Lakad Pilipinas
Vigan Itinerary and Travel guide Coron Itinerary and Travel guide Baguio Itinerary and Travel guide Tagaytay Itinerary and Travel Guide Iligan City Itinerary and Travel Guide Bacolod Itinerary and Travel Guide Antique Itinerary and Travel Guide Tarlac Itinerary and Travel Guide Corregidor Itinerary and Travel Guide

Mount Luho View Deck Boracay

Up more than a hundred meters above the emerald waters of Boracay, we spied three small beaches lined with the island’s celebrated white powdery sand. These, unfortunately, falls near a land owned by a big resort and are usually off limits to the public. It was something we wouldn’t have seen if not for the vantage point we were in. No, we’re not on a helicopter tour of Boracay, we’re somewhere a lot cheaper but with relatively the same view sans the mobility, Mount Luho.

Mount Luho View Deck Boracay
HOW ABOUT A VISIT TO MOUNT LUHO?

It was almost lunchtime but we were still waiting for one of our friends to arrive in Boracay. With nothing to do, one of the staff at Ferra Hotel Boracay suggested we visit the nearby Mount Luho. Well, we’re still full from their breakfast buffet anyways, so why not.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Friday, July 21, 2017

Ruf Resto Bar Boracay

A sumptuous feast, enough for half a dozen people, was laid on our table. The offerings on each plate were beautifully set, each one looked mouth-wateringly good. But there was one big problem; we were only three in the group. Even the gluttons that we are, there was just no way we can finish everything!

Ruf Resto Bar Boracay Lounge
COMFY OUTDOOR-INDOOR SETTINGS AT FERRY HOTEL’S ROOFTOP BAR

We were at the roof deck of Ferra Hotel Boracay [BOOK DISCOUNTED RATE USING AGODA COUPONS], one of the newest boutique accommodations to mushroom at the celebrated island. The hotel is located in between the White Beach and Balabag Beach, a few minutes by foot from D’Mall.

We weren’t staying here though, what we were here for was their Asian-themed Ruf Resto Bar. While dining at Boracay’s White Beach is always enjoyable, it’s quite refreshing to also have one far-away from the island’s maddening crowd.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ferra Hotel Boracay One Bedroom Loft

It was an hour before midnight when we arrived on the island. Tired but excited, we went straight to our appointed lodging in Ferra Hotel Boracay to rest a bit before heading to the White Beach to party our first night away. Or that was supposedly the plan.

Ferra Hotel Boracay Lobby
FERRA HOTEL’S TASTEFULLY DECORATED LOBBY

It has always been like this for our Boracay weekend getaways; take the Friday afternoon flight from Manila, arrive early evening at the Kalibo Airport, then take the two-hour ride to Boracay. It is tiring, but heck, with very cheap flight tickets, who could say no to Boracay!

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Monday, July 17, 2017

Coron Travel Blog Guide Itinerary Budget

Coron, a town in the province of Palawan, is one of the most sought after destinations in the Philippines. And you can easily understand why. It has pristine white sand beaches, unbelievably turquoise waters, rich marine life, World War II shipwrecks, and karsts-dotted landscapes that can rival the best that the world has to offer. Often referred to as the country’s Last Frontier, it is located on the upper region of Palawan, 595 kilometers from Metro Manila.

Coron is the perfect destination for casual vacationers, hardcore backpackers, beach lovers and adventurous divers. Once you’ve visited, coming back for a second time is really something you won’t need to decide on; Coron would automatically make the decision for you.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Saturday, July 15, 2017

One of the reasons why people visit Bangkok, besides its graceful temples, is its numerous shopping districts. During our previous trips to the city, we’ve visited a few of these. And as always, during these shopping outbursts, we go home with fewer bahts in our pockets but with numerous shopping bags in our hands.

PERSONALIZED ITEMS AT ONE OF BANGKOK’S NIGHT MARKETS

The things being sold on these outdoor markets range from household things, to fashion accessories, shirts, elephant pants, dresses, bags, toys—legit and bootleg ones, souvenir stuff, figurines, antiques, collectible what-nots and basically everything you can think of. Me, I go here for the shirts—Bangkok has the coolest selection of printed tees that I can’t seem to find elsewhere!

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Thursday, July 13, 2017

Windsor Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit Room

“It looks like a village of sorts,” I kid C, as we walked along the corridors of Windsor Suites Hotel Bangkok on our way to our room. The hallway, punctured with cute framed curtained windows for each room, indeed looks like a campy village. We stopped on our designated room—with its own window too—scanned our keycards, opened the door, and were unbelievably surprised. The room is beautifully designed; modern, but with hints of Windsor’s history.

Windsor Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit Facade
THE WINDSOR SUITES IN BANGKOK

We were on the last part of our Thailand tour, four more days before we fly to Vietnam, and after staycationing at Hilton Sukhumvit, doing the Kanchanaburi Death Railway Tour, and shopping around in Bangkok, it was time for another staycation, this time at Windsor Suites Sukhumvit.

The hotel is indeed one of the older of its kind in Bangkok. Having more than fifty years of service history, I bet they’ve now perfected the art of hospitality.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Death Railway Tour Bridge Over The River Kwai

We really didn’t have any set plans for the Bangkok leg of our two-month Same Same Summer Trip. And our stay at the metropolis was even lengthened after rebooking our flight to Ho Chi Minh since we weren’t aware that we were only allowed twenty one days of free stay in Vietnam. So, with too much time on our hands, and since we’ve been to Bangkok countless times already, we thought of booking a tour to one its the nearby provinces, Kanchanaburi.

Death Railway Tour Train
INSIDE THE DEATH RAILWAY TRAIN IN KANCHANABURI

Why Kanchanaburi? Well, there really was no particular reason, it’s just that we booked our tour online via Klook, checking out the daytours they have coming from Bangkok. And Kanchanaburi’s daytour package [CHECK DISCOUNTED RATES], with a ride on the Death Railway, seemed to stand out. Anyways, we love train rides, so why not? Kanchanaburi it is!

Booking was easy enough. From the Klook website, it’s just a matter of inputting Bangkok on the search field, then from the list of general activities—Attractions & Shows, Tours & Sightseeing, Activities & Experiences, Food & Wellness, and Transport & WiFi—I chose the second one and browsed through the available tours. I clicked on the Kanchanaburi tour, signed in using my Facebook account, chose our date, then selected from the package options whether I would join a tour or a private group. I chose the former, since it’s cheaper by half, entered two persons joining, filled in my details and my credit card (they also have the option to pay via Paypal), and that’s it! Prices gets even cheaper if you have a promo code, which you can check on the site itself and the Klook Facebook page.

Death Railway Tour Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
CHECKING OUT A WATERFALL IS PART OF THE ITINERARY

We were fetched by our tour van from the posh lobby of Hilton Sukhumvit right on time. Call time was at six thirty in the morning, and they were there right on the appointed time. The van was comfy enough, and while it made the rounds to other hotels for other tour participants, we made the rounds on our take-away breakfast of fruits and bagels.

After about two hours of westward drive, we arrived at the third largest province in Thailand and headed right to our first stop.

 

KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY


The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery was a good overview of the Kanchanaburi Death Railway tour. On a well-manicured lawn lie 6,982 graves; World War II prisoners of war from Australia, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. All of them died from the construction of the infamous Burma Railway or the Death Railway by the Japanese Imperial Army.

The war cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the same organization who manages the American War Memorial in Taguig.

It was a somber first stop. We silently read the inscriptions on the cemetery entrance, imagining the bravery and horrors these men had to go through.

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

 

 

JEATH WAR MUSEUM


I thought I read it wrong, but yes, the second stop indeed starts with a J. The JEATH War Museum. It’s actually an acronym, meaning Japanese, English, Australian, American, Thai and Holland—nationalities that were involved in the making of the Death Railway.

The museum depicts the inhumane condition during the construction of the railway that was meant to connect Thailand to Burma (present-day Myanmar) with life-sized dioramas and relics and implements from the period. From one of its view decks, you can actually see one of the more famous parts of the railway, the one popularized by the novel and movie, the Bridge Over the River Kwai.

The war museum is actually built inside the grounds of Wat Chai Chumpon Chana Songkhram, a Buddhist temple, and the whole complex is managed by monks who reside within. The temple can also be accessed by guests, its walls adorned by very detailed artwork depicting an ancient battle between the Thai and Burmese people.

Death Railway Tour JEATH War Museum

Death Railway Tour JEATH War Museum

Death Railway Tour JEATH War Museum

 

 

BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI


And just a hop away from the museum is the famous Bridge Over the River Kwai. It really isn’t a proper bridge and the river isn’t actually named Kwai, but that’s what stuck to people’s mind especially after the movie adaptation came out during the fifties.

The bridge is really part of the Death Railway, a rail spanning the Mae Klong River. The construction of the railway passes through most of the valley of the Khwae Noi River, and this was where the name River Kwai came from. Due to the popularity of the movie, the part of the Mae Klong River where the bridge spans was then renamed the Khwae Yai River. Talk about life imitating art.

The Japanese actually built two bridges across the river, the first one made out of wood in 1943, followed by a concrete and steel one they refer to as Bridge 227 four months later. Both of these were bombed by the Americans several times, and was rebuilt every time right after.

We were supposed to ride the actual train from this area, but the carriages were packed as soon as it chugged to a stop. The idea of standing on cramped non-air conditioned train for more than an hour wasn’t really our idea of fun, so we proceeded to lunch first, hoping to catch the train later that afternoon.

Death Railway Tour Bridge Over the River Kwai

Death Railway Tour Bridge Over the River Kwai

Death Railway Tour Bridge Over the River Kwai

 

 

LUNCH AND BAMBOO RAFTING


Lunch was on a riverside raft about an hour away from Bridge 227. The floating restaurant was actually still on the River Kwai. Our midday meal consisted of two servings of vegetables with chicken chunks, stir fried veggies, Thai omelet, and unlimited bowls of steamed white rice. Drinks were not included on the package, but the restaurant has beers, softdrinks, and bottled water for a reasonable price. Us, we have our drinking bottle with us.

A few minutes after finishing our lunch, we were herded towards a Thai longtail boat and were soon zooming across the tributary. We then transferred to a bamboo raft which slowly drifted back to the restaurant. Quite an ingenious and scenic way to rest after lunch, lol!

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Lunch River Rafting

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Lunch River Rafting

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Lunch River Rafting

 

 

ELEPHANT TREK


A quick drive away from the river, our van stopped on an elephant camp. A few of our tour friends went riding with the gentle giants while we waited on a shaded hut. I’m not really that keen on riding elephants, seeing firsthand how trainers bend their will to obey commands using cruel pointed steel goads. But if other people want their elephant rides, I really wouldn’t lecture them about it.

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Elephant Trek

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Elephant Trek

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Elephant Trek

 

 

SAI YOK NOI WATERFALL


I was actually quite excited for the last part of our Kanchanaburi Tour (well, it was supposedly the last, were we able to board the train before lunch), a visit to a waterfalls!

Our van parked on a wide road beset on one side by stalls hawking all sorts of street food and fruits, then our driver pointed us to a park across the road. Sai Yok Noi Waterfalls is located at the Sai Yok National Park, and at first, I thought we’d have to hike or trek to get there. But it turns out, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the road where we parked!

The climb going to the cascade itself didn’t take two minutes, but we were disheartened to find it bone dry. Since we visited during the summer months and there were hardly any rains in the region, there wasn’t a single drop on the ten-meter waterfall.

But no matter, the park also has other attractions beside the falls. There are two caves in the area, Krasae and Dawadung Caves, the latter I heard has remarkable stalactite formations. The Death Railway also passes on the park and there’s even an actual station within. I actually thought that’s where we’re gonna ride the train from.

Death Railway Tour Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

Death Railway Tour Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

Death Railway Tour Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

 

 

THE DEATH RAILWAY TRAIN RIDE


We waited for the rain to abate before proceeding to a train station about half an hour away from the waterfalls. And we were just in time.

A few saffron-robed monks were boarding as we alighted from our tour van, then the train whistle choo-chooed. It slowly chugged to life as soon as we sat on its uncushioned wooden benches. Excited, we each took a window-seat.

The train operates on the revived parts of the Thai-Burma Railway and passes along the tracks literally made with blood, sweat and tears by 60,000 war prisoners and 180,000 romusha or forced laborers. 106,000 of these died in the making of the railway we were passing on. These thoughts were on my mind as we passed through rocks blasted for the rail to pass through, rivers and ravines spanned by wooden and steel trestles.

Passengers started to get excited as we started to cross the Tham Kra Sae Overlook. It’s one of the most scenic parts of the Death Railway train ride, the tracks riding along a sheer rock face with an expansive serene river below. The train crawls slowly through the path, letting everyone take their photographs and selfies, before pushing to regular speed again.

Our accidentally missing the midday train ride turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was the perfect ride to cap our day in Kanchanaburi.

Death Railway Tour Train Ride

Death Railway Tour Train Ride

Death Railway Tour Train Ride

 

 

Kanchanaburi Death Railway Tour
Address: Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand
Duration: Whole Day
Inclusion: Air-Conditioned Van, Guide, National Park Entrance,
               All Admission Fees, Lunch, Hotel Pick-Up & Drop-Off
Package Options: Join in Tour | Private Group 2-3 Persons | Private Group 4+ Persons
Free Pickup: Sukhumvit 24, Siam, Silom, Sathorn, Pratunam and Khao San
►► BOOK THE TOUR ONLINE

THIS POST IS MADE POSSIBLE BY KLOOK. VIEWS AND OPINIONS, ALL MINE.

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok Executive Lounge

Tired and grimy, we slumped on the soft outdoor benches of Hilton’s executive lounge with cold bottles of Chang and plates of sushi on our table. In dusty trek pants and shoes, in total opposite to the impeccably dressed guests at the lounge, we sipped our beer like we were wearing fancy tuxedos and dresses.

We’re finally in Bangkok and we’re here only for one thing. Staycation.

Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok Facade
CHECKING IN AT HILTON SUKHUMVIT IN BANGKOK

We departed for Bangkok early that same day, taking an hour to find a songthaew in front of Boonya Resort in Koh Chang and another thirty minutes for it to bring us to the port. The ferry crossing and the ride to the bus depot took an hour-and-a-half, and then the long bus ride to Bangkok. It was almost five in the afternoon when we arrived at Hilton Sukhumvit—just in time for their free cocktail hour!

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Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Friday, July 7, 2017