Memaparkan catatan dengan label Traveling. Papar semua catatan
Memaparkan catatan dengan label Traveling. Papar semua catatan

Thinking About Writing a Travel Blog?

It is Sunday and I got some free time sitting before my laptop thinking about what to do with this blog. I haven't had much time to write lately, my 9-6 job demanding much of my time.

The last time I posted a fresh content in this blog was several months ago. If you are thinking about becoming a full-time blogger, I probably far from it.

But, this blog have been around for several years now, abandoning it now is not the option but keeping it updated also sounds hard to me. Can any of you be my guest writer? You can contribute some article, I will put a link back to your site. I think that sounds like a good deal right? 

Now coming back to the question on what to do with this blog? I got some option although saying it easier than actually doing it. I'm thinking of turning this blog into a travel journal or travel blog where I will record and share with my readers my traveling trip. 

Ok, so turning this blog into a traveling blog sounds so much interesting, pack my bag and go somewhere and write about it. But then again traveling needs money. Getting the money to be able to travel is one hell of a problem. That will not be a problem if this blog is making money but as we talk here it is not making that much. 

Emm... sounds like hitting a brick wall, don't know what to do now. I got an idea, why don't you guys email me your traveling stories, if it is interesting then may be we can work out a something as a gesture of appreciation for your article? I'm open for discussion for it. 

I traveled and backpacking to a few countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Laos but never really write about my journey. I dare to say that I'm a very experience backpacker having done it for may years on boot strapped budget. What a waste of money and time. I think this time around I will really take sometimes to write about my trip and share them here.

Anyway,  this blog is not going 100% as a travel blog but I will write more about some traveling stories soon. Just so that this blog is updated and that this blog become useful again.
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Hanoi traveling stories

This year was pretty busy year for me. So I decided to take 10 days leaves and hide myself somewhere far away from home and work. I think sharing my traveling stories in Hanoi with you is not going to make my traveling less fun. So follow me for 10 days in Hanoi.

Day 1
I left Kota Kinabalu around midnight last night. Landing in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) around 1.00am. Then flew into Hanoi at 6.15am this morning. Arrived in Hanoi International Airport at 8.05am. Now the the real thing has just began. Getting the right taxi is something you got be really careful.

I managed to get the good one and it cost me USD 17 which I think quite reasonable. Actually the lady at the information counter told me that last time the taxi fare from Hanoi International Airport to the city center was USD10, but she said that was many years ago and now the new fare is USD 20. When I ask the staff who coordinate the taxis just outside the airport she told me the fare is USD17 with Vietnam Airlines Taxi. I did not managed to get the taxi fare of Noi Boi Taxis also one of the transport provider from the airport to the city. I heard many people had a bad taxi experience in Hanoi Airport. It took me 30 minutes walking around observing the sltuation before I made my mind jumping into one taxi driver to discuss the cost. Good thing now taxi there are properly regulated by the airport staffs.

I asked the taxi to send me to Lucky Star Hotel. Actually I did not booked with that hotel, just making use of its name as my drop of point as I know there will be many other hotels around the area. But then when I asked Lucky Star Hotel and found out that their room charges is onlt USD25, which I think quite reasonable I took up the room. With big and nice room, hot shower, big TV, king size bed, friendly hotel staffs, internet services and close to the lake, what more you could ask for USD25? I think Lucky Star is one of the best hotel in Hanoi. The hotel staffs was very helpful and accomodative. The hotel is located at a very strategic location in Old Quarter. Everything is just nearby withing walking distance.

Now, Hanoi is pretty busy city. Thousands if not millions of motorbikes on the road. For a newbies in this town, I found it difficult to cross the road but got used to it after several hours negotiating the traffics. Price of foods here are reasonable, mostly those food stalls on the road/street selling all types of local foods.

Night life in Hanoi is not bad, except that there are not so many karaoke, only one that I know of is the one near the railway station. SPA and massage is easy to get but they all charges pretty expensive. So if you are thinking about having a SPA, may be you can do it at the smaller city in Vietnam. Hanoi is so used to tourist that SPA become so expensive now.

One thing I like the most is the beer is so cheap. A big glass (almost the size of water jug) of draught local beers will cost you about RM2 or USD 0.60? Haha.

Tomorrow I am thinking of getting out of Hanoi to Lang Son, a small city located at the northeastern part of Hanoi. From there I will go up to Mau Son Mountian and prpbably will stay there for about 1 night. I intend to enjoy my Christmas Day somewhere at the smaller city in Vietnam instead of Hanoi.

And ahhh..I can't access my facebook here in Hanoi. It seems Facebook is blocked here in the hotel internet or the whole of Hanoi? Let ma find out tomorrow.

Day 2
Traveling to Lang Son

I'm here in Lang Son, Vietnam just arrived this afternoon. The bus to Lang Son was arranged by the hotel staff where I was staying. It cost me USD7 which I think it should be cheaper but well, the hotel takes care everything from sending you to the bus station up to telling the bus driver where you should be droped off. So it was OK to paying some extra Dong for those extra services.

I found a hotel by the name Dong Kinh Hotel, that is quite nice and clean. It cost me 300,000 VND / night. I think it is reasonable. The only problem is there is no internet connection (wifi) here and now I have to look for cyber cafe. I think most of the hotel in Lang Son do not have WiFi services expect those big fancy hotel of which I noticed only one here. Luckily Dong Kinh Hotel is located in a pretty strategic location,close to everything like bus station, internet cafe, ATM machines, restaurant, and market.  So I spent the day doing nothing just walking around aimless tyring to feel the pulse of the city. And I had a big dinner at one of the restaurant.

Language problem

I found is difficult to get what I want here in this city. It seems English language useless here. Nobody seems to understand English, not even the ladies at the hotel reception counter. Ordering food is a big problem. They don't understand you, and yet their menu is all in Vietnamese language without translation to English. So make sure you learn some Vietnamese language when you travel to this part of Vietnam. The same problem when you trying to get a Taxi or buying anything in the shop. So your bargaing skills here doesn't works. :P

Day 3

I spent the morning getting a good breakfast at the food stall by the roadside near the hotel. After that  I spent the whole morning visiting the two large caves located within walking-distant from Dong Kinh Hotel. I forgot the names of the caves. I will mention them later in the next update.

The caves was pretty big and beautiful but since I'm not so interested in visiting cave so I took me only 1 hour to cover the two caves in Lang Son city.

Traveling to Mau Son Mountian
Right after the caves, I found a motorbikes who agree to send me up on Mau Son Mountian. Mou Son is located at about 1500 meters above sea level on the Chinese-Vietnam boarder. The journey going up the mountian takes about 35 minutes navigating a winding roads. It cost me 200,000 VND for the journey with the motorbike.

The tempreture up there is freezing cold that I need to put on 3 layers of clothes all the time. The cold tempreture coupled with strong wind blowing at such a high speed making the stay up there very torturing. So I spent the afternoon sitting around the fire pit at the open space near the hotel with the local to stay warm. We sat there for hours but I was just listening as I don't understand what was being talked about, and they can't speak English.

Again, language problem is the main big thing there. Check-in to the hotel requires extra energy to talk with the  hotel/homestay owner. You will need hand sign/body language plus some drawing skills on the paper to get what you need. The good thing is the people are so friendly and accomodation is also cheap. It cost me only 200,000 VND per night which I think quite cheap for such good room.

Day 4

Now I'm back here in Lang Son, staying at the same hotel. I'm thinking about spending 2 night here. I will attend church services for the Christmas here. I'm still looking around whether or not there is any church here. So after this, I will go out hunting for church for tomorrow Christmas. Good luck to me.

To be continue....
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ATM machines in Sapa Valley Hanoi

I'm still preparing myself mentally and financially for my trip to Hanoi this year. There are several things that I need to confirm.

The first thing is ATM Machines facility in Sapa Valley. Sapa Valley in the Northern province of Hanoi is my must visit area. I was looking for much more information about several items such as accommodation, transportation and ATM machines in Sapa Valley.

I managed to get enough information about accommodation and the mode of transportation to get in and out of Sapa Valley but not the ATM Machines. So right until now, I'm still not sure whether there are ATM machines facility in Sapa.

The thing is I don't want to have too much cash with me while on the move due to security reason. I normally only take out cash from ATM when I'm running out of cash. I'm not sure how much cash to prepare for my journey to that mountainous Northern Region of Hanoi.

I was looking for some clue from tripadvisor.com about ATM Machine in Sapa but there was none. So I guess I will need to really calculate the cost for a 3 days stay in Sapa Valley. I don't want to stuck there not being able to pay for transport, rooms and meals. That is going to be a very troublesome moment and I don't wish to experience it.

Now the next question is since there are no ATM machine facility in Sapa, how much cash do I need to prepare for the trip? Good question. May be I should calculate to cost for the train, bus and hotel to get some idea how much the whole trip to Sapa will cost me.

I need some help here. If some of you who read this blog post have some information about ATM machine in Sapa Valley and the approximate cost for a 3 days 2 nights in Sapa Valley please share them here. I seriously need some information about it. 
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Malaysia Airlines (MAS) promotion fares out of Kota Kinabalu

I really think that this is one of the best news for frequent travelers so far from Malaysia Airlines. I saw this news items in the local newspaper today in Kota Kinabalu. Malaysia Airlines (MAS) offers attractive fares out of Kota Kinabalu. This news items is worth sharing with you.

Statement from MAS today, Sunday, that they are offering promotional fares to everyone for its business and economy class from today until end of this year.

With this new fares, a return economy class from Kota Kinabalu to Seol Korea is RM994, and RM998 to Haneda/Tokyo and RM1,100 to Perth Australia. I think flight out to Perth is the most attractive one to enjoy the summer in West Australia.

I think this is the best deal so far from MAS for their international flight out of Kota Kinabalu. We hope this promotion will be extended to other international destination soon.

And all fares are inclusives of taxes and surcharges. ohh wow..so flying to Perth this coming December is very cheap. I don't see any reason why this is not attractive. Unfortunetely I already bought my flight ticket to Hanoi Kota Kinabalu, otherwise traveling to Perth would be my best choice for holiday this year. My return flight ticket from Kota Kinabalu to Hanoi was RM954, almost the same cost to Perth Australia (full in-flight services including the food)  with MAS a direct flight from Kota Kinabalu.

According to MAS the promotional fares were to encourage travelers to book and pay for thier non-stop flight from Kota Kinabalu and still enjoy full in-flight services at no extra cost during thier travel.

Now this is very interesting. If this promotion continue, I can see now that Airasia is also offering the same services and fares for thier international flight from Kota Kinabalu. Competition is good after all :)

Anyway to cut the story short, Malaysia Airlines operates daily flight to Taipei and Hong Kong, four times weekly to Seol, three times weekly to Haneda/Tokyo and Perth and twice weekly to Osaka from Kota Kinabalu.
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Visa requirement to visit Vietnam

I wrote about my future trip to visit Hanoi, Vietnam for my year-end holiday this coming December 2011. All preparation financially and mentally are being prepared. Just in case you are interested to read about what I wrote previously about Hanoi Vietnam you can do so here and here.

One more thing  that I need to find out is the Visa requirement to visit Vietnam for Malaysian. I did some research to find an answer to this very important issue. I type 'Visa requirement to visit Vietnam for Malaysian' and found out that there are actually an agreement between the government of Malaysia and Vietnam about the matter.

According to the agreement, Malaysian does not need to apply for Visa to enter Vietnam for a visit up to 30 days. Social visit such as holiday or attending meeting within 30 days does not need Visa for Malaysian. Actually the permission to enter Vietnam will be given on arrival.

So this is a good news. Having to apply Visa is not something I love to do unless it is extremely necessary. I don't really have much love to go up and down the embassy office just to get a visa. Thanks God visiting Vietnam do not need visa for Malaysian.

OK, so maybe you are still not fully convinced about it. You may read about it further here.
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