Backpacking SE Asia, the $500 challenge! 5 countries in 2 weeks=Success!

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Expenses for the whole trip:

Day 1 and 2

Total: RM 54.9 or 17.67USD

 

Day 3

Total: 1265.5baht or 42.68USD

 

Day 4

Total: 110,000 kip or 14USD

 

Day 5

Total: 115,000 kip or 14.63USD

 

Day 6 and 7

Total: 405,000 kip or 51.49USD

 

Day 8

Total: 2239 baht or 75.5USD

 

Day 9 and 10

Total: $56

 

Day 11

Total: $14.33

 

Day 12

Total: $23.5

 

Day 13 and 14

Total: 19.5 USD

 

GRAND TOTAL: 329.3USD

$500-$329.3 = 170.7USD LEFT ;) -more happy foods and drinks next time! :D

Traveling is really an eye opener. You don’t have to be rich just to travel. You just have to save! If you want to travel, just do it! There are so many things to learn and explore! I traveled alone but I was never alone! Thanks to everyone I’ve met! :) Travel while you’re still young cos you can never go back! :)

Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam (Day 13 and 14)

Day 13: Cu Chi Tunnels

I woke up at 8am and everybody’s still sleeping. My plan is to see the Cu Chi Tunnels today, so I went down and ask the receptionist if they’re handling Cu Chi Tours and yes they have! The group is leaving at 8:30am and that’s for a whole day. So I rushed, fixed my things and went with the tour group!

The tour costs $6(roundtrip bus ride + tour guide) and they’ll collect again $4.5 for the ticket to Cu Chi Tunnels, so it’s a total of $10.5 :)

Bus to Cu Chi

Bus to Cu Chi

As we get there, we first watched a documentary film for 1-1.5hrs. Then after, we went around to see the different tunnels!

Documentary film watching

Documentary film watching

Cu chi!

Camouflaged trap door

 

Traps

Traps

You can also shoot machine guns here! 1-2USD per bullet, minumum of 10

You can also shoot machine guns here! 1-2USD per bullet, minumum of 10

Cu Chi Underground Tunnel, the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War

Cu Chi Underground Tunnel, the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War

The tunnels have been made larger to accommodate the larger size of Western tourists :)

Day 14: Back to Manila, Philippines :(

Expenses:

Breakfast: free from my hostel

Cu Chi Tunnel: $10.5

Food(lunch/dinner): $7

Motorbike to airport: $2

Total: 19.5 USD

Rooftop! Ho chi minh city aka Saigon, Vietnam (Day 12)

Left Phnom Penh at 1130am and arrived HCMC at 530pm, costs $11 (Sapaco Bus Co.). We had our late lunch at a stopover for $2.

I tagged along with fellow backpackers at the bus. So as soon as we arrived in hcmc, we looked for a hostel. We checked in at Phan Anh Hostel located at Pham Ngu Lao Street, it’s just a short walk from the bus terminal. $8/night/ head (we asked for a discount since we were 6, so they just charged us $7.50 ;), dorm bed with air-con and free breakfast! :)

Backpackers street, Pham Ngu Lao

Backpackers street, Pham Ngu Lao

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Checkin in at Phan Anh Hostel

Wasn't really hungry because we had our late lunch, so saigon beer for dinner :D

Wasn’t really hungry because we had our late lunch, so saigon beer for dinner :D

After having dinner, we went to Chill Skybar located at Level 26 & 27, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, D1.   It’s just a walking distance, just get a map from your hostel. We weren’t able to get in because of the dress code. So we just decided to just drink somewhere near our hostel:

Chill Skybar, they say that it's the coolest rooftop bar in Saigon

Chill Skybar, they say that it’s the coolest rooftop bar in Saigon

Cheers!

With fellow backpackers, Cheers!

The drinks weren’t cheap, so again, we decided to transfer to another spot which is our rooftop in our hostel! :))

Rooftop of our hostel :)

Finally, our own rooftop bar! Lol! :)

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This is what the room looks like. Dorm with AC for $7.50. Goodnight!

Expenses:

Bus, Phnom Penh-Saigon: $11

Late lunch: $2

Hostel: $7.5

Dinner saigon beer: $1

Saigon beer at the bar: $2

Total: $23.5

Happy Pizza! Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Day 11)

Me and my friend from Honduras went together going to Phnom Penh. We left Siem Reap at 8am and arrived at Phnom Penh at 2pm. Bus ride costs $10. You can just book a ticket at your hostel in Siem Reap :)

As we arrived in the terminal, we were picked up by my friend’s cousin from the Philippines. We had our lunch(free) and just waited for my friend’s host because she’s gonna couchsurf. Couchsurfing is the world’s largest travel community. You get to stay at a local’s home for free, sleeping on whatever space is available. Membership is also for free! Just go to https://www.couchsurfing.org. This is the best way to learn their culture and to have more friends all over the world :) 

Her host showed us the city with his motorbike, the city looks rich and clean!

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motorbike ride at Phnom Penh

 

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Independence Monument

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DreamLand, the first modern amusement park in Phnom Penh

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Best park I’ve ever seen!

We ate at a vegetarian restaurant and we just spent $2 each for our dinner. Then I asked him if he knows a place where we can eat happy pizza and he said yes! And i was really excited! FINALLY! HAPPY PIZZA!! :) Funny thing is he didn’t know that it’s mixed with ganja! It was his first time and we were all laughing after eating the happy pizza, costs $4. But we weren’t still contented, so we tried the happy shake, costs $2 only :)

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My friend from Honduras and our host at a vegetarian restaurant

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Happy Phnom Penh Pizza!

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The Happy Pizza! :)

It was already late when we were at the Happy Phnom Penh Pizza, so I texted my friend’s cousin and just decided to also couchsurf! It was my first time and it was really a cool experience! Thanks to our host, Borey :)

Expenses:

Bus siem reap-phnom penh: $10

Dinner: $2

Happy pizza $4/3= $1.33

Happy shake $2/2=$1

Total: $14.33

Vang Vieng, Laos – Caving (Day 5)

We woke up late and ate lunch at a TV Bar again. After having lunch, we went to Poukham Cave!

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Motorbike rental for 60,000 kip/day

It’s better to rent a motorbike than a bicycle because of the hot weather and it saves you more time! But if you’re more adventurous, then go for the bicycle(10,000 kip/day).

Entrance fee for Poukham Cave/Blue Lagoon is 10,000kip.

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Blue Lagoon

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Before getting to the cave, you have to trek for a bit

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Once inside, there is a short walk to the Sleeping Golden Buddha

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Don’t worry, be hippie! ✌

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Spot the guy with a mustache

You also need a headlamp before entering the cave.

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“The Door”

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After doing the loop at Poukham Cave, people rest here to grab some beers and just chill :)

After visiting Poukham cave, we went back to the town to eat and drink with our friends!

The space menu!

The space menu!

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Happy night with European friends!

Expenses:

Motorbike rental: free (my friend paid for it)

Late lunch: 25,000 kip

Poukham cave entrance fee: 10, 000 kip

Beer lao: small 10,000 + 2 big 30,000kip = 40,000 kip

Dinner, pizza: 20,000 kip

Guesthouse/night: 20,000 kip

TOTAL: 115,000 kip or 14.63USD

Vang Vieng, Laos (Day 4)

Currency: Lao Kip

We arrived at Vang Vieng, Laos at 2pm. Checked in at Vang Vieng Orange guesthouse. Private fan room with 2 single beds for 50,000 kip/night. But since we’re staying for 3 nights, I asked for a discount, so the owner gave the room for 40,000 kip/night. So it’s only 20,000 kip/night/head ;)

I forgot to take a picture of the room because I was busy with the party life and adventures of Vang Vieng! :D lol. But the room was really good! High ceiling, spacious, with tv, locker, bathroom plus free towels. It’s like 25sqm, that big for 40,000 kip/ night only!

Even though, I forgot to take a picture of the room, I didn’t forget to take a picture of our view in our balcony:

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View from our balcony :)

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Nature trip! You know what it is! ;)

Vang Vieng is known for all the happy foods, shakes and drugs. You can find it at some bars and restaurants. If you don’t wanna get busted, be careful! They’ve been strict when it comes to drugs since a lot of people died last year because of taking too much alcohol and drugs at the same time.

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There are plenty of TV bars in Vang Vieng and each bar plays different tv series like Family Guy, Friends, Southpark, Simpsons and etc

After checking in, we ate at a TV Bar, food starts at 15,000 kip – 60,000 kip. We were kinda tired of the long bus ride(20hrs with stopovers). So we just decided to just chill, smoke and drink some beers :)

Red curry for 25,000 kip

Red curry for 25,000 kip

Banana Pancake with Nutella for 10,000 kip

Munchies! Banana Pancake with Nutella for 10,000 kip

Expenses:

Late lunch, chicken curry: 25,000 kip

Dinner: 25,000 kip

Beer Lao: 15, 000 kip x 2 = 30,000 kip

Banana Pancake with nutella: 10,000 kip

Guesthouse/night: 20,000 kip

TOTAL: 110,000 kip or 14USD

Bangkok, Thailand (Day 3)

Currency: Thai Baht

My 9pm flight was delayed for an hour. So we arrived 12am at Don Mueang International Airport at Bangkok, Thailand. Note that Malaysia is one hour ahead of Thailand.

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Sleeping at the airport!

I decided to sleep at the airport since it’s already late and i want to experience this! I also met a Malaysian guy who’s also staying at the airport because he’s waiting for his connecting flight to China.

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Non-air con bus in Bangkok, between 6.50 – 8 Baht depends on the bus company, and air-con bus between 12 – 25 Baht depands on the distance

I left the airport at 8am and went to Khao San Road. To get to Khao San Road, ride bus 59 for 7.50 baht. I’ve researched that it goes straight to KSR but the conductor dropped me at Victory Monument and told me to ride bus 44 to Khao San Road, costs 8baht.

Tip: Get a free map at the airport so it would be easier for you to go around Bangkok :)

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Khao San Road in the morning

Head shop in Khao San Road

Head shop in Khao San Road

Most of the stores in Khao San Road are still closed so I decided to go to Pratunam Shopping Market.

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100 baht each but you can ask for the wholesale price if you’re getting 3 and up :)

 Pratunam market is known for selling clothes, shoes, and fashion accessories at wholesale prices! How to get there: From Khao San Road, walk to the bus stop and ride bus 60 for 13baht(air-con), it takes 30mins to get there.

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Street foods for 30baht only! With rice! At Pratunam Market

After shopping and having lunch, I went back to Khao San Road and followed the map going to Wat Pho aka The Reclining Buddha. You can always ask around and they will be glad to help you :)

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With The Reclining Buddha! Entrance fee is 100 baht.

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Map of Wat Pho. Your 100 baht is definitely worth it!

After going around Wat Pho, I went back to Khao San Road and booked at Best Travel for my bus ticket to Vang Vieng for 1150 baht.

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VIP Bus to Vang Vieng for 1150 baht

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My space, very comfortable! They give blankets at night :)

We left Khao San Road at 6pm and arrived Vang Vieng 2pm the next day with stopovers. For Vang Vieng, Laos, go to my next post :)

Expenses:

Breakfast (free c/o my malaysian friend :D )

Don Mueang airport bus 59 to Victory Monument: 7.50baht

Victory Monument bus 44 to Khao San Road: 8 baht

Khao San Road bus 60 to Pratunam: 13 baht

Pratunam to Khao San Road: 13 baht

Lunch, street food: 30 baht

Water: 10 baht

Dinner/snack, banana Pancake: 20 baht

Water 1.5liter at 711: 14baht

VIP bus to Vang Vieng: 1150 baht

TOTAL: 1265.5baht or 42.68USD

(Shopping not included in $500 budget)