Maldives: A Quick Travel Guide MAAFUSHI ISLAND – Tour Packages and Prices

Maafushi is a bigger Island than Gulhi. It’s our second destination island. In this island, you’ll be confident that there’s a bank, you can buy the stuffs you’d need, and you can choose from several inns and guesthouses. Although, we stayed at one guest house for the whole duration of our stay here in Maafushi.
So, what’s in Maafushi?
  1. ATM – 
  2. Shops
  3. Restaurants – 
  4. Bikini Beach
  5. Tour/Travel Agencies – 
This is where we booked our excursions to both Biyadhoo and Adaaran. There are a lot of packages offered here, so if you’re staying longer in Maldives, you can explore more islands (incur more costs though) but if you have it, why not!?
Let me give you some of the packages that iCom Tours are offering, highly recommended, what they say is what you really get. And you can be a little picky and ask them for discounts, and maybe you can get one. 😀

NOTE: Their prices are per pax (mostly) and if you are less than four people then you would have to pay for the entire four people package, but ours was discounted, we were able to haggle and was then given discount. Just talk to them, they may grant some discounts too.

We only booked for Biyadhoo and Adaaran.

See prices below:

This was a great place. See Biyadhoo post. 

Currency collection of iCom

Take note of the schedules, some of the packages had to be booked 1 day before the tour. 

Where to stay? You can stay at Zest Cabana

It’s a comfortable place to stay, the staff were very helpful and eager to give you information you would need. Like other hotels, they have:

FREE Towels – both for indoor and beach and face.
FREE Water
FREE Wifi – 2 users per room
FREE Juice – upon arrival
FREE Unlimited Tea or Coffee
FREE Breakfast
Hair Blower is available

Where to eat? You can visit Sunset Cafe or Rocket Hotel

I took photos of the Sunset Cafe Menu below for your reference, so you can do the math for FOOD.

Maafushi is not the ultimate destination for most tourists, but this is where you can book packages according to your preference.

Hope the price lists above would allow you to just choose among those packages which ones you’d want to spend on and whether or not you’d be able to afford them.

#doroexplorero #dorolakwatsero #doroadventures #suroyWorld #laagAsia #MaldivesGuide #Maldives #Travel #Budget #Prices

Maldives: A Quick Travel Guide BIYADHOO ISLAND – for Pinoy and Foreigners

That’s the clock when we arrived in Biyadhoo Island Resort. Yes, Biyadhoo is one hour ahead of Maafushi and Maafushi is three hours behind Philippines.

At the entrance of this resort, you will be greeted by their staff, and you’ll be led to the reception area where you have to pay for the entrance.

Biyadhoo is an Island Resort. You cannot just pop up and enjoy the beach, you have to pay entrance fee of $48 per person which includes your buffet lunch.

After paying for our entrance fee, we were given a little orientation of the island, DO’s and DONT’s. Then we’re ushered towards the scenic view of the BEAAAACH!!!

We had to feel the BEACH first, relaxing under a shed. Just looking at the sea and the breeze just feels so fresh and relaxing. BUT we can’t help it, we just hit the beach!

We had the whole day to spend in this beautiful island. So we took some rest every once in a while. 🙂

Then I got covered. Literally covered by the sand!

 Then we decided to roam around the island.

 You will notice nature! Even the flowers? Ako pa talaga mahilig sa flowers oh!

 YOLO-ing in the beach! We’ve found a secret place in the area! LOL!

 

Where to EAT? at Biyadhoo’s Palm Restaurant. This was included in our fee, so we don’t have to pay for anything, we can just eat anything! Buffet lunch it is!

Funny about our experience is that we were the only Asian in the restaurant when we entered (except for the Maldivian crew), the rest are European or American. I don’t know what it was with us, because they were really looking intently at us? Haha

If you want to arrange a romantic dinner with your honey, you can refer to their packages and prices below:

They also have a spa, in case you want some relaxing spa sessions:

Outside the Palm Restaurant is also this gorgeous view!

Photo op session in a secluded area! Blagir!

Beach with emotions!

In this island we enjoyed snorkelling so much, because it’s really just within your reach. Just a few steps from the shore, fish and reefs are there. So do not forget to bring your snorkelling gears!

Take a lot of photos! Enjoy the entire area!

For summary of costs and how to get to Maldives, check this out.
Got questions regarding this Island? Drop them at the comments section below. Happy exploring!

#doroexplorero #dorolakwatsero #doroadventures #laagAsia #suroyWorld #Maldives #Maldives2016 #BiyadhooIslandResort

Maldives: A Quick Travel Guide GULHI ISLAND – for Pinoy and Foreigners

Soon as we arrived in Male’, we looked for the beach, and there really was a beach. But I was looking for something serene and relaxing. I planned something out, and first stop, Gulhi!
From Nazmee’s place in Male’, we took a taxi for MVR25.00 going to the ferry terminal. Then we boarded on the ferry going to Gulhi!

What’s in Gulhi? 
Gulhi is a real R&R place. If you’re looking for a place to just relax, sun-bathe and sunset-chasing you can have it here. There’s a “bikini” beach too!
 

Where to Stay in Gulhi?
Gulhi is a small inhabited island. In one of the posts in FB I’ve read that they’ve stayed in Silver Shade, saw the price and I tried searching for it in either Agoda or booking.com. Yes, there really is Silver Shade Guesthouse. So, I checked the price, and it’s within the budget, hence I booked!
Soon as we arrived at the port, Atit Mollah was already there waiting for our arrival. He offered to carry our bags going to Silver Shade Guest House, later we found out, it’s just a few steps from the port.
Below are actual photos of the room. 

The BED! Ah, feels so comfortable sleeping here after a long day of exploration!

Where to EAT? I know you’d be looking for food!
The look of a hungry man! Searching for the familiar food. 
We only ate at Surfista Cafe and they have affordable prices, see the whole menu below: (Yes, I got it for you! (copied verbatim from their menu).

Usually served along with your meal, but this is NOT free.

  

Silver Shade Guest House offers some excursion activities, with group prices below:
  1. Dolphin Quest – $70 (3 hours 30 minutes) Maximum of four (4) persons
  2. Sunset Fishing – $60 (3 hours) Maximum of four (4) persons
  3. Sand bank and Snorkelling – $70 (3 hours 30 minutes) Maximum of four (4) persons
  4. Snorkelling – $55 (2 hours) Maximum of (4) persons

We only availed of #3 since one of the main reasons I came to Maldives is BEACH! So, we’ve decided to go to the Sand Bank. Really worth it! 
We used a chartered speed boat. Truly feels like “living-the-dream”, you’d really feel so VIP, with just you on a speed boat + your guide/boat-crew. 

When we arrived in the small islet (sand bank) no other people are there. It’s just us. Enjoying the entire place!
TIPS: 
  1. If you plan to go to this Sand Bank, get ready with your “bikini”, yes you can wear it here! Without fear of being critiqued or watched at for ridicule, coz you’ve got the entire place to enjoy!!!
  2. Take a lot of sunblock creams with you, it’s almost always summer in the Maldives!
  3. Brace yourselves for the waves, as the speedboat would really dance to its tune.
  4. Take a lot of pictures, and hit the beach!!! 
  5. Never mind the sun (you’re on sunblock right?).
I’m sharing with you below some of the pics we’ve had and a video in the Sand bank.

After the snorkelling, we were given free drinks. Ice Cream Soda. T’was our first time to try it.

It’s also one of the common scenes in Maldives, their customary seats, relaxation seats I’d call it. Looks like the one below.

 
After our R&R sessions in Gulhi, we had to head to Maafushi. 

But hey, we can’t miss the sunset!

Then, I requested a photo op with our very kind hosts Atit and his Manager. I genuinely appreciate their warmth and welcoming behavior. Highly recommended place to stay!

So long K. Gulhi! See you again, some day! Then, we’re off to….. Maafushi!
For summary of costs in the entire Maldives Trip  check it in this blogpost.
Got questions? Clarifications? Please don’t hesitate to write them on the comments below. 
#doroexplorero #dorolakwatsero #doroadventures #laagAsia #suroyWorld #Maldives2016 #Maldives #travelguideMaldives #Gulhi

Maldives: A Quick Travel Guide Summary for Pinoy and Foreigners

More than two years ago, I believe, a friend of mine, out of the blue, reconnected with me. He said he’s up to something, and he wants me to join the group. I was curious, but I do have my reservations. I went with him in a so called “meet-up” and was introduced to a bunch of crazy beautiful people. Meet-ups were followed by more incidences of get-together. Until so much have been shared and I was educated and learned a lot. There’s one thing in that group that has lead me, somehow, to realize this dream. I was affirmed that “I can”.
Yes, one of the important lessons I’ve learned is that if I would truly believe in something, ask of it, as if it’s already received, it shall become a reality. Sounds like a bible verse right? And yes, it’s true, whether you heard it from me first time, from the bible or from someone else, I am telling you it’s true. 
So, this is the story of our Maldives dream come true.
I have noticed Maldives as a great destination, I did try looking into the details of it, but seems very impossible at that time. Financially and geographically. I’ve never been that far, I told myself then. But because I wanted to go there, when my friend told me to write those things I wanted, I did include it. I didn’t have any idea how it’s going to happen, or whether it’s possible or not. I just wrote it.
Then I started noticing friends of mine going to Maldives, I saw their pictures, and I said, to myself, I will go there, one day. Still, didn’t have any idea how. But I did say, I will go there. Months passed, I asked around, and got the same answers, it’s almost impossible for me to get there. Then there was this trip to one of the great islands here in the Philippines called Sohoton. I met Sir Tony, he’s been to Maldives, and unlike the rest of the answers I’ve previously received, his was enthusiastically geared towards convincing me I can. So I asked more questions, and he eagerly answered as if with the presumption of possibility. I was taking mental notes, and soon as I get back home from Sohoton I secretly searched for Maldives again, flights, trips, resorts and hotels/inns/guesthouses. I almost every week check online cheaper flights going there, and yes, in one of those occasions I was able to book a flight going there. 
Now let’s get to how to get there:
Our route was from PH to Singapore then Singapore to Maldives. Return will be Maldives to Singapore then Singapore to PH. 
I recently wrote about our Singapore trip with my family, and yes, this was connected, when Mom and my youngest sis went home, we headed to Maldives.
1) I booked a ticket from Davao PH to Singapore via Cebu Pacific (one way). This was back in March.
2) I booked a ticket from Singapore to Maldives via Tiger Air (roundtrip). This was back in April.
3) I booked a ticket from Singapore to Davao PH via Cebu Pacific (one way). This was back in April. 
If you noticed, I have already booked months ahead. This is because I always take chances on booking for cheaper flights. Although there were some issues with my Tiger Air flight, which cost me I believe more than what it should be. But it’s alright. At least, I’ve already booked it. 
So it wasn’t that hard after all. Easy route. I did hear that some people from other countries and places are not going to SG for Maldives, some are going through Sri Lanka then Sri Lanka to Maldives. Since, I have not searched about Sri Lanka, and haven’t been there (although I want to be there, again, one day) I did not search Sri Lankan airfare, I only searched SG details.
Since I already have the tickets to go there, the next question is, how much? This is where Sir Tony’s knowledge were very helpful, yes, extremely helpful. I have retrieved those mental notes, and searched again over the internet some places to stay. I did use AirBnb for our Male’ stay. Then I booked in hotels of each island where we stayed. Before we get to the costs, let me just give you some preview.
1) Your landing in Maldives will be at the Airport, near Male’. I believe 10  minutes to 15 minutes ferry ride. If you’re traveling on a Friday, please check with your host/hotel if there is a ferry from the airport to the capital, i.e. Male’.   
This is the beach in Male, where you can see, locals and tourists are diving in. They just love the water! So refreshing. Take note, this is in Male’ City. The infrastructure you would see in this picture is the bridge that Maldivian government and China is collaborating on building, in it is a sign that says “China Maldives Everlasting Friendship”. (May FOREVER).
2) There’s a good surf beach in Male’, but as of the moment, it’s closed since they are building the “bridge” from Airport to Male. So, there’s not much to see in Male, but if you do want to roam around the following might be helpful. (Details given by Nazmee our host, credits to him).
  • Hukuru Miskiiy (Old Friday Mosque) – you can go inside the mosque and see the beauty, the ideal time to visit is morning 09:30 am to 11:15 am before the mid prayer. It was built in the 1400 centuries. Nearby there is a cemetery of Sultans. It is opposite of the President’s residence (Mulee Aage).
  • Male’ Fish Market – is a nice way to see how the locals live. This is even more so for an Island nation like the Maldives. But it is important to go early. Like most fish market, most catches are gone by eleven or so. There are also other markets nearby so you won’t waste your time. It is not just fish!
  • Grad Friday Mosque – a visit to Male’ can not be complete without a visit to grand mosque. Next to the sultan Park. Very huge and wonderful to see. Very clean and silent place.
  • National Museum – the museum covers how Maldivians live, the evolution of their writing system, weapons, coins and bank notes, and more.
  • Male’ Local Market – you can see the local life of Male’ in this market. It is located near the fish market and beach. You will find different vegetables from Male’ and other countries. Lots of people visit this place. Fresh vegetables can be seen. Dry fish market also attached to the Male’ Local Market.
  • Mulee Aage – this is one of the landmark sights in Male’. It is a well kept very nice square with a gigantic flagpole with the Maldivian Flag. It is in the centre of the city close to the Islamic centre, the fish market and the Main Jetty. 
  • Sultan Park – this was the King’s (Sultan) palace when Maldives was a sultanate. It is a nice park in a little area of the city where space is limited. The park was not so special but it is nice to visit, sit and relax.  Most of the tourist attractions are in the same area where souvenir shops are located. 
  • NOTE: Ask the driver to drop you to that area. Because all the places are in walking distance. Won’t take even five minutes to go from one place to another. It will be a waste of money if you hire a taxi to do all those above. 

3) The Maldives is an archipelago, several islands across the country. And there are island resorts nearby Male’, the capital. In one of my searches, even on a facebook post, Gulhi is one good place, then Maafushi, then there’s Fulidhoo, there’s Fihalhohi and other islands. You can choose to stay in just one island for the entire duration of your stay, or you can go one island form the other for the entire duration of your Maldives trip. We did go to different islands.

Summary of our Maldives Trip is as follows:
1) Male’ – one day – we arrived late in the evening so we had to relax, and I have to do some work, since Friday is payday for one of my clients. So, I had to do some payroll. But yeah, we still manage to capture some beautiful spots, like the photo below. Then we went to the islands the following day.

2) Gulhi – one day.
Taken at the port/harbour of Gulhi Island. As soon as we set foot, we had this photo taken.

A snapshot of the bikini beach view in K. Gulhi.

3) Maafushi – 3 nights.
This was near the port, in front of the Sunset Cafe.

A little hut of at the front row of Maafushi.
4) Biyadhoo Island – one day.


5) Adaaran Prestige Resort – one day.

Some of you by now are maybe annoyed, you just want to check out the budget? How much does it cost to have this Maldives Trip? MAGKANO BA TALAGA SA MALDIVES? (Capslock para intense!)
Conversion Rates as of this trip:
1 MVR = 3.06 Php
1 USD = 15.42 MVR
1 USD = P47 or P48 or P46 (really depends on the days you’d be there) 
TRAVEL COST:
I have to tell you that you could get cheaper deals than this. But these are actual costs that we’ve incurred during this trip. 
  1. Flight from Davao PH to Singapore via Cebu Pacific- Php1,650.00 (2 pax)
  2. Flight from Singapore to Davao PH via Cebu Pacific – SGD 186.00 or approx Php 6,696.00
  3. Flight from Singapore to Male, Maldives and vice versa via Tiger Air  – SGD 872.91 or approx Php31,424.76
  4. Ibrahim Nassir International Airport to Male’ – $15/person – Php2,760.00 (2 pax)
  5. Male’ to Gulhi Island – MVR40.00 or Php122.40 or approx $2.00 (2 pax)
  6. Gulhi Island to Maafushi Island – $15/person – Php2,760.00 (2 pax)
  7. Maafushi Island to Biyadhoo Island and vice versa- $30/person – Php5,520.00 (2pax)
  8. Maafushi Island to Male’ – $3/person or MVR45 or Php275.00 (2 pax)
  9. Male’ to Airport – MVR15/person or Php91.08
  10. TOTAL Travel Cost: Php51,299.24 (2 pax) or Php25,649.62 per pax

Our flight from Davao PH to Singapore was a promo that’s why it’s way cheaper that’s good for two persons. Even the Singapore to Davao PH flight was also a promo. Keep checking every time Cebu Pacific announces promo. Note too that our flights are booked separately. I believe sometimes, promo are not available if you search for two passengers, but when you book individually, promo fares appears (I could be wrong, but this is my observation).

Tiger air also have promos, a lot of promos actually, my ticket was booked months before the flight and it’s more expensive than that of my girlfriend’s ticket that was booked days before the flight. The SGD 872.91 is already the sum of the two tickets (roundtrip) to Maldives via Tiger air. I think this could even go down by SGD $100 if you book at the right time. Timing is key. Keep checking. If you really want it, you will find it!
If you think you can manage to meet your host at the Male’ ferry port, do not arrange for $15.00 
ENTRANCE FEES/EXCURSIONS:
  1. Biyadhoo Island – $48.00/pax or Php4,416.00 approx (2 pax)
  2. Adaaran Island – $100/pax or Php9,200 approx (2 pax)
  3. Sand Bar + Snorkelling – $70 for 2 pax or approx Php3,220
  4. TOTAL Entrance Fees: $148/pax or Php16,836.00 
ACCOMMODATION:
  1. Stayed 1 Night Male’ – again I use AirBnb with Nazmee and Athoa as our hosts – if you want to check out their listing it’s here. You can avail of around Php1,500 upto Php2,000 per night in the city. Or even lower, depending on the demand or season. Your host would usually pick you up at the ferry port/terminal either for free or for a fee. Just ask ahead of time. There’s a bit of advantage when Nazmee came to fetch us at the airport as I have already shared to him my blogsite and he is quite familiar with my face that he’s recognized me as soon as he’s seen me. So, in your case, you might want to arrange to just have a placard with your name on it, so you’d be able to meet easily at the airport and guide you through to your destination. 
  2. Stayed 1 Night in Gulhi – we arrived in Gulhi in the afternoon, we left the following day evening. Cost is Php2,886.00 (breakfast included) one bed room for two guests.
  3. Stayed 3 Nights in Maafushi – we arrived in the evening in Maafushi, and the cost per night is around Php2,100 for two persons a total of Php6,300.00
  4. TOTAL Accommodation Cost: Php11,186.00 for 2 pax.
FOOD:
This is a little bit tricky, yes, because it depends on your food taste, appetite and budget. 
  1. In Male’ there’s really a wide array of restaurants and you can roam around for food, but most beach front restaurant are pricey because they are for middle class working Maldivians and tourists. You can eat at around MVR90 to MVR110 per person per meal.
  2. In Gulhi food are cheaper MVR50 per person to MVR 60 per person per meal.
  3. In Maafushi food are also cheaper like Gulhi around MVR50 per person to MVR60 per person per meal.
  4. In Biyadooh Island food is included in the $48.00 (buffet lunch).
  5. In Adaaran Prestige food is included in $100 (buffet lunch).
  6. TOTAL Estimated Cost: Php4,000.00 approximately (2 pax).
NOTE: Food prices might exclude taxes, so ask your retaurant/cafe or look into the menu and check if it already include the taxes or excludes taxes. There are two taxes Local and National Taxes that would reach up to 30%.
TIPS:
  1. I find it more economical to just exchange money in Maldives or better yet, withdraw from your visa debit card the amount you think you would need. They accept both MVR or USD. 
  2. Note though that some establishments would charge 3.5% or 5% on top of the price for CARD Processing Fee. I still used card since withdrawing in Bank of Maldives would be higher at times, specially if the item or purchase is a small amount while bank would charge fixed $3/transaction regardless of withdrawn amount. 
  3. It’s always good to bring your card along, most stores accept card, and resorts like Biyadooh and Adaaran only accept USD or card payment (yes, no MVR).
  4. There’s no bank in Gulhi or ATM.
  5. Always ask if you don’t know something, Maldivians are happy to help.
  6. If you go to resorts, ask if they have free snorkelling gears or not, since most of your accommodation guesthouses or hotels provides free beach towels and snorkelling gears.
  7. Decide ahead of time what you want to see or do in Maldives.
  8. Bring your high-powered camera, but iPhones do great jobs in morning photos as well.
  9. Before leaving Maldives, exchange your MVR to USD as there might be no money changer who would accept your MVR in another country. In my case, I had to keep MVR570+ as souvenir as I did not realize this one.
  10. Always be on time, if the schedule for your trip. Speed boats or public ferries usually comes and leaves on time. Unless some fortuitous event happened, they are usually right on time.
  11. If you miss your booking, you might have to pay a fortune just to get to the destination.
  12. You can also ask favor from your guesthouses say requesting which type of breakfast you would want.  
  13. Be mindful of the fact that this is a Muslim area, so PDA is not so good when in public places, and use appropriate clothes, except in bikini beaches where yeah “bikinis” are obviously, allowed. As you go out of the “bikini beach” please wear back your appropriate clothes.
  14. Read and plan your itinerary, it would save you time and money.
  15. There are no public ferries on Fridays.
  16. Check the public ferry schedule before you book your trips, so you could save on transfers. Speedboats could cost you from $180 to $200 per pax if you would have a chartered one. You can check it at their MTCC website.
  17. Screenshot it and save it in your phone: 
  18. Some resorts do have free transport but you have to arrange ahead of time, that’s because if you book for an overnight stay in their resorts, it would really cost a fortune. 
  19. To cut costs, it’s way cheaper to book your overnight stays in either Maafushi or Gulhi or any other inhabited islands, where locals live, as there are inns and guesthouses where you can book almost like PH prices of hotels and inns. Then go to resorts on excursions/day tours.
  20. If you want to communicate with your host, without incurring so much cost you can buy an Ooreedoo Sim for MVR30.00 and top up for MVR100 you can use internet on your smartphone by registering to their unlimited promo + unlimited call and text. Lesser cost, than with Globe’s Php300/mb. 
  21. Our hosts don’t use much of Whatsapp (unlike in SG), but they use usually Viber. So you can use your internet on your smartphone in communicating or you can just call or text them using your Ooreedoo sim. 
Summary:

Airfare + Transfers + Travel Costs =  Php51,299.24
Entrance Fees = Php13,616.00
Accommodation Cost = Php11,186.00
Food Cost = Php4,500
Total Cost = Php83,821.24 for 2 pax or Php41,910.62 (ALL IN)

I did saw a post saying they were able to manage to stay in the Maldives for 9 days at around less than Php25,000 excluding airfare, when I looked into the details there were some tricky details you need to consider, why the cost I listed above are seeming way too high than that of theirs. BUT please be informed, I used the info they posted, it was really helpful. Here are the details you might have missed in their breakdown:

  1. There was a 3-night stay that was free of charge because of their friend.  
  2. And that their airfare was around P19,000 from SG to Maldives.
  3. Since we came from Phil, I still have to include the cost of Davao PH to SG airfare.
  4. The breakdown I wrote here is for 5 days stay in The Maldives, no-free accommodation and including airfare. Again, you might want to check other airlines, they may have some promo too. 
Check out airfares at:

But the best thing to do, is set aside a budget. Book the ticket, and compel yourselves to set-aside from your monthly income the money you need for this trip! I’ve written exhaustively the cost breakdown, and if I was able to make it, I really believe you can too! You already have the information, it’s up to you how to use it! 
NOTE: We’ve only gone to Male, Gulhi, Maafushi, Biyadhoo and Adaaran Prestige Vadoo Island. Cost would be more if you go to more places. 

  1. What’s in Gulhi? click here.
  2. What’s in Maafushi? click here.
  3. What’s in Biyadhoo? click here.
  4. What’s in Adaaran? click here.
Do you still have questions in mind? Please feel free to drop your comments below and I’d be happy to answer or help. 

How An Ordinary Pinoy Can Bring His Family to Singapore for a Holiday: SG Hack For Family Trips

We are currently in Gulhi, Maldives and we’ve just been from a family holiday in Singapore. Some people are asking about details of our trip. I wasn’t that eager to write a new blog about it since it’s my second time in SG, but…..because Mom is with me and the GF and the youngest sis, I will be writing about it now! Read below. 🙂
I booked our tickets last March 2016 when Cebu Pacific had a promo fare. I usually book ahead of time, specially if there are promo fares to cut budgets and plan for the financial consequences. This time it’s with my family so, I have to prepare for it way better than I do when I’m traveling alone. 
So, you’d ask. How would you manage to do it for the four of you? I know, you’d be asking, how can I afford? 
On a monthly basis, I provide some budget for the trip. Since it’s months ahead, I could allocate a portion of my monthly income to the SG trip. Since airfare is already taken care of I just have to allocate for the accommodation, food, spots (entrance fees), transfers/transportation and little shopping.
Budget are on the priority of the game plan, so let’s deal with it:
  1. Airfare – approximately P12,000+ (for the 4 of us), thank you Cebu Pacific for the promo! 🙂 
  2. Accommodation – I booked the accommodation days before the flight to Singapore. It’s not a hotel, its an Airbnb Booking and it’s very affordable click the link here if you want to try. I was able to find a place for us at P16,872 approximate peso converted amount. This was for 7 days and 6 nights. For the four of us.  
  3. Food – this is a little bit tricky, depends on who you’re with. I know Mom can’t live without rice in a meal, so I had to find some place serving rice that suits the budget. But I don’t like to live like a pauper when in holiday. So I’d say, moderate budget for this one. But I believe we manage to be within the budget. Here’s how:
    1. Most of our breakfast are from a nearby food shop of MRT Station in Bt Batok, and the meal for all four of us usually costs SG $15.00 inclusive of water/coke. That’s around only P540 per breakfast multiplied by seven breakfast, that would be P3,750.00
      The affordable food in Bt Batok. And yeah, tastes really good!
    2. Lunch we usually eat at a fast food in malls usually costs around SG $50 for four of us for 7 days that would be P12,600+ approx. 
      One of my favorites, SUBWAY! But there’s McDonalds and KFC in SG too. 

      Must try! Yep, find this Bak Kut Teh mark! 

      Certified Authentic Teochew Style @ Rasapura in Marina Bay Sands

      We tried some food in Marina Bay Sands this was the one we’ve handpicked the ingredients and they cooked it. 

      Some noodle soup they are serving. I forgot the name, but this was really spicy but tasty!
    3. Dinner back in the food shop of the MRT Station P3,750
    4. TOTAL food cost would be P20,100
  4. Transfers/transportation – we were from Cagayan de Oro but our flight is from DVO to SG. So we had to travel from CdeO to DVO. Cost per person is P550 or total of P2,200. Taxi towards the airport is approx P250. Travel taxes would be P1,620 per person or total of P6,480. Terminal fee would be P700 per person or total of P2,800. Arriving in the Changi International Airport buy the EZ  Link Card. As soon as you get to the airport and after immigration. Go down to SMRT Station then purchase one card for each of you. I purchased four cards for us. Cost is SG $12 ($5 is non-refundable card cost + $7 refundable card value). I had to top up twice for our trips and each top up is $10. But I was able to refund around $15 as of this writing. Since we were not able to consume the entire amount of the last top up, and I saved one card since we still have to go back to SG in a few days. Total cost of the transportation Harbourfront (Vivo City and Ferry Terminal), Sentosa, Marina Bay and then back to Bt Batok is approximately $113 or P4,068. I suggest you get this if you’re staying a little bit longer in SG. Way cheaper than taxis. It is ideal to get a hotel or place near an MRT station so you could easily go there for transport. Add to the transport cost the cost to Indonesia which was around $48 per person. We used the Batam Fast online booking. TIP: Please note that when I booked I can only see the $11 charge, but when you go to payment you will see that GST + Surcharge is added which makes it $48 per person back and forth trip. Total cost for all four of us is P6,912. Therefore, total transport cost was P10,980.  
    Since you will be using the MRT – you have to take a picture like this!
  5. Entrance fees – nothing. Yes. I asked Mom which one we should go to, either Universal Studios SG or Indonesia. She chose the latter, and the other two agreed. Thus the Batam Fast booking. Marina Bay, Sentosa, Merlion, Vivo City, The Star, Guilin Nature Park are all entrance free! So yeah, it really depends on what you want. On the last day, I asked Mom if we could just try out Trick Eye, she was not that interested, instead, she suggested buying chocolates at Candy Empire in Vivo City. I think there was a sale, so yeah, we just roam around Sentosa, took a lot of pictures with the Merlion and nearby spots. And shopped chocolates for “pasalubong”. Shopping cost us around P936 for chocolates. 
  6. GRAND TOTAL for SG Travel is P72,618 approximately (inclusive of airfare, accommodation, transport, food, and chocolates good for four persons).


Was it worth it? Of course it is! When you’re travelling with your family and you see their smiles in each picture, you’d really say, yeah, these are all worth it!

Destinations:
  1. Sentosa Island – you have two options in going to Sentosa Island from Vivo City. 
    1. Board walk – free of charge 
    2. Sentosa Express – SG $4.00
  2. Within Sentosa Island you have a lot to see already:
    1. Merlion – this speaks for itself. If you say SG, it’s Merlion for one. 
    2. Orchid Garden – this is beyond Merlion, just beneath it is the Orchid Garden. 
    3. Lake of Dreams – it’s in the entrance towards the Merlion. 
    4. Entrance to Universal Studios – this is before the entrance leading towards the Merlion, this is in the first station stop of Sentosa Express. 
    5. Malaysian Food Street – this is where you could find food, obviously. Malaysian, yes. Obviously again. 🙂
    6. Coffee Shops – starbucks, coffeebean, etc. 
    7. Cable Car Station  – this is also just near the Merlion statue. 
    8. Candylicious – fun to take pictures outside of the store with M&Ms and other cool chocolate and candy characters. 
  3. Marina Bay
    1. Marina Bay Sands – the boat above the tall building. 
    2. Giant Water Lily – Is within the Marina Bay complex. 
    3. Helix Bridge – architecturally great design of a bridge, stunning specially at night. 
    4. Esplanade – this is the microphone shaped building. 
    5. Gardens by the Bay – this is where the amazing colors you’d find.
  4. National Parks – SG is blessed to have a lot of parks and most of them are entrance free! We only visited Little Guilin since it’s near Bt Batok (where we stayed for the whole duration of the trip). 
  5. Indonesia
    1. Nagoya Hill Mall – this is where you have to shop. Lots of cheap class A items. Bags? Yaaaaas!!! My sister went crazy with bags here. Prada, Chanel, Givenchy, LV, Gucci, Hermes, you name it! It’s here. And watches, and shoes, and T-shirts! If you’ve been to Vietnam’s Saigon Square, then Nagoya Hill Mall is a Deja Vu! 🙂
    2. Megamall Batam Centre – quite poshy of a mall. Like an Ayala mall in the Phils, yes, a little bit pricey and you wouldn’t find much cheap priced items, but they have authentic boutiques of signature items. 
    3. Batam City Square – it’s like Nagoya Hill Mall. But, it’s really cheaper in Nagoya Hill Mall. Mom was able to buy some items here though. And yeah, sister also shopped here.
    4. IMPORTANT NOTE: I figured it’s highly recommended to exchange your money for Indonesian Rupee at the SG Ferry Terminal. In SG Ferry Terminal the exchange rate is P1,000 = INR250,000 but when we arrived in Indonesia the exchange rate was P1,000 = INR150,000 and we looked around within the mall we were able to find a Money Changer with P1,000 = INR200,000 (the highest exchange rate we could ever find) and it cannot be easily seen or located because it’s in the basement area of the mall where electronic products are displayed/sold. 
I am sharing below some photos we’ve had in this trip. 




What’s your SG trip was like? Was this helpful? Please comment and/or share. 

How to Experience Baler in One Day? Quick Guide: Saglitan Blues

“We don’t really have to get everything we want, maybe, what we need to learn in life is to get what life gives us and own it!”
In my write up regarding Sagada, you can read the full adventure here, I mentioned that at that time I did have some thoughts of going to Baler! Well, here it is, I’ve just been to Baler after our Vietnam tour.
So, what really happened? Why were we able to get to Baler?
Pretty exciting thing. 
We had some reroutes in our international travel, and then ended up rebooking our flight back to the Philippines. Our flight back to Cagayan de Oro was a day after we get back to the Philippines (Manila). So, what do we do? 
We have two options: stay in a hotel, enjoy the air-conditioned room and rest well or go on another adventure to Baler. We chose the latter.
While we were in the airport, I started browsing about how to get to Baler, research told me that I could get to Baler if only I could get to the bus terminal as early as 4:30 A.M. and every hour to 3:00 P.M. since there would be first trip going to Baler by then. When we arrived at the Genesis Bus terminal in Cubao, there’s no bus going to Baler at 4:30 or 5:30 or 6:00 A.M. Instead, there’s a 7:00 A.M. Bus going to Baler. 
Research told me that it would be around 5 to 6 hours of trip but when I asked from the Bus personnel, I was told it could take up to 7 hours. So estimated time of arrival in Baler assuming the trip commences at 7:00 A.M., would be 2:00 P.M. We could decide to still go, and then go back in the evening, or just stay in Metro Manila. 
But, then again, we still wanna go!

So, we boarded the bus and yeah! As fate would have it, we arrived around almost 2:00 P.M. On our way, I keep searching about the way around the City or around the entire place. As we arrived, we lost no time, we got a tricycle and hired it for the tour. 
Kuya Alwin agreed to be our driver and tour guide for the entire afternoon. He suggested that we check in a hotel and then leave our belongings there then proceed with the tour, while we traverse supposedly going to the hotel of his recommendation, I convinced him to just take us immediately to the first stop and we’ll just carry our backpacks with us as we do the tour. He’s not difficult to convince as he’s agreed to the terms and yes, off we go to
1. Ditumabo Mother Falls
It’s a 45-minute walk towards the falls itself from the parking area of the vehicles. The trek is part of the challenge and adventure. Ideal for a morning adventure since if it’s at late morning or afternoon, you’d be sweating a lot, like what we’ve experienced, but what do we care? We needed some exercise anyway!

It’s a great place to have plunge! On our way to the falls, I was so looking forward to get soaked, not just dip in the water. But when we get there, I almost changed my mind. It’s very cold in there. But, what can I do? I so love the water, so I did, dip! Maybe soaked yeah. 

2.  Ermita Hill – Baler
As we descend from Ditumabo Falls, we went directly to another hill, yes, it’s Ermita Hill. This is where the view of the beach of Baler can be seen. Really stunning view. See picture below. This was the place where the seven families flew and survived in the disaster that struck the area long time ago. 

3. Diguisit Falls – it’s a small falls within Baler that would give you the splash that you needed. Yep, it’s an intimate place for you to enjoy. We’re fortunate enough to have arrived in the place with just a few people in this place. So yeah, seems like a private place! 

4. Hanging Bridge – the hanging bridge stretches out to one of the island and connected its people to another place. Which offers a great view! Add to the adventure that you will be crossing the hanging bridge! The crossing of the hanging bridge is the ultimate experience!

5. Beach – suuuuuuuuuuuuuurfiiiiiiiing!!!!

The beach is just amazing! Baler is known for its surfing adventure. And yes, the season is just right for us since the waves aren’t that huge, which means, beginners like me are welcome to play around and lear surfing!

So we did, we hired someone whom we paid P1,000 for the one hour session of learning how to surf. In a few tries we were able to ride in the waves! Naaaaks! Thank God!

We really had a blast in Baler! So thankful it all worked out.

Now the adventure going back to the Metro is in again! Yep, we needed to go back to Metro Manila after surfing. Our flight back to Cagayan de Oro was at 4:25 A.M. and we needed to be there 45 minutes before departure at least, since we are able to check in online.

My research told me bus trips will be only up to 3:00 P.M. but there are vans enroute to Cabanatuan, then from there we’ll have to ride the bus going to Metro Manila. So we took a van ride to Cabanatuan, as we arrived there, there was a bus on the verge of leaving the terminal. It was full, but we worked our way in. Fate has it again, that two great men offered their seat as they saw us full of baggage yes! The struggle was just so real, and evident. Apparently they realized we needed a seat. The two great men then offered to give us their seat as they will be disembarking from the bus in a few kilometers. Thank God!

And yeah, I was a little bit worried although staying positive that we will get to Metro Manila on time. The bus ride was quicker than I thought it would. So, to cut it short, we just arrived on time. By the time we reached the airport, it’s almost 45 minutes away from boarding. There were no delays, and yes, we’re just right on time!

T’was such a great adventure! Breathtaking experience, catching trips, going around Baler and going back to Manila for our flight! A one day well spent!

What’s your Baler experience like? Do you have questions? Drop it in the comment box below this post.

Tara, explore tayo!

#doroexplorero #dorolakwatsero #doroadventures #laagAsia #laagPinas #suroyworld

What’s in Mekong River Tour? Last Bit of our Vietnam Tour

These days, there’s just too much to manage. There’s just too much to juggle and and seems like everything’s on my plate. What I couldn’t find time doing is writing. Yes, somehow writing about some of my travels.

But today, it’s a holiday and it’s a Monday. Monday is really a bliss! Soooo, yeah, here’s another one for our Vietnam Travel.

We didn’t have any idea how to go to Mekong River, but thankfully, there are a lot of travel agencies around the City. And yes, they are really priced reasonably, even cheaper than I’ve encountered in other country’s cities.

We only paid 360,000 dong on this tour for both of us. All-in. Including hotel pick-up. It’s less than 1,000 in Philippine peso.

I think it was on the last day of our stay in Vietnam that we went to Mekong River. It was a great day! The weather seems to love giving us what we needed, yes, Mr. Sun’s shining so bright!

On the way to Mekong River is the temple in My Tho – Xa My Phong where great structures of the temple and Buddha are showcased.

The large structures are amazingly stunning!

And out of happy thoughts, I love watching this small family enjoying their tour! Dad was the photographer! 🙂

Of course, I wouldn’t miss the chance to have my/our pics too!

Tried to copy his pose.

We were only given I believe 20 minutes to roam around the temple. Then we proceeded to the famous river! Yes, we’ll be exploring islands too!

On Board was Jimmy who was giving his usual tour guiding duties, instructions, history and stories.

Below is Jimmy illustrating how peeling off a cocconut from its husks is done.

This Coconut Island is famous for its processed coco products. Candies, sweets, etc.

Below is a sample pic of people working on packing the products they are selling.

They also have some handicrafts.

Plus we get to taste the wine with soaked snake on the it. Yep! There’s a snake in the wine. They believe that it has medicinal feature and that it’s good for health.

After the Coconut Island, we then went to have our lunch!

After lunch, I went to check out the place. I found some beautiful spots.

It’s also customary for me to try out some of the place’s food and drinks. So, I tried this “Cane Juice”.

While she’s busy checking out her phone! 😛

How’s a “Cane Juice” done, it’s being hard pressed by it being inserted in a machine that squeezes it and pressed it so the juice would come out. Would only take about 5 minutes or less to get your juice.

As I explored the place, I couldn’t help but take pictures around. It’s a beautiful place!

Then we went to see the BEES! Yep, we visited an island with cultured bees on it.

And we get to taste their pure honey!

And because along the way we made friends, we took a groupfie!

And with the wine sinking in, the honey’s mixing in our bloodstream, we dared taking a picture with the python!

Aaaaand…. row, row, row your boat! Off to the next island!

There’s a lot of boats going to the next island, and traffic could get heavier as you find your place to dock in their mini island port.

There’s not much to see, except that it’s fun seeing people, from different countries, trying out paddling in the river.

And this is a beautiful scene of bancas or boats.

In this next island, we were served tropical fruits for free.

Since I am Asian, I pretty much tasted all these fruits: Rambutan, Pineapple, Water Melon, Dragon Fruit and Longgan.

While enjoying the served tropical fruits, we were entertained by the beautiful Vietnamese ladies.

Indeed, I would want to see these Islands again. Off we go back to our buses and back to our hotels.

Hen Gap Lai!

But wait! I got curious, why was my name all over the place? LOL!

As we went back to the hotel, I took a chance of having a picture with one of the fast food I saw in Vietnam.I can’t remember the name but I enjoyed their food!

Then, in the last night in our Vietnam travel, I couldn’t miss trying out again their food!

So, we capped it off with a picture at the lobby of our hotel. Thank you Ava 3 Hotel for having us. It was a bliss!

On our way to the airport, I had the chance to have fun watching people tourists and locals eat at a cafe just right in the streets! Literally on the streets!

And I am gonna miss the crazy volume of motorcycles around the City of Ho Chi Minh!

Hen Gap Lai Saigon!

It was a fun and entertaining stay! Really had tons of fun exploring Saigon!