Mt. Batur Sunrise Trek

The day I hiked Mt. Batur was one of the best days I had in Bali. Mt. Batur is an active volcano with an elevation of 1,717m and its last eruption was way back 2000. In 2012, UNESCO made Mt. Batur a part of the Global Geopark Network.

How to Book the Mt. Batur Sunrise Trek Tour

My new-found friend (I met him on the plane to Bali!) and I scouted for the Mt. Batur sunrise trek tour in the traditional market vicinity. You will find lots of stalls offering this tour in Ubud. After several hours of looking around, we found one stall we liked and we were able to haggle for a bit. Eventually, we got the tour for 325,000 rupiah.

You can also find several agencies offering this tour online.

What to Expect during the Trek

On the day of the tour, I was picked up by a shuttle bus from my hotel at 1:45am. Pretty early, right? I didn’t mind it at all. I was excited and ready.

We had a pre-breakfast stop in the middle of our journey where we had  wrapped fried banana and a cup of hot tea. At around 3:45am, we arrived at the base of Mt. Batur where we were met by our guides (2 locals).

By this time, I was already surprised (and disappointed) by the number of tourists huddling around with their guides. There were hundreds of us still at the the foot of the volcano and I could also see several hundred others who have started ascending hours before.

After a few minutes, we were handed our flashlights and breakfast packs (1 boiled egg, 2 sliced bread, 1 banana, and a bottled water) and we started our hike at around 4am. (No proper orientation?!)

I have done a bit of mountain trekking in the past, and I’d have to say that the Mt. Batur trail is my least favorite.  I am one who enjoys a peaceful scenery. This trail was quite the opposite of that. Because there were a lot of tourists along the trail, there were several huffing and puffing; slipping and sliding on the way to the top.  At one point, I actually thought that we were like sheep being herded. I also found the trail to be a dangerous one: the volcanic soil was very, very loose and slippery and the rocks were unstable, too.

The trail was a combination of both easy and hard parts, but everyone can make it to the top. Of course, you can pause along the way (the second guide was the sweeper). Since the folks from my group were hardcore, we only paused twice – and they were both one minute each. I did take a break, though, when we were on the last (yet the hardest) part of the climb. The rest of the team went ahead. I arrived at the sunrise point a good 15 minutes after.

Fitbit Check: By the time I reached the sunrise point, my fitbit logged 30,499 steps, 10.88km, 2,355 calories burned, 162 floors, 198 active minutes.

When we made it to the top, 4 from my group remained at the sunrise point while the other 3 climbed another 20minutes to another sunrise point. The 4 of us found a spot where we put our cameras for stability. A few minutes later, sky started to give a bit of a saturated, sunrise hue. I was super excited.

We were told that the views are never guaranteed. However , it was an awesome day.

 

Mt. Batur

 

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Festival of the Lion King, Hong Kong, Disneyland

Every time I visit Hong Kong Disneyland, I make sure to watch Festival of the Lion King.  It’s that one show that I think I’ll never get tired of watching. For me, it’s by far, the most entertaining Disney show.

Festival of the Lion King is a live interpretation and truncated version of Disney’s “The Lion King” movie. In Hong Kong, the show is in both English and Cantonese.

Festival of the Lion King, Hong Kong Disneyland

The animals are represented by large puppets on parade floats. The show is hosted by performers dressed in costumes inspired by traditional African dress.

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Staycation at Cebu City Marriott Hotel

If you’re looking for a hotel in Cebu City, you may want to consider Marriott Hotel.

Cebu City Marriott hotel is close to everything. It is located in the heart of the financial district where the best shopping and leisure activities are within a 5-km radius. Ayala Center Cebu, a premier shopping mall, is right at Marriott Hotel’s doorstep. Talk about convenience! There are plenty of restaurants nearby that cater to wide array of budget, too.  It is also close to IT Park, Colon, and Capitol areas.

Marriott Hotel in Cebu City

Our Room at Marriott Hotel in Cebu City

Marriott Hotel is a top-rated hotel in Cebu City. It has excellent staff who are always ready to assist you. Checking in was swift and security around the hotel premises is tight. It has a very welcoming ambiance and warm atmosphere.

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Day Trip Guide to Sabang, Palawan

If you ever feel like getting out of Puerto Princesa for a day, you may want to consider going on a day trip to Sabang, Palawan. This is a day trip guide to Sabang, Palawan if you feel like doing so.

Sabang, Palawan is most famous for the Subterranean River (aka Underground River), one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. Far away from the main attraction is Sabang’s best-kept secret: long, endless, secluded coastline!

How to get there:

A day trip to Sabang, Palawan is not so hard to do. You can hire a tricycle from anywhere in the city to the “New Market” terminal in San Jose.  I paid P60 for the trip from where I was staying (near Robinson’s Place) to the terminal. There are two ways to get to Sabang: by bus or by van (Lexxus Shuttle). See below. If you’re feeling adventurous, hire a motorbike from the rental shops along Rizal Avenue.

Schedule of vans to Sabang, Palawan
Tip: Reserve a return ticket to Puerto Princesa upon your arrival in Sabang
Tours in Sabang, Palawan
A stall offering tours to other parts of Palawan

 

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Day Trip to Wulai, Taipei

Welcome to Wulai!

Wulai is a very small district located in New Taipei City. It is about a 40-minute ride from Taipei City.

So, what’s in Wulai?  Wulai is known for its natural resources, several waterfalls, aboriginal culture, and odorless hot spring. Given that I’m not a (huge) fan of waterfalls and hot springs, it’s kind of weird having this included in my itinerary.

Unbeknownst to many, I just really wanted to see the cherry blossoms in Wulai; the closest to Taipei for flower viewing. The cherry blossoms here are believed to be best viewed between February – March every year.

One of the many bridges in Wulai

I am already aware that there’d be several waterfalls but I was really suprised at the number of bridges in Wulai.  I lost count of all the bridges that I crossed and they’re not even far from each other.

Wulai Old Town

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Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is dubbed as one of the best festivals in the world by the American Discovery Channel’s Program, ‘Fantastic Festivals of the World‘.  This had been on my bucketlist for quite some time now.

There is no exact schedule for this festival since it depends on the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, the festival was held on February 11, 14 and 22. I attended the festival on the 22nd.

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Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival Attendees

 

Every year, this festival is held in different locations in Pingxi, a small township nestled among the mountains in northeastern Taipei. The fastest way to get there is through the TRA express train going to Ruifang and then transfer to the local train going to Shifen Station via Pingxi Railway.  The cost depends on the train type based on the time of your desired departure and ranges from $49-$79 for the TRA and $20 for a one-way ticket from Ruifang to Shifen. Alternatively, you can also go there via train-bus combo. Allow a maximum of 2hours for your travel time (each way).

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Love and fun from Japan

The train ride by itself was a scenic one. We passed by rivers, mountains and waterfalls.  There was an option to explore the areas in Jiufen, too but we headed straight to Shifen.  The railway was also extraordinary.  It was the closest I could get to a moving train.  You see, the people on the railways had to move out of the way every single time a train passed by. It was very exciting!

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Scribbles. Writing my wishes on this lantern

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Tokyo Accommodation: Hotel Bellclassic Tokyo

Everything in Tokyo is expensive. Accommodation is not an exception.

I don’t believe in wasting money on accommodation.  Whenever I travel, I stay in hostels / dormitories.  But as much as possible, I choose to stay in a hotel for a couple of days just to get the sense on how different it could be from other countries.

A photo posted by miss jas (@butitoy) on

 

I usually book my accommodation through booking.com. This website allows me to make a reservation without paying anything. You just have to make sure to cancel it days before.

 

Hotel Bellclassic Tokyo
Hotel Bellclassic Tokyo –  Single Room

 

During my recent visit to Tokyo, I stayed in three different hotels. I met up with friends later on and  shared a room with them in Hotel Gracery Tamachi and Ginza Capital Hotel.  Hotel Bellclassic Tokyo was my favorite for a variety of reasons.

One thing I noticed about Japanese hotels is that their beds and pillows aren’t as soft as the the usual pillows. They’re not big on pillows. I only had one instead of the usual 2.

Hotel Bellclassic Tokyo
Hotel Bellclassic Tokyo – Bed

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Where My Feet Had Taken Me in 2015

I’m blogging from my phone again! I should start getting used to this. Ok, let’s start.

I had the most eventful and amazing year so far. I couldn’t be any more thankful. I endured lots of challenges that brought valuable lessons and shaped me who I am today.

I’m a sucker for anything that involves the ocean.  I don’t think I’ll ever tire of going to the beach. I went to Panglao and Anda a couple of times. I enjoyed my time in Plantation bay, spent my Valentine’s weekend in Bantayan and swam with the turtles in Apo Island. Of course, I had the most amazing time in Boracay, too.

A photo posted by miss jas (@butitoy) on

 

Bantayan    

 

A photo posted by miss jas (@butitoy) on

 

Australia

 

A photo posted by miss jas (@butitoy) on

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Christmas Essense

December is that time of the year when you receive lots of gifts: from secret santas to Christmas parties and not to mention, my birthday. Here are the items I received last December.  Thank you, thank you!!!

A photo posted by miss jas (@butitoy) on

 

 Ate Nean also gave me a novel for my 30th birthday.  

 

A photo posted by miss jas (@butitoy) on

 

 

A photo posted by miss jas (@butitoy) on

 

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Starting 2016 With a Bang

Today is my first day back to work after a 2-week beach vacation.

I’m grateful that I survived today. It wasn’t easy.

On a brighter note, I just booked my first international travel for this year. Next month!!!

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I’m too ecstatic that I feel like crying. The destination is not very popular among Filipinos as it involves getting a visa (clue #1). Although short, this trip involves 2 items on my bucket list.

I cannot wait!!!

So I think I definitely started my year with a bang:
-survived first day back to work
-booked 1st international travel this year
-Im blogging from my phone for the first time!!!

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