4 Filipinas, 5 days in Jordan (Itinerary & Budget)

Hello, beautiful people! I know, I know. I’ve been in and out of the game for months now – almost a year. I am also aware that I keep promising to write more when “I’m no longer lazy,” but what can you do? I’m always physically tired, and all I want is to binge watch Criminal Minds in my room all day. I’ve got some good news though, I’ve been committing to posting videos of my trips on youtube. The reason why I put in more effort to that over my writing, is I guess because it doesn’t require much of my mental energy. I struggle with writing, but when I’m editing, I’m in my flow. I hope you find the time to visit my channel. Really appreciate it. That being said, I do, however, have a trip to share to you guys!

My friends and I all bid for the same days for our leave. We were lucky that all four of us were granted those dates so naturally, we planned for a trip. We chose Jordan for this year (yes, we’ve already agreed that it’ll be an annual thing), because a.) we only had 5 days, and it’s the closest country to where we are, and b.) we really wanted to see The Treasury, in Petra. So numbers were called, reservations were made and fast forward to March 05, 2019, we were on our way to Jordan.

We booked a travel agency to do everything for us. We really didn’t want to have to think about transpo, our hotels, and all that jazz because we didn’t want there to be conflict between us girls. Each of us had different hotels, prices, budgets, and itineraries in mind. So to avoid that, we hired someone else to decide for us.

Here are the details:
Agency: Jordan Horizon Tours
Travel Budget: PHP 38,236 / person
Pocket Money: PHP 5,000 / person

Yes, that’s a big amount but that price includes visa processing fees, payment to our tour guides, 4 different hotels, buffet breakfast in all hotels, buffet dinner in two of those hotels, a personal driver, and entrance fees to the sites. Keep in mind that it was only the four of us doing a private tour. Also, the pocket money was actually too much as we had so much extra cash by the end of the trip, seeing that we didn’t pay much for food. We did buy a few extra souvenirs and trinkets though.

Day 1:

  • We arrived in Queen Alia Int’l Airport, where a representative was waiting for us to bring us to immigration. Our travel agency processed our tourist visas in Jordan for us – literally, they applied on our behalf in Jordan while we were somewhere else, so we only showed a manifest to be able to board our flight to the country. Our visas were with our representative.

(Filipinos used to have Visa on Arrival, but rules have changed and Filipinos now require a visa prior to visiting Jordan)

  • After meeting our driver, we went straight ahead to the city of Madaba, to see St. George’s Cathedral (1 JOD = 75 PHP off our travel budget).

StGeorges-Cathedral-Madaba-Jordan

  • Then it was off to Mt. Nebo, the famous spot, mentioned in the Bible, where Moses was shown the Promised Land (2 JOD = 150 PHP off the travel budget).

MtNebo-Promise-Land-Jordan

MtNebo-Jordan-Moses

Moses-metal-rod-serpent-bible-mtNebo

  • For our last stop on this day, we went to the Baptismal Site OF JESUS, where we also got to see part of the Jordan River, and part of the Israel Border (12 JOD = 900 PHP off our travel budget).

 

baptism-site-jesus-jordan

baptismal-site-jesus-jordan
The Site itself
Israel-border-jordan-river
Across the river is the border of Israel
  • Finally, we headed to our hotel in Wadi Musa, after a long and exhausting day.

Day 2:

  • We walked from our hotel called Edom Hotel, to Petra for 5 minutes at 7:30 in the morning. An early start. For the almost 7 hours that we were inside Petra, we saw all the burial sites, The Treasury,  and The Monastery, which took an additional 2 hour hike uphill -exhausting, but totally worth it. (50 JOD = 3,750 PHP from the travel budget)

petra-wadi-musa-jordan

the-siq-petra-jordan

the-treasury-petra-jordan

wadi-musa-petra-jordan
looking like I’m not dying after a two hour hike uphill
the-monastery-petra-jordan
my favourite thing to do – having coffee in front of a historical monument
  • After finishing the tour at 3 p.m., we met up with our driver to headed on to Wadi Rum, where we would see the sunset. This is also where we camped for the night in what looked like “glamping” tents, minus the glam. It was still extremely comfortable though, considering that we were in an actual desert. (5 JOD = 375 PHP just to enter the area. Accommodation already paid for by the agency)

Wadi-rum-sunset-jordan

wadi-rum-sunset-jordan

Day 3:

  • From 7-10 am, the time was dedicated to driving around the entire desert.

wadi-rum-desert-jordan

wadi-rum-desert-jordan

the-arch-wadi-rum-desert-jordan

the-arc-wadi-rum-desert-jordan

  • After we finished exploring the desert, we spent the rest of the day traveling to The Dead Sea, where we arrived at past 3 p.m., and spent the night in Holiday Inn.

dead-sea-jordan

mud-mask-dead-sea-jordan

Day 4:

  • At 10 a.m., we made sure to leave the hotel in order to get to Amman before noon. There, we visited the Jerash (10 JOD = 750 PHP off our budget), which had the feel of Rome, complete with gigantic columns and an impressive amphitheatre.

amman-citadel-jordanAmman-citadel-amphitheatre-jordan

  • We skipped lunch and went on to two other locations. The first was the Amman Citadel (3 JOD = 225 PHP), which had a perfect view of the city, and the second was a mosque (2 JOD = 150 PHP), which I unfortunately forgot the name of.
amman-jordan
Such is the beauty of this city.

amman-jordan-mosque

  • After all that and a sumptuous Arabic dinner…

shawarma-arabica-dinner-jordan

… we went straight to Ayass Hotel to rest as we had to leave for home the next day, bright and early. That was indeed a delightful five days, and none of us regretted any part of it. The places we went to see were well worth it. Jordan truly is a uniquely beautiful destination, and it should be on everyone’s bucket lists. 

Photo Diary: Mont Real

Taipei On A Filipina’s Budget

I’ve just come back from my 4 day-3 night getaway to Taipei (lol that sounded like a rap), and I’ve somehow managed to bring back half of the Taiwan Dollars that I brought with me for my trip. Thankfully so, because the amount of moolah I had to give up for my flight coming home is just ridiculous.

Mactan Cebu International Airport

It’s not that I kept a tight grip on my money the entire time. I guess I just didn’t really feel the need to buy anything. I’m not the pasalubong kind of girl. I’m more for the immersion. If I don’t get to experience it in some kind of meaningful level, then I don’t care for it.

If you’re anyone like me – cheap but also constantly needing a taste for life, I’ll share with you my 4 day Taiwan itinerary and how I spent 3,110 TWD (5,442.50 PHP) for the entire trip. That is, of course, excluding my airfare but we can forget about that and move on. My flight booking was a last minute decision, after all. Also, please keep in mind that I will be emphasizing the times that I walked during the day because for one: it saved me fare money and; it was the only way I could get a workout in

So… for lack of a better transition, here it is:

DAY 1 – Apr. 12

I arrived at Taiwan’s Taoyuan airport at 9:30 am. Right after immigration, I proceeded to look for the United Traveler’s booth to get the pocket wifi that I rented for 4 days. This was booked online via Klook for 55 TWD a day. I then went down to the basement where the bus ticketing counters are and bought a ticket for the Xingtian Temple bus stop at 125 TWD.

I walked to my hostel just 300 meters away from the Xingtian Temple bus stop. I checked in at around noon and paid 880 TWD for the 3 nights.

Hostel Review Travel Talk Taipei Backpacker's Hostel

By 1 p.m. I walked my way to Li An Tai Old House for a quick look around. Stayed there for almost an hour, walked back to the hostel and slept until 4 p.m.

Things to do in TaipeiThings to do in Taipei, Taiwan

By 4:30, I walked to the nearest MRT station just 400 meters away from my hostel, bought an Easycard for 100 TWD and topped it up with 100 TWD worth of bus/train fare. Then I made my way to Shilin Night Market. Once there, I looked for the famous fried chicken by Hot Star which is 70 TWD and got Taiwan’s staple lemon jelly drink for 40 TWD.

The Breakdown: 
pocket wifi: 220
bus ticket: 125
hostel: 880
easycard: 200
dinner: 110
TOTAL: 1,535

DAY 2 – Apr. 13

First thing in the morning, I had breakfast c/o of our hostel. It was a simple bread and butter breakfast with my choice of coffee or tea.

By 8:30 a.m. I was showered and ready for the day. Again, I walked my way to the nearest MRT and started my little adventure from there. First on the day’s itinerary was the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial hall, which I stayed at for almost two hours -enough time for taking pictures and waiting for the changing of the guards, which happens every top of the hour.

Taipei on a budgetTaipei on a BudgetAt Chiang Kai Shek’s MRT station, I navigated my way to the next’s destination’s MRT which was at Taipei 101 where I had lunch in Din Tai Fung. I arrived in Taipei 101 a few minutes after 1 p.m. but was only able eat at around 2:30 because of the long waiting time. My lunch costed me 192 TWD for an appetizer and a 5 pc. Xialongbao, enough for my little stomach (lol yeah right).

Things to do in Taipei, TaiwanIMG_2987

Then, because I needed a little bit of exercise, I walked a whopping 2 km to the start of Elephant Mountain and climed another few hundred meters of stairs to get to the first level viewing deck. By the time I got there, it rained. So after a couple of pictures and a few minutes of staring at the city, I decided to find the nearest MRT and go back to the hostel.

Things to do in Taipei, TaiwanTaipei on a Budget

The Breakdown:
breakfast: free
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall admission fee: free
Din Tai Fung: 192 + free tea
entrance to Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail: free
top up on easycard: 100
dinner right by the hostel: 50
TOTAL: 342

DAY 3 – Apr. 14

Now on my third day, I spent a little bit more since I had gone Jiufen, which is a 2 hour bus ride from the city. Like yesterday, breakfast was free and as usual, I walked my way to the MRT and started from there (you’ll know more about getting to Jiufen also on my next post). I already knew that the one way bus fare was going to be around 100 TWD but since I had already used the previous day’s top up, I put in another 200 TWD into the card. The bus fare might have been 100 to 120 TWD; I failed to look since other people were waiting to tap their cards after me.

Things to do in Taipei, TaiwanTaipei on a Filipina's Budget

Once I got to the entrance at Jiufen, I saw a cute little shop that served drip coffee for 70 TWD, so I got my hands on that. I’ve also been seeing these grilled sausages everywhere in Taipei and decided to try it here for lunch. That was minus 40 TWD from my pocket. After an hour of walking around and taking pictures, it was time to go to my next destination of choice: Houtong Cat Village. I rode both a bus and a train going there, so everything was deducted from my Easycard per usual.

Houtong is a place to play and look at cats, so nothing worth buying really appealed to me. After an hour, I went back to the city via train. I stopped at Shilin Night Market for dinner, which consisted of spongecake and milk tea (healthy, I know) all for 150 TWD. I then went home to my hostel.

The Breakdown:
breakfast: free
top up: 200
coffee: 70
lunch: 40
milk tea: 60
spongecake: 90
TOTAL: 460

DAY 4 – Apr. 15

For my final day in Taipei, I decided I’d take a good look at the city one last time (poetic). But since I didn’t want to pay 600 TWD to go up the observatory in Taipei 101, I opted to go to the Starbucks on Taipei 101’s 35th floor.

IMG_3195

The minimum order to stay there is 200 TWD, and I got my order of a breakfast burrito and a large coffee for 205. On this day, breakfast wasn’t free.getting in the starbucks in taipei 101

By 10:30, I went down and out the tower and proceeded to go to Ximending for the day. Apparently, Ximending is Taipei’s shopping district but, once again, I didn’t feel the need for that. Instead, I looked for cute spots where I could take amateur photos and do a little fashion shoot.IMG_3355Taipei Day TourTravel Fashion TaipeiIMG_3303

Hey, I may not shop but I’m still somewhat vain.

Once I got the pictures that I wanted I “re-centered” myself towards the busier streets and looked for beef noodles at 2 p.m. I found Lao Wang Ji and had beef noodles for 220 TWD. Once I got out of the restaurant, I remembered that Taipei sold yakult that’s bigger than usual so I decided I wasn’t going to leave without buying one and showing it on social media. I did that for 8 TWD. At 4 p.m. it was time to go back to the hostel to prepare for a dinner invite but most especially for my flight at dawn.

The Breakdown
breakfast: 205
lunch: 220
yakult: 8
dinner at a sushi bar: 150
easycard top up (within the day): 190
TOTAL: 773

Where to Next? I made a podcast!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/590431.js?player=large

Four Things to do in Gothenburg, if you’re pressed for time.

I’m never in one place for a long time. Most days, I’m in a city for just a day. Some days I get lucky and I’m there for two. Such was the case when I flew to Gothenburg, Sweden. Because of the schedule of my job, I was rostered with a day off there. Since I arrived early in the morning of my first day, I slept it through noon. So technically, I only had a day and a half, yet as I backtrack to what I did during those days, I feel like I did so much already.

If you’re planning to go to (or already are in) Gothenburg for a couple of days, and would like an idea of what to do, maybe my itinerary can help you out. Here’s what I did:

  1. Haga Street

This is one of the more well known streets in Gothenburg. Haga is a quiet residential area close to a busy square, but it’s well visited for this one street that’s lined with cafes and restaurants. You can busy yourself by looking through the pretty displays of The Kawaii Store or Unicorns and Sons, or simply find the perfect souvenir in the number of souvenir shops nearby. If you want to hit two birds with one stone, you can enjoy a Fika break in one of the coffee shops lining the street. Don’t forget to try their famously gigantic cinnamon buns!

haga-street-gothenburg,sweden

haga-gothenburg-sweden

haga-gothenburg

fika-haga-gothenburg-sweden

2. Gothia Tower’s Heaven 23

If you’d like to get drinks and have a nice view of the city, Gothia Tower’s Heaven 23 is a sky bar/lounge with a good atmosphere, great wine, and a wide view of the city. The place is popular for it’s “King Size” Raksmorgas, Heaven 23’s take on the popular Swedish prawn sandwich.

king-size-heaven-23-raksmorgas-gothia-towers-gothenburg

3. The Horticultural Garden

In my opinion, Gothenburg is a place of quiet and relaxation. So activities should also be in between those lines. What better way to admire those two aspects than to visit  a garden. The Horticultural Garden houses quite a number of plants that belong to different climates. The greenhouse has a rose garden, an entire wing for tropical plants, a rainforest section, and an area dedicated to cacti. The place is good to walk around in and just admire the different colored greens. Not to mention, to enter is free.

horticultural-garden-gothenburg

horticultural-garden-gothenburg

horticultural-garden-greenhouse
it was a gloomy day, but not too bad.

IMG_0075

4. Gothenburg Art Museum

Another place that’s worth admiring is the Gothenburg Art Museum. To see all of the six floors of art, it’s 60 Swedish Kronas (SEK). On some occasions, they have artworks from different countries/museums that they show for some time. To be able to see such displays, it might be an additional 40 SEK or so, making it 100 SEK to be able see all the art inside the museum. At the time of my visit, I paid 100 SEK to see the Mloda Polska exhibit as well.

Not only does the museum house different forms of art by Swedish artists, they also keep works by foreign artists such as Vincent Van Gogh.

Gothenburg-art-museum-swedengothenburg-art-museum

gothenburg-art-museum

Haga in Gothenburg and Fika, Sweden’s Coffee Culture

Travel truly does educate. If I hadn’t flown to Gothenburg, I wouldn’t have known what this Fika thing is about. Fika is the Swede’s practice of taking a break from a day’s work and making time for friends. It’s a socialisation that relies heavily upon coffee (or tea) and a little snack. It’s more than a social behavior, it’s an important culture that, as I’ve read, the Swede’s are very proud of.

The first time I read about fika, I thought it was like taking a siesta minus the sleeping part. It is still, essentially, taking a break. I thought that this Swedish practice was making time for one’s self, and just letting go of the worries we’ve encountered in the day for a mere hour or so – while sipping that deliciously smelling coffee of course. Well, it is kinda. I was almost there. As I read more and more about fika, though, I learned that doing it by yourself is simply just a coffee and snack break. Although they’ve revolved fika around coffee as its most important factor, it isn’t just the mere drinking of coffee; its second most important factor is being able to make connections with the people who’ve gathered with us.

But still, I wanted to try fika. I thought I’d been doing fika all along whenever I went to coffee shops alone during my layovers. So I told myself, “since I’m in Sweden, I’m doing Fika too.” So I strut myself to Haga, Gothenburg’s famous neighborhood, known for it’s one street that’s lined with cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops. It also had a Kawaii shop – yes, a shop filled with kawaii items like Sailormoon’s clothes and TONS of Pikachu products – and a Unicorn and Sons store, which sold multiple items with either pictures of unicorns or unicorn horns on them! EXCITING.

haga-gothenburg

haga-gothenburg-sweden
it’s an instagrammable street
haga-street-gothenburg-sweden
Here’s a bike displayed just outside the Kawaii Shop.

But I digress.

So after setting foot on the street and admiring the trinkets on display and the people sitting in the restaurants, I searched for my very own cafe to kill time in. By the end of the street stood Cafe Hebbe Lelle, which sold Sweden’s famous cinnamon buns known for their bigger-than-normal size (for a vague point of reference, they’re bigger than my face). Since I have such a sweet tooth, I was lured in. I ordered that and a cappuccino, and spent my afternoon in that one spot.

fika-haga-gothenburg-sweden

 

 

The Treasury, Petra

Hi guys! How has it been?

Last week, my friends and I visited Jordan for our leave. I vlogged about it! Here’s a video of our second day when we visited Petra, and finally saw with our own eyes THE widely known TREASURY. If you’d like to see more of these videos, please head on to my youtube channel and subscribe!

Love lots,

Willia

P.S. I’ll have a post about this adventure up soon! Budgets, itinerary, and accommodation. Watch out for that *wink*