Day 61: Budgetarian Travel Series-Survived 5 Days/2 Cities in Myanmar with Less Than 200 USD

Because I have been asked many times how much I spent in my travels, I decided to have a Budgetarian Travel section. For those who are wondering, I normally set my budget to be at USD 200, except when I’m traveling to more expensive cities, like Singapore.

This time, I challenged myself to spend only USD 200 for our Myanmar trip. My friend and I spent 5 fantastic days touring around Bagan and Yangon. I would love to stay longer in Bagan, but my dust allergy was already acting up (note to self: don’t forget to bring antihistamine).

Myanmar’s local currency is Kyat (or MMK). My research shows that their lowest banknote denomination is K5, but what we experienced is that the locals round off the amount. But, like in Cambodia, USD is widely accepted. That’s why I’d list my expenses in Kyat and in USD:

Expenses in Kyat:

Expenses in USD:

Grand total: USD 195.03 (includes breakfast before departure) / approx Php 10,200.

Some budget tips:

– Because our Manila-Kuala Lumpur flight was on a Friday night, and our Kuala Lumpur-Yangon flight was on a Saturday morning, my friend and I decided to book a hostel before we left Yangon on Saturday night. However, we didn’t know that the Aung Mingalar bus station is near the airport area. We could have save some $$$ if we just booked a hostel in this area instead of staying in Downtown Yangon as we ended up sleeping the whole afternoon.

– Tourists only have to pay the Bagan entrance fee once. Ticket is valid for 5 days. Just don’t lose the ticket stub.

– My expenses already included souvenirs (a painting and some postcards). Pro tip: haggle

– Book your bus seat directly on their website (we booked directly with JJ Express). Based on other tourists, hotels charge a service fee if they are the ones to book it. They paid around USD 21-22 instead of USD 19.

– On our return trip from Bagan, we booked a hostel near the airport even though we had time to go around Yangon. JJ Bus Express provided a small bus to drop passengers in Downtown Yangon free of charge. This time, we could have save more if we stayed in Downtown Yangon as we could just walk around instead of taking a cab to/from the hostel.

More Bagan photos in this post.

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Day 60: Sneak Peek – Bagan

I’m still having a hangover from my recent 5-day trip to Myanmar. Here are some shots of my trip highlight in Bagan:

More blog posts about this trip in the next few weeks. 😁

Follow my IG account @kat_the_wanderer

Day 59: Lakawon Island Daytrip + Taw Hai Floating Bar and Restaurant Budget Guide

“Saan ka dadalhin ng 10 Getgo points mo?” (Where will your 10 Cebu Pacific’s Getgo points bring you?)

My friend and I were one of the lucky ones who were able to avail of Cebu Pacific Airline’s fly for 10 Getgo points only. We were supposed to go to Islas de Gigantes via Roxas, but got rebooked to Iloilo because the Roxas flight got full. This gave us the opportunity to explore two cities instead. 

Because both of us were feeling beach-y, we decided to spend a day in Lakawon Island Resort. Most of our time was spent in Taw Hai Floating Bar and Restaurant. Who could say no to drinks and beach? Haha

If you’re traveling on a tight budget, the transportation alone from Bacolod city will eat up much of your budget.

The roundtrip boat ride to/from Lakawon Island is Php 300. There’s an additional fee of Php 250 if you’re going to Taw Hai. From the bus drop off point to the ferry, you’ll need to hail a tricycle that costs Php 120 for a special trip.

Here is our total expenses:

All in all, I would go back here and spend a night. We did not take photos of the resort as they’re still constructing some buildings, and it would not do the place some justice. I like how it’s not that crowded even though we went here during a kite surfing competition.

Credit: Photos without my watermark are taken by my friend.

Day 58: Solo Backpacking – Survive 5 Days in Macau and Hong Kong with Less Than Php 20,000 (or USD 400)

Ever wonder the cost of solo traveling in expensive cities like Hong Kong? Fret not as I’ll be posting here  my travel expenses plus some tips while being on a budget in Macau and Hong Kong.

Macau-Hong Kong Budget

My total expenses (excluding the souvenir expenses) = HKD 2809.40 or less than Php 18100 / USD 362 *Airfare/airport fees and taxes are not included as they are relative to where you’ll be coming from

Some money-saving travel tips:

  • Utilize the shuttle provided by hotels/casinos while in Macau

I stayed in Ka Meng Villa in Macau as it is walking distance from Senado Square and other spots. If my flight was not delayed for 30 minutes, I could board the Wynn Macau Shuttle from the airport and walk for about 15 minutes. The damage? 98 HKD

  • Stay in Hong Kong and have a 1-day trip to Macau instead

There’s no hostel in Macau. Compare if the cost of 1 night in a hostel in HK plus the ferry fare is cheaper than 1 night stay in Macau. Travel time is only for about 1 hour, and ferries leave every 30 minutes.

  • Befriend your neighborly convenience store

My meal and snack while in Disneyland already took half of my meal expenses for 5 days. Not good, dude.

My checklist when looking for a hostel:

  1. Proximity to bus stop/metro station
  2. Safety
  3. Neighboring buildings/communities
  4. Hotel reviews
  5. Proximity to restaurants
  6. Budget per meal for those restaurants
  7. Cheapaz option (aka alternative to restaurants)
  • Check the weather and bring appropriate clothes

Just when I thought my Asian body can handle 15 degrees Celsius, the Universe laughed at me and decided to further drop the temperature to 10 (and sometimes less than 10) degrees Celsius. Cost of defrosting my frozen fingers by drinking hot choco and coffee – HKD 95.00

  • Walk, walk, walk

Hong Kong has a good transportation system. They also have better sidewalks for walking. If you’re fit, having walking tours in Hong Kong and Macau will save you lots of moolah and keep your body fit. Two birds with one stone, right?

Preview of my trip here and here

Day 57: Sneak Peek – Solo Backpacking in Hong Kong

Here are some random shots during my solo backpacking trip in Hong Kong. I highly recommend this place for those who like to have their first solo travel abroad as everything is accessible, and directions are in English. 

By the way, you can follow me in Instagram @kat_the_wanderer for some real time (I try to, okay?) update on my travels. More HK-Macau blog posts to come! Cheers!

Day 56: Sneak Peek – Solo Backpacking in Macau

Here are some highlights from my solo Macau – Hong Kong trip. After a short travel hiatus to revive my comatose bank account, I’m finally back on traveling again. I’ll be posting more on my trip in the next few weeks.

Day 55: Seychelles – Visa for Philippine Passport

Applying for a visa is one of the challenges a traveler would face. Having a Philippine passport, I keep on looking for those countries I could go to without the hassle of visa application. Upon learning that Seychelles give visa upon arrival, I decided to pack my bag and spend a few days and *ahem* a few euros in this African country.

To enter Seychelles, all you need to present are the following:

– Passport with at least 6 months validity

– Outbound airline ticket

– Hotel voucher for the whole duration of your stay

The immigration officer will then put a stamp on your passport that indicates the duration of your stay based on the outbound ticket. And that’s it!

Travel date: January 2016

Note: It’s better to always check with the embassy for any changes. 

More of my Seychelles adventure here.

Day 54: Photodumping Cambodia – Big Circle Tour in Angkor Wat

This is one of the highlights of our Vietnam-Cambodia trip. Make sure to have spare memory because there are many photo-worthy places here.

Notes:

  • Photos without any watermark are taken by my friend.
  • Entrance fee for one day in Angkor Wat is USD 20/person. 
  • Always keep your ticket with you as they check it whenever you’re going inside the temple.
  • Wear appropriate clothes as some temples are really steep. Also, wear comfortable shoes and drink lots of water.
  • Start your Big Circle tour at 5 am if you want to see the sunrise in Angkor Wat temple.
  • Ta Prohm Temple is the one used in Tomb Raider. That’s the “tree-infested” temple you would visit.
  • We paid USD 20 for the tuktuk ride. We highly recommend our tuktuk driver, Mr. Tim, as he always checked with us where we wanted to go next. He also made sure we always had a bottle of water with us. He was referred by my friend as our tuktuk driver in Siem Reap as she was also happy with his service. You can reach him at soktheen_driver@yahoo.com. Just wait for a day or two for his reply.

Day 53: 4 Days Vietnam-Cambodia Itinerary

3 girls, 3 cities, 2 countries. Because we only have 4 days to enjoy Vietnam and Cambodia, we decided to do the Ho Chi Minh-Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route.

Here is our itinerary:

Day 1:

0030 – Arrived in Tan Son Nhat International Airport

0200 – Checked in at Ailen Garden Hotel (District 1)

0900 – Breakfast

1000 – Start of our walking tour around HCMC / visited the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace (and got lost… a lot)

1700 – Dinner / shopping in Saigon Square and Ben Thanh night market

Day 02:

0730 – Breakfast

0800 – Checked out and picked up at the hotel

0830 – en route to Phnom Penh via Giant Ibis

1530 – arrived in Phnom Penh / checked in at Sla Boutique Hostel

1700 – Dinner / walked around Riverside

Day 03:

0800 – Breakfast

0900 – Walking tour in Phnom Penh

1100 – Checked out

1130 – Picked up at the hotel

1230 – en route to Siem Reap via Giant Ibis

1800 – arrived in Siem Reap / checked in at Buo Savy Guesthouse

1900 – Dinner and shopping in Angkor Night Market

Day 04:

0500 – started the Big Circle tour in Angkor Wat

1300 – back to hotel

1900 – checked out / dinner

2000 – en route to airport

2245 – flight to Manila

Note:

We were not able to go inside Royal Palace and National Museum in PP due to time constraint. If you had limited time, it would be better to travel to Phnom Penh on the night of day 01 or take a bus with earlier departure.

Click here to see our budget.

Day 52: Survive 4 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia with USD 200

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I decided to celebrate my birth month by having my IndoChina trip. I went with 2 other friends, and we’ve spent 4 days roaming Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap.

For this trip, I dared myself to spend only USD 200 for my Vietnam-Cambodia trip. We’ll see how it goes:

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For pasalubongs (aka souvenirs):

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Grand total: USD 232.75

Apparently, I shopped too much in Ho Chi Minh and Siem Reap. Haha!

Click here for our itinerary.