It’s almost the end of 2013, but until now I still can’t believe that I have traveled may times this year. It is the YEAR when I realized that I’ve spent more times wandering around the airport, sleeping on overnight bus, making friends with dorm mates in hostel, busy counting stamps on my passport and always preoccupied with all the planning details for my upcoming destination. This addiction and passion just started out as a hobby to explore places which eventually turns out to be an addiction.
So what is the adverse effect of traveling to me for this year?!
1) Conquered 9 Countries
2) Explored 6 domestic destination in Malaysia
3) Now writing my personal travel blog
4) Bought a DSLR CANON 650D
5) Gain new friends from different countries
6) I was able to come up with a good technique to divert my attention as an OFW so to avoid homesickness
7) Makes me appreciate LIFE more and see the WORLD in a different perspective
It started in Singapore then to Melaka which later then followed by a series of out of the country/town trip. I was just dreaming before and now I am able to go places, the feeling is incomparable. Will rundown the BEST of my 2013 TRAVEL.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE
Clueless of the best way to welcome the year 2013. I found myself travelling by land from KL to SG to celebrate New Year along with my room mate. We traveled on the night of December 30th and went back to KL on January 1st, 2013. In order to get this travel accomplished I had to make a medical leave for 1 day and had to fake it acting like I am really sick when I phoned in my supervisor. It was my second time in SG and since my brother is based in SG I dont have to worry about the accommodation. I re-visited the Universal Studios although I’ve been there the 1st time I went to SG and on the night of the New Years Eve we welcome the year in Marina Bay Park for the beautiful fireworks display.
My 1st time to go out of town since I started working in KL. I was hesitant at first going to Melaka cause I’m worried about my finances few months back when I was still going through a tough time handling my finances and how to inject travel in between. It was a good decision though to visit Melaka, recognised as UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE site. Expect to see more about culture, heritage, food which will make you appreciate Melaka. It is only 2 hour away from KL so for a boring day off you can simply ride a bus for 10RM from KL going to Melaka.
This is where the backpacking and travel addiction started when I bravely challenged myself to go solo backpacking in 4 countries for 10 days. Originally it was only Thailand and Cambodia but when I read about the stories from travel blogs that you can cover 4-5 IndoChina countries overland by simply crossing borders and not spending much. So i decided to do THAILAND-LAOS-CAMBODIA-VIETNAM trip. Given a very limited time only to explore the places is a big challenge for me. I had to undergo so much pressure working on my itinerary and budget.
TEMPLE IN BANGKOK
I went on a temple hopping in Thailand on my 2nd day where I also met 4 Filipino’s who are also whining around. I make friends with them and until we communicate through facebook. The temples are stunning and incredibly preserved.
NONG NOOCH GARDEN IN PATTAYA, THAILAND
Inspired from the movie starring Erich Gonzalez and Mario Maurer (Suddenly It’s Magic). I visited Nong Nooch Garden in Pattaya just to have this photo taken. Beautifully sculptured garden with different themes can be seen in Nong Nooch. Finding my way to Nong Nooch I pass by the Jom Tien Beach in Pattaya which is the nearest beach from Bangkok. I did not swim cause forgot to bring extra clothes but already contented walking on the sand barefooted while the cold water from sea ascends to the shore.
With less than 2 hours away from Bangkok you can do a quick visit to another UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE in AYUTTHAYA, THAILAND. On my 1st day I attempted to go in Ayutthaya but it rained so bad that it is impossible to do a temple tour so I just went back to Bangkok and just moved the schedule of my Ayutthaya trip on my last day in Thailand before I travelled to Laos. It was a very interesting trip to see all those Buddhist Temples still standing and preserved until now.
PHA THAT LUANG IN VIENTIANE, LAOS
Coming from a 4 day trip in Bangkok- I went to a day trip to the laid back city of Vientiane in Laos. I took an overnight bus from Khao San road to Vientiane for 1200 BAHT. A country left behind by time yet the people are nice and the place is rich in culture and heritage. I did not see any skyscrapers while roaming around the town. It is easy to do a day trip in Vientiane cause most of the main attractions can be reached by merely walking. By far the cheapest solo trip I had is Laos cause I only spent for food and souvenirs.
ANGKOR WAT TEMPLE IN SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
Fascinated by the images of Angkor Wat online and inspired from the movie Tomb Raider starred by Angelina Jolie- unarguably MUST SEE PLACE BEFORE YOU DIE. I was awed by how the temples are structured and how it was done by Khmers during the time there is no machinery and equipment to put up all these temples. My journey to Cambodia is like an episode in the Amazing Race- coming from the 15 hours train travel from Laos-Bangkok with no sleep and empty stomach. I have to find my way to Cambodia ASAP so I can get pass the border between Thailand and Cambodia as I’ve read somewhere that the immigration in Poipet border is only until 5PM. But thank God I made it to Siem Reap safely without any hassle. I only stayed technically 1 1/2 day in Siem Reap and it was a decision I have to make as my funds is starting to run out.
MEKONG RIVER CRUISE IN HOCHI MINH, VIETNAM
One of my favorite country is Vietnam-it has a special place in my heart. Vietnam is my final destination for my 10 day backpacking trip. When I arrived in Vietnam I can feel my body is giving up due to tiredness and lack of sleep but everything has to go well along with the plan. I thought of just staying 1 day in HCMC and another day spent in Mui Ne for the famous sand dunes but I got worried cause I was only left with 100 USD after the 3 countries and I have to make it work for 2 days more. That’s why i just ended up staying in HCMC and explore the beauty of the laid back city of HCMC. My favorite part of the trip is eating the Pho Noodle and walking inside the Cu Chi tunnel feeling like a guerrilla.
Coming from a very successful 10 day backpacking trip in INDOCHINA-my adrenaline hasn’t subside yet so I planned on travelling domestic while I am still recovering financially from the expenses I incurred from the INDOCHINA trip. It is 5 hour trip from KL to Legoland in Johor Bahru which 1 hour away from SG. The 1st time I booked the ticket online it got wasted as 2 days before the scheduled date my boss had to make changes on my work schedule. And so wasted 110RM but it didn’t stop me from seeing Legoland-few weeks before month of May ended I made it to Legoland. The Theme Park is really for kids but the most interesting part that I enjoyed is the mini land-where you can see mini version of the iconics/landmarks of countries in ASIA like the TAJ MAHAL of India and the MERLION of Singapore.
The Administrative Capital of Malaysia is known as Putrajaya. A destination close to KL if you take a train or the rapid KL bus. I was accompanied by 3 colleagues when I visited Putrajaya and good thing one of my colleague who is a Malaysian has a car so she drove us around the area and even in Cyberjaya. The place reminded me of Dubai UAE cause of the high rising buildings, well architectured bridge, government offices and mosque. The government of Malaysia spent billions just to make Putrajaya looks like this.
LANGKAWI ISLAND, MALAYSIA
LANGKAWI CABLE CAR
I was supposed to go back home in Manila but the renewal of my work visa got delayed. And since I have to make use of the remaining 2 days leave before we renewed our contract-So come up with an idea to explore another wonders of Malaysia. I had to travel 12 hours to get to Langkawi from KL overland and it was exhausting but thanks to calm and quiet ambiance of Pantai Cenang. I went on an island tour and rode the cable car where you can have the panoramic view of the rest of the Langkawi Island-they say that on a bright clear skies you can see Thailand from this veiwpoint.
PENANG FOOD FEST
Blame it to the western backpackers I met along the way when I traveled to INDOCHINA. Penang is the favorite destination of almost all of the Westerns and Americans I met. And out of curiosity I traveled on a weekend to Penang where I had my 2nd couch surfing experience from a very nice family in Penang. Penang is the FOOD CAPITAL of Malaysia. God knows how many times I ate in Penang as I cant resist the foods you can see everywhere. Aside from food the town also offers exciting street art painted on the walls of houses in the streets of Lebuh Chulia.
MERLION PARK SINGAPORE
I have no plans at all in going back to SG anytime SOON- but when my cousin who works in Saudi Arabia visited me here in KL for a short vacation I couldn’t leave him hanging.So a day before his flight to SG I booked my 1 way flight to SG via AIRASIA so I can accompany him together with my brother who is based in SG. It was my 3rd time in SG and I feel like I’ve seen what SG has to offer but it turns out this li’l country hasn’t disappointed me yet. I went to visit the SG ZOO to satisfy my want’s to see the cute PANDA. SG has one of the amazing skyline and because of that I paid 20SGD to this skyline from the Observation Deck of the Marina Bay Hotel.
SULTAN OMAR ALI SAIFUDDIN MOSQUE IN BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
With the goal to accomplish all SOUTH EAST ASIAN countries- I booked a 1 way flight to Brunei via AIRASIA. The only reason why I came to visit Brunei is to get my passport stamp and satisfy my curiosity about the country with no alcohol and night life. I was supposed to be accompanied by 2 colleagues but they this sort of problem with their ticket booking so I had no choice but to continue the trip. Good thing I did not booked my flight going back to KL yet when they informed me they can’t come with me, so it gave me the idea to cover Kota Kinabalu as well.
KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA
MAMUTIK ISLAND SABAH
My journey to Kota Kinabalu from Brunei doesn’t go along well with the plan. With the original plan to take an 8 hour bus trip to KK which led me to traveling to KK via ferry and spending 1 night in Labuan. KK has also special place in my heart. I enjoyed the fresh seafood and the clear water of their beaches.
PHI PHI ISLAND KRABI
Thinking of where to spend my Bday for this year where I can relax and will not cost too much- my feet brought me to the beautiful island of Krabi in Thailand. I took an overnight bus to Hatyai the border of Malaysia and Thailand then took another bus to get to Ao Nang in Krabi where the backpackers hub is. I have never seen such nice beaches like that, only thing I did not like is the bunch of tourist making the place looks chaotic. I was happy enough to see the famous Leonardo de Caprio Island where the movie The Beach was shot.
HONG KONG DISNEYLAND
TSIM SHA SHUI PROMENADE HONG ONG
TIAN TAN BUDDHA
It was a ON and OFF decision when I planned my trip to HK. This is where I was supposed to celebrate my bday but since there are no ongoing airfare promotion sale few weeks before my bday so I just moved it to October- it became an advantage on my end cause it gave me more time to save enough money for the trip. HK is not your typical SEA destination meaning it is not CHEAP to travel to HK so a careful planning and budgeting is needed. This is now on top my list of my favorite country although not an independent country at all. The unforgettable moment is when I stepped inside HK’s DISNEYLAND-was totally a whole new experience to have come to the Happiest Place on Earth.
RUINS of ST. PAUL CHURCH
Since Macau is just an hour away from HK then this makes Macau an exciting place to visit for a day trip.I spent 1 day doing non-stop walking and taking photos alone. Although 1 day is not enough to cover all the must see attractions I am still proud of what I have accomplished. The highlight of the trip is the hotel-hopping experience on which I did not spend anything for transportation for the whole duration of trip in Macau except for the ferry fare going to Macau. It is tourist friendly place where most attractions can be seen via walking.
TANAH LOT TEMPLE
This is my last destination for the year 2013, I decided to take a rest for the month of December in lieu of the upcoming Christmas holiday. I have been warned by some travelers who visited Bali that it is overrated and the beaches are not even close to the beaches of Philippines. But it did not stop me from going to Bali for I believe the only time you can say a place is terrible is when you see it for yourself and not from hearsay. It was just a magical place with alot of things to offer. I promised myself I will go back to Bali one day where I am not following any itinerary and everything is just free flowing. What really strikes me about Bali is the faith of the Balinese people to their religion- you can see them praying and offering to their Gods and Goddesses every hour of the day.
WHAT’S YOUR TRAVEL STORY FOR THIS YEAR?