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

SYDNEY ITINERARY:

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 DAY 1-DAY 3: click here

DAY 4: BONDI JUNCTION

After 2 days 1 night in Katoomba, I took another 2 hours train ride back to the central station.
It is always convenient to check the train arrival time (from google map) before heading to the train station to avoid waiting at the train station for an hour.
I took the 620pm train where it arrived central at 821pm. From the central station, change another train at Platform T4, then 5 stations to stop at Bondi Junction Station. From there, take another bus ride (No. 380, Stand B), 13 stops, 11 minutes to arrive at Bondi Beach, Stand C bus stop.
Good Tip: If you are unsure where to change the train or bus, it is always good to ask people around. Most of the time people are willing to help.
The bus arrived at 905pm and stopped right in front of the hostel: Noahs Bondi Backpackers 
Good Tip: As a female traveller, I always search for the strategic location for accommodation which means easy to access and within walking distance from public transport.
Furthermore, the hostel is just right in front of Bondi beach. I walked around the beach area and enjoyed the night view here:

BONDI ICEBERGS CLUB:
“Located at the southern end of Bondi Beach, Bondi Icebergs Club is an international landmark, and no trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to our pool and clubhouse.

Bondi Icebergs has been the home of Winter swimming since 1929 and our famous pool is open to visitors all year round. Located above the pool, our fully licensed clubhouse is open to both members and guests, and all visitors are welcome to enjoy sweeping views over the pool and Bondi beach as they drink or dine on our sunny balcony.” – icebergs.com.au

night viewThe famous Bondi Baths have been a historical landmark of Bondi Beach for over 100 years.

POOL ADMISSION ENTRY FEES
Adult $8
Child (12 years & under) $5.50
Seniors Card Holders $5.50
Family (2 Adults & up to 3 Children): $24
Yoga Entry: $8
Locker Hire: $3
Towel Hire: $4
Learn to Swim Spectator: $4
For more information: https://icebergs.com.au/swimming-pool/pool-sauna/

morning view

DAY 5:  BONDI BEACH 

I spent most of my day in Bondi beach on day 4 and Intan decided to join me at Bondi beach. The hostel has a nice big balcony which allows the guests to chill at the area.

A coastal walk from the Bondi to Coogee is also another popular activity in Bondi. It is six kilometers long and takes about two hours to complete the whole trail and you will get to enjoy the beautiful coastline vistas and cozy beaches.

Coastal walk from Bondi to Congee

It is advisable to walk in the early morning to avoid sunburn. Or else remember to bring the hat and sunscreen.
We stopped at the Tamarama Beach Sydney and had some fun and a great time here:

During lunchtime, we have decided to try out the well-known Hurricane’s Grill in Sydney:
No doubt, it is the “Best pork ribs in Sydney!”

Hurricane’s Grill

After lunch, we were back to the Bondi beach and enjoyed the sunbath.

Bondi beach

It is time to leave the beach and heading back to the city area. For the next two days, I have reserved the 2 remaining stays at Redfern. This area is an inner-city suburb of Sydney and it is located 3 kilometers south of the Sydney central business district. I have been hearing different reviews about Redfern and I’ve searched the area that that would be interested to explore:

“I’ve been told that the Sydney suburb of Redfern, the long-time home to many Aboriginal people, has changed. I’ve been asked if Redfern is safe. It is a few years since I have been here and I have come to see for myself. As I leave Redfern Station, I silently acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land and pay my respects to Elders past and present.”

https://www.airbnb.com/locations/sydney/redfern

As usual, it is always good to use common sense and guts feeling whenever you decided to adventure something.

It started to rain heavily during my last two days in Sydney. However, it did not stop me to explore around the city.

Day 6: REDFERN – UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY – OPERA HOUSE

When the heavy downpour stopped, I started to walk around Redfern area in the early morning.
Views from Redfern along the way to the University of Sydney:

UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
It is worth to pay a visit to the University of Sydney since it was:

-Established in 1850

-Australia’s first University

-One of the world’s leading, comprehensive research and teaching institutions.

-Ranked in the top 50 universities in the world

Uni of Sydney

From the University of Sydney, I used the google map to find a way back to the central district:
The final stop was to see through the Sydney Opera House with closed eyes.

Sydney Opera House

The weather was gloomy and drizzling during the evening time.

I gave a quick walk to The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney which was just right next to Sydney Opera House.

That pretty much summed up my trip to Sydney.
How did I feel about Sydney?
Sydney is a high living expenses city, however, there were many nice, cheap and free things you could do in Sydney. Do your own research and plan your trip nicely, you would not need to need to have a high budget to travel around the city. Aside from the town, it is recommended to spend a few days in the countryside. If you have noticed, most of my travel focus is on sightseeing, understanding the local cultures and take a chance to interact with the locals and meeting new people.
That is also one of the reasons why I enjoyed traveling alone.

EXPENSES (Conversion rate: AUS 1: MYR 3)

Hostel: AUD 166.78
Food: AUD 70
Transportation: AUD 60
Flights: Average RM1100 – RM1500 (return tickets)
My flights:
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:
RM890 + RM1500 = Approximately RM2300 (For 6 days 5 nights trip)

1 Minute Clip – Sydney Trip:

Sydney Part 1:  click here

Instagram: @thetravellersu

Facebook:@The Traveller Su

 

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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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Hiking and Camping trip in Tarak Ridge(1130 m.a.s.l.)

Tarak Ridge, which is part of the Mount Mariveles and it is a popular spot for hiking and camping activities. Besides this, there are another two peaks in Mount Mariveles which have been explored by the local mountaineering community, including Pantingan or Banayan Peak, and Mariveles Ridge.

I came to know about this place from a friend, Brian which I met in Baler surfing trip. Since he is an active hiker, I asked him if I could join him on his next hiking trip.

He suggested a hiking trip to Tarak Ridge, where he already been there for eight times. I  was curious about this place and decided to join this adventurous trip on one of the weekends. And this would be 2 days 1-night trekking trip.

On the 27th of October 2018 @330am, we gathered at McDonald which was right next to Pasay MRT last station. We took the morning bus ( from there you could either take Genesis or Bataan Express bus) to Bataan and the whole bus journey took about 3 hours.

The bus stopped at Brgy. Alas-asin, Mariveles LLA  which is the jump-off point to Tarak Ridge. It was 7 am in the early morning and we began trekking after having our breakfast and grocery shopping.

Each of us carrying a backpack which filled with tons of food and drinks.

Jump-Off PointThe first part of the trekking was not that difficult and mostly the road was flat and there was one part which required downclimbing.

We took 4 hours to arrive Papaya River Campsite, which allowed ourselves to have some free time, lunch and swimming activities. We rested at Papaya River for an hour before resuming our trek up to the summit campsite.

The second part to the summit was rather challenging as compared to the beginning part. Furthermore, we were carrying the backpack and tent thus it was not as easy as compared to the normal day trekking trip.

Brian left me behind since my pace was not as fast as his.  XD… He managed to reach the summit campsite within 2 hours and it took me 3 hours to arrive at the summit campsite.

We have decided to choose a more quiet campsite and started to walk and explore around the area. Of course, taking many nice pictures too.

Since Brian used to hike and camping a lot, he was volunteered to prepare the dinner for us.

It has been many years since my last camping activities.

It was super yummy. The best meal I had on that day

After dinner time, we started to enjoy the stars in the night sky and sharing life experiences. It was a wonderful night indeed. Not forget to mention we had a great social drinking session before fell asleep on the cozy mountain.

The next morning, we woke up at 545am to enjoy the sunrise view.

The view was amazing and since I refused to go up to another peak, we just stayed there and enjoyed the current view.

  

After taking tons of nice pictures, we headed back to the campsite and prepared for breakfast. Then, started to break camp.

We began to trek down to Papaya River at 9 am and it took us 1 hour to arrive at the riverside.  I took a nap there and when I was awake, Brian had already started preparing lunch for us:

eggplants with soy sauce…Yummy

It was 1 pm when we started to trek again. I have fastened my speed this time since I could not wait to be back to the jump-off point and to enjoy a nice shower.

It’s only taken 2 hours to arrive at the starting point.

Brian bought the Red horse liquor drink to celebrate the completion of our trekking trip.

After taking the dinner, we took the bus heading back to Metro Manila. That’s the story of my 2 days 1-night adventurous trekking trip. Overall I enjoyed the trip very much. It is always good to be back to nature and enjoy the fresh air on top of the mountain. I enjoyed the time when there was no access to the internet and purely enjoying the nice scenery.

Normally after hiking, it refreshed my mind and I have more strength to overcome the obstacles in the real world. That is the reason why I like outdoor activities including hiking. And thanks to my friend, Brian who is a talented guy (check out his biography and his company websitewho took care of me throughout the whole journey. Till next time.

 

If you are interested to hike Tarak Ridge, below is the itinerary planned by Brian for your reference:

DAY 01
0300 Assembly at Mc Donald Pasay MRT Station(last station of MRT)
0330 ETD Manila to Bataan (Genesis or Bataan Express bus)
0630 ETA Brgy. Alas-asin / Registration
0700 Begin Trek
1100 ETA Papaya River Campsite / Rest / Cook lunch
1200 Lunch / Free Time / Swimming
1330 Resume trek
1630 ETA Ridge Campsite / Set-up camp / Explore / Cook dinner
1630 Sunset viewing / Prepare dinner
1800 Dinner / Socials
2100 Lights out

DAY 02
0500 Wake-up call / sunrise view at Tarak Ridge
0600 Breakfast
0700 Trek to summit
0900 ETA Summit
0900 Begin trek to campsite
0945 ETA campsite / break camp
1100 ETD campsite
1230 Papaya River / Lunch
1330 Resume trek
1630 ETA jump-off point / clean-up / log-out
1730 ETD Brgy. Alas-asin / Dinner
2100 ETA Manila

WHAT TO WEAR:
Dri-Fit Shirts
Leggings / Jogging pants / Compression Pants
Socks
Trekking Shoes or Sandals
Cameras
Powerbank
Headlight
Water at least 2 liters or good enough for 2 days
Tent
Hygiene kit

EXPENSES (In Peso):
Bus Manila to Alas asin – 200 – 400
Registration – 50
Food Allowance – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner/Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (200 to 300)
Shower Fee after hike: 50 (estimated fee only)
—————–
Total estimated cost = P800

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My Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ) Journey In South East Asia

When I was planning my last trip to South East Asia, my intention was not only being a tourist. I was keen to experience and understand the local life and get to know more about each country cultures.

Besides that, I was interested to continue the martial arts of Brazilian Jujitsu which I have been practicing since the beginning of 2017. It is an addictive sport especially for petite girls like us, it is useful to know for self-defense purpose.

So…What is BJJ?

It is a martial art and combat sports system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. BJJ promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves or another against a bigger person.

Gi and No Gi are the 2 forms of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Gi is the grappling which allows the practitioner to grab the clothing of the opponent. While No Gi is the grappling is wearing shorts and a rash guard which is not allowed to grab the opponent’s clothing. In order to be a complete BJJ player, it is good to train in both ways.

I got to know about this addictive sport when I signed up for a gym membership back in Malaysia. However, I was not (still not) an active practitioner even until today. I only attend the class once a week (due to work commitment and travel distance) but whenever I enroll in, I  do learn new techniques from the coach. I am a slow learner but I do enjoy every single class.

My travel journey started in HCMC, Vietnam. Upon arrival, I have managed to contact Saigon Luta Livre that I would be joining the class if the time and location were allowed.

Saigon Luta Livre
Saigon Luta-Livre was the first gym that I went to practice during my travel time. Erik Koehne is the main coach for Saigon Luta-Livre. He was a funny person with a good sense of humor. He was a patient person who willing to guide BJJ beginners like me and the techniques he taught in the class was useful and easy to learn.
I was delighted that I got the chance to practice at his gym place for the whole month of October 2017.
Congratulations to him and his wife, Bella who just tied the knot recently. I was happy to meet this lovely couple in Vietnam 🙂
Here is a brief link about coach Koehne and his BJJ story: click here
 

Other than that, I went to visit and dropped by a BJJ class at Star Fitness Bitexco HCMC. Saigon Jujitsu is using Star Fitness facility to facilitate BJJ classes. Having said that, once you have paid the membership fee (they have daily passes), you are entitled to enjoy and use other facilities in the gym for the whole day. 

Saigon jujitsu is known as the oldest BJJ school in HCMC and you get to practice with many Japanese practitioners over here.

Saigon Jujitsu
Saigon Jujitsu

I stayed at HCMC for a month and continued on my journey to the northern part. Throughout the whole journey, I did not stop learning about BJJ and practice Yoga. If there was a chance, I would join and practice with the local community.

However, I was forced to stop practicing BJJ for about a month when I was heading to the central and northern regions of Vietnam. There were not many options at the area until I arrived at the Northern part of Thailand, Chiang Mai. I dropped by at Chiang Mai Jutjitsu and attended in  a GI class once.

Again, it was another great experience and get to know other expats from all over the country.

From Chiang Mai, I headed down all the way to Bangkok which was my last stop for my backpacking trip. I chose to practice BJJ at EMAC Thailand which was recommended by the coach in Chiang Mai Jutjitsu and I stayed there for about 3 weeks for a voluntary service with a local hotel.

 EMAC Thailand is an authentic martial arts school situating in Khet Bang Rak, Bangkok. There were many Thai BJJ Players and other foreign practitioners who came to practice every night here.

Everyone was dedicated to BJJ and it was great to meet a bunch of people who have a mutual interest in BJJ.

EMAC Thailand
Emac Thailand

Once I came back to Malaysia, I resumed my practice at Muayfit Puchong  and deeply appreciate my coach’s efforts, a person who has always been patient and coached us with his own professional way (despite the fact that I’m still a slow learner in BJJ )

Muayfit Puchong, Guess which one is my coach?

If you are interested in BJJ and would like to learn more about this martial arts, feel free to check out more on this page which they have listed most of BJJ gyms in Asia: BJJ Asia

Thanks for reading. Till next time…Oss!

OSS. It is also known as “ossu”, means Oshi Shinobu, which conveys the idea of “persevering when pushed”. In other words, never give up, have determination, grit and withstand the most arduous of training.
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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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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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Asian’s life…are you willing to travel long term?

Many Asians like travelling, however, it is mainly for short-term travelling. Because for us we cannot (aka not willing) to put down all our commitments. We used to follow the social norms, follow whatever it supposed to do in our entire life. When you are reaching the age of mid-20, many people including your family members (parents, uncle, aunties) rushing you to get married and to settle down. Even though the pressure might not come from your family, however, you will start noticing that your bff, your friends are going into another stage. At one point, you wonder am I the awkward one?
Well, sad to be true that there are a lot of people did not know what exactly they want in their life…
Despite they knew, there are many reasons (excuses) to pull them back .. “I do not think I could do that..I wish I could do this but let’s see.”
I would not tell you how enjoyed I was for last long trip in Indo China. By the way, I was there for almost four months (only). However, I would say this is pretty normal kind of culture for westerners. They choose to have a gap year either from university or working life. I have met some travellers where they have even been travelling for a couple of years.
Asians and Westerners are totally different kind of mentality.
These are some questions and doubts from most of the Asian friends:
a) How dare you just quit your job and started to travel?
b) You must be very rich..you must come from the rich family…you must have a SUGAR DADDY
c) Don’t you scare that you could not find any job later on?
d) Is it very dangerous to travel alone?
e) Is it safe to go these countries?
f) Do you get money by doing volunteering?
Sometimes it is hard for me to explain in details to people. Some people just would not understand why you chose this way. A lot of jealousy, doubts, negativity from different people. Of course, I am glad that there are still many people and friends that supported and encouraged me throughout the whole journey.
Especially my family members, my parents. When my relative was asking my mum, didn’t she worry me since I travelled alone plus I am a girl…well, my mum replied her steadily: “She used to do that way.” which means she trusted me and of course one thing she knew that she couldn’t stop me. Thanks to mum and dad!
If you are reading my post now and you are an Asian, I would encourage you to try solo travel once in your lifetime (no matter you are a guy or a girl). Of course, before going you must do some homework and preparation.
Feel free to message me if you need some clarification and details. I am willing to answer all above-listed questions 🙂
Cheers,
The Traveller Su
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