• Travel Stories
  • Cost of a Backpacking trip to SE Asia (Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand) in 18 days

    Months back before my vacation leave started, I’ve been thinking of which places to visit aside from going back home in the Philippines. Visiting the neighboring countries was at the top of my lists. I’ve always wanted to explore SE Asia so I decided to go Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand for 18 days. Initially, I planned to travel alone but ended up joined by my friends along the way.

    Three of my friends traveled with me but since we don’t have same schedule for holidays and not living in the same country either, we decided to just meet along the trip. My childhood best friend (who’s working in Singapore) and I spent 4 days in Vietnam, visited two cities Ho Chi Mihn City and Hoi An. On my 5th day of travel,  my buddy Yana(based in Dubai) and I met in the city of Phnom Pehn Cambodia and traveled all the way to Siem Riep on our 7th day where another friend Winrey (based in the Philippines) has been waiting. The whole trip included 7 cities on 3 countries in 18 days.

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    Crossing the border from Cambodia to Thailand
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    Visiting China Town in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    For a Pinoy traveler, every penny counts. The most common question asked by fellow friends and relatives was how much money I’ve spent for the whole trip? Baka sobrang gastos! (Maybe you’ve have spent much). Did it cost you a lot?  Did you ask the help of a travel agency? I decided to do the itinerary for the whole trip with the help of my traveling friends. We checked how much the airfares would cost, shared ideas on where to stay and researched on foods and activities that we will do.  Was it not difficult to do it by our selves? It was a bit hard. It’s tiring, exhausting and  fulfilling  at the same time. I personally like the thrill of doing the itinerary without the need of a travel agency. It leaves you with the familiarity of places to visit and gives you an imagination of things to do and try. With some thorough research, blogs, exchanged of ideas and opinions with the travelling mates and added passion for traveling, we came up with the itinerary that best suits and favors everyone of us.

    I bought a one way ticket coming from the Philippines (Manila) to Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) that costs around 3300PHP/ 73 USD/ 28 OMR and a return ticket from Thailand (Bangkok) to Philippines (Manila) around 3600PHP/80 USD/31 OMR. I got it on sale, booked it like 2 months before my travel!

    Airfare            ————–       6900PHP/ 153USD/59 OMR (2 way ticket)

     

    We searched through Agoda.com , booking.com, Airbnb, hostelworld.com to compare prices for the accommodations. I exchanged emails with my friends from time to time to finally come up with the best place to stay. Instead of staying in a hotel, we all decided to book hostel, Inn or guesthouse where prices are affordable.

    Listed down are the breakdown of our expenses for accommodation.  My friends didn’t join me in the whole trip so as you can see down below I paid for some accommodation alone. Tip: It’s good to travel with friends to save up money!  But there are ways where you can save up money by staying in a shared room with other travelers and spend less than 10usd if you don’t mind privacy.

     

    Accommodation Cost   Each Person
    Pho Hoi Riverside Resort

    (Hoi An, Vietnam)

    59.16usd/ 2 nights with breakfast 29.58usd

     

    Lan Lan 2 Hotel

    (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

    41.26 usd/ 1 night with breakfast 20.6usd

     

    Jasmin Lodge

    (Siem Riep, Cambodia)

    36usd/3 nights with breakfast 12usd

     

    D & D Inn

    (Bangkok Thailand)

    46.7/1 night with breakfast 15.9usd

     

    Patong Buring Hotel

    (Phuket, Thailand)

    38.9usd/ 2 nights W/o breakfast 12.9USD
    Parami Guesthouse

    (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

    73.9usd/ 5 nights W/o breakfast 36.8 usd
    Hostel near Kao San Road

    (Bangkok Thailand)

    23.7 usd/1 night W/o breakfast 23.7usd

     

    Out of the listed accommodations we have stayed, I personally like Pho Hoi Riverside Resort. The place is clean and peaceful. They have amenities like pool, nice garden and just located near the river where you can just sit and relax .I also like D and D Inn for the swimming pool on the top of their Inn and accessibility of the place and Parami Guesthouse for the laid back stay and cozy feeling on the wooden house and helpful owner.

     Accommodation: 6833PHP/ 151.5USD/ 58.4 OMR

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    Jasmin Lodge in Siem Riep Cambodia

     

    Pho Hoi Riverside Resort in Hoi-An Vietnam

     

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    Stayed overnight at the airport of Vietnam, oh yes we slept somewhere! hehe.

     

    Whenever I travel, I eat local foods as much as possible. I enjoyed trying and tasting the local cuisine. Sometimes the best local foods can be found on the streets and that was very true in Thailand and Vietnam. I spent an average of 570PHP/13 USD/ 5 OMR per day for the foods. Of all the 3 countries I have visited, I liked Thai foods most. Second, Vietnamese foods and lastly Cambodian delicacy. Part of the food trip is trying the exotic foods which are very popular in Cambodia and Thailand such as eating insects. But you have to be careful on trying certain foods! I ate fried grasshopper in Thailand and ended up getting itchy and some redness on the face. It was funny I had an allergy with the fried insects. I also tried drinking some few local beers which added up the cost of my food allowance.

    Foods & Drinks—-      11,700 PHP/259USD/100 OMR

     

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    Thai foods

     

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    Eating street foods @ Kao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand

     

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    Local Beer in Vietnam

     

     

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    Local Cambodian Cuisine

     

    Unsure of what could possibly happen to me I opted to secure myself with a travel insurance that cost 2100 PHP/ 52 USD/ 20 OMR  that covers one month of my travel ( Vietnam,Cambodia,Thailand and Philippines). I bought mine here in Oman.

    Travel Insurance ——- 2,340PHP/ 52USD/ 20 OMR

     

    For the sightseeing and activities,it paid off to research so you will know what you want to see and do. I recorded the major expenditures I have which included temple and museum entrance fees like Angkor Wat Complex in Siem Riep, Grand Palace in Bangkok, War Remnants Museum in HCMC ,Royal Palace  & Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum  in Phnom Pehn.We did Island hopping in Phuket,  trekking, Mahout (Elephant) training& cooking lesson in Chiang Mai and boat cruise in Ho Chi Minh City as well. I indulged into Thai Massage( 200-300baht per hour) and some Body Scrub (700baht) in Bangkok as well.  Even though there are some activities we ended up not doing, we were still happy of the overall experiences we had.

    Sightseeing and Activities- 8200 PHP/ 181 USD/ 70 OMR

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    Beach bumming – Cua Dai Beach in Hoi-An ,Vietnam

     

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    Roaming around Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

     

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    A Must Visit Museum in Phnom Pehn Cambodia

     

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    Royal Palace in Phnom Pehn Cambodia

     

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    Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Riep Vietnam

     

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    Kao San Road at night, Bangkok Thailand

     

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    Temple in ChiangMai, Thailand.

     

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    Cooking lesson in ChiangMai, Thailand

     

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    Elephant Training in  ChiangMai, Thailand

     

    Well I spent most of my expenses on transportation. I had taken few domestic flights like going to Da Nang from Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Bangkok to Phuket and Phuket to ChiangMai (Thailand) which are bit necessary to save up time. To saved up few cents,I booked all the domestic flights like a month before my trip so prices were so still affordable.

    I have also taken the bus, taxi and van from transferring one country to another like going to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Phnom Pehn Cambodia, and crossing the border of Cambodia to Thailand. I’m quite hesitant to book from the hotel/hostel/guesthouse as often times its bit pricey compared if you will do it by yourself. We took tuktuk, red truck in Chiangmai for cheaper way of going around and tried the sleepers train 2nd class from Chiang Mai to Bangkok which is one of a must try for me to do in Thailand.

    Transportation – 14, 000PHP/311 USD/120 OMR

     

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    Tuktuk time around Cambodia

     

    Maybe you will ask me if I spent on any other things aside from the one listed above. Well yes I bought some clothes like tshirts, comfortable pants and dress! I also bought some pasalubong (gifts) for my family and friends. I told myself at first I wouldn’t buy on my trip but given the chance since most of the items  in  Thailand/ Cambodia and Vietnam are cheap ,I grabbed the opportunity to buy some items.

    Other expenses 5000PHP/ 111 USD/ 42 OMR

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    My friend bought some coffee in Vietnam

     

     Aside from those mentioned above, I also spent money for the travel tax in the Philippines. I paid 1620PHP /36USD/14 OMR.

     

    TOTAL: 57,000PHP/ 1,256 USD /484 OMR

    Was the backpacking trip cheap? The answer  will be what kind of traveler you are and how comfortable you are to spend money on certain things. But for me, I did have a great time in my mini adventure- seeing great places,  eating great foods and meeting & gaining new friends around the world!

    Do you have any plans of doing backpacking in Asia? Share it with us on the comments below.

     

  • Travel Stories
  • Things Why I Love Japan

    It was 2 years ago when I went to Japan with my sister for a visit. It was a dream come true since I’ve always want to visit the country when i was a kid. I always hear my aunt (based in Japan with her family) telling great stories about the country. I know Japan is always known for being so unique in Asia but the actual feeling of being on that country is beyond experienced.  All the things I love are still lingering my mind and I would like to share some of those:

     

    FOOD

    Food looks appealing and yummy! I have never been in any Asia country where looks of the food matters. Eating at home or in a small to a well known restaurant, it really amazed me how the food are well presented so it would be more appealing. Almost all the food are healthy too.I love everything from sushi, ramen, udon noodles, soba, takoyaki,Japanese curry,matcha latte, okinamiyaki, and chocolates!

     

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    Miso Ramen

     

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    Udon Noodles and Tempura!

     

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    Our Japanese Breakfast

     

    PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

    We used mostly of the train to go around the city. It is very organized, convenient, and can take you anywhere easily around Japan and very well maintained. I remembered we took the bullet train from Tokyo going to Nigata which is on the northern part of Japan and it cut down the 8 hrs trip to just 2.5 hrs. Isn’t it amazing? It one of the things one should try in Japan.

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    Bullet train going to Nigata

     

    HI TECH TOILETS

    When my sister and I first arrived in Japan, my aunt oriented us how to use the toilet. On my mind why was she saying that, for sure all are just pretty the same! But when I saw all the buttons to push,it made some sense! The seat was warm and there were buttons to press to let water come out of the bowl to flush you from the back or if you want some drier afterwards. If you want some music on while doing your thing,you can turn it on too! Public toilets are the same too! Very unique!

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    Buttons to press

     

    PURIKURA

    PURIKURA is a sticker printing photo booths which is very popular in Japan. Here the sample of our purikura moment. We changed costumes and then it made our eyes really big on the photos!

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    With my sister and Japanese cousins

     

     

    JAPANESE PEOPLE ARE FASHIONABLE

    Anywhere you go, streets are always filled with lots of fashionable people. It’s like watching an Asian fashion show.

     

    ONSEN

    Ok, it was bit awkward to do the naked bathing in the public. At first I don’t wanna do it but since females were separated from the males,I was convinced to do it.Indeed it was an experience!

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    View when we tried Onsen

     

    EVERYTHING IS CUTE

    Places, architecture, designs of the houses, things displayed on the stores, stuffs on the house everything were just so cute!

     

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    Foodcourt

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    CLEAN SURROUNDINGS

    Cleanliness matters to Japanese people. I didn’t see any single dirt on the public places. There were places too where they give free tissues to the public. I have never seen that on any other places.

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    GIANT ROBOTS

    If you are a big fun of anime and Japanese robots, you shouldn’t missed going to Odaiba and check the big robots. Japanese wearing costumes were just walking around Akihabara too. It was pretty cool!

     

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    PEOPLE ARE DISCIPLINED

    People are just so disciplined. You can always notice on the public places like train stations, restaurants and parks how they wait for their turn, remain so calm and helpful. They seem they have mastered the art of being disciplined in terms to everything.

     

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    Queue for sushi restaurant. Started falling in line as early as 4.30 am then had our breakfast around 8:00 am! But it was worth the wait!

     

    JAPANESE LANGUAGE

    I know Japanese words are quite difficult to learn but being around with my cousins who are half Japanese and Half Filipino, I just loved how they talked. It’s like music in my ears. You will be familiarized with some of the words too as it is very often used like Moshi-moshi(Hello), Arigato(Thank You), Onisan(Father), Okasaan(Mother),  Hai ( Yes)

     

    CONVENIENT STORES AND VENDO MACHINES ARE EVERYWHERE

    We had lots of walk when we were roaming around the city. Japanese are used to it but not me. Good thing vendo machines and convenient stores are everywhere and you can always grab a hot or cold tea drinks or whatever you like to ease the thirst!

     

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    BEAUTY PRODUCTS

    If you are a female, you will go crazy to go around and check on their beauty products. From beauty shampoo, soaps, curler lashes, concealer, body spray and so on, all are of nice, good quality and affordable prices.

    SAFETY

    Most of the time we will be home late but it seems it is very safe to walk around. It it almost like zero crime rate in Japan.

    What do you want to see on your trip to Japan? Share on the comments below.