June 05, 2012

Backpacking 101: Budget and Itinerary INDOCHINA

To start with my Indochina Adventure, let me just start by enumerating my itinerary and actual expenses to help you guys build your own Indochina Adventure itinerary. This IT is detailed with my own experience and preferences.  



That's 1,002 Kilometers!!! 


Manila to Ho Chi Min

  • 20:00-21:00 - House to NAIA Terminal 3
  • 21:00-21:30 - Check in.  
Note: Doing this for an international flight is much longer than domestic flight.       
Tip: Pay first the travel tax located at the right side of the airport to save time.

Manila-Ho Chi Min Ticket was booked six months in advance
  • 21:30-22:00 - Paid Travel Tax  (Php1,620.00)
                       - Paid Terminal Fee (Php550.00)
                       - Proceed to the immigration.
Tip: The immigration officer will try to intimidate you (at least in my case) just be confident because you are not hiding something. 
  • 22:00-22:05 - Final Security Check.
  • 22:05-22:45 - Wait for boarding. 
                                 -Bought a bottle of water (Php50.00)
  • 22:45 - 23:00 - Boarding
  • 23:00 - 1:00 - Travel Time

Day 1 Arrival Ho Chi Min City 
Chu Chi Tunnel Tour and Ben Thanh Market Shopping
The jolly 'masungit' but intelligent tour guide.
  • 1:00 - 1:30 - Immigration 
  • 1:30 - 2:00 – Travelled from Tan Son Nhat Airport to De Than Road Halo Guesthouse via single motorcycle. (150,000d)
  • 2:00 - 2:10 - Inquired and pay for Chu Chi Tunnel Tour (105,000d)
  • 2:10 - 7:00 - Rest!
  • 7:00 - 8:00 - Breakfast. 
                    - Free Pho from the  Guesthouse! Bought some water in the hotel for the tour            
                      (16,000d)
  • 8:00 - 10:30 - Travel to Chu Chi Tunnel. 
                      -Bought Banana Shake during stop over (40,000d)
                      -Paid the entrance to Chu Chi Tunnel (80,000d)
                       -Bought mosquito replant as advice by the tour guide (30,000d) 
  • 10:30 - 12:00 - Guided Tour.
                         - Bought some snack (30,000d)
                         - Bought coke (15,000d)
  • 12:00 - 14:00 – Travel back to the Guesthouse
  • 14:00 - 15:00 - Rest!
  • 15:00 - 15:20 - Walked towards Ben Thanh Market
  • 15:20 - 15:30 – Lunch at Ben Thanh Market. Spring roll and 333 (Bababa) beer (36,000d)
  • 15:30 - 17:00 - Shopping (860,000d)
                         - Bought C2 Drink (18,000d)
  • 17:00 - 17:20 – Travel back to the Guesthouse 
                         - Bought soap (9,000d)
  • 17:20 - 18:00 – Rest.
  • 18:00 - 21:00 - Strolled the City and had dinner (68,000d)
  • 21:00 - 21:05 - Back to the Guesthouse 
                      - Paid the Ticket going to Siem Reap (399,000d). Booked by the guesthouse.

Day 2 Ho Chi Min City 
Tour (Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedrl, Post Office, Diamond Plaza) & Behn Than Market Shopping
  • 8:00 - 9:00 – Prepare.
  • 9:00 - 9:30 - Bread for Breakfast
  • 9:30 - 10:00 - Walked toward to Reunification Palace
Note: This was a long walk, about 1.5-2 kilometers, but I decided to do so because I wanna see the city via foot.
                         
The guesthouse/hostel i rented located at De Tham St.
                          - Bought Coconut Drink (50,000d)
  • 10:00 - 11:30 - Toured Reunification Palace (30,000d)
  • 11:30 - 12:00 - Lunch  (56,000d)
  • 12:00 - 13:00 - Toured Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Post Office and Diamond Plaza.                 
                          -Bought snack (7,000d)
  • 13:00 - 13:30 - Walked towards War Remnant Museum 
  • 13:30 - 15:30 - Toured War Remnant Museum (15,000d)
  • 15:30 - 16:00 – Walked towards Ben Than Market
  • 16:00 - 17:00 - Shopping (240,000d)
  • 17:00 - 17:30 - Back to the Guesthouse
  • 17:30 - 18:30 - Rest.
  • 18:30 - 20:00 - Strolled the City at night. Had snack at Yogurt House (68,000d). Dinner (71,000d)
  • 20:00 - 21:00 - Stayed in Crazy Buffalo for a Beer (48,000d)
  • 21:00 - 7:00 - Rest and ready for Siem Reap!

Day 3: 12 Hours Bus Ride Towards Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
Onward Cambodia!
  • 6:30 - 7:00 - Get Ready for Siem Reap
  • 7:00 - 7:30 - Breakfast. (13,000d) 
Note: Had to pay for extra Bread and bought some water for the long trip.          
  • 7:30 - 8:00 - Settle everything in the Guesthouse Reception. Paid for one extra night! ($3.00) 
Tip: Do not arrive at the hotel in the midnight till 6:00, they will charge you with one extra night. 
  • 8:00 - 8:30 - Proceed to the bus at Pham Ngu Lao Street. Wait for the other passenger.
    • Prepare passport and bus ticket.
    • Fill up Cambodia Immigration Card
  • 8:30 - 11:00 - Ho Chi Min to  Moc Bai  (Vietnamese Border)
  • 11:00 - 11:10 - Pass the Vietnam Immigration.                   

Border Crossing Procedure

    • The bus conductor will collect your passport for stamping.
    • Every one will go down the bus and go to the immigration.
    • No need to pay a Visa. Citizen from ASEAN member country are not required to get a visa. 
    • Your name will be called by an immigration officer.
    • Return to the bus to go to the Cambodian Border.

Cambodian Side Border
  • 11:10 -  11:15 - Moc Bai to Bavet (Cambodian Border) 
  • 11:15 - 11:30 - Pass the Cambodian Immigration

Border Crossing Procedure                          

    • Fall in line in the immigration.
    • Just do the necessary procedures. (Picture & Stamp; Finger Scan) 
    • Get back to the bus.
  • 11:30 - 11:50 - Travelled to the stop over for lunch.
  • 11:50 - 12:15 - Lunch. (40,000d)
  • 12:15 - 15:00 - Arrived at Phnom Penh.
  • 15:00 - 18:00 - Toured Phnom Penh.
    • Eat Dinner at KFC ($4.00)
  • 18:00 - 22:00 - Phnom Penh to Kampong Thom
  • 22:00 - 22:20 - Stop Over
  • 22:20 - 00:30 - Arrived at Siem Reap
  • 00:30 - 1:00 - Travel to Bou Savy Hotel.

Day 4 Siem Reap 
Angkor Archeological Park Tour 
The Tuk-Tuk rushing to catch the Sunrise!
  • 4:30 - 5:00 - Prepare for the tour.
  • 5:00 - 5:20 - Travel to Angkor Wat
    • Bought 1 Day Passes Ticket. ($20.00)
  • 5:20 - 7:00 - Toured Angkor Wat. 
Tip: The best time to see the Angkor Wat is during Sunrise =)
  • 7:00 - 7:20 - Travel Back to the hotel for breakfast
  • 7:20 - 13:40 - Travel to Bayon and other Major temple.
    • Bought water ($.50)
    • Lunch ($5.50) this is expensive because the restaurant is located inside the                temple complex.
    • Bought water ($.50)
  • 13:40 - 14:00 - Travel back to hotel
  • 14:00 - 17:00 - Rest!
  • 17:00 - 17:05 - Travel to Pub Street. ($1.00)
  • 17:05 - 18:00 - Dinner. ($6.00)
    • Shopping ($5.00)
  • 18:00 - 19:05 – Travel back to hotel ($1.00)
  • 19:05 - 20:00 - Fix things and settle other payments.
    • Tuk Tuk for the tour ($14.00) 
Note: The average payment for the Tour via TukTuk is $10-$12. The driver charge extra $2.00 for the Sunset viewing because we had to go back to the hotel for the hotel's free breakfast.
      
Day 5 Siem Reap to Bangkok
  • 6:00 - 7:00 – Prepare.
  • 7:00 - 8:00 - Breakfast and wait for the Bus
  • 8:00 - 12:00 -  Siem Reap - Poipet/Arranphayet (Cambodian Side of the border) ($6.00)
  • 12:00 - 12:30 - Cross Cambodian Immigration
The scammer!!!

Border Crossing Procedure

    • Walk towards the immigration.
    • Fall in line.
    • Give passport to the immigration officer. (Picture)
  • 12:30 - 13:00 - Cross Thai Immigration

Border Crossing Procedure

    • Walk towards the Thai side border.
    • Fall in line. 
    • Get the immigration card handed by the guard (of sort) and fill it in.
    • Fall in line inside.
    • Give Passport and immigration card to the immigration officer.
13:00 - 13:30 - Travel to Train station via Tuktuk (120b) 

Note: I was victimized by a scam of the Tuktuk driver that was why I paid 120b. Usually it will only cost you 50b-60b from Thai Border to Aranpayet Train Station. I will be writing a separate article for this experience. 

Train ticket Aranpayet to Bangkok.
  • 13:30 - 14:10 - Bought train ticket (48b)
    • Wait for the departure of the train.
    • Bought some drinks for the long journey (25b)
  • 14:10 - 17:40 - Aranpayet to Bangkok/Hualampong Station
    • Bought a mango for lunch from a train vendor. (20b)
  • 17:40 - 17:50 - Hualampong to Lumpini via MRT (20b)
  • 17:50 - 18:00 - Check in at Etzz Hostel.
  • 18:00 - 19:00 - Dinner (175.00b)
    • bought shampoo (20.00b)
    • bought podlock (50.00b). 
Note: The hostel does not provide locks for the lockers. No padlocks for rent only for sale.

Day 6 Bangkok 
Grand Palace, Wat Po, National Museum, Wat Arun Kao San Road
People of different nationality waiting for the ferry to arrive.
  • 6:00 - 6:30 - Preparation 
  • 6:30 - 7:00 - Breakfast at side street, bread with butter and milk (17.00b)
  • 7:00 - 7:30 -  Travel from Lumpini to Silom Via MRT (25.00b)
    • Train Interchange.
    • Silom to Saphan Taksin via BTS (20.00b)
  • 7:30 - 8:00 - Waited for the ferry in Sathorn/Saphan  Taksin
  • 8:00 - 8:20 -Travel from  Sathorn to Tha Chang Via Ferry (15.00b)
  • 8:20 - 9:00 - Walk from ferry station to the Grand Palace
  • 9:00 - 10:30 - Toured The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Budah (400.00b)
Note: The admission ticket is inclusive of The Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Budah, Vimanmek Museum which is far from the Grand Place complex and Royal Decoration and Coins. 
  • 10:30 - 11:00 - Walked from Grand Palace to Wat Po (The Reclining Budah)
Tip: Do not trust any body especially Tuktuk driver that will talk to you nicely. They will ask you where are you going. When you tell them where you are going, they will tell you that it is close for a particular reason and when you go to your destination it is open. As an alternative they will divert your itinerary to the Giant Budah of sort. Just walk away, say “no thank you”, and proceed to your destination. This happens to me 4 times on my first day in Bangkok. One way to avoid this is to not to ask question from a Tuktuk driver. 

Lost in Bangkok =(
  • 11:00 - 11:30 – Snack. Spicy Mango and coke (50.00b)
  • 11:30 - 12:00 - Toured Wat Po (100.00b) 
Note: Admission fee is inclusive of small water.
  • 12:00 - 13:30 - Walked around. (I was lost actually hehe...) 
  • 13:30 - 14:00 - Lunch at McDonalds in front of Democracy Monument (99.00b)
  • 14:00 - 14:30 - Walked from Democracy Monument to National Museum.
  • 14:30 - 15:30 - Toured the National Museum (100.00)
  • 15:30 - 16:00 - Rest! Bought coke (20.00)
  • 16:00 - 16:20 - Travel from National Museum to Wat Arun via   Tuktuk (40.00b)
    • Boat (3.00b)
  • 16:20 - 17:00 - Toured Wat Arun (50.00b)
  • 17:00 - 17:05 - Back to the other side of the pool via boat (3.00b)
    • Bought water (10.00b)
  • 17:05 - 18:30 - Coffee in front of Chao Phraya River. (85.00b)
Note: I was actually waiting the sunset but the clouds are tick and dark. So it rained.
  • 18:30 - 18:50 - Travel from River Side to Kao San Road via Tuktuk (50.00b)
  • 18:50 - 20:00 - Thai Whole Body Massage (200.00b)
  • 20:00 - 21:30 - Walk around Kao San Rd., look for bags and souvenirs.
    • Dinner. Pad Thai and BBQ (50.00b)
  • 21:30 - 22:00 - Travel from Kao San Road  to MBK via bus (6.50b)
  • 22:00 - 23:00 - Walked around MBK and Siam Paragon.
    • Bought milk tea (60.00b)
  • 23:00 - 23:30 - Travelled back to hotel.
    • Siam to Asok via BTS (25.00b). Train Interchange 
    • Sikhumvit to Lumpini via MRT (20.00)
    • Bought water and yogurt in 7-11 (27.00b)
MBK at night.

Day 7 Bangkok 
Dusit Palace Complex, Mall Hopping, Chatuckak Market

  • 7:00 - 8:00 - Preparation 
  • 8:00 - 8:45 - Travelled to Dusit Palace Complex
    • Bought Breakfast on the street (15.00b
    • Lumpini to Si Lom via MRT (20.00b)
    • Si Lom to Victory Monument via BTS (25.00b)
    • Victory Monument to Dusit Palace Complex via bus (10.00b)
  • 8:45 - 9:00 - Walked around Vimanek Mansion 
  • Bought a cloth to be properly dress. (40.00b)
  • Rent a locker (30.00)*
Tip: Just like in Grand Palace Complex, Vimanek  Mansion is strict with proper clothing. Wear proper dresses. Shorts are not allowed.
*All belongings including bags, cameras, food and the like should be left on the lockers.
             
  • 9:00 - 10:30 – Joined free tour at Vimanek Manision
  • 10:30 - 11:00 - Walked around the Dusit Palace Complex.
    • Bought Durian Ice Cream (30.00b)
  • 11:00 - 11:30 - Toured King Rama IV's Royal Thai Orders and Decorations 
  • 11:30 - 12:30 - Toured Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall
  • 12:30 - 13:30 - Travel back to Siam
    • Dusit Palace Complex to Victory Monument via bus (10.00b)
    • Victory Monument to Siam via BTS (25.00b)
  • 13:30 - 14:00 - Lunch at Siam Square (137.00b)
  • 14:00 - 16:00 - Walked around Siam Square, MBK, Siam Discovery, Siam Center and Siam Paragon.
  • 16:00 - 16:20 - Travel to Chatuckak Weekend Market.
    • Siam to Mo Chit via BTS (25.00b)
  • 16:20 - 18:30 - Walk around Chatuckak Weekend Market.
    • Shopping (1,945.00b)
    • Cost of Drinks (50.00b)
  • 18:30 - 19:15 - Travel back to Hotel.
  • Kamphaeng Phet to Lumpini (40.00b)
  • 19:15 - 20:00 - Drop the things that I bought in the hotel then rest and back to the Market! 
The clock at the center of Chatuckak Market
Note: I had to go back to the hotel just to drop the things that I bought in the market. I planed to taste the street foods at the market but I won't be able to do it with bulky plastic bags on my both hands. =)
  • 20:00 - 20:45 - Travel to Chatuckak Weekend Market
    • Lumpini to Kamphaeng Phet via MRT
    • Tip: When using MRT to go to Chatuchak, do not go down in Chatuchak Park Station. You will end up walking far when you do. Go down instead in Kamphaeng Phet station which is inside the market.
  • 20:45 - 22:00 - Eat and Shop. (340.00b)
  • 22:00 - 22:45 – Travel back to Hua Lumpong for massages only to find out that the massage salon was closed.
    • Kamphaeng Phet to Hua Lumpong via MRT (40.00b)
  • 22:45 - 22:55 - Hua Lumpong to Lumpini vi MRT (20.00b)
  • 22:55 - 23:55 - Massage 
Day 8 Bangkok to Manila
From one bag to two!
  • 6:00 - 6:30 - Prepare for my 9:40 flight via Cebu Pacific
  • 6:30 - 6:50 - Traveled from Lumpini to Pechubiri via MRT (22.00b)
    • Bought snack from 7-11 (85.00b)
  • 6:50 - 7:00 - Walk from Pechubiri MRT station to Makasan Airport Express Station
    • Bought ticket (90.00b)
  • 7:00 - 7:15 - Wait for the train
  • 7:15 - 7:35 - Travelled from Makasan to Airport via Makasan Airport Express
  • 7:35 - 8:00 - Walked around the airport. Check-in
  • 8:00 - 8:30 - Final Check. Looked for the Boarding gate.
    • Walk Around the airport. 
    • Bought Mango worth 150.00b.
  • 9:10 - 9:40 - Boarding.
  • 9:40 - 2:10 - HELLO MANILA   

EXPENSES 

Pre-Booked Expenses 
Air Fare Manila to Ho Chi Min (via Cebu Pacific) - Php1,622.00 (Booked Nov, 2011)
Ho Chi Mi  - Halo Hostel  (via agoda.com) - Php625.00
Siem Reap - Bou Savy Guesthouse (via agoda.com) - Php700.00
Bangkok - Etzz Hostel (via agoda.com) - Php930.00
Air Fare Bangkok to Manila (via Cebu Pacific) - Php4,041.00 (Booked Mar 13, 2012)

Exchange Rates Assumptions
Php1.00 = 477.00d
$1.00=Php43.00
Php1.00 = 1.40Baht

Breakdown of Expenses

Pre-Travel (Accommodations and Airfare) - Php7,918.00  
Airport/Travel Tax and Terminal Fee (Manila-Ho Chi Min) - Php2,220.00
Ho Chi Min – Php5,276.73 
Cambodia – Php2,881.00
Bangkok – Php8,563.10

TOTAL INDOCHINA ADVENTURE  EXPENSES – Php26,858.40



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This is the travel blog of Jherson Jaya - banker by profession, adventurer by passion. Everything written here were based on his experiences. The lust of seeing new places thrilled him to explore both the explored and unexplored world. Old and new architecture fanatic; lover of food, both exotic and indulgence; and founds peace in long bus and train rides - thats how he describe his way of traveling.    

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