The boats coming in, I am looking at the eerily serene world-famous karst from a deserted part of the Tuan Chua Island. It was a Saturday, our second day in Vietnam, and our first weekend in the country. How many people can say they spent their Saturday afternoon looking at the spectacular Ha Long Bay? Today’s cancellation horror turned out to be one of our best, if not THE best, memory of Vietnam. Advertisements
Touring the Angkor archaeological park in one day is not enough. But because we had a private car and driver, we were able to dictate our time and was still able to explore the town of Siem Reap despite the very limited time we had in the country. While on our way to Angkor Wat, I instantly had the regret of having only one day to explore both the UNESCO World Heritage site and the town where the site is located because of the town’s shady trees, cute cafes, shops, and architecture. Here are my 10 things to do to enjoy Siem Reap outside of the famous historic temples.
When Joel and I visited Manila in February for my visa application, we took it as a chance to have a vacation. We’ve been to Manila several times but each visit felt shorter than the one before it. So, we decided to have that vacation in Manila — where we would visit all the places we want to visit at our own time. Because it was a vacation, we splurged a little bit with food (which we don’t usually do) and I did some research on where to eat that was walking distance from Casa Bocobo, the hotel we where staying at along Kalaw St. and just across Rizal Park.
My first out of town trip this year was to South Cotabato to attend the wedding of my cousin. I was so excited for this trip because it would be 20 years since I have visited my cousins’ hometown of Banga, South Cotabato. Because we arrived a day earlier, my family graciously toured us around. We are a pasalubong-loving family and the itinerary of “one day South Cotabato tour” centered around the things we would like to bring back to Cebu.
Eating out in Chiang Mai was easier compared to Bangkok because Chiang Mai was a smaller city. In fact, we just have to walk 10 meters and we could get papaya salad made fresh by our neighbor in his home-turned-restaurant-at-night. Beside his house, another neighbor sells banana and vegetable fritters. In Chiang Mai, you walk just a distance of five meters and another restaurant, diner, or stall selling food will greet you. Here are my top recommendations.
Bangkok’s Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in the world. Bangkok’s Chinatown is like a city within a city. We attempted to cover all of Chinatown, but three days is just not enough. I realized that when you come to Bangkok’s Chinatown, you must have a purpose and must know the exact location of that purpose. Otherwise, you’ll end up lost, although we didn’t mind for there are sights to see, treasures to discover, including gold, and lots of gold, and delicious food to eat in every corner.
We capped our day at Ayutthaya at its floating market. It was not the “floating market” that we saw in National Geographic images. It was very far from it. I read (after we visited the market) that this was meant for the locals, which explained why there were only a handful of foreign tourists, and I would not be surprised to learn that the river was a manmade river. Despite this, and the steep 200baht for a few minutes of river cruise, I think I enjoyed looking at how Thai people spend their holidays. Read on if you want to know more about this floating market.
Ayutthaya, once Thailand’s capital for more than 400 years, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that I already marked for visit in our trip to Thailand. I did not pre-book a tour with any agency and I set no expectations on what might happen or what to see when we get there. We decided to venture out on a Monday, and I think it was a fun (and not to mention, affordable) day trip from Bangkok. Read on for more details.
Our first Sunday in Bangkok, we decided to pay the king a visit. From our hostel in Silom, we rode a cab (hailed through Uber), and went to The Grand Palace. The cab driver dropped us off near the entrance of Wat Po because the road circumnavigating the palace is one way only and some parts are closed. We saw many people wearing black, many Chinese people, and many Koreans dressed to the nines. When we got to the entrance, we didn’t expect to join a mob to enter the palace.
Bangkok is an ancient city. It is massive, chaotic, and confusing. Touring the city will sap up your energy and will bring you blisters the size of your own toes. I found that using the Chao Phraya tourist boats make moving from one tourist spot to another easier than hailing taxis and arguing with the driver when he gets the location wrong. It is also inexpensive at THB180 for the whole day. Here is my guide to using the river cruise to see all that you must see in Bangkok.
I can walk around Angkor Wat, everyday, if only to find my inner peace.