Sydney Australia Itinerary Part 1【MYR 2,500 / AUD 850 for 6 Days 5 Nights】

SYDNEY ITINERARY

opera house

DAY 1: AIRPORT TO HOSTEL

DAY 2: ROYAL NATIONAL PARK – WEDDING CAKE ROCK- NORTH CRONULLA BEACH

DAY 3: I’M FREE WALKING TOURS SYDNEY – MANLY BEACH – KATOOMBA

DAY 4: BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK- THREE SISTERS – BONDI JUNCTION – BONDI ICEBERGS CLUB:

DAY 5: BONDI BEACH – COASTAL WALK FROM BONDI TO COOGEE – TAMARAMA BEACH – REDFERN

DAY 6: REDFERN – SURRY HILLS – UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY – VICTORIA MARKET – OPERA HOUSE – ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN

DAY 7: SYDNEY DOMESTIC AIRPORT – MELBOURNE

Sydney is situated on Australia’s east coast and it is the state capital of New South Wales.

Everyone said Sydney is an expensive city, no doubt the cost of living here is high. My Sydney trip was mainly focused on sightseeing and exploring free things to do here.

I started to track the flight ticket price since a half year ago before my trip starts:

My Flight ticket:

RM422 (1 way from KL -Sydney, 20 kg check-in luggage) – Air Asia

RM270 (1 way from Sydney to Melbourne comes with 10 kg check-in luggage) – Tiger Air

RM 990 (1 way from Melbourne back to KL, 20 kg check-in luggage) – Air Asia

Total Flight Fares = RM 1682

Since I was visiting both cities of Sydney and Melbourne, here is a brief history between Sydney – Melbourne rivalry:

“There has been a long-standing rivalry between the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest cities in Australia. The rivalry between the cities was the reason that neither Sydney (the oldest and now largest city) nor Melbourne (the largest city at the time) was chosen as the capital of Australia when the nation was federated in 1901. Because of this disagreement, section 125 of the Australian Constitution specified that Melbourne would initially serve as the seat of government on a temporary basis, while the permanent capital of the new Commonwealth must be located within the area of New South Wales but at least 100 miles from Sydney. This city became Canberra.” ~ Wikipedia

OPAL CARD

It is a useful and convenient card to be used for public transports access. You may get the card once you have arrived at the airport.

Tip: For Opal Card, apparently after you have used $15 a day it is free. So you can use ferries (check which ones) buses metro etc all day and that saves you an awful lot of money.

As mentioned previously, On every Sunday, the public fares only cost AUS 2.70 per trip for the whole day.

Adult Opal Card
Child/Youth Opal card

SIM CARD

I took TELSTRA prepaid plan after comparing with other TELCO offer packages. You may compare all different packages at the airport.

 

DAY 1: CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT

From KL to Sydney it took 8 hours 25 mins on way. I arrived at Sydney airport at the local time around 820 pm. It’s rather a convenience from the airport to the city centre by taking public transport. I took the train (one-way costs $14.30) which only took 20 minutes to arrive at Sydney Central Business District aka CBD which is the main commercial centre of Sydney, the state capital of New South Wales.

Tip:  For safety purpose, as a solo female traveller if you are arriving your destination at night/midnight time, it is always good to book the accommodation which is easy access by the public transport and it is within walking distance from the bus stop/ train station.

During my travel time, most of my accommodation was booked via www.booking.com

I chose Big Hostel at that time as the location was rather a convenience, furthermore, they provide complimentary breakfast and kitchen utensils in this hostel which able us to prepare our own meals during our travel time.

There was nothing much I have done on day 1 due to the long flight and it was already late night here. Most major shopping centres close at 5 pm every day, with the exception of one night a week with what is so named ‘late night shopping’.

DAY 2: Royal National Park -Wedding Cake Rock

Royal National Park

Prior to Sydney, I have searched online and looked for group activities that I could join when I was there. I like using Couchsurfing and Meetup apps to get to meet new friends.

Finally, I managed to know a girl from Indonesia who will be coming to Sydney the same week as me. She invited me to join a group trip to Royal National Park together with other travellers.

I met the team in the morning and in total 5 of us drove all the way to the Royal National Park. Initially, the group wanted to explore both wedding cake rock and Figure 8 Pools at Royal National Park Sydney. However, the road to Figure 8 Pool was closed.

If you plan to reach the park via public transport, I read somewhere. It requires you to catch the ferry from Cronulla to Bundeena (25 minutes trip and another 30 minutes’ walk through the village of Bundeena to get to Beachcomber Avenue.)

Admission: Free

Trekking to Wedding Cake Rock

It was an easy trail to walk into wedding cake rock and it’s a good exercise for all age group. Just remember to apply sunblock to prevent sunburn. Views along the way:

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have fenced off the actual rock for safety purpose.

 

North Cronulla Beach

We arrived at Cronulla which is a beachside of the suburb of Sydney :

And enjoyed a nice dinner at Eat Burger https://eatburger.co/

After the dinner, while most us already feel tired but there were two of them still trying to persuade to explore the nightlife in Sydney. I decided to go back to the hostel early and join the Free city tour tomorrow morning instead.

DAY 3: I’m Free Walking Tours Sydney

Another traveller, Intan that I have met yesterday decided to go together with me for the free city tour.

https://www.imfree.com.au/sydney/

1030am city tour and it took about 3 hours to walk around the city.

Tip: Remember to wear a comfortable shoe and prepare some money (as a tip) for the tour guide to appreciate his efforts and hard work of touring us around the city.

As mentioned previously, On every Sunday, the public fares only cost AUS 2.70 per trip for the whole day. Yes, it is only available every Sunday. We took this chance to take the ferry to Manly beach (where on a normal day it costs AUS $15 per trip).

It took 30 minutes ferry trip to reach the Manly town. Both of us were spontaneous enough to buy a set of bikini and took tons of pictures at the beach.

Thanks to Intan for the impromptu suggestion and it turned out a great memory for both of us.

Lastly, we took a Thai food since she missed Asian and spicy food a lot (she is currently a graduate student in Canberra)

Even though it was not a cheap meal here but we had a great time at Manly town.

Once I was back to the town, I went to the hostel and took my backpack and took a night train all the way to Katoomba for a 1-night stay at the mountain area. Again, it is worth to take the train to Katoomba since it only cost AUS 2.5 one way up to the mountain.

Tip: Remember to check the train schedule and departure time online (use google map), so that you know what time you should reach the train station. It will take 2 and 1/2 hours to arrive at the station and it was almost 1130pm when I arrived. The place was super quiet, to be honest, it was a bit scary at night and I had to walk for 5 minutes to arrive at the hostel.

However, once I have reached the hostel, I feel everything was worth and I wished I could stay there longer. I even checked online if I could extend one more night here and postpone my stay at Bondi tomorrow instead.

Anyway, it was another great day.

Day 4:

It was a quiet and refreshing early morning. The lovely host greets me nicely and mentioned if I would like to extend 1 more night at the hostel since I arrived late last night. Or else she mentioned I could stay at her place till late at night and catch the night train to Bondi beach instead.

more photos on instagram: @thetravellersu

The hostel provides a simple breakfast.

It was so nice till I tried to pour the second oats and made a mess where I dropped the whole muesli on the floor. I was shocked and screamed. Most of the other travellers were laughing.

The host was kind enough did not scold me and helped me to clean up my mess. What a wonderful way to start my day XD

Later, I tagged along other two travellers to walk up to Blue Mountain Park which takes about 20-30 minutes of walking from our hostel.

“The Three Sisters are an unusual rock formation in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, on the north escarpment of the Jamison Valley. They are close to the town of Katoomba and are one of the Blue Mountains’ best-known sites, towering above the Jamison Valley.[1] Their names are Meehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m).[2]”

After visiting the three sisters, I have decided to go back to the hostel and have some private time for reading and meditation.

I have decided to take the 630pm trip back to the central and transferred to Bondi Junction.

To be continued >>  Sydney Trip Part 2

More pictures: Instagram

Budget Cities in Australia: Our Top Picks: click here

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Things to see and do in Baler Aurora, Philippines

It was another great weekend that I decided to join the Top View Philippines 2 days 1-night tour to Baler trip.

LOCATION

Baler is a small town in Aurora province on the east coast of Luzon in the Philippines. Baler is situated in the northeast of Manila and distance is about 231km from Metro Manila and took about 6 hours driving distance to reach here.

We departed on Saturday midnight at 12 am and in total 11 of us in a van. The journey would be accessed via a mountain pass hence the roads were curved.

HISTORY

According to Baler history, there was a Tsunami “Tromba Marina” demolished the town on the 27th of December 1735. Many people have been killed by the disaster and there were only 7 families survived. The seven families who were survivors climbed to the top of a hill which today is called Ermita Hill.

These are the statues of the families who survived in the tragedy which you could find at the foot of the hill

Credit: here

1) Giant Balete Tree 

This was the first stop of our trip to visit the biggest Balete tree in Asia. According to Wikipedia, “Balete tree is the several species of the trees in the Philippines from the genus Ficus that are broadly referred to as balete in the local language.”

Apparently, this is a 600-year-old Balete Tree and it is also known as The Millenium Tree.

2) Ditumabo Falls/Mother Falls 

After taking numerous photos at the first stop, finally, the group decided to head to Ditumabo Falls a.k.a. Mother Falls.

It required 30 minutes trekking / casual walk to enjoy the waterfall. It is advisable to wear the waterproof sandal since you will across many small streams.

Entrance Fee30 PHP ( 0.50 USD) & 200 PHP (3.70 USD) for group tour guide

3) SABANG BEACH 

It was a tired afternoon after a long journey to Baler and had fun at the mother waterfalls. We checked in our accommodation at Sabang Beach.  There are many accommodation options you could choose on the beach side, you could search more on Agoda website etc.

Surfing 

People said:” A Baler trip would not be completed without giving a try on surfing.”

If you are a first timer for surfing, this is the best place for you to pick up the surfing skill. Furthermore, the price is rather cheap which costs 300PHP (5 USD) only for 1-hour class with the local surf coach + Surfboard 

Had a great time with this group of people

Sunrise

When you were on the beach, all you need is to be laid back and also don’t forget to enjoy the sunrise view. Woke up at 5 am ++ if you do not want to miss this beautiful sunrise view.

 

4) Historical Walking Tour in Baler Town

Baler is a town full of historical story. When you are in the town, take a look and walk around :

  • Quezon memorial park
  • Museo de Baler *The opening hours only during weekdays. Saturday and Sunday are closed

  •  Baler Marker
  •  Baler Church
  • Dona Aurora Quezon house

5) Hanging bridge

A hanging bridge that allows you take some nice photo shoots. The bridge was made of wood and if you are not afraid of height, have a try walking across it.

6) Ermita Hill

As mentioned earlier, it was only 7 families survived during the tsunami in 1735. They went up to the hill and managed to escape. Ermita Hill is one of the highest places in Baler.

Going up to the hill is not that difficult, you just need to walk up around 250-300 concrete stairs to reach the big cross.

You get to see a great view of the ocean and the mountains in Baler.

7) PAGASA Baler Radar Station

This is one of the weather stations which allowed PAGASA (The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) to collect the data used for weather forecasts and predictive purposes against natural disasters.

8) Diguisit Beach

Next stop was at the Diguisit beach which is only 15 minutes driving distance from Baler town. People come here not to surf or swim, but to explore around the rock formations in Aniao Islets, which was amazing!

No doubt, this is another good photography spot for Instagram posts.

We chose to stay at AMCO Digisit resort to relax for a few hours.

 

Here came to the end of my Baler trip and if you like to join some outdoors activities, I would recommend Top View Philippines travel group which guide by a young team. Especially thanks to Maryse who organised this trip and thanks for the group who brought a lot of laughter and sweet memories during the trip. Hope to join other events in the near future. 😊

 

Below is the itinerary which organised by Top View Philippines Travel Group.

Event Fee: 1,800 PHP ( USD 33)

Day 0
11:00 pm – Meetup@ McD Panay Avenue
12:00 am – ETD to BaLer

Day 1
6:00 am – Breakfast on Pax Account
7:00 am – Start of tour
*Giant balete tree (oldest balete tree in Asia)
8:00 am – Ditumabo Falls/Mother falls
12:00 NN – Lunch on Pax Account
@famous seafood resto/Baler surfer grill/yolly’s seafood resto.
1:00 pm – Historical Tour
*Quezon memorial park
* Museo de Baler
* Baler Marker
* Baler Church
* Dona Aurora Quezon house
2:00pm – Hanging bridge
2:30pm – Ermita hill
3:30pm – Sabang beach Surfing
5:00pm – Check inn Accomodation

Day 2
6:00am – Breakfast on pax Account
7:00 am- Eco strip tour
*Diguisit falls
*Diguisit Rock formation
*Baler Radar station
*Tromba Marina
*Aniao islets
*Diguisit beach
11:30am -Lunch on pax account
12:30pm – Checkout Accomodation
1:00pm – Free time for own leisure
3:30pm – Souvenir shopping
4:00pm – Departure to Manila

Tour inclusions:
* private Van RT (Manila- Baler- Manila)
( GL Grandia )
* Transient accomodation

Exclusions:
All entrance fees
*Ditumabo falls PHP 30/head plus guide fee
*Diguisit beach
*Meals

Optional Activities:
*Surfing lesson with a surfing instructor
*Board rental 200-300/head

Things to Bring:
*Swimwear
*camera
*Personal meds
*Slippers

More pictures: Instagram

Must-See Places in Palawan, Philippines: Click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re post: Travelling alone is not as scary as you think

Thank you www.escapewriters.com came out with the topic of solo female travel. In fact, travelling alone is not as scary as you thought. Here is my solo travel experience that I would like to share with my readers:

My name is SuMei and I am from Malaysia. I started my solo travel blog when I’ve decided to quit my previous job and started to travel as a Solo female traveller since last year October 2017 and it was a 4 months trip where I have been to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Currently, I have started a new job and base in the Philippines for a few months.

How were others reaction when you declared about your decision of solo travelling?

Some were surprised and most of my close friends supported me to so. YOLO and thanks to my supportive parents where they trusted and allowed me to travel by myself.

How many places have you explored until now? Which one is your most favourite and why?

I have visited in the total of 20 countries as of the year 2018. I like Laos the most as the country is beautiful, laid back and people just know how to enjoy life over there.

What is on your bucket list? Your dream place to visit. Any travel destination you would suggest for a female solo traveller.

I would like to visit and explore South America in the near future and as a start, for a female solo traveller, I will suggest going to Japan which is a relatively safe country to travel alone. I had a great time over there.

How do you do planning and budgeting for any trip?

Before I go on a trip, I will do research about the particular country. The expenses and the current situation in the country. And of course will check out the accommodation from hostelworld, Airbnb etc. I found workaway website is meaningful and beneficial to the budget traveller like us. I got to know a lot of local people and stayed with them during my solo travel time which was another different/ great experience.

How do you beat loneliness while travelling? Tips to make local friends or get a group of company.

In life, we can’t avoid loneliness even when we are not travelling. I do enjoy the solo time which allows me to listen myself more, ignore others feedback. Try to enjoy the ME time. Meanwhile, of course, you could use various applications to meet up with other travellers including Couchsurfing, meet up and even staying at the hostel you will get the chance to meet a lot of mutual interest people. To be honest, I really enjoy travel alone where I got to know more new friends and new exposure by myself!

Do you remember any crazy thing that happened to you while travelling?

When I was travelling to Japan alone and met my US host which he sent me to Mt. Fuji in the midnight and I just tagged along with other Japanese to reach the peak of Mt.Fuji. The whole journey took me about 14 hours back and forth and it was indeed a crazy adventure with all the people I have met there!
There are many other stories during my solo trip and I just enjoy creating more stories during my travel time!

Your backpacking tips for other women. Just pick 5 must-have items you would love to have in your travel bag.

Sunblock, comfortable sneakers, camera, selfie stick, phone.

Any bad experience you faced? Safety tips.

Well in order to avoid the bad experience, try to use common sense not to go out at night alone if you feel the place is not safe. Listen to your intuition and six sense, if you do not comfort to the particular things, dare to say NO!

Do you think male solo traveller are easily accepted?

In my opinion, the male solo traveller is still easier to travel compared to Female due to social perception. However, ignore the norm which had set by the society, just enjoy yourself! Do whatever you like!

Any advice or word of motivation you would like to give to other women who have a dream to be a solo traveller just like you?

Dare to go with your dream. When your mind wanted to do something and you keep thinking instead of taking action, it will forever be stuck in your mind. Just go ahead and dare to do it! Join the relevant female travel group and get more support from other girls! Remember, we are always there for you.

 

 

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Siem Reap, the famous tourist spot in Cambodia

After 2 days 1 night in Phnom Penh, my journey continues to Siem Reap by sleeper bus. This was my first solo sleeping bus experience and the overall bus journey was considered quite comfy.

However, I did not sleep tight as I have read some of the other travelers’ blogs stated that we have to be aware and be alert when taking the night bus. Because some of the “pickpocket” / thieves would take advantage to steal your stuff when you asleep.  Luckily, throughout the whole South East Asia trips (about 9 solo bus trips from one province/country cross over to another province/country ) I’ve only lost one of my favorite scarfs in Cambodia.  🙁

<Double-decker sleeper bus

To cut a long story short, it is possible to go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh by a road trip and it takes about 8 hours to arrive (by overnight sleeper bus). The road was smooth and not as bumpy as from my journey Hanoi Vietnam to Vientiane, Laos (will share it next time)

The bus stopped at the bus terminal and if you arrived as early as me (around 6-7am), there are many tuk-tuks awaiting there to send you to your hostel.However, within a short distance (less than 10 minutes) to my hostel, it costs me USD3.

Where did I stay?

I chose The Hostel Mekong after comparing most of the accommodations in Siem Reap:  the cost + the total people I need to share in a room. This was the most reasonable and affordable stay.

In overall, I gave 4 out of 5 Stars for this hostel. Here are the reasons:

  • A mini swimming pool is included
  • The hostel has a spacious area to chill and relax
  • Bar and breakfast are available
  • A pool table is available
  • The female dorm room with a private toilet is available
  • The check-in time was in the afternoon and I have arrived earlier. At least I could chill in the living room, using Wi-Fi and took a shower.

Book here: website

 What have I done here?

Everyone comes here for Angkor Wat. If you did not visit it, it seems it’s pointless that if you tell someone that you have been here before.

Entrance Ticket: 1 Day / 3 Days / 7 Days? 

My answer is 1 Day. Unless if you are really interested in all temples’ architecture/ designs.

Because the weather was rather hot and to visit all the temples you have to take transport from one to another which considered quite exhausting. My Angkor Wat trip starts at 430am until 12 pm noontime which is more than enough for me.

Most of the hostel /hotel would provide the tour to visit Angkor Wat. I booked the transportation arrangement with Mekong Hostel.

Suggestion: Try to ask other travelers [in the same hostel] to visit Angkor Wat together in order to share the transportation cost.

In the early morning, a Tuk tuk driver will pick you up to buy the entrance ticket around 430am.

Credit

Entrance Fee (Year 2017):

1 Day: $37 

3 Days: $62

7 Days: $72


What have I seen in Angkor Wat?

Sunrise. All the tourists gather in the early morning just to witness the sunrise. Yes, it was impressive. I took many of the sunrises pictures and found this is among this best (what to do you think?) 🙂

And many pictures from different Wats :

Since I came alone, most of the pictures I was asking strangers to take it for me.  And some local people might “standby” at the temple and offered the service to take the photos for you (they only asked for tips after they took the pictures).

PUB STREET 

As you can see from the street name,  it is the street full of clubs, bars, and restaurants.

Famous Bars:

Angkor What? Bar is the very first bar to open on Pub Street back in 1998

Temple Club & Temple Balcony – another favorite and popular club for tourists on Pub Street

Credit: 

Angkor Night Market 

Opened in 2007 and apparently, it was the FIRST night market in Cambodia and it is just next to Pub Street.

Siem Reap Art Center Night Market

Location: Right across the bridge from the old market (Psa Chas), 5 Minutes walking from pub street

It is one of the newer night markets in town and as you can see from the street name “Art Center”, you can find various and a range of souvenirs and handicrafts over here.

WAR MUSEUM CAMBODIA

It is the Biggest War Museum in Cambodia. What I liked here was they provide a free guide (a war veteran) and you can examine and hold the small arms.

Entrance Fee: USD 5  (Year 2017)

More info: check here

It was a short trip for me. I stayed there for 3 days 2 nights and heading next to Sihanoukville, which is a province in southwest Cambodia known for its beaches. Will share next post soon!

Cheers.

Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary: click here

Other Posts: Home Page

 

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Golden Triangle, where the three countries meet

Golden Triangle 

According to Wikipedia:

“One of Asia’s two main opium-producing areas. It is an area of approximately 950,000 square kilometres (367,000 sq mi) that overlaps the mountains of three countries of Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.”

I only got to know about this place after joining the Workaway

It all started when I was trying and wish to stay longer in Luang Prabang, however it seems in Laos they did not need any volunteer like me. 🙁

I have texted many organizations in Laos, however, the response was slow and some even ignored me. Hence, I started to find the workaway in Northern Thailand instead. Surprisingly, many hosts responded to me just within a few hours! After confirmed with one of the hosts in Thailand, I just booked the slow boat from Laos to Thailand and to Chiang Rai.

 

I took a public bus from Chiang Rai heading to Chiang Saen (which is near to Golden Triangle). From there, I took a tuk tuk to Golden Triangle and met my Thailand host.

Everything seems went smoothly. I arrived at Golden Triangle and was greeted by the family and their two pets.

 

I managed to stay here for 2.5 weeks for homeschooling.The people here were so nice and friendly. All of them know each other and helping each other in the area. Most of them are doing travel businesses because Golden Triangle is well known for the tourist spot.

What to see here?

Below were the things I have done :

  • Golden Triangle viewpoint
  • Take a boat to Laos (just across the river)
  • Try out Mekong pizza – apparently, it’s famous here

  • Visit many temples
  • Enjoy Coconut drinks
  • Buy and Grab some Roti
  • Visit Old Opium Museum
  • Visit Hall of Opium Golden Triangle – this exceptional museum ranks as one of the best in the region. 

  • Every Tuesday night, there is a small night market
  • Visit the border of Myanmar – 500 Baht visa fee to enter into Myanmar

What else?

  • Play together with the kids

 

  • Eat together with the family
  • Exercise and cook together with my host

  • Ride a motorbike together with the kids

  • And the family took me to the church and temples visit
  • Got to know more local people
  • Walk around in Chiang Saen

I do miss the people over there even I have back from the trip. The people over there are living life simple and happy easy going. If there is any chance in the near future, I would definitely go back and visit them again. 

What’s good about workaway? >> Get to know more new friends

Met up with another volunteer who is currently based in Malaysia. He was the one who stayed at Golden Triangle for about 3-4months just to do homeschooling and teaching English to the local kids.

And one of my friends, she is currently at my previous host place for voluntary service now. Nice people are everywhere indeed. If you like kids and would love to play with them, please let me know. I will try to refer you to meet this nice family 🙂

It feels like I have another family in Thailand now. Looking forward to meeting all of them again!

Upcoming Post- Journey continues to Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

Related Post – ChiangRai, Thailand Itinerary

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Itinerary

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Chiang Rai Thailand, My itinerary

This post is sharing my itinerary to ChiangRai, the north of Thailand (I went to visit 3 places here: Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle, and Chiang Mai)

Photo credit: here

The journey continues from the slow boat- Laos to North of Thailand  When I’ve arrived in the border of Thailand, it was already evening time and the sky was dark. I have to make a quick decision either to take the mini-van by myself and to meet my workaway host in Golden Triangle. The second was to follow the other travellers to Chiang Rai for one overnight.

After getting the advice from them, I followed the group to Chiang Rai instead (since the cost to go alone to Golden Triangle was rather expensive).

Photo credit: Here

CHIANG RAI

What have I seen there?

The minivan arrived around the late evening time and it stopped right next to the night bazaar. We were checking out and walk in randomly to any hostel.Eventually, we managed to find a nice and affordable hostel: Sabaijai Hostel which I liked it a lot (clean, spacious and having own privacy) :

The spacious dormitory room

Lovely breakfast and free herb teas!

Click here to book

CHIANG RAI NIGHT BAZAAR

It is rather easy to find the night market aka night bazaar. You can shop for food, souvenirs and the clothing item etc.

WHITE TEMPLE ~Wat Rong Khun

The next morning after we had our breakfast, five of us went to visit this beautiful temple.

It is a must see and to-do list in Chiang Rai. Wat Rong Khun was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who known for his use of Buddhist imagery in his art.

The entrance fee is 50 Baht for foreigners and Thai citizens will still be able to access the contemporary temple for free.

During the time we went, it was crowded with people because it was a public holiday in Thailand.

White temple -crowded with people

I tried hard to get some nice pictures :

How to get to the white temple?

Just right next to the night bazaar, there is a bus station where you can take the public bus to the white temple which costs 20 Baht only. Below is the bus timetable to the temple:

After visiting the temple with the four gentlemen, it is the time to farewell with them and heading to Golden triangle to meet my localhost.

It was my pleasure to meet all of them and travelled together from Laos to Thailand. Wishing all the best to them and hope our paths cross again someday.

What else to see in Chiang Rai?

Black Temple a.k.a  Baan Dam Museum / Black House

It is near to White Temple, which takes about 30 minutes driving distance.

This is the major landmark in the city centre, where it also serves as a traffic roundabout.

It was designed by the same person, Chalermchai Kositpipat who created the city’s famous White temple.

You may sign up the one-day sightseeing package tour with the local travel agent (which will cover most of the tourist spots in Chiang Rai):

chiang rai tour package

Next post:  Chiang Saen, Golden Triangle Thailand where the 3 countries meet.

Related posts:

Dalat, the highlands of Vietnam

How I planned my 4 months solo SEA trip

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Slow boat from Laos to Thailand

In my previous post, I have shared my Luang Prabang, Laos trip and today I will write something about the slow boat border crossing from Luang Prabang to the border of North Thailand, Huay Xai.

Image Credit: here

There are many ways to go from Laos to Thailand including taking the bus (which takes shorter time). However, you will miss many parts of Mekong river scenery view.

Where to get the slow boat ticket?

It is definitely not hard to book and purchase a ticket. In the downtown centre, there are many travel agents who can arrange the boat ticket for you.

There are two options:

a) You can either buy the boat ticket until Pak Beng (which is the small village allowing travellers like us to rest for one night after 8 hours journey). From there, you may decide to either continue to buy another ticket to continue the slow boat journey or taking a bus to Thailand in the next morning.

b) Book the full ticket to the border of North Thailand. You will still stopover one night at Pak Beng village and the ticket is valid for the next day morning journey to Huay Xai.

Suggestion: I will recommend and suggest to go with the second option as the boat journey is definitely better than a bus trip.

What to prepare before getting on to the boat?

Food is the key!  I have to emphasize that you must shop and buy a lot of food at Luang Prabang Night Market before your next early morning boat journey.

Buy some banana, tomatoes, canned meat, cakes, sandwiches, packaged drinks, Maggi noodles, bread, butter, milk, chips and snacks (whichever food can be stored and last for 8 hours)

Because for the next 8 hours, you will only stay on the boat and everything will be done on the boat.

You may buy some food (cup noodles) and coffee on the boat, and of course, the price is slightly more costly. Since that was my first experience, I only managed to grab two banana and chocolate cakes during my travel time.

And I had to buy a Maggi Cup Noodles on the boat, which cost me around USD2 for just a noodles cup. So guys, just remember to prepare and get ready before getting on the boat!

What to do on the slow boat?

There is neither Wifi nor data signal on the boat. So yeah! It is the best time to get rid of the outside for a while!

Rest &Relax 

You can choose to take a nap on the boat (even though there was no bed there, but the seat is good enough to rest and relax). In fact, I slept a lot on the boat because of the relaxing journey.

Eat: Yah! You tend to get hungry easily and eat a lot of food and snacks!

Chat with other travellers

There are many travellers who will travel together to the same destination. You get to meet and share different stories with people from different countries.

Glad to meet the four gentlemen (another gentleman was sleeping) and we got travelled together to Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Got the chance to try out the mate tea from Argentina.

Reading books

It is also another good option to read some books on the boat.

Movie time

If you can’t get rid of modern life, you may watch some downloaded movies.

Enjoy the Mekong River view

It was great to get to enjoy the scenic view along the whole journey. The boat stopped at certain points and you may greet the local with smiles! 🙂

PAK BENG

After a long half day journey, you will arrive at Pak Beng. This is a village which allows travellers to rest for a night before continuing the next morning journey.

Once you have arrived there, you will get to approach by the local for the accommodation. On average, the cheapest one room per night is around 100,000 which is around USD 12. You may share with another person for one room.

When you arrive there, it is about evening time. You get to clean up yourself and have some dinner at the restaurant in Pak Beng.

For the next morning, you may get to walk around at the village in the early morning. And get yourself ready to buy some food (sandwich and banana etc) and go on the boat again!

The journey will take another 8 hours, that’s where you will arrive at the border of Laos-Thailand. It is almost evening time again.

You can either take the tuk tuk to Huay Xai and stay for another night. Or straight taking the tuk tuk to arrive at the border and taking the minivan to Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai, Thailand

By the time, when you arrive at the border it is already evening time. Hence there was no more public bus. Instead, you have to carpool (minivan)with other travellers who want to go to the same destination.

It was indeed a long long journey, however, I did enjoy myself and my time for the slow boat journey. It gets to relax my mind and away from the modern city life a while.

Hope you will try this journey yourself on next time!

Tips: Remember to change all your Laos Kip at Laos or at the Thai-Laos border. It is hard to exchange Laos Kip to Thai Baht in Thailand. Almost none of the foreign exchange shop accepted Lao Kip.

Alternatively, you may just use Thai Baht currency in Laos because it is accepted in almost everywhere in Laos: click here for proof

For the next post, I will share about Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai trip in Thailand. Stay tuned!

Related Post:

Kanchanaburi, close to Bangkok Thailand

Dalat, the highlands of Vietnam

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17 Things that every Solo Traveller can totally relate to

This is the post that I like it so much, it is absolutely related to all solo backpacker like us.

If you have ever done solo backpacking before, these are the things that you may be related to yourself:

All images credit to TripZilla:

I just carried the bag with valuable things into the toilet.

It is fun to ask the stranger to take photos for you. Some of the strangers took me nice pictures though.

That is why do not shy to talk with other travellers (who might be going to the same destination).

I enjoyed this part. Got to enjoy and observe the surroundings.

It is the best time to talk to yourself.

I will write it down and perhaps share with others later on.

I’m kinda enjoying it!

I don’t choose in the hotel alone unless it’s a business trip.

Hmmm…not necessary.

Sort of.

Indeed.

I control and do what I like.

Aha aha.

Indeed. Too many foreign friends now 😛

And forgive yourself.

Deeply.

Get to understand yourself  better. Forgive others. Improved EQ. Better life direction. More brave and confident. Be a better you and many many more!

Other Posts:

Luang Prabang, Laos Itinerary

Kanchanaburi Thailand Itinerary, close to Bangkok

Doha, Qatar Itinerary – The richest country in the world

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Luang Prabang, Laos Itinerary

Luang Prabang was the former capital of Laos. As described by Travelfish:

“The charming city of Luang Prabang, once the capital of Laos and still considered to be its spiritual heart, breathes a rich meld of French Indochinese architecture, Theravada Buddhist temples and a magical atmosphere.”

Image credit: here

I totally agreed with the above statement. A “magical kind atmosphere” is the key term to describe Luang Prabang.

This is the place where you could find peace of mind and stay calm.

The local people remains humble, laid back and enjoying their own way of lifestyle. This is how the Laotion works.

I fell in love with this country at the first sight.  The feeling is hard to describe but you have to go there once to feel it yourself.

When to go?

November to February – this is the best season to go because it is the cool and dry season. I went during the month of December, it was lovely and chill weather. I liked it very much.

March to May – Hot season, temperature might up to 40℃

June to October – Wet season,  good to do some water rafting /kayaking during this period of time.

What to see in Luang Prabang?

Kuang Si Waterfall

I would say this is one of the must-see waterfalls in whole South East Asia trip! The water is clear and the view was spectacular:

Tips and how to go: It requires transportation to arrive at the waterfalls destination.  If you need a public transport, my advice is that do not shy to ask the other travellers in hostel whether they would want to share a “Tuk-tuk” transport fee together.

It will cost cheaper if compare you book a tour from the travel agency at the shop lots.

Tak Bat – The monks’ morning Alms 

“In Luang Prabang, this tradition manifests as a morning ritual where monks silently line the streets while locals (and interested tourists) put gifts of food into the bowls carried by the monks.”

Every morning at 530am, the Buddhist Lao’s monks will start the ceremony of food collection in Luang Prabang.

The Korean monks waiting for the Lao’s monks.

Don’t be surprised to meet and see a lot of travellers (some tourists even came by bus or minivan) waiting in the centre of the town, and people start selling and buying the snacks/food on the street.

This came up to be one of the To-do and to see lists in Luang Prabang.

Mount Phousi for sunrise

After the alms session, you may choose to go and climb up to the mount Phousi which is in the centre of the town.

The height of the mountain is 150 meters by walking the staircase and it requires to pay an entrance fee to go up.

Image credit: here

I skipped this (because have to pay to see the sunrise) instead I went to the morning market:

Morning market

The food, vegetables and fruits look really fresh and clean. I liked their market.

Volunteer at Big Brother Mouse  & Big Sister Mouse

If you want to do something meaningful during the trip, you may visit Big Brother Mouse (at the centre) and Big Sister Mouse (at the countryside- transportation is provided to go).

These two places are the place where you could help the local people to practice their English. Some of the Lao’s monks also came to the place for practising English.

Big Brother Mouse Info

Big Sister Mouse Info

Lao Red Cross

They provide traditional Lao body massages, steams, reflexology and aromatherapy.

I went to try out the full body massage, it was nice and the price is slightly cheaper than other places.

All the donations will go directly to improve the lives of the poorest villages in Laos.

Handicraft Night Market

You would not want to miss the night market. You can everything here. Food, fruits drink, silk scarves, t-shirt, bags, shoes, local clothing over here.

Do not miss out the vegetarian buffet at the night market. You may take as much food as possible in one bowl which costs around USD2 per bowl.

Yoga at Utophia

“Utopia’s zen-like garden restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy morning yoga, eat a healthy breakfast, and relax during the day. At night, Utopia becomes Luang Prabang’s most popular night venue… EVERY night!

Utopia’s attractions: yoga, tiki huts, beach volleyball, great menu, relaxing atmosphere, river view garden, great music, and community projects.”

 Photo credit: here

Where to stay?

Yaya Guest House aka Savanna Restaurant & hostel 

I stayed here for four days three nights. The location is great and the owner of the hostel was so friendly and helpful. Of course, the price for the hostel is cheap which breakfast included.

Reviews from the other guests:

” Nice staff, free breakfast, good location, easy to find, clean”

As a lone female traveller, I felt safe, welcome and very happy with all hostel facilities. Very affordable and staff very sweet! Would definitely recommend!!

The owner was really helpful and flexible. He allowed me to check-in earlier and take care of my luggage while I was out.”

You can book the stay via booking.com 

There are many many things to check out in Luang Prabang: Wat(s) , museum, national library, events, festivals etc.

And you could plan your trip to the countryside which is near to LuangPrabang. I heard Nong Khiaw is really worth to check out but I did not manage to go this time.

As usual, it gives a reason to come back to this country.

Next post, I will be talking about how to go from Luang Prabang to North of Thailand which is one of my favourite journey during the whole Southeast Asia trip. I will share with you more on next time!

Instagram: @thetravellersu

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Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Itinerary 

 Planning a trip to Asia? Check out Qatar Airways

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Kanchanaburi Thailand Itinerary, close to Bangkok

Kanchanaburi

All of us like to travel to Thailand especially for food and shopping purposes.

Of course, Bangkok (BKK) is in our top priority list, because it is such an affordable, cheap and a food paradise for everyone.

Lately, I just back from Bangkok Thailand. Since I have been to Bangkok many times and I will be there for workaway about a month. I have decided to explore a new place which is near to Bangkok: Kanchanaburi.

Kanchaburi just takes about 3 hours train/van journey from BKK. In the total of 129 kilometres away from BKK to Kanchanaburi.

What is this place about?

It is a historical place where it is known for the Death Railway, built during World War II.
Numbers of Southeast Asian civilian labourers (Burmese, Chinese, Thai etc.) workers were recruited to build on the Burma railway and has been estimated more than 180,000 labourers, sacrificed and died in its construction.

Sadly to say that as a Malaysian, I only got to know about the history after I have visited this place. I know I am a bit outdated but on another note, is it a time to concern and think about our Malaysian education system?

How to go to Kanchanaburi?

From Bangkok

Taking the train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, it only costs 100THB one way.

I will recommend you to take the old train from Thonburi station in Bangkok to arrive here. Alternatively, you may choose to go by bus or minivan.

There is only two trains to go Kanchanaburi from BKK (per day) :

07:45 am  and  13:35 pm

Check out more here:  Kanchanaburi info

I would recommend you to go by the morning train where you would be able to enjoy the morning fresh air.

Furthermore, the old train is only provided fans.

In addition, the morning train arrives at Kanchanaburi around 11 am morning time.Hence you will have extra time to walk around.

Where to stay?

I chose my accommodation which is close to the train station. It only takes 5 minutes walking distance from the train station. The hostel name is Asleep Hostel.

If you are on budget and a solo backpacker like me, it is a good place for you. You may book from here

home cook kanchanaburi

The host, Mimi from the hostel is very friendly and generous. During my stay, she was invited all the travellers to have dinner at home. It was a home cooked and it tasted good! Home away from home.

Night Market

The night market is just next to the hostel which is way too convenient.

Have you tried foot massage at night market before? 🙂

I always like to try out something new 😛

What to see here?

The Bridge over the River Kwai – I liked this place and recommend you to walk over the bridge

http://www.goodian.space/images/catalog/5633/20180216_15187700889851.jpgPhoto credit: here

DEATH RAILWAY MUSEUM : Very informative, but the entrance fee a bit costly which includes one free coffee/tea during the visit.

You may check out Hellfire pass museum which is free of charge if you happen to go there.

War Cemetery – it is just next to the  death railway museum, a place to give some respects to the heroes and victims

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ERAWAN WATERFALL – I skipped this because I have seen many waterfalls throughout my SEA trip. I heard it was similar to Kuang Si Waterfall in Laos

http://www.goodian.space/images/catalog/5633/20180216_15187724273181.jpgPhoto credit: here

HELL FIRE PASS – this is a bit far from the town, you have to take the public transport to go. During my visited, I was lucky enough to meet a good Irish uncle and he offered me a ride to go together with his friends from Scotland.

http://www.goodian.space/images/catalog/5633/20180216_15187727983511.jpg

The museum is free entrance.Afterwards, you may start to track the hellfire pass (in the jungle) :
http://www.goodian.space/images/catalog/5633/20180216_15187728607561.jpg

http://www.goodian.space/images/catalog/5633/20180216_15187729312231.jpg

Along the hell pass fire trek, you will start to relate  and understand how suffered the labourers were (without food and water) when building the bridge.

 

I have visited hell pass fire with the three of them. They gave me a free ride and treated me for free lunch and sent me back to the bus station to BKK.

I was blessed enough to meet them and they did not want anything in return.Nice people are everywhere indeed.

NAM LOK STATION: Taking the train to the last stop, Nam Lok. I did not manage to go this time.Hence there will be some reasons to come back this place?

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Kanchanaburi is one of the places  that I recommended my friends to visit. It is a lovely and peaceful place. If you’ve ever been here before or planning to go soon, share with me your experience and stories.

Planning a trip to Asia? I have been using this website to book for my Thailand trip -Flight, Bus, Train tickets:  click here

Book a flight ticket to Asia with Qatar Airways:

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Itinerary for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Till next time!
Cheers!

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