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

 

Travel Guide: Liw-liwa Zambales Itinerary

Zambales offers a lot of options when it comes to advnture. You can go climb mountains, swim rivers but my favorite of all are its beaches. Yes Zambales does not have those pristine white sands just like in the visayas, but they are as close as three hours from Manila and offers a lot of activities that the family can enjoy.

Liwliwa Zambales

Liw-liwa is small coastal community in Zambales with a vibrant surfing scene. The beach may not be as soft and as white as the others but it offers a huge beach area where you can just enjoy laying out under the sun while watching surfing to their stuff.

As you emerge from the community to the beach you will also be amazed by how raw this area is (I just hope that this would stay the way it is). The beach is lined up not with coconut trees but with pine trees with the towering mountains of Zambales behind them. I couldn’t help my self but just stare at it for minutes!

 

How To Go To Liw-liwa

From EDSA Take a bus going to Iba Zambales (or anything going past Zambales)
Tell the Conductor to unload you at Bobulan Elementary School in San Felipe, Zambales
Incase they aren’t familiar with the school just alight in their stop for San Felipe
Take a tricycle going to Liw-liwa

Liwliwa Zambales

Where To Stay

Since I was with a friend we opted to stay in a private hut in La Zerena Resort but if you are solo or you and your friends would like to meet new people I highly suggest to stay in The Circle Hostel which is just right across La Zerena or a better alternative is the HideOut Hostel.

Expenses

Caloocan (Victory Liner) – San Felipe – Caloocan         564.00 (282/way)
Accommodation                                                                   600.00 (1200 good for two)
Surf Board Rental (Half Day)                                              400.00
Tricycle Service to Falls                                                      250.00
Falls Entrance                                                                         50.00

Total                                                                                  1,614.00

Food

The most convenient place to get almost everything that you need is at Fely’s Store and Canteen. They have a meal menu mostly Tapsis starting around 75.00, Fruit shakes at about 50.oo and other things that you may need including personal necessities.

liwliwa zambales

Itinerary

Day 1

04:00 ETD Victory Liner Caloocan
09:00 ETA Sitio Liw-liwa, San Felipe, Zambales
09:30 Breakfast
10:00 ETD going to Lubong-Nangoloan Falls
11:30 ETD Back to Sitio Liw-liwa
12:00 Lunch / Free Time
13:30 Beach Bumming/ Surfing
17:30 – 18:00 Sunset
19:00 Dinner
20:00 Onwards Socials/Bonfire

Day 2

07:00 Wakeup Call
07:30 Breakfast
08:30 Beach
10:30 Prep for checkout
11:00 Checkout
11:30 Lunch
12:30 ETD to Caloocan
18:00 ETA Caloocan

liwliwa zambales

Notes:

You can bring your own tent, the beach is huge you can just pitch your tent for free.
There are toilets that you can pay to use.
Bring a garbage bag and bring your trash with you, locals are very particular about cleanliness of the beach
If you opt to stay in a room, call ahead of time and reserve. They get fully booked easily on weekends.
Fruitshakes are aweosme
If you plan to go to the falls ask for the husband of the massage therapist at the resort on La Zerena’s right.

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.

How To Get To Pattaya From Aranyaprateth

Most travelers coming from Cambodia opts to go straight to Bangkok as soon as they cross the border to Aranyaprateth. But if you are looking for to have some time under the Thai Sun a quick stop over in Pattaya can satisfy your craving for some sand between your toes.

One can get to Pattaya from the border by booking a bus online, however most of the bus companies that I found are quite expensive. Good thing is that staff in the hotel where I as staying gave me directions on where I could catch a Van to Pattaya at a fraction of the cost.

After going through immigration find your way to the Star Plaza Mall‘s open air parking on the right side where van are located. You can buy a ticket from the terminal desk, they will issue a receipt so make sure that you don’t lose it because at some point of the journey they will be inspecting this.

Fare all the way to Pattaya is about 250 Baht.

Here are some photos of the terminal that you should be looking for.

Terminal Desk

Terminal To Pattaya

Do you know any other way to get to Pattaya from Aranyaprateth? Let us know in the comment!

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

Probably one of the cheapest places to hike is just off north of the metro is Mt. Balagbag. Straddling between the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal, Mt. Balagbag offers an amazing view of the vast area of the metropolis.

The mountain can be reached by foot but 4x4s are able to reach the summit of the mountain. This makes the mountain ideal for camping for families who would like to venture into a different kind of family bonding.

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

There are three registration areas going up. The first registration area is as soon as you enter the road leading to the trail. You do not need to pay anything here, but a donation can be made for the cause of the people who are “taking care of the area”. The second registration is at the community hall where they ask for Php 10. About an hour for there the third registration are is found where you would have to pay Php 20.

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

From the last registration area, the hike up the mountain is just about 30 – minutes.

If you are doing a sunrise or sunset day hike be sure to bring extra cash. The public transport’s end time schedule is quite unpredictable and you might need to rent habal-habal or a jeep if you aren’t able to catch the last trip going back.

How To Get To Mt. Balagbag

From Mc. Arthur Highway
Take a jeep from Tabing Ilog Market Terminal in Marilao going to Muzon. From Muzon take a jeep to Tungko where you will find the terminal going to Licao-Licao

From Quezon City
Take a bus to Tungko then on to a jeep to Licao-Licao. You will get off at the end of the line where you can start your hike.

Expenses

From McArthur Highway

    • Marilao to Muzon               Php 18
    • Muzon to Tungko               Php   7
    • Tungko to Licao-Licao      Php 27

From Quezon City

    • Cubao to Tungko                          Php 53
    • Tungko to Licao-Licao                Php 27

Registration

    • Registration #1 – Donation
    • Registration #2 – Php 10
    • Registration #3 – Php 20

Note: There’s also a way through Montalban though the author has yet to find more information about it.

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

Mt. Balagbag Itinerary

How To Cross To Cambodia From Thailand

Crossing the Cambodian border from Thailand could be one of the most challenging border crossing one may experience, like how I did.

First off you need to get to Aranyaprateth, Your bus or van may drop you off at Aranya (possibly their nickname for the market area) and you would have to hire a tuktuk to get to the border it self. Some vans may drop you off at the Border like the one I took from Pattaya.

Find the entrance where it says departure and walk straight ahead. You’ll find a sign showing “Foreign Passports”, go up to the stairs -no photos and videos as soon as you enter the door; that’s the immigration area already. Line up and have your passports ready together with your departure cards to have it stamped. That’s it you are officially out of Thailand.

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As you exit the immigration building you will see the Cambodian border arch, walk straight past it going to the arrival area. If you are a non-ASEAN citizen or are needing a visa you may secure your visa at the building near after the arch. There are a lot of people at the Thai border who will try to sell you or scam you in getting a Cambodian visa so be very cautious.

The arrival area is just a small office, immeadiately secure an arrival card, fill it up then queue for the immigration officers. No fees should be collected at this point. I have heard some horror stories from fellow travelers that immigration officers ask for at least $1 for different reasons ranging from so called “Processing fees” to rediculous “First timer’s fees”

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Be cautious of touts as well, do not answer any greeting or question from strangers or they will follow you up till you actually get on a bus or taxi. I made the mistake of answering to a “Hello” then the next thing I knew is that there are three men following me trying to have me get their service.

Once you have processed your arrival you either take a shared taxi or a bus to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh or where ever you are bound to, at the international Bus Terminal (6kms away) by taking the FREE government bus or walk straight to the Vikram Buntham bus terminal just straight ahead down the road. Fare for this bus company ranges from 8-10 USD depending on what type of bus you will be taking.

map-cambodia-border-copy

Always remember to check for your visa requirements and have enough money , be it local or USD -which ever is acceptable to your country of destination. It is important to know what you need to do and your rights specially when traveling cross borders to avoid being scammed.

Do you have a story or different experience in crossing the Cambodian border from Thailand? Let us know at the comment section!

How To Get To Khao San Road From Airport

There’s a couple of ways to get to the city from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, it is really up to you how would you want to navigate the city depending on how much time and convenience you are willing to let go. Here’s a couple of ways on how to get to Khao San Road from the airport.

Via Taxi

The most convenient yet expensive way to get to Khao San Road from the airport is by taking cab. Flag down rate starts at ฿ 35 while ฿ 6 is charged for every kilometer while a surcharge of ฿ 1.25 for every meter is applied if your vehicle is moving under 6 kph. You will also need to shoulder the toll fees for the expressway while you will be at the mercy of Bangkok’s famous traffic jams.

Via Bus

There are buses at the arrival area that you can ride taking you directly to Khao San Road. Fare is about ฿ 150 – 180 depending on the bus company. Compared to taxis they are more comfortable with bigger seats designed for trips, but just like the taxi travel time will depend on the traffic situation.

Via Train

First off, the train will NOT take you directly to Khao San road. You can take the airport train up to the end of the Airport Rail Link line which is the Phaya Thai station. From the Phaya Thai station, walk to the Victory Monument or take another train (just one station away ฿15) and take the 509 or 157 bus. Make sure to tell the conductor to unload you at the right stop. Fare from the airport to Phaya Thai station is ฿45 and the bus to Khao San road is ฿13

Victory Monument Bus Stop

 

Pagudpud Travel Guide: Itinerary and Expenses

The north of Luzon offers a diverse option on how to spend your holidays and one of the best way to lazy around is just bum around the beach, and Saud Beach in Ilocos is the perfect place to do such. However, why not maximize your stay at the northern region of Luzon and explore it’s unique tourist attractions.

Here’s a sample itinerary for you in exploring the Ilocos region in one go.

itininerary ilocos

Download The Ilocos Backpacking Itinerary