TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfalls, Shifen Lantern Flying, & Jintong via PingXi Line in Taiwan

To explore Metropolitan Taipei always comes first to our mind visiting Taiwan. Well, Taipei highly efficient transportation systems can get us around Metropolitan Taipei in a day or two. We can just simply utilize its state-of-the-art train networks and efficient bus transportation system to roam around the city to visit its top destinations, but how about sparing another day exploring a historical place rich in Taiwanese culture and nature wonders northeast of Taipei?

Exploring Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfalls, Shifen Lantern Flying, & Jintong via PngXi Line in Taiwan should be part of your itinerary in visiting Taiwan.

Shifen Old Street is one of the most popular destinations in Taiwan. It is situated in PingXi area or PingXi railroad, the railroad was originally built to transport coal. It was completed in July 1921.

Before we visited Taiwan, we knew nothing about PingXi Area or Shifen Old Street. We just planned to stay in Taipei for 4 days and the next 3 days down south of Taiwan in Chiyayi city and Kaoshiung City. When we were already in Taiwan and had already explored the destinations of our interests in 2 days, we were thinking of where else to go. We tried to google and to look for blogs, we found Shifen Old Street. We spared a day to explore the famous Shifen Old Street. It was an awesome experience!

Getting there by Train:

PingXI Line DIY North of Taipei  – Shifen Old Street Lantern Flying, Shifen Warerfall, Xing PI, and Jungtong

  • From Taipei Main Station to Ruifang (Regular Train) – P72, NT42, US$1.38
  • Transfer to PingXi Line to Shifen Station(One Day Pass for PingXi Line & Sheniao Line) – P135, NT80, US$2.58
  • Lantern Flying in Shifen – P253, NT150, US$4.8
  • Taruko Express Train from Ruifang to Taipei Main Station = P128, NT76, US$2.45

Please see the railway guide below: 

Shifen Train Station & the Skyway in Shifen area

The sky way stretching in Shifen area really caught my attention. The old suddenly appeared to be modern. Despite the contrast, Shifen Old Street is a very romantic place.

Lantern Flying At Shifen

I also had my fair share of Lantern Flying. I initially thought of wishing to win a lottery. I wrote different wishes on the lantern. 🙂  

Shifen Waterfalls

It is a 1.5 kms trek from Shifen train station all the way to the breathtaking Shifen Waterfalls. A well paved path way is waiting for you. Trekking is like walking in the moon.

Jintong, the last station in PingXi Line

 

Taiwanese Cuisine: No Travel will ever be complete without the food

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to VILLA ELMA, Lucban, Quezon

If you want to commune with nature away from the noise of metropolitan, Villa Elma is the perfect weekend getaway for you.I am a native of Quezon Province, however it was also my very first time to visit the place this weekend.  I was not even aware it ever existed. Let us call it an astounding hidden getaway!Villa Elma is located in the town of Lucban in Quezon Province. Many of you may have heard already about the world renown “Pahiyas Festival”. Yes! It is where Villa Elma is also situated, its address is at A. Mabini St, Lucban, Quezon.

What to expect at Villa Elma?

  • Expect the unexpected, the downhill walk/trek is full of surprises
  • Communion with nature; breathtaking view of Mt. Banahaw
  • It is a good place for family bondingthe cool breeze climate, ecological balance is at its best

When is the best time to visit Villa Elma?

  • If you enjoy crowd – go during summer or holy week
  • If you are after to bliss and you want to enjoy the nature as it is yours, go during off-peak season – weekdays and non-summer days

How far is Lucban, Quezon from Manila?

  • 3 hours travel time form Manila, 123 kms.

How to get there:

Commuting by Bus

  • Go to Jac Liner/Jam Liner/DLTB Bus Station in either Araneta Center in Cubao or LRT Buendia in Pasay, Bus Fare to Lucena as of 2019 is P250
  • Take a bus ride to LUCENA – signboard must be LUCENA, advise the driver to drop you off at Jollibee Lucena diversion
  • Right beside Jollibee Lucena Diversion is Jeepney Terminal going to Lucban, advise the driver to drop you off at Lucban Public Market
  • Take a trycicle ride to Villa Elma

Driving your own Car

  • Drive all the way to SLEX and g all the way south to Calamba exit, it has a signboard from your right to Lucena, the easiest way is to use google map and wayze You will not surely get lost using these apps. Traveling has been very easy nowadays with the aid of technology

Bruges, Belgium

DAY 23: June 19, 2016 – Bruges was one the seven cities we were able to explore in Belgium. If not from our good friends in Belgium, we would not be able to explore this beautiful city. Truly, a trip of a lifetime for Yapak Pinoy who traveled all the way from the Far East! 😊

Interestingly, the historic city center of Bruges is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The city of Bruges is also well-known as the seat of the College of Europe, a university institute for European studies. It is also the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of this country.

If my recollection was still clear and correct, our Belgian friend had his secondary education in Bruges. Who could best describe his home country? it is none other than the pure-blooded Belgian who was born and raised in his own country. 😊

We basically just traveled by train from our home base in Izegem to Bruges, it was just like a 32 min train ride. Trains are everywhere in Europe, they are known for trains after trains despite most of the working adults have their own cars.

Bruges like any other cities in Europe is touristy, but not as crowded as you might expect like you are in a theme park jam-packed on weekend, the romantic ambiance is still there.  It is part of Europe, the world sees it as full of romance! 🙂

Boat Ride at the Rozenhoedkaai canal and the foods were the highlights of our visit in Bruges. While just roaming around was already an eye-popping, there was a feeling of fairy tale wherever we looked at. It is normal for us Asians living in Asia to get fascinated of the amazing structures in Europe, it looks different to our very eyes, the same way as Europeans visiting Asia, everything looks different in their eyes as well. It is what it is!

TRAVEL GUIDE | Why Macau is our favorite among the East Asian Countries?

Why visit Macau among the East Asian Countries?

If you want to experience the true feel of East meets West, then visit Macau. This country/state is part of China however the ambiance is like in Europe except that its citizens are Chinese Macau.

Macau is one of my favorites among East Asian countries, I love the weather, it is lovable during February. Since Macau is a small country/state, It is a walkable city, 

Macau is dubbed as the Las Vegas of Asia or the gambling capital of Asia, so Casinos are everywhere! The casinos are the attractions itself. The favorite hang out of the wealthiest Asians who enjoy throwing away money! They should give me some! 🙂

I am not into Casino gambling anyway, I just enjoyed strolling around at Senado Square, it is the popular spot in Macau where most of the European architectures are abound. Casino-hopping though must be part of your itinerary, you can get your stomach full eating some freebies (Cup Cakes, Milk, Mineral Water) inside the casino. 😊 You can also roam around the entire Macau for FREE by utilizing Casino’s shuttle services, you can travel as far as the border of mainland China. 😊

We’ve spent like 3 days in Macau and this was the place we’ve always missed in East Asia. It may also because when we traveled to Macau, we stayed with our friend’s apartment, so we had an opportunity to feel the realities of life in Macau. Let us also say that the “colonial mentality” inculcated to me by the Spaniards was telling me that one day I could visit Europe. 🙂

MACAU CASINOS FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE

Taking advantage of Casino’s shuttle service is for free, but make sure you know where it is heading or you may end to the border of Mainland China. You cannot cross the border though as it requires VISA to enter China.  Macau is technically part of China but it has border. 🙂 Macau is a SAR (Special Administration Region) state of China. It is like a country but at the same time a state. The political system of China is complicated. Do not be surprised, West Philippine Sea is now part of China. 

MACAU IS HOME TO 38,000 OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS

If you visit Macau, you would surely come across Filipinos, many of them works in Casino. Nothing new though, Filipinos are everywhere around the globe. 

TRANSPORTATION

Macau does not have Metro Rail but it has efficient Bus Transportation System

Taxi is also available like in any other city 

FOOD & DELICACIES

Macau is famous for its Egg Tart and Portuguese Seafood Rice

POPULAR ATTRACTIONS

Senado Square, Ruin’s of St. Paul, Macau Tower,, Guia Fortress, and a bunch of Grandeur Casinos 

RUIN’S OF ST. PAUL
GUIA FORTRESS
GRAND LISBOA

TRAVEL GUIDE | P7,299 4D/3N HONGKONG AND SHENZEN WITH FREE DISNEYLAND?

I was reviewing the emails of my past travel to Hongkong Dsineyland + Shenzhen China to check how much the tour package was. It was surprisingly cheap, it was only Php 7,299. It is too good to be true, but it is TRUE!.

We had an 8-Day Trip to Macau-Hongkong-Shenzen back in 2014. We entered and exited in Macau to visit our friends and where we also stayed for 3 days! Interestingly, my round trip ticket was just P1800 via the Cebu Pacific Airfare Seat Sale? Where are these promo airfares now?

 I just found out that Tour Packages are expensive nowadays. I am thinking of going back to Disneyland with my nephews. Disneyland that I always dreamt of to visit when I was a kid to see Mickey Mouse and who was not. Again, If I were a member of a privilege few I should have been to Disneyland Anaheim, California long years ago. 🙂

PHP7,299 4D/3N HONGKONG AND SHENZEN WITH FREE DISNEYLAND

HOTELS: SILKA FAREAST and FAD HOTEL

INCLUSIONS :

  • Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast .
  • Round Trip airport transfers
  • Half day compulsory Hong Kong city tour
  • Half day compulsory Shenzhen city tour
  • Tipping included
  • DISNEYLAND TOUR WITH ROUNDTRIP TRANSFERS

 

Itineraries :

DAY 1 – Meet & transfer to hotel.

DAY 2 – Breakfast outside / inside, compulsory Hong Kong city tour.

**VISIT: Stars Avenue, Aberdeen Fishing Village, Mid-levels of Victoria Peak (pass by), Factory Outlet & Jewellery Factory.

Afternoon Disneyland tour or Ocean park tour.

DAY 3 – Breakfast outside / inside, AM transfer to Shenzhen by train. Shenzhen city tour.

**VISIT: Window of the World ( picture raking only , entrance tickets not included ) Mineral Museum, Silk and Pearl Factory or local specialties store.

Accommodation at Gorgeous Fad Hotel or similar class.

DAY 4 – Breakfast inside, free time in the morning (Hotel check-out time is at 12:00noon)

Afternoon transfer to Hong Kong Airport by coach (evening flight, departure time must after 19:30)

P1800 Round Trip Ticket  we booked 1 year in advance

SILKA SEAVIEW HOTEL IN HONGKONG

FAD HOTEL SHENZHEN

 

TIPS & TRICKS

  • Do not get hooked on buying unnecessary stuff during the city tour
  • The foto memories from the Tour guides are incredibly expensive – unimaginable tourist price
  • Buy what you can only afford, keep your credit card locked
  • You are in no obligation to bring “gift” aka “pasalubong” to anyone, you are on travel holiday vacations, you are not an OFW – Overseas Filipino Worker
  • Most of the stuff in Hongkong are also in Divisoria, we are in a globalized world – no need to shop and carry heavy  bags on your way home

TRAVEL GUIDE | When not to travel Do-It-Yourself?

While most of the bloggers advocate and promote budget travel through Do-It-Yourself, I will not If you are travelling with your family. When I say family, it pertains to grandparents, parents, and children. In other words, if you are traveling with your children plus the seasoned citizens. I strongly suggest, take advantage of tour packages from a reputable travel agency.  

Doing it by yourself brings more hassle and a lot of works to do; from booking your own airline tickets to crafting your own itinerary. The worst scenario is the itinerary you yourself created is just a sheet of paper. In the real world of travels, you know nothing about your destinations yet, unless you are on a travel show where you have a production crew, everything is spoon-fed. You just have an idea and your adventurous spirit, you will surely end up leading the trip for your family, and so you need to find each destination by yourself the entire duration of your family trip.

Always take note that you are with your family to enjoy a memorable vacation not to go for a maze. Never compromise your family’s memorable trip. Do not put your family to unending search of where to go which may also lead to annoyance and disappointment of your family.

Yes, you can have a hassle-free family trip if you have a tour package. All activities have program from your arrival to departure. All your family must do is to follow the activities from the itinerary provided by the tour agency. There  are tour guides and tour operators to take care of your family travel. Tour package however is much more expensive, but it is a stress-free travel for your family.

The only thing I don’t like with tour package are the tour guides in some travel destinations are selling all sorts of stuff like the souvenir photographs and souvenir items which are expensive! 🙂 You can refuse to buy!

PHP7,299 4D/3N HONGKONG AND SHENZEN WITH FREE DISNEYLAND

High Speed Trains are in East Asia

While there are more than 20 countries with HSR (High Speed Rail) in the world, unfortunately most of them are from 1st world. But wait, four of them are in East Asia namely; China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Forget about the glorious days of the Philippines when it comes to superiority on train networks in the hay days. We cannot live with sentimental values of PNR legendary trains.  Our government pocket cannot afford it! 

My fascination to Train Travel will surely drive me to visit these countries. The advance train technology that I am not pretty sure if Philippines can have a single one in the next 30 years. It is about time to experience them one by one. 😊

Quick Facts:

China

  • Shanghai Maglev, also known as Shanghai Transrapid, is currently the fastest train in the world.
  • China High-Speed Rail is the longest network in the world with top speed of 350 km/h

Japan

  • Shinkansen trains of Japan run regularly at speeds up to 320 km/h (200 mph), placing them alongside the French TGV and German ICE as the second fastest trains in the world

Korea

  • KTX Train of Korea has  a top speed of 305 km/h (190 mph)

Taiwan

  • Taiwan HSR  is a high-speed rail line that runs approximately 350 km/h (217 mi)

 

ALSO READ:
KTM Long Distance Train Malaysia-Sinagpore
The Best Commute Experience: Philippine National Railways
PNR BICOL EXPRESS
TGV High Speed Train from Paris to Lourdes, France
TrenItalia Long Distance Train from Rome to Pisa
Deutsche Bahn ICE High Speed Train (Germany-Belgium)

REROUTE: Change of Travel Plan

This weekend, we’ve changed our Travel Plan. We decided to postpone our not so well-planned trip to Japan for this month. Where is the  Peso Fare of yesteryears?

We are going to travel to take some holiday vacations, to take some off from our daily routine, definitely not to stress ourselves out completing the required documents just to log our VISA applications on a very short notice, and as the target date of our holiday vacation is approaching, the price of airfare is sky-rocketing as well. This is a NO-NO, we will pursue Japan in the right time.

We ended up crafting our 7-day itinerary for an alternative country. 🙂 We booked our airline tickets way way cheaper than Japan via low cost airline. My goal of riding a Long Distance High Speed Train is still achievable. The alternative country that we are going to visit 11 days from now is one of the few countries in the world with High Speed Rail.

We are minimal to moderate spenders when it comes to international travels. We cannot afford to pay high airfare when we can get it 70% lower, if we planned our travel earlier.

Traveling without breaking bank account is my core belief. I started travelling on a budget, by DIY,  this was the very reason why I made it to travel abroad in the first place; with the generosity and hospitality of others, and as a result, it trimmed down my accommodation costs. Call me a beggar, I call it wise spender. It was me, and this was how I started travelling!

Though I was blessed to have had some free accommodations on my international travels, I did not gate crash, It was all invitations.  If I was welcome, then I was, if not, then I was not!  My traveling style has also changed as time passed by. The taste of adventure also depletes as I age. My traveling style now is more of chill and relax.  I don’t care if I would be in just one spot for a week. I am not in a competition, I am taking a holiday vacation for myself. 🙂

It has been three years already since I traveled out-of-the country. I could not move on as of yet on my ultimate dream travel destination, Europe. It still runs all over my body for 3 years. 🙂 It is about time to explore another Train Travels. My interest to Train Travel is my new source of excitements.

We are going to reroute! 😊

High Speed Train

VISA: Crafting an Itinerary for travel abroad on short notice is not a joke!

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