Posts Tagged With: SE Asia

Sunny Sentosa Island

Our second full day in Singapore turned out quite sunny and nice, so we decided on a beach day at the city’s resort island, Sentosa.  We decided to cab it there, and feared for our lives as we sped through traffic as breakneck speed, forking out SG$15 for our fare. Yikes!  Luckily we had brought snacks with us from the local grocery store, and managed to have the cab ride as our largest expense of the day.  After being dropped off at the casino (where there is no surcharge for taxis to come and our 4 dollar entrance fee to the island is waived) we wandered around, in awe of the huge shopping complexes, restaurants and attractions that were on display.  We felt like it was Disneyland, with prices to match!  It was wild after being in the “other” Asia for so long to see such luxury and the newness of it all struck us as very artificial. But hey, at least the tram was free!  We boarded and headed to the other side of the island, to the beaches.  The first beach was called Siloso, and it really wasn’t much to look at.  A tiny beachfront with a view of the huge shipping tankers in the ocean, bordered by some very expensive cafe’s charging SG$20 for the use of the loungers.

I know I sound super cheap, but coming from places where your dollar is worth 10,000 or even 40 of the local currency, it was tough to pay for things that were on par with our dollar.  If I wasn’t careful I could have blown the rest of my trips budget in a few days!
We happily ate our store-bought peanuts and people watched for a bit before deciding to check out the other side of the island, and Palawan beach, which ended up being gorgeous!! In a totally artificial way. Lol My friend even told me later that the rocks on the trucked-in sand were made of plastic! Nonetheless, we enjoyed the beachfront, and were sharing it with what seemed to be about a thousand high schoolers or university aged students, taking part in some kind of epic games day in the sweltering heat.  Whatever!  The sand was warm and the water was nice, so we wasted away most of the afternoon on the beach, browning ourselves while the Japanese sought shade and looked at us like we were the crazy ones!
After all the sun and sand, we boarded the tram and rode it around aimlessly for a while, checking out the rest of the island and it’s activities.  Theres no shortage of fun things to do there if you have money – you can ride the cable car, the luge, go zip-lining, surfing in a fake wave pool, rock climbing, hang on the trapeze, go to universal studios, go to the aquarium, you get the idea.  We didn’t do any of those things and still had a great time on Sentosa, so it all depends on your budget, i guess.  On our way back we stopped at the giant mer-lion, Singapore’s mythical mascot, and climbed the covered escalators (??) to the top of the lookout, where there was a view of Sentosa and the city beyond.  We laughed at the ridiculous items in the gift shop and ate ridiculously expensive ice cream, and boarded the tram back for the ride across the causeway and out to the city once more.  The tram dropped us at a giant mall called Vivocity (surprise, surprise) and we walked around feeling like scrubs in our beach clothes, finding a giant food court and some sweet and sour pork for me!
We were ready to trek back to the burbs after our $5 dinner, and after our 30 minute ride, we were happy to have a quiet night with our host family, playing cards and having a great time relaxing with them.  Jo even popped my laundry in the dryer for me while we were out, and folded it all for me!! 😀 to a traveler, this is actually the NICEST thing you can do for someone on the road, to help them with their laundry!! After some good phone chats with friends, we called it a night.  more adventures awaited us tomorrow 🙂
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Categories: Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

City Life in Singapore

I love Singapore!! The six days I spent here were completely unlike the rest of my trip so far, it’s been nice to take a break from the beaches and head to what is the most civilized and organized place I’ve been in Asia. Of course, that label has its pros and cons, but it was a good change nonetheless. I arrived around 8pm and was dropped off in the middle of downtown, I had no idea where I was and only a vague idea of what Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station was close to me, so I wandered a bit and with the help of a lovely Singaporean lady, found the station and took a smooth if not sweaty ride to the place I was staying.  I am lucky enough to have some family friends with a brother living with his family on the island, and when they invited me to stay for a few days I jumped at the chance!  Staying at a hostel is nice, but it’s always cooler to see how people actually live when you visit a new place, it gives a whole new perspective on what life is like for them!

It turns out due to lack of space on the island, nearly everyone lives in condos or government constructed housing, with lots of food centers and community spaces in between, not to mention about a thousand malls.  I wish I was exaggerating! Singaporeans must love to shop!! I got out of the station at Yio Chiu Kang and followed the instructions on how to get to the Dias household, where they welcomed me in and we got acquainted.  I had missed meeting with my new travel partner Micheline at our rendezvous spot, and was a little worried until I got on the internet and heard her flight was delayed.  I was able to meet her at the station and walk with her ten minutes to the condo, which has a gorgeous pool and layout, all the amenities one could want, and I was feeling pretty lucky as we settled down to sleep.
The next day involved an EPIC amount of walking.  Micheline and I both agreed that we should just check out the downtown before deciding to do anything, and we picked a station and set off for Little India. We wandered into a little Hindu temple and right into a pooja, which is a ritual worship or mass. We watched, totally out of place as the priests blessed the statues and people who were praying to the goddess Kali, who is a goddess of destruction and kinda scary looking!  We walked around the temple grounds and watched as people prayed to the various idols and gods, setting little ghee candles and flower garlands on the gods and drinking what looked like milk or ghee (clarified butter) that had been blessed. It was so surreal, the exact opposite to the Roman Catholic masses of mu childhood, Hinduism seems to me to be the Vegas of religions, with its multiple brightly painted gods, flashing lights, incense, chanting, fires and offerings.  It was sweet!  I’ll never forget it!
Our next stop in our wanders was the aptly named thieves market, a badly put together market of what totally looked like stolen goods and junky stuff.  We stopped for lunch at a hawker center, finding tons of cheap eats in this otherwise expensive city.  Most of our meals consisted of rice or noodles and some kind of meat like duck or pork, and yummy chili sauces.  Sometimes we would just point at some picture of something without knowing what it was, laughing as we ate and guessed what it might be made of. After lunch, we found ourselves in a cool covered market area by Bugis station that was selling tacky souvenirs, fruit shakes, pastries, a lot of Asian clothing and accessories, and pretty much everything in between.  We were totally overwhelmed and took it all in, three floors of tacky Asian goodness. When we finally emerged back into the bright sweltering heat, it was time to find refuge in the Asian civilizations museum.
After a long, hot walk, we found the museum and stepped into an air-conditioned time warp.  The museum was HUGE! and AWESOME!  For a culture nut like me, it was so interesting to learn about the various Asian civilizations in and around Singapore, and how they all ended up together in this one giant melting pot of a city.  It took us a couple of hours to get through the museum, and after that we walked to Chinatown, which is, I have to say, one of the most bland ones I’ve ever seen.  The market was cool, and there was another cool Hindu temple, but overall I would say i preferred the more vibrant and historical Little India in this particular city!  We stopped for pork-filled buns and beer in the Peoples Place Mall before wandering over to Clarke Quay, a trendy spot where everyone goes to drink and hang out after work, it seems.  One look at the prices and we decided to give the patios a pass, although it was a gorgeous riverside spot that we would visit many times over the course of our stay.  We just. kept. walking. and found ourselves on Orchard Road, which is pretty much a paradise for shoppers, with mall after mall after mall offering the latest luxury goods, we saw all the best and well-known brands were present, and laughed about how we could spend our entire trip’s budget on one Miu Miu bag!!
Our feet were done at this point, so we hopped on the train at Orchard Road station and went back to the condo, settling down for the best nights sleep we had both had in a while!

 

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One Sweet Day in Melaka

Well, I’m glad I only planned on staying two nights here, because one and a half days was more than enough to see all that this little town had to offer.  I wanted to check it out since it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and since I love history I thought it would be a worthy stop.  I found it to be charming but super touristy, and although the food was good and it was worth a look around, there’s not much fun stuff to do besides take pics, check out museums, eat, and shop.

 
I left my hostel on a mission to find some good coffee and a big breakfast to fuel my day, and I found a riverside café with both of those things.  I chatted with my mom over breakfast (nighttime for her) and caught up on all the news from home 🙂 I had kind of a route planned out and first decided to check out the Museum Rakiyat, which had some good if slightly bland exhibits about Melaka, a kite museum and a really interesting exhibit about beauty practices all over the world, including scarifications, piercing, corsets, Chinese foot binding and more.  I found that really interesting, but not much else, and then while trying to follow my walking route I inevitably got lost, found, then lost again after finally getting my bearings at the extremely cute town square with outrageously decorated tricycles for hire, some with boomboxes attached, blaring 80’s tunes!!
 
 
My second museum stop was the Baba Nonya house, a Perenkian style house that showed how the rich Indochinese merchants lived when the area was a main shipping town in Malaysia. The women of the house were rarely seen, and lived their lives indoors and behind screens.  Fascinating!  I ate yummy Nonya food at the little café and did some shopping after that, there’s lots of kitschy little stores and antique shops, I sampled some baked goods (seriously there are SO MANY yummy things to eat here.  Oops.) and headed back to my hostel to hang out on the rooftop lounge and get to know some of my fellow travelers.
 
Today i sampled some Chinese goodies before leaving town, and may or may not have a box of pineapple tarts to snack on during the trip to Singapore!  My waistline cannot take the goodness that I found in Melaka!  Right now I am on a very bumpy bus to Singapore, where I will rendezvous with my travel companion Micheline and meet some family friends who are graciously putting us up!  Onwards!

 

Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mmmm, Melaka! – Foodie Paradise

I love Malaysia!!  It is extremely awesome here – I was not expecting such a clean, well-organized and developed country. I think im going to really like it here.  In between my first stop in Malaysia and the rest of my travels in this country, I’m going to check out Singapore, as well.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I got off the plane at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal, thank goodness I did some internet research as my lonely planet is two years out of date, and was totally directing me to the wrong bus station 😦 i caught wind of this before making this tragic mistake, and got on a sexy bus that cost me 8 ringgit ($2.50 CAD) for an hour and a half bus ride to the new, beautiful bus station.  All the buses ran on time, left on time, were clean and air-conditioned and in great shape!! OH MY GOD ITS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.  iT ACTUALLY IS. This type of service is pretty much unheard of in any other asian country I’ve been to, so needless to say I am already impressed.
My bus to Melaka was easy to find, super cheap (9 ringgits, or 3 dollars for a two-hour bus ride) and right on time.  I stared out at the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur from my bus window. it looked so orderly! No signs of poverty, no roadside shacks, just cheery looking row houses and palm plantations.  Woah.  Minus the palm trees, you could be in any developed country in the world and not know the difference.  The highways are also well maintained and well-marked.  If you know me personally, you will understand why I’m pointing this out, I have an organization fetish and this country’s got it going ON!! lol.
We got to Melaka in record time, and my cab from the bus station cost 20 confusing ringgits, I didn’t understand how I could have travelled for over three hours for less than twenty ringgits, and then my five-minute cab ride cost me just as much as that. HMMM. I got to my hostel, Ringos Foyer Guesthouse, and while it’s not much to look at, it was pretty comfortable and I met a bunch of interesting people there so points for that, even though it wasn’t the prettiest place I’ve stayed.  I was super tired from getting up at 4am, but decided to go for a little walk and check out the very charming town and grab some Nonya Laksa, a yummy curry soup that is a local specialty.  The cats found me, as they always do, and I shared some of the seafood in my soup with them.  I can’t help it!! I love kitties!! I walked around a bit more and oriented myself, and crashed hard that evening after chatting with some fellow travellers in the homey common area of my guesthouse.
xo
D
Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Manic, Muggy Manila

Wahoo!  I am finally out of Palawan!! To be fair, the place did grow on me after a few days, it’s a super cute if not smelly place, and its very cultural for someone who wants to experience the real Filipino way of life, I met some great locals and made new friends, so I can’t say it was all bad.  I was just ready to leave and am soooo excited for Malaysia + Singapore, having bought a Lonely Planet and started reading all about the places I’m going!!

I flew out of Palawan around 1pm and got to Manila without a hitch.  I’m staying with some mutual friends here, who turned out to be excellent hosts and great company as well 🙂  I got to their gorgeous penthouse condo, and there just happened to be a birthday in the house, so we went out to celebrate my new friend Marshalls Bday!  After the first decent shower I’ve had in weeks, we went out to the Sofitel, a very fancy hotel on the bay, doesn’t look like much from the outside, but man was it ever nice inside!  We played some pool while waiting for our table, and had a great ( if not expensive) dinner while swapping travel stories.
The next day I was on my own as my new friends had to work, so I ventured out into the sprawling big city by myself in search of adventure.  Instead of adventure I found a pancake house for breakfast and settled for that, lol.  Everything is so Americanized here! There is TONS of fast food, A Mcdonalds on every corner, and I even found a Starbucks to satisfy my caffeine craving!  Not quite the authentic experience I was looking for, but the Philippines was an american colony for 50 years and before that belonged to spain for 400 years, so it truly is woven into the culture here.  A hybrid mix of old and new which struck me as strange but, hey, its part of their legacy here!
I ignored the shouts and catcalls of the many touts and guys and duders and security guards and walked along the big, dirty, dangerous, smelly streets.  Seriously everyone shouts hello at you, whats your name, where are you from, where are you going….you get the picture.  I just smile and pretend not to speak english. I`ve got nothing against meeting the locals, in fact i love it but they way they approach me makes me feel threatened so i just play dumb.  I found myself at Rizal park, the place where Filipino independence was declared, and although its majestic, its basically just a big fancy park.  i got lost after that trying to find the historic district, and luckily got approached by a sweet lady tout, Mary Jane, who told me I was going the wrong way and offered to give me a tour of Intramuros, the `city within the walls` which is the oldest area in Manila.  I got into the sidecar and had a really enjoyable few hours in the old city, checking out all the old buildings, forts, and museums that I could handle, and talked to MJ about her life in Manila, which is hard but she was super cheery about it and assured me that it was way better here than her life of poverty in the country. She overcharged me for the tour but at that point I really didn’t care, so I gave her 700 pesos (about $18) and decided to check out some of the newer parts of Manila.  I swear I could have walked faster than the taxi that took me to Robinson’s Place, the traffic in this city is actually the WORST.  Add the smog and the heat to that, and , about ten million people, and you have one big dirty mess on your hands.  Still, it is an interesting city and I`m glad I made the effort to stop here.  I even saw my first prostitute deal go down!  A tiny Filipino girl and a big American dude – go figure.
At the mall, I experienced a new kind of culture shock – i felt like I was in America again!  Everywhere I looked were american brands, stores, and chains.  But it all came with some distinctly Filipino touches, lots of kiosks selling Filipino food and drinks, the strangest assortment of foods, and pretty much anything you can dream of was available in this mall.  I ate some delicious Pho (Vietnamese, Not Filipino, so sue me) and successfully maneuvered my way back to Bayview towers, a small accomplishment but I was still proud of myself!!
As I walked back, I noticed two more things – one is the huge population of transgendered men and women in Manila – the concept of gender is very fluid here and nobody seems to blink or care as lipsticked men and butchy women mingle and go about their business.  Its awesome!  The second thing that I saw was absolute poverty everywhere – people living on the streets, sifting through the garbage and living hand to mouth. It was hard to see, and while i was busy feeling sorry for them a whole family noticed me, broke into huge smiles, waving, saying hi and being super friendly and polite.  Wow.  To have such a happy, upbeat attitude for what they had, it really gave me a new perspective.  i waved and smiled back, gave the littlest one some change I had, and continued my way to my penthouse, feeling infinitely luckier than before.
My lovely hosts made me dinner that night, thank you Duncan and Marshall for taking such good care of me in Manila!  i went to bed early and was up at 4:30 am to grab a cab to the airport and flew to Kuala Lumpur without a hitch. My Malaysian and Singapore adventure was just beginning!!
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My Solo Journey Begins

It’s day three of my solo adventure and things are going great!  I found a much more awesome guesthouse called Banwa Art House and settled in there for three more nights.  I thought about going to El Nido, but its a seven hour bus journey there and I leave again from Puerto Princesa for Manila – so a fourteen hour round trip just doesn’t sound worth it to me for one night in El Nido. Damn.  I decided to make the best of my time here, and the owner of my hostel has been so helpful and lovely in sorting everything out for me! What a nice change from the previous guesthouse I was at!  The owner lives most of her time in Ireland and has two very sweet daughters who are spending their summer here with her, the hostel is filled with other lovely travelers and I feel right at home, even though there is no aircon in the room and a few neighborly mosquitoes, gotta take the good with the bad I guess!

My first solo day was pretty uneventful as I settled into my new place and took a looooong walk around the little city, which is slowly growing on me. Slowly.  I caught up on my world news and chatted with friends from home that evening, hitting the hay early because i had a scooter rented for the next day and was excited for my journey!
I woke up the next morning and packed up my stuff, getting ready to scoot off on an adventure to find Emerald Beach.  I got directions from my lovely hostel owner and drove off down the streets of Puerto Princesa, loving every minute of my drive and finding the beach no problem after about twenty minutes on the road.  It was awesome!! Even though I was parked in front of a hotel, NOBODY was around save for the hotel staff, and I had the beach/pool to myself for pretty much the whole day.  I sunned myself and ate a lovely lunch by the pool, my friend Laura from the hostel showed up about halfway through my day and we chatted about backpack life.  I went to leave in the late afternoon and realized – uh oh, I had somehow lost the key to my scooter!! Yikes 😦
I pretty much had every maintenance guy, security officer and tourist police guy looking for that damn key, and finally one of them triumphantly pulled it out of the sand!! WHEW! I was so relieved that I didn’t have to pay a major fee for losing the key!! I scooted back to my hostel after that without any other bad things happening, and spent the evening relaxing, playing a very interesting game of chess with a five-year old and chatting with the other travellers in the place.
Today has been a quiet, relaxed, blogging kinda day, ive been to two coffee shops so far and have been typing away, trying to record the events of the past week (feels like so much longer!) and staying out of the rain.  Tomorrow I finally leave Puerto Princesa and move on to Manila and Malaysia awaits!  I’m sure there will be lots of new adventures waiting for me there 🙂
xo
D

 

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Underground River and Goodbye Chelsea!

Today we checked out the underground river, a natural wonder of the world which consists of a network of caves extending 8 km underground that you can paddle through on a boat.  We woke up early to board the bus for a bumpy two-hour ride to the other side of the island. Big surprise, everyone else on our tour was – Asian!! Weee!  Oh well. Nobody new to talk to but we were used to it by then.  Our bus stopped at Sabang Beach, which was beautiful!  We had a great buffet lunch filled with local foods and after that took a small boat to the entrance of the caves.  We got to see some cute monkeys and humongous lizards as well.

The caves themselves were very impressive, just the type of place you might expect to see tons of bats and an underground lair worthy of Bruce Wayne.  The boat ride itself was cool, our tour guide was very funny and pointed out the sights to us.  Just me, Chelsea and a whooole bunch of Asians. Sigh.
After the river and a bumpy ride back to Puerto Princesa, we took a long walk and discovered a sweet department store and a cute restaurant called Heavenly Desserts by Dorothy, where we ate dinner and had some heavenly desserts!  Then another very quiet night at our guesthouse – Puss in Boots was on (our only movie option) so we watched that and called it a night.  In the morning me and Chelsea said our goodbyes, she was off to Manila and eventually Vancouver while I had the pleasure of staying in Palawan for another three nights!! urg.
xoxo
D
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A Few Suprises in Palawan

Oh man. We finally took a wrong turn in our travels – ending in up in Puerto Princesa was not the kind of ending to our vacation that we had hoped it would be. After spending a few (too many) days here myself, this little city has redeemed itself somewhat in my eyes, but when we first got here we both had the same reaction. WHAT THE F. AND WHERES THE BEACH?

I had come here in good faith, as an awesome tour company from Canada had highly recommended this destination, and I thought they could do no wrong.  Truth is, Palawan is pretty awesome but we have totally ended up in the wrong part of it.  El Nido is beautiful, Coron supposedly even better, and Puerto Princesa? not.  Boo!
Let me back up here. When we got off the plane we were picked up by two perfectly lovely Filipinos who pointed out some “sights” to us on our way to the Guesthouse (which they call Pensions here for some reason).  We arrived at our shabby little Lola Itang Guesthouse and soon figured out that our hosts knew NOTHING WHATSOEVER about what there was to do in Puerto Princesa.  Is there a beach? “uhhhhhhh…”  what can we do here? “uhhhhhh” how do we book a tour to the underground river? “uhhhhhh” no clue. at all.  We were used to lovely guesthouse owners who could tell us about the surrounding area, but these guys, although perfectly lovely, were clueless.  Also – it seemed like there was nothing to eat or really do around us so we had to settle for McDonald’s and call it a night.  Also – it’s as if nobody in this town had ever seen a white person before – there are hardly any tourists, and we were quite the novelty in our shorts and tank tops apparently.  Hmmm.
The next day we figured out how to get to the permit office for the underground river ourselves and found out about Honda Bay, which is a group of islands close by where you can sun and swim. After getting our permit we walked out of the government building and a guy approached us and asked us if we needed help arranging a tour to the underground river.  After initially being wary of him, he actually turned out to be the nicest and most helpful person we had met so far, and we agreed to go with Marlon to his tour office to book a trip to the Underground River, which is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
After arranging our trip, Marlon drove us in his sweet tricycle (a type of sidecar attached to motorcycles which serves as a local taxi service here) about thirty minutes to Honda Bay, where we rented our own boat to take us to Cowrie Island, a cute tiny island where we hung out all day drinking beers, eating lunch and getting massages while sunning ourselves.  Bliss!!
That evening after finally finding a pizza place that looked ok to eat at, we went to bed early because there was NOTHING to do besides potentially hitting up a few local dive bars that looked sketchy at best.
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Boracay Beach Bums

Things I have learned in Boracay so far:

1) It is the Asian version of Mexico, as far as I can tell EVERY SINGLE Asian on vacation is here, right now.  Which is hilarious.
2) Despite being on vacation, the ladies insist on being covered head to toe to maintain their whiteness, and dress up in full-out hats and high heels on the beach, tottering around while their husbands pose them in front of palm trees, souvenir shacks, locals, etc.
3) There is nothing to do here except eat, sleep, drink and do ocean-centric sports like snorkeling, para-sailing, sailing, etc.  And that is just fine by me.
Boracay has been pretty sweet, honestly besides the gorgeous view and people-watching, though, there is not much to do here so three nights was more than enough to check out the sights.  We met a few cool people (Hi Magnus! Hi Tom!) and caught some great rays in the BOILING HOT sun, ate some great food and chilled out after our horrific travel day.  It’s super touristy here, so there are tons of souvenir shops, expensive restaurants and luxury resorts, we are tucked into our little guesthouse just off the beach, I highly recommend Trafalgar Cottages for any backpacker coming through here, it was cheap and cosy and there is a super cute puppy named Nelson to hang out with, along with great friendly staff.  It rained both nights we were here which seriously put a damper on our party plans, we managed to have some nice dinners with our new friends but missed the party scene.  Oh well.
The highlight of our time here has definitely been the parasailing trip we took, it was 1500 Pesos ($35) and included a sweet speedboat ride and AMAZING view of Boracay and the surrounding area.  I was scared, but Chelsea was there with me, taking pics and making me laugh, so I ended up having a great time and wasn’t too scared after all. We were super high up, and even though it only lasted about 15 minutes, it was an experience that will stay with me forever 🙂
Our 3am wakeup was rough the next morning, we had to take a bus/ferry/bus to the airport to catch our 8am flight, which went off without a hitch, until we got to the Manila domestic terminal (aka the fourth layer of hell) and found out our flight had been CANCELLED outright (grrrrrrr ZEST AIR!! *shakes fist*) and that we wouldn’t be able to get a flight until 5pm that day.  So we settle in for another long haul at the airport and managed to laugh it off….Palawan was our next stop and we were pumped!!
Categories: Phillipines | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Roundabout Trip to Boracay

Oh, travel days. How I DON’T love you. That’s right. I said it.

We boarded the plane for Singapore, and had a three-hour stopover there after an uneventful flight.  We figured out that between us we would be taking over thirty flights on our travels!! I think I will be happy to be grounded for a long while after this trip!!
The Singapore airport was UNREAL.  Even in the middle of the night, every store was open, the entire food court was open, and there was tons of stuff to see and do, including some weird Asian gardens (even an outdoor one), an entertainment center, many sweet lounges and lots of WiFi! there is even a rooftop pool but we didn’t see it so maybe it doesn’t exist?  We chilled with some life-size M+M’s though…
After our airport stop there was a supremely uncomfortable and full three-hour flight to Manila in the middle of the night (literally 12 to 3 am for us) and when we got to Manila, there was an overpriced taxi to the domestic terminal and no one for us to talk to about booking a flight to Kalibo and onwards to Boracay.  That’s right, the stupid tourists thought they could arrive at four in the morning and book a flight onwards without any trouble.  RIGHT??? WRONG.  The next flight was at 11am and we were S**T outta luck until then.  So we settle in for a nap on the tiled floor, hugging our bags and trying not to look like the greasy backpackers that we were by that point.
After finally checking in and finding some adequate breakfast in what has got to be the grossest domestic terminal I’ve ever seen (the roof is caving in…) we found, to our delight, that the flight was delayed!! woo!  So there was more waiting and waiting and waaaaiting to do.  Our flight finally boarded two hours late and we took the hour-long flight to Kalibo.  We were delirious by this point, and there was still a two-hour bus ride to go and a ferry trip AND a bus ride to our hotel, but this was actually made very easy for us by the lovely SouthWest Tours Boracay, which handled all our transport arrangements as we were in no shape to do so.  We just forked over about 500 Peso (12.50) and they herded us this way and that until we wound up at our guesthouse, Trafalgar Cottages, where the very lovely Julie awaited us and showed us some beds we could crash in. And crash we did!!
Thirteen hours later we woke up in Boracay, and to our delight discovered our trip was worth it, as it was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen!!
Note: Zest Air (affiliate of AirAsia in the Philippines) is officially the worst airline I’ve ever flown with – most of our flights have been delayed, on was outright cancelled, and they have added an extra layer of stress to our holiday.  I strongly suggest that if you can afford it to save yourself some hassle and book on another airline.  Their customer service is some kind of awful, as well.
Categories: In the Air | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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