Singapore Hotel: Marina Bay Sands

As a backpacker, you know that I am not a big fan of luxury accommodations. So when the opportunity came to experience the hotel at no cost (thanks to my cousin – so pretty ūüėČ ) I jumped into it right away.¬†The Marina Bay Sands, located in Marina Bay in Singapore, is an integrated resort touted to be the most expensive in the country. The property is not only famous for offering 5 star service. The building it self has become a tourist attraction as its top shows to be shaped as a big ship.

Marian Bay Sands

While the Marina Bay Sands hotel also has a massive shopping mall and casino. The main draw for non gambling tourists is actually the ship shaped roof deck of the hotel. ¬†The roof deck allows people see Singapore from a bird’s point of view during the day and a crazy party spot at night. While the viewing deck and the roof deck club is a great spot, people actually check-in in the Marina Bay Sands because of its unbelievably beautiful infinity pool.

What I Like About The Marina Bay Sands

The Rooms

Obviously, the Marina Bay Sands exudes luxury throughout the hotel. The rooms are spacious and offers a great view of  either the Gardens by the bay or a gorgeous view of the city.  The room that we got at first was the Grand Club Room thinking that it was on the higher floors. The room was spacious at 79 sqm with a stunning view of the Gardens By The Bay. However, since we were looking for a room at the higher floors at tower three we asked to be relocated. Why? Tower three has the access to the Infinity pool and it would be more convenient to access the pool from the higher floors. We made a mistake of booking the Grand Club Room assuming it would be on higher floors. We thought so because it was more expensive, well lesson learned. Thankfully the hotel was easy to deal with.

marina bay sands

 

The Infinity Pool

One, if not the biggest draw for people to stay in the Marina Bay Sands is the Infinity Pool. It stands to be the worlds largest rooftop infinity pool there is. Honestly, I never imagined my self seeing this awesome view from the pool. Like I said I am not a fan of paying so much, yet still the rooftop infinity pool was something to experience at least once in a lifetime. Yeah, you can call me lucky.

The Infinity pool faces the beautiful Singapore skyline. Since check in time was at 3 PM we only got to catch the sunset and it was beautiful. The pool may be a bit crowded that day since it was a weekend but the view was still mesmerizing. We enjoyed the sun while lounging on the sun beds until sunset.

Marina Bay Sands

 

marina bay sands

The Location

The Marina Bay Sands is very accessible. In fact, it is directly connected to one of the MRT Stations. It’s that convenient! The hotel is also just across the Gardens By The Bay so I just crossed the street and I was there! The Merlion and the famous Singapore skyline is also just a short walk away from the hotel passing by the Science Museum and Esplanade and through the iconic Helix Bridge.

What I Didn’t Like About The Marina Bay Sands

Thinking that the Marina Bay Sands is one of the most expensive hotels in Singapore, I was quite surprised about their pool. Why? Well, the pool is freaking cold!!! Yep the infinity pool is not heated. I had to brave the cold water on sunset. Your body will eventually adapt, of course but it could have been a way more comfortable if it was heated!

Another thing that I felt off about the hotel is when we checked in. Checking-in an expensive hotel should feel classy and sophisticated. But when we checked in at the Marina Bay Sands, it felt like we were in a Mall! The interior felt too stiff that even the high ceilings didn’t compensate the feel that I was looking for. The staff wasn’t actually that bad, but I feel that they could be a bit more polite and warmer. Just saying that I’ve experience better hospitality before.

What I Think About The Marina Bay Sands

If you can afford it go ahead it is worthwhile experience. Sitting at the roof deck under the Sun in the morning and watching the Sunset at night was awesome. But if you feel that you’d actually spend this into something more and stretch it further I’d say skip it. What I am just trying to say is that do it only if you really like it. I don’t have strong recommendation like it should be a must do, that your Singapore experience will be incomplete without it. But then it would be like a cherry to your icing if you do. If you have around a hundred USD and couple more friends to split the cost with and you want it, go push for it!

 

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Got a different experience with the Marina Bay Sands? Leave your story at the comment section, let us know!

Liwliwa Hostel: Limbonis Hideout

The newest and possibly the most backpacker friendly the Limbonis Hideout is a a hostel found and built by a traveler himself. This Liwliwa hostel offers private and dorm accommodation.

What I Like About Limbonis Hideout

Aside from the fact that it was built by a backpacker for backpackers, here are a few more things that makes this place stand out.

The property is located on a corner lot bordered by a river backdrop with lush greenery. Each morning will just be just so calming with the birds chirping. Because this Liwliwa Hostel is located on a corer lot that means there are way lesser noisy neighbors g

Liwliwa Hostel

Being a widely traveled person the hostel truly exudes a travelers ambiance. The owner of this liwliwa hostel recreated some of the architecture that he has seen throughout his travels in Southeast Asia. Some of the structures resonate the vibes from Bali while some comes familiar as houses on stilts.

Liwliwa Hostel

Liwliwa Hostel

 

Liwliwa Hostel

 

liwliwa hostel

Liwliwa can be a tough cookie to break when it comes to getting cheap prices specially if you are a solo traveler. However, at the Hideout Liwliwa Hostel you will feel that you are very much welcome as a solo traveler. I have tried to search for a good price for Liwliwa Hostels before but the best one that I could get before was about Php 550 for a freaking hammock!

I also love Hideout Liwliwa Hostel’s coffee bar where you can ask for coffee made from different parts of southeast asia and the Philippines! While the beach is just five minute walk from the property, the two main stores are just about two minutes away by foot! For the adventurous type, if you are into surfing they have surfboards that you can rent. For novices, you can also ask for an instructor to help you take that first stance on the board!

If you like this liwliwa hostel or would like to know more details you can check them out through  5_logo_booking-435x712x-435x712x  or   agoda-logo

Taipei Hostel: Meander Hostel

Booking hostels can be bit tricky. Sometimes you see really good photos and ratings but when you just get disappointed when you get to your room. I wanted to have a great experience on my return trip to Taipei which happens to be my birthday trip as well ^_^. S0 I pulled up and search for Taipei Hostels in Agoda.com, sorted it out starting with the cheapest ones and checked out the ratings. I was surprised finding a high rating property within my price range and yes the rating is true!

What I like about Meander Taipei Hostel

As soon as I step in I was warmly welcomed by the Meander Taipei Hostel staff, like genuinely warm. I noticed that their lobby offers this wide open common area where every one can interact. As soon as I checked in I was toured around the area by their the wonderful Sarah, she’s just so bubbly I love it. She showed me to the kitchen area where breakfast was being served and just right across it are the viewing area and a huge dining table where everyone can talk while eating.She then introduced me to their events wall. If you don’t have anything planned out when you get here, all you need to do is just check out what is happening on the events board. There’s always something to do everyday!

Meander Taipei HostelReception with their cool staff.

Meander Taipei Hostel

Meander Taipei HostelNot gonna run out of things to do with the events board!

You rarely see hostels with good beds real beds, some of them even just use foams and throws in a linen and a pillow and that is it. Meander Taipei Hostel actually provides you with real beds, yes the not a futon or a foam but some real mattresses and it sure was comfy sleeping on those. Aside from linens they will also provide you a comforter which is awesome specially that Taipei weather can be a bit chilly at times. The only set back is that you have to bring your own towel, which is I feel isn’t a big thing¬†considering that they offer far more quality than most hostels.

Meander Taipei HostelGet the privacy you need with these capsule design bunk beds

Meander Taipei HostelYour own socket, USB charging dock and light in your capsule!

They have about 188 beds where 28 of them are private rooms while the rest are dorm rooms. It is also notable that they don’t put more than ten beds in a single dorm so it doesn’t get too crowded. WiFi is also excellent ideal for Digital Nomads who take their work with them to where they go.

The hostel has this youthful vibe that makes you just want to hang out in the common area and chill out with other travelers.¬†They also have a culturally diverse staff allowing them to support most major languages if you don’t speak English really well.

Meander Taipei Hostel is located about 500 meters from the Ximen MRT station where you can find lots of stores and food shop. You can just walk around and enjoy the local events and have a good time without getting far from the hostel. But if it is just breakfast to startup your day is what you are looking for, there’s not even a need to get out of the hostel. Your booking with Meander Taipei Hostel includes breakfast which is served at the kitchen area from about 7 am till past 10 am.

Meander Taipei Hostel

 

How To Get To Meander Taipei Hostel

From Ximen MRT station just walk straight west through Chengdu road for about 500 meters.

Meander Taipei Hostel Map

If you like this hostel, you can book them through     agoda-logo   for the best rates

 

Liwliwa Hostel: La Zerena Beach Resort

Searching for a private room in Liwliwa, San Felipe Zambales can be difficult on a weekend when everything is almost fully booked. Good thing we wandered a bit more and found La Zerena just across Circle Hostel.

We took one of their nipa huts that is good for two to three persons. The comfort rooms are communal located near the huts are reasonably clean and water is good.

The resort is about two to three minutes walk to the beach.

la zerena resort

 la zerena resort

 

 la zerena resort

 

 la zerena resort

Priced at 1,200 La Zerena nipa huts are quite affordable specially if there’s going to be three of you splitting the cost. I also like the resort’s location since it is just right beside Fely’s Canteen and store where we bought most of our necessities.

Airconditioned rooms though are priced at 3,000 pesos good for two.

Boracay Hostel: Hostel Avenue

It was almost a no-thinking-required decision when we booked Hostel Avenue. We were trying to escape the rains in Cebu so we find our selves up north in the province of Aklan. With no plans at all, we pushed all the way to Boracay with no reservations for the night. So we turned to our phones and searched through our apps for one. Agoda.com was the one that gave us the best options, sorting the results from cheapest to the highest priced accommodation Hostel Avenue quickly got my attention as it showed to be located on a beach front property. It was also strategically located in Station 2¬†near D’Mall and Epic Club so everything is right at your reach!

Boracay Hostel: Hostel Avenue

The hostel has two rooms (at least that I know of) that has dorm facilities. The dorm that we were assigned to stay in has two showers and two toilets. It also has two sinks outside the toilets so bathroom traffic was pretty much manageable.

You are given clean linens and pillow cases as soon as you check in. You also don’t have to worry about towels as they will also give you fresh ones. I was specifically impressed with their bunk beds, Usually, bunk beds tend to move and wobble every time the one who stays in the upper bunk moves or gets off. But for Hostel Avenue, the beds doesn’t move an inch. You also get to have a socket assigned to your bed and even the upper bunks have one!

Boracay Hostel: Hostel Avenue

The only thing that kinda let me down, is that we can’t leave our electronics charging. This means that I had to stay in the hostel whenever I have to charge one of my gadgets because they will plug it out if they see it unattended. To be fair though, I didn’t ask if I can leave my gadgets charging in the reception area.

They also clean the room and toilets on a daily basis which is a +++ for me! The water pressure though is quite disappointing. But it could be because of the water heater just like in most cases. You can’t have both – heated water or pressure – you choose!

I really find the hostel strategically located, I will stay here over and over if I am traveling alone. One thing though that I would like to point out is that, it would be a loooooot more awesome if they have free drinking water. I mean really. Honestly, I was quite disappointed with that, but then they served FREE Cocktails on my last night so no biggie! Hahaha! I really had a fun stay at Hostel Avenue, I’m sure you will too.

If you like this hostel, you can book them through     agoda-logo   for the best rates

P.S. They have this awesome roof deck over looking the beach bar performers. You can just buy your own beer and chill there while listening to live music… totally awesome!

Boracay hostel

Boracay hostel\

Note: Photos lifted from agoda.com. This post is the sole opinion of the writer of whom was not solicited by the establishment. 

Cebu Hostel: Bugoy Biker’s Bed And Breakfast

Hostels aren’t that popular for Filipinos but I think one must try staying at this hostel called Bugoy’s Biker Bed and breakfast. Hotels tend to provide canned customer service of some sort like they smile all the time and everything but experiencing real personal customer service is something that one can only experience when the people who own the accommodation actually attend to your need.

I booked Bugoy’s Bed and Breakfast six months ahead of the festival, honestly I had hesitations with it because the location doesn’t seem to be at the center of Cebu and the place looked like it was an old house. Though admittedly, the owners does say it is thus prohibiting smoking inside the accommodation.

Cebu Hostel
But I guess, I was wrong, Bugoy’s Biker’s Bed and Breakfast is just a 15 minute ride away from where the Sinulog action is. It is also conveniently located near JY mall where I was able to find a travel agency that helped me book a ferry to escape the rain in Cebu to Boracay. It is also walking distance to the market, supermarket, fastfood and cheap eateries where I often eat.

The best thing I like about Bugoy’s Bikers Bed and Breakfast is the owner’s personal touch of service. They are really honest and would make sure that you are comfortable. Jens¬†with his wife¬†who owns the B&B will attend and tour you around the property informing you of everything that you need to know.

 Cebu Hostel: Bugoy Biker’s Bed And Breakfast

I also admire their honesty. I really appreciate the fact that they are very transparent and fair with their prices. I booked through a certain website that gave me a different price which was 25% more of what other guests are paying for. I gaveRenz the amount stated on the website as I checked then she pulled at the back of the property and insisted on giving me back the excess of the price that I was suppose to pay. If that is not enough honesty and integrity, what more can I say? I mean that is money for them already and that is not even cheating or anything since that is the price that I signed up for but she gave it back to me because it was not right. I am really impressed.

They also provide free water and brewed coffee which is awesome, specially for digital nomads like me who need s caffeine to keep our bloods running ^_^. They also serve continental breakfast which is awesome and helpful when it was terribly raining because we didn’t have to go out and find food.

 Cebu Hostel: Bugoy Biker’s Bed And Breakfast

Most of the people who stay there are westerners and I was able to speak with one of the owners who quite sad about locals (people from the country) who book at their hostels and just don’t show up, mostly because they are expecting of some sort of hotel like accommodation. I just hope that Filipinos could open up and actually try staying in hostels and get to know more people.

Bugoy’s Biker’s Bed and Breakfast definitely delivers exceptional service. It has nothing like the luxurious amenities of a hotel but it has more than what you can experience more than a hotel.

It is also worth mentioning that Bugoy’s Biker’s Bed and breakfast can be one of the few accomodations that does hostels right. Some accommodations would label them selves as hostels only because they offer dorms of accomodation below the standards of a hotel, but that is not what hostels are all about. Hostels are about meeting new people and keeping accomodations low.

In general, I would highly recommend Bugoy’s Biker’s Bed and Breakfast because of their excellent personal service and hospitality.

If you like this hostel, you can book them through  5_logo_booking-435x712x-435x712x  or   agoda-logo

Note: this post is the sole opinion of the author who is not associated with the hostel in anyway. If you are booking for Sinulog make sure that you book at least 6 months ahead.

Where To Stay In Hong Kong: Dragon Hostel

 

where to stay in hong kongHong Kong is a ultra dynamic city that never sleeps and staying in location that offers quick access to the train and basic things such as restaurants, convenience stores and a like can be easy so long as you stay within the city centers like Kowloon.

However, getting clean and decent rooms can be challenging specially with so many competing hostels that there is.

After searching over and over the internet for the best and affordable place that there is, review after review we ended up booking Dragon Hostel and yes with no regrets.

Dragon Hostel sits at the heart of Kowloon just a block off from the nearest MTR station. Convenience stores and restuarants are within reach and the neighborhood it sits in offers affordable basic commodities.

 

The building has four elevators two on each side servicing just fifteen floors. Though the elevators, since they are smaller than standard once can be a bit crowded at times it can be a lot more forgiving than the Chung King Mansions -which we suggest should be your last resort.

Dragon Hostel offer rates that are reasonable, I tell you if you get prices lower than what they offer better think twice of how decent they are.

where to stay in hong kong

Overall, our experice with Dragon Hostel was excellent the wifi was fast -like really fast, the beds and the room and the bathroom were clean and no bugs! The rooms a bit small specially for westerners but that is just how the roll with Hostels in Hong Kong. What made our stay extra special was being at the heart of the action where all those haggling and bartering happen.

Like they say there Hong Kong has two faces – Central and Kowloon, and Kowloon is the face of Hong Kong that I love.

Here are the good points I have for Dragon Hostel

  • Clean
  • Accessible and near the MTR
  • Near food stores and convenience stores
  • Friendly Staff
  • I found no bugs in the room
  • Has CR inside
  • Best price there is for quality hostels
  • Offers various assistance for travel
  • Offers discounted rates for Hong Kong attractions

Cons

  • Staff isn’t that good with English but will do their best to help you
  • Elevator sometimes gets too busy going down, but there are four of them so just be patient and it is better than what Chung King Mansion has.

Quick Tip

You can also buy your tickets for amusement parks at the reception at a discounted rate!

If you find this review helpful please help support us by booking through Here where you’ll find the best prices available

>>>Check out my Hong Kong Travel Guide Here<<<

 

Travel Guide: South Korea

The Land of the Morning Calm as we know it, surely you will find the calmness of the Koreans even if the city is bustling. Everybody walks with a certainty in their aura that kinda tells you that they know that everything is going to be alright. It may be the most connected city in the world in terms of technological advances but it is also one of the most traditional and I am sure that as you experience South Korea you’ll never see how people live with technology and tradition the same way ever again. Hope this South Korea Travel Guide helps you on your next travel destination.

South Korea Visa Application

The Republic of South Korea is an OECD member state and provides special considerations for visitors who are either citizens of member countries or have valid OECD member state visas.  You can find below the countries with visa free entry to South Korea.

Continent Countries
Asia Japan (90 Days), Hong Kong (90 Days), Macao (90 Days), Taiwan (90 Days), Kuwait (90 Days), Brunei, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain
North America United States (90 Days), Canada (6 Months)
South America Argentina, Honduras, Paraguay, Ecuador (90 Days), Guyana
Europe Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Cyprus, Albania, Croatia (90 Days), Slovenia (90 Days), Vatican, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia (90 Days), Montenegro
Oceania Australia (90 Days), Guam, Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tonga
Africa Republic of South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Egypt

Consequently, Filipinos with a visa from any OECD country (Expired visas can be used provided they are were valid at least 10 years from the date of return. This also gives applicants higher chances of being approved and has shorter processing time (if coursed through the Manila  office).

For Philippine Residents South Korean visas are provided free of charge for short visits and a minimal fee is charged for work and long/business visas. However, this may soon change as the Korean Embassy will tap travel agencies as a point of contact. Selected travel agencies will receive and release applications and visas to applicants. There will be no more need for you to travel all the way to Taguig city just to apply, Albeit a processing fee will now be asked upon submission of application.

Steps On How To Apply For A South Korean Visa

  1. Go to the South Korea Ministry on Foreign Affairs Korean Visa Portal
  2. Fill in the needed information Continent, Country, Purpose of Entry (Short term for tourism) and the intended length of stay then click on start.
  3. Once the results show up, you will see different visa categories. Find what is appropriate for you. If you are going to South Korea just for a simple sight seeing trip, you should be good in choosing the Ordinary Tourist (C-3-9) category.
  4. Download the Visa Application Form or click on the E-Form and follow the instructions.
  5. You will then need to present your documents at the South Korean Embassy where they will receive your documents.
  6. You will be given a return date of when you will get your passport back. Please note that acceptance of documents/application is not an assurance that your visa will be approved. You will only know the result on the day you get your passport back.

Notes:

  • Korean Visa application through travel agencies are not effective yet. You may, however ask for assistance from travel agencies to file your application in your behalf.
  • For visa requirements for other nationalities you may refer to the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs for more details

Points of Interest

Korean Drama Locations

NSeoul Tower

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace

Changgyeonggung Palace

Deoksugung Palace

Ewha Women’s Univeristy

Everland

Lotte World

Nami Island

DMZ AND PANMUNJOM

Transportation

Going around South Korea is relatively easy as the government had made a good transport system not just going around cities but all throughout the country.

Upon arriving at the Incheon International Airport it is advisable to get as much information as you can at the tourist information counter at the left end of the arrival area. Before leaving the airport (if you can-lol) buy your selves a T-Card which will enable you to access the Subway and buses of Seoul and other major cities around South Korea. The T-Card is re-loadable and  if you are leaving South Korea already you can also refund the remaining credits of your card from the convenience stores in the airport.

A note though on Taxis, I was told that even though there are a lot of taxis around Seoul and that it is presumably convenient you would have to think twice first because they say that in Korea they really don’t find places with addresses but more of landmarks so make sure that you ask for landmarks before you hop on a taxi to your destination.

Accomodations

Here are accommodations that travel bloggers recommend

  • Bong House

Food

You can’t say that you’ve been to Korea if you never tasted Korean food! It’s part of who they are and their culture so it is a must try. Food can be tough to order in Korea as really not all of them speak English, but I must say that they somewhat understand the language. Good thing about Seoul is that most of the places/restaurants have menus that have pictures so you can just point the food that you like and order!

Don’t forget to try their street food! They are awesome!!!!

Itineraries

Day 1

12 PM Arrive at Incheon International Airport
2:30 Check in at hotel
3:30 Explore Area/Late lunch
4:00 Go to NSeoul Tower
6:00