Archive for ho-chi-minh

Gone in 13 days.

Posted in Masarap Maging Dayuhan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2010 by BatangMangyan

Before archie finally migrated to the US in 2005 (that was a long a time though haha), we decided to make a short trip across Southeast Asia to spend some time together abroad, to escape from work (haha), to have some imported beer and “pulutan”—and of course another adventure to add to our several trips together here in the Philippines.  Since all of us three couldn’t afford much time to go on-leave, we had to squeeze our visit to five countries: Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Singapore in just 13 days.   We had a total of four flights, two bus rides and a boat ride to finish our trip.  Each country has a unique picture, and each photo I have here simply describes its distinct beauty.

Our first stop:  Selamat Datang! Malaysia – as what Malaysians say, it’s truly Asia!  Departing from Clark @ 10pm via Air Asia, we reached KLIA @ past 1am.   To save money (tipid tip no.1), we just stayed at the airport until 7am before we went to KL via KLIA Express.  We spent the whole day roaming around downtown KL. Of course we landed first at the magnificent Petronas Towers, then KL Tower, had lunch @ little India (tried a lot of indian food), then @ night, had some beer @ beach club café.  The next morning, with our huge backpack, we took the monorail going to Bukit Bintang, stayed there for a while, bought some souvenirs, tried some malaysian dishes and then went to the airport via KLIA express to catch our flight to Bangkok in the afternoon.   Terima Kasih!   

Next stop: Bangkok, Thailand (3rd day).  Sawasdee Amazing Thailand!  We arrived at the airport @ dinner time.  From the airport, we took a bus (tipid tip no.2) bound for Silom, where the famous Patpong (known as a red light district at the heart of Bangkok) is located – also a busy night market!  We had dinner along the side street of Silom (tipid tip no.3), had some thai noodles and the famous tom yum.  The next day, we had a typical thai breakfast along the street, Winner!  We strolled around Bangkok, visited the grand palace, a lot of temples, then spent the rest of the day at Chatuchak market, the largest weekend market in Bangkok.  Of course, the night wasn’t complete without a bottle of Singha, Thailand’s pride!  KHOB-KUN Thailand!

Fifth Day:  In the morning, we left Bangkok via a provincial bus and reached the Thailand-Cambodia border at lunch time.   After 2 hours in the line for immigration procedures and security check, finally we crossed the border.  We hired a taxi to bring us to Siem Reap, the home of the Ancient Angkor (a must-see paradise).  After a 5-hour drive, we finally reached Siem Reap, immediately we had dinner and had some Angkor beer (first night pa lang beer na!)  We spent 2 days to see the Angkor, truly– AMAZING!   On the 8th day, we left Siem Reap early in the morning and went to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, visited temples, the historical killing fields during the time of Polpot (leader of Cambodian communist movement), and walked around the city and at night had some Angkor beer by the bay.

9th Day:   Early morning we left Phnom Penh for Vietnam – about 5 hrs to reach the border, and then another 2.5 hrs to reach Ho-chi-minh City (formerly Saigon). we arrived at the city earlier than expected and we had enough time to stroll downtown and have some shopping, and had snack @ Jollibee.  Of course at dinner, we tried the famous vietnamese noodles and some authentic vietnamese dishes.  We spent our night at Eden Bar, had some Saigon Beer and of course we tried our very own SMB — “masarap pala ang feeling” when you encounter Philippine products abroad, we were so proud then.  Thank you, Vietnam.

10th Day! Welcome to Singapore!  Finally we reached the first world (haha)!  Airport pa lang, astig na! we spent 3 days in Singapore. We went to Sentosa , took the cable car.  then we went to chinatown and little india –food trip (tipid tip no.4)!  Had some shopping @ orchard road, hangout with pinoy friends @ lucky plaza – tagged as the Philippine department store in Singapore, met a lot of OFWs (saludo ako sa mga bagong bayani).   Had so much fun! (In the picture @ the lower right: Don, Archie & Joel (BatangMangyan)

Finally, the 13-day trip is over!  Much fun, not so expensive though (courtesy of promo flights and cheap backpacker’s inn we discovered in The Lonely Planet).  Indeed, the trip was no less than extraordinary!  We learned a lot of things – discovered different cultures/values, tried various dishes (this is what I like most haha), and of course met a lot of people.  Along this new adventure, the most important thing is the time we spent together, truly it’s exceptional.   And I’d say that it’s not how many hours we spent; it’s how much we put into the hours. 

“The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything.  They just make the best of everything.”