Baguio: Mount Costa Living Gardens

Just off of the city of Baguio, a new attraction just opened up in La Trinidad Benguet. Yeah it’s technically not in Baguio but it still is just a few minutes travel from the city. This is Mount Costa.

According to its website www.mountcosta.com, Mount Costa is a garden of gardens filled with beautiful scenery where you can stroll and just relax. If you are from Manila, think of it like the Picnic Grove in Tagaytay only a lot better!

 




 

From Baguio City to Mount Costa via Jeep:

Go to Shagem St. (across Rose Garden, Burnham Park) and ride a ‘Long trip’ jeep that will take you all the way to Lamtang. Get off at Lamtang Irisan Cockpit.
Ride a jeep with a sign ‘Puguis Junction’ then get off at Mount Costa.

(Directions as per Mount Costa website)

Mount Costa

Please go to their website for more information.

You can find more rooms in Baguio here

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.

dsc06266

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”

dsc06269

 

dsc06273

 

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!

5 Traveler Must Have Apps

In this day and age of technological advancements traveling has never been so much easier than before. Thanks to the invention of coding (and the smart phone of course), different applications can now be downloaded to your phones of which most are free. These applications will definitely help you not just navigate from A to B, but also keep your within your budget on the road.

 

1.  Google Maps

Who would have not have these on their phone, ey? Uhm…. iPhone users i guess? Well  I am not really quite sure if iPhone users have this or not but if can download it, go ahead! Google probably has the largest database of roads mapped out on an application. So instead of carrying that big paper map why not trade it with an easy to use app like Google Maps?

 

2. Train Apps

Major cities throughout the world are densely populated if not widely spread to several square kilometers. For this reason most of these cities have their own Metro (train) system to move people around the metropolis. Luckily, there are apps available like Trainsity for most metros in major cities. But make sure to research more about this because cities like Hong Kong have their own super cool app for their MTR which tells you how, where and when to transfer and get off on a station to get to where you want to be!MTR App

3. Google Translate

You might think that this thing wont actually work offline, well maybe for some functions but it is really handy having this app in times where no one would seem to know how to speak English or your language. To make sure that you don’t run out of luck specially if you are off the grid, download the language packs so that it will still work even without internet connection, brilliant ey!?

 

4. Weather App

Seriously this is one of the most important thing that I use. I actually double check this before I leave my house going to the airport, crazy me huh!? Not really. It is important that you check and double check the weather of your final destination, you don’t want to be over dressed if there’s a heatwave going on or freeze if there was a sudden snow fall right?

 

5. Currency App

Making sure you exchange enough money to another currency is a vital thing if you want to keep up with you budget when you are on the road. That is why having a currency conversion app is really helpful in making those decision that could possibly hurt your budget if you do not think carefully. There are bunches of them out there but I personally recommend the XE Currency Converter, it is simple and fast and handy.

Any apps that we missed out there that you think should be part of this list? Let us know on the comments section below.

 

*note: any logo or trademark that appears on this blog/article belongs rightfully to their respective owners. thebackpackerguide.com does not claim any right from any of them and was used for educational/informational purposes only.