Monday, October 27, 2014

Taking a Tour in Tunisia

Image by Goran Necin, used under the Creative Commons license.

Tunisia is by no means a large country but the relics of its ancient past, along with the beautiful coast and desert setting, attract plenty tourists each year. Vacation companies like First Choice fly out throughout the year, so- while not all sites can be listed- here are a select few.

Sidi Bou Said

What Bruges is to Belgium, Sidi Bou Said is to Tunisia. This beautiful town atop a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea is a haven for local artists, while tourists come to see the narrow cobbled streets and the white-washed houses with their striking blue accents, all-in-all making a very picturesque scene.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

KLM Get friends & WIN!

It has been my lifelong dream to visit The Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam. Good thing, you can now fly to Amsterdam (via Taipei) from Manila via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines! How cool is that? For this month, they have a simple game for you and winners shall enjoy luxurious prizes!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Hidden Gems of Mui Ne

Red sand dunes of Mui Ne.

Mui Ne is a coastal town in the Binh Thuan province. It is a popular resort destination in Southeast Vietnam, most especially to Russian tourists. No wonder why some shops and restaurants are named in Cyrillic characters.

At half past two in the afternoon, we had safely arrived at Mui Ne. Since we didn't have enough energy, we decided to tour Mui Ne the following day. We stopped by at a local restaurant and apparently, the bus company that we rode also managed it. We decided to pay for our fare back to Saigon and for the Mui Ne day tour the following day. We only paid $70 each. Not bad.

After paying for the day tour and for our fare back to Saigon, Vu, the operator and manager of the bus and restaurant, told us that the day tour will start at exactly 4:30 AM. We thought it was too early but we didn't protest. The following day, we woke up at around four in the morning, and by 4:30AM, Vu was already outside the hotel waiting for us. We boarded his owner-type jeep, earphones in, volumes up, and off we went to the first destination of our tour.

Now playing: Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Mui Ne In My Mind

Mui Ne Vietnam
Mui Ne's beach!

There was a sudden jolt.

The flight to Saigon was turbulent, all thanks to the severe weather disturbance off the northeastern seaboard of the Philippines. The plane started to descend, and before we knew it, we have safely arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, after nearly two hours of flight. The sun was almost up when we finally left the airport terminal building and had our USDs exchanged to the local currency (Vietnamese Dongs). For the first time in forever, I became an instant millionaire. Multi-millionaire to be exact.

While searching for a cab, a frail-looking man probably in his early 50s, approached us. He claimed that he was a cab driver and even showed his ID to us. Because we were so exhausted brought about by the delay, we immediately hired him. Normally, the fare to downtown Saigon costs 210,000 dong. However, our cab driver charged us 200,000 each. Multiply it by 3, the total fare was 600,000 dong. Upon arrival at the hostel, we tried to haggle the cab driver to charge at a lower rate. Apparently, he wanted to press charges against us because we were too nosy. He started to raise his voice and we got afraid. We gave up and he sped off.

The first thirty minutes in Saigon was a bit traumatic, but I don't want to disappoint myself. Without a doubt, those scammers are scattered along the busy streets and murky alleys of Saigon waiting for its next victim.

But, I believe Vietnam is more than that.