Manila Tours 

Manilla Tours: Lake Taal, Rice terraces, Mount Pinatubo
We unfortunately missed all these tours north of Manila because of lack of organisation. The day tour to these places are ridiculously expensive, around £80-100 per person which is way beyond our backpacker budget.
I found reviews about a company called TRIPinas Travel and Tour Ventures online that are more backpacker friendly, but unfortunately when I emailed them they said they need 48 hours notice and we only had one day left in Manila. 

After researching online further, I’ve found out that there are DIY bus routes that you can get to these places and it works out much cheaper.

You can haggle with drivers/boat guys to decrease your expenses too. 
Click on the pictures below to be directed to posts that explain how to get to the places..

Lake Taal and all the info you need on itinerary and expenses:  

 

Pinatubo is explained very simply by a reviewer: 

For info on the Rice Terraces: 

 

LwL X 

Sightseeing in Nha Trang

It appears that there are 3 main tourist spots that get circled around Nha Trang. A lot of places operate half day tours that cost around 1.3 million dong (£40). What with us being ‘travellers’ and all, 40 quid for half a day out just couldn’t be justified. We therefore popped on our walking shoes, GPS in hand and headed straight for the hotspots
Here’s a map to give you an idea of our day. 

  
We headed to the Long Son Pagoda first, this was approx. a 3.5km walk from our hotel.

Long Son Pagoda

One of the oldest and biggest pagodas in Nha Trang. It was built in 1886 but has more recently been dedicated to the monks and nuns who died protesting against the US supported Diem regime. 

  
I’d be lying if I said I was unbelievably impressed by this site but that’s just my opinion. Let me know when you visit? 
  We then climbed the 152 stone steps leading to the giant white Buddha sitting on a lotus blossom. It really was giant! We also had great view of the whole city from here and we passed some other cool stuff on the way up too.

We stopped for lunch after this in a random restaurant that we found. It was really hard to find somewhere to eat around this area, we were looking for ages! 

The benefits of walking everywhere is that you truly get to explore the place you’re visitong. We see some great sites along the way

  The Cham Towers were a further 3 or so km. We weren’t sure if this was walkable. As you can see from the map, there is a motorway and an island to get past beforehand, but we decided to take the risk. This was actually super easy so don’t be put off by this. The bridges had pavements and so did the busy roads. 

Cham Towers

The Po Nagar Cham Towers is a sacred Hindu site. The towers were built between the 7th and 12th century in honour of the Cham Princess. Today it’s still used as a pilgrimage for the local people. 

  
I loved this place, so much detail on the buildings and lots of scenery to enjoy. 

  
Entry fee: 22,000 dong

Dam Market 

On our way back we popped into the Dam Market, the famous trade centre of Nha Trang.
The market is a circle shape with stalls both in and around the circle. Expect all the obvious merchandise being sold here. 

  
I’d say it was approx. a 12km walk all in all. We did the whole day in the space of 4 1/2 hours; including a stroll along the beach and a cake stop on the way home. 
Our total day cost 275, 000 dong (£8.60). This included our lunch, fluids for the walk, 2 big cakes and entry into the Pogar Towers. 

I also lost about 200 calories. Well, before I ate the cake. That was my reward for the exercise ha.  

That means we saved over £30 each by avoiding a tour!

You may have seen some memes taking Facebook by storm recently. So I’m going to join in, as I feel I deserve one. 

 
LwL x 

Bangkok Sightseeing: Temples & Tuk Tuks

To be honest I’ve heard from many that you only need 2 nights in Bangkok. Today is my 2nd full day here after 2 nights and I agree. I am staying here another night with my friends as we will now be doing the month together, but here’s what we got up to yesterday..

After breakfast, a nice Canadian man in the travel shop told us to head to the Gold Mount for some sightseeing. It was already 12pm and we decided to save the floating markets until we head to Kachanaburi. 

Off we went, following the given directions and stumbled upon this beautiful temple on route.

  

The detail that goes into these are nothing short of amazing. The place is so peaceful. Apparently the Princess visited yesterday too! 

We learnt that this week is the Kings Birthday so there are lots of festivals/celebrations happening around Bangkok.

Unfortunately I wasn’t prepared or covered up for the temple as I wasn’t expecting to go there. Thankfully the very nice man at the front provided me with some coverage (which is why in some pics I have serious pattern colour clash). Like here..

  

   
    
I can see a storm brewing in those clouds..

   We made a wish.. 

 
 On our exit, the Temple host gave us lots of information on where to go and what to do for the day. He was so helpful that he even flagged down a government registered tuk tuk for us to take us around. 

5 of us squeezed in.. The journeys werent comfortable but they were definitely lots of fun.

  

  

 The first stop was the Giant Buddha which I’ll write about in my next post 😊

LwL x