Singapore is one of my favorite cities in the world. Other than the fact that it has the bestest airport, coolest attractions, and super organized transportation system, Singapore was my very first out of the country destination, that is why it holds a place in my heart.
Whether a quick layover or a proper holiday, I wouldn't mind visiting Singapore over and over. However, it can be costly!
It was named as the world's most expensive city to live in for several years, and probably one of the priciest holiday destinations. Hence, spending a few days in Singapore has always been a challenge for budget travelers like me.
Set to be the tallest observation wheel in the world, I have watched Ain Dubai slowly taking shape for years! The giant ferris wheel is still under construction, but the man-made island where it proudly stands has already been opened to the public last winter.
It is called Bluewaters Island, and oh-em-gee, it looks gorgeous!
I haven't been going out lately. I know I'm missing on a lot of new things in Dubai and this blog has dried up on new information. No FOMO and no apologies here though as I have personal -valid- reasons. ;) But I wouldn't deny, I've been dying to visit those cool new places popping on my Instagram feed.
I'm a huge fan of budget travel, but here's the catch - I'm not the one who's willing to compromise comfort and convenience. Being always after the value of money, I was thrilled when I heard about the launching of OYO Rooms in the UAE.
What is OYO?
OYO Rooms is actually not a newbie in the budget travel category. It originated in India in 2013 as a startup which aimed to standardize the services in budget hotels and guesthouses. It has become South Asia's largest hospitality group, and now it's being introduced to the world; one country at a time.
Al Ain is undoubtedly one of the popular holiday destinations in the UAE. It is where Ed and I usually go whenever we need to take a breather. Fondly called as The Garden City, Al Ain is a total opposite of Dubai; no skyscrapers, no bizarre structures, lots of lush greens, and time seemingly moves slower!
Now that my parents are here again on a short vacation and I think they have seen much of Dubai already, we decided to let them have a whole new experience; a change of environment by having a lazy family staycation in Al Ain.
Taiwan was not on my 20 before 2020 wish list, let alone in my travel radar before the visa-free access for Filipinos was granted and before I stumbled on (and got addicted) to Din Tai Fung. Hahah!
With only a few months left in Taiwan's visa-free program, the perfect opportunity for me to visit came last March! My vacation leave got approved just in time for Spring! I've been longing to witness those delicate pink blossoms for a couple of years already, so, together with my favorite travel buddies - Ed and my parents, I excitedly flew to Taipei despite the rainy weather forecast.
Such a shallow reason, I know. But yes, that's the truth. :)
Ed and I have not traveled during springtime before, so when our vacation leaves were approved for March, I thought we should take it as an opportunity to visit a place where we can witness the true beauty of the season. And when you talk about spring, it is the cherry blossoms that first comes into my mind!
Japan was, of course, the ultimate goal for cherry blossoms sighting but we had to keep it out of the picture because of the visa application. Taiwan, on the other hand, offers a visa-free entry for Filipinos until July 2019, and although not well-celebrated, the country also boasts a variety of sakura flowers during spring! A win-win situation right there!
If you've been following me on Instagram, you probably know that Ed and I just got back from the land of XLB and bubble tea -Taiwan! We explored some parts of the country with my parents who are still very much cool and groovy at their 60s. Although I know how "game" they are with my DIY itineraries, I always try my best to find more comfortable ways of traveling whenever we are with them.
So, for Taiwan, I opted to book a tour! Not the boring group tour kind, but a type that satiates my hunger for exploring a new place on my own; more like a do-it-yourself trip, but hassle-free and convenient!
Did I mention how much I fell in love with Tbilisi when Ed and I visited last Autumn?
Tbilisi, they say is "the city that loves you", and it's definitely not hard to love back. The city, especially the old town, is so charming that I felt welcome the moment I arrived. It is also too colorful - homes are dainty and drenched in pastel tones - that I immediately felt I belong!
Wahhh! It looks too perfect for my Instagram theme!
Don't get me wrong. Ed and I don't travel just for the 'gram. But I can't deny that I really swooned over Tbili's cute and colorful corners because it's like my Instagram grid came to life!
Georgia, the country, is one of the places I haven't heard about until it became a popular vacation spot for Filipinos in the UAE. Being a budget-friendly destination situated at the intersection of Europe and Asia, I often hear my friends rave about it.
Those raves did spark curiosity, so one day, I found myself spontaneously booking a flight to Georgia's capital - Tbilisi.