A Night Of Good Food With The Saigon Free Walking Tours

Whenever someone asks me “what is it there to see in Viet Nam” I always reply with “You are asking the wrong question, you should be asking what is there to taste in Viet Nam”. So it was a delight to learn that there’s a group in Ho Chi Minh that provides free tours for tourists thanks to the Saigon Free Walking Tours. Continue reading

Must See Tourist Spots In Bangkok

A lot of people try to go off the beaten path avoiding places crowded with tourists. But then again most of these bangkok thailand tourist spots are so iconic that you’d just somewhat “need” to cross it out of your list. So we’ve come up with a list of tourists spots that first timers can definitely enjoy!

  1. The Grand Palace

    Visit the former residence of the King of Thailand that exudes elegance and royalty all throughout the complex.  [Read More Here]

    bangkok thailand tourist spots

  2. Wat Pho

    Gaze at the massive reclining buddah and experience Thai massage right at its birth place at the Wat Pho. [Read More Here]

    bangkok thailand tourist spots

  3. City Pilar

    Considered as the center of the City of Bangkok, the City Pilar Shrine houses of course, a Pilar which  [Read More Here]
    bangkok thailand tourist spotssource

  4. Wat Arun

    Known to be the Temple of Dawn Wat Arun was originally built as a Hindu temple across the Chao Phraya river from the Wat Pho [Read More Here]bangkok thailand tourist spotssource

  5. Chao Phraya River Express

    When all traffic is jammed in the old city center of Bangkok, residents luckily has the Chao Phraya express to navigate from one end of the city to another [Read More Here] bangkok thailand tourist spots

  6. Asiatique

    Fast becoming as the go to chill out place of youngsters in the city, Asiatique is an old industrial riverfront property turned into a hip place for food and entertainment. [Read More Here]bangkok thailand tourist spotssource

  7. Shopping Malls

    MBK
    Platinum Fashion Mall
    Pantip Plaza
    bangkok thailand tourist spots

  8. Floating Market

    Probably one of the destination that would come up on a Thailand first timer’s list. Its most famous floating market the Damnoen Saduak floating market located about two hours from Bangkok. bangkok thailand tourist spots

  9. Giant Swing

    It is said that during the early kingdoms of Thailand, the king would install one giant swing in each important city. these swings are used as a ceremonial accessories in royal rituals. [Read More Here]bangkok thailand tourist spots

  10. Khaosan Road

    Considered to be the center of the backpacking universe, Khaosan road hosts to hundreds of guesthouses for backpackers starting or ending their journeys [Read More Here]
    bangkok thailand tourist spots

  11. Yaowarat

    Chinatown’s main road, Yaowarat is Bangkok’s main foodie destination. The main street would come alive at night with different stalls offering a wide variety of food selection. [Read More] source

  12. Jim Thompson House

    The house of the american businessman who helped revive the Thai Silk trade across the globe houses artifacts of the businessman himself [Read More Here]bangkok thailand tourist spots

  13. Lumpini Park

    bangkok thailand tourist spots

  14. Erawan Shrine

    Originally constructed in the 1950’s to grace the opening of the old Erawan Hotel, hence the reference of Erawan Shrine. [Read More Here]bangkok thailand tourist spots

    bangkok thailand tourist spots

  15. Victory Monument

    bangkok thailand tourist spots

  16. Democracy Monument

    bangkok thailand tourist spots

  17. loha prasat

    bangkok thailand tourist spots

Must Try Food In Taipei

They say Taiwan is how China could have been if it wasn’t for the cultural revolution. They shunned many of their traditions and beliefs and turned themselves to the communist ideology. None the less, there is one thing that China and Taiwan shares best; Food Culture. Not known to many Taiwan is one of the best places in Asia to discover flavors that you did not know existed. Taiwanese Food combinations that can be quite odd but taste so good. Continue reading

Hover Over Trees At The Maokong Gondola

Blessed with a mountainous topography, Taiwan is rich with mountains and hiking trails that you can leisurely trek in one of your visits. Together with a good climate, it could actually be a good place to grow herbs such as tea. Maokong is a little village at the top of the hills of Taipei. Continue reading

The Hot Springs Of Beitou

One of the best things that the Japanese colonizers has left in Taiwan is the Hot Springs or Onsen culture. Beitou, a district at the northern end of Taipei is where you’ll find the best onsens. Throughout the district you will find Onsens that range from a local hotspring just like the Lung Nai Tang to high end facilities. With so much choices, here are my favorite Hot Springs Of Beitou

XinBeitou Area

This area is the easier one to get to. Just take the Red MRT Line to Beitou station then change trains to the Branch line going to Xin Beitou. This area is the toursity part, but for a good reason. Here are some of the spots that you can check out while in XinBeitou.

Taipei Library

While the building exudes beauty by it self alone, it also sets an example as it is also a green building. you can come in and just wander around the facility

Address: No. 251,Guangming Rd,,Beitou District,,Taipei City,Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Operating Hours: Sun-Mon (09:00-17:00), Tues-Sat (8:30-21:00), Closed on Holidays and first thursday of the month
Fees: Free

Hot Springs Of Beitou

Beitou Hotsprings Museum

Know the history of how Taipei acquired the hot springs culture. The museum is house on a former bath house built during the Japanese era, when Taiwan was still its colony.

Address: No. 2, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112 (R.O.C.)
Operating Hours: Tues-Sun (09:00 – 17:00), Closed on Mondays and National Holidays
Fees: Free

Hot Springs Of Beitou

Long Nai Tang

The Long Nai Tang is the oldest still in operation public bath house in Taipei. The bath house traces its history back to the Japanese era when the colonizers introduced the Onsen culture to the Taiwanese people. Do not expect much with the facilities though. The public bath is as local as you can get. There are no lockers just some shelves where you can put your clothes in. The shower area is on one corner of thee bath house where you use a dipper to clean your self from the cold flowing spring water. There’s no separate wet and dry area where you can change, basically its just one space (about 25sqm) where you undress,clean and bathe. Though it lacks the glamorous facilities, its historic value as the oldest hot springs of  beitou sure makes up for it.

Address: No. 244 Guāngmíng Road, Běitóu District, Taipei City, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Operating Hours: Daily 06:30 – 21:00
Fees: NT$90 (Adults), NT$50 (Children)

Hot Springs Of Beitou

Ketagalan Culture Center

Know more about Taiwan’s aborigines, Taiwan’s first inhabitants. Entrance is free for the museum but no photos are allowed to be taken. The museum hosts a large inventory of aborigine dresses, artifacts as well as historical and educational materials where you can learn about the peoples origins and culture.

Address:  No. 3-1, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Operating Hours: Daily 06:30 – 21:00
Fees: Free

Note: Photographs not allowed inside

Hot Springs Of Beitou

Beitou Thermal Valley (Hell Valley)

Like a scene reminding you about that hot place where souls are punished is how the Beitou Thermal Valley got its nickname Hell Valley.  The park showcases the process of how Beitou gets its therapeutic hot spring waters that feeds to the hot springs of beitou.

 

Hot Springs Of Beitou

Puji Temple

A Japanese era temple, Puji Temple has survived the years making it a rare example of Japanese Buddhism

Mankewu Ramen

A must try when in Beitou, Man Ke Wu Ramen (Lamian in Taiwanese) are prepared using hot spring water that makes it special. Price ranges around NT$ 110 -200.

Address: 110 Wenquan Rd, Beitou, Taipei, Taiwan (ROC)
Hours: 11am-2pm, 5-9pm Tuesdays to Sunday

Xinyi Road Area

Hot Spring Area

Most of the mid-range hot springs resorts are located in this area. The resorts are built around the sulfuric hot springs where the therapeutic waters are sourced from. Price range from this are varies from 200 – around 500 NT

Sakuraoka Hot Springs

Aside from Lung Nai Tang, The Sakuroka Hot Springs resort is the other hot spring resort that I have tried so far. Sorry I don’t have any personal photos of it because I forgot to take a photo when there was still light. Then, it was dark already when I got out because I really enjoyed soaking in their hot tubs.

Yes, you are required to be naked while taking a bath. I strongly suggest you try it, you’ll bathe together with families of fathers and sons for me and mothers and daughters for girls. You’ll feel relieved in the sense that you’ll realize that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about bathing together in public.

I promise to make a proper review of the place when I get back to Taipei. This is a good one though.

Hot springs of beitou

Other Spas that I recommend

Emperor Hot Springs – Better than Sakuraoka Hot Springs as per reviews.

There are gay spas so please ask the reception if they are one. I mistakenly got into one, there are no signs like the LGBT flag on their doors and reception. I just kept an open mind. They were all behave…. it was way too early for the rush hour people to come in anyway… hahaha!

Suggested Itinerary

You can go around the Beitou tourist area first and visit the museums and eat ramen for lunch then later in the after noon you can go to the hotsprings and enjoy the therapeutic waters of the hot springs of Beitou.

How To Get To The Hot Springs of Beitou

To get to Xin Beitou, just take the Red Line MRT the change platforms to the branch line going to Xin Beitou. If you want to go straight to the Onsens, just take the red line and get off at Shipai Station. Get on a 509 Bus and get off at Xing Yi Lu San bus stop and walk down the street. Fare from Shipai Station is NT$15

 

 

Free Things To Do In Hong Kong

Just recently Hong Kong has been listed as the world’s most expensive city. Despite this label for Asia’s World City, Hong Kong still proves to be one of the favorite destinations for Filipinos. Aside from its visa free entry policy for Filipinos Hong Kong is just 2 Hours from the Philippines capital city of Manila.

When visiting Hong Kong, visitors will surely have no shortage of places to visit and activities to do. However, stretching your dollar can be a challenge if you want to squeeze more into your day and experience more of Hong Kong. Fret no more though, we’ve come up with the top free tourist

Avenue Of Stars

Walk across a concrete board walk above the waters of Victoria Harbor and see Hong Kong’s tributes to its past and present brightest stars. The promenade was built in the 1980’s, by 2004 the same promenade around the New World Centre was developed into what we now know as the Avenue of Stars.

Hong Kong

 

Hong Kong

Chi Lin Nunnery

Built in 1934 and renovated in 1990, the Chi Lin Nunnery is wooden temple complex that features a series of temple hall and deity statues. The Buddhist temple complex is found at Diamond Hill in Kowloon

Hong Kong

Nan Lian Garden

Just right across the Chi Lin Nunnery is the Nan Lian Garden. A well kept public park one can find himself relaxing in this lush garden filled with amazing flora and sculpture. The garden was built in Tang Dynasty style hence the ancient feel of the entire place.

Hong Kong

 

Lady Market

walk through this expansive market place that comes alive specially at night. The Lady’s Market got its name from the women merchandise that are mostly sold ranging from cosmetics accessories and trinkets. There are also good food finds around that market where you can experience authentic Hong Kong style cuisines.

Hong Kong

Noon Day Gun

Every noon time this huge gun is fired facing the Causeway Bay. The gun is actually privately  owned by the multinational giant Jardine Matheson hence, a Jardine employee has the honor. This ritual traces its origin way back in the 1860’s ironically as a penalty. During those times everytime Jardine’s  tai-pan arrives the company would fire the gun as a salute. However, a new comer British naval officer got annoyed of it and penalized the Jardine Matheson company by ordering it of firing the gun for all eternity! Jardine however up to this day has kept its side of the deal.

Hong Kong

Central Plaza Sky Deck

One of the best views of Hong Kong is actually offered for free. Find your selves at the Central Plaza sky deck where you can get an unobstructed view of Hong Kong for free. Best part of it is that not a lot of people know about this !

Hong Kong

Central Mid Level Escalator

Declared as the world’s longest escalator, The Central Mid Level escalator connects the lower part of Central to the upper part through the steep hill side via a series of 20 escalator and inclined walkalator. Total travel time from the lower part to the top of the escalators is about 20 minutes.

Hong Kong

Man Mo Temple

The Man Mo Temple is a tribute to the God of Literature and God of War. It is said that many have flocked to this temple since the 1800’s to pray for their studies. People offer coiled up incense and hang them up in front of the altar for their prayers.

hong kong

Hong Kong Museum Of History

The museum offers some free galleries showcasing 400 million years of history that includes artifacts, ethnography and other natural histories about Hong Kong and South China.

hong kong

Symphony Of Lights

Back at the Avenue of Stars, a free nightly show comes to life as soon as the clock strikes 7. The entire Hong Kong island becomes a big stage as its famous skyline dances with lights to the beat of a common music.

 

 

Hong Kong Park

Take a break from the chaotic city scene of Hong Kong without going to the country side. The Hong Kong park offers respite for those who need to breath a little. The park is located just right off of the Hong Kong Zoo

 

If you need more information about Hong Kong you can check out this Free Travel Guide and Itinerary to help you plan your trip.

Hong Kong In Photographs

I could be the worst blogger there is. A few years back,  I had the chance to travel with my dad to Hong Kong, and I don’t have the right words to describe that trip. So here I am telling you that very story of our trip to Hong Kong In Photographs.

Hong Kong is a melting pot of cultures where the east collides with the west. Its busy street is filled with so much commerce and culture at the same time.  I didn’t really choose Hong Kong to be my dad’s first trip but it was what was convenient. Okay the tickets were on sale so it was a no brainer to decide that I should book it.

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

On board our Cebu Pacific flight to Hong Kong, Dad’s first time abroad!

>>> See Story Of My Dad’s First Time Abroad<<<

Hong Kong In Photographs

Our first glimpse of Hong Kong in Photographs

Hong Kong In Photographs

We arrived well into the afternoon without a proper lunch. We walked around the vicinity of our hotel and ate at the first restaurant we found. It was a bit pricey and not that delicious but we were hungry!

Hong Kong In Photographs

First meal in a typical restaurant within our hotel’s block

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

Disneyland Day! Sorry the kid in me can’t just let this pass. It has been almost a decade since I last experience Disneyland in Anaheim at this point.

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

Goofy!

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

Disney’s magic never fails me.

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

Tea Cups anyone?

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

Strolling along the Avenue of Stars

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

Busy streets of Kowloon

Hong Kong In Photographs

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

Crossing the harbor to Centeral Hong Kong

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

Streets of Central Hong Kong

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

The view from The Peak

 

Hong Kong In Photographs

Goodnight and good bye Hong Kong till we meet again

 

Beitou: Bathing Nude In Sakuraoka Hot Springs

One of the activities that I look forward every time I visit Taiwan is a visit to one of their Hot Springs. The Beitou district of Taipei is heaven for hot springs junkies like me and if you are comfortable bathing nude in public you will absolutely enjoy this activity.

On my second time in Taipei, I went out of my way hunting for this particular spa; The Sakuraoka Hot Springs Spa. I knew about this hot springs facility way back but couldn’t find it. So this time I made sure to find it and experience the spa. I was really interested by their website where they show that can see the Taipei 101 and a good view of the forest while dipping in their hot tubs.

So i got off at the XinBeitou MRT terminal and started to look for the place. Maps.Me seem not to be working so I tried to use Google Maps. Both couldn’t find the address so I keyed the name of the place instead. It worked! But….. the map threw the pin on an off road destination in the mountains. I checked if it was walk-able but it’s just too far, and the incline could be too taxing. So I hailed a cab.

Finally, I got to the Spa.

The interiors are okay nothing grand but gives you a sense of Japanese influence to it. I approached the counter asked for admission.

Entrance Fee: NT$ 200 (Monday – Friday), NT$ 250 (Holidays, Friday night till Sunday)
Towel Fee: NT$ 50 (you can bring your own)
Visit Duration: Unlimited

One of their staff walked me to the bathing area. I then undressed and kept my clothes in a shelve, of course I’ve got no photos of the wet area, I mean people are naked… duh! LOL!

The Men’s area has two pools. One has water jets that are really relaxing. The wet area isn’t that huge so it can be crowded specially on weekends and holidays so always check first before you commit. That applies to any spa that you go to. Their second pool in the men’s wet area is the hot tub, and when I say hot -it really is hot. It takes some time to adjust to the pool’s temperature, but once you get comfortable it’s just gonna be heaven.

 photo from sakuraoka website

How to get to Sakuraoka Hot Springs

  1. Take the MRT and get off at the Shipai Station in the red line.
  2. Take any of the buses 508, 535, 536 or 612
  3. Get off at Xing Yi Lu San bus stop and walk down Lane 300 take the road down hill on where the road forks. The spa is on the right side.
  4. Fare is NT$ 15

You can always take a cab either from Shipai or Xin Beitou station, costs around NT$ 150.

 

For someone comfortable in public bathing like me, this was one of the best that I’ve experience, comparing to what I’ve experienced around Asia (note: haven’t been to Japan though). Soaking for hours while staring at the forest with the Taipei 101 emerging like its one of the trees there was just relaxing. Honestly, I’ve never felt so much peace of mind ever than how I’ve had while I soak in the tub. It felt like it was just me, the tub and nature communing. Not a single negative thought came across my head.

I’ve also heard that there’s another Hot Spring spa in the area that’s better (there’s actually a lot of hot spring spa in that area including a gay spa so be careful if you don’t want to end up in one like me, LOL!) called Emperor Spa. But that’s for another visit. If you haven’t done public bathing the Japanese way, I strongly suggest you do. You’ll appreciate your body a lot more and it will feel very liberating. It will make you think, why have I been embarrassed on doing this; there’s nothing to it really!

 

 

 

Best Free Tours In Taipei

One of the best things about Taipei is it’s very walkable. Taipei has good sidewalks and the city is well planned. This makes walking from one district to another actually a bit leisurely. I my self think that the on of the best ways to see Taipei is through free walking tours. Here are the best free tours in Taipei that you can join. Continue reading