October 16, 2011

Beach bumming in Bali, Indonesia

Long overdue post ahead... :D

I can't believe I forgot to write more about our Bali trip last year :D I've written about our first day but didn't bother to write about the rest of our trip. And it took me almost a year to remember to finally share our awesome experience in the island :D Pasensya tao lang! hihi

Bali is known for its long stretch of white sand beaches, surfing, scuba diving and recently became more famous because of the movie Eat, Pray, Love =) . This place has been one of my must-see places to visit and I was not disappointed during our entire trip last November 2010.

Since, we traveled during the off peak season, the usually crowded Kuta beach is fortunately quite.

Our major agenda on this trip was to just BEACH BUM and maybe try out surfing if we don't chicken out. Apparently, my friend Chris was already itching to try it and after watching her learn the tricks, I was convinced to try it out myself...even if I DO NOT know how to swim :)) Confidence and courage were my weapons :))) Luckily though, I survived and did a few stands while riding the waves. Awesome experience! Unfortunately, my actual surfing photos are not yet available for the viewing public, so enjoy the following for now :D

October 11, 2011

How we enjoyed the busy Ho Chi Minh City!

Last April, the husband and I backpacked to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for the first time. It was our first in the country and our first in a backpackers hostel.

We arrived around 9:00pm local time at the Tan Son Nhat Airport (thanks to Jetstar's Friday Sale) with so much anticipation of the place and the people. We booked our stay in a lovely and cheap Nguyen Kang Hostel located in District 1. They're clean, simple, decent and in a good location. Before we confirmed our trip, I made tentative reservation through email and their staff were all kind enough to reserved a place for us without any downpayment. They charged us 20usd per night (with simple breakfast) for a room with windows. However, if you are comfortable to stay in a room without windows, they charge 18usd. Not bad! And if you arrive in the evening, I suggest you request for airport pick up from your hostel because getting a cab from the airport is a bit difficult. For one, most locals do not speak English and two, they could overcharge you. Haggling with these cab drivers is pointless because you won't understand each other =) The airport pick up saves you the hassle of explaining the direction to the driver which will of course eventually saves your time. Our hostel charged 8usd to 14usd, depending on how late you arrive.

If you book in the same hostel, this creepy-looking alley will be your main entrance. Be not afraid! because on our last day, they painted the walls, light blue :D Notice the half-done wall paint? :P

We love Vietnamese food and we've read many good reviews of cafes and restaurants around the city. So on our first night, we immediately searched for one resto in our list. Apparently, the resto's location is a bit far from our hostel and since we were soo famished, we rummaged the first nice looking cafe we saw - Sasa Cafe (along District 1). They have the yummiest lime juice I've tasted so far!

Along this area, you will find many street food vendors, pubs and homeless old people sleeping in corners and shacks :(

The following days were spent getting-to-know-more-about-the-city, which was equivalent to bracing the summer heat and tired (but happy) feet =)

The post office where I dropped the postcards sent to our housemates <3

The Notredame Cathedral

The War Museum - where photos and stories broke my heart and made me feeling drained even after we left the place :( I did not bother to take photos because it was too painful to look at.  But I salute the brave photographers who risked their lives just to capture the dreadful scenes. If not for them, tourists and locals alike will not have an inch of idea what Vietnam was during the war.  Still a must visit!

Don't forget to try out their yummy iced coffee on the streets. I bet my life for you to try this one! :P

Okay, so this photo does not give justice on how interesting Ben Thanh Market was :) Ignore the facial expression and list the place on your itinerary. You will surely find a thing or two while strolling around the market. Try going there during the day and during the night, you will then know what I mean :)

This place is a must for dinner :D Quan An Ngon along Vo Van Tan Street. Delish and cheap Vietnamese food. Nice ambiance and friendly staffs =)

If you are on strict budget, the food stalls along the street is another option. Some of them looked unclean from the outside but in fairness, they do serve it clean. Still delicious and most importantly, cheap :D

And if you feel like splurging on your last lunch in the city, try out Lemongrass along District 1. It's a bit pricey but worth it, at least for us :)

Then check out artwork displays. Unfortunately, most of them were not real paintings.

And oh, if you're feeling a bit spontaneous or tired, you can try their bike tour. They have the most unusual bikes I've seen so far and most overpriced at that :P Be careful when checking the price, the drivers will convince you with their "have-pity-on-me-i-am-old" look :D Nevertheless, we tried it for an hour and ended up paying for two hours because the grandpa was too slow. Oh well, the fun was worth it anyway! Look at our happy faces :D

Can you guess how old the driver is? :)

The city is quite small so you only need a day to check out all the interesting places and still have time for shopping :) We were there for three days and had so much free time lazing around and finding off the beaten tracks. Our second day was spent on the Mekong River tour. Up on the next post.

Hope you find this post helpful =) My mind is now wandering around Southeast Asia and the many more countries I need to visit. Wander lusting mood for now!

October 01, 2011

A Grateful Journey

"Many people are conflicted. They want to fulfill their dreams and yet are afraid to fulfill those same dreams. Why does that happen?  Because wishes are unfamiliar territory. 
And what is unfamiliar is scary."

Everyone who knows me well,  know that I am a Jason Mraz fangirl. I'm actually not just a fangirl but deeply, completely in love with this guy :D He is talented, inspiring, humble, vegetarian and loves the world. Complete package.

He is currently on a world tour this year and will soon be visiting Asia particularly Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Bali. And I am happy to announce that I will again see him perform LIVE in Manila. Oh my Gosh!!! I have mixed emotions about the whole thing. The initial plan was to watch him in Thailand because the date falls on a long weekend in Singapore. However, I can't wait! It hit me last night that I have to see him very very soon :D Thank you to my friend who helped me in buying the ticket in Manila. I AM OVERJOYED! And did I mention that I bought  a FRONT ROW TICKET???? Yes, I DID! That's number 16 in my bucket list. Woohhooo!!! I am excited for October 30 to come fast! And thank you to Cebu Pacific for the ticket promo on my travel date. More woohhhooo! Mr. Universe, high five!

Watch and be inspired with this first documentary trailer of his own Grateful Journey in Morocco. 

Be love!