How to Travel to a Beach Paradise with Your Bestfriends Under BND500

Every year I look forward to a getaway with my best friends. It is usually a whirlwind holiday, filled with our incessant laughter terrorizing small, quiet paradises and its inhabitants.

This year we decided on going back to our favorite country (Philippines), smack dab in the middle of typhoon season, and visit the much hyped Palawan Islands!

Read on to check out our itinerary!

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Sakura in Japan Under BND1800

I just came back from one of my favouritest countries in the world – Japan.

This was my third visit – I’ve visited Tokyo, Fukushima, Sendai before and now on this trip I visited Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya. I generally don’t visit a country many times UNLESS I really love it haha.

When mentioning Japan, everyone thinks of how expensive it is but I honestly feel it’s comparable to Singapore – and I also think London is still way more expensive considering when I went there I didn’t even stay in a hotel!

Anyway, airfares, accommodation, transport and WIFI all in for under BND1800 – check it out below!

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TRAVELOGUES: 5 THINGS ABOUT SHANGHAI

While Beijing is the capital of China, full of culture and wonderful history, Shanghai is the modern, cosmopolitan and progressive counterpart.

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At Shanghai Railway Station: Arrived in Shanghai by train from Beijing – fresh and rested.

Being the most populous city in the WORLD, before coming I had a few ideas on what it can be like – a big, sprawling metropolis with a lot of people.

Being there however, I realise how exciting a city Shanghai is, how promising a life there can be and how lucky are the people ensconced in its embrace.

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TRAVELOGUES: 5 THINGS ABOUT BEIJING

During my recent China trip, aside from traveling to Shanghai, we also had a little side trip to the capital of China, Beijing. I have to say, Beijing that I visited is not like the one I envisioned at all.

Read on to see 5 things I learned about Beijing, and hey, a little bonus when you’re done, I’ve put together my Ultimate Winter Checklist available for FREE download to help you pack for your own winter getaway!

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Snow in Shanghai & Beijing under BND1000

Travelling during winter has its pros and cons.

Yes it is cold, and yes it does mean sometimes you can’t feel your fingers. You need to buy winter clothes that you will never ever use again in Brunei and I’ve even heard of people experiencing skincare freezing on their faces.

But, if you are lucky, you get to experience: SNOW.

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Coming from Brunei, snow to me is romantic and magical. It’s a weather phenomenon that brings with it notions of softness, delicateness and all around siukness. You get to build a snowman (cue Frozen’s snowman song) and make snowballs!

Most people think that you need to go to  travel far and wide to Europe to see snow but as it turns out, there is a surprisingly affordable snow destination only 4 hours away from Brunei.

Shanghai.

To be honest, China was never on my “list”. Yes, I have dreams of traversing through the Great Wall of China but I’ve always thought China would be a crowded mess, difficult, and noisy. Unfortunately, the Chinese that I come across during my travels are not great ambassadors of their country.

I would like to admit what a gross misjudgment that was.

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Both Shanghai and Beijing were amazing cities! People were so friendly and kind to us, it’s so lovely to walk around in, amenities are clean and conveniently placed, plus they have the MOST AWESOME PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM IN THE WORLD. Best of all, it did not feel crowded at all!

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MIND. BLOWN.

Over the month of February, I’d be posting about my trip, plus tips to get around the Shanghai and Beijing, apps you can download, how to communicate, how to keep in touch with people back home, and the halal food situation.

For now, check out our budget and itinerary for the whole trip below!

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Passport, Bag & No Idea Where I was Going

Would you go to a destination you know nothing about?

Few months ago, Emma Good Egg forwarded us a link to a website that organises “surprise trips”. I thought: wow!

How can I travel and not know where I’m going? Well, it involves a secret destination, all accommodation arranged for you as well as airfares.

All you need is a date.

That scares me to no end! What if I dont like the destination they chose? What if they put me up in a yucky hotel? What if my roommate is a cockroach? What if there’s no halal food? What am I going to eat?

I followed them on Instagram.

I thought it was crazy scary, and yet, genius.

Stalked them obsessively, kept on talking about it at the office and asking everyone would they do it?

Eventually I had enough: I had to try it.

“Ching wanna go on a trip with me next month?” I asked my colleague, sitting next to my table. She was typing furiously on her computer, chasing a deadline.

“Huh? Erm ok I guess?” She said absentmindedly.

“Ok u owe me $300. We’ll find out where we are going by mail.”

Bewildered, and feeling conned (again) my colleague agreed.

Few days later, received this:

Omg sport shoes 😧

What is “thin long pants”???

Are we going to climb Mount Rinjani???

Scarier and scarier!!!

Date loomed closer and fear turned to worry when the mail did not arrive. WHERE ARE WE GOING????

2 days before the trip I emailed the Anywhr team and they promptly emailed us our tickets and itinerary.

I now know where we were going,

But guess who printed everything out and recreated the Anywhr envelope?

Me.

And guess where we were going?

Mui Ne, Vietnam.

Where?!

Check out my journey here:

So would you go travel to somewhere you know nothing about?

YES.

Did I enjoy it?

IMMENSELY.

Will I do it again?

ABSOLUTELY.

Do I recommend it to u?

YES YES YES!

When Girls Travel: 5 Things about Hua Hin

During the fasting month, I travelled with my bestfriends to Hua Hin, a fancy schmancy getaway town frequented by Bangkokians and the Royal Thai family.

It’s just a quick drive away, you can just rent a super comfy van or simply buy a train ticket from Bangkok all the way to Hua Hin.

Usually I’d go through the trouble of going via train, but hey it’s the fasting month so I arranged everything to be as easy as possible – HAHA. The van picked us up at the hotel and we zoomed to Hua Hin.

FYI I booked a van from 12goasia, which basically is a booking engine for vans, taxis, busses, ferries, trains. First time trying them and we were quite pleased!

Anyway, here are 5 things about Hua Hin!

1. It is a beautiful and quiet beach town!

Me and my girlfriends spend whole days just hanging out at the beach!

2. So many affordable beachfront resorts and gentle waves!

This was very evident in the booking process! There were so many good deals around and we were super spoilt for choice!

We love the resort we were staying at, but it was just the tip of the iceberg! There were so many to fit your budget, your group, or your requirements!

All resorts were designed to be super private, safe, and surrounded with security (humans and strategic foliage) to ensure that we don’t have to worry about a thing!

Our resort, The Crest Santora, was located I suppose on the main resort belt, and was a beachfront property. The room can comfortably fit us 5, and as u can see, more!

The area is so beautiful and tastefully designed too!

3. People come here to play pretend!

Hua Hin is full of themed malls, parks and gardens and it is such a joy to take photos in! In fact, we took so many pictures! Until I wanted to pass out from the heat!

See below!

Pretend you’re in Santorini

Pretend you’re in Venice

Pretend you’re a mermaid

Pretend you’re in Holland? Swiss farm? (This one a bit confusing)

Pretend you’re upside down

The above all taken at the:

The Venezia Hua Hin

Santorini Park

Swiss Sheep Farm

4. They preserve their heritage in new and interesting ways!

I love the way they try to incorporate the old and the new – like the beautiful Plearn Wan an open air mall/shopping village, which was actually like a living museum.

Then there’s the railway station which I think is the most beautiful train station I’ve ever seen in my life! It is maintained so well and is extremely clean. Some railway staff were even wearing old vintage uniforms and really brought in an awesome vibe.

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5. Delicious seafood!

The thing about travelling while fasting is u really only have 1 meal at sunset and plenty of snacks only at night.

Also, you are super hungry so you cant really judge if the food is genuinely delicious or you’re just super hungry 😂

However i reaaaaaaaaaally enjoyed the meals we had! It could be the fasting, it could be the food or it could just be the company! I love all the meals we had and i love that Hua Hin is halal friendly with an abundance of seafood! Have fish will eat!

Here we are at a seaside restaurant recommended by our taxi driver ❤️

And here’s one meal we had at the night market before shopping!

I recommend Hua Hin to people of all ages and highly recommend it for best friend trips, couple trips, family trips and especially if you are the type who looooooooves to take photos! 😂

However, I don’t really recommend this place for fasting month hahahahah. Theres so much delicious food and outdoor activities that you don’t wanna miss! For us we were too exhausted and thirsty to do anything! 😂

Hua Hin is easily accessible from Bangkok. Royal Brunei flies to Bangkok daily.

The end!