As volunteers we had not left the country in over a year so we had to pay an international tax fee. For a whopping Php1620. For foreigners with a salary more than $300 a month this maybe pocket change but for me that was electricity bill for 4 months.
And of course Cebu Pacific doesn’t make it easy on you. They wait right until you get to the threshold to security and corner you to weigh your luggage. We are three women traveling with just a backpack so all of us were over the allowed 7 kilograms. However we had different reactions on handling this situation. See below: Girl 1- I will just check my bag and pay the excess baggage fee. I’m going to be over the limit either way. Girls 2 – Let me rearrange some things to get within the allowed limit. (After removing all contents of bag and numerous rearranging) Ok I accept defeat and will pay the Php900 fee. Girl 3- We are going to make this work. Puts on pair of jeans over leggings. Transfered a pair of jeans and a toiletry bag in each of her companions checked luggage. After all the excitement and morning exercise in the airport we boarded a plane to Thailand. Here is the itinerary for the 2 weeks we were there.
Bangkok, Thailand 6 nights
Siem Reap Cambodia 3 nights
Chiang Mai, Thailand 4
Chiang Rai, Thailand (Day Trip Only)
Transportation: Cebu Pacific flight to Bangkok and then the metro system getting around. There is a MRT stop connected to the airport and then we transfered to the BTS line and got off at a stop nearby our hostel. (The MRT and BTS are really easy to navigate just follow the signs.)
Lodging: Bed Station Hostel
- Wat Pho featuring the Reclining Buddah
- Street Food
- Thai Massage
- Bangkok Art and Culture Center
Transportation: Leaving Bangkok we took a Bus at Mochit station. Getting to Mochit we rode the BTS and then a taxi. To avoid any headaches or scams we purchased bus tickets and visas for Cambodia. Those links are provided:
Bus Ticket: http://www.thaiticketmajor.com/bus/ttmbus/index.php
You receive your tickets in your email and you can print them at anytime. On the bus, the conductor will provide entry forms and additional information you should listen to.
Lodging: Golden Temple Villa
Once arriving in Siem Reap, the driver of the hotel picked us up and we proceeded to check in. This hotel deserves an entire post of its own for me to explain the my experience at this place. Stay Tuned!
- Temples of Angkor
- Night Bazzar
- Traditional Khmer Dance Performance
Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai:
Transportation: There is no direct transportation option from Siem Reap to Chiang Mai. All options led back to us returning to Bangkok. We then flew to Chiang Mai via Air Asia. From there we split the cost of a private van going to our hotel.
Lodging: YMCA, The International Hotel
- Elephant Nature Park
- Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)
- Boys Blues Bar at the Night Bazaar
- Shopping for hand crafted leather and goods
Leaving Chiang Rai we road an overnight train back to Bangkok. This cut down on the cost of hotels and it was the only option. For future train travelers ALWAYS choose the lower bunk. They do not call them bunks but if they ask lower or upper when purchasing tickets select lower. They are bigger by wand there are spaces to store luggage underneath. Once back in Bangkok we returned to our favorite hostel, Bed Station and did random exploring. We met a fellow natural hair blogger, Blair, creator of Natural Hair Capital andhad an impromptu natural hair meet up while eating Pad Thai.
Other attractions in Bangkok
- Lumpini Park
- Khao San Road, party til your hearts content
- Wat Khaek Hindi temple, different from the traditional Buddhist temples
And then it was time to return to our regularly scheduled Peace Corps life. I felt very accomplished for my first backing trip and my first international trip with strictly a leisure purpose but it was not the easiest trip in the world. Stay tuned for my next post “Mistakes of a First Time Backpacker”
Share with us YOUR travel itinerary!
– The Natural Travelista