When in CAMBO-THAI

This trip was the unexpected one. First, it was not the original plan. I was looking forward to exploring OZ. Second, my passport was about to expire and it takes 12 weeks to get a new one (sigh..). The trip was last July 2015. Three months prior to that, I was on another trip so I could not renew my documents yet. And time was running out (panic mode, LOL). I worried quite often for nothing. I was just uneasy but I made it. And lastly, I did not do any research. Well, I googled some of the rules and regulations and that was about it. So, I honestly did not know what to expect other than it was hotter than Vancouver.

Last summer, we went to Cambodia and Thailand.

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Gelli, Steffi, Jacky , Candice and Me 🙂

The “We” troopers were of course, me, Steffi, Candice, Gelli and Jacky.We arrived late at night in Siem Reap. We stayed in Angkor Pearl Hotel. It was 10/10 overall stay with the hotel. Our room package came with breakfast which was my favorite. The food gave my taste buds a bit of nostalgia. It was similar to Philippine dishes especially the bite-sized fried wrapped banana (little turon).

Our first agenda started at 5am on our second day. We had to get up early to catch the sunrise in Angkor Wat. We hired a tricycle driver and a tour guide to show us around the whole day. The admission fee to the Angkor Wat is US $20. Tourists from all over the place only need to carry with them US Dollars. All transactions in Cambodia are being paid in US Dollars for tourist. From booking hotel rooms to buying street food, everything is priced in US Dollars. However, if you pay with larger bills, they will give you Cambodian Riel back as change.

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waiting for Mr. Sun
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Angkor Wat

When in comes to OOTD, there is a proper attire that needs to be followed when visiting the temple. It does not need to be fancy. You just need to cover a little bit of skin than the usual to give respect.

After exploring Angkor Wat, we went back to the hotel to have our breakfast. Then we headed to Angkor Thom. It  is an entire city of different temples. We first visited Bayon Temple. It was pretty huge with lots of turns and get-through alleys. Our tour guide was so knowledgeable. He explained the temple history, the head structure and even shared the story behind those intricate wall designs surrounding the temple. Unfortunately, I was not able to retain the information (that’s fine, there’s wikipedia).

We spent the rest of the morning til 2pm going around Bayon Temple. After stuffing our belly, we visited Ta Prohm. It is famous for the set location of Tomb Raider. Angelina Jolie left a carving on one of the trees and no one knows what it meant. The place is also famous for the huge tree roots running along the ruins of the temple.

The temple tour in Ta Prohm is a one-way flow. If you stop for a picture-taking, take as much as you want. As soon as you reach the exit, the only way to go back is from the entrance on the other side. That means you have to pass the same lefts and rights until you reach your stop. Without a tour guide, it’s pretty confusing to go around.

We ended our day strolling around night market. We had a box of “happy” pizza (wink, wink..) as our dinner and couple of street food.

We spent the next morning prepping for our trip to Thailand. We made a quick stop over in Bangkok because there was no direct flight to Phuket. We stayed in Holiday Inn. The hotel is just a 2-minute walk away from the Patong Beach. We explored the streets in search of a knock-off dinner. And we obviously settled for a seafood feast. We also tried couple of street food.

On our fourth day, we went island hopping, swimming ,snorkeling and munching :). We booked a tour package for our island hopping. We paid around 7400 baht for 5 people. That includes our buffet lunch, snacks and awesome view. We stopped first on Bamboo Island for 1 hour of swimming and island exploring. Then we passed by bat island and stop on another island for snorkeling. It was amazing watching the school of fish swimming in between colorful corals. That was the closest I can get to Great Reef Barrier for now. It was quite scary too. As soon as I looked underwater, I felt a bit of oxygen shortage plus that tiny heart attack you get when you’re about to slip in the shower. It was really deep and pretty. Well, I guess I was both thrilled and scared.

We had our sumptuous lunch at Phi Phi Don Resort. After enjoying mouthful of tom yum and Thai cuisine, we stopped a while on Monkey Island to feed the little rascals. Our tour guides took us to another part of Phi Phi Leh after. I had my first experience of bikini yacht jumping. Though it was not really a yacht and yes, I was wearing a two-piece because I can (hahaha). It was a lowkey-tryna-kardashian episode (lol) but I’ll take it. Then our final stop was Maya Beach, famous for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Movie. Ahmm, he was not washed up there after the shipwreck neither waking up from a dream. It was the set location for his movie The Beach. I have no idea that film existed until I stepped foot on that island. It was a whole day of fun activity. If you want to stay longer on Phi Phi Island, you can book a room for roughly US$100 or less per night.

Before heading to the airport, we used all our remaining time in Phuket visiting the Big Buddha, taking tons of photo on view-point and my favorite, elephant trekking. At around 4pm, we were on our way to the capital.

And Hello Bangkok for real. We stayed in Baiyoke Sky Hotel. I’m rating them 8/10 for having no free wifi in our room. 😦 We bought a sim card which became our hot spot for wifi. So you actually need a spare phone to get connected and for google map purposes.

Our first stop in Bangkok was The Grand Palace. Then 2 or 3 blocks away is the Temple of Leaning Buddha. On the next day, We toured around Ayutthaya, where Mario Maurer shot part of the Suddenly it’s Magic movie.

On our last day, we had a mall tour in search of Thai Tea, whitening soap, sweets and other goodies to take home with us. We bought almost everything from the supermarket. It was pretty much a one-stop shop but nothing beats the street bargains.  I also had my first taste of sticky mango rice. Damn, it was tasty and addicting. I got a pair of rose gold hear-shaped earrings too. They were not the expensive ones. It only cost me 20 baht a pair. But the quality was better than my F21 pair.So I suggest you hoard rose gold jewelries from Thailand. If you don’t want to wear them, they actually make a good business.

DSC02561I have never been so tan in any of my vacations, yet another great adventure is now off the list. ’til we meet again Cambodia and Thailand.

-Winlove

Photo Credits:

To my amazing travel buds, Jacky, Gelli, Candice & Steffi 🙂
Continue reading “When in CAMBO-THAI”

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When in JAPAN

The plan was 2014, then it was moved to Fall of 2015 until we made it happen last June 2016.

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Konichiwa, Japan!

I did my research like everyone. I kept working with barely any day offs because it was quite a rip off to stay there for 10 days and trying your very best not to swipe those plastic cards. I used KAYAK to search for hotels but it was too pricey so we settled for airbnb. It was pretty good considering it was our first time. The neighborhood was quiet and safe. Actually, I got lost on my way to our place in Osaka and a lady was really kind to show me the way. She accompanied me all the way to our airbnb. The nearest station to our place was Komogawa-nakano station.

I keep mentioning “we”, right? Yeah, It was me and Jacqueline who took an escapade to Japan this year.

She came from Manila and I flew from Vancouver. And it was one of my meh plane ride. Well, I did not get a memo that there won’t be any kind of visual entertainment during a 10.75-hour flight. You can use Air Canada’s wi-fi with a price and I’m not paying for that because I already paid them when I booked the ticket. I tried to sleep but when you are too excited it’s not going to happen.

DSC01843And so I arrived. First Stop- Osaka. I met up with Katrina in Dotonbori while Jacky was still in Manila or somewhere mid-air. She’s been staying Japan for quite a while. We were University classmates and friends. We hugged a lot. She showed me around Dotonbori. We ate takoyaki and okonomiyaki because why not?! I forgot how much was one okonomiyaki but 8 pieces of takoyaki were 650 yen.

The following day, we went to Osaka Castle. We stayed until I got my IG worthy shot. It was not that long, okay. Then we had our lunch which I forgot where. We headed to Nara after. The deers were like “askals” (asong kalye=stray dogs) over there. We enjoyed feeding them and they also enjoyed eating biscuits and my OOTD. ( hahah)  The biscuits cost 100 yen. We went further to visit Todai-ji Temple. There were plenty of deers along the way. We no longer went inside. But you can actually see the entire temple from a distance just not the interior of it. There is an admission fee of 500 yen. (that’s why, hahaha..)

We spent our entire third day in Universal Studios Japan. And you know what goes down there, Butterbeer! The admission fee is 7400 yen and I suggest you get an express pass. We purchased the express 4 which is an additional 4500 yen. If you think that is pricey, then try waiting in line for 130 minutes just to get inside Hogwarts. It was not even that long, I heard stories that you have to wait 5 hours before. I did not that have patient. I was super happy, excited and there was too much anticipation building inside me. The food and the price were like any other themed park but the good thing is you can bring your own. If you’re planning to eat at Three-broom sticks, you better be there before 11 or after 2. It is so packed during lunch that your hunger can Avada Kadabra you to death. If you love anime, they have the Attack on Titan where you get to take pictures with Captain Levi, Eren and the rest. We went for high-speed rides, kiddy rides and even met up with Hello Kitty. (’cause we’re cool like that!)

The 4th day was a lot of walking. We were in Kyoto. First was Kiyomizu-dera. There is an admission fee of 400 yen.  Next stop was Fushimi Inari-Taisha. You can walk around for free. Third one was Kinkaku-ji or The Temple of Golden Pavillion. You need 500 yen to have a great view of the temple. And the last one was Arashiyama with my bomb diggity OOTD.

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We went to Kobe for our last day in Kansai. And the must try kobe beef was our lunch with unli rice.After lunch, we headed to Nunobiki Garden via Kobe Ropeaway. Such a stunning view going up. Then all aboard to the capital.

And we landed in Tokyo. Yes landed, we took the plane (peach airlines- $60) because it was cheaper compare to shinkansen ($130). It was a 1.5-hour flight which I barely felt due deep sleep. Our airbnb area was very convenient. There is a nearby 24-hour restaurant, a supermarket that closes at 12am and 1-minute walk from the station (OgiOhashi station).

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Fifth Station

The next day’s Itinerary was Mt. Fuji. We did not have the chance to climb as it was not yet climbing season and the weather was not suitable for such activity. But I made it to the 5th station via 1-hour bus ride. Round trip bus ticket is 2100 yen. I managed to get a good look of the summit despite the rain and fog. We allotted the entire day for Mt Fuji. It was a long travel to get there from Adachi. You can take a bus from Shinjuku Station to Kawaguchiko Station (1175 yen one way) then from Kawaguchiko Station another bus to Fifth Station. You can also take subway and trains like what we did. But it was a lot of transfer unlike the bus.

To mark our 7th day in Japan, we went to the happiest place on earth, Disney! We chose Tokyo Disney Sea over Land.  It is something unique among the Disney theme parks. Disneyland has that standard beauty and the beast castle which is the same to all Disneyland parks.

I’ve been to Hong-Kong and California so this time it was something different that is only in Japan. There is no castle and it is not even a princess-like but still magical. The admission fee is 7400 yen. We did not buy any express pass. The theme park is huge and people have lots of choices where to go so the line up was not that bad. It has the same fee with Tokyo Disneyland. They do not offer park hoppers unlike in California where you can just switch between Disneyland and California Adventures. If you go there on weekends, Disney offers a twilight pass, which is from 3pm ’til close. Tickets are cheaper so if you want to switch park you can wait until 3 but only on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, I believe.You can bring food inside as well. The park has more choices though. And I love their ice cream sandwich. We laughed, ate and enjoyed ’til we drop.

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The Scramble

On our 8th day, we went to Asakusa then Skytree tower. Afterwards, we headed to Shibuya and crossed the famous pedestrian scramble. I met Hachiko as well. His solo statue is just beside Shibuya Station. We went around Shibuya, checked out some of the shops and ate sweets.

T’was our 9th day and we were still alive but tired. We went to Tokyo Tower and checked out the One piece store. Then we finally wandered in Shinjuku to search for Pablo, KitKat, Baked Cheese Tart, and Green tea Goodies to take home with us.

 

DSC03104And we were down to the last day. It was time to say goodbye but only for now. It was a great vacation and a much needed one. Our airbnb hosts were accommodating both in Osaka and Tokyo. Although it was expensive to go around places, it was worth every dime and swipe (guilty pleasure).

 

-Winlove