10 Tips for your long Indochina Trip

Angkor Wat Temple Sunrise

  1. Know the Do’s and Don’ts of each countries you are visiting.  Greet the locals properly with their language and respect their local customs.  They might require you to remove your shoes or dress up accordingly, especially when visiting temples.
  2. Considering the weather and Tip #1, wear comfortable clothes and shoes good for walking a few miles. Don’t bring too much clothes.  Make use of the hotel’s laundry services… it wont cost you much than to pay for an extra weights on airline luggage.
  3. Create a travel itinerary.  Plan ahead!  It helps a lot to get the best of your time during your travel.  Read blogs, reviews and testimonies of the places you are going to visit or the activities you are going to do.  Though itineraries are ideals, consider a list of other places to visit or things to do with-in the area of  your stay for “Plan B”.   Hiring a local guide is also advisable to give you a depth understanding of the culture and story behind of the places you are visting.
  4. Print out your airplane/bus tickets.  Also, keep a printouts of your passport and other secondary ID’s with emergency contact person and numbers at the back.  Of course you can have it on your mobile, but having a printed copy as backup adds peace of mind.
  5. Prepare an offline or printed map with local translation.  It is easier to pinpoint and ask help of the locals when searching for directions using maps with local names of the place, especially when riding a taxi or tuk-tuks.  Uber or Grab taxis are available on some cities and provinces with-in Indochina region, but you need an Internet data connections to book their services.
  6. Enjoy local cuisine and drinks to get the best experience and save moolah.  Observe or ask the locals not the tourist.beers-of-indochina
  7. Bring your meds and also for flu, diarrhea and also a mosquito repellant.  It is safer to have those meds with you when you need it than to ask a local pharmacist.  Keep away from places that might have mosquitos or insects that may cause sickness.
  8. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of clean water especially while enjoying #6.  Drink only from a bottled water or bring water filter with you just to be sure.
  9. You might need to bring a universal travel adapter plugs to charge your gadgets on wall sockets for your power bricks. Check your local standards and compare it to the countries you are visiting.  And also… Most of the hotel rooms have limited power sockets, a lightweight power strips can also save you from hassle of charging multiple gadgets.
  10. Use sling bags or belt bags to secure your gadgets, passports or wallets. Place it in-front of your body and keep on eye on it while walking on city streets and on busy area like public markets.   Although it is less likely to happen, but don’t give pick-pocketers a chance to do it.
  11. [Bonus] DO NOT use public WiFi.  Use VPN to protect your information and privacy and enable firewall on your PCs/Macs. There are many tutorials on YouTube about using VPN for travelers to learn from.
  12. [Bonus] Learn to bargain and practice your acting skills when dealing with the locals.  Don’t look at their eyes if you are not interested. Use #1 as leverage and negotiate using their local language.
  13. [Bonus] Organize your currencies.  Use envelop or currency pouch to separate paper bills and coins.
  14. [Bonus]  Instead of US dollar money changers, use ATM to get local currencies from your beloved currency.
  15. [Bonus] Some countries offers GST refunds on goods and services upon exits.  Keep your receipts to avail if you have plenty of time to line up and filling up forms on airports and on border exits.

INDOCHINA+SG 8 Day Travel Itinerary 2017

 Angkor Wat Temple Sunrise

Day 1
02:00a – Travel to Manila International Airport Terminal 1
05:00a – Fly from Manila to Singapore by Tigerair 
08:55a – Arrived at Singapore
09:55a – MRT to Orchard Road and eat Chicken Rice
12:00p – Back to Changi Airport
03:30p – Fly from Singapore to Vietnam by Tigerair (conn’ing to SGN)
04:20p – Arrived at Ho Chi Minh City… then taxi to Pham Ngu Lao Street
05:15p – Check-in and rest @ Saigon Backpackers Hostel
07:00p – Foodtrip and night market along Pham Ngu Lao Street
10:00p – Lights-out and rest

Day 2
06:00a – Wake-up call!
07:00a – Breakfast at Pham Ngu Lao Street
08:00a – Pick-up for Cu Chi Tunnel Tour
08:30a – Bus traveled to Cu Chi Tunnel
09:45a – Arrived at Agent Orange Workshop for a quick tour
11:17a – Arrived at Cu Chi Tunnel Tour
12:37p – ate kamote in Cu Chi Tunnel
01:00p – Travel back to Ho Chi Minh City
02:30p – We getoff the bus along the way to see Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office
02:43p – Late Lunch @ McDonalds hehe
03:49p – Visit Vietnam History Museum
04:43p – Travel back to hotel in Pham Ngu Lao Street
05:30p – Rest and wash-up
07:45p – Food trip and Night Market @ Ben Tanh Market
10:00p – Back in the hotel to rest and pack-up for tomorrow’s long bus journey to Cambodia

Day 3
06:00a – Wake-up call to check-out in Saigon Backpackers Hostel
08:00a – Mekong Express Bus Station in Pham Ngu Lao Street
08:30a – Bus going to Siem Reap, Cambodia by Mekong Express Bus
09:54a – Stopover:
01:42p – Cross-Border Vietnam-Cambodia
05:35p – Stopover:
08:30p – Arrived at Siem Reap Bus Station, Cambodia
08:57p – Check-in at King Boutique Hotel in Samdach Tep Vong Street
09:50p – Explore Pub Street
10:30p –  Rest and lights-out

Day 4
06:00a – Wake-up call and prepare for Angkor Wat Tour
07:30a – Hotel Tuktuk Pick-up for Angkor Wat Tour Day 1
07:57a – Angkor Wat Tourism Center to purchase 3-day Pass
08:25a – Explore Angkor Thom
12:04p – Lunch
12:29p – Explore Ta Prohm
02:27p – Explore another temple
03:00p – Back to hotel to rest and wash-up
07:00p – Pub Street and Art Center Nightmarket
08:29p – Back to hotel to rest and prepare for Angkor Wat Tour Day 2

Day 5
04:00a – Wak-up call and prepare for Angkor Wat Tour
05:00a – Hotel Tuktuk pick-up for Angkoer Wat Tour Day 2
06:30a – Sunrise at Angkor Wat Temple
07:15a – Explore Angkor Wat Temple
09:15a – Explore Angkor Thum
11:31a – Lunch at Angkor Flower Restaurant
01:23p – Explore Preah Kahn Temple
02:49p – Explore Neak Pean
03:42p – Book Apsara Cultural Dance and Buffet
04:00p – Back to hotel
06:27p – Watch Apsara Cultural Dance and eat Cambodian Food Buffet
08:40p – Back to hotel and pack-up for Cambodia-to-Thailand Crossborder

Day 6
06:00a – Walk-up call
06:47a – Check-out and go to Mekong Express Van Station
07:20a – Travel to Bangkok
10:18a – Cambodia-Thailand Crossborder
01:35p – Stopover:
03:41p – Arrived in Mekong Express Station Bangkok
03:50p – Check-in at Chang Siam Inn, Bangkok
06:15p – Walk to Neon Nightmarket
06:35p – Visit CentralWorld Mall and watch people celebrating Songkran festival
07:49p – Back to Neon Nightmarket for foodtriping
09:00p – Back to hotel and rest

Day 7
07:00a – Wake-up call
07:30a – Breakfast with Cup Noddles, thanks to 7-11
08:54a – Off to Wat Pho Leaning Buddha
10:36a – Visit The Grand Palace
11:52a – Back to hotel and rest (sobrang inet)
05:28p – Baiyoke Tower View Deck
09:18p – Food trip at Neon Nightmarket
09:45p – Back to hotel to rest

Day 8
08:00a – Wake-up call
07:30a – Breakfast with Cup Noddles, thanks to 7-11 again hehe
10:35a – Check-out from Chang Siam Inn, leaving our backpacks in the hotel lobby
11:00a – Explore and eat at CentralWorld Mall
04:00p –  Back to hotel to get our backpacks
05:00p – Arrived at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport
09:20p – Fly to Singapore from Bangkok Airport
12:00a – Arrived at Changi Airport, Singapore
01:30a – Fly to Manila from Changi Airport, Singapore
05:30a – Arrived at Manila International Airport Terminal 1, Philippines
06:15a – Home sweet home

 I’ll be posting more photos and budget breakdown soon.
 Thanks for reading!

10 Myths in going to Balabac Palawan Philippines

Onuk Island, Balabac, Palawan, Philippines

  1. No public transport available in Balabac
    • You can take the a Van Transfer Puerto Princesa – Rio Tuba vice versa.  Rio Tuba – Balabac Public Boat operates daily, but there’s a chance to cancel the trip if not accommodated with 50 passengers.  In Balabac, Habal-habal and Tricycle is the main means of transportation with-in the island.  Island-hopping, you can hire a private passenger boat big enough to counter the waves, with “puppet” boat (a smaller boat) to bring you to the shore without damaging the beautiful corals
  2. Balabac is Infested by Mosquitos with Malaria
    • There are reports in some islands (not all) in Balabac that does have cases of Malaria disease.   Take some anti-malaria shots or meds before going to Balabac.  It is best to ask your nearest doctor/hospital about anti-malaria meds.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  3. There is Niknik (Sand Mites) infestation on Balabac beaches and shorelines
    • Yes there are Sand Mites in “some” islands… but again, not all.  Cover your skin as much as possible at night.  Put on insect repellant or lit a bonfire (not on the sand) near your campsite.  The smoke will push away the insects, not the fire.
  4. No drinkable clean water in Balabac
    • In Balabac town proper, there are shops where you can buy bottled water.  There’s even purified water refilling stations.  Before hopping the near by islands and shores, bring enough water that you think you need to consume during the trip and in campsites.  It is best to have a portable water filtration system and water purifier tablets with you during the trip.
  5. No Mobile Phone Signal in Balabac
    • You can get full bars with Smart and Globe with in Balabac town proper… but no data with Smart.    Save your phone battery by turning on Airplane mode during sea travels.  In some part of Balabac facing Sabah, you can get Malaysian mobile phone signals.
  6. There is no electricity in Balabac
    • Electricity is not 24/7 in Balabac town proper…  No electricity at all outside the town.  Some households use solar panels.   Bring and full-charge your powerbanks… or bring portable solar panels and crank chargers if you need to charge your devices.
  7. Infested with Saltwater Crocodiles
    • There are sightings of saltwater crocodiles in near-by rivers and mangroves shorelines.  Most of the victims are dogs, chickens and goats…  and a fishermen who went night fishing  got bitten by a small crocs.
  8. Tourist and Foreigners are not welcome especially non-Muslims in Balabac
    • They are generally friendly and hospitable like any other places in the world.   Religion is not an issue… You just have to respect everyone you meet and their culture when you visit places on your travel.   Balabac population is mostly Muslim brothers and sisters.  Muslims and Non-muslim in Balabac get along happily and peacefully.   Just for your safety and record purposes, you need to drop-by and register to the Balabac police station.  Another tip: Hire or a local guide.
  9. No resort nor hotel and lodging in Balabac
    • Look for “Sing and Swing” Lodging/Hotel in Balabac Town.  They offer rooms with fan, shared bathroom and comfort rooms.  Accessible to all shops, markets and wharfs.
    • You can set a camp for your tent or hammock on the islands for free.  Most of them don’t ask for payments… just hand over enough money as token of gratitude.
  10. You need to break a bank to visit Balabac
    • “If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together.”…  travel with a group to save cost and for your safety.  There are lot of alternative and less expensive way to travel going to and staying in Balabac.  Its up to your personal preference.

A Short DIY New York City Tour

A Short DIY New York City Tour

Nangaling kami sa upstate New York tru Greyhound Bus papuntang NYC…  and Hotel Carter pinili namin dahil mura na at malapit lang sa Time Square… dirtiest hotel daw sya pero dahil hindi kami pabebe… dun kami nag book… ok naman and mas malinis naman compare sa ibang na witness ko hehe

Manhattan, New York, NY, USA
Manhattan, New York, NY, USA

Day 1 :
02:00 PM – Baba ng Port of Authority Bus Terminal sa 8th Ave cor 42 street
03:00 PM – Check in sa Hotel Carter sa W44th Street (One of the Dirtiest Hotel in NYC)
04:00 PM – Lakad sa 42nd Street (Bryant Park then Grand Central)
06:00 PM – Balik ng konti, tapos akyat ng 5th Ave papuntang Rockefeller Center
06:30 PM – Daan ng St Patricks Cathedral
07:00 PM – Haba pila then overlooking sa Rockefeller Center
09:00 PM – Baba, lakad ulit pabalik ng Time Square along W50th Street
10:00 PM – Tambay ng Time Square at mag selpe, hanap narin ng halal cart for dinner
11:00 PM – wasak!, tulog!

Day 2:
07:00 AM – Heavy Breakfast sa Time Square (McDo)
08:00 AM – Red Line 1 (going to South Ferry Loop), baba ng World Trade Center
09:00 AM – 911 Monument Museum, gala sa labas, less tao sa umaga
10:00 AM – 911 Monument – Pasok sa Museum
01:00 PM – exit 911 Monument and LUNCH sa labas (may burger king na malapit LOLz)
01:30 PM – Lakad pababa sa Battery Park (Zuccoti Park, Trinity Church, Charging Bull)
02:00 PM – Statue of Liberty
04:00 PM – Balik ng Battery Park then lakad paakyat papuntang Wall Street
04:30 PM – Tambay at lakad muna sa Wall Street
05:00 PM – Sakay ng Green line Train going to 33street then lakad papuntang Empire State Building
07:00 PM – Empire State Building mag pahinga at mag night selfie
08:00 PM – Baba ng Empire State Bldg, lakad pabalik ng Time Square
09:30 PM – Habulin makapasok Madame Tussauds New York
11:00 PM – Exit ng Madame Tussauds at mag dinner ng Halal Food Cart para may rice hehe
12:00 PM – wasak! tulog

Day 3:
07:00 AM – Heavy Breakfast sa Time Square (McDo ulit)
08:00 AM – Ikot ikot sa Time Square ng Umaga
09:00 AM – Lakad at Sakay ng Blue Line to Museum of Natural History
10:00 AM – Museum of Natural History (Libre pero nood ka narin ng Dark Universe ni Neil deGrasse Tyson)
12:00 NN – LUNCH sa pantry ng musem
01:00 PM – Tuloy ang lakad sa loob ng Museum of Natural History
06:00 PM – Exit ng Museum at bumalik ng hotel para mag pahinga
09:00 PM – Mag lakad papuntang 24/7 na Apple Store Central Park at sa gilid ng Central Park
11:00 PM – Bili ng food (hala food ulit) pabalik ng Hotel para direcho pahinga at matulog

Day 4:
07:00 AM – pack-up, breakfast, pahinga ng konti then checkout
08:00 AM – Balik ng Port of Authority Bus Terminal pauwi

– I use hotels.com and read the tripadvisor.com reviews to get the most affordable room to stay.
– Hailing a cab : May indicator ang NY cabs kung vacant, parahin mo lang
– Use subway train to save time (traffic!) and money (less expensive)
– Use Google Map or MTA to check the Train Schedule
– WALK! and pili ka ng pinaka komportableng walking shoes mo
– re:911 Monument, book ahead and buy ticket online.

Banana Island, Coron, Palawan, Philippines


Banana Island is a fish and coral sanctuary in the southern part of Coron, Palawan, Philippines.  Preserved and privately-owned by Gallego Family, they allow visitors to swim and see the clams, corals and lots of fishes just few meters from the shoreline of the island.


To visit the Island from Metro Manila, I made a sample 2-nights travel itinerary for you to begin with:

MONDAY (Day 0)

  • 05:00am ~ 06:00am : Breakfast
  • 06:00am ~ 07:00am : travel to Manila Airport
  • 07:00am ~ 08:00am : Check-in
  • 08:00am ~ 09:00am : Boarding
  • 09:00am ~ 10:00am : Manila > Coron Airport (SkyjetAir 9am flight)
  • 10:00am ~ 11:00am : Coron Airport -> Coron Town
  • 11:00am ~ 01:00pm : Lunch and restock in Coron Town
  • 01:00pm ~ 02:00pm : Shopping in Pantalan
  • 02:00pm ~ 04:00pm : Coron Town to Banana Island Passenger Boat
  • 04:00pm ~ 05:00pm : HAYAHAY
  • 07:00pm ~ 08:00pm : Dinner


  • HAYAHAY, snorkeling one to sawa, sunburn
  • Eat, Sleep, Repeat


  • 06:00am ~ 07:00am : Breakfast
  • 07:00am ~ 08:00am : Pack-up
  • 08:00am ~ 09:00am : Catch-up Bulalacao -> Coron Town Passenger Boat
  • 09:00am ~ 10:00am : Van Transfer Coron Town to Coron Airport
  • 10:00am ~ 11:00am : Check-in
  • 11:00am ~ 12:00nn : Boarding
  • 12:00nn ~ 01:00pm : Coron to Manila Airport (CebuPac 12nn flight)
  • 01:00pm ~ 02:00pm : Home Sweet Home, Lunch
  • 02:00pm ~ 03:00pm : UPLOAD! UPLOAD!


Things to bring:

  • Camera
  • Waterproof Travel Bags
  • Snorkeling Gears
  • Aqua Shoes
  • Coral Reef Friendly Sunblock
  • Battery Pack for your Gadgets, solar or crank usb chargers
  • Garbage Bag
  • Food and Water
  • Bread for fish feeding
  • Cooking Stove, Cook Set and Fuel (optional)
  • Eating Utensils (optional)
Me (left) with Mr Gallego (right)


Things to Remember:

  • Beach camping on the island is no longer allowed
  • Day-tour entrance fee is PhP 200
  • Overnight fee is PhP 850 ~ PhP 1000 per night
  • Most of the cottages have lights and electric fans run through electric generator
  • Some
  • They can cook for you, but bring your own food to cook
  • No fishing, but you can ask them to fish for you
  • They have a small store that sell few items like softdrinks, beer, alcohol drinks, cigarets, and chips
  • Waterproof your bags, phones and gadgets
  • DO NOT use non-coral-friendly sunblock
  • Garbage In, Garbage Out. No garbage should stay on the island
  • The Coron-Bulalacao Passenger Boat operates Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays only.   Bulalacao-to-Coron-Town: leaves at 8am~9am, while Coron-town-to-Bulalacao between 2pm-4pm in Pantalan.
  • Contact their Facebook page for guidance : https://www.facebook.com/banana-island-coron-palawan-120622397968261/


How about you? How’s your Banana Island experience?