SOCIAL MEDIA

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

SEVEN DAYS IN THAILAND!




Touchdown, Thailand! 

I just flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok. I should have gone to Laos but my flight got delayed from HMC. I did not catch the bus. So, I opted to stay and explore the city instead. I stayed in a hostel near a train station. It would be so easy to go around the city once you are near a train station. For me, at least. 

Day 1: The Grand Palace
So today, I went to see the Grand Palace. I took the BTS (it's Bangkok's subway system) and dropped off at Saphan Taskin Station. I followed the directions to reach the dock for Chao Phraya Express Boat.

     

This river is also called the River of Kings. This river stretches in the city going to the gulf. Cruising Chao Phraya River was cool. Sitting and looking at the establishments and temples including Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, and the Grand Palace. Speaking of Grand Palace, they are very strict with the dress code. I had to buy a top to cover since I was wearing a sleeveless dress.

     


The Grand Palace was totally jam-packed. Then I went out and visited the Bangkok National Museum. This museum features Thailand's Arts and History. Vast antique collections - arts, murals, and ceremonial carriages, were there.

                                                              

Day 2: Floating Market and Chao Phraya Dinner Cruise

Days before I arrived in Bangkok, I was browsing about their floating market. What I have in mind was to go to a floating market that is less touristy. So, I opted to go to Amphawa Floating Market. I did not expect that it was very far. I did not book a tour for this, I did it myself instead.


I felt like I was scammed. Hahaha! Far from my expectations! I do not know where are the boats selling anything! Or maybe I was just too early? Anyway since I was a little disappointed, I headed back to River City Bangkok to experience the Chao Phraya Dinner Cruise.

     

It was a lovely night. The food was superb!

Day 3: Siam Park City

Kid at heart? Let us explore and have fun in the world of adventure in Siam Park City!

     

I need more time to explore this place. There are five zones that you can explore and experience in the park.
     

Day 4: Bye BKK, Hello Krabi



Touchdown, Krabi!

The hostel I checked-in was at Glur Hostel. The place was relaxing. There is a pool too! I went to eat and bought some souvenirs.

Day 5: Elephant Trekking

To be honest? I really had no intentions of riding on an elephant. What changed my mind? Due to popular pressure. I got really scared because I might fall. Good thing it was just less than an hour of riding.


I had fun with the baby elephant. What happened in this picture? Well, one of the staff said, "kiss!" My reaction? Well, the photo says it all! Hahahaha!


Day 6: Island Hopping

I joined a tour for this. I was picked up at 7:30-ish in the morning. And we picked up other tourists too until we were gathered in an open area near a beach. I couldn't recall the name of the place though. I didn't know exactly what we're doing because the area was a bit crowded and no information given by the one who fetched us.

We walked to an area where a lot of tailboats are waiting. I hopped on to one of the boats and the island hopping begins! I really couldn't recall which island we went to first. It appears the same to me. hahaha!


     

     

Day 7: Bye Krabi! See you again, Thailand!

It was an amazing visit to Thailand. I haven't felt the scorching heat of the sun during my whole trip here but the photos appeared to be. There are a lot of things to do here. Bet the seven days wasn't enough. I hope to visit Thailand again, probably in Chiang Mai or Pattaya. ขอบคุณค่ะ, Thailand!





SIX DAYS IN VIETNAM

Another school year (2018 – 2019) has passed and I already did my RPMS portfolio. And I am ready for summer! I actually booked my flight on April 22-28 to Hanoi (Vietnam) last September 2018. I don’t think it was a seat sale because the fare was not cheap. Haha! Anyway, Halong Bay is the main reason why I booked my flight. I read a lot of information about it and I also watched some related videos on Youtube. And then sometime in December, I booked another flight to Da Nang because I was intrigued with the Golden Bridge in Ba Na Hills. I tried to squeeze the activities I wanted to my schedule. So, here is my 6 days in Vietnam (Hanoi and Da Nang).

Day 1: Noi Bai International Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 2
I arrived at Noi Bai International Airport Terminal 2 around two in the morning (Vietnam’s time). By the way, there is an hour difference between the Philippines and Vietnam. Since my flight to Da Nang was at 10 AM, I stayed at the airport until morning so I can transfer to terminal 1 which caters their domestic flights.

Airport Shuttle Bus Station
I went to eat some banh mi and a coffee before hopping on an airport shuttle bus heading to terminal 1. Vietjet Air provides self-check-in service at the airport so I enjoyed the convenience of obtaining my boarding pass without queueing. I immediately went to the assigned boarding gate. Their domestic airport is nice and clean. There are local stores and restaurants too.


Finally, I arrived at my first destination, Da Nang! Since it was lunchtime, I grabbed some beef steak with chips. After I had my lunch, I booked a car using Grab to reach my hostel. Da Nang Aiport is situated in the city itself. So, booking a taxi is fine. Actually, I was not in the mood to go out because I did not have a decent sleep yet. I went to the gold shop in front of Han Market to have some money exchange and also to the church near my hostel and the Han River Sculpture Park. Anyway, my adventure would officially start tomorrow!

     

Day 2: Golden Bridge, Le Jardin D’Amour, French Village, Spiritual Landmarks, and Fantasy Park at Ba Na Hills
Hello, sunshine! Hello Da Nang! Definitely, I had a good sleep. The energy level that I have for today’s adventure was FULL. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning, took a shower and had Banh Mi and coffee for breakfast. I was actually excited because I am now visiting the Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills. Just a little trivia. Do you know why it is called Ba Na Hills? Well, according to Mina – the tour guide, long before when the French arrived and visited the area, there were full of banana trees in the mountain and called it Banana Mountain. Eventually, the Vietnamese changed it to Ba Na. That’s it.

Hooray! I am finally here! Got the ticket for the cable car going up to the Ba Na Hills. I just learned that you will experience four seasons in one day at Ba Na Hills. Yes! You read it right. Four seasons – spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Spring in the early morning, Summer at noon, Autumn in the afternoon, and Winter in the evening.

          

I never imagined that I am actually setting my foot on this Golden Bridge. I just saw this video months ago and now I am finally here! The place was jam-packed though. I actually had a hard time looking for a spot where there were few people in it. People were coming everywhere. (Note: I noticed that this place would have few people in the late afternoon.)

        

In Le Jardin D’Amour, there are many spots that you can take advantage of taking photos. You can explore their beautiful sculptured themed garden. There are giant chess pieces and a wine cellar in the area.
     


After taking photos in Le Jardin D’ Amour and Golden Bridge, I went all the way up to the Ba Na Hills and had a buffet lunch at La Lavande Restaurant. It was a superb meal. Many food to choose from – Chinese food, local food, and some barbecues. I kept getting a lot of food to eat. It’s all you can eat by the way.

The view outside the La Lavande Restaurant

There were a lot of things to do in Ba Na Hills, you can opt to go to the French village, the Fantasy Park or the Spiritual Landmarks. But I chose to roam around and take photos.

Spiritual Landmarks

     


Day 3: My Khe Beach and Da Nang International Airport
I woke up a little late. I was planning to take a photo and catch the sunrise here. Unfortunately, I arrived here at 6 AM and the sun is already up. I spent only two hours as I have to go to the airport and fly to Hanoi.


I grabbed another meal at Da Nang airport while waiting for boarding.
Xin Chao, Hanoi! I arrived at three in the afternoon as my flight got delayed. Since I was in Terminal 1, I rode bus 86 going to the city which costs 35,000 vnd. The driver dropped me off too far from my hostel. If my memory serves me right, I walked one kilometer going to my hostel. That was not a good experience as my first day in the city. Anyway, I finally reached my hostel at 4:30 PM and checked-in. From then on, I rested for thirty minutes and went to the money changers on Hang Bac Street. The value of Philippine peso to Vietnamese Dong is better in Da Nang compared in Hanoi.

Going back to my hostel, I passed an elegant looking restaurant, Little Charm, whereby I had my dinner there. This place offers a mixture of Italian and Asian cuisine. Nothing to do for tonight since I got tired from my Da Nang flight.

Day 4: Ninh Binh Province
This was also one of my most awaited tours in Vietnam. This would be a day of cruising, cycling, and hiking.

The first destination was the Hoa Lu Capital. This was the capital of Vietnam during the 10th and 11th centuries. You can see temples and the chairs and beds used by the king before. Unfortunately, I don’t certainly remember the names of the three kings anymore. The only names I had in mind were King Le and King Dinh. They also have a queen named Duong Van Nga, who was married first to King Dinh then to King Le. According to Tsang/Chang, our tour guide, the queen’s eyes were facing the temple of King Dinh.


Cruising along Trang An and walking around the Kong: Skull Island was the second destination I had in Ninh Binh. Sitting on a boat for two hours was really tiring. All you have to do was to sit and look at the beautiful scenery. Entering and exiting three caves. But, I tried paddling.
     

I never thought of visiting the movie set of Kong: Skull Island. The only thing I had in mind for today’s adventure was the Lying Dragon Mountain. Anyway, I just had to follow the path in order for me to get to the other side as the boat awaits me.

     

Are these familiar?
     

How about this village?



I opted to have my lunch than to cycle around the village. I was actually hungry.

Down to the last part of the trip, hiking to the Lying Dragon Mountain. I just planned this trip days before my flight to Vietnam. I read about it and definitely prepared myself to climb 500 steps to reach the top.


I chose to go to the left to have a better view. Why did I know? Well, one of the tourists I came across said so. They were absolutely right. The view on top was the best! It was amazing! It was spectacular!
     

I was not able to take a photo with the dragon on top of the mountain though because I don’t know where to put my tripod. I’m afraid it would fall.

Day 5: Halong Bay
I booked a day tour only. I regret that. One day is definitely not enough. Maybe I would try two to three days tour next time.
Heading to Halong Bay will take three to four hours. Finally, I reached the Tuan Chau International Marina Station and got the ticket to the boat. Then I hop on the boat called Phoenix Cruise and there I had a sumptuous seafood lunch while cruising.

     

I opted for a bamboo boat instead of kayaking. It was not because I do not know how to but because I do not want to. “Tamad lang”.
The next activity I had was to explore Hang Dau Go. It has a marvelous view on the inside where disco-festive lighting radiates an array of stalactites and stalagmites. The stairways inside the cave were made of marbles.




Day 6: Royal City Vincom Mega Mall and Lotte Observation Deck
I have been immersed with nature in the past few days. And this time would be a full day tour in the city. No, I am just kidding. I canceled my tour in Perfume Pagoda and opted to go to the malls here in Hanoi. I woke up a little late like it was seven in the morning and took a shower. I went down to the lobby where I had bacon & egg, toast, and coffee for breakfast which was a complimentary meal in the hostel. After having my breakfast, I took a Grab and went to the Royal City Vincom Mega Mall.
This was definitely cool as this is a huge underground shopping mall. I like the exterior design of the mall. They considered it as “Little Europe”.


     


After grabbing some lunch, I went to the Decathlon store. If I am not mistaken, the day I was here was the day they opened its first store. A lot of people were coming into the store. I bought two things for myself and one for my boyfriend. And there was a long queue at the cashier. 

I was eager to view Hanoi city and I thought of going to the Lotte Observation Deck. So, I left Royal City and took a Grab to Lotte Center. The moment I reached the area, I went directly to the ticket counter and bought tickets for the Lotte Observation Deck. The observation deck is on the 65th floor and has a spectacular bird’s eye view. I spent an hour or two in this area. Looking at different panoramic views of Hanoi. By the way, standing on skywalk where the floor is made up of glass, it took me a while though.



As soon as the sun sets, I went to the Old Quarter specifically on Hang Dao Street to experience Hanoi Night Market. I guess I was too early as the vendors were just starting to set up their stalls. They sell clothing, souvenirs, street food, and some accessories. I haven’t stayed long in this area due to the call of nature! Haha! I had to go back to my hostel.

It’s already around 8 P.M. I got all my things and ready to check out. Sadly, it’s time to leave Hanoi. Another trivia from the tour guide in Ninh Binh. Do you know why it’s called Hanoi? It’s actually two words in Vietnamese, Ha Noi. Ha means river and Noi means inside. Therefore, Ha Noi means River Inside. The city of Hanoi actually lies on the banks of Red River. There you have it. Tạm biệt, Hà Nội. Hẹn gặp lại.