On my way to  Agra  coming from  Jaipur , I dropped by the small village of  Abhaneri  to visit a century-old structure that's beyon...

On my way to Agra coming from Jaipur, I dropped by the small village of Abhaneri to visit a century-old structure that's beyond amazing.
This is called Chand Baori, a water well constructed in the 9th century during the Nikumbh dynasty by King Chanda. As you can see, it isn't like the modern-day well where you get water from a small hole. Rather, it's a gigantic deep well with 3,500 steps and 13 storeys, an architecture that you can't imagine how it was done in the absence of technology before.
From afar, it looks like a maze surrounded by symmetrical stairs. It's so unique that some Hollywood movies featured this place already. If you've seen the movie Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, you might have recognized that the prison escape scene was shut here. A few other mainstream movies with the Chand Baori include: The Fall, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and local Indian movies Bhoomi and Bhool Bhulaiyaa.
On one side, there’s a 3-storey pavilion that was used as a resting area by the Indian royalty. With such humidity in India especially during summer, the bottom part of Chand Baori is said to be a bit cooler than the ground temperature. The pavilion consists of beautifully carved jharokhas (overhanging balconies), pillared galleries, and other sculptures.
Right next to the Chand Baori are ruins of another ancient structure. This is a temple called the Harshat Mata Temple, built between the 7th and 8th century.
Unfortunately, it was hugely damaged during the war. Some pillars tried to get renovated, but the entire temple isn't completely repaired.
While it’s mostly rubble, the surrounding seems relaxing with the spread of lush green. You can simply sit for a while and enjoy the view.

How to get there

It’s located in the district of Dausa, Abhaneri village, Rajasthan, around 95 km from Jaipur and on the way if cruising the Jaipur-Agra highway. Public transportation may be tricky since there’s no direct bus to get there. But the best way is that from Jaipur, ride a bus to Sikandra for INR 20 (USD 0.30) and then get a taxi to Abhaneri for around INR 250 (USD 4). Meanwhile, if you’re on a Golden Triangle package tour, note that it isn’t usually part of the tour. You can request the driver or the tour organizer to drop by the village. An hour or less is enough to cover the area.
There’s no entrance fee to the Chand Baori and Harshat Mata Temple. Neither is required to get a tour guide among the freelancers there. It's really up to you if you want to get one.

There are a lot of things to see and do in Taipei for any type of traveler. Whether you want to stay close with nature, visit historic place...

There are a lot of things to see and do in Taipei for any type of traveler. Whether you want to stay close with nature, visit historic places, or simply feel like a local, Taipei offers the variety.
What's amazing about Taipei is that everything is within reach by train. The Taipei Metro conveniently connects different districts, and even its suburbs are only a few stations away from the center. Consisted of 5 main lines, the Taipei metro is very accessible and tourist-friendly.
Taipei metro map (source)

A good tip when creating an itinerary in Taipei is to visit places by area or district. Doing so saves you big time, and money as well because you can cover different places by alighting at one or two stations only. In this sample itinerary good for 4 days, I divided each day per area or district namely: City Center, Tamsui District, Beitou District, and Wenshan District:

Day 1: City Center

1. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
2. Taipei 101


4. Ximending Night Market
Begin by alighting at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall station (BL 17) to visit the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. It's actually a good starter to briefly know Taiwan's history especially about China's national father, Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

Next, take a 15-minute walk to Taipei 101, which was once the tallest building in the world. If you want a 360-degree view of the city, head to the tower's Indoor Observation Deck at the 89th floor. Tickets are sold at the lobby. For complete information regarding Taipei 101 (ticket prices, operation hours, etc.), visit there official website.

After Taipei 101, walk to the Taipei 101 / World Trade Center station (R 03), then alight at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall station (R 08) to visit the complex of Chiang Kai-shek Memorial HallLiberty SquareNational Concert Hall, and National Theater. It's a huge area to cover, so allot the entire afternoon to go around the complex.

At night, walk back to the train station but take the other line (Songshan-Xindian line) of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall station (G 10) to alight at Ximending station (G 12). In Ximending, you'll see flashy billboard lights and waves of people crossing at the Ximending Intersection, which some people call as the "Shibuya of Taipei" for its huge similarity with the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan. Also, the Ximending Night Market is in the area that offers a local feel. Known as the king of night markets, Taipei is said to be the best at it and so a Taipei trip won't be complete without the experience of going to the night market.

Day 2: Tamsui District

1. Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf
2. Fort San Domingo
3. Consular Residence
4. Aletheia University

5. Tamsui Old Street

6. Shilin Night Market
This route covers a tour around Tamsui District at the northern tip of Taipei. Tamsui is generally a coastal area, but it can amazingly reached in just 30-40 minutes from the center, alighting at the Tamsui station (R 28) of the Tamsui-Xinyi line.

Start early to catch a beautiful sunrise at the Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf. The surrounding is very relaxed and it's possible to catch the elderly doing tai chi and the rest either biking or running with the view of the Taiwan River. Also, there are several game booths around that you should try, which are local versions of the games in the carnival.

Next, take a slow 20-minute walk to Fort San Domingo, a historical landmark that displays the short Spanish colonization in Taiwan. Right beside it is the Consular Residence, a former British building with stylish Victorian style that got converted into a museum. Then, head to the Aletheia University where you can see more British-inspired university buildings. Some of them are open to public and entrance is free.

In the afternoon, take your time exploring the long street of Tamsui Old Street and its neighboring alleys. It's where you'll find mostly local shops selling different products from souvenir shops to food stalls.

Also read: When in Taiwan: Tamsui District

At night, return to the train station and alight at Shilin station (R 16) to see one of the biggest and most popular night markets in Taipei, the Shilin Night Market.

Day 3: Beitou District

1. Beitou Geothermal Valley
2. Plum Garden
3. Beitou Hot Spring Museum

4. Taipei Public Library Beitou

5. Millenium Hot Spring (a public hot spring)

This route brings you closer to nature with Beitou District, a known hot spring district in Taipei. To get there, alight at Beitou station of the Tamsui-Xinyi line and then transfer to the short 2-line Xinbeitou line to alight at Xinbeitou station (R 22A).

From the station, walk for 15-20 minutes to see the Beitou Geothermal Valley, a sulfur-emitting hot spring surrounded by lush green. Note that swimming isn't allowed and it's merely for sight-seeing. Next, spend time visiting museums with traditional architecture including Plum Garden, a small Japanese style museum and the Beitou Hot Spring Museum. There are no entrance fees to the museums.

In the afternoon, drop by the Taipei Public Library Beitou, which you might see on the way to the geothermal valley. Aside from its unique wood architectural design from outside, wait until you see the huge collection of books inside.

Also read: When in Taiwan: Beitou District

Finally, cap off the night dipping in a public hot spring at Millenium Hot Spring. While there are sooo many private hot spring options in Beitou, doing it with the locals in a public bath is the best way to do it!

Day 4: Wenshan District

1. Taipei Zoo
2. Maokong Gondola
3. Maokong trekking (choose any trail you like)

4. Yao Yue Tea House
The Wenshan district is the mountain side of Taipei located in the south. To get there, alight at the Taipei Zoo station (BR 01) of the Wenhu line.

From the station, the Taipei Zoo is just downstairs. It's open daily from 9AM to 5PM. Entrance ticket is NT $60 for adults and NT $30 for students. For complete ticketing information and operating hours, visit their official website.

Next, ride the Maokong Gondola (cable car) to see a relaxing view of the mountains and tea plantations. It consists of 4 stations, and ticket prices vary depending on how far you'll go. For the best experience, go up to the last station (Maokong Station) priced at NT$ 120 for a 2-way ride.

Also read: When in Taiwan: Wenshan District

A good way to enjoy the village of Maokong is by trekking. Several trails are available, which may take hours depending on your pace. Maps are available at any gondola station and trail signs are visibly scattered in the area.

Maokong is well-known for its homegrown and quality teas. Tea houses are all over the place, among which the Yao Yue Tea House is the most popular. Go for an afternoon tea or bring home a tea bag as souvenir.

Have you been to Taipei? Which other places can you suggest? Share them below!

My trip to Morocco was an unforgettable experience with a lot of adventures and lessons learned. By far, it's the farthest country I...

My trip to Morocco was an unforgettable experience with a lot of adventures and lessons learned. By far, it's the farthest country I've gone to, the first country I visited outside Asia, and my first time in Africa. Spending 10 days in Morocco wasn't enough, but I spent the most out of it by exploring 2 places, Casablanca and Chefchaouen.

Watch my vlog below to sum up the entire trip:

The Middle East is a common transfer hub that connects Asia to the rest of the world. It's said that airports in the Middle East are ...

The Middle East is a common transfer hub that connects Asia to the rest of the world. It's said that airports in the Middle East are the busiest where the biggest airlines usually connect at.
On my way to Morocco, I flew with Saudia Airlines, an airline based in Saudi Arabia. The 2-way ticket both had stopovers at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah and so I had the chance to stop by the Middle East for the first time.

Much that I wanted to explore Saudi Arabia though, I didn’t really have the luxury of time. Given the visa requirement to enter Saudi Arabia for Philippine passport holders, I opted out of getting one since the stopover was just short. I only stayed there for at least 6 hours.

Tip: As long as you stay less than 12 hours when transiting in any Saudi Arabian airport, no visa is required for Philippine passport holders. No need to pass through the immigration either. However, if it goes beyond 12 hours, it would be better to ask your airline company and the embassy of Saudi Arabia in the Philippines if a transit visa is needed. 

Also read: Shelly Viajera Travel tips on applying visas

I have to mention that it was a longgg 6-hour transit because there was really nothing much to do inside. Unlike most international airports, there’s no free WIFI in Jeddah airport. Though there was a WIFI router for rent in a souvenir shop, I didn't buy to the idea of the expensive and limited one-hour usage. So aside from taking a nap, what I did instead was to just check out the Duty Free shop and other smaller stores. A few more food stalls were around including a Tim Hortons and a Baskin-Robbins.
While going around, I caught a restaurant serving local food (Though I forgot the restaurant's name, I remember it's at the farthest left coming from the Duty Free shop). I tried khubooz, a round flat bread quite similar to naan and pita bread. Khubooz is said to be a common Middle Eastern food.
Jeddah airport’s boarding area seems smaller compared to other international airports. It got chaotic that some had to resort to sitting on the floor and toilets were a mess. I have to say that it isn't an airport you want to have a stopover at.

Tip: If your airline has its own lounge, stay there as long as you can to somehow get away with the crowded common area. Saudia Airlines, for example, has an exclusive lounge that I easily got access to after passing through the transfer desk. They gave a meal in a box for free (given to passengers with more than 4 hours waiting time in the airport) with free-flowing coffee and tea. Plus, I got to sit more comfortably on the couches and was entertained by their TV and reading materials. The lounge’s toilet was also cleaner compared to the common toilet. 

Despite all, I saw something interesting while in transit. For the first time, I saw passengers of the hajj, the religious journey of Muslims to the holy place Makkah (Mecca) in Saudi Arabia. I easily noticed these pilgrims as they went by groups, mostly aged ones, all wearing white clothes called as ihram. Some of them were even on the same flight as mine.

Have you been to the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah? What are your experiences there?

Singapore’s diverse culture makes in an interesting country to visit. For one, the Kampong Glam is an area in Singapore where you can expe...

Singapore’s diverse culture makes in an interesting country to visit. For one, the Kampong Glam is an area in Singapore where you can experience a taste of the Middle East and feel the Islamic vibes without really going out of Southeast Asia.

Arab Street

From lamps to carpets, from patterned floor tiles to colorful printed attires, the Arab Street is a stretch of shophouses selling products from the Middle East. It isn't a mandatory to buy anything in these shops, but a curious eye is always welcome. At night, more shops become available along Baghdad Street as some vendors pull out their products to sell in an outdoor setup at the Arabian night market.
Arabian restaurants can also be seen around, mostly designed with beautiful tiled walls and flooring, Moroccan inspired chairs, and lamps that look dramatic at night. Also, you might get caught by Middle Eastern waiters when walking along Bussorah Street who eagerly say "hello" and invite you to enter their restaurant.

Masjid Sultan (Sultan Mosque)

Located at Muscat Street and North Bridge Road, the Masjid Sultan is a standout in the area with its beautiful Malay-Islamic architecture.
This mosque was built by Sultan Hussain, the leader when the British came to Singapore in 1800s. When the British allocated Kampong Glam for the Malays and other Muslims living in Singapore, the sultan decided to build a mosque in the area.

The mosque is open to the public (including non-Muslims) during non-praying times.
Visiting hours:
Saturdays to Thursdays: 10:00AM-12:00PM and 2:00PM-4:00PM
Fridays: 2:30PM-4:00PM

Haji Lane

This mural is perhaps one of the most photographed in Singapore, which is popular among millennials for this portion of a colorful wall that clearly makes it Instagram-worthy. Haji Lane is an alley with side-by-side shophouses for fashion boutiques, and some were converted into restaurants, cafes, and pubs.

The neighboring alleys are also as interesting as Haji Lane. Street art is seen much in the area.
It’s best to visit Haji Lane in the morning before 9AM to avoid the flock of tourists. Nevertheless, it’s also interesting at night since it’s a good place for night life.

Where-to-eat tips

If you’re in a hunt for the cheapest restaurant in the area, the Kampong Glam Café serves affordable Asian dishes from hot noodles to rice dishes. The price starts at SGD 4.5 only, a meal price that’s honestly quite hard to score not only in Kampong Glam but in entire Singapore.

Also read: How I Spent Less Backpacking in an Expensive City Like Singapore

For example, this chicken char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles) is only SGD 4.5 while warm teh tarik (milk tea) costs SGD 1. Very cheap la! Kampong Glam Café is located at Baghdad Street corner Bussorah Street.
Also, the oldest biryani restaurant can be found in Kampong Glam area. Located at North Bridge Road, the Islamic Restaurant has been serving the best biryani in town since 1921. A biryani set ranges from SGD 10 and up.

How to get there

The Bugis MRT station is the nearest train station to Kampong Glam. It’s served by Downtown (DT14) and East West (EW12) lines.

Singapore may be a small country, yet it's one of the leading countries in the world. Known as the "fine city," Singapore...

Singapore may be a small country, yet it's one of the leading countries in the world. Known as the "fine city," Singapore's consistent and strong law enforcement attracts foreign investments that results to a booming economy. Tourism is also well uplifted by the strict regulation that many tourists come to this country with zero to none worries in terms of safety.
However, the good life in Singapore has made it the world's most expensive city to live at. Travelers also feel the heavy price attached to it. After a short backpacking in Singapore, I realized it wasn't easy to keep everything in budget there, but I learned a few hacks. So here are some tips on how to spend less when traveling Singapore:


Public transportation is what I always recommend when traveling, including when in Singapore. Their Metro Rail Transit (MRT) is the cheapest option and is highly reliable with a total of 5 main lines (North South, East West, Circle, North East, and Downtown lines) that are connected to each other.
In fact, the Changi International Airport is connected to the East West line through the Changi Airport station. It only takes around 30-45 minutes to reach the city by train.
Note: The Changi Airport station is connected to terminals 2 and 3 only. In case you arrive at Terminal 4 (T4), where Cebu Pacific and Air Asia are at, take the free bus shuttle for a 5-minute ride to the train station. Bus shuttles operate from 6AM to 12AM located at the at the arrival area (1st floor) of T4. For terminal 1, ride the free Changi Airport Skytrain to bring you right at the entrance of the train station. 
A good way to save in train fares is to get an EZ link card, Singapore’s cashless top-up card. It's sold at any train station. With this card, you get discounts per ride. For example, when riding from Changi Airport to Bugis, it costs SGD 1.65 using the EZ link card against SGD 2.30 when using a single-journey card bought at the ticketing machine. Also, the use of card bails you off the long lines at the ticketing machine especially in busy MRT stations like Bayfront, Raffles Place, and Chinatown stations. Aside from the train, the card can be used when opting to take the bus, taxi, or when buying at selected stores.

The card costs SGD 5. When bought at the train station, it costs SGD 12 (with a 7-SGD stored value) while it costs SGD 10 (with a 5-SGD stored value) at 7-Eleven.


Mobile internet has become a necessity when traveling. To get the cheapest sim card with the cheapest data plan in Singapore, go with M1, a mobile network company in Singapore. M1's M Card costs SGD 5, which is the main balance to be used to register to the 1GB data plan good for 3 days.

Note: To register the promo, just dial #100*3# then select Data Pack > 3-day Data Pack and then an SMS will be sent for the activation. To check the balance or validity of the promo, dial #100*2# then select Free Data Balance/Expiry.
However, what's commonly sold to tourists and at 7-eleven is the SGD 15 Tourist Card by M1. To get the cheaper M Card, go instead to any M1 store such as the Bugis outlet inside Bugis Junction. For a complete list of M1 shops, distributors, and partners, click here.
Meanwhile, for free WIFI, there are some areas in Singapore that offer it powered by the Wireless@SG program. At Changi Airport, you can get a free 3-hour WIFI by simply scanning your passport. The WIFI password displays afterward.
The Singapore National Gallery
Also, there’s free WIFI in museums (e.g. Singapore National Gallery. No need to pay any entrance. You can just stay at the lobby), shopping malls (e.g. Vivo City), and fast food & coffee shops (e.g. McDonald’s, Gloria Jeans, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, etc.). 


A restaurant meal in Singapore may range from SGD 12 and up. Beverage can also get costly. Even water was expensive (small bottled water is SGD 2 and a liter costs SGD 4) that I only bought a liter of bottled water once and then I only refilled it with water at my hostel - a good saving tip though!
Another food budgeting tip is to look for an accommodation that includes breakfast already. Doing so also saves you time in looking for a breakfast place as most of the restaurants in Singapore open late (they open at 9AM or later).
For budget meals without sacrificing quality, you may want to eat at a hawker center where some (but not all) dishes can get cheaper at 8 SGD or below. Aside from price, you also get a variety of food options as a hawker typically consists of several small food stalls.

Note: Hawker centers are all over Singapore. But it's a must-try at Maxwell Food Centre especially that Anthony Bourdain recommended one of the food stalls there, the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, which is said to serve the best Hainanese chicken in town. 


To enjoy Singapore without emptying the pocket afterward, it’s good to mix in some free-admission attractions. Here are some places without entrance fees to check out in Singapore:

1. Supertree Grove 
Although most attractions at Gardens by the Bay have entrance fees, including the combo entrance fee to the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest at SGD 28 for adults and 15 SGD for children 3-12 years old and to the OCBC Skyway at SGD 8 and SGD 5 for children 3-12 years old, it’s free to check out the Supertree Grove, the 18 man-made trees standing tall inside Gardens by the Bay.

Don’t miss the 15-minute light show that runs every hour starting at 6:45PM. Viewers usually lay on the ground while watching, so bring a mat if you can to comfortably enjoy the spectacular show. Also, it’s best to come to the venue 15-30 minutes before it starts to get the best spots as it gets really crowded, believe me.

2. Merlion Park
The merlion is a mythical creature with a lion’s head and a fish’ body that’s considered a symbol of Singapore. As said, a trip to Singapore won’t be complete without seeing or having a picture with it.
Funny that during my last 2 visits in Singapore in 2008 and 2013, I never had a photo with the Merlion and my friends couldn’t believe it. So the third time I went, I joined the bandwagon to have a signature pose with the Merlion! =p

3. Chinatown
Going to Singapore’s Chinatown is a very interesting place. Aside from the stretch of outdoor markets for shopping and hawkers for dining, you can visit a Buddhist temple, an Indo-Islamic mosque and a Hindu temple all in the same area. Singapore is a diverse country that it consists of 3 main ethnic groups, namely: Chinese/Singaporean (76%), Malay (12%), and Indian (8%).

Located at South Bridge Road, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is religiously significant as it’s said that Buddha’s left tooth was found here. It’s a 5-storey temple with several Buddhist statues inside. Proper attire must be observed (i.e. shorts and/or sleeveless aren't allowed) in the main hall, but you can borrow a shawl for cover before entering the hall.

Also at South Bridge Road is the Sri Mariamman Temple, which is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore that dates back 1827. An interesting sight to see here is the gopuram, the local name of the temple's entrance tower. It depicts an elaborate representation of mythological characters and deities in Hinduism.

It's a good cultural experience to enter this temple. There are a few more interesting displays, statues, and buildings inside. Footwear must be removed upon entrance, so leave your footwear at the left of the entrance or bring a paper/plastic bag to carry it with you.
Not too far is the Masjid Jamae (Chulia), the dominantly green-colored mosque with 2 minarets at the entrance. It basically works as a place of worship, but there are some displays to explain the fundamentals of Islam for tourists.

Inside, you’ll probably see men seated on the floor praying while the women’s prayer hall is at the right side. Note that men and women pray in separate areas in this mosque as part of Islam's teaching to respect women. Footwear must also be removed upon entrance and proper attire must be followed (i.e. no shorts and/or sleeveless). Robes for cover may be borrowed at the entrance.


As a small country, land area is limited in Singapore and so it’s expected that accommodation is expensive. A good way to save in accommodation is to look for a backpacker hostel, which is usually in a dormitory setup where facilities are mostly shared: bunk beds / capsules, shared toilet, common lounge, and a kitchen. The cheapest backpacker hostels are mostly located in Bugis, Chinatown, and Geylang area.
I stayed for 4 nights at Five Stones Hostel at Beach Road, which is 10 minutes on foot from the Bugis MRT station and close to places of interest such as the Haji Lane, Masjid Sultan, Arab Street, and Bugis Junction. I like that breakfast was included, considering that as mentioned, food is generally expensive in Singapore.
I got to use the free facilities such as the WIFI, Netflix, books, and desktop PCs. There’s even a DIY laundry area at the top floor to lessen the cost in laundry service. Also, I felt safe throughout my stay in this hostel given my own access card to enter the dorm and locker for my valuables. Even though I was in an 8-bed female dormitory and shared facilities with other guests, I still felt the personal space and the freedom to hang out with others whenever I wanted to.
With Booking.com, get 10% back on your accommodation using my promo code she0d142. To avail this, you must have a Booking.com account. If you don't have yet, you can create one now!

1. After creating an account, click this link. A pop-up window will appear similar to this:

2. Select your preferred accommodation and complete the reservation / booking. 
3. After your trip, you’ll get an email from Booking.com on how to receive your 10% off reward. You're welcome! :-)

Overall, I managed to spend less than PHP 10,000 for a 4-day trip to Singapore!
Expense detailAmount (in PHP)
Transportation expenses
     Transportation to and from Manila airportPHP 577
     Transportation in SingaporePHP 335
     Airport travel taxPHP 1,620
Food and drinksPHP 1,806
AccommodationPHP 5,356
Souvenirs PHP 1,134

TOTAL: PHP 9,208
Note: I meant not to include the air fare in the list. I used my Cebu Pacific GetGo membership for the round trip ticket to Singapore. 

Have you been to Singapore? What other money-saving tips can you suggest? Let's have a chat below!

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