Backpacking Southeast Asia: Kuala Lumpur

Saying goodbye to Malacca was no easy feat. On the day of our departure, I wanted to dig in my heels and spend more time exploring the terracotta “museum city” whose streets were jam-packed with tourists, noisy trishaws, and vendors. Our hotel was also quite hard to leave behind after the warmth and comfort it had so easily given.

Although Malacca was a breather from the sprawling urban maze and tech hub that was Singapore, it did not quite dampen the buzz of Kuala Lumpur when we stepped off the train in KL Sentral.

Continue reading “Backpacking Southeast Asia: Kuala Lumpur”

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Backpacking Southeast Asia: Malacca

Nestled conveniently between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the historical city of Malacca is a stop that’s worth at least 4-6 days. There are so many museums, galleries, and ruins within walking distance of the famous Dutch Square, and our 2 and a half day stay was too short.

When I made our itinerary, I thought that it would be enough to cover most of the important sights and museums. However, our hotel room was too cozy to leave first thing in the morning, and the rather sleepy feel of the city (excluding Dutch Square, Jonker Street, and the nearby malls) tempted us to dawdle. Continue reading “Backpacking Southeast Asia: Malacca”

Backpacking Southeast Asia: Singapore

Back in 2014, I stayed in Singapore for 8 days. Our itinerary then revolved around sustainable urban development, history, culture, the environment, some shopping, and a bit of fun here and there. This time around, I had to put together an itinerary that didn’t include the Land Transportation Office and Housing & Development Board. Continue reading “Backpacking Southeast Asia: Singapore”

Backpacking Southeast Asia: Planning and Budgeting

Before, during, and after the trip, I got a lot of questions that went along the lines of how I planned everything. The easier-said-than-done answer: research and an attempt at foresight. So much of the two that there were times when I wanted to call everything off because it was too exhausting.

It started as nothing more but a mad idea that emerged during my internship. Traveling from Cebu to Lapu-Lapu (and vice versa) every day gave me a lot of idle time on my hands, and it was in one of my many v-hire rides that I came across AirAsia’s ASEAN Pass. Ever the wanderluster, I went into extensive research about traveling around Southeast Asia, its plausibility, affordability, and where the Pass would come in handy. After a couple of days, I decided the Pass wasn’t something I wanted to use. International borders could be crossed by land, and the Pass had limits that would drive me crazy. Continue reading “Backpacking Southeast Asia: Planning and Budgeting”

Packing for 37 days

It’s 3 in the morning, 19 hours before our flight to Singapore (the beginning of our 37-day Southeast Asia trip), and I’m wide awake, reading and rereading the letter I wrote to lao peh before I graduated. Surely the feelings in the letter will help me sleep. The past 8 hours have been spent packing (and unpacking), printing airline tickets, making two more itineraries, and generally fretting over the littlest things. The pre-trip jitters have come rather early, but considering I’ll be with 4 first-time international travelers and 1 other person who hasn’t been to Singapore,  I think my anxiety is warranted.

My packing still isn’t done. I haven’t had my money changed. I forgot to print hotel booking confirmations. I don’t have offline maps. My iPod isn’t ready. I’m not ready. Will I ever be ready? But I want to go now. Continue reading “Packing for 37 days”