2018 Plans: What’s In Store For The Readers

2018 is here. Another year has begun. It’s the perfect time to start again & to make new plans for the future.

In 2017, I had the intention to regularly share contents & thoughts on this platform. The first half of the year went well. I posted 3 to 5 blogs per month. Site traffic was consistent & reader interactions were at peak. Everything slowed down towards the second half. Work, personal trips & engagements took majority of my time. I was left with little to no time in updating this blog.

Now that it’s already 2018, I plan to post 3 to 4 blogs per month until the end of the year. Yes, until the end of the year. Here are some of the things you will see on this site for the rest of the year

Promo Fare Alerts

My ultimate goal is for everyone to fly as cheaply as possible. The first step in achieving this goal is to book or secure cheap airfare tickets. Airlines regularly offer promotional fares to domestic & international destinations. I’ve updated you guys with current & upcoming seat sales in the past year. This year, I plan to increase the promo fare alerts in my Facebook page. I hope to cover as many airline promotions as possible. Make sure to like The Wknd Travel Facebook Page to stay updated.

Trip Summaries & Itineraries

I’ve shared summaries & itineraries of my past trips to Japan, Bali, Coron, Port Barton & a whole lot more. Fear not, I still have a backlog of contents to share from my recent trips to Komodo, Indonesia, Kawaguciko & Takayama in Japan. I also have upcoming trips to Sapporo, Japan (next month), Hong Kong (in March), Palawan (again in June – undecided where to go) & some new places (which I can’t disclose as of yet) in August & November. I’m going to places which I haven’t been to in the past. That also means new experiences to share to everyone.

More Travel Tips ~ More Fun

Backpackers & travelers rely on each other’s tips. I’ve given you my secrets on preparing for trips like how to score super cheap airline tickets (with part 2), how to apply for a Japan tourist visa & how to book your trip accommodations. I’ve also helped some of you answer some of their pre-trip questions.

For someone who has been taking short (& sometimes long) trips for 5 years now, I’ve experienced a lot & I’ve noticed some patterns when it comes to planning my trips. Expect for more tips in the coming weeks & months.

Throwback Thursday Treats Continue

I’ve been doing trips for years before I started this blog. I don’t want to put my previous trips to waste that’s why I thought of having the Throwback Thursday Treat feature. For the past months, I brought you to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Taipei, Taiwan, Bangkok, Thailand & a few more. I still have a long list of past trips to share (I hope I can still remember all the details) so make sure to watch out for those.

Travel News & Random Travel Thoughts

In 2017, we’ve read some good news for all Filipino travelers. Philippine passport validity has been extended to 10 years, Taiwan started a visa-free trial scheme last November (until July 31, 2018 only) & December 8 has recently been declared as a special non-working holiday. I plan to continue sharing good news to everyone this year. Let us hope for more.

Sometimes, It comes to a point where you think of random things about travelling. I’ve shared some of these insights in the past year – how do I manage to travel a lot while working full time & the ups & downs of staying in hostels. I hope to encounter these random thoughts in the coming weeks. I will try my best to share them here.


Thank you everyone for the support & website visits last year. Again, happy new year! Let us all hope for a content-filled 2018. 🎆

Do you have any suggestions on what to feature in this website or do you have anything to ask? Feel free to comment below. You can also send an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. Drop me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

Throwback Thursday Treat: Bangkok Weekend – All About Reunions, New Friends & Unplanned Adventures

9-13 September 2016 – I went on a long weekend trip to Bangkok, Thailand with my backpack & passport. I really didn’t have plans of going back until I got a super duper cheap ticket during Cebu Pacific Air‘s anniversary ₱1 sale last year.

You probably saw this already – this is a screenshot of my ticket to BKK last year

Bangkok is a big city with beautiful cultural places to visit & fun activities to experience. I had 4 days in the city so I made a rough plan of what to do & where to go. Let me share to you how the 4 days went & how I reunited with old friends, how I met new people & how everything I planned didn’t push through.

NapPark Hostel @ Khao San

There are a lot of nice hostels in Bangkok – most of them offering good amenities for very affordable prices. I was by myself so I had to look for an affordable but social hostel to look for mates to join me in my plans. After reading through different booking websites & asking in different backpacker Facebook groups, I decided to stay in NapPark Hostel @ Khao San. It is a family run hostel in Khao San. Well, the hostel isn’t really in Khao San Road but it’s a few meters away. No issues at all.

Khao San Road in the afternoon – this place gets really busy at night!

Khao San Road is a small street / area in downtown Bangkok where most foreign backpackers go, eat, drink & stay. It’s an area full of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels & hostels that caters mostly to people travelling on budget. Since I was travelling on budget, I decided to stay in this area of Bangkok.

Now back to the hostel – I decided to get a bed (฿460 per night in Hostelword) in a 22-bed dormitory room. I had no issues staying in such big room because each bed has pull down blinds in on the sides. Guests still have the privacy they need. Each guest is also given a locker for their backpacks & valuables. The bed was spacious & comfortable, the room size was just right. Each bed has a reading light & a plug. The common shower & toilet were always clean. WiFi is fast & free of charge.

How NapPark’s 22 dormitory beds fit in a room

The hostel has a small cafe for breakfast (additional charge). They even have a computer area where guests can do research about their next destination & book air tickets & accommodation. They also offer day trips & activities plus tickets to other towns / cities in Thailand. The hostel also features a nice & spacious common area in the ground floor. This is where guests meet other guests & end up having a great time. I, myself, met tons of really nice people here & had good memories with these new friends.

NapPark personnel were super nice & always ready to help. This hostel is a gem! I recommend everyone travelling solo to stay here when you go to Bangkok. Don’t worry about being with 21 other people in a room; it’s completely safe. You’ll definitely have a good time here, I can assure you that.

Inside NapPark’s dormitory room – each guest is given a locker to use.

One of my favorite social hostel chains, Mad Monkey Hostels, has recently opened their branch in Bangkok (also near Khao San Road). Make sure to check them as well. Another favorite social (& party) hostel chain, Slumber Party Hostel, has also announced that they will open a branch in Bangkok soon! I’l keep you posted about the details.

The Plan

Prior to flying to Bangkok, I made a rough plan of what to do & where to go for the trip. Here are the list of places I want to visit / activities I wanted to do: go back to the Grand Palace, take a river cruise around Chao Phraya River, visit Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) & Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), go shopping in Chatuchack Weekend Market & Terminal 21 Shopping Mall, visit Ayutthaya for a day, take a cooking class, go to the floating market & of course, party in Khao San Road.

Democracy Monument – Bangkok

I know it looks ambitious of 4-day trip but I really wanted to cover as much as I can.

What Actually Happened

Day 1

I arrived NapPark Hostel in the wee hours of the morning (2:30 am) so I woke up really late that same day. I went out for brunch with some people I met in the hostel & went around Khao San after wards. I went back to the hostel to wait for Christina, a Filipina friend working as a teacher in Bangkok. While waiting, I booked an Ayutthaya day tour (฿800) for the next day through the hostel.

How about some pad thai for lunch? 😋

My friend finally arrived. We decided to just stay & walk around Khao San area because Saturday traffic is really bad. We had coffee, then went back to the hostel to charge our phones then back to Khao San again to have dinner & drinks. We had dinner in a nice fancy restaurant in Soi Rambuttri. I saw Cath, a friend back in college, having dinner with her boyfriend in the same restaurant where we were. We then spent the rest of the night drinking & partying in Khao San Road.

With my friend Christina! Apologies for my sunburn (lol)

Day 2

I woke up early to prepare for the pre-booked day tour in Ayutthaya. The guide picked me up at 7:30 am & he drove us about 1-hour plus up to the ancient city. We visited the following ancient temples:

Wat Yai Chai Mongkol

Wat Maha That

Wat Lokkayasutharam

Wat Phu Khao Thong

Wat Ratchaburana

We also went to a local Thai restaurant for lunch in between those temples. The last stop of the day tour was a visit to the Ayutthaya Elephant Camp. The guides encouraged us to watch some elephant shows & tricks. Some even offered elephant rides for a fee. This is something I do not support so my tour buddy Daniel & I just went around the area. The tour group left Ayutthaya a little past 3:00 pm & arrived Khao San Road at 4:30 pm-ish. I immediately went back to the hostel to rest & freshen up.

Met up my Thai friend Exe – met him when I went to Koh Lipe last April 2016

At 6:00 pm, I went down to the hostel common area to just relax. One of the guys who just arrived (hi Jordan! Haha) started to talk & gather everyone in the common area. We instantly formed a group there & started drinking. At 7:30 pm, I left the group in the hostel to meet my Thai friend, Exe, for dinner. He was one of the guys who I met way back in Koh Lipe. We had about an hour of catch up over pad thai (my fave!!) and beer (again haha!).

A group of solo travelers who decided to go out on a random Sunday night 🍺

I went back to the hostel after dinner to meet with the guys again. We all went to Khao San Road, had more drinks & went bar-hopping. Imagine 10 guys & 1 gal from different parts of the world (Canada, India, USA, Netherlands, Singapore & of course the Philippines) all met in a hostel & spent the night like we’ve known each other for so long. It was one crazy & rainy Sunday night in Khao San. We went home at around 2:30 am & still decided to hangout in the hostel common area before deciding to sleep at 4:00 am.

Who cares about the rain? The party must go on!

Day 3

When you try to fit 5 people in 1 small tuktuk 😂 En route to Siam Paragon & MBK!

The boys (same guys I met the night before) initially planned to go to see the temples for my 3rd day but we all ended up walking around Siam ParagonMBK Centre (probably Bangkok’s most famous shopping center) to go with Destiny, the only girl in the group, in getting some stuff before she leaves. After hours of walking around, buying this & that & eating in a random restaurant, we finally said goodbye to Sam, who left for Singapore that same day.

Inside MBK! Such a biiiig shopping mall 😮

We all went back to the hostel to rest & sleep. While Dennis & Jordan were sleeping, Aman & I stayed in the common area. We started our pre-game there & joined the group of girls playing cards. The playing group became bigger & bigger with almost every guest joining the game. From a group of less than 10, we ended up this big:

Our hostel group during my last night in Bangkok – photo credits to Danielle!

More of that epic night – this time in Khao San Center!

We all went to Khao San to party (again – 3rd straight night for me). Dennis & Jordan followed us in Khao San & joined the party. We almost occupied 1/2 of Khao San Center (haha). Another epic night in Khao San! We eventually got divided into small groups & went our own ways around the area. We decided to go back to the hostel at 2:00 am & found some people in the common area. Guess what? We stayed in the common area until 3:30 am & eventually everyone went back in batches. Suddenly we became another big group again. Crazy night indeed!

Everyone had fun that night!!~~

Day 4

It was my last day in Bangkok. My friends & I didn’t plan anything for the day aside from the beer pong before I leave for the airport at night. We headed out for breakfast & then went back to the hostel with big bottles of water & Chang (Yes, at 11am!). We stayed in the hostel common area from lunch time until around 5:00 pm; met new people; talked to the other guests & watched a movie. For some strange reasons, convenience stores & supermarkets (that time) do not sell alcohol in the afternoon. I don’t know why.

Lazy afternoon in the hostel common area. We watched Ted 2! 📀

At 5:00 pm, we went out of the hostel, got some pad thai near Khao San Road & bought some beer in 7-Eleven. We started to play beer pong. The guys from Chile, Nico & Carlos, even shared to us the brandy they brought from home. I won’t forget the Chilean pisco shots I had!

My last ‘drinking’ day in Bangkok 🍺 Played beer pong before I left for the airport!

9:00 pm – I had to leave for the airport to catch my 12.40 am flight back home. It felt sad leaving while everyone is having fun playing beer pong & enjoying each other’s company. Thank God I made it through check-in, immigration & security even if I’ve had alcohol since morning. My flight bound for Manila left Bangkok & arrived Manila on time.

Verdict

Now to wrap things up… The airfare was definitely a bargain; it’s not the cheapest international ticket I had (click here to know the cheapest international ticket I booked & where I used it) but it was definitely worth it. I made the right choice of staying in NapPark Hostel – it may be expensive than the usual Bangkok hostels but the experience was superb.

It felt nice to finally meet Christina in person after months & years of talking about EDM, Hardwell & rave stuff on Twitter. That day trip to Ayutthaya was a nice experience – it made me remember the temples we visited in Siem Reap, Cambodia way back in 2015. I also had a good time catching up with my friend Exe; it’s been months since we met & shared amazing stories in Koh Lipe.

Chang was probably my best buddy for this trip! 🍺

I feel bad for not going to the other places I planned to visit but I am very happy that I met a lot of cool & amazing people in the hostel. Spending time & drinking with these guys made the trip really fun & memorable (ok, I’m getting emotional – LOL). I may not meet most of them again in the future but I know the good memories we had back in Bangkok will stay in us forever. I will never ever forget the crazy & epic times we had in NapPark Hostel & Khao San Road!

I’m looking forward to going back to Bangkok for some unfinished business – to visit the other temples, the floating & weekend market, etc. Oh, one last thing.. I had too much alcohol intake during this trip; but I had no regrets. No regrets at all.

Kob kun krub, Bangkok! See you soon. 😍

Have you been to Bangkok in the past? If yes, what are the must-see places aside from the Grand Palace? I don’t have a ticket yet but I am now planning to go back there really soon. Feel free to share your experiences to me & to all the readers by posting a comment below. You can also send an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. Drop me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

Thank you (ขอขอบคุณ in Thai language) for reading! See you next time~

PS. All photos above were shot using my HTC One M8 & HTC Re.

Throwback Thursday Treat: N9 Weekend in Bali

Today’s a Thursday & it only means one thing folks – it’s time for another Throwback Thursday Treat! I know I just posted a throwback entry a while ago, but let’s make this day special. We’ll go to 2 places, just today! We’ve been to Ho Chi Minh City 🇻🇳, Taipei 🇹🇼, El Nido (twice) 🇵🇭, Koh Lipe 🇹🇭 & Siem Reap 🇰🇭. Today, I will take you to a paradise somewhere below the equator – BALI, INDONESIA! 🇮🇩

Bali is Indonesia’s most famous island. It is a place known for its forested mountains, iconic rice paddies, scenic beaches, beautiful temples & accommodating people. The place caters to all kinds of travelers – from backpackers, luxurious tourists, business travelers to families. I was told by a local that Bali is the favorite vacation place of Aussies, with the island being near to Australia.

N9 Bali team~

Last April 2015, my friends & I went to Bali for a ‘longer weekend’ trip. We went to the south of the island to see the beaches & up to the center north for the rice paddies & temples. Let us look back how the trip went, what were the places we visited & enjoyed in Bali.

Kuala Lumpur Stopover 🇲🇾

Random photo taken during our flight to Kuala Lumpur 😍

There were no affordable direct flights to Bali that leave on a Wednesday so we decided to have a 1-night stopover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was one of our friend’s first out of the country trip; so seeing a glimpse of another place (aside from Bali) was favorable. We took Cebu Pacific Air‘s afternoon flight to Kuala Lumpur. We had less than 24-hours in Kuala Lumpur so we only managed to see the following places:

Jalan Alor (for dinner)

Petronas Towers

Batu Caves

Bukit Bintang (for lunch)

We had lunch in Ippudo Ramen in Pavilion Mall, Bukit Bintang (no photo of the shopping district – sorry!)

Kuala Lumpur Accommodation

We had 1 night in Kuala Lumpur so we stayed in a new (that time) & affordable boutique hotel named Izumi Hotel Bukit Bintang. From the name itself, it is located in Bukit Bintang – Kuala Lumpur’s shopping district (less than 5-minutes walk to the shopping street). We paid around ₱2,600+ for a family room (accommodates 4 people). The rate includes free Wi-Fi, 4 bottles of water + coffee & tea, 2 spacious double beds, hot & cold shower & buffet Malaysian food breakfast. It is also located close to the city subway & monorail system.

I don’t have photos of the hotel (I don’t take photos of places I stay with way back) but you can head over to their website to know more about the rates & facilities. If you are to ask me, I will stay again in this hotel when I go back to Kuala Lumpur.

En route to Bali

At KLIA2, waiting for our flight to Denpasar (Bali)

After 24 > hours in Kuala Lumpur, we went back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 & boarded our late afternoon flight to Denpasar (Bali). This time, we flew with Air Asia. The flight took around 3 hours.

Bali Accommodation

We booked a 3-night stay in Ida Hotel Bali. It is a boutique hotel located in the inner streets of Kuta – far from the busy night life. We got ourselves a deluxe family bungalow with features 2 queen-sized Balinese carved poster beds, a private balcony & a private outside bathroom & shower. The room costs $80 per night & includes a free buffet breakfast, free WiFi & access to the hotel’s swimming pool & jacuzzi.

Ida Hotel Bali’s swimming pool – the guest’s view while having breakfast

I didn’t take photos of the hotel room & facilities, but you can head over to their website to see how they look like.

Going Around The Island

Bali does not have an organized public transportation system. They do not have a subway / train system. There are buses which only run a limited number of times a day. The main modes of transportation around the island are either by motorbike or by car. We opted to hire a car (+petrol) with a driver for $35 over 10 hours.

Rice paddies everywhere in Bali 🌱

You can also take taxis to the different places but make sure to have the meter on or else you might get scammed. I personally think hiring a car with a driver is the best option when in Bali – at least you do not have to worry about the costs.

Places Visited in Bali

Here are the places & temples we visited in our 2.5 days of going around the island:

Tanjung Benoa Beach

Aside from having the 5-star resort hotels like Sofitel Bali, Melia Bali, Conrad Bali & The Westin Resort Bali, this Nusa Dua beach is also popular for marine recreational activities. There are a number of companies that offer parasailing, flying fish & banana boat rides, jet ski, wake boarding & glass bottom boat rides. You can also book underwater activities here like scuba diving & sea walking.

We went there before lunch time so we only tried parasailing. We paid less than $20 for each.

Pantai Pandawa

Previously known as the Secret Beach in South Kuta, Pantai Pandawa or “Pandawa Beach” is a known surf spot for advanced surfers. The beach was used to be hidden behind a hill; but access has recently been made easier for all people by constructing a road to the beach.

Coffee Plantation

Bali is famous for its coffee industry. People who drink coffee (FYI – I don’t) say that the coffee produced in Bali has a unique rich taste. Alongside with Java, Sulawesi & Sumatra islands, Bali is famous for civet coffee (locally known as kopi luwak). Coffee cherries are eaten & digested by palm civets. These digested particles are then cleaned & processed into luwak coffee beans.

We visited a coffee plantation somewhere near Uluwatu Temple. The staff showed us the different types of coffee & tea that they grow in the plantation. They even showed us how the civet coffee beans are made. We were also given the chance to try all the flavors of coffee & tea grown on the plantation. This coffee & tea tasting activity is for free. Visitors are not obliged to buy products before leaving the plantation.

Pantai Padang Padang

Apart from being another surf spot in South Kuta, this beach is known as ‘the beach from the movie Eat Pray Love.’ The beach stretch isn’t that long so the place tends to be crowded most of the time. If you want to have it for yourself, make sure to go there early in the morning.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Commonly known as the Uluwatu Temple, this iconic Balinese sea temple is believed to be one of the six spiritual pillars. Its location, 70 m about sea level in a steep cliff, lives up to the loose translation of the temple’s name, “something divine to end the land.”

This temple is famous for stunning sunset views. Make sure to secure your spot early because a lot people come here for the sunset. You can also watch the cultural Kecak fire dance performance for a fee.

Waterbom Bali

Waterbom Bali is the world’s second best waterpark & the number 1 in Asia according to Tripadvisor. The waterpark has several rides & attractions the guests can enjoy. My favorites were Climax, Pipeline & Green Vipers. We also enjoyed the Super Bowl & the Lazy River.

We paid around 450,00 IDR (that time) & doesn’t include meals, gazebo & lockers. I just checked the Waterbom website & found that the entrance fee now is 520,000 IDR per person plus there are 4 new rides (these were under construction during our visit).

Pantai Kuta

Kuta Beach is Bali’s most famous & commercial beach area. People go here to lay down in the sand & relax, to learn some basic surfing lessons & to watch the sunset. After enjoying Waterbom, we decided to spend the afternoon here – to watch the sunset & also to have early dinner. Too bad the sunset wasn’t that stunning during our visit.

Pura Tanah Lot

Located northwest of Kuta, Tanah Lot Temple is a rock formation / Hindu temple that is found off the Bali main island. The formation stands the big waves that crashes the main island. Just like the Uluwatu Temple, this temple is also famous of its beautiful sunset backgrounds.

We visited this temple in the morning on our way to Ubud, but there were still a lot of people visiting. Be careful when walking around the beach area, waves can really be big.

Ubud Temple

Our driver brought us to this temple (forgot the name, I’m sorry) in Ubud. It was located somewhere between Tanah Lot Temple & Ubud center. We had to wear sarong when we entered the temple as a sign of respect to the Hindu gods.

Ubud Monkey Forest

The Ubud Monkey Forest is a monkey sanctuary & also a temple complex in the heart of Ubud. The forest has playful monkeys wandering freely around the sanctuary. It also has interesting forest trails & ancient temples.

Entrance fee to the monkey forest is 15,000 IDR per person. We went to this sanctuary right before we headed to our Ubud accommodation for our last night in Bali.

Last Night In Bali

My friends & I decided to get a 2-bedroom villa in Ubud for our last night in Bali. Exploring around places for consecutive days can really be exhausting; so we thought of just relaxing on our last night, right before going back to Manila.

We stayed in Villa D’Uma – a 2-bedroom villa with private outdoor pool (with sunbeds) & semi-outdoor bathrooms (with bath tubs). Located in the middle of rice paddies, the villa is a 5-minute drive from the Ubud center & the Ubud Monkey Forest.

Aside from the semi-outdoor bathroom, each bedroom features a cable TV, spacious bed & sofa. The villa also has a private kitchen (complete with kitchenware & tableware), dining area, private garden & a yoga area.

It basically has everything you need. Wayan & his team made sure our we had a great time. They prepared our breakfast (omelette, pancakes, toast, fruits, etc.) the following day at our requested time.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay in Villa D’Uma. We paid 2,230,000 IDR (around ₱9,000) for 1 night but it was all worth it! I’d love to go back to Villa D’Uma in the future. It’s definitely a hidden gem in Ubud!


A few days in Bali are not enough to explore everything the island has to offer. There are just so much to see & do in the island. We were lucky we’ve been to the usual touristic spots during our visit. I recommend staying for a week or two if you can. I loved Bali up to the point I went back for 6 days a few weeks ago. Watch out for my upcoming posts about my recent trip. I can assure you I’ve been to unique & more beautiful places this time. 😉

Sunrise from my airplane seat – taken during our flight back to Manila 😍

Have you been to Bali? Which place / temple did you enjoy the most? Feel free to share your experiences to me & to all the readers by posting a comment below. You can also send an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. Drop me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

Thank you for reading & see you in the next Throwback Thursday Treat – we might just go to another country / city! ✈️

PS. All photos above were shot using my HTC One M8 & HTC Re.