singapore (travel time is 2.5 hrs) and considering that the plane ticket is cheap (about S$ 180 per head).

Accomodation – 2,800 THB or about S$ 110 for 2 nights

We stayed at “Take A Nap Hotel“. The good thing about this hotel is that it is near Si Lom and Sam Yan Mrt station. The room is big and cheap as well considering there’s only 2 of us occupying it. There are 2 single beds and 1 queen sized bed.

Temple of Reclining Buddha – 100 THB or almost S$4

Inside Wat Pho, you’ll see the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. But before entering, you must wear conservative clothes, else, you won’t be allowed to go in. This place is near the ferry station and it is just near the Grand Palace.

But don’t just leave yet after visiting the Reclining Buddha. Behind, there is a massage area for you to try.

Khao San Road

This place is a must visit if you are looking for some exotic and local street foods. This place also has several stalls that sell souvenirs.

sticky mango rice

 

Chatuchak Market

Probably the biggest market in Thailand, this place has a lot of things to buy from food to clothes to handicrafts to bags. Chatuchak is near 2 mrt lines (BTS and underground train). The only downside in this area is that the place is so hot and so crowded.

Patpong

Had the experience of watching the “Pingpong” show.

A guy approached and followed me and my wife. He initially quoted us 300 Baht per person and managed to lower to 150 each as we told them we will just buy coke and watch. He then led us to the place (on the second floor). We even gave him tip for lowering the cost. When we sat, the lady started performing and after that she asked us for a can of coke in which we said yes. Then a lady asked us to write a name (which the lady wrote also using her ******). Then she asked us for another can of coke. Both these “acts” were charged plus the 2 sodas that we had including watching the show. After 5 minutes a tough looking lady approached us and asked us to pay 1900 baht(or S$78)! She also said the guy who brought us is not connected to them. I didn’t argue since we are foreigners so we paid and left.

Not recommended if you want to see that show or even the night market. Take it from us. Better go to Chatuchak or Khao San Road. It’s much better.

 

These photos were taken a day after that incident.

The Grand Palace

This is a good place to see if you want to take photos however, the entrance and exit points are the same with only a partition so going in and out is a challenge. There is only one entrance and that is not facing Wat Pho. It’s in the opposite side. Expect this to be crowded and hot when you visit the area.

BUDGET

Please click here for our BKK budget

Tips

  1. Be careful of some taxi drivers. When we asked the taxi driver to bring us to the nearest ferry station in order to get to the Grand Palace, he purposely drove past the area in order to get more money from the meter fare. His reason is that he is not familiar. The next day, we took another taxi, this time the driver brought us to a different ferry station – the one that offers expensive ferry trips.
  2. Never ever talk to those people standing near the Patpong entrance. They will entice you to watch the pingpong show and try to offer you as cheap as possible. It’s a no-no.




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