Absolutely Must Give It A Try At The Last Minute: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Absolutely Must: Explore the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat
Angkor Park
Angkor Archaelogical Park

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 29

Travel Must-haves: The North Face Hot Shot Backpack

Product Review: The North Face Hot Shot Backpack

If you have decided that traveling will constantly be on your life plans you need to start investing on quality travel gears and accessories. Obviously the first thing every traveler need to personally own is a backpack, hence the term backpacker. You can borrow a luggage or suitcase and even a camera but it is best to have your very own backpack.

My criteria for a good backpack are the three F's. Fit, Function and Features. I would like to say that I have scoured every travel store in the metro in search of the perfect bag. I did not. I went to one store and got out with The North Face Hot Shot backpack. Yep that simple, I came, I saw, I try and then I paid. When I tried out this baby I didn't hesitate one bit and just immediately bought it because it met all of my criteria. That and I was running out of time.

The North Face Hot Shot
front and back of The North Face Hot Shot

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 28

Bandung 1 Day City Tour (Part 3: Tea, Beer and Satay)

As if I haven't been to enough shops yet, I went for a walk outside my hotel to check out Jalan Cihampelas a.k.a Jeans Street before meeting up with Eddie. Cihampelas is a popular tourist attraction in Bandung because of its unique shopping experience. It is not the typical shops like the one in Dago. Here, the price is cheap and the clothes are not brand names. The main attraction of this place is its superhero and cartoon setting that appeals largely to the younger crowd.

Just like Malioboro in Yogyakarta, Cihampelas is a busy and crowded street lined with stores on both sides. But if batik is to Malioboro, jeans of all kinds is the prime commodity in Cihampelas.
Cihampelas Jeans Street
Cihampelas Jeans Street
They may not be brand names but having customized jeans from Batman, Mr. Bean, Superman and Spiderman is definitely way cooler.
Cihampelas Jeans Street
Superhero and Cartoon themed shops

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 27

Bandung 1 Day City Tour (Part 2: Factory Outlets)

Jalan Dago Factory Outlets

Bandung, much like Jakarta is a shopper's paradise. You cannot go one mile without passing by a shopping mall. I am not a shopaholic nor a mall rat. When I go to a mall I tend to spend waste my money on junk foods, crappy movies and overprice coffee rather than any piece of fashionable clothing. Clearly, this is not my favorite part of the day but shopping is one of Bandung's main attraction so when in Rome, right?

First stop, Jalan Dago. This street is where you will find a row of factory outlets that sells imported clothes and accessories from the US.

Bandung Factory Outlets
Jet Set Factory Outlet

At Jetset you can score this Havaianas flipflops for just 145,000 IDR or 15 USD.
Bandung Factory Outlets

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 26

Bandung 1 Day City Tour (Part 1: Tangkuban Perahu)

Tangkuban Perahu

Although a favorite getaway by the Jakartans, most tourists consider Bandung as a stopover city. Travelers don't stay there for days and weeks like Yogyakarta and Bali. It is however a good city to spend a couple of days to kickstart or cap off your Java Island itinerary.

If you have 450,000 IDR or 50 USD to spare why not spend it for a full day in Bandung. That cost includes the car, fuel and driver for 12 hours anywhere you want to go in Bandung. Here's how I did it.

I booked the tour the day before from Cihampelas Hotel where I also stayed. I liked that the car and the driver are in-house and not from a car rental agency. I felt safer going alone knowing that the hotel will be held accountable if anything goes wrong.

Cihampelas Hotel
Cihampelas Hotel tour receipt
The following day, after eating breakfast from the hotel I went to the lobby to meet Eddie. He is one of the hotel's highly recommended drivers. Eddie is warm and friendly from the get go. He might not be easy to communicate with because of his very limited knowledge of the English language but he more than makes up for it by taking great photos.

The entrance fee for Tangkuban Perahu when I went there is as follows:
Local Visitors- 13,000 IDR per person and 10,000 per vehicle
Foreign Visitors- 50,000 IDR per person and 15,000 per vehicle

I paid 36,000 IDR overall for Eddie, myself and the car. Yes, I passed as a local. No, I didn't have to pretend. I just have to shut my mouth and let Eddie do the talking. This had been one of the few things going for me in Indonesia and I don't even have to try. Almost all of the tourist attractions in Java have different entrance fees for locals and foreigners and the difference is 300% at the very least. I know its wrong to pay the local fee but but but... Yes, its wrong no excuses. Do I feel guilty? Sure. Do I regret it? No. Please don't judge me.

Tangkuban Perahu
entrance to Tangkuban Perahu

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 25

People Watching At Suan Santi Chaiprakarn Park

Suan Santi Chaiprakarn Park is located along the bank of the Chao Phraya River. It is directly beside the Phra Arthit Pier and a 10 minute leisurely walk from Khao San Road. People who are tired of the gritty and rowdy scene of Khao San get together in this park to chill and relax. This park offers a different kind of fun: wholesome, refreshing and you won't spend a dime.

You can go fishing at the Chao Phraya River like this guy.

Admire the wall carvings like this little guy and his cool dad.

Take a photo overlooking the Rama VIII Bridge.

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 24

Getting There: Khao San Road, Bangkok

How to reach Khao San Road from any point in Bangkok

Despite of Khao San's popularity and being a backpacker's haven there is no train station within easy reach to this favorite hotspot. It is disappointing since Bangkok trains are very efficient and the most practical way to get around the city. Apparently nobody minds, its the train's lost anyway because the influx of tourists visiting Khao San continues to surge.

There are 3 ways to reach Khao San from any point in Bangkok

1. Taxi or Tuktuk
Khao San Road
Don't be fooled, those little Tuktuks may be cute and exotic but it is also more expensive than riding a cab. But if you are in a rush and want to experience how the Tuktuk drivers weave through the crazy Bangkok traffic then you are definitely gonna be in for a fun ride. Tuktuks don't use a meter so be sure to haggle and agree to a price before riding. Bangkok taxis on the other hand are metered and has a flag down rate of THB 35 or a little less than 1 USD. 

Yes To Travel: Reason No. 23