Wednesday, 10 December 2014

My live Indonesia trip 2014


My Indonesia trip 2014


Directions:
Lombok - Kuta, Bali - Tulamben, Bali - Kuta, Lombok - Gili Trawangan - Sengigi, Lombok - Kuta, Bali - Jakarta - Bogor - Gununug Padang - Cijanjur - Bandung - Cimahi - Jakarta - Bandung Lampur - Baturaja - Danau renau - Jakarta - Yogyakarta - Kuta, Bali - Jakarta

*Once traveling on Sumatra or Java the train timetable / schedule could be usually find online /www address below/ but buses have no timetables at all as every bus/transport company is independent. Once you can speak Bahasa Indonesia ask locals if not it's going to be bit difficult as for us. Some people mainly receptionist are very helpful but not everybody speaks fluently english.
  



 I came to Indonesia on 15.11.14 Flow from Yangon (Myanmar) with stop in Kuala Lumpur where met my friend Ting Ting and landed in Lombok, Indonesia.
We've had no accommodation organised as usual, sorted visas on arrival at the airport but had not enough cash. Well immigration officers let me leave airport without passport to get money from ATM outside.
Once I stepped off the terminal door was getting dozens of offers from local offical and unofficial teksi drivers(taxi), ojeks /moto taxi/, etc. common price for tourist was 150.000 IDR approx. 15USD per car. We took taksi for 5USD to hotel nearby in Penujak as had to leave next day to Bali meet my parents who were coming.
Went for late walk through Penujak trying find place where selling beer - no chance puretly musliman place.
 Took 5.30pm planes to Denpasar stay on the airport as parents should come in an hour time ...they had 3h delay : ((
 After arrival got to Kuta, Bali where we've found hotel for approx 170.000IDR thanks my malaysian and indonesian friends.
 We've done one day trip to Puri Besakih, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and sunset in Tanah temple.

21.11. left Kuta Bali moved to Tulamben as I heard only good about USS Liberty wreck
was told the ship was shot by Japanese during WW2 made it to harbor but later was sank by volcano anyway
wreck dive was nice and easy just me and dive guide but too early as not as much light in da water just after 6am well the wreck is in shallow felling in parts so but is massive over 100m long deepest point approx 25m

   

Right after dive and breakfest got organised car transport to Padangbai catch ferry to Lombok (approx 400.000 IDR)
reached the booking office in Padangbai had to fight for tickets price as everything over prices as usual in Indonesia once sorted some guys from the booking office grabbed the luggage and carried them on board had small incident with them completely forgot to be aware of porters /cheeky expensive guys/ they were there required 150k IDR told they will get 30k or nothing finally gave them 40k as they never said a word about the price just grabbed the luggage and walked !
 Ferry between Bali to Lombok was approx 5h sea bit choppy in the middle of trip but in final okay even my parents without sea riding experience weren't sea sick
 Jumped of the ferry avoid any porters walked outside - skipped any closest transport around the boat find warung with beer and organised car for approx 400k IDR  

Reached Kuta Lombok around 8pm checked to cheapest accommodation found on booking.com Gday Inn later find out it wasn't perfect choice as two of three rooms air conditions were never maintained - dirty filters no power
 In Kuta Lombok was necessary to hire motorbike as any surfing spots are kilometers away. Even to hire motorbike - scooter here wasn't easy as bullsh*t like 1 day means borrow in the monring bring back the same day night. Later we've changed for Dedy's Homestay which was nice, comfortable only wifi couldn't reach the rooms
 Lombok is surprisingly more expensive to Kuta Bali

From Kuta Lombok went to Gili Trawangan. The cheeky taxi driver dropped us in restaurant roughly 600m away from harbour where he got his pocket money from the restaurant keeper. They offered us three different types of transport boats to Gili T. Gili T. appeared as most expensive of this area compare Lombok and Bali.
there meant to be speed boat around 400k IDR, shuttle boat for 50k and public for approx 20k. We've paid more later find out it was just a public boat got scammed.    

Gili Trawangan wasn't WOW well spend there few days you can ride the bicycle around the island inn 2,5h if you pedal won't fell of as happened to me...
Stayed in Pondok Hadi was nice maintained place 10min away the sea coast. Only transport on Gili T. is horse, bicycle or your own feet.

Next stop was back on Lombok in Senggigi area the accomodation was bit further from there well went for walk around old Mataram airport. In the morning on 30.11. moved back Kuta, Bali again where stayed in our favorite Kubu hotel. I tried to manage my indonesian visas extension unfortunately had not time enough as was on the go to Jakarta next Sunday.

7.12 arrived to Jakarta avoid taxi got Damri bus which increased from 20.000 to 40.000 IDR 4 years old and brand new Lonely planet guide has old price only : ((

I reached Gambir station find out it's impossible get subway - train which would stop on Cikini station well didn't give a f*ck just walked down to Six Degree hostel on Jl Cikini Raya took about 20min with 16kg backpack not so bad even with crazy traffic luckily not as bad as Sunday. Unfortunately hostel was full went to closes Old Batavia Capsule Hotel which was perfect place as met really friendly and nice staff who help us a lot with managing any other trips around Jakarta, Java and Sumatra also find out where I have to go to extend visa.
We return to friendly Old Batvavia Capsule Hotel at least three times, every time we've got help and support even during late or early night arrivals.

9.12. finally left the big messy Jakarta city as I hate big cities like this and moved to Bogor it was 1h 45min from hostel in Cikiny botanic garden.
We stayed in Apu pension 100m away the train station, had walk through the town and looked into the Botanic garden as usual dual pricing for locals and foreigners which are written beside each other.

Next stop on our trip was Gunung Padang Megalithic site close to Cinajur found on Tripadvisor.
There was unfortunately no word about it in Lonely Planet guide which pissed some british lady later off as we saw )
Original plan we had was train trip Bogor -> Cianjur.
Cianjur - >  Gunung Padang Megalithic site but we've "luckily" changed out mind on the way as met few friendly and rarely well english speaking local elder guys jumped of the train on Lampegan station. It's one of the smallest train stops I saw so far. There were only two transport options - walk or hire Ojek (motorbike taxi). Ojek took about 15min drive through bendy uphills mountain roads in the middle of nice flavored tea fields to reach the bottom of steep stairs up to Gunung Padang Megalithic site (Ojek price approximately 25k/motorbike).

 Once ready to climb the stairs was stopped by local students on their school trip as usual they wanted to take a pics with my blonde friend Petra.
One of the student was so excited to see foreigners that day as he said the dreams come through to meet foreigners and have a chat with them.
Spend an hour up there as was bit of shade under the tree also cool view all over the hills and valleys around right in the midday time.
 After the chill out we climbed down met some other local guy with laud speaker who loved to talk to his customers also to us from short distance by his gear. In few minutes of chatting we were offered free transport to Cianjur as he was really nice to us. Right after they left we moved downhill it took some time as most of transport was coming/leaving with same customers. Luckily we've found Ojek got dropped to Cianjur suburbs where we got cheap and nice Bakso (indonesian soup with "meat" balls).  
 It was good organised by ojek drivers some other guy called us from Warung(Restaurant) just when we finished our meal.
Unfortunately bus had puncture and our trip Cianjur to Bandung was 5hours instead of planned 3.

When we reached Bandung took taxi for about 1/3 of original price. We were looking for Guest House Pos Chimpelas found in Lonely planet guide. Well didn't find it got other hotel on same street for 300k/nite for twin room luckily with big beds for three people.

 Had a walk in night Bandung found nice man in warung on far corner of Jl Champelas x Jl Kebon Kawung got nice Mie Ayam /Chicken noddle soup/ also gave us tips where and how to reach buses going towards Pangandaran /one of the town on south west coast of Java/ which would be my friends' potential destination as I had to come back to Immigration office in Jakarta for photography and finger prints as part of my visas extension. In the evening browse tripadvisor, lp guide made decision stay together go to see Cimahi waterfall. Cimahi is second train stop away from Bandung approx.15 min.
 Cimahi is spread hill town. Maximal price for local Opelet - minibus is around 7k even that you give driver 50k he says thanks and you have to tell him you need your change back..
 He asked us fluently in bahasa indonesia if to go to the waterfall or keep going to bus station we didn't understand - agreed well it was 10k more expensive when we appear near waterfall access less to 1km away the place he told to us.
       

Transport
found on blog

Bus

Central Jakarta 

GAMBIR 37 KM
Ke Bandara > Gambir Station – Pasar Baru – Jl. Garuda – Arena PRJ – Kemayoran Toll – Sedyatmo Toll – Airport
From Airport > Airport – Sedyatmo Toll – Pluit Jaya – Slipi Toll – Tomang – Tanah Abang – Gambir Station
approximately 40.000 IDR





Java Trains
https://tiket.kereta-api.co.id/

Many Bus companies no single www about buses

Lombok November 2014












Internet connection
I found AP Inn in Kuta Bali as best place with reliable internec connnection - acommodation & restaurant.




When you are in Kuta, Bali going through Poppies I stop on the corner with Gang Bedugul pull to Balirita bar for beer into open street bar and say hello to Budi from Jay thanx ; ) 










Wi-fi spotssendok cafe corner kuta bali
la mulya hotel
dsm@wifi.id

 Kuta Bali, Indonesia beach sun set November 2014



Kuta Bali, Indonesia beach after storm : ((



*funny thing is we had two Lonely planet guide releases one 2010 english, second 2014 czech language  but information were almost same and no updates on prices at all !!!
 *my personal experience. That means it's not necessary to buy brand new travel guides



video
Motorbike Taxi in central Java with my "small" 26kg backpack. Wherever you go, travel light guys!!









Good bye Indonesia!


Money Indonesia
IDR - Indonesia Rupiah 
approximately

1.00 USD = 14,425.02 IDR

Of course you can pay on some occasions by USD only.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Myanmar ( Burma )


မြန်မာ

Trip direction
Yangon - Madalay - Bagan - Inlay lake - Ngapali beach - Yangon - Myeik - Yangon...

Welcome drink with my czech friends
Myanmar beer
approx 2500-3500MKK


Left Malaysia traveled through Thailand met my czech friends in Bangkok and arrived ton Yangon
For most country as visas necessary organised these online only condition was to to Yangon Internatinal airport.
Everybody's luggage arrived in part. We've got local sim cards from Telenor directly on the airport only issue was this mobile network was under construction what mean there were covered only Yangon and Manadalay : (
 Telenor staff were really patient and helpful even with very basic english.
Next day we have done sightseeing in da Yangon city was so National Museum was unluckily closed, went to Museum counter nobody was there looked unused for longer time finally met somebody of staff who were kind of removing items from there they also hardly but explained about the opening hours.       
 Had look at Shwe Dagon Pagoda which was nice impressive religion place also first touch with really that foreigners have to extras. Once you  go there make sure cover knees and shoulders!


Money:
MKK - burmese kyat
- illegal to bring abroad
Myanmar /formally known as Bruma / was one of the most impressive countries I've been to so far. First very easy recognised thing is everything is expensive for tourists. On the other had this country is very poor. There are only tracks insted of proper rioads for example 250km trip from




















Some Video Records from Burma Trip 2014
 Amusement in Myeik - Mergui, Carusel runned by 12 people no engines just human factor!
 
 




Bagan hotel prices November 2014
New park hotel 10-20usd/pax
May kha lar guest hse 8-14
New heaven 10-12usd





Malaysia

Malaysia was one of the best experience ever. When my vietnamese visa were due in mid August I find out Paul my irish friend is in Kuala Lumpur that time I was onto fly directly to KL or through Singapore as needed to buy new DSLR.


 I've tried to schedule my Malaysia Trip and organise some accommodation in advance when was in Singapore unfortunately it never happend.
 Once you fly and arrived to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) there is free wi-fi with coverage around the entrance to shopping area after you grab you baggage and pass immigrations.

 Second main free wi-fi spot is KL Sentral station in the city. By the way there is many wi-fi spots in restaurants in the city but if you prefer street food as I do they don't have it.

I've discovered few hotels in Pasar Seni (Central Market). Compared Vietnam where I came from Malaysia is expensive. If you are thirsty backpacker think twice as alcohol is more expensive in this nice country as it's musliman country.

Price of 0.5 Beer glass in KL is between  2.27-4.55USD

Malaysia is very colorful in any mean this is based on three main rases / cultures which are Malay, Hindu and Chinese. Thanks this you'll find so many different kinds of food traditions, culture events and even more.
When talking about the food it is realy delicius including kari hindu food, chinese pork, etc.



Kuala Lumpur - Kuala Terenganu - Pulau Redang /island/
Dive sites Redang island
Pulau Redang


Thaipusam 2015
Thaipusam is key Hindu ceremony that is runned every year during full moon in tenth month of hindu calendar = Thai. It is happening from mid Jannuary to mid February of Gregorian calendar (public holiday in Malaysia).


Thaipusam January 2015 Batu caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Vietnam


Hanoi - Halong bay - Hanoi - Sapa - Hanoi - Danang - Hoi an - Nha Trang - Mui ne - Ho Chi Minh /Saigon/




Vietnam is hughe country with chili and hot temperatures. When I arrived at the first day of my planned one month visit I hated it, when I left after four months I loved this country.

As I was too lazy to plan anything just found simple map of travel through Vietnam on Facebook and tried to follow.
 Only when applied for visas extension find out it would be cheaper once came from south. The difference of extension for european passport holder was three months 90 USD/130 USD, one month     55 USD/70 USD

 Arrived on 7/4/14 to Hanoi which was mainly cloudy, very humid with chili nights compared with sunny & hot Bangkok where I came from. 

Well the Vietnam welcome wasn't nice at all first country I didn't fell good in straight away.
 I hang few days in Hanoi tried to get my old DSLR camera fixed, no success but there's few good & chap repair shops. Also GOPRO accessories is relatively cheap on a main cross roads front of lake in Old town.
    
Old town isn't as big and you can walk it whole in two days there's few sightseeing around and few entertainment places as The Water Puppet theater which worth to be seeing.

Hanoi wasn't as nice as too much smelly smoke from exhausts and humid made it bad. I stayed mainly in Backpackers' Hostels and went with them on the Castaway Island Trip it coast around 250USD wans't as cheap but good fun - three days two nights, slept one nite on boat one on the island, saw fish farms and Halong Bay. If you go to Halong bay please get your rubbish with you! as there is a lot of tourists and also litter. The sad thing is locals don't care about environment much yet : (


Mekong Delta, South Vietnam


After return to Hanoi from Halong bay I took night 12 hours train to Lao Cai. When arrived to Lao Cai all the minibus drivers were ready to pick ppl as I tried to safe a bit, passed all of these and walked to the square unfortunately followed by some annoying mini bus ticket seller who was breaking my plan to ask locals how much is normal price for minibus Lao Cai -> Sapa /36km/. Finaly I've got rid of him but the local woman in shop didn't speak well english as I had problem to meet people with fluent english so many times : ( When most of buses were on the leave I sit down on main square kept refusing expensive minivan offers i told the guys: "Get me to Sapa for 50000VND" they were laughing, didn't want reduce the price, staying on their 200k or 150k Dong shauting at me that I'll go the next day up there. I just smile at them took time of to sit and in 5min one of them started dealing about the price, I finally reached my price with one condition do not tell price to others on board : D  


Me on the second day of home stay in last quarter of the 4 hours steep way back to Sapa, North Vietnam. Shot taken by my guide. I've pushed myself and had break only when she wanted. First was chili and humid, that day was so hot on direct sun and the track was all all time up.






When I came from Sapa back to Hanoi I was sick  and few people told me Hue doesn't worth it I skipped it and flew directly into way wormer Danang. Danang is spread city but you can walk it as well. Unfortunately I've got accomodation cross the river not as far from sea coast as was sick and had to few things on laptop stayed in Hotel. Staff from this hotel were so nice to me they weren't cooking but served me dinner first nite, I could also borrow motorcycle for free to get lunch. On this side of river was almost nobody speaking english and menu in restaurants were vietnamese only without pictures. Even that the staff and customers were very helpfull and we made it through.


Mekong Delta, South Vietnam


Next stop after Danang city was small historical town Hoi An. There's are few cheap backpackers which fine. In the center of the town is river. You find many nice restaurants on both sides and even discotheque. It's good idea to motorbike or even bicycle as the town isn't as big the main beach is outside of the city.  When I was there in April I did scuba diving as well but the dive side is remote around 1h away from the shore and water at that time was so cold (21-22 degree celsius) as I came from hot water on Koh Tao in Thailand (29-30 deg celsius).

Fish in Danang, Vietnam













Lady Buddha statue
Linh Ung Pagoda, Danang
at night

















Dive sites Nha trang, Vietnam
Mun Island


Thailand 2014

Thai Kingdom

1st trip April
Bangkok - Ko Tao

2nd trip September
KL - Surat Thani - Koh Samui - Koh Tao - Surat Thani

3rd trip October
Krabi - Ko lanta - Phi Phi - Phuket


4th visit 2015 Koh Lipe



I call my first visit of Thailand accident as it is! It was not planed at all until tha last minute. I was in Cambodia with Doctor and Dalibor had good time in Sihanoukville I was on to go to Vietnam, Doctor back home through Singapore and Dalibor through Bangkok. Well we've decided the Bangkok hangover has to be done and it was!


Cambodia

March 2014
Phonm Penh - Siem Reap - Battambang - Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville - Koh Rong

Me and Doctor came from Singapore landed in Phnom Penh. For few days I've had problem to memorise and pronounce name of this city.

Cambodia
Cambodian visa are organised on arrival for 25USD Phnom Phem is busy asian city airport is in suburbs not as far from city center.  There are many tuk-tuk's and taxis outside the airport best way is deal with them about the price mainly if you travel far for long time as i did. We've picked hotel round the corner from the main market. I wasn't much reading facebook statuses but suprise fof me was Dalibor other friend of mine came over to travel with us through Cambodia. We saw mainlaces and sightseeing in da city found best "Seeing hands" blind masseurs who were cheap and so good. After few days spent in Phnom Penh we moved north towards Siem Reap. Siem Reap is way smaller compared to Phomh Penh but even that the night live is quite wild but main thing close this town is Anchor Vat. The ruins of hughe temples of tge Khmer empire. This heritage site is so big spread into many big and small temples the most famous are the sun set temple ? The main temple the lake temple.. there are few options walk, hire tuk tuk for the day, get helicopter view for 90USD/pax, cycle around. To be honest cycle or walk around might kill you mainly if not fit as there is so hot most of the year. Dry and hot. We did the tuk tuk and helicopter and these. You can even find few snaps on my youtube channel. From Siem Reap we've gone to Battambang unfortunately there is not direct way cross the lake and we had to go all the way around. When compared price of bus and "mini bus" which in reality was a car this was more efficient and comfortable as there were only three of us on back seats and two others on passenger seat that means 6 in 5 seater wasn't as bad. Battambang is realy small town luckily with very good seeing hands masseurs again. Was told there used to be Coca-cola factory but the time we've arrived it gone and some other bulding was in thjis place I think. From Battambang we wanted to go directly down south west to Sihanoukville but same story again not direct roads and we had to go through Phnom Penh. We've explained that our driver later on the way and luckily met up his friend so we just jumped from first to second mini bus as we were late for the last bus/mini bus that day. We arrived to Sihanoukville early next morning as the trip took around 4.5h as there is not many main roads which are usually narrow jammed and also very ofter full of serious accidents. There was erratically driving jeep which passed us twice and the third time it was lying on the roof in the ditch. This time we've got ford transit size van sitting on the back seats durring the trip driver collected few other people and could here some noise and smell something strange. Just before the end of trip find out there were chicken in bag behind the seaters.
Sihanoukville was way better to Phomh Penh finally on the sea coast again. It was March sea was warm like cup of tea it was busy and party place beach loded by bars you could meet there backpackers from all around the world, majority were Aussie's and Canadians. Main Sihanoukville beach is about 5km away so it worth to hire a motorbike. During the day you'll  find there some moto taxi guys but in the late afternoon you might have to walk it back. Other option is to hire an old US military style jeep. Once you in Sihanoukville go to jetty and get ticket to Koh Rong or Koh Rong Sanloem. There few scuba dive spots the further are better but if rough sea the way take longer. Koh Rong was so good you left ferry choked your flip flops next to jetty and walked towards your accommodation no road only ferry access just like small paradise. Full moon party is on the next island every month. If you want you can even hike over the hill to the remote side of island if you still want to see it but don't like hiking get boat taxi. We hiked over and return by boat taxi. You can hire windsurf kite or water flying shoes on Sihanoukville beach.







You can have rough idea about local prices once you know price of beer than you can compare. How much is beer in Cambodia?
Beer in Cambodia is 1.00$   


1.00 USD = 4,142.50 KHR

What money use to pay in Cambodia?
You can have only US dollars in Cambodia and everything is all right because even the ATM's give you US Dollars.

TOP things to do in Cambodia

Visit Choeung Ek Genocidal Center Phnom Penh
Bike tours
Motorbike triip through the country
Royal Palace Phnom Penh
Angkor Vat
Angkor Thom
Battambang Bat Caves


Cambodian Khmer Language - Few Frases



Singapore


Second asian country I've visited was Singapore. Surprisingly that was one of not as many fixed schedules during my trip. I came from Manila, Philippines. Immediately after arrival I've missed Philippines so much. Singapore is way more expensive.
It's a nice, impressive city state and you pay for it. I picked hostel on booking.com and gone to Little India train station. Unfortunately I didn't save map from the app and had no idea which direction to go. I've had such a bad luck every time have asked for directions they send me wrong way. When I stoped asking people for directions and finally got the right direction and find out the hostel was just 3min walk from station but opposite direction. First nite was same story as usual I've walked around to see nice spots (followed tripadvisor and lonely planet guids for tips).

Singapore highlights
Marina Bay Sands Skypark, theatre, City Bus Tour (Double decker), Singapore Flyer, Waterfront Promenade, River tour, Sri Mariamman Temple, China Town.
I've arrived to Singapore on 7th March 2014 and have met Doctor Lukas before gone for Cambodia trip which we organised in December only before I hit the road. We did some city walk bus and river trips nite out. Stayed in G4 backpacker in Little Indian next to Little India metro train station. This was nice clean backpacker close to the main places and train station. We've done successful shopping got camera and cam corders before further coming Cambodia trip.
There are bargin markets through Little India, Singapore where you can get pair of jeans for 3USD.
Food in Singapore is purely amazing! So many different asian and western food with indian, malaysian, indonesian, western and mainly chinese influence you can purchase in fast foods and nice deecent restaurants.
I only find out after I left city but the chewing gums are illegal. 


Me (red shirt) and Doctor Lukas on River Tour

There is many shops with electronics around city we were looking for good price GOPRO camcorders but in the end bought these in Harvey Norman's just in case.

Singapore City Bus Tour

One afternoon during the river tour Doctor came with briliant idea: "What about to go Indonesia just for one night?" Well we did so. We runned back to hostel grabed wallet and passport jumped on train and cought last ferry to Batam late that nite. Staff on ferry desk was wondering where's our luggage as there were only us and passports.

Ferry cruise was okay quiet sea no as many people on board. Just after arrival got some money from ferry terminal ATM. Hop into taxi and drivers first question was about accommodation we told him we aren't going to any place to stay over night even that we heard this question ten times again. Finally we've reached nice food court somewhere in the middle of Batam town. It was late night only locals were eating drinking around nice place around 100m square just after we've stepped in all the girls selling drinks and mainly beers run to us and tail us all the way around food shops until we ordered the food at very last shop and of course some beer as well. Food was incredible cheap and so tasty I think even had some of the sea food first time. We ate and drink a lot as it was delicious when we're done and shops closed staff sit down and drink with us. There was just something strange running between the table on this almost empty place with dimmed lights of course the common species rats size of small cat. I just asked the locals what's that? They replied simply: "That's Jerry". There were many Jerry's that nite. Our new friends got brilliant idea go to discotheque why now? They've took us on motorbikes stopped at their homes and swapped smart phones with stupid phones in few minutes we figured out why. We arrived to famous local place unfortunately I can't remember its name. Went to third floor stepped of the lift and you could recognize loud doof doof music behind the door. Once they opened the door I've got frozen so surprised was expecting anything but not this. There was loud music as heck hundrets siluets of people and absolute dark inside such a completely new story. When you want to order you just light your phone on and staff found you at this moment I've recognized why our friends swapped their devices. I didn't see there any other foreign faces and anytime we gone even to the bathroom our friends followed us.
When they closed this place we just hop on taxi and run to the ferry harbor where we wait for an hour or so I felt into sleep few times and Doctor luckily look after tickets. Than we arrived to hostel right at breakfest time. Well this was our 2 million ( Rupiah IDR) trip to Indonesia.


Next morning we flew to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


2 million quick trip Singapore - Batam, Indonesia - Singapore 
One nite all in




Philippines


February 2014
Manila - Puerto Princesa - El.Nido - Coron - Manila

I've almost missed the plane from Sydney to Manila as was looking for some accommodation in Philippines online.
Luckily got free wi-fi on the Sydney airport as lady at counter required to see return ticket from Philippines. Since that time I've stoped using email.cz on mobile web browser and moved to gmail or yahoo email app which can be easily accessed off-line. As I bought cheap ticket flew through Taipei, Taiwan with few hours break between flights. Unfortunately I had no time ot leave airport to see the city well have to come back in future.

* Taipei airport offers FREE 110V AC/USB sockets and free Wi-Fi


Philippino frases






When flew from Taipei to Manila I was sitting next lady Maria anf her brother both in their 70's they were both originaly from Luzon, Philippines currently lived in Canada. They flew home to see other family members and sort some necessities. Her brother wasn't happy about the flight and started walking around. Later was calmed down by the stewardess as he wanted to go out. I've got christian bracelet for good luck from her. She also scared shit of me with stories about robbed tourists. So I was super careful for few months after meeting her. Her family also gave me lift to Makati and help organised hotel. It was expensive but luxury begin of my Asian trip in Holiday Inn : ) 
Mall of Asia, Manila, Philippines

Manila
The Cool & Bad city once you landing in Manila it looks impressive you can see lot of nice high buildings and development but once you step into the city you'll see brand new shiny skyscraper and homeless people seeping by its heel it's so sad when you see this increasing gap between rich / poor in Manila.
Main transport in Manila are Jeepinies, buses and Tuc-tucs. It is possible track some buses online but definitely not all. The second main language should be english but by my experience it's hard to deal with tickets sellers or drivers, I had mostly bad luck for people who didn't speak much english.

Me on trike for tourist in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines

Manila is huge city. The con's are the public transport which is messy for tourist without philippino language knowledge. Even if you follow google maps as I did you'll reach some point where is nobody who would be able to help you and direct you any further as low english skills of local people. All of the bus drivers are trying you get into the bus as they have more ppl more money of course. The funny thing is they keep bunch of money in the hand all the time once all passengers paid they keep re-calculating and picking of the tips. 

Places to see in Manila - Chinese cemetery, Intramuros, Rizal square
 

Level of exhaust emissions in Manila is pretty high as no cats for car and mainly Jeepenies, Buses and trucks are needed


Puerto Princes, Palawan, Philippines
I was reading the Philippines Lonely Guide during the flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan and got an perfect idea. Since I was kid there was dream to become a scuba diver. Just before I left Czech republic in January 2014 I wanted to do Open water course but there were freezing temperatures and I was told that most of the scuba diver training can be done indoors in swimming pool but the last dive have to be done outdoors well I regret.
Luckily I've decided during the flight Manila - > PP to do Open water scuba diving course in Philippines. It was good exerience also course was 40USD cheaper there compared to Czech republic. Just after landing I took my two bags and walked outside of the airport as wanted skip expensive taxis, Tuk tuks, etc. Accidently I've took one who walked me outside he later pull me on the price. Normal price inside PP is something between 10 and 20PHP.

My first scuba diving experience PP (Puerto Princesa)

In Puerto Princesa I've done my both scuba diving trainings Open water and  Advanced Adventurer with SSI in Moana Hotel with instructor Danny. I was beaten by dog between scuba trainings luckily my good friend Rhea Kristine Navarra helped me to organise examination in hospital find cheap pharmacy with shots which I had to provided as they weren't stored in hospital and translated for me on all of these places. Big thanks to her again as it would be so difficult without native speaking person even in big town as Puerto Princesa ( PP ).

I did some "motorbike" ride around PP once finished these and my scuba diving training hit the road towards El.Nido. Well the drivers are loco loco  = crazy. Right they are nuts even that it takes roughly 7 hours on the road which is being developed ( approximately 50% done in February 2014 ). Took us 6h our driver was total nuts. If I knew I'll waste whole day to see how the dust from wheels covers all locals walking or living near by I'd book a plane ticket.

We survived the mini bus trip it was not even overloaded as usual and arrived to El.Nido with the sunset. We've finally meet with Petra. This meeting was planned from second day in Manila. I had some chat with her, her parents and in the morning we've met the crew all guys and got on board of our tour boat from El.Nido to Coron. It was morning full of expectations.

Boat Trip Elindo -> Coron
We were so lucky everything gone smooth everybody got on boat and were warmly welcomed by Jam's crew. The boat trip with Tao Philippines was purely Petra's idea and I can only say big thanks for that it was so relaxed,  chiled,  nice, easy inclding lot of snorkeling nice food places  - islands you'd call paradise we've stayed on. This boat cruise was something unbelievable. I've had few ideas as crazy imagination I have but none of my expectations would fulfilled this perfect trip. I simply l loved the time I could spent with all the nice people. That time I was heavily impressed by philippine culture, language and people that I've spent most of time with the crew.
Philippines nature is something unbelievable. Crystal clean water (I'm not talking about Manila) number of fish and sea species down there. It sounds stupid but it really is so hard to describe you just have to see that by your naked eye.
Later in 2014 after I left Philippines found that the Tao Philippines guys sit down pull in old fishermen from Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries and build Archipelago - the sail. I'm telling you at some stage I have to come back to be part of Archipelago island to island hoping as that has to be spotless trip. Our trip was perfect it was on engine boat. Well sail cruise on an Archipelago that has to be from the different world!

We started in El.Nido followed by first snorkel season on Secret beach it's so funny that everybody knows about the Secret beach. These were followed by few 3-4 snorkeling trips. Food was served on the boat anchored to the island.
 Sleeping was just perfect you don't need much just a beach, roof and moskito net and you'll sleep like never before. Forgot any stupid air conditioning which only make people sick you don't need that stuff!
Some days we stayed in hats right on the beach other in hats 100m away from the water. Showers were pure asian story - the pot. Fill and shower. Only disadvantage of the fresh water showers were mosquitoes it was sorted by repelents no big deal. Most of islands were uninhabited some had small village with nice local people on.
Our tour guide Jam who's going to tell you about Philippino source of power number one when you are there got also some fresh coconuts for us I beleive he'll get you some too.
There are no shops on the way well better get whatever you want to drink with you or let the guys organise for you.
This was all inclusive and the crew did everything from little till big issues.
This was the time I've find out I should get gopro style camera before I've got on which didn't happend.



Coron
Arrival to Coron was sad as we had to leave our beloved crew, boat and new friends even that it is very nice spot. With local airport once all tickets aren't sold out as happened to me but there still is massive ferry to Manila and small boat "ferries".
If you're scuba diver it's nice spot you can find about 10 sunken wrecks of japanese fleet from WW2. I did two of these with scuba gear and it was something unbelievable the size of the vessels, ammunition, size of the parts mainly engine and species living in.
Once you are on the Tao Philippines boat you'll do the shallow wreck snorkel. It begins in 5 and goes down to about 15m you can see the front top handrail sticking out of the water.
Nice spot to visit around Coron is Kayangan Lake on nearby Cabugao island. You'll do some snorkel first on Maquinit Islands on the way up there. Than you stop on Barracuda lake and finish trip on Twin Lagoon where your skipper cook some nice fish for you when you're loaded and chilled you come back to Coron city with sunset.
My original plan was get ferry back to El.Nido mini bus to Puerto Princesa and fly back to Manila. As loved to I left any organisation for last minute only got interested in tickets about 3 day before leave. Well I've completely changed my mind and plans stayed longer on Coron because of my favorite scube diving well it was child's dreams come through about the diving and wreck diving.



Sunset on Coron, Coron Philippines


Return to Manila
I planned to hop on ferry and go back in direction Coron - El.Nido - Puerto Princesa - Manila. Things changed as I've stayed longer time in Coron. Just few days before my flight from Manila to Singapore I've decided to book plane ticket Coron - Manila. I tried to book online but for some reason there was no success in final step. I gone downstairs to Williams restaurant for breakfest. William is the man who knows everything and everybody on Coron even have contacts in Manila and other places.


Food in Philippines
Philippino love seriously oily - greasy food even that most of them are still so skinny. Some dishes are very simple egg and rice, most foods are based on rice. As Jem from tao Philippines sais:"The Philippino source of energy number one ...RICE!"  
On the main street of Puerto Princesa between airport and first hotel I've got dish included rice and small bowl of pork which of course was swimming in grease for 25PHP (0.55USD). In the same town I've had first experience with Vietnamese soup and no idea I'll have one directly in Vietnam that year. 





San Miguel Pale Pilsener
good beer made by good recepture


Recommended Vaccination
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Japanese Encephalitis
Rabies
Typhoid
Yellow Fever

Recommended Medicaments
Malaria




Philippines Peso - PHP


Beers from Philippines:
San Miguel Beer, Pale Pilsen
San Miguel Beer Cerveza Negra
Red Horse Beer ( Lager)
San Miguel Beer Light (San Mig Light)
Beer na Beer
Gold Eagle Beer
San Miguel Draft Beer
San Miguel Super Dry
San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer
San Miguel Strong Ice