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How to Apply for a Schengen Visa

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa

Europe!!! A dream travel destination for many of us. Sometimes we think that we are too far of reaching this dream. But, this dream will only remain a dream if we will never take time to make it into reality. To make this “dream come […]

Solo Backpacking Europe in 10 Days – 4 days in Paris

Solo Backpacking Europe in 10 Days – 4 days in Paris

Many of us Filipinos dream to visit Europe at least once but are intimidated by getting a visa, travel cost and complexity of turning this dream into reality.  Fortunately, as an OFW in Bahrain, I believed that getting a Schengen visa is a bit easier […]

Beijing Travel Guides for First Timer

Beijing Travel Guides for First Timer

After I climbed and did Backpacking the Great Wall of China in Beijing, now I wanted to share these travel guides based on my experience especially for first time visitors.

Quick Intro

Beijing, formerly know as Peking, is the capital of Peoples Republic of China. The city attracts tourist because of its rich history, culture as well as several heritage sites. Beijing have four seasons that you can enjoy – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. China ranked as second most active country this year, 2017, with average of 6189 steps walked a day. Be prepared to walk, 1 Kilometer (approx. 10mins walk) is considered near.

Philippines peso exchange rate = 1RMB = 7.7PHP

Travel Document Requirements

  1. Visa is required for Filipino to enter Mainland China which includes Beijing. How to apply Chinese Visa?
  2. Your passport that is valid for at least another 6 months
  3. Confirmed return flight
  4. The following may be asked by Immigration Officer in NAIA before departure – have these documents ready to avoid getting offloaded.
    • Confirmed hotel reservation
    • Sufficient funds for the duration of your travel – you may show proof of your income or savings
    • IO might ask some information regarding your source of income – job or business. Just be prepared supporting documents

(Disclaimer: Having these documents does not give assurance that you will be cleared by IO, it’s still based on profiling or evaluation of the IO)

Approximate Budget

A rough estimate of Php10,000 – Php 15,000.00 (excluding Airfare) will cover your basic expenses going around the famous tourist attractions in Beijing listed in “Where to Go” below this post.

How to get there

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is the main international airport serving Beijing and where most commercial airlines arrived. It is located 32 km northeast of Beijing’s city center.

From Manila, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines offers direct flights to Beijing 3 and 4 times a week respectively. Air China offers daily flights to Beijing. Flight time is approximately 4h and 20m.

Airfare usually varies but if you can book ahead of time, about 6months advance, you might be lucky to avail promo fares. Ceb Pac promo fares to Beijing is usually around Php3,000.00 one way. Regular fares can goes up to Php15,000.00 round-trip.

Insider Tips:

  • Subscribe to airline seat sale alert and download airline mobile app.
  • Use third party booking sites such as Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights

When To Go

Depending on what you want to experience, Beijing has four seasons to choose from.

April to May is Spring with cold windy days even sandstorm hits the city frequently and may delay some trips.

June to August is Summer, usually hot but with high chance of rainfall.

September to October is Fall, this is the best time to visit Beijing when the temperature is cool and have plenty of sunshine (but lately, clear blue skies are not always visible due to smog).  Avoid the Golden Week (first week of Oct) celebration where crowd can be jam packed.

November to February is Winter with snowfall and average day temperature is 0 degC. But for those who want to experience snow, these months are for you.

Great Wall of China
Autumn in Mutianyu Great Wall

Where to stay

Its always good choice to stay near the city center. There are budget friendly hostels near Forbidden City, Wangfujing and Qianmen Area. You can allot Php1500.00 – Php 2000.00 per night for a twin room for a hostel with high guest rating in Agoda. For solo backpackers, dorm type hostels are also available for around these areas for only Php500.00 per night.


Budget Twin Rooms Options (click on the photos)


Insider Tips:

  • Always book a hotel which is walking distance to a subway station.
  • Read feedback from previous guest – Tripadvisor, and are reliable sources of hotel feedback

Getting Around

There are several options to get around in Beijing – taxi, public buses and subway. Beijing has an extensive network of subways and buses and most of the attractions within the center of Beijing are accessible via subway. However, subway stations are far apart, and most of the time you cannot walk from one station to the other. RMB 3 is the minimum fare in subway for the first 6km. Beijing subway system is easy to use, just plan your routes.

Similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus Card, Beijing has Beijing Transportation Smart Card that can be used for the public bus and subway. Card is available in any customer service counter of subway stations. One person per card policy applies.

From Airport to City, Airport Express is available and is interconnected to two subway lines.

Insider Tips:

  • When purchasing single trip ticket and your destination requires transfer from one subway line to another, just enter your final destination and transfer to another line without the need to buy another ticket.

Don’t make the same mistake like I did when I visited Beijing, I always purchased a ticket on the first subway line, then purchase another ticket for my second line though it is interconnected. 

  • Air pollution level in Beijing is high compare to global average. Consider using face mask when going around Beijing. 3M N95 mask is known to be enough to filter airborne particulates.

Where to Go

Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

The Great Wall of China (Mutianyu/Badaling)

Olympic Park

Temple of Heaven

Other interesting places to see to visit within the city.

  • Summer Palace
  • Wangfujing Shopping Street and Street Food
  • Qianmen Street and National Center of Performing Arts (“The Egg”)

Estimated Budget for 3days/2nights – Php 10,000.00

Basic Expenses

Hotel Accommodation, 2nights Php 1200.00
Philippine travel tax Php 1620.00
Great Wall Join Tour Php 2200.00
Forbidden City Entrance Fee Php 500.00
Temple of Heaven Entrance Fee Php 110.00
Food, 500 a day Php 1500.00
Getting Around by Beijing subway Php 200.00
Airport Express (two rides) Php 400.00
Pasalubong / Souvenir Php 1500.00

Php50 = 1 Usd

Note: You can just adjust above budget if you are couple or group of 3-4. You might save a little in accommodation and food expenses.

Insider Tips:

  • I usually allot an emergency/contingency fund whenever I travel- additional 20% of my total budget (for above budget, Php2,000.00) . Anything can happen when we travel, so better have some emergency fund if needed.

Enjoy planning your itinerary.

Xie Xie!!!



Singapore – 3D2N Suggested Itinerary

Singapore – 3D2N Suggested Itinerary

    If this will be you first time to travel to Singapore, you can also check my previous post about Singapore Travel Guide – What to Know Before You Travel.  I prepared a simple itinerary to see some of the iconic and main tourist […]

Backpacking The Great Wall of China

Backpacking The Great Wall of China

Day 1: Arrival, Ni Hao! It was overcast, gloomy and cold when I arrived in Beijing International Airport after the 7-hour flight from Abu Dhabi. Though sleepless, I’m slowly regaining energy as my excitement rise up to cross out my first Seven Wonder Buckelist. After […]

Singapore Travel Guide – What to Know Before you Travel

Singapore Travel Guide – What to Know Before you Travel

Singapore, also known as the Lion City is one of the popular tourist destination for Filipino. The city has a lot of tourist place to visit, interesting sightseeing and attractions. When we travel, we always consider the budget needed for our trip and Singapore always has the impression as “expensive” city. But with correct planning and timing, we can always travel on a budget.

So, if you are planning to visit Singapore to spend one of the long weekend holiday, here are some of travel tips based on my experience that may help you prepare your budget. A 3d2n itinerary is enough to get a glimpse of Singapore’s beauty.

Travel Document Requirements

  1. As member of the ASEAN, Philippine passport holder can enjoy a VISA FREE entry in Singapore and can stay up to 30 days.
  2. Passport should be at least 6 months valid beyond the date of intended departure from Singapore.
  3. Confirmed return flight ticket is required.
  4. Aside from above travel documents, one must also convince the Immigration Officer that you really intend to go back to the Philippines. Here are some points IO will consider
    • Sufficient funds for the duration of your stay in Singapore – you may show proof of your income or savings
    • You have stable job or business
    • If you are frequent traveler outside the country, this may also help but does not mean you will not be questioned by the IO. I myself was still questioned for my intend to return even though I already have several countries visited including Europe and Middle East.

How To Get There

From Manila

There are almost 15 direct flights per day from Manila to Changi Airport in Singapore. Budget airlines such as Cebu Pacific, Jet Star and Air Asia offers several flights per day. Being a visa free country for Filipino, we can also grab this opportunity to book our flight ahead of time without worrying your visa will not be approve. Airline seat sale are usually offered 3-6months before travel period. If you are lucky enough, you can spot and book a PISO fare. Usual promo price of Cebu Pacific to Singapore are between Php 1800-2500.00

Travel Time: 3hours 40minutes

Clark airport in Pampanga also serves flight to Singapore.

Insider Tips:

  • Subscribe to airline seat sale alert and download airline mobile app.
  • Use third party booking sites such as Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights

Where to Stay

Aside from airfare, accommodations sometimes get a big chunk in our budget. Accommodation prices in Singapore are higher compared with its South East Asian neighbors but this does not mean we cannot find affordable places to stay.

If you are a solo traveller, there are plenty of backpacker hostels that offers dorm type room for Php 500-700.00 per bed per night. You can find these hostels around Little India, Chinatown and Kallang. For 3d2n,  Php1400.00 is enough budget.

Agoda Budget Accomodation
Book Discounted Accommodation

For couple or group of 3 to 4, cheap hostel with good user reviews range from Php1800 – 2800 per night for a triple room. Find these type of hostel around Geylang, Kallang and Little India

Insider Tips: 

  • Book your accommodation near MRT or bus station
  • Booking ahead of time also give discounts

Getting around

From the Airport

By MRT/train: downtown is reacheable via MRT EW Green Line. MRT station is located at the basement of Terminal 2 and 3 and is accessible from the Arrival and Departure hall through lifts and escalators. Follow the signage “Train to the City”. From Terminal station, you need to transfer in Tanah Merah Station for EW line heading to Joo Koon. Check which MRT line is nearest to your accommodation to plan your transfer from the green line. Fare is about SGD2-3 (Php70-100) based on your destination.

By bus: Buses  are also available stops at the basement of all terminals and you can take public bus service 36/36A to the city for about SGD2 (Php70.00)

Using Uber/Taxi: if you are a group, you can take taxi to the city for SGD15-25 (Php500-1000.00)

By Private Coach:Airport Transfer (SIN Pick Up) for Singapore – Klook Travel

Sightseeing around the city

Because of Singapore’s efficient public transport system, almost all the tourist attraction in Singapore are easily accessible.

There are five MRT lines that runs around the city. You can buy EZ link card that you can use in all MRT lines as well as in the bus. Singapore Tourist Pass is also available that gives unlimited train and bus rides for 1,2 or 3 days.

There are also Hop on Hop Off Sightseeing bus operated by private companies that you can avail but will cost more compare to public transport.

Insider tips:

  • If you will follow exactly the itinerary listed below, EZ link card is more affordable option.
  • However, if you think you will be using the bus and train more that 5 times in a day, Singapore Pass is more recommended.

I hope you find this blog post helpful, feel free to Like and Share. For more trip report and travel tips, follow my Facebook page Lakwatserong Kimiko.

You can also check my previous post “Why I’ll Keep Coming Back to Singapore”

My 3D2N sample itinerary for Singapore on the next post



Happy and Safe Travels…


Why I’ll Keep Coming Back to Singapore

Why I’ll Keep Coming Back to Singapore

Singapore – my most visited country, with a record of 4 visits. This was my first out of the country experience way back 2010. We attended a supplier sponsored training for a laboratory equipment that we purchased. I was with my 3 other colleague that […]

Backpacking IndoChina Quick Travel Guide

Backpacking IndoChina Quick Travel Guide

After finishing my IndoChina Backpacking, I listed my quick guide for the three countries I visited. Check out below⬇️⬇️⬇️ Thailand 1.  ✈️There are two international airport in Bangkok, Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi, check your airline arrival when booking.  2.  🏬🕌Major cities to visit are Bangkok, […]

A budget Traveller Must Have Accessories

A budget Traveller Must Have Accessories

What is you basic travel accessory must have? As budget traveler, we usually stay in hostels and book budget airlines. But being on a budget should not ruin our vacation – not having enough sleep because of your snoring dormmates, excess luggage forced to be taken out of our bags, having headache or stomach pain etc. To avoid these common unlucky situation during our travel, i would like to share to you some of my basic travel accessory must have. I always make sure to have these during my travels.

1. Universal Power Adapter

My number 1 must have. As we travel internationally, several countries have their specific electrical systems and sockets. We need adapters to use the socket in the hostels. Having a universal power adapter is helpful in charging our devices. We don’t want to have empty camera baterry or phone during your travel because our power cables doesn’t fit in hostels socket. I had this difficulty when I did my IndoChina Backpacking.

2. Powerbanks

Another helpful accessory during my travel is my Powerbank. They provide extra power while on the go. We don’t want to miss something in our travels because we we’re not able to capture the moment due to empty camera battery.

3. Medicine Kit

Headache and stomach pain are common when we are traveling. A long drive, whole day walking under the sun or missed meals can sometimes give us headache. Some people also gets upset stomach while trying local cuisine or street food. Having these feelings can ruin our day and keep us on the bed instead of enjoying outside that is why I usually bring at least a tablet or two of some basic medicine for my headache, stomach pain and some pain relievers. Disclaimer: Always consult your doctors on type of medicine you should take.

4. Ear Plugs

As a budget traveler, i usually stayed in dorm type hostels and there are times you cannot avoid having dorm mates who snores. Our dorm mates may also come late at night in the middle of your sleep. To avoid getting awaken or disturbed, we can use some ear plugs or some noice cancelling earphones to help us get a better sleep.

5. Portable Luggage Scale

Booking a flight in a budget airline means limited baggage allowance and they can be very strict on this. We want to make sure that our luggage are within our weight limit. Having excess luggage when you are already in check in counter might forced us to leave some of our belongings in the airport or pay hefty fees. So better be sure of our luggage weight using portable scale prior to check in.

6. Portable extension cord or multi socket adaptor

This seems to be not so “must have” for some traveler but for others with several electronic device – laptop, cameras, phone, drone, having this accessory is a big help.



IndoChina Travel – A day trip to Cu Chi Tunnel Vietnam

IndoChina Travel – A day trip to Cu Chi Tunnel Vietnam

After visiting the places within the city center of Ho Chi Minh, you can arrange a day trip outside the city to visit Cu Chi Tunnel. Several tour agencies are available along Pham Ngu Lao street (backpackers area) on the range of 10-20usd. You can […]

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