Vans From Pattaya to Aranyaprateth

The most popular way of  going to Siem Reap from Thailand usually is through Bangkok. But one route that is  not that popular because of the lack of information available is through Pattaya. This route is good if you are wanting to see the beach before you leave Thailand.

In Bangkok, go to the North or South Terminal Bus station and hop on  a bus bound to pattaya. Tickets cost 108 Baht from the east terminal while it’s 117 Baht if you’ll be taking the bus at the North Bus terminal.

You can spend a day or too in Pattaya and enjoy the beach before you move on in crossing the border going to Cambodia. I also absolutely recommend staying at The Big Five-O, It’s clean, they have a pool and their staff Opal is absolutely the best.

Van Pattaya to Aranyaprateth

Photo lifted from Five-O’s Facebook – trust me it looks this awesome in person

From Pattaya you can take a Motor taxi bike to the Van station(80 Baht). I don’t exactly know the name of the place but I was able to pin it down on the map and took a photo of the terminal that the hostel staff wrote down for me. Go ahead and have that printed to show to the motorbike taxi driver.

you can check out other Pattaya Hotels Here

From Pattaya the van will go through its route picking up and unloading passengers. There are no official stop overs as well just a couple of short ones to refuel and check on tickets. The van will take you to a Mall in Aranyaprateth that is walking distance from the border compared taking the train and bus-where you have to take a tuktuk to get to the border. It takes about five hours to get to the border so the earlier you leave the better. I took the 12 PM van and arrived in the border by about 5:30 PM – I would advise for you to check with the terminal first if you plan to leave on a later time since I am not sure if there are trips after 12 PM.

Here’s how my expense/itinerary looked like

Bangkok – Pattaya (ETA: 8AM) 117 Baht
Five-O Hostel 300 Baht
Motor Bike to Van Terminal 80 Baht
Pattaya – Aranyaprateth 250 Baht

 

This is the note that I gave to the motorbike taxi that the hotel staff wrote for me.

Van Pattaya to Aranyaprateth

 

This is the Van Terminal

Van Pattaya to Aranyaprateth

 

Map of where the terminal is located

Van Pattaya to Aranyaprateth

 

Easy Hong Kong Travel Guide

 

It’s that season again when Airlines are trying to fill up their seats with Seat Sales for the lean seasons or sometimes even better immediate travel. Here’s a Quick and Easy Hong Kong Travel Guide so you can do a quick escape to Asia’s World City!

Cheap Air Tickets

Airasia is running a promotion right now so we did a mock booking and here’s the cheapest that we could find.

Screenshot_2016-10-04-17-07-08

 

But there are more airlines out there, so download fare comparison apps on your phone like Skyscanner (my personal favorite) so you see who has the best prices for that dates that you are eyeing.

 

Where To Stay In Hong Kong

It actually depends in your budget, if you got some money to burn you can opt to stay in Central, the posh side of Hong Kong. But if you are all up for a Backpacking style adventure then stay at the Kowloon side of the city.

Best place that we recommend staying is at Dragon Hostel. We found them after searching every travel guide and reviews about accommodations in Hong Kong. Reviews are important part of searching since they are feedback coming from customers, people who are paying to stay there so it’s a good reference to gauge whether an accommodation is good or bad.

>>> Check our review of Dragon Hostel Here<<<

You can also find other great Hotels here!

Here’s a sample seach… you can click on the photo!

room

What to do in Hong Kong

Check with your hotel mostly likely than not, they can provide you with discounted tickets to amusement parks here’s what we got from ours at Dragon Hostel

hostel prices

 Where To Eat 

Din Tai Fung and Tim Ho Wan is out of the question, they are a must have. But one must roam around Hong Kong to actually see what there is to experience. We projected our budget for food at $100 per day (except for HK Disneyland where food was ridiculously expensive at $100 per meal) per head. Honestly we just ate at any restaurant we are near at when we were hungry.

 

 

Getting Around Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s MTR, their train system is actually one if not the best in the world that even Singapore envies its efficiency. The MTR will take you for the most part of Hong Kong where attractions are, then you’d have to walk. Taxis and private cars can be expensive and throw your backpacker’s budget off the gutter, so brace your selves for a whole lot of walking anyways this how locals roll in their city – they walk.

Remember to download the MTR app as well so you can plan ahead of time what routes you are taking and how much you’ll be paying and don’t forget to buy your Octopus Card in the airport for hassle free travel throughout the city.

 

>>>Don’t pay $100 HKD for the Airport Express, check this guide for the travel hack<<<

 

MTR App

Sample Expense Sheet

To give you an idea of how much you should be preparing here’s a rough estimate that we’ve made. The total cost may rise or go down depending on the attractions that you want to see, for example, you can just choose between The Peak or Madame Tussauds instead of seeing them both or go to Ocean Park instead of Disneyland which is way more expensive. So choose wisely of where you want to spend your day, remember there are a lot of attractions in Hong Kong that does not require you of paying!

sample expensesSo say that you don’t hell care about Dinseyland and/or Madame Tussauds, and you just want to experience the authentic Hong Kong life by going to their night Markets, parks and plazas. That could easily translate just a little over Php 11,000! Just know what you want to do and see efficiently.

Here’s our itinerary on our trip.

lhfdsljfds

 

Note: This post is based on the author’s trip last 2014 on a Php 21000 budget for two.

———————

Still got questions? Put them on the comment section and we’ll answer them the best that we can 😉

How to get to the city from the airport in Hong Kong

Every backpacker’s question upon arriving in an airport remains the same, “How the hell are we gonna get out of here”. Hong Kong actually offers an array of transportation option of getting to the city so it shouldn’t be a problem. But being the backpackers that we are, we always look for the fastest yet the cheapest option that there is and yes most of the time the answer is via the Train.

Luckily the Hong Kong airport has a train station WITHIN the airport, yep you read that right! So all you have to do is just buy your ticket/octopus card (we recommend buying the later) follow the signs then hop on the express train! That easy! BUT! It actually costs around $100 HKD.

how to get to the city from hong kong airport

But don’t despair, there is a way to massively cut down your transportation expense going to the city. Here’s how!

Go to the counter and buy an Octopus Card and load it with the estimated amount that you’d be using throughout your trip. Don’t worry about over loading your card since you can still refund the remaining amount and the cost of your Octopus Card in the airport as you leave.

Hop on the express train and get off at Tsing Yi station. Then from Tsing Yi station take the regular Commuter Train and get off at the station nearest to your destination or hotel.

how to get to the city from hong kong airport

Yep, that simple and you’ll be saving $40 HKD on your transportation cost! Taking the bus will give you some more savings ($40 HKD for A11 bsus service from HK Airport) but it will take you longer than the train of course. So weigh your options if you have enough time and not really in a rush or has a lot of luggage the bus maybe a good option, but if you are traveling backpacker style I say the train is the best way!

Do you have other suggestions on how to get out of the Hong Kong Airport going to the city? Let us know through the comments section.

Top Tips For Hong Kong

If you are planning for a trip to Hong Kong you might be in a situation that you don’t know how to decide on because you would only know the answer when you are already there. Well I’ve been in that situation, here are some useful travel tips that I learned on my recent trip to Hong Kong that I feel will be really helpful on making your decisions with your upcoming trip.

 

1. Buy An Octopus Card

The Octopus Card will not only let you travel conveniently but also saves you a lot as discounts specially for transfers are given when you switch lines. You don’t have to buy another single journey ticket at each station!

If you don’t have any $50 or $100 HKD bill go to the customer service counter and add value on your card there.

2. Airport To The City

If you want to save on money don’t buy an Express Train ticket, remember that you are there for vacation so no need to rush. An Airport Express ticket costs about $100 HKD from the airport to either Kowloon or Hong Kong stations. Using your Octopus card, hop on the express train and get off at the Tsing Yi station then transfer to the regular commuter train on to your destination. This will cost you $60 HKD from the airport to the Tsing Yi station but your travel from Tsing Yi to you final stop is going to be free! You just saved $40 HKD!!!

3. The Peak

According to my research and friend recommendations, it is best to go to The Peak between 4:00 PM – 6 PM. However, when I was there the line was really long that it crossed the street already. I think it was just a fluke and my luck just ran out that day. To avoid from suffering the same on your trip, buy a The Peak Tram-Madame Tussaud’s-Sky Terrace combo package ticket so you can skip the regular cue and go straight to the waiting area for the tram right away.

4. Buy Tickets At Your Hotel

Not necessarily your hotel, but buy your tickets in advance from a travel agency around Hong Kong or from another Hotel. I actually found that the rates of the tickets that my hotel was selling is cheaper than the travel agency’s price which are lower than buying from the attraction’s travel booth on location.

5. Wear Comfy Shoes

I say wear good rubber shoes! You will walk and walk and walk around Hong Kong, and I highly suggest that you do. Walking lets you experience the city more and feel the vibe than getting on a cab, I actually never rode a cab while I was there the MTR and buses were enough for me to get to my next location.

6. Bring Enough Money

And I mean enough, not too much or too little (of course). Bring enough money that you are willing to spend for your stay, sight seeing, food, attractions, other petty expenses and yes shopping. Make sure that you make a budget for your shopping, I am pretty sure that you’d want to buy cheap (I am referring to price not the quality) branded stuff while you go around the shops there. Create a separate budget for this because over spending is not easy to evade, it’s like being in a casino it would just tempt you over and over to spend more and more because of the great deals that you’d find.

7. The MTR App

If you have a smart phone download the app that will be your best friend while in Hong Kong, The MTR Mobile App. This app will help you navigate the MTR by telling you what station to get off to transfer lines (if needed), how much time travel you’ll spend and tell you how much you fare is!

Do you have a good tip for Travelers to Hong Kong or got a question that didn’t get answered? Share them on the comments section, we might just include it on our list!

 

Travel Guide: Complete Taiwan Travel Guide

Straight to the point, Taiwan is my favorite country in the world next to the Philippines. I’ve made this Compete Taiwan Travel Guide because I want to share to everyone how they can enjoy and see Taiwan without going crazy trying to search for so many information on different pages on the in the internet.

Hi I’m Taiwan

Taiwan’s political situation (how it came about) is quite complicated. Geographically, Taiwan is an island nation off the coast of mainland China. The nation is often referred to as the “Heart of Asia” because of its heart shaped (anatomically) island. Taiwan’s capital, Taipei lies at the norther part of the island near Japan. Interestingly, Taiwan was colonized by the Japanese so you’ll definitely see a lot of Japanese culture and heritage on your trip to the island nation.

Culture Sensitivity 

Taiwan can be considered as a conservative culture in this modern day and age, and its for the better. Taiwan has preserved a lot of its tradition, culture and manners over the centuries. The Taiwanese people are extremely polite so be sure to reciprocate whenever in Taiwan.

Okay, since we got that one off, let’s see what you need to do for your trip to Taiwan

Visa Requirements

Update: Taiwan recently approved the visa free policy for Filipinos on a Trial Basis starting November 1 2017 till July 2018. This means Filipino citizens who qualify can enter Taiwan without applying for a visa. Here are the requirements to enter Taiwan Visa Free.

A Filipino visa-free visitor must meet the following requirements:

  1. An ordinary/regular passport with remaining validity of at least six months from the date of entry ( Diplomatic & official passport holders are not eligible for visa-free treatment) ;
  2. A return ticket or a ticket for the traveller’s next destination and a visa for that destination if it is required;
  3. No criminal record in Taiwan;
  4. A proof of accommodation (hotel) booking or host/sponsor’s contact information /or arrangements of tour, travel, visit, events and meeting etc.

However, those who intend to stay in Taiwan for more than 14 days or for the purpose of study, work, missionary, employment and other gainful activities are still required to obtain appropriate visas before entering Taiwan.

Source


===========


Taiwan has visa waiver programs for some countries depending on your countries diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. For Filipinos there are a few ways on how you can be granted entry to Taiwan.

A. Apply for an Travel Authorization Certificate. Approval is instantaneous and you can print the permit at the end of the process. Below are the conditions for this type of permit

  1. A valid or Expired (not beyond 10 years) OECD country issued visa
  2. The applicant’s passport must have remaining validity of at least six months starting from the date of arrival in Taiwan.
  3. The applicant must possess an onward/return air or ferry ticket.
  4. The applicant has never been employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan.

>>>Click Here To Apply For A Travel Authorization Certificate<<<

B. Apply online for an E-Visa 

>>>Click Here To Apply For An E-Visa<<<

C. Apply personally at TECO

You can apply for a regular passport stamped visa via the Manila Economic Cooperation Office (MECO) of Taiwan. You can start your application by gathering the requirements online application form and filling up the online application form. Once you finish the form you will be given a schedule (shown below) of when you will be needing to submit your documents in their office.

>>>Click Here To Start Application<<<

Note: Taiwan has moved the implementation of the VISA FREE entry for Filipinos to September with guidelines that are yet to be announced. It is better to assume as of now that you will be needing a VISA

For other nationalities please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs site to check how you can obtain yours or if you even need one.

Points of Interest

 Taipei

Transportation

Getting around Taiwan is easy as the whole island can be accessed through its well planned High-Speed Rail (HSR), Light/Metro Rail and bus systems and Airport MRT. The island has two metro systems one in Taipei and the other in Kaoshiung. Both cities are connected through their HSR so it’s actually like being in one big city.

You may buy a reloadable Easy Card  that you can use for trains and buses or buy a token each time you ride the train. You can also use your easy card in purchasing items from department stores, supermarkets and convenience stores. Check their website for other transport options that you can avail.

You can find the whole scope of usage for your Easy Card HERE

Accomodation

Though Taiwan is not a popular destination for backpacking, Taiwan especially Taipei hosts a lot of backpacking accommodation. There are popular booking sites where you can place reservations where some do not even ask for any reservations fee to secure a room!

My personal favorite though is the Meander Taipei Hostel

 

You can also Check   5_logo_booking-435x712x-435x712x  or   agoda-logo  for more hotel options

Food

Taipei is an absolute food haven. Even most of the street food that you’ll find anywhere will  amaze you. Infact, if you are into food, you can build an itinerary for days solely based on food!

Food can easily be found just about anywhere you look at. Taipei has a lot of foreign chains that has established good presence so there’s always some sort of safety net that you can turn to. But if you are going to look for Taiwanese food there’s always the night market and you can find food just about anywhere. Food prices ranges at about NT 60-100  and up for a good meal

>>>Read HERE: Shilin Night Market Travel Guide<<<<

Itineraries

So I got a little motivated to update this travel guide. Thanks to fellow backpackers who are interested in exploring my favorite country. So here’s a rough itinerary for you guys. This is based on LCC flights

Day 0

Assemble at NAIA T3
Depart Manila by 2300 HRS

Day 1

Check In at hostel (2AM)
Yehliu Geological Park
Quick rounds in Keelung (Transit)
Jiufen
Shifen
Rahoe Night Market

Day 2

Beitour District (Day Trip)
Beitou Hotsprings Museum
Taipei Library
Lung Nai Tang
Ketalagan Cultural Center
Soak Feet at stream in Beitou
Eat Ramen at famous Ramen shop
Shilin Night Market

Day 3

City Tour
Taipei Zoo
Maokong Gondola
Drink Tea and Chill out in Maokong
Elephant Mountain

Day 4
Depart for Manila (1am)

Note: We will be posting a comprehensive 3-4 day itinerary for Taipei so make sure to bookmark this page.

I always tell people that if ever the Philippines would disown me, Taiwan definitely is the first place that I will seek refuge at. Taiwan seem to have this charm of peace and tranquility, which is so ironic knowing that they are still in a state of war with mainland China. But beyond that, the Taiwanese people are one of the most caring and friendly people that I’ve ever met, and I tell you I am hard to please. I guess what I love most about the people there is that they respect your personal space, there’s always that buffer zone specially if you are a stranger. I hope this travel guide helps you on your future trip to Taipei. If you have any question, do not hesitate to put it on the comments section and I will be more than happy to answer the best that I could.

Zaijian!

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