I slept for 8 hours inside the bus. We spent our 3rd night inside a sleeper bus en route to Osaka. If you plan to go to Osaka from Tokyo, you can take the bullet train or the bus. If you are on a budget trip (like me), the best option is to take the sleeper bus. You get to save a night of accommodation and your day itinerary will not be compromised. Continue reading “Part 4 of 7 of our Japan Diary: Osaka Castle and Food trip at Dotonbori”
I am never the planner. I don’t plan my day, moreover my life. I love spontaneity and surprises. But when we talk about traveling, I become the exact opposite.
My first out of the country trip was with my family. We would avail tour packages and have an itinerary determined by the travel agency. It was fun but it felt limiting. Few years after, I started to travel with a friend and decided to book everything on our own. It was more fun to have control over your trip: where to go, what to eat, where to shop. Also, we don’t have to visit jewelry stores if we don’t want to. :p
Recently, when I traveled with my family and friends to Japan, I took care of the itinerary and the budgeting. It was really challenging — having to plan for a big group is one thing, and it is another thing to research the must-see places, book our accommodation and activities. I became the planner I never thought I can be. I was keen into details, made sure I settled the correct amount, booked the correct dates and paid with the correct card. Traveling is fun, but I can say planning a trip is something I look forward to now. Maybe the next thing I should plan is — my life. Lol!
Check out my Japan Pre-Planning post.
You see it: in the malls, in the highway, in the TV ads — Nike has always encouraged us to do it. But nothing can better push us to “just do it” than traveling.
Traveling has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Every time I am in a new place and I seem to be in a crossroad — whether to do an activity or not, or whether to try an exotic food or not — I always think of this tagline: JUST DO IT! Because when will I be able to go back to that place again — probably not anytime soon. And I wouldn’t want to go back home thinking of “I should have done that” or “I should have eaten that.” Same as what happened to us in Shenzhen. My mother managed all our money and expenses then. When we were offered to visit the Windows of the World, my mother declined because she thought it was a bit costly and it wasn’t worth it. We left Shenzhen with ‘what if’s’ and it wasn’t a good feeling. I gotta learn it the hard way and made sure that on my next trips, I should just do it.
I can say, traveling to a new place made me braver and bolder.
You can be late to work or to a meeting with friends, but never, ever be late when traveling. Every second and minute of your time while traveling is important. You don’t want to miss anything spectacular, like the sunrise in Angkor Wat, when that’s the exact reason you flew to Cambodia.
That is exactly the story of my life. On our last day in Cambodia, we decided to do the Angkor Wat tour. Since we’re already in Cambodia, we don’t want to miss seeing it in its most picturesque form: sunrise. But guess what, we overslept! Instead, we started our tour at 8am and was greeted by sea of people. Nevertheless, we enjoyed visiting the temples. On the brighter side, without these misfortunes, we will not actually learn. So, I take it as a lesson. Next time I traveled, I make sure to set my alarm 5 times and SLEEP EARLY!
There was another instance, we were 5 minutes late for our Kalibo to Manila flight, we had to take a boat for 16 hours instead of a 45 minute plane ride. Talk about hassle 😦
Thanks to geography, we know our continents and their location. We know that we have vast bodies of water and different land forms, but these are all textbook information. We learn this in grade school. The true knowledge is obtain when you get out there and experience it yourself.
When I fly via plane, it always amazes me to look down and see pea-sized houses, the illuminating lights and vast oceans. It makes me realize how small I am and how big the world really is. And for a moment my problems seem so small compared to all the problems accumulated in the whole world. As I continue traveling, it perplexes me to think how I came to exist not knowing all these people and not seeing these places. That’s why when I come home after a trip, I really feel enriched and contented because I feel like I learned a lot and see a lot of things that I never knew exist.
Ever since, I always look forward to traveling more, to see more faces and places and bring it with me back home.
Oh, yes I can solve an Algebra equation and I can recite the Periodic Table of Elements — thanks to my high school. But I have learned that there are far more things to learn when you step out of the classroom. Theories are taught in school but the real knowledge comes from our experiences. And I can say traveling is one of the best teachers I have encountered in this lifetime.
After college, I was thrown out into the real world: I got a job that pays me enough but I don’t really enjoy, I started to get bills, eventually I felt burnt out and questioned if this is everything there is after college. And then I got into traveling, I spent my weekends out of town and plot my vacation leaves to visit other countries. Suddenly, life seems to be happier. I get to meet different people from different walks of life. I talk to people with languages different from mine. I get to see other people’s livelihood: making delicacies, wood carving and clothing. Most importantly, I experienced things and not just read about them. I felt fully present. Have I not traveled, have I not stepped out from my comfort zone, have I not explored, I wouldn’t learned this much about people and places and especially I wouldn’t know more about myself — what I am capable of, what my limits are, what my hidden strengths are.
Traveling made me richer in experience. Traveling made me more knowledgeable than those who do not travel. Traveling totally changed my life. I cannot imagine not traveling at all.
LAST DAY IN TOKYO. Three days were not enough to visit Tokyo. There were still a lot of places on our list that we want to visit but we had to limit ourselves due to time and budget constraints (ako lang pala ang may budget constraints lol). For our last day in Tokyo, we went to Tsukiji Fish Market. It is known for its fresh array of seafood and its tuna auction. We skipped the Tuna Auction because (tbh) we won’t wake up early just to see it. Continue reading “Part 3 of 7 of our Japan trip: Tsukiji Fish Market, Senso-ji Temple and En Route to Osaka”
I’ve been asked a couple of times for our Japan itinerary and how I got to fit 40,000Php all-in for this trip. I actually prefer to blog our activities per day, so I can share our day in detail and the breakdown of our expenses. But since you asked for it, I’ll share here our 7 day itinerary.
YEY! SECOND DAY IN JAPAN! We started the day feeling fresh after a good night sleep. I bet everyone slept well considering how tired we were from all the walking we did on our first day. At least second day in Japan was more comfortable because we didn’t have to worry about our luggages anymore because they were tucked safe at home. Continue reading “Part 2 of 7 of our Japan Diary: Gotemba Premium Outlet, Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Tower”
After all the planning and researching, it’s time to make it come to life.
Our flight to Tokyo was through Jetstar, which was stationed at Terminal 1. We left at 12:40AM and arrived at Narita International Airport at 6AM. (Their time is 1 hour ahead). It was my first time to fly via Jetstar and I’d say we had a smooth sailing flight since I was asleep the entire time. Little did I know, there was a strong turbulence midway that caused our plane to sink a few feet. LITERAL BES! As in, bumagsak daw yung plane at ang mga puso nila. The FAs panicked and instructed everyone to use their seatbelt. And I. WAS. ASLEEP. When I woke up, we were about to land na. 🙂
One look at the requirements for Japan visa and you’ll start to think twice about going. But do not get too overwhelmed with the requirements, it’s actually pretty easy to apply for a Japan visa.
First, you need to find an accredited agency who processes Japan visa. In the Embassy of Japan website, they have indicated the following agencies:
- Universal Holidays Incorporated
- Discovery Tour Inc.
- Rajah Travel Corporation
- Reli Tours and Travel Agency
- Attic Tours Phils Inc.
- Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation
For our visa, we went to Rajah Travel Corporation. I have a friend working there and she advised me to wait for the Travel Expo to pay for the visa processing fee because they will give a discounted amount. So we went to the Expo last February and pay for the visa processing fee of P450 instead of the original price of P1,500.
Our Japan trip, which happened last June 6 – 12, is by far the most special trip I’ve had. I knew everything by heart because I carefully planned and researched our itinerary and budget. They say travelling to Japan is expensive, but with thorough planning I would say it is not as expensive as other people think. If you are in my page because you also want to go to Japan without having to burn your wallet, you’ve come to the right page. We are a group of 6 who travelled to 3 cities: Tokyo – Osaka – Kyoto (well, plus Nagoya because that’s where we flew out of Japan) for P40,000 and some change. Below I will share how I planned our trip.
Before I start, I just want to share that my budget was divided into two. Pre-trip expenses and During trip expenses. The Pre-trip expenses include airfare, accommodation and booked tickets. Basically, anything that has to be pre-booked was under Pre-trip expenses. During trip expenses cover food and transportation within Japan. In other terms, this is my ‘pocket money’.
Alright, so let’s begin. Below would be an overview of my expenses and I will create a separate post to further discuss each.
*For conversion purposes: 1JPY = 0.45PHP
Alright, I am one of the guilty users of #OOTD. Hahaha! I love seeing photos of my outfits and I enjoy posing for my OOTDs (I even have my own trademark OOTD pose lol). So far, the place where I have the most number of OOTDs is in Taipei. And I would share below the best places to take your OOTDs when in Taipei. (Jeez, I just used the word OOTD five times.)
DISCLAIMER: You will see my face in almost all the photos. So unless you can take it, you can press the back button NOW. :p
Travel date: July 29 – August 2 (midnight) 2016
Finally! I found the time to share my Taipei itinerary.
Few months back, Taiwan remained to be just another country for me. I didn’t know a lot of people who have visited Taiwan, compared to those who have gone to Japan or Korea. But what convinced us to book a trip to Taiwan? What did we do there? Where did we eat? What are my tips to those who will be visiting Taiwan soon? I will answer everything below. 🙂
- The budget shown above doesn’t include the total amount we loaded in our Easy Card (MRT Pass). We bought the Easy Card in 7-11 and it can be used to purchase food and other stuff. Getting an Easy Card costs 100 NTD, then you can reload it for another 100. In total, I think I have spent 500 NTD for the card and the load.
- The hours specified above includes the travel time and queuing time (if applicable).
- Approximately, I have spent more of less 12k for the entire trip (minus the airfare), with the airfare, probably around 15k.
Will post more about our Taipei trip.
My friends know how fond I am of creating itineraries and researching activities for my trips. Recently, we flew to Hong Kong, and I promised myself that I would do the things I did not do during my first visit. (Back story: My first trip to HK was in 2013, and we availed a packaged tour: HK Disneyland + Shenzhen + jewelry shop and other places I am not interested in).
This time, I wanted to go to The Peak and try the Ngong Ping cable car. Luckily, I found an app where I can book these activities at a discounted price: Klook. I learned about Klook while I was browsing posts in DIY Travel Pilipinas (posted by Mr. Richmond Difuntorum Cruz). I was curious, so I downloaded it and gave it a shot. I was hesitant at first, because I never heard of it before. But then, it turns out to be a really good app and I can’t stop recommending it to people, who just like me, like to customize their itinerary.
Here’s what I booked:
- This is the activity that you booked.
- Number of tickets you bought
- Total amount of the activity.
- Discounted amount because I have a referral code. You can use mine to get a discount for your 1st purchase: ZLI88
- The new amount of the activity
- This is where you can see the voucher. It will also be sent via email
The usual round trip ticket to the Peak is 88HKD (545Php). But you have to fall in line for about 2 hours. The one I purchased through Klook was a Fast Track, meaning we got to skip the 2 hour queue and went straight to the tram. And that is only for 508.50Php. HOW.AWESOME.IS.THAT?
Overall, I really love my experience with Klook. That’s why I am sharing it to you. I can’t wait for my next travel, just so I can book with them again.
Download the app and see it for your self (this is not a sponsored post, haha!) They currently have vouchers for Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Bangkok, Phuket, Bali and even Boracay.
Don’t forget to use my referral code: ZLI88 for you to get a discounted price on your first purchase! 🙂
Duration: 2 days , 2 nights
11:00PM – Left Manila to Sagada
8:00AM – Side trip to Banaue Rice Terraces and breakfast at Point Valley Inn Restaurant
10:00AM – Arrival in Sagada; Tourist Registration
10:30: Settled in George Guest House
Afternoon: City Tour
•Echo Valley Hanging Coffins
•Sagada Underground River Entrance
•St. Mary’s Church
•Valley Rice Fields
7:00PM – dinner at the Yoghurt House
3:00AM – Wake Up
4:00AM – On the Way to Kiltepan
4:30AM – Waiting for the Kiltepan Sunrise
6:00AM – Toploading back to the house
7:00AM – Breakfast at Sagada Brew
9:00AM – 5 hours Spelunking (Caving from Lumiang cave to Sumaguing Cave)
3:00PM – Head back to house to rest
7:00PM – Dinner at Lemon House
4:00AM – Check out at George Guest House
9:00AM – Breakfast at Good Taste, Baguio City
10:00AM – Left for Manila to celebrate Father’s day with the family.
3:00PM – Arrived in QC
When we booked our tickets for our Vietnam – Cambodia trip, we already decided that we were doing a cross-country trip. We booked a ticket from Manila to Ho Chih Minh then Siem Reap to Manila. We had no choice but to do our research on how to get from Ho Chih Minh to Siem Reap. You are probably reading this because you, too, are planning to do a cross-country trip from Vietnam to Cambodia.
It is very easy, actually.
One crucial factor of creating my travel itinerary is choosing the accommodation. Last December, my family decided to spend the holidays in Baguio. This is something big for me because we never go out during Christmas. My dad always prefers to spend the holidays at home. So when I learned about our first Christmas vacation out of town, being the lakwatsera that I am, I took care of planning the itinerary and booking the accommodation.
Good thing, I stumbled upon TravelBook.ph when I was looking a good yet affordable hotel in Baguio City. After looking at a lot of options, we finally decided to book Albergo Hotel. We made the payment at SM Payment Center, after which we received the hotel voucher. It was a smooth transaction.
My life has changed since then. Whether it is for a staycation in the city or an out of town, I always use TravelBook.ph for booking my accommodation.
Get to know my go-to travel buddy!