Baguio Hostel: Skyline Seven Backpackers

I’ve arrived at Skyline Seven Backpackers late that night and was welcomed by a guy. I had this weird feeling about the place, like something was missing. I though that hmm… maybe its just me. Earlier that day, I was trying to book online but my I was having trouble with my card. So I call their number and asked if I could just walk in at the property. Some one replied and yeah they said that it was fine.

I arrived late at night and checked in. I shown to my bed and I just put my bag on the bed then set up my work station at the dinning hall.

 

BOOK SKYLINE SEVEN HOSTEL HERE

The Rooms

I booked a single bed in a dorm room. The room smelled okay for me. I knew that it was an old house and old houses have this distinct smell. So no complaints about that. The dorm room I was in had about six single beds, no bunk beds here so wiggly beds when someone gets off from the top! Basic bed setup was with linens and a warm blanket. Note though, there are no room heaters here, man, the cold weather is what people come here for!!!

Just like the usual hostel set up, the bathroom is shared and is outside the room. I think they have a couple of room with ensuite bathrooms and that is it. See this hostel is actually an old house turned into something productive such as this hostel. Just saying, to set your expectations.

 

 

What I Like

Cheap – Yes, it is cheap but not that place that feels like you are poor and didn’t have a choice but to take it. It is more of value for your money kind of place.

Good Location – Located at the Military Cutoff road, it is just about several hundred meters away from SM Baguio

Breakfast – Simple breakfast; Bread, jams, and coffee.

Internet – The best internet connection I could find in Baguio.

Bummers

There was no water in the common CR when I tried to use it around 3 am (don’t judge, I work at night. Haha!). I later found out that the hostel actually didn’t have a water line! Since it was an old house, its water supply is actually rationed and stored at their tanks. Unfortunately, they had a situation with their staff and had to replace them. Anyways, hopefully, that has been sorted out already.

Who Can I Recommend This For?

I’d say this is one of the few places that I’ve been to around the Philippines where the internet really works! Digital nomads would love to work here. The speeds aren’t lightning fast like our neighbor southeast Asian countries but I’d say its one of the most decent. During my visit speedtest.net gave these numbers when I ran their app.

 

BOOK SKYLINE SEVEN HOSTEL HERE

 

 

Siem Reap Pub Hostel Review

On my recent Indochina backpacking trip, I wanted to make sure that my dad was gonna have a good time. I wanted to get some thing “standard” that would give my dad somewhat a vacation feel. Staying away from my usual hostel accommodation, I booked private rooms for us.

I had a few criteria  for a good accommodation. I need it to be clean of course. My major pet peeve is a dirty bathroom.  I hate bathrooms that smell like a public toilet and has yellowish bowls. It doesn’t have to be big, it just need to have hot and cold water and like I said a clean bowl.

 

CHECK SIEM REAP PUB HOSTEL PRICES 

 

It has to have a pool. I wanted to make sure that there’s somewhere we can hangout when we are just too lazy to go out. Some may say that it is totally unnecessary, but traveling longer than many (at least for Filipinos) made me change my mind. There are times when you just have to slow down when you start feeling that your trip is become like a race. Some may want an awesome view at a high floor or a really good room in an expensive hotel, but for me I just need to see a pool within reach.

It also needs to have a good internet access. Being a digital nomad has allowed me to travel with my family and still be able to work. Beautiful ain’t it? But it still has limitations. I can only go to places where the internet is good allowing me to connect to my files and work load. Reading from the reviews on my favorite booking website, I find that there are some that says the internet was good and did not find any bad comments. That was good enough for me. Here are some of the speed tests I did around the hostel.

 

WIFI Speeds

3rd floor corridor2nd floor corridorGround floor lobby

Unfortunately, this didn’t hold true with the connection in our room. I had a hard time connecting to the internet and actual have some work done. Good thing I have a local sim that gave me enough bandwidth for my work.

The Room and Price

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I always look for the best priced accommodation. Not just some cheap room, I always look for value. I’d say that is what Siem Reap Pub Hostel does offer, good value with its accommodation. I scored 2 rooms for just $11 a night! Each room was equipped with air conditioning unit keeping us cool all day. The bathrooms are also en-suite so there’s no need for you to share or wait for them to free up. Of course the best thing about having your own rooms is the privacy you get. I would have settled staying in a dorm room if I was alone. I’m just not sure though if they have a good place to work at if you are at the dorms. As far as private rooms though, most of them have tables you can work on.

Location

Siem Reap Pub Hostel’s location isn’t my favorite (full disclosure, I am biased for Sok San road) but it does locate you almost at the middle of everything. Market road is a few steps away while Sok San road where the cheap foods are is just a few minutes walk from the hostel. Also, you don’t have to worry about getting to the hostel when you arrive. The hostel provides free pickup from the bus stop (not sure about the airport though) going to the hostel.

Would I Recommend?

Would I? Yes! The value that Siem Reap Pub Hostel offers is incredible. Free Pick up, swimming pool, good internet on some locations, location and the friendly staff are awesome. I couldn’t tell though if this is as social as it should be for solo travelers, I was traveling with family.

CHECK SIEM REAP PUB HOSTEL PRICES 

2018: Sharing The Gift Of Travel

Over the past years, I’ve traveled solo exploring most of Southeast Asia. Every once in a while though, I get this idea that it could be a lot more fun if bring friends or even family with me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love solo travel above all, but I guess sharing the gift of travel is a good idea.

My 2018 was filled with travels shared with friends and family.But these trips didn’t just happened this year alone, its preparation even dates back a year earlier. Budgeting for several people  for a couple of trips was quite a daunting task. It was quite scary assuring them that the amount I ask them to save would be enough for the entirety of the trips.

The first trip I had was on January. This trip was particularly the hardest. It was a fourteen day Indochina trip starting in Vietnam. Not everyone can join the trip at the same time. We began the trip with four friends going to Ho Chi Minh City. Two of them bailed out last minute, leaving me with two companions. Before we head out to Phnom Penh, three friends joined us; then another three followed when e were in Siem Reap. Three people later went ahead to Bangkok after a day in Siem Reap, then two friends joined us when we arrived in Bangkok. It was a roller coaster ride indeed! A logistics nightmare, but it was fun!

 

March is a good time for Taipei, one of my pet cities in the world. I love the cool weather during spring and how beautiful the Cherry Blossoms are. A trip with your friends wouldn’t be complete unless someone backs out. Yep one backed out, so in with my best friend’s aunt. I’d say that the tour turned out good, I feel like everyone felt they got their money’s worth that they even sat down one of the scheduled tours. I stayed in Taipei for a couple more days after they left. I wanted to enjoy the city like how I always enjoyed it to be. The city is just full of life and class.

 

After a few months of staying at my base, my feet itched for some travel. Easiest place to get to? Baguio! It has been a while since I’ve been there so I was really excited about visiting it again. It was just a bus ride away after all. I revisited all the usual tourist spots like the Burnham Park, Mines View Park and the Baguio Cathedral. I wanted to check them out again since it has been a few years since I’ve been to the city.

The highlight of my travel year was on November. It was a surprise for my dad. All he knew was that we are going to Viet Nam, he was surprised later on that we are actually backpacking across Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand! He only figured everything out when we checked out of our AirBnb in Ho Chi Minh city and rode a bus to Phnom Penh, Dad also met my girlfriend for the first time, who is Cambodian and is based in the capital city. Our journey ended in Bangkok where shopping was really good. We had loads of fun and dad really enjoyed biking around Siem Reap. As for me it was awesome having traveled with dad knowing that he hates bus rides, but still manage to make it through. He actually didn’t got dizzy at all!

Don’t get the idea though that this year was just all good. This year was also my most challenging, as one of my projects went down the drain. It wasn’t even my fault, I was just there to assist. But then everything snowballing that caused difficulties for me in planning my travels for 2019. It was traumatic, but I learned a lot in the process.

Travel was abundant for me on 2018. I am grateful that I was able to share my passion with friends. It was tiring but fulfilling showing them

Mekong Delta Tour

I’ve always wanted to see the Mekong Delta way back during my first Indochina Backpacking Trip. The thing is I have always been put off by the price that I see online. But that has changed thank God to apps like Klook! This year I went back to Vietnam with my dad and I made sure that I visit so I booked my Mekong Delta Tour at just $14. (Get extra HKD 25 discount when you sign up using this link)

For those who are not familiar, The Mekong Delta is where the great Mekong River expands before it meets the ocean. This area is  70 kilometers away from District 1 of Ho Chi Minh city. Travel to our jump off point was about 2 hours given that travel was great going south.

I normally do not like joining organized group tours, but this is an exception. I tried planning doing this DIY, but it was just to toxic and expensive. Just the travel alone was so daunting that I thought it wasn’t worth doing just a day trip.  I just gave up back then. Having the opportunity to visit this area of Vietnam this convenient is something not to pass up.

Our tour started at De Tham street near Bui Vien, where we waited for our tour bus. We waited along with a throng of people, waiting for their own tour buses. I was so anxious at this time thinking that we’re just gonna go through some crowded tourist spot.

Our first stop was some sort of rural residence turned tourist spot. We tasted royal jelly honey tea while listening to traditional Vietnamese songs. They showed us how they farm the bees and let us hold a colony of bees.

 

 

 

Of course after tasting for free they will go around and sell you some honey. Don’t let that turn you off though. They will just go around and ask if you want to buy and not really push for it, which is kind of nice. The performers will also try to sell their CDs for about $5 if I am not mistaken. That too wasn’t pushed to us guests. A tip box though was passed around, which I think is just right. I mean, the performers were awesome and the cultural experience was superb!

Next stop was the one I was really looking forward to, the paddle boat ride. I wanted to experience how tranquil it is while paddling through the canals of the delta. We were grouped into fours, the maximum capacity of the boat. The boat ride was quite short but it felt like it was the best part of the tour. The canals were surrounded by nipa trees, they were narrow, just enough for two boats to pass by each other. It was what I was expecting it should be.

 

The row boats took us across to our next destination, a coconut candy factory along the canals. There we sampled candies that are freshly made and liquor made out of coconut water. They showed us the process from start to finish on how to make products out of coconut meat and it was quite interesting. Who am I kidding? Hahahaha, well maybe at least for the westerners who have no idea on how to cook something out of coconuts. We Asians dude! Lol!

 

 

Lunch was next on the agenda. we boarded a bigger boat that crossed the river to Pomelo Island for lunch. The eyot is filled with Pomelo trees, hence the name. We waited I think for about five or seven minutes to be served of our set lunch. Each plate is made up of an egg, rice some veggies and pork. There is an option to upgrade your meal to a full course lunch. Upgraded lunch sets includes a whole Elephant Ear fish (Giant Gourami), grilled shrimps and a fresh spring roll set. There also needs to be two of you upgrading so you can get the Elephant Ear Fish. We didn’t upgrade, we thought it was excessively expensive to pay for an extra $16 for the two of us for upgraded meal. But like I said, you pay for the experience.

Back at the boat after the eating, we were ready to come back to Ho Chi Minh. We have one last stop though, the Chua Vinh Trang. The temple was adorned with big statues of Buddha in different poses reminding of his teachings. We didn’t visit any temple in Vietnam on this trip aside from this  so it was awesome to see one before we head off to our next destination the following day.

 

Back at the bus, we comfortable sat on our seats as the driver navigates back to the city. I didn’t see much of the sights I was dead tired sleeping. I woke up when we were almost back in District 1. For $14 (plus $3 – my card was charged less than Php 600) a person, I’d say this is worth the trip. Saving your self from the hardship of commuting and coordinating the activities plus saving money because you guys are doing it in a group is a no brainer decision that you can do. So if you have plans of taking this trip, go ahead book that seat and enjoy your day!

 

 

 

My Aussie Fascination

I’ve been fascinated by the land down under ever since I was a kid. I mean those cutie patootie Koalas and Kangaroos are just so adorable. Blame it on network TV cartoons! Hahaha. But seriously, Australia seems to be a world of its own, full of adventure spread over a vast land of mystery.

Now that I’ve already transitioned to being a Digital Nomad, I now have the freedom to travel as much as I want. That is as long as I have access to the internet. I’m pretty sure thought that it won’t be a problem in Australia.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been toying with the idea of flying to Australia but I am still at the very early stages of planning my trip. to tell you the truth though, I am very excited about it.

Planning The Trip

I started searching for the cheapest flights first. Yep this is how I start my trips. To save, you have to be flexible. Thank goodness for sites like Kayak  I can easily find cheap flights to the land down under. Yeah, there are other flight booking websites, but honestly it’s kinda hard to trust those “other sites”. I may be a cheap traveler but of course, I try to stay smart as well and stick to industry trusted websites.

The List

Cliche as it may sound, I try to make a list. I write down the places that I want to see. This list eventually becomes my itinerary. I include what are their opening hours, fees if any and what are the best times to visit them.

Here are the places on my list that I plan to see, most of them are in Melbourne. I thought of seeing Australia one city at a time for now and I think Melbourne is a great place to start.

Opera House

Built at the end of the 1950’s, this architectural marvel caught my fascination with its Sails like roof that seem to face the Sydney Harbor ready voyage across the seas. But my fascination with the Opera House does not end there. The building, unknown to many is one of the few auditoriums around the world that was built by Bolt, Beranek & Newman; The same company that constructed the acoustics of the PhilAm Theater in the Philippines, The United Nations Assembly Hall and the Lincoln Center to name some. I want to experience and see how similar or different each projects are.

Sidney Bridge

Yep the bridge and I am not even just talking about at just staring at it. I want to climb it! I saw a few videos on YouTube where people climb the support structure of the bridge. It looks so much fun…. ermmm… unless I get some panic attack! Hahaha! Well… one thing remains, I still want to try it. Maybe at night though spend a couple of hours just admiring the bridge it self and tell my self, good job! You just overcame another challenge for your self!

Coffee Shops

I remember Erwan Heussaf said on his latest overnight video, what the world knows as next wave coffee shops are just but the ordinary coffee shops Melbournian have always known. I am a coffee enthusiast if not, an addict. I love tasting coffee and experience how different they are from one place to another. It tells a one’s city’s character and culture by how people treat its coffee. Do I sound a coffee addict already? But yes that is very true for the most part, that is why I wouldn’t want to miss tasting Melbourne’s coffees.

The Botanic Gardens

Green spaces are something that Filipinos who live in the metropoilis aren’t well versed of. This is something that I don’t experience much due to poor urban planning. That is why every time I visit another country, I take time visiting green spaces like the Royal Botanic Gardens. Lame as it may sound but seeing beautiful green spaces for me is enough reason to travel.

I know there’s just so much more to see and do in Melbourne. But hey, I am just starting out. I hear from lots of long time travelers that Australia is a great country to backpack around like the Indochina region; I have no doubts about it. I feel that starting out in this city will give me a good feel of how I can navigate around the continent and meet fellow travelers who are starting out their journey.

Exploring a new country always gives me that certain high that I cannot explain. May be its because of the randomness or unpredictability of what could happen next. Beyond the highs that you anticipate, you should never skip through planning specially if your are travelling on a budget. Sure things may not always go as planned but having that certain direction can always lead you to great adventures!

 

Cu Chi Tunnels: Viet Cong’s Secret Weapon

It’s my second time in Ho Chi Minh city, it’s my chance to do things I’ve missed out the first time I traveled there. One of them that I really wanted to do that time was to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels .

There are many tour companies that offer organized trips to the tunnels like the ones offered by Klook. They cost a bit more but it’s pretty convenient. You signup, pay and show up on your tour date. Easy! I am actually booking one for my up coming trip with my Dad, you know, senior…. Hahaha!

But I was alone on this trip and yes still on a budget. So nervous as I am, I told my self heck yeah, I’ll just wing it and do it DIY!

How To Get To Cu Chi Tunnels

Before we go into putting our selves in a bus, let me just clarify that I’ll be visiting the Ben Duoc site. This is the original and authentic tunnels that was built way back during the French and Vietnam war. The other site Ben Dinh as research tells me is reconstructed or replica tunnel system made for tourists. Ben Dinh is also where most of the group tourist buses are taken.

You want to find your selves at Ben Duoc. To get there take a Ho Chi Minh – Cu Chi bus (Bus 13) departing at Park 9/23 for ₫10,000. Make sure you have comfortable clothes on (specially when it’s hot) as it takes about 1.5-2 hours to get to Cu Chi bus terminal. Hold on tight, you are not yet at your destination. You have to take another bus (Bus 79) that will get you to the tunnels.

When you get on bus 79, make sure to tell the conductor that you are going to the Cu Chi tunnels, they’ll let your know when you have arrived to your destination. travel time from the bus station to Ben Duoc is about 45 minutes to an hour.

Google Maps Direction: https://goo.gl/Hsjfsa

The Tunnels

From the gate welcoming with an arch, you will have to walk about 1 kilometer to the forested part of the park. If you are doing this DIY, you will be directed to start at the orientation area, where you will be ask (with pretty much no option to opt out) to watch north Vietnam’s version of the “American War”.

After the “Introduction” A tour guide will be showing you around the park explaining each site’s significance to the war. One of the interesting yet cringe inducing part of the tour are the human traps that the VietCong have devised to fight off the enemies.

The highlight of the tour, of course are the tunnels them selves. Your tour guide will tell you how long the entire system is and when they started building the tunnels which is pretty amazing. You will get to experience going through a few of the original tunnels. This is what sets Ben Duoc apart from Ben Dinh, as the later is just a replica of the tunnels found in Ben Duoc to accommodate big sized foreigners.

The tour ends with a taste of the boiled cassava dipped into sugar. Pretty common snack for Asians but it could be exotic for westerners. Honestly love it, but I wont blame you if you don’t. It tastes bland and sugary.

You may not agree with the stories of the tour guides but just keep an open mind and always remember that they are telling their side of the story. The Cu Chi tunnel though really far from the city center I can say is a must do to be able to learn more of Vietnam’s culture and history.

 

BOOK YOUR CU CHI TUNNEL TOURS WITH KLOOK

 

Cu Chi Tunnel Ben Duoc
Address:Phú Hiệp, Phú Mỹ Hưng, Củ Chi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: +84 28 3794 8830
Opening Hours: Daily 7AM – 5PM
Entrance Fee: VND 90,000

Yes Pho: Baguio’s Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Traveling up north to the Pine City of the Philippines, Baguio, caught me by surprise! I’ve been craving for a Bahn Mi for weeks already looking for that authentic Vietnamese taste. But it’s kinda hard to find something close to what I remember tasting in Saigon.

On my first day in my quick escape to the Summer Capital of the Philippines, I went out walking from my hostel to get some cash from the machine. I walked all the way back to the terminal, but the ATM machine wasn’t working. I walked farther and found another bank and got some cash. I saw this small restaurant just right beside the bank. It says, Yes Pho… Hmmm… I was intrigued by the name… can it be something I have been longing for?

As I stepped inside the shop, this old familiar smell welcomed me. I don’t know what it is but it was something I remember smelling back in Vietnam. They just opened that morning so they are still stewing and brewing things up, it was perfect time for me. The shop is hinted with Vietnamese culture with the hats reminiscent of the southeast Asian country.

I asked if they have a Bahn Mi but said that it wasn’t available yet. Turns out later that it was actually their first day offering the said sandwich.

My spring roll was made fresh when I ordered it. I asked for a shrimp and chicken spring roll. I sat outside to savor the fresh…(fresh daw oh) and cool Baguio air. My food was made pretty quick and was served after a few minutes..

It was served on a plate along with a peanut sauce. Honestly, I haven’t tried this dish with peanut sauce so this is something familiar but is also something new for me. 3

Each spring roll was carefully crafted. It looked full with the vermicelli. I thought that it was gonna be just like those cheap spring rolls I tried in Saigon. But then I took my first bite. I was surprised that inside the bed of vermicelli were more vegetables who’s flavors played on my palate. It was a refreshing surprise.

The chicken fresh spring roll was good but I liked the shrimp best. It was so refreshing and it totally transported me back to my memories of those small side walk stalls in Ho Chi Minh and possibly better.

 

Like a true Vietnamese spring roll it was beautifully presented. Just look at that, why wouldn’t you crave for more of that! I dipped the roll on to the peanut sauce and it was a revelation. It gave me a different experience yet familiar. The I thought that most Filipinos would love the peanut sauce but being someone who is better acquainted with the vinaigrette dip I think I’d stick to that. I asked if they have that kind of dip and they did, stupid me I didn’t ask before taking a bite.

 

Ho Chi Minh or Saigon can be thousands of miles away and can be costly to come back every so soon. Or maybe you could be someone who have been wanting to experience Viet Nam but have not had the chance because of time or money. Well, I highly suggest that you try out this restaurant in Baguio city and take that journey to back to Saigon through your palate. With that, I can dare say that this is one of the must try restaurants in Baguio city.

Phnom Penh Transit Itinerary

Many travelers ignore Cambodia’s capital city when traveling to or from Saigon to Siem Reap. Most would say that there’s nothing to see in Phnom Penh so they just skip it on their itineraries not even doing a pit stop for a night!

Unknown to many, Phnom Penh actually holds a lot of Cambodia’s history, specially its most recent events. So I’ve came up with most information that I can so can get to see a bit of Phnom Penh when you decide to stop for a night or two.

 

What To See In Phnom Penh

Wat Phnom

They say that this is where the entire city of Phnom Penh was founded when a temple was erected by madame Phnom. There’s actually an interesting story about it and how it became the heart of the city.

 

 

Phnom Penh Post Office

One of the buildings left built during the colonial French times. Mail your post cards  from here to your friends and love ones back to your home country!

source

 

Riverside Walk

Walk along the promenade leading to where the Grand Palace is and where the Tonle Sap river and Mekong River meets. There’s  a couple of shrines right across the Grand Palace and if you are lucky, you can catch local musicians indigenous instruments. You can also stand in front of your country’s flag flying proud along the river walk along with all the nations.

 

 

 

Russian Market

Looking for souvenirs? The Tuol Tom Pong or more popularly known as Russian Market is the best place to find them. While you are at it, you might want to eat authentic Cambodian food at their cooked food section.source

 

 

Central Market

Find street foods and snacks while looking at Central Market’s awesome architechture. While it is nice to visit, prices here are quite jacked up for the common tourist.

source

 

S21: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

One of the many former concentration camps established by the Khmer Rouge, this former high school is now a museum that serves as a reminder of the dark past of Cambodia. When visiting, it is best to rent an audio guide that will walk you through the halls of the museum with stories from the Khmer Rouge era.

 

Read More: S21 Cambodia’s Concentration Camp

 

 

 

 

Killing Fields

A few kilometers off of Phnom Penh, a grave site was found where people have been murdered and buried during the Khmer Rouge era. The Killing Fields is a huge place with a tower housing some of the bones discovered. It is believed that there are more remains that is to discovered in this place. I do not strongly recommend visiting both (S21 being the other) in a day as they have really dark stories. For me visiting one is enough (with S21 as my choice since it is in the city proper). However, if you choose to visit this make sure to rent an audio guide to help you walk through the site.

 

 

Grand Palace

Known for the Silver Pagoda, the Grand Palace is Cambodia’s current monarch’s residence. The entrance fee for this is reportedly at $10 ( yes you can pay in USD). I decided not to go inside anymore because…. honestly, I didn’t think it was worth it specially that its price is as much as the Royal Palace in Bangkok which is far more extravagant. Not bashing the the Cambodian Palace here, I just want to spend my money where I see more value. I am not that rich.

 

Where To Stay In Phnom Penh

The Billabong Hostel

Probably my favorite hostel in Phnom Penh. This hostel has a hotel feel. The pool is perfect for when you travel in a hot summer’s day. The hostel is also located near food options that open really early in the morning and closes late at night. The best part of it is that their dorm rooms only cost $5 when I booked them!

Read More: The Billabong Hostel Review

 

Book The Billabong Hostel Here

Base Villa 

Another hostel that I think is worth considering is Base Villa. I found this hostel while looking for a different hostel on my upcoming trip to the Indochina region. The hostel has a swimming pool (value added amenity I always look for) and cheap beds at $5 per person. They also have good reviews in Booking.com which I trust mostly when it comes to backpacker experiences.

Book Base Villa Hotel Here

Itinerary

Here’s a quick Itinerary to give you a glimpse of Cambodia’s capital city. You may notice that I didn’t include some of the places/activities here. I think these are the bare essentials that you must try if you have a really short time to spend in Phnom Penh. I’d rather go to the S21 than spend more time traveling to the Killing Fields. I also wouldn’t do both s21 and the Killing Fields in the same day coz it’s just too depressing.

Getting to Phnom Penh

You can also see that I included Giant Ibis on the itinerary. No this is not a paid post. I’ve experienced both Mekong Express and Giant Ibis going to the from Ho Chi Minh or Phnom Pneh and I was disappointed with Mekong Delta. I don’t care what western people say about how good Mekong Express is, for me as an Asian I’d rather be with Giant Ibis. It’s a bit more expensive but it’s worth it. Now if you are coming from Bangkok, you can take either Virak Buntham if you are on a budget (they’re not bad at all) or if you have some more cash to burn take Giant Ibis.

Book Your Tickets Here
Bangkok – Siem Reap
Siem Reap – Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh – Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh – Phnom Penh 
Siem Reap – Bangkok (Khao San)

 

Departure time from Phnom Penh to Ho Siem Reap is actually at your own disposal. There are buses leaving later during the day. I personally prefer using Virak Buntham when traveling around Cambodia. But for times that you want to travel and there are no scheduled departures, there’s always Larytta. If you are bound to Ho Chi Minh, take the early morning bus, you’d have to go through immigration so you have limited options here.

 

When I get the opportunity, I always tell people who ask for advise to make a stop in Phnom Penh. This city isn’t something that you would go out of your way just to visit like Siem Reap, Bangkok or Saigon. That is why you should at least give it a day or two to see the city. Make it a pit stop on your way in between countries.

 

 

 

 

50’s Diner: Is It Worth The Try?

I’ve always been interested in fascinated about the American diner culture. The retro feel and its all American menu has always been familiar to my palate. A few years back I’ve heard from a friend who had a holiday in Baguio city about 50’s Diner. A, like what I said, 50’s diner themed restaurant that serves my favorite dishes.

 

I’m not the person who easily caves into fads and hype about something, but since I was traveling and a bunch of people I know have tried it and was pleased with the experience I decided to give it a try. Albeit, I lowered my expectations. I mean they serve an american menu, fries, burgers and shakes. How different can one restaurant make it without keeping their prices from sky rocketing. Yes, 50’s Diner does have a reasonable and affordable price range. Their burger starts at about ₱110 (+/- $2) and their servings are big.

It was raining really bad, but I wanted to have a good meal so I thought that walking a few hundred meters down the road isn’t a bad idea since I didn’t want to go down town. As soon as I stepped up the stairs on to their main doors, I was welcomed by their manager/supervisor (I am just assuming here, he looked like he was in charge anyways) and he took care of my dripping umbrella that I was having trouble collapsing into place.

I got in a sat at the left corner thinking that I could do some sort of food review video. Here’s how I started to get disappointed.

I asked the waiter specifics about the burgers and what can he recommend for something that I described I wanted. He gave me a smirk/smile with a look as if it was the first time he was asked like that or as if I was asking something impossible. Not getting a comprehensible response I just asked if they can put more greens into the burger and maybe some tomato. Again he just smiled and said no as if it was a ridiculous request.

To be honest the burger was good while the ice cream shake can be better. The thing I was disappointed about is that I was expecting an experience and not just some good food. I know the prices are cheap for a burger that big and good, but I was promised of an experience and I did not get it. Also, a little flexibility on the menu wouldn’t hurt.

So there I am not saying not to go to 50’s Dinner. They have good, affordable food and yes they are yummy! But manage your expectations. Quite possibly also, it may just be the branch that I went to. So maybe try the main branch or just a different one.