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Cebu Pacific Smile Magazine (July 2015 Edition)

Siem Reap travel tips

Siem Reap travel tips

Last April, one of my college friends Mitch Alvarez tagged me in a Facebook post by Ms Nikka Sarthou-Lainez who is looking for contributors who are interested in sharing travel tips for international and domestic destinations of Cebu Pacific Air. Ms. Nikka is a Contributing Editor for Smile Magazine, the in-flight magazine of CebuPac.

Smile Magazine July 2015 edition

Smile Magazine July 2015 edition

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Rambuttri House, Bangkok Thailand

Bangkok leg, Indochina 2014

Bangkok leg, Indochina 2014

Rambuttri House – April 11-14, 2014

As a person used to DIY trips, I was very anxious about the hotels that Travel Factor booked for us. I know that most of the time we will be staying out and touring but where we will be staying afterwards is equally important to me. People I bring whenever I travel can attest to how meticulous I am when it comes to hotels/hostels/guesthouses. I am always in charge of searching for our accommodations and I always make sure that I get the best for very reasonable rates – Yiu Fai and River City Inn, to name a few.

So yeah, apologies to TF and Tikoy for the emails and phone calls. Haha! Ang kulit ko ba? We just wanted to see the hotels and the location so we can plan our free time well – transportation, shopping, meals :).

The light at the end of the tunnel. Chos! (Always saves us whenever we feel vulnerable because of Songkran. haha)

The light at the end of the tunnel. Chos! (Always saves us whenever we feel vulnerable because of Songkran. haha)

Here’s my short review of Rambuttri House, one of the four hotels we stayed in during our Indochina adventure.

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Backpacking Indochina Day 2 – Songkran

What Songkran can do to normal people. :D

What Songkran can do to normal people. 😀

Day 0: Manila to Bangkok, Thailand

Day 1: Grand Palace, Chao Phraya River and MBK

Having a good night sleep can change how your mind works. It was 7AM, we walked outside. My voice echoed in the deserted corridor, we went inside the lift and went down. The road was wet, we saw trails from last night’s party. We walked to the nearest McDonald’s-turned-beauty-parlor to have breakfast. Upon entering, I immediately looked for seats. The entire place was occupied by women (maybe not, I was not sure) doing make ups and dressing up for what I reckon, a parade or such. We ordered food and ate in a nook. It was still quiet outside. As we went outside, people are starting to go out. Maybe Songkran is about to begin. Before heading to the hotel, we stopped by a 7-11 store to buy water and some snacks. Water is outrageously cheap in Bangkok, we bought three 2L water for just about 30baht.

Finally! A decent breakfast. Chos.

Finally! A decent breakfast. Chos.

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Backpacking Indochina Day 0 : Yellow and Pink

On to the next adventure!

On to the next adventure!

People lining up behind me, a glass wall separates my serene station and a heavily crowded place with noisy people excited to enter the studio gallery. A conversation on BBM says I will do the daily trips. What? That is too much work. But I accepted it. So here it is! Come with me as I walk down memory lane, Let’s travel to the heart of Southeast Asia’s backpacking capital on April 11th.

Day 0:

I felt dizzy the moment we landed at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. Over 3 hours of flight is quite short but arriving in a foreign land, with an hour time difference, coming from a long day of taping the other day, it is quite a superpower to stay awake and be in control of the situation for the most times. After the mandatory selfie at the airport, it’s about time to wait for the others. You see, they are not difficult to spot – 16 of them will be arriving via Cebu Pacific. But here is the catch, we do not know them. Ha!

When you are sleepy, the wifi connection at the airport is not working and the flight you are waiting for is delayed, it is agonizingly excruciating. Tikoy particularly told us to wait where the Cebu Pacific flight passengers will exit and look for Edge. She advised us to add him on facebook to be familiar with how he looks like, but his profile pictures are either in shades, silhouettes, or looking down, WTH! Anyway, he posted a photo of his luggage with a yellow North Face duffel bag. That’s it! The yellow duffel bag was the hint! That’s where the fun began.

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Backpacking Indochina Travel Guide: Where to Go, What to Eat and What to Do

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there. – Gandalf the Grey

April 11-19, 2014

“Indochina? Indonesia and China?” I always get this response whenever I tell my friends that I am going to Indochina. Saying Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in one is already hard but explaining what Indochina is, is even harder.

So what does Indochina mean? Or rather, where in the world is Indochina???

The term Indochina was derived for the term French Indochina, a combination of India and China, which refers to the territories/lands between these two countries. Other countries included are: Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar.

Now, why did I decide to visit these Southeast Asian countries when I could have enjoyed the spring in Korea or cherry blossoms in Japan? Simple. Because of the rich culture and tradition of these countries. Because of the endless adventures that I knew awaits me there. Because I knew that upon returning from this trip, I will be a different person – made better by the long hours of travel without having a proper meal and carefree transportation; more appreciative of what life I have back home; and wiser with the many lessons I have learned from the people I met on my journey.

Let me share now a snapshot of my Indochina adventure with Travel Factor. The detailed posts per city/day will be posted soon. For now, eto muna. 🙂

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What I Have Learned From My Backpacking Indochina Experience

 "Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Adventure without risk is Disneyland“–for a theme-park addict, this slapped me on the face. But if you come to think of it, it is true. Ok, I am grooming myself here to become the most adventurous person I can be. After backpacking for nine days, I can completely define a tourist and a traveler quite distinctly.

James Michener said “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home“, should this stop me? To tell you, it did, once! It took me quite some time to ingest that I will be in the middle of the bustling street of Bangkok, the heat of Siem Reap, and on the sidewalk of motorcycle-packed Saigon. But that turned out to be the best decision yet. You really cannot imagine how far you can go by just trying something new. Being a foreigner is definitely not easy, there are questions like “Is there a McDonald’s?, How about Starbucks? Or even KFC?” And being stuck in Indochina with nothing compared to Manila in terms of Fast-food per mile, keeping your sanity for a long time is quite a challenge. But hey, I tried new food, and I liked it. now I am definitely adventurous in my own scale.

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