Taipei Hostel: Ximen Wow Hostel

Being centrally located in the up and coming travel destination that is Taipei is a must when exploring the city. Fortunately, the Ximen district  -Taipei’s heart – houses more than a handful of hostels and hotels that can fit most of your accommodation needs. Being my group of friend’s defacto organizer I began searching for a good hostel that would fit everyone’s wants while working on a budget. After adjusting my filters on my search in Booking.com I was so happy to find a property that met all of what I was looking for; Ximen Wow Hostel.

 

Location

Ximen Wow Hostel sits on the 8th floor of the building along the main street of the Ximen Walking Street. Not only it is centrally located in the Ximen district, it is also strategically situated just less than a hundred meters away from the Ximen MRT station.

 

 

Amenities

As you step out of the elevator, you will be greeted by a futuristic industrial looking door that opens as you stand in front of it. The Ximen Wow Hostel staff is always there to welcome you as you enter. From there the hostel features a wide open space where people can come together and socialize. The common area is highlighted with a huge communal table, where you can just sit with other guests and get to know more friends.

Ximen Wow Hostel common area and main hall way (click to enlarge)

The hostel features several mixed rooms while acknowledging the needs of solo female travelers with their female dorms. At the end of the hallway are the shower and toilets with an open concourse layout. The showers has rain-shower-heads with uninterrupted hot water coming out that sometimes it was just difficult to stop showering.

I’ve felt secured all the time while in the hostel because of their advance security system. Each guest is given a personal access card.  You can use these cards to gain access to the hostel (doors are closed by 11pm). The same access card is also used for to access your personal lockers that are big enough to fit a medium bag inside.

I guess my favorite part of the hostel is their veranda. Ximen Wow Hostel veranda offers a good view of the Ximen skyline while letting you observe the busy Hanzhong street. The veranda offers a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the Ximen district. The veranda allows you to take a step back and just savor the moment. I go to Taipei when it’s spring time so chilling out on the veranda literally will make you chill out (which is a nice experience for people from the tropics like me) and just feel the the warmth of your jacket.

Ximen Wow Hostel Veranda (Photo from Ximen Wow Hostel Facebook Page)

Rooms

The room that was assigned to us has a 17 bed capacity, that’s more than enough to bring more friends next time (I had 11 friends with me on this trip). Each bed has a curtain providing some level of privacy for each guest. I like their curtains because they are thick enough to actually give you some privacy. You also get to have a comforter and a comfy pillow for your stay. The rooms in Ximen Wow Hostel are equipped with climate control making the temperature when you sleep just right and comfy. It’s also important (at least for me) to mention that the rooms smelled clean, I mean who would want to sleep in a moldy smelling room? If you are a night reader, it’s also great to know that your enclosure has its own light and a power socket so you can charge your gadgets at night (only get one socket so bring an extension cord if you need more).

Breakfast

Breakfast, to be honest this is one of the things that made me chose Ximen Wow Hostel over another property. I appreciate the fact that when you wake up that there is food and coffee that you can consume and not need to forage for food anymore. Ximen Wow Hostel lets their guest cook for them selves giving you some freedom over how you want your eggs cooked. There are jams available over the counter including a garlic flavored margarine (that I love so much) and a toaster so you can heat up of even make you bread nice and crispy. They also have a microwave so if you are person who needs rice in the morning, you can heat up your FamilyMart bought rice before you eat.

Staff

Taiwan is just starting to open up to the rest of the world, but you don’t have to worry about communication gaps. Ximen Wow Hostel staff has an amazing command of the English language! You can ask for directions, advise about your itinerary or even where to eat. My friends really felt welcome specially with Chen who always makes sure that we are okay. Chen is also sooo patient about me asking him every single day for more than a week about the charges being reversed on my card and he didn’t sound annoyed at all. Now that’s a talent! Hahaha! In general the staff are great to talk to and have lots of cool ideas and recommendation, I’m sure you’ll have a great time with them.

 

Price

You will find slightly cheaper hostels than Ximen Wow Hostel in the Ximen area but they can be farther down the alley or doesn’t have breakfast. I bit of a walk is okay but bringing a group of friends with me made me want to have a hostel that include breakfast. The hostel is also accessible for vans during non-pedestrian hours and can be easily spotted as soon as you walk several meters from the train station. A bed starts at $15-$17 a night on weekdays, reasonable enough for the quality of the hostel.

So I guess if you are looking for a hostel that is just a stone throw away from the train station; a place where you can socialize a lot easier and where morning food is I’d say that Ximen Wow Hostel is a definite match for you!

Travel Guide: Best 1 Day Angkor Wat Tour Itinerary Tips

One of the most amazing complex of structures made man, The Angkor Wat is truly a must see when in Angkor Wat. However, if you are on a budget and only have a day to do the tour, this is the best way to see the temples.

  1. Hire a Remorque

    Yep those vehicles that everyone calls Tuktuk isn’t really one, lol! Anyways get your self one and make sure to haggle. Most will offer about $15-$18 for the small circuit. Do not try to outsmart the drivers and not tell your entire route/itinerary or you’ll end up paying more. Your day will start at around 4:00 AM to buy the tickets, be sure to be early as the line gets long quickly as early as 4AM. The tour ends with the Sunset view from Phnom Bakheng, returning back to the hostel 7:00 PM. It costs me about $23 to hire him for more than 12 hours. I like hiring this guy because he speaks enough English and always makes sure that my friends are comfortable just like how he was the first time I hired him.You can contact Som through +855-9365-9332

  2. Take the Small Circuit tour.

    Many would chose to take the Big Circuit tour thinking that there are more to see and experience with it. But the thing is, most of the temples in the big circuit are still in ruins. If you want to touch, see and experience more the small circuit is ideal. You can also request your hired driver to go counter clockwise on the circuit to avoid crowds. source

  3. Bring food.

    Although most drivers would provide you water during the trip, finding reasonably priced food inside the complex can be a challenge. If you can, bring a packed lunch and some snacks; Picnic under the shade of trees overlooking the temples isn’t a bad idea after all.

  4. Clothes to wear.

    Most if not all structures in the Angkor Complex are temples, hence respect is expected from everyone. Make sure that your shoulders (especially for girls) and knees are covered to avoid any inconvenience. You may also want to wear something bright and light colored clothes so that you stand out against the dark colored stones of the temple in your photos.

  5. Respect.

    The structures that you will be visiting are not just mere tourist spots, they are all working temples that people go to pray. Not just because they opened it to tourists means that you are given the license to do whatever you want. It is expected of you to know what are the things that you should and shouldn’t do while inside these sacred structures.

  6. Be Alert

    Make sure that you are always attentive of your surroundings. Be cautious of people trying to sell you something or trying to take your attention to your belongings. Be careful of your belongings don’t just leave them lying around or just sitting unsecured in your bike’s basket. Coming from locals, I’ve been warned that there are people who will try to snatch you things while driving round with your bike or walking around.

To be honest spending just one day to see the temples can be really tiring. I would actually recommend getting a multi-day pass then renting a bike or moped to go around at your own leisure. Then again, there’s this guide if you only have a day to burn. Hope this helps some of you. If there you have any question or something that I forget to cover on this guide, please do let me know. I’ll do my best to update this guide.

Bangkok Hostel: Zee Thai Hostel

We were on a 12 day backpacking trip of the Indochina region of Southeast Asia and a few of my friends went ahead to Thailand. They didn’t have the luxury of time. They were booked at the same hostel where the rest of us will be staying. But when they got to the hostel, they were quite disappointed with the accommodation. I got into panic mode and re-booked our group to a different hostel.

wanting to stay near Khaosan road, to be just a stone throw away from the main attractions of the old city so we can just wander around saving us money. Though there are hundreds of hostels in and around Khaosan, I had a budget to work around and a level of comfort to provide for my friends -they aren’t really thrifty-stingy-backpackers like me.

I scoured through the pages of online booking sites like Booking.com and Agoda. I sorted out options and trying out different types of accommodation just to keep the group together in one room. I kinda gave up and chose Zee Thai Hostel. According to the map, the hostel is almost 1k from the Khaosan area, it felt a bit too far.

LOCATION

I thought that it far from the action in Khaosan road. I was wrong. Though the map tells me that it was almost a kilometer away, but the actual walk from the hostel didn’t feel like it.  It was a leisurely 3-5 minute walk along the alleys of boutique hostels. Turns out that being tucked away from the noise of Khaosan became an advantage.

The location also allowed us to hail taxis and tuktuks without worrying abut competing with other tourists. Every night there are also a lot of pop-up shops that sets up their stores in front of the hostel so food isn’t gonna be an issue if you’re lazy to go to Rambuttri alley. During day time there are barbecue shops around the area where we eat to our hearts content! price starts at 10-20 bhat a piece for grilled chicken.

 

ROOMS

My friends definitely love the rooms. Each dorm bed had curtains that provides some privacy when you sleep.  Each room has its own split type climate control, this was awesome for us since we rented the entire dorm room. They left the controls to us so we were able to adjust the temperature to a comfortable level. However if you are staying with other solo travelers, you can still request the front desk to adjust it for you.

 

AMENITIES

Our stay in Zee Thai Hostel was really comfortable. We would just hang out at the common area and watch cable TV or movies online on their massive smart TV during our free time. Other travelers take advantage of the free use the computer while some just play with the instruments around or read a book that is readily available from the shelves.

 

One thing though that really convinced me that Zee Thai Hostel is one of, if not the best hostel near Khaosan; The washer! It was our group’s last day together -them going back to Manila and me staying behind for business. I had to decide whether I’d extend in Zee Thai Hostel or move on to a cheaper one. Then while hanging out on their roof deck a poster caught my attention. It said yes its free to use! Along with photos of hotel amenities including the clothes washer!  Having clothes washed  will cost you about  $1-2 per kilo and if you have jackets and pants that would cost a lot! So I thought that instead of having my clothes done for me I’d rather stick to this nice hostel and wash my own clothes. I actually saved money by not moving to a cheaper hostel!

For digital nomads, the hostel’s  internet connection is just awesome. We can download an entire album in just minutes on our phones! I was also able to upload photos from a recent wedding I covered in less than 15 minutes!

PRICE

The Zee Thai Hostel offers different price ranges depending on what season, month and how long you will be staying. They offer good discount during lean season and extra discounts for people who will be staying long term in the hostel. We were able to secure our beds for about $8 a night. Being the one who booked for the group, I initially felt that it was a bit pricey.  That notion though changed when we got to the hostel, The interior was so refreshing and the staff was just so warm in welcoming us.

THE VERDICT

I’d say that the Zee Thai hostel is a great choice if you want to stay near Khaosan and still want to have some peace and quite when you retire for the day. There can be other options that way cheaper than the Zee Thai Hostel  if you are trying to slow down your spending – I use to stay in a $2 hostel. However, if you spending a few more dollars is not an issue, or if you are staying for a few days and you want to enjoy your trip without breaking the bank Zee Thai Hostel can be the best choice for you.

Backpackers hanging out at the roof deck.

Zee Thai Hostel
Address: 258/1, บ้านพานถม, พระนคร, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
(258/1 Wisut Kasat Road Pranakorn 10200 Bangkok, Thailand)
Phone: +66 97 201 6317

Travel Guide: Guam

Guam is an island territory off the Pacific, four hours flight from the Philippine’s capital. Similarly colonized by the Spanish conquistadors and still under the American federal government Guam shares a lot more cultural similarities that we thought we knew.  The island is popular for Japanese and Korean tourist who you’d mostly find at the shopping areas such as the Guam Premier Outlest and the hotel lane which is dotted with good stores to shop at.

Prepping for a trip to the island can be intimidating as not a lot information on how enjoy the island backpacking style is available. So on a recent trip I tried my best to find the best way to enjoy the island without spending so much.

Visa Requirements

Being a teritory of the United States of America, Guam requires you to have a US Visa. There are no special visas for Guam so you still have to go through the usual US Visa application.

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Getting There

Most of the time Cebu Pacific Airlines offers the cheapest fares from Manila. Yes most of the time specially when they are on sale (got mine for $52 RT) just make sure you don’t book your hotels right away or book rooms that are re-bookable in case one of the airlines “Flight Realignment” issues happens again. Other airlines that fly from Manila to the island are Philippine Airlines and United Airlines.

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Accommodation

Accommodation in Guam mostly consist of Hotels and Resorts leaning towards the higher end of the market. I guess it is safe to say that Guam is not backpacker friendly but it does not mean that it is not doable. If you are willing to spend more than than your usual trips you may want to look for accommodation around the Tamon Bay area where you can easily access the beautiful Tamon Beach. This area is also the best places to stay for shopping.

 

If you are still not willing to let go of your backpacking principles (lol) the best way to get around the high prices is through Airbnb. You can snag a room, condo or apartment for about $30-$60 a night that you can split if there’s two of you. Make sure to stay near one of the Lamlam bus stop so that getting around the area wouldn’t be an issue if you aren’t driving. Just be sure that you are ready for emergency money that you can spend incase anything happens to your reserved room just like what happened to me. (will post an airbnb review later). Some of the destinations are walk-able (1-2kms) but the heat may be a challenge so just be ready with umbrellas, Guam roads aren’t fans of sidewalks so you might find your self walking on unpaved road sides.

Transportation

Best Option: Car rental – rent a car for just $20-$25 a day. Gas cost around $3-$4 a gallon which is enough for you to go around the entire island at least four times! Just bring your drivers license and you can drive for a maximum of thirty days while in the territory.

For non-drivers here’s how you can get around the island.

Lamlam Bus Service

Lamlam seems to be Guam’s de facto public bus service. The bus service is operated by Lamlam tours company and has several routes around the main area of the island with most of them terminating at Micronesia Mall and Guam Premier Outlets (GPO).  One way single use tickets costs $4 per way while day passes starts at $12 for one day, $15 for 2 days, $25 for 5 days while child pass costs $13. They also have special buses that will get you to special points of interests such as Two Lovers Point and Chamorro Village among others.

If you are trying to get out of the airport, they also have an airport shuttle that will take you to T-Galleria Mall in the downtown are. Bus service usually starts by 10 AM.

Taxi

From the airport taxi service (meter) will cost you about $25 for the entire 2.8 miles (5kms) journey. Expensive yet somewhat convenient except when you are in area where there are no taxi waiting area. See, taxis do not go around and pickup passengers. Most of the time they are stationary in an establishment with a kiosk where you can book their service.

Stroll & LamCar

There’s no Uber, Grab or Lyft in Guam. Instead they have Stroll. Similar to other ride hailing apps Stroll will provide you the estimated price and pick you up from your location. The only set back for this is that there are not a lot of Stroll cars around the island so it may take a while before you can actually hail one. However, it may be worth the wait compared to taxis as the price per mile are way cheaper.

Another option is the LamCar, similar to Stroll this app also helps you to hail one of the Lamlam tour company’s

Food 

There are lots of great food options in Guam. From food courts, restaurants, diners and of course there are fast food options as well. Pricing though does not differ whether it is fast food or a mom-and-pop food store, only the specialty restaurants actually border on the “pricey” end of the spectrum.

To give context to how much you will be spending and should be allotting for your food budget, here are the actual prices I paid for.

Mc Donalds
……….Big Mac Meal ………..$7.90
……….Big Mac (Sandwich only) ………..$5.00

Denny’s 
……….Grilled Chicken Breast with Mash Potato and Brocolli………..$8
……….Hamburger Gravy Bowl………..$8.00
……….Unlimited Hot Choco………..$3.60

Note: Denny’s have breakfast options for as low as $2 some if the servings are big specially those with rice like the Hamburger Gravy Bowl I had to put them on take-away bags so I can finish them later, so maybe you can just share.

Cinnabon (Classic)………..$3.99

Infusion Coffee and Tea Shop
……….Shangri-La Iced Tea………..$2.50
……….Chicken Pesto Pasta………..$2.00

Figaro
……….Java Chip Coffee………..$5.74

If  you are traveling in a group better cook your selves food it’ll be cheaper!

Activities

Shopping

Guam Premier Outlets
Micronesia Mall
Downtown Shopping Lane (Hotel road)

Guam Ocean Venture

Chamorro Village

Watch Las Vegas Style Magic Shows

Beaches

Tumon Beach
Gab Gab Beach
Gun Beach

Food Trips

Guam National Museum

War In The Pacific Nat’l Historical Park

Asan Bay Overlook

Guam Legislative Building

Dulce Nobre de Maria Cathedral

Two Lovers Point

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Crystal Chapel

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Though honestly, the best thing still to do in Guam is to shop. However, there are still a lot of things to do in the island that you don’t have to spend so much. But then again if you see the prices in the outlet stores and duty free shops you would definitely panic and your card may get overloaded. I am not even exaggerating. My favorite store still and probably will always will is Ross, thought it was tough to find something for my size, that store still my heart (yeah we got a long history way back 2006 hahaha).

Nevertheless if shopping is not your thing, the Chamorros are one of the jolliest people I’ve ever met, you’ll have a great time around them for sure! Best to bring a friend or two with you to split the cost of your Airbnb, car rental and gas. Lastly stop converting to your local currency! hahaha! yes let lose for a moment when in Guam and you’ll surely enjoy your stay. Haf Adai!

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.

On my recent trip to Taipei, Taiwan’s beautiful capital I’ve indulged my self into an eating free in one of their famous night markets and some other random street foods. Here are a few of the Taiwanese food that you should try when in Taipei!

Huajiao Bing

Pepper seasoned pork filled bun baked inside a tandori looking kind of oven. Unlike other pork filled buns, The Huajiao Bing’s bread is hard outside and crumbling inside.

Taiwanese Food

Carbon Barbecue

Bacon or Chicken fillet wrapped spring onions wrapped barbecues grilled over charcoal. They are cooked in batches and are sold separately. Each one are individually skewered with a toothpick to keep them together. Each one cost about NT24 a piece.

Taiwanese Food

Taiwanese Pancake

Also known as a  Scallion cake, this pancake is cooked on a flat pan like a roti. Scallions or onion springs are added to the batter mixture giving it its name scallion cake. It is a cheap yet filling food that you can bite on if you need something to eat yet don’t have the time to eat a proper meal.

Taiwanese Food

Stinky Tofu

Probably the most famous dish that comes as a dare to a lot of western tourists. Before being grilled or fried and topped with vegetables.

Taiwanese FoodSource

Cranberry Juice

Made from fresh Cranberries you can find several of these stalls around Shilin Night Market. This is a perfect first stop before starting your food trip around the market so you’d have something to drink along with your food.

Taiwanese Food

Taiwanese Food

Gong Rou Fan

Rice in a bowl topped with tender pork chop that just melts in your mouth. The dish also has pickled cucumbers to cleanse your palette. The best Gong Rou Fan can be found in Ximen area  and costs about NT65

Taiwanese Food

Hot Star Whole Chicken Breast

Though Hot Star has branches here in Manila, I’d say that it is still worth trying out this food on where it started. You find this stall with a line of customers most of time waiting for another batch of fried chicken breast goodness to be served.

Taiwanese Food

 

Bubble Tea 

It wouldn’t be right not to try out Bubble Tea from its place of birth. Yes, the bubble tea that wee know was born in Taipei! It’s amazing how many flavors one can try with each Bubble Tea shop that one can find in every corner of the city.

Taiwanese Food

Ice Cream Burrito

I am not sure if this is a Jiufen specialty but I didn’t notice this sold anywhere else. The Ice Cream Burrito (just made that name up -can’t remember sorry bad memory) is basically a scoop or two of ice cream wapped together with peanut shavings and cilantro in a spring roll wrapper.

Taiwanese Foodsource

Taro Balls

Also found this one in Jiufen, where they serve it either hot or cold with milk. Its basically just taros shaped in spheres served with milk. I specially liked this one hot when I tried it in Jiufen when it was freezing cold that day. Oh yeah, this reminds me of our Filipino Ginataang Halo-Halo

Taiwanese FoodSource

Oyster Omelet

Odd as it may seem but this omelet is quite good. I got a chance to try it out

photo courtesy of york hsieh

 

Cheesy Sea Food Clam

Should I say more of this? I mean cheese and sea food baked in goodness together? This was a bit pricey for the size. It was about NTD80 i think but it was so worth it. Every bite was soooo creamy as the cheese and the sea food just compliments each other. I do say sea food because it’s not just clams stuffed back on the shell but other sea food as well like crabs and squid. Truly worth the experience.

taiwanese foodphoto courtesy of york hsieh

 

Iced Taiwanese Mochi

Probably the one that surprised me most was this Iced Taiwanese Mochi. I’ve tried Taiwanese mochies before at the Shilin Night Market but it wasn’t as exciting as this. Having the mochi ball on top of the milked crushed ice gave it a different dimension. The different textures playing inside your mouth was so crazy i didn’t knew how to react but just closed my eyes and moan. Hahahaha! My Taiwanese friend laughed so hard of my yummy face!

photo courtesy of york hsieh

Got a Taipei Food Must Try that you’d like to share? Put it down on the comment section so we can add them up on the list!

Crossing From Singapore To Malaysia

If you are on a Southeast Asian trip or just trying to maximize your trip in Singapore, a quick trip to Malayia can actually be done via land. Singapore is connected to Malaysia via a few entry points. From thee you can start exploring places like Joho Bahur or Melaka, or even as far as Penang or Kuala Lumpur via an overnight bus. Yes you can always book a flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, but if you are aiming for a cheaper alternative a night bus can save you a lot.

How To Book A Bus From Singapore To Malayia

While in Singapore I tried looking for a travel agency that where I can physically buy a bus ticket from. It was quite a challenge specially in the area where I was staying (Bukit Pajang). So after scouring the mall (Bukit Pajang Plaza) I went back to my accommodation and just checked online.

There are several sites that you can book your bu tickets, it is actually a lot more convenient it just my traditional thinking that’s kicking in. I choose BusOnlineTicket.com based on the price and departure times available. I booked a trip departing 12AM that night, cost was SG$28

Upon arriving at the pickup point, I just showed my phone with their email confirmation and I was admitted to board the bus. The same bus will be taking you from the pickup point, through immigration then all the way to your ultimate destination. It was Kuala Lumpur for me.

Immigration

The bus crosses the causeway bridge and takes you to the Singapore Immigration processing center. The center was large and well organized just like an airport. There were not much people at that time since it was midnight so everything went quickly. We went back to the bus and once every one was in we then journeyed to the Malaysian side of the border to be stamped in. The Malaysian immigration office was remarkably smaller compared to Singapore but since it was midnight everything was done quickly.

Timetable

Travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is about 5-6 hours. If you are traveling after summer you might consider a few things when you travel. You will arrive when it still is dark at around 5 AM and if you are getting off at Berjaya Times Square make sure that you have changed your money to Ringgit before you leave Singapore. There are no 24 hours money changer around the area.

 

Got more tips about crossing to or from Singapore and Malaysia? Leave them on the comment section and we’ll try to add them!

Travel Guide: How To Get To Taipei From The Airport

So just landed in the Taoyuan Internation Airport and you are ready to explore Taiwan. But then there you are standing in the arrivals area, over whelmed on all of the Chinese characters you see. Inside your head you are lightly freaking out asking your self How to do you get to Taipei from the Airport?

Thankfully, going to Taipei from the Airport has been more convenient over the past few years. The buses bound to Taipei that will drop you off at the Taipei Main Station is now operating 24 hours. The Airport railway link on the other hand has been recently opened after a few year of construction.

Best Way To Get To Taipei From The Airport

Honestly, it depends on your situation. Here’s what I recommend.

Cab

If you do not  trust your skills in taking public transport, you can always take the cab. However, I can assure you taking the bus and the Airport MRT is really easy. I also recommend that you take the cab if you have several bags with you and you are solo traveling. Yeah… I know people who travel with several bags for a three night trip. Believe me! Hahaha! It would also be more comfortable to take the cab from the airport instead of the bus. The cost shouldn’t be that much if you have friends to split the fare with you. A cab ride from the airport to Taipei main station should cost you around 900 – 1000 NT$  

Get To Taipei From The Airport photo by  koadmunkee used under CC Licence

Get To Taipei From The Airportphoto by  spencer341b used under CC Lisence

Bus

The most cost effective of all types of transportation. it only costs around NT$ 125 to get to Taipei from the airport which is really cheap comparing it from taking the train and more over to taking the cab. If you are arriving anytime between 12AM till 6AM, the bus would probably the best choice for you as the Airport MRT will not operate until 6AM. Some of the buses have luggage areas at front for small bags while you can always put big bags in the compartments on the side of the bus.

 

photo by   lyng883 used under CC Licence

Airport MRT

After several years of construction, the Aiport MRT is finally open. I was lucky enough to try the Aiport link on its first month of operation as the fares are still discounted. Regular fare from the Airport to the Taipei Main Station costs about NT$160. The train is fast and clean (buses tend to have a bit of a smell sometimes -just like everywhere). Only draw back that I think it has are its seats. The coaches have regular plastic seats instead of comfy cushioned ones.

Get To Taipei From The Airport

You will be arriving at the new A1 Terminal or the Airport Terminal of the Taipei Main Station. From there you can transfer to which ever line you need to be in to get to your destination.

Get To Taipei From The Airport

The Taipei Main Station is massive so don’t be shy to ask around. I for one still gets lost even if I’ve used the station several times. Be patient and be ready for an adventure! LOL!

We hope that this guide has helped you in some way. If you know any other way to efficiently get to Taipei from the airport, please let us know in the comment section.

 

The Baguio List: What To See In Baguio

The summer capital of the Philippines, Baguio is easily one of the top destinations in the Philippines. Just a bus ride away from Manila, the capital city, Baguio transports you a world away from the chaotic atmosphere of Manila. To maximize your enjoyment in the city of pines, I’ve come up with a list of everything you need to know on what to see in Baguio City.

 Burnham Park 

Named after the architect of the City of Baguio, Daniel Burnham, Burnham park sits at the center of the city making it a great place for the community to come together. The park features several gardens and a lagoon where one can paddle a boat on high altitude. Biking also is popular on this park. Having sloped roadways this piece of flat land in the city sure is the best spot to learn biking.  what to see in baguio

Photo by Res Pe (used under CC License)

Mines View Park

Probably the second most popular spot in Baguio is this small promontory called Mine’s View Park. Located at the northern end of the city, the park offers a view of the nearby mountains and valley bordering other municipalities surrounding Baguio.

what to see in baguioPhoto by  ginomempin  (used under CC License)

 

Wright Park

If you are up for some adventure, try out horseback riding at wright park. As soon as you arrive at the park you will be welcomed by lanes of ponies and horses along with the distinct smell of horse poo. LOL. It’s worth trying though specially if you haven’t ridden a horse yet. You can also visit St. Joseph Parish Church  where a famous celebrity couple got married. Guess who! Write your answer in the comment section!

what to see in baguio

Photo by Constantine Agustin (Used under CC License)

Lourdes Grotto

Walk 252 steps up the stairs going to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. Located at the western side of Baguio city in Mirador Hills one can say their prayers as they arrive at the top. Some do this as penance and as a sacrifice for a wish made.

what to see in baguio

Photo by LeylanR (Used under CC License)

Baguio Cathedral

Built during the American occupation with a Neo-Gothic architecture the Baguio Cathedral is the seat of the archdiocese of Benguet.

what to see in baguio

Photo by JanLendL [too busy! (Used under CC License)

Strawberry Farm

Fancy picking strawberries straight from the farm to your basket. Strawberry picking has been a tourist attraction specially for those who like their berries ultra fresh. It is also a fun activity that the family can enjoy together. Strawberry farms are found in La Trinidad, Benguet a several minutes outside of Baguio.

what to see in baguio

Photo by mykel7873 (Used under CC License)

Ben Cab Museum

Home of the world renowned visual artist Benedicto Cabrera’s art works is found in Tuba, Benguet. The BenCab museum offers a visual feast for your creative minds.

what to see in baguio

Photo by penmanila (Used under CC License)

Tam Awan Village

Created as an artist’s haven the Tam Awan village can be found within the outskirts of Baguio City. One can enjoy watching cultural shows and shop for handicrafts created by Benguet’s artisans.

what to see in baguio

Photo by girlpixieshoot (Used under CC License)

Mount Costa

One of the newest attractions that you can add on your what to see in Baguio list, though outside of the city, Mount Costa is just several minutes drive from Baguio. This attraction has a hand full of full size and pocket gardens that you can just let your self get lost and marvel at the beauty of nature.

The Mansion

Officially called as The Mansion House, This white washed stone house becomes the official summer residence of the president of The Republic of the Philippines during the hot months. The structure was built by the Americans in 1908 as the summer house of US Governor Generals

what to see in baguio

 

Editors Note: This article will be updated each time we find something worth visiting. Please like our FB Page and Instagram for more updates.

 

Travel Guide: How To Go To Vietnam From Cambodia (Border Cross)

Being part of the main land Southeast Asia, Vietnam is one of the usual stops for backpackers. So aside from taking the plane to the country, to save money most travelers actually cross borders via land. If you are wondering how to go to Vietnam from Cambodia via land, you’d be surprised that it’s relatively easy. Let’s check on some things first.

VISA Requirements

If you are a non ASEAN citizen you might want to check Viet Nam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs if you are needing to secure a visa prior to your arrival. You will also notice when you buy your bus ticket that the staff will ask you some questions. This is to determine if you are aware of your visa situation and that you have secured one if necessary.

On the other hand, if you are an ASEAN citizen, all that you’ll be needing is your passport. ASEAN citizens with passports issued by member countries  are currently afforded visa-free entry into Viet Nam for a period of 21 to 30 days.

How To Go To Vietnam From Cambodia (Border Cross)

check on google maps here

How To Go To Vietnam From Cambodia (Border Cross)

screen cap from google maps

The Journey To Viet Nam

As you buy your ticket, the staff will actually ask you if you have ever been to Viet Nam. I think this is their soft probing if you are aware of the things that you need to know on how to go to Vietnam from Cambodia. They will also inform you if you need a visa, ergo they will not sell you tickets if you don’t have.

Say, you have your tickets already and its time to board the bus. Before the bus leaves, the steward will collect all passports to double check if you have the right documentation. As soon as you arrive at the Cambodian border, all passports will be redistributed. You will have to get off of the bus and line up for your passports to be stamped out.

After everyone has been stamped out and have boarded back on the bus, you will be taken to the Duty Free shop for dinner. Yeah, It’s a bit over priced but the food isn’t that bad and you have no other choice. After about an hour everyone jumped backed in the bus heading to the Viet Nam side of the border.

On the Vietnam side of the border, the bus steward will be the one to process your passports for you. You will actually be asked to bypass the immigration officers booth after handing you back your passport. As you exit the processing center, an immigration officer will then check your passports one at a time. This is to make sure that everyone was processed accordingly.

Your bus will be waiting at the exit of the processing center. Once everyone is back on the bus you’d be on your way to Ho Chi Minh city! There’s one difference that should be noted between the Cambodian and Vietnam border processing. As you exit, the Cambodian border center will just as yourself to step off the bus without your belongings. On the other hand, the Vietnam border will ask you to unload everything and have everything scanned. I guess the later’s immigration process is a lot stricter since you are entering their country.

Your journey ends at the Pham Ngu Lao street where everyone gets off. If you have not booked a room just yet, you are almost guaranteed to find one along the alleys of Pham Ngu Lao.

hopefully this gives you a good idea of what bus company to take and some insight on How To Go To Vietnam From Cambodia.

Fare: $14 (as of 11/29/2016)

 

If you have any questions, suggestion or inputs please do let us know on the comments section!