Wednesday, August 12, 2015

When Travel Bug Bites

Travelling is like a pill to me, it is a great cure for boredom and monotony. I like to travel every year on my birthday. There is so much to learn and learning never ends in this familiar ground. 
I use to have fear of heights and the infinite. I thought I couldn't brave the sky and the clouds, only endless roads. I told myself that planes do crash and if this will happen, lifeless bodies will be fed to sea animals or the wild ones depending on where it will crash. 

But life takes you to unexpected places. Four years ago I decided to fly and see what's out there. My first travel experience was in Singapore where I moved from one house to another along with my sister and a friend. Living in SG wasn't easy because everyone's a total stranger but it was a learning experience away from home that I will never forget. 

Getting lost in

I came to SG looking for a better life but end up missing home, there's no place like it. I fell in love with this country because it was so different from home. It is very progressive, clean and citizens are afraid of the law. Fines are huge for any violation and people respect that. There are many beautiful places to go but be prepared to spend because the cost of living isn't cheap. 
My sister and I thought we could find a job in a month apparently, it is taking longer than expected and not all employers are willing to hire foreigners without a ready work pass. We decided to explore every town we've been to instead and gave up finding a job. We moved from one HDB (government housing for rent) to another. What I love about SG is that there's always a nearby park and supermarket in every community. It's easy to get around and the MRT system is a breeze. It's amazing that this country is earthquake free so I wonder where their calamity fund goes or if they ever use it at all.  Buses and private vehicles are smoke free so there's obviously no air pollution. 

More about SG

I didn't enjoy most of the tourist places in SG because I'm not a fan of popular places where most people go. I am more interested in eco parks and weird theme parks like Haw Par Villa or shopping districts like Little India and Chinatown. I also fell in love with SG food. I will never forget the very tasty chicken rice, nasi lemak, the refreshing bubble tea and Makansutra's Aglio Oglio. 
I might come back to SG but there's more to explore in Southeast Asia.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Last year on my 34th birthday, I decided to spend it in Siem Reap, Cambodia. As much as I hate evening flights, I have no choice because all the morning slots are sold out so my sister and I endured the view of nothing but darkness outside. A three hour flight seemed like forever thank God the weather is good so there's no turbulence or any scary factor. A tuktuk (Cambodia's version of tricycle) driver brought us to a 3-star hotel called Hotel Angkoriana where we have reservations for 2 days and 2 nights. What I like about this hotel even if it is 30 minutes away from the airport, is that it is cheap but decent. They have all the basic amenities in the room like coffee and tea making facilities, free wifi, breakfast, pool, airport pickup (via tuktuk), etc. I remember staying at a cheap hotel near NAIA T3 that's way too basic they have no electric pot, mini fridge, not even a telephone in the room so if you want room service you have to use your cellphone to order from the menu posted in the walls of your room from the restaurant at the ground floor. Seriously? I'd rather go down and eat. Spell inconvenience. 

Seam Reap, Cambodia

We arranged a 1 day Angkor Wat tour at the hotel frontdesk upon arrival. Our tour guide and driver fetched us from the hotel around 8AM the next day. I think the tour finished almost 2PM. We visited I think less than 10 temples. We kept walking under the scorching heat of the summer sun, the only chance we got to rest was during our lunch at a fancy jam packed restaurant filled with foreigners too. At the end of the tour we are so darn exhausted, we were all sticky and dusty that I couldn't wait to shower as soon as we head back to our hotel. After an hour of rest, we strolled "Pub Street" which is only few minutes from our hotel via tuktuk for food and souvenir shopping. Nothing much to remember about food in Cambodia because we only tried one dish but for sure, lots of spices will always be present. I don't know why we only spent 2 days in Cambodia. I thought maybe because there's not much to do anymore but later I realized that we have time to spare for 1 more day. Cambodia time is an hour behind from us we got confused the next day if we have to follow their time or Philippine time for our flight so we arrived really early at the Siem Reap Airport. I guess it's better to be early when in doubt just to be safe. 

Hongkong getaway 2015

I guess I'm addicted to adventure. This year on my 35th birthday along with my twin sister as usual, we visited Hongkong for a change. I had my sister booked our flight and ensure that we get a morning flight this time thank God most flights to and from HK are in the morning, yay! A travel agency arranged a 4D/3N trip for us. We stayed at a 3-star hotel called Silka Far East in Tsuen Wan near the MTR station but far from all the major tourist attractions. My sister's first choice is a hotel in Mongkok because it is in the shopping district but the hotel doesn't look good on pictures and the area seem crowded and unsafe so I decided that it's best for us to stay in a hotel that's a little far but comfortable. 
Our half day city tour the following day lasted for only 3 hours we spent half of the day exploring HK. We climbed the long stairs of the Tian Tian or Big Buddha temple then went night shopping in Mongkok. It was our birthday the next day and have nothing more to do so we bought cup cakes from Hello Kitty's Le Petit Cafe and some more souvenirs. We flew back to Manila the day after and checked in at the nearby airport hotel then travelled back to Baguio the following day. 
Hopefully I can visit Vietnam next year. I'm looking forward to see the beauty of Ho Chi Minh and stay at the Old Quarter. I have done some research already on nearby places to go but still collecting more information. So much to see, so little time. My feet is yearning to travel again, I can't wait.

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