Home away from Home

Grand Palace

Currently here in Bangkok, Thailand and I am two nights away from leaving for Malaysia. Bangkok is a kind of city that grows on you. It’s busy, everything is far apart but I definitely love their transportation.

The ferry is the fastest way to go around, and the cheapest way as long as you ride the right express boat that only cost 15 Bahts.

BTS Bangkok ThailandThe trains are great and very convenient as they are intertwined and it’s very easy to change trains to get to your point of destination. A lot of tuktuks are scammers so I don’t recommend them. They will agree to a fare worth 10-20 Bahts. You think you got it cheap but then the tuktuk will take you to certain souvenir shops with low quality products and will force you to buy so the tuktuk drivers will get their commission. So tuktuks are actually a no-no. The taxis are expensive especially during traffics. So the past four days, I did a lot of walking and ferry rides and train rides.

This city makes me miss Cambodia. Siem Reap has the cheapest way of life and I love how I can have a draught beer for $0.50 only. Everything here is pretty much a notch up from my home away from home. A 640ml Chang Beer cost 90 Bahts averaging $3 per beer. Frustrating, I could have 6 beers back home in Siem Reap already. (I’m sorry for ranting about prices, work with me. I am homesick.)

Food TripMeals here starts at 170 Bahts for a main cuisine on the regular Thai restaurant. You can get cheap meals starting at 40 Bahts for street foods. I found my haven in the “Rotee”  Banana Nutella flavor. The cook and his wife make such good team and they are spic and span as well. Photo op for the cooked scorpions, beetles, and other insects cost 10 Baht. I was thinking about trying the scorpion but I’m a coward. Anyway, they also have sweet corn that I love so much but the stall that sells it is not along the Khaosan Road but at the Susie Walking Street which is parallel to Khaosan.

Khao San Road

I must say, Khao San Road is not as lively as my Pub Street. Way of living here is very expensive, and I know it gets more expensive as I go on to my final destination.

Oh, how I miss my heart! I left it in Siem Reap.

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Southeast Asia Backpacking Part 1: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Thom

The Angkor Temples of Siem Reap, Cambodia as the first leg of my Southeast Asia Backpacking Trip.

A big trip for a dreamer. I daresay, all dreams come true only if you decide to make it happen. This all started with a Php 99.00 base fare promo to Siem Reap and everything came right after. Booking flights are complicated. Setting out an itinerary is science. Set out your heart and mind as well as plenty of energy and all will come together. A few disappointment along the way but I learned that everything can’t be planned so you just have to deal with it.

Siem Reap turned out to be a home away from home.

I am with My Love for this trip. We booked our stay at the Rosy’s Guesthouse. They arranged a tuktuk to pick us up at the airport. It was raining the night of June 4 when we arrived. Our flight was delayed for 30 minutes (yes, it’s Cebu Pacific Airlines) but still the tuktuk was there waiting for us. On our way to the town, the tuktuk driver offered to take us to the temples the next day for $15 for the Grand Tour. The Grand Tour takes the route for Angkor Thom, Preah Khan, Neak Poan, and Bantay Kdei.

“The Bayon Temple”

Phimeanakas

As for food, the restaurants around the temples are overpriced. A meal cost $4 and a 1.5 litre water cost $1-$2. After the tour which took all day, we went to the Old Market to eat dinner. The prices for a fried rice ranges from $1.50-$2. The 1.5 litre mineral water is $0.50.

My favorite restaurant at the Pub Street is Easy Speaking. My fave dish there is the Phnom Pleung together with an Angkor Draft Beer. It’s $7 for the Single Deglutition that has 3 meats – bacon, beef and crocodile. We had the bacon changed to chicken since we don’t eat pork. For $13 dollars, you can get the Couple Deglutition that is for two person which has 5 meats – beef, chicken, crocodile, snake and shrimp. The Phnom Pleung comes with a serving of rice and noodles.

To be continued…

Phnom Pleung Madness

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Eat like a local, that I must do.

Pardon my absence. I am still mustering every ounce of my soberness to edit every photo worth posting. I just thought you guys should know, I am in love with Siem Reap and I am hoping to spend more time there in the future. I am currently in Hanoi finally after a 12 hours bus ride from Cambodia and an hour and 45 minutes plane ride. I am off to a Ha Long Bay cruise later so till then!

Watch out for my update lovelies!


E

9 days to go

I am almost set for my adventure!

2 weeks worth

Above is my “Two Weeks worth of Clothing without Washing”. My Love taught me to pack everything in ziplocks which is pretty neat and organize. Here’s the rundown:

  • Swimwear
  • 2 tank tops
  • a sports bra
  • 2 shorts
  • 2 dresses
  • 2 long sleeve shirts
  • 2 v-neck shirts
  • 4 colorful graphic shirts

The bag dilemma is over as well. I was able to ask my father for a new bag. Say Hello to my day old Deuter Futura Pro 34 SL bag or just simply “D”.

My New Baby

 

I know I’m bound to lessen the things I’m bringing in the next few days. For now, here’s everything I will call mine and home for the month of June.

Everything

 

Grumpy Old

Today isn’t really the best day of my life.

I have been sulking all day, carrying a burden that has been causing me a lot of stress these past few days. How did I deal with it? For starters, I have been very mean to everyone and I think, even to myself. I tried to drown the feelings with work but efforts were hopeless.

My dilemma is:

“I am leaving the country in exactly two weeks and I don’t have enough money for food, transportation and emergency.”

I have tried everything I can, sold everything I have and asked for help from some friends yet results are futile. My current situation made me realize that most travel blogs forget to mention the hard part of traveling, in example, that budgeting is very hard and planning a trip can turn your world upside down. I am literally on the verge right now. Flights are ready and some of the hostels I’m staying are paid in half or full, all I have to do is to be there. Problem lies is when I get there.

What will I eat? How can I get from the airport to the hostel I will be staying  that is 18 miles apart? 

Added dilemma is I don’t have a waterproof bag to take. The Samsonite bag I was supposed to take was ruined by the person I lent it to.

Everything’s not going as I imagined it in my head. I’m still hoping for the better.

Little Dreamer,

Erika Louise

PS. Happy 1st Anniversary to moi!

Anniversary Greetings

Birthday Trip, no more

In 8 days, I’m turning a year older and hopefully, a better version of me. Being 21 marked the start of my adult years.

Moving out of the house, finishing my internship and graduating from College – these are events that highlight my 21.

Updates? Sad to say, the dream vacation remained a distant dream. Reasons? Lack of funds and precious free time. My review for the licensure exam starts on the 15th of next month. Instead of traveling, I need to save money for the enrollment fee and the application fee for the exam.

Siem Reap, I will try see you next year.

Cambodia. Courtesy of Ms. Tricia Gosingtian.

You too, Ho Chi Minh.

Saigon at night, by Ms. Tricia Gosingtian

For now, I just have to save enough passion for traveling. Hopefully when I start working, I can reward myself with trips every now and then. *Cross Fingers* Life please be good.

 

Travel Log: Banaue Rice Terraces

A van stopped and parked in front of me. Next thing I knew, the foreigners started unloading the van. Opportunity? Well, it doesn’t hurt to ask so I approached the man driving the van. I told him how we missed the last bus to Baguio and how much we need to go right that moment. He said he knows a terminal station at Banaue with the last bus leaving for Baguio at around 6pm. He’s going back that way and he’d be glad to take us there. He added that Banaue is having a festival and he’d know a place where we could stay for the night if we ever change our minds. Have I told you I dream of seeing the Banaue Rice Terraces since I saw it on a postcard when I was young?

Cloudy road due to heavy rains.

Part of our Journey to the beautiful Banaue Rice Terraces was the long van ride, and a couple of landslides which further lengthen our adventure.

We waited for the road to be cleared up by the DPWH due to a landslide.

When we got to our destination, the sight was simply breathtaking. Yes, it didn’t look like it used to before but it was worth it.

 

 

Life is simple around Banaue. The people are very accomodating. Though we didn’t stay for the festival, at least we were able to shop for woodworks. We had it for a good deal, because when we got to Baguio and saw the exact products, the prices were tripled. Also I was privileged to see the Ifugaos with their wooden bikes.

The Ifugaos’ wooden bikes don’t have the usual gears and chains. They start at the highest point of the road and let the bike take them to the bottom. In order for them to use it again, they have to push the wooden bike up the hill again. They seem to enjoy the ride. I wanted to try it to but the bikes are way too heavy for me.

Our driver who turned out to be our tour guide at Banaue was kind enough to show us around and drop us at the terminal station. We were just in time for the last trip back to Baguio. By that time, I was wondering how we would be able to go to Pagudpod. Since this trip was spontaneous, I let circumstances lead us to where we should be.

The Perks of Traveling

 

Travel Log: Sagada, Mountain Province

The  Memoir from Benguet

Everything happens for a reason.

I happen to get a hold of this lovely woodwork by accident. Truly, unplanned circumstances are magical in its own way.

The Sagada, Mountain Province trip consisted of more or less 14 hours of bus travel from Laguna via Manila-Baguio-Sagada Route. We only stayed there for one night. As soon as we got there, we registered at the City Hall. We went to the inn to put all our bags.

This is the lodge where we stayed at. They only charge Php200.00 per person. The place is very neat. All the linens smells fresh. They also have clean bathrooms and hot showers.

We had our lunch and immediately went back to the City Hall. We hired a tour guide to show us around. We paid additional for using the van for the tour. Sagada is breathtaking.

My camera died on me way too early but the images I’ve seen is still vivid in my head. After the tour, we went to have dinner at the Lemon Pie House. We resorted to have a breakfast meal – two hotdogs, sunny side up egg, and fried rice. The hostess is very friendly and accommodating. After the meal, we went back to the lodge and had a nice hot shower. That was the end of our day.

The next morning, we decided we have seen the beauty of Sagada. We went back to the Lemon Pie House for breakfast.

My Love and I went to go walk around the city, visiting all the souvenir shops that we can see. Have I told you that everyone in Sagada speaks English with an accent? 🙂 I was drawn to the souvenirs I see that ranges from shirts to bracelets, even woodworks. Everything’s affordable yet we didn’t buy anything.

It’s 12:30pm and we practically missed the last bus back to Baguio. We asked around for other options, like renting a van. The cost made it out of the option. We had to stay another night here again. We have limited time and our plans was to go all the way to Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte. I was definitely sulking, when the opportunity just came right in front of me.

-To be continued-