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When I was young, Hong Kong, in my mind was a city you visit during your first-time travel as an Asian. Like many young girls, shopping was my Hong Kong keyword. I first visited during my 18th birthday (the entrance to society), a gift that I received from my mother. I didn’t go alone though but 2 years ago, I had the chance to go back, explore it on my own and stayed indefinitely.

Hong Kong and I immediately clicked. Through my second exploration, I was able to go into a deeper meaning of food, culture and the greatness of the city. There is something about Hong Kong that will make you want to stay. I’m not sure how I was able to manage to live in this expensive city but one thing I know for sure: if you love it, if you feel that it’s right, then you will find all the possible ways to stay.

Here are my favourite things to do in Hong Kong – I hope you’ll find them interesting!

1. Embark on a trip via the Peak Tram

Peak tram ticket prices start at $11 USD.

Peak Tram Lower Terminus 33 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
7 am to 12 midnight (Mon - Sun & Public Holidays)

I highly recommend taking the peak tram down from the Victoria Park. You get a spectacular view of the Hong Kong city and the journey is worth it. It is one of the world’s oldest funicular railways and the tram rises to about 1300 feet above sea level. The queue can take pretty long and you need 2 hours however the experience is worth it. The old fashioned way to get to the Peak, nice to see it preserved and quite well-functioning and integrated into the overall Peak visit experience.

2. State of the art shopping mall: the IFC
8 Finance Street, Hong Kong
10 am to 7pm (Mon - Sun)

IFC is a high-end shopping mall above Hong Kong station and the airport express. It is the ultimate lifestyle hub. I thought the best store among the content is “Apple” and their three floors of electronics accompanying magnificent views of the city. It is the tallest office building in Hong Kong and it is located in Central where is next to Central Star Ferry Pier. When I didn’t have the HK sim card yet, this was my go-to place because the whole mall has free WiFi!

3. Relive old Hong Kong in Graham Street Market

14 Gage St, Central, Hong Kong
8 am to 6pm (Mon - Sun)

I started walking from Sheung Wan Station through Wellington Street towards Central; at the middle of Wellington Street, I came to Graham Street. It is one of the authentic markets situated on a slope where you can find fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, tofu, fish and meat along with local and western restaurants. I have always been amazed by colorful markets and this oldest market in Hong Kong was worth walking down.

4. Visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Book your visit to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum for as low as $28 USD!

Located at the Peak Tower. Better visit when you take the Peak tram!
10 am to 10pm (Mon - Sun)

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is a unique celebrity-inspired attraction that connects guests with famous people, famous events and famous times. Featuring six themed areas, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong provides guests with the opportunity to meet their idols and do the things that famous people do!

To get there, take bus 15C from Central Pier 8 or walk from MTR Central Station Exit J2 to take the Peak Tram from the Peak Tram Lower Terminus on Garden Road.

5. Sail across Victoria Harbour in a classic Chinese junk boat

Book your Hong Kong DukLing Harbour Cruise tickets online to avoid long queues!

Central Pier 9 or Tsim Sha Tsui Pier
9 am to 9pm (Mon - Sun)

Travel back in time on one of Hong Kong’s antique, red-sail sampans. The DukLing, which means “clever duck”, is a symbol of the city’s early years as a fishing port. Today, the humble fishing boat is transformed into a nostalgic cruise tour. Feel the warm breeze as you bask in a romantic view of the city.

You can take this tour at Central Pier 9 or Tsim Sha Tsui Pier. Here are the prices for the Dukling tour:

  • From Kowloon: $25 USD
  • From Central Pier 9: $25 USD
  • From Kowloon (Symphony of Lights): $35 USD
  • From Central (Symphony of Lights): $35 USD
6. Take a day off the bustling city and go to Lantau Island

Book your tour to Lantau Island in advance! Price starts at $40 USD.

Lantau Island
10 am - 6 pm on weekdays and 9:00am - 6:30pm on weekends and public holidays

Board a boat and journey to Tai O Fishing Village. Along the way, you may even catch of glimpse of white dolphins jumping in the water. Stroll through the rustic village and witness the traditional stilt houses. Wander along and grab delicious street food like fish ball skewers. Make your way to Po Lin Monastery, home to the giant Tian Tan Buddha. Gaze up at the impressive bronze Buddha that sits atop a hill. Take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car and enjoy views of Lantau Island landscape.

Stop at Ngong Ping Village and uncover attractions like Bodhi Tree, featuring a seated Buddha inside a tree. Head out from Hong Kong to picturesque Lantau Island on a day tour. 3-5 hours should be enough to go around Lantau Island! This is best for people who want to avoid the hustle of Hong Kong City even for just a day!

7. Enjoy a scenic cable car ride on Hong Kong’s Ngong Ping 360

Ngong Ping 360 tickets start at $22 USD.

Lantau Island
10 am - 6 pm on weekdays and 9:00am - 6:30pm on weekends and public holidays

Ngong Ping 360 is a spectacular 5.7km bi-cable ropeway. The cable car ride begins from Tung Chung towards North Lantau. Seek a quiet retreat to Old Hong Kong with a panoramic view of the countryside. Spice up your experience with the Crystal Cabin, designed with a glass bottom. Feast your eyes on a picturesque scenery right under your feet. Spot the Ngong Ping Plateau, Lantau Island and Tian Tan Buddha. This is only a 2-min walk from Tung Chung Station (Exit B) so it will be easier to find it on your own!

8. Feast on flavorful meals from Ngong Ping Village’s most popular restaurants

Set meal prices start at $11 USD.

Lantau Island
10 am - 6 pm on weekdays and 9:00am - 6:30pm on weekends and public holidays

Savor piping hot chicken noodles with honey chamomile tea in Zen Noodle Cafe. Or, choose to dine at a traditional style cafe like AOK Hong Kong Cafe. Sample their fried spring rolls, pineapple buns, and signature milk tea.

Get a taste of authentic Japanese food in Matsuzaka Express. Delight in sushi, pork curry rice, and seafood udon noodles. Visit Ebeneezer’s Kebabs & Pizzeria, the best place to eat a kebab in Hong Kong. Try halal-certified food such as Indian curry rice and kebabs. Unwind on your tour to Ngong Ping Village with a wide range of dining options.

9. Spend a day at Ocean Park Hong Kong

Ocean Park ticket prices start at $52 USD

Aberdeen, Hong Kong
10 am - 7 pm on weekdays and 10 am - 9 pm on weekends and public holidays

Ocean Park Hong Kong is a marine-based leisure theme park in the Southern District. Travel from one side of the park to the other aboard the park’s Cable Car. Enjoy the stunning view of the park, surrounded by green peaks and beautiful sea. Marvel at the majestic landscape of Hong Kong Island. Conquer your fears on The Abyss ride as you fly 63 meters high. Feel the adrenaline rush as you hurtle through loops on The Dragon and Hair Raiser.

Enter one of the world’s biggest aquariums, home to over 5,000 fishes and 400 species. Learn the importance of animal protection. Delight in seeing sea lions and walruses play. Meet cute koalas, arctic foxes, and giant pandas. Start your Ocean Park adventure today!

10. For the outdoor enthusiasts, do the Hong Kong trail

Peak Tram Lower Terminus, 33 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
7 am to 12 midnight (Mon - Sun & Public Holidays)

If you are an outdoor person, I would suggest the beautiful HongKong trail; an 8.5 km walk along the ridge of the hills through tropical woods in the southern part of HongKong Island. Section 1-4 have amazing views throughout but personally, I loved Section 5 leading to the Jardine lookout and continuing to Mount Butler. There are 8 sections, starting at the Popular Peak and ending at the Dragon’s Back and the trek varies from easy, moderate and some difficult, depending on your fitness level.

11. Experience the Hong Kong nightlife in Lan Kwai Fong

Photo: Kara Chua

Lan Kwai Fong is literally a name of a street in Central, Hong Kong
2 pm to 6 am (go figure!)

Very lively social scene with every taste catered. Expats and locals congregate here after work and well into the night. I really recommend this place if you are looking for a great night out. A regular Friday looks like a festival day and some live music is happening even mid-week. Absolutely amazing and you are spoilt for choice when it comes to food, drink, and music.

12. Delight in Old Kowloon’s charming traditions at Sham Shui Po

Half day Sham Shui Po tours start at $20 USD.

Sham Shui Po District, Hong Kong
Best to go from 2 pm to......... up to you!

Explore its colorful districts, taste local delicacies, and learn about its urban history. Visit the Mei Ho House, Hong Kong’s old base for the 1956 Riots during the Colonial Period. Now, it transformed into a peaceful youth hostel. Learn about this unique urban area as one of Hong Kong’s earliest developments.

Stroll through Apliu Street, Toy, and Fashion Streets in Sham Shui Po, which are famous local markets for people who are looking for high-tech gadgets and new fashion. You can find great deals for clothes, electrical devices, audio-visual equipment, and mobile phones.

Lastly, indulge in popular Hong Kong dishes at traditional bakeries; taste fluffy White Sugar Sponge Cake, crisp Sesame Cake, and Cantonese-style Char-siu. Live like a local through this cultural tour.

13. Discover Hong Kong’s rural New Territories region
Kat Hing Wai Walled Village
9 am to 6 pm

Take a break from the energetic city of Hong Kong and retreat to the New Territories region for a slower pace of life. This area is best known for its cultural and natural heritage, with unspoilt countryside, ancient temples, century-old walled villages and vast wetlands offering sanctuary to rare birds. Sit back as this cultural tour introduces you to this great region’s past.

14. Bus Sightseeing & Dining with One Dim Sum

Bus dining tour for 2.5 hours starts at $40 USD.

The Hong Kong-style “One Dim Sum” has been awarded Michelin and TripAdvisor’s reviews. “One Dim Sum” hopes guests can immediately get the taste of fine, exquisite dishes with one bite. While you enjoy the fine food, explore the bustling city and experience life of Hong Kong on a short 2.5-hour trip on the Crystal tour bus. Take in all of Hong Kong’s major historical sites.

Crystal sightseeing tour bus is a double-decker bus with innovative methods, comfortable spacing and many of Hong Kong specialties. Guests can fully enjoy the experience and beauty of Hong Kong while touring on the Crystal buses. After participating in this exclusive sightseeing tour, you will have a better understanding of Hong Kong’s culture, food, and attractions while becoming fully in love with this pearl city.

15. Explore Hong Kong’s great outdoors at Lamma Island

Lamma Island half-day tour prices start at $70 USD.

Lamma Island is located Southwest of Hong Kong Island
9 am to 6 pm

Venture out on a half-day tour to Hong Kong’s outskirts. Ride a ferry from Central to Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island. Take a pleasant walk to the Tin Hau Temple, which is said to protect the fishermen and sailors. Enter Kamikaze Cave, where during World War II, the occupying Japanese troops concealed speedboats to escape the clutches of the Allied Forces.

Roam Fisherfolk Village to learn about the industry and culture. Enjoy fisherman-style snacks and try your hand at traditional handicraft making.

Enter the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, which showcases the story of maritime trade in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta. Sail on DukLing around the breathtaking Victoria Harbour. Get to know a different side of Hong Kong on this adventurous half-day tour!

17. Witness spectacular views of Victoria Harbour at Hong Kong Sky100
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This journal entry was written on 18 December 2014 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. With respect to the person involved, the author asked the subject to reveal his true identity and story. Anything that is written here is based on a real-life story.

Dedicated to Joey Wan Jin and our triumphs in Buenos Aires as young travelers. Thank you for proving that if we want to, the human body is capable of anything.

I want to introduce you to someone I met while I was in Argentina. He wrote to me and said, “I’ve been following your journey and I hope you are free for coffee.” I always take time to meet my readers so I went. We spent 3 hours talking and my mouth gaped open. This dude is traveling by bike! Yes, by bike! He said he was following my journey but then I realized I should be following his.

Joey is from the beautiful country of Singapore. He was a financial consultant before he quit his job to travel. He’s fond of collecting scars from his adventures and writing stories about it. He commenced his South America biking trip on May 6, 2014, flying to London first. He had the chance to visit the cities of Edinburgh, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt for two weeks. After which, he flew to Brasil from Germany. For him, it was just a normal backpacking trip — traveling by bus, planes, you know, the normal mode of transportation. Salvador, Recife, Natal, Belem, Manaus, Fortaleza, Jericoacoara are some of the beautiful cities he was fortunate enough to visit in Brazil. Additionally, he volunteered as an English teacher in a small town in the Amazon Rainforest called Itacoatiara. Oh, he also witnessed the legendary World Cup! Joey does Couchsurfing all the time and believe it or not, he found his first host on Tinder!

On July 21, 2014, he bought a bike in Brazil and departed from Rio das Pedras, Rio de Janeiro.

Challenges in traveling South America with a bicycle

Joey’s bike in Uruguay.

When asked about the challenges about biking a continent, Joey said, “I think the challenges began even before the trip started. It was mostly about a lot of thinking, self-inflicted pain, fears, doubts, and too many negative thoughts.” He also thought of running out of budget, difficulties with the terrain and weather and bike problems.

True enough, all these happened to him but he was able to get through them anyway. Over-fatigue is also a part of the journey but he said he’s used to it now. Other challenges include running low on water which led him to drink from tap water everywhere. When he’s in the middle of nowhere, he always finds a place to set up his tent but going on days without shower makes him a bit uncomfortable. In this trip, the longest he’d gone without showering was one week!

Want to know Joey’s scariest experience while biking? Quick, read it here! It will give you the chills.

The budget

I’m sure you all want to know how Joey funds his travels. Joey had a long-term relationship and was saving up for years to settle down with her. And then they broke up and all the money he saved is now being used to sustain his travel. Look, a blessing in disguise! I really believe when a door closes, another one opens.

In this case, the window did! He’s also using Couchsurfing (a lot), stays with new friends he meets along the way, Tinder (why am I not surprised?!) and of course, camping. In short, he hasn’t spent any dime on accommodations while traveling South America. He also enjoyed eating home-cooked meals from his hosts!

We’ve both known about the famous ‘dumpster diving’ where travelers spend $0 on food by taking leftovers in restaurants and garbage bins. For Joey, he still has enough money to eat so there’s no need to go there yet.

FYI: This dude is not using a professional bike and this remains a question to everyone he meets on the road. How can he survive with a basic bike? My bike? Serious riders don’t use this because it’s simply less power efficient. Some better brands with quality stuff are Koga Miyata touring bikes, with Ortlieb panniers (dry bags fixed at the wheels for baggage), Rohloff gears, Schwalbe road tires but these will cost thousands of dollars put together. I have none of that. My first bike was a simple 120USD bike which was stolen after 20 days in Curitiba. The Couchsufers and cycling community in Curitiba came together to help me by giving a donation and I bought a used 120USD bike, Cavalinho II to continue on my journey. Till now, I’m still using Cavalinho II and I’m really touched and grateful to the Curitibanos for their help and generosity.

Believe it or not, Joey told me that physical strength has the least to do with traveling on a bike. He said anyone can do it and he wasn’t kidding at all! For him, riding 1, 5, 10 and 100 km are all the same. As long as you keep riding hour after hour, day after day, there is almost no reason not to reach where you want to go, if you want to. Your body will get used to it. The only failure is to take action. This thought is inspired by Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”  Mary Anne Radmacher

Joey’s Advice to people who want to travel by bike: “If you have to prepare, prepare your heart, and prepare your mind. Having the heart and strong desire to make things happen, and the right mind set and positive attitude to carry it out, is the most important. I think this is true not only for biking, but also for all other things in life with love, family, friends, work, sports, regular travel, overcoming obstacles etc. The physical part for biking is the least one should worry about.

You are really going to get training while on the job, a lot of it! So to surmise, it is not really about the bike or physical strength, but rather the heart, desire and mental fortitude to accomplish your goals.”

Additionally, Joey wants to emphasize that he is not on the bike tour. He is traveling on his own, solely depending on the map and his instincts. For the rest of his trip, he’s taking it one step at a time. He is currently in Argentina and plans to visit the South of the country onto Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador up to Colombia.

“Whichever way it is going to turn out, I’m sure I am meant to be exactly where I am meant to be.” Joey Wan Jin
Who inspires you?

What does this person do? I would love to write more essays and stories about amazing people! If you know anyone, let me know!

The post Joey, the Singaporean dude who traveled South America with a bicycle appeared first on P.S. I'm On My Way.

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Author’s Note: This journal entry was written on 24 October 2014 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, dedicated to Francisco, whom I was once, madly in love with.

As soon as I announced I’m going hitchhiking, the negative vibes I received was overwhelming. They didn’t really say, “you’re a girl” with their”dangerous” phrases, however, I can see clearly what they were trying to say. It’s deafening. I can’t even say the word “dangerous.”

It’s not that I am not scared of whatever. Believe me, 7 countries and a whole continent after a year, I am still scared. I still have that fear. Do I really know everything about South America? The difference was that, I didn’t have the what ifs. For over a year now, I’ve been living in the present and not really thinking about the future. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing, really. But it works perfectly well for me.

I grew up in a country where American TV series is a part of our everyday routine. The likes of Criminal Minds, CSI, Lie to Me and all that intelligence-crime-scene-stuff are what we enjoy the most which makes us really paranoid. I have never been to the US and I don’t know what’s it like to travel there but one thing’s for sure — I know it can get a little out of hand pertaining to the bad things happening to people in that country.

I wouldn’t dare hitchhike in Europe. Though I really wanted to, I have put some boundaries to my so-called bravery. The main goal of this journey is to encourage women to travel solo, hence making the Dear Girls of the World series. So, I still decided to do it but in a very discreet way. Nobody from back home knew I already left Uruguay nor did I publicise an update on Facebook. I just want to travel with my vibe — no other mixtures, just pure rock ‘n roll.

And so, I started the hitchhiking thing. I first took a bus from the capital and asked to be dropped off on the route where I could find another ride. The bus driver looked at me, “are you serious? This bus goes straight to Colonia. Why don’t you just go all the way?

Additionally, the fare is cheap. I smiled and said, “to be honest, I am not that poor. I can pay for this fare but I am really after the experience. I’ve been told that Uruguay is extremely safe and I don’t want to miss this chance of a lifetime.” He just stopped and said “okay” though I can see that he is underestimating my tiny facade and looking at the backpack which is bigger than me.

“Good luck,” he said when he dropped me. I can feel the cold rushing through my entire body. I raised my thumb together with the sign I made. Hours passed and no one took me. Was there something off with my aura? Does my backpack look really heavy? I kept waiting. I suffered in the cold. I was restless. I couldn’t even lift my thumb anymore. A few more minutes and a small car stopped and said, “hop in.”  No, no, you can’t be serious. Is this really happening? Someone’s offering me a ride?!

They were an Argentinian couple who’s on their way back from a short trip. At least I didn’t get really scared because of the girl. Still, some thoughts were playing in my head. What if they’re crime partners? Stuff like that. Nothing major. HAHAHA! But, I was very happy with the result because I hit two birds in one stone. I was only supposed to hitchhike to Colonia but found someone who’s going straight to Buenos Aires! The usual: we talked about our lives, what we do, how we do it, etc. This is really becoming a script for me for the duration of my travel. I wish I could say something different. I feel like I’ve memorized how I always introduce myself and what I do with my life.

I think there was a miscommunication along the way. I understood their accent a lot (I almost talk like them) but there was something that I missed. I thought that we will be driving all the way to Buenos Aires (that could be really fun!) but it turns out that they’ve already paid for a ferry ticket to cross to BA. I was like, “What?! Where does the car go?” It turns out that you can also pay for the car to be transported via ferry.

The girl then told me where I could buy my ferry tickets but there is a slim chance that I can get in the ferry they’re taking. I went to the ticket station and the 14:30 trip was full. The next (and the last) trip of the day will be at 17:45. It’s also more expensive because it’s a fast ferry. Meaning, the trip will take an hour. Okay, I’ll take it.

I killed time by reading The Little Prince in French. I’ve read this book in three languages already and surprisingly, I understood everything. I consider it as a practice for my language learning adventures.

At 17:00, I got really hungry and decided to go to the cafeteria. But before that, I had to pass by immigration first. I wasn’t cared nor nervous. I have a visa for Argentina however, like normal Filipinos, I was still doubting that something might go wrong.

The officer looked at me and asked, “ahhh, Filipina. What are you doing in South America?” Of course, I had to recite the script again — who I am and what I do. Here we go.

I smoothly got pass immigration without further questions and went up the cafeteria. I was really hungry and I still have a few Uruguayan pesos on hand but not enough for a decent meal.

Uruguay is relatively expensive and 100 pesos will not really take you somewhere. I went to the counter and a glorious yerba de mate (Canarias) shone before me. In the end, I bought hot water, 500kg of mate (worth 80 pesos) and I’m done. I am sure I have nicer things to eat when I arrive Buenos Aires.

I boarded, chose a nice seat and this was the first time I’ve been to this kind of ferry! State of the art, with shopping centers plus restaurants and the most important thing — a flat screen where I was able to watch the Barcelona vs Ajax game. See, I didn’t miss anything except that the trip only took an hour. How can you enjoy all these for an hour?! I didn’t even feel the boat moving!

I am not blaming the couple who shared their ride with me and for ending up taking the ferry but I wish I could’ve done something differently. You know, hitchhike all the way. For sure I will be really tired if I did this. Imagine carrying a backpack larger than me. I should get rid of some stuff but I don’t know where to start. Every time I change countries, the weather also changes. It’s so frustrating!

In summary, crossing the borders of Uruguay and Argentina is really easy! Montevideo and Buenos Aires are two cities close to each other so if you want to do this in the future, there wouldn’t be any difficulties. This was the shortest border crossing I’ve ever done in my life!

The post Failing to hitchhike all the way to Argentina appeared first on P.S. I'm On My Way.

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Author’s Note: This article was originally published on 28 December 2014 and was republished to update some important information. The story, however, is written as it happened 4 years ago. Photos are not the best quality, too, as I only traveled Latin America with an iPhone4.

When you are signing for up for a Death Road biking activity, it doesn’t feel scary at all. Trying out those gears makes you think and believe, “this is pretty easy.” I’ve done a fair share of crazier things in my life. What’s there to lose?

We arrived at the meeting place and was surprised to belong to a very cool group. Everyone seemed to be enthusiastic about doing the tour. I was too… Not until we reached the starting point of the race (4,500+ above sea level.) We had to try our bikes to be comfortable in it for the whole day. I was really scared because I couldn’t breathe. We haven’t even started and I feel like I am going to back out.

Then I moved forward. Everyone looked excited and I didn’t want to say, “I’m going on the bus. Enjoy guys.”

We first rode the asphalt where we got to practice. It was mighty high and looking down is pretty scary. My breathing was normalized but my heart was still beating fast because of the trucks and buses that paved the way with us. I didn’t want to think of it but the song If I Die Young kept playing in my head.

If I die young, bury me in satin, lay me down on a bed of roses, sink me in the river at dawn, send me away with the words of a love song.

I felt the wind on my face and avoided looking down. I tried looking back but when I felt that my bike was wiggling, I said, “Focus. Your friends can handle themselves. You have to watch out for yourself. Focus.” I was back in track but the trucks are still scaring me. I am to tiny to be run down by a huge truck and I know these people don’t really care because they also need to think of their safety.

I felt the wind on my face and avoided looking down. I tried looking back but when I felt that my bike was wiggling, I said, “Focus. Your friends can handle themselves. You have to watch out for yourself. Focus.” I was back in track but the trucks are still scaring me. I am to tiny to be run down by a huge truck and I know these people don’t really care because they also need to think of their safety.

Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother. She’ll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors. Oh, and, life ain’t always what you think it ought to be, no. Ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby.

“Do not use the front break,” Helen, a friend from Belgium said. I was always in front of the line of the group but I was breaking a lot. I wonder why the guys ahead of me and I have a very long distance. Are they not breaking at all? This is a downhill path! These guys are crazy! Then I learned they only use the breaks before arriving the sharp curves.

And I’ll be wearing white when I come into your kingdom. As green as the ring on my little cold finger. I’ve never known the loving of a man. But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand.

Oh man, the curves. They make the song play in my head louder. I handled them very well because I followed the instructions: “break before the curve. Not inside it nor before it.” You know, normal biking rules. Still, every time I ran into a sharp curve, I know I am going to be fine but my heart was beating so fast it’s making me super tense.

There’s a boy here in town, says he’ll love me forever. Who would have thought forever could be severed by the sharp knife of a short life. Oh well, I’ve had just enough time.

Then I experienced my first head blaring truck horn — on a curve. It turned out that I was driving in the middle of the road, occupying the whole space to avoid falling down the cliff. It was so loud I almost lost focus. I looked down, looked at the truck and I couldn’t stop because it was going downhill. I slowly pulled the breaks and let the truck pass. “Good”, I told myself. You’re alright. These trucks are annoying I think they should stop using those loud horns and have sweet ones instead! They scared me to death!

So put on your best, boys and I’ll wear my pearls. What I never did is done. A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I’ll sell ’em for a dollar. They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner. And maybe then you’ll hear the words I’ve been singing. Funny, when you’re dead how people start listening.

The song was still playing. When will this ever stop?! We arrived at the real Death Road where roads are narrower and thousands of people die every year. We stopped for orientation. I became more comfortable with my bike.

“We can do this”, I told my bike. I was thinking a lot of things that it made me talk to my bike. Who does that?! I already made it to this point. Three more hours and it’s done. Again, what’s there to lose? It wouldn’t hurt if you try, right?

The ballad of a dove, go with peace and love. Gather up your tears, keep ’em in your pocket, save them for a time when you’re really gonna need them. The sharp knife of a short life oh. Well, I’ve had just enough time. So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls.

Man, three more hours. This road is the real thing. Definitely more scary than the asphalt road. Rocky. Whoever invented this activity is insane! The song kept playing in my head like it’s on a loop and I wondered: “Have I told anyone that I want this song to play on my funeral?” I even thought I’ll just whisper it to my sister when I am already on the other side and she will hear me. She knows me too well. But then, I didn’t want to joke about this because my mother will kill me first because of talking about this. HAHAHAHA! She hates it when I do that.

The song was gone. I was on the right track. I learned to let go. I think the bike listened to my whispers. I also had small messages to the Universe during the ride. I was just thankful for all the life privileges that I received in the past year. I was enjoying the ride. The tension was gone and I felt like everything was so easy and working on my favor.

Everything was going normal not until Helen (Belgium), Andre (Brasil) and I fell off. We were all too close to each other and when the one in the front, Andre, lost balance, we all had to pull our breaks. You know what happened? We were all laughing so loud while we were on the ground! I wasn’t afraid anymore! After all those scaring-myself-to-death thing, everything was just for fun now.

We continued and we were slowly coming to the easier part of the road. I took my time. I didn’t rush. I embraced the moment. I realised being present in what you are doing makes you more relaxed so I continued doing it. The more I live in the moment, the more I felt that I wasn’t afraid of dying. I could die anywhere anyway, I thought. Traveling and doing things beyond my means made me more appreciative about life. I wasn’t scared to die because I know I lived life to the fullest!

We reached the end! Aside from being grateful of finishing the Death Road, I was also thinking about food. Imagine, 6 hours riding on a bike and being scared to death, what would you think off? Food!

We showered with the beautiful guest house provided by Barracuda Biking and we were served with lunch. Kach (Philippines), Helen (Belgium), Kenzo (Belgium) and I asked for another plate. It wasn’t really possible but we begged the agency and they gave us more! How cool is that! While having lunch, the nastiest and craziest accidents of the Death Road were playing on the big screen. Good thing, they showed it after the ride! If it was played before, I would literally have backed out.

Disclaimer: This tour was sponsored by Barracuda Biking. Please remember that I never recommend a product just for free stuff — I only recommend something I genuinely believe in and trust.

How was your Death Road Bolivia experience? Did you find it scary as I did?

I’d love to hear about your experience! Leave your story on the comment box below!

Use Pinterest in planning your travels!
Hover the image on the left and pin it for later!

The post Death Road experience: biking the most dangerous road in the world appeared first on P.S. I'm On My Way.

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Author’s Note: This article was originally published on 25 June 2014 and was republished to update some important information. The story, however, is written as it happened 4 years ago. Photos are not the best quality, too, as I only travelled Latin America with an iPhone4.

“What?! Four days?! You’re kidding me, right?”

I asked one of my Brazilian friends when I was planning my exit route from Bolivia to Brazil. I couldn’t believe him for a second, to be honest, as there are no articles on the internet emphasizing how to cross these two countries. From Bolivia, most people opt to go to Argentina (Salta) because it’s easier. From there, they cross to Brazil but for me, it doesn’t make any sense. I have to be in Brazil for the World Cup and I really really have to take this way.

I posted on forums, asked questions to fellow bloggers. No one can give me an answer as they have not tried it themselves. Some people flew but I wanted to complete this journey without booking a flight ticket. It was really tempting though. Okay, fine. I did look for flights but it was way off the budget. Even flying within Bolivia was too expensive for me.

It was a blind shot. I’ve crossed the borders from Colombia to here successfully but this time, I don’t have any idea how this will go. However, I had a great feeling I will accomplish it. The force was too strong. It was shouting inside my head.

“You will do it because you can do it,” it said.

And so, I decided to do it. I wouldn’t know ‘four days’ is for real until I try it, right? I was too hungry to succeed in this endeavor. Too excited. “This will be a good story to tell and the best meal for my soul too (If I make it),” I said to myself. Since there are no guides speaking about this crazy route, I will be putting into details of how I traveled the borders of these countries. Here we go!

“Nobody knows what will happen the next minute but still, we do it because we have faith.”
Day 1: La Paz to Santa Cruz, Bolivia 

Compared to my Colombia-Ecuador border crossing, this one is different as I started traveling during the night. For 20 hours, I sat on a filthy-horrific-most-ugly-bus I ever rode in my whole life. It cost me 100 BS ($14.47 USD) so I have no place for any complaint. You wanted to save money, there you have it!

I had a 5 BS ($0.72 USD) meal along the way which was a rice and chicken combo. It wasn’t too bad because it was freshly made considering it was sold by those random boys hopping in busses. My bus arrived in the city of Sta Cruz at 14:00 the next day.

Quick notes
The bus station in La Paz is located in Plaza Antofagasta.
El Dorado and Trans Copacabana are two of the best bus companies traveling this route.
The bus trip from La Paz to Santa Cruz will take 18-20 hours.
Bus prices depend on the class: Bus cama (reclinable bed) costs 220 BS ($32 USD; semi-cama at 192 BS ($28 USD)
Day 2: Sta Cruz to Puerto Quijarro, Bolivia

I arrived sweating and felt like I was in a different country. The weather in La Paz was extremely different from Sta Cruz — sunny, bright and full of happy people. For once, someone is smiling in Bolivia. I really believe that our mood is greatly affected by the weather. I

wasn’t too tired yet I screamed “one down” in my head. I didn’t really want to count how much more busses I need to take. I hailed a cab as I wanted to rest in a hostel for a bit (you know, shower for the upcoming war) but there are no decent ones near the bus station. I wanted to go the next day so I can meet a friend who is in the city but I figured, I would spend more money (that I don’t have) if I do that.

The driver took me hostel hopping but I always said no. I was so groggy from the trip and feeling sick of the heat I couldn’t think straight. After getting the driver confused about what I really want to do, I finally decided to go back to the bus station and buy my ticket to the next stop: Puerto Quijarro.

Although I was being a woman 100% with mood swings and can’t-make-up-my-mind-moments left and right, the driver was very patient. He accompanied me inside the bus station to buy my ticket. I had no idea where I am going, really. Maybe Puerto Quijarro’s not even the right place. But this taxi driver is a gift from the Universe so I should be thankful.

Who would do that? Who would accompany you all the way and find you the cheapest ticket ever?

I still asked a friend to double check if it’s the right place though. I paid BS130 (U$18.81) for a semi-bed bus. It will leave at 19:30 that same day so I still have 5 hours to kill time. I asked the driver to take me to a place where there is wifi because my job has been haunting me for weeks. I didn’t have a good internet connection in La Paz so I am really behind work. These are the moments when working remotely is a pain in the as$.

We found a place at the center where I ate an awfully expensive and not well-made lunch. Thank God they have coffee and cakes, otherwise, I would really die from hunger. I almost finished all the pending tasks for 2 weeks of absence from my job. For the first time in a month in Bolivia, I got to experience a good wifi connection. I was the only one at the restaurant (maybe people know the food is awful there) so I wasn’t competing with anyone with the wifi.

At 18:30, I hailed a cab to the bus station but it took me 40 minutes to get there because of the traffic. I was really scared to miss my bus so I didn’t ask the driver to drop me in front of the station.

I walked. I walked with my bigger-than-me-backpack and arrived at the station at 19:25. Buzzer Beater! In the end, the bus left at 20:45 and it wasn’t a semi-bed bus.

Oh my, how could I ever forget that I am in Bolivia? And so, the night went. “22 more hours and you’ll be at the border,” I said. I was trying to convince myself that it wasn’t too bad and that I wasn’t really tired. But deep inside, I sure was.

Quick notes
The bus station in Santa Cruz is called Estacion Bimodal Terrestre y Ferroviaria. It is located in Avenida Intermodal
The bus trip from Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro will take 18-22 hours.
For the same travel time, you can also opt to take the train.
I paid $18.81 USD for a semi-cama seat but as always, prices depend on the class.
Day 3: The Border of Bolivia and Brazil

This is the first border I encountered that has operating hours.

The bus stopped and I found myself sleeping for another hour after we arrived. Well, nobody woke me up! For the duration of 22 hours, the bus stopped a lot that I didn’t believe if we arrived or not. Good thing there was a Colombian dude who overslept too and we went to the immigration together with a shared taxi. For BS5 (U$0.75) each, we arrived the border at 6:00, stuffed with people sleeping but in line. We found out that we need to wait 3 more hours because the immigration opens at 9:00. This was the first time, in my border-crossing life, that an immigration office was closed. Isn’t it supposed to be open 24 hours? What if I arrived at 3:00?! Or 12mn?

Everyone hates the waiting game. Children were crying, old women are nearly losing their temper, men fighting who’s who on their lines, etc. The best part was talking to different people. The majority of the ‘liners’ were Brazilians living in Bolivia. Some students chose to study in Bolivia (particularly medical students) because it’s way cheaper than Brazil. Summer break started that they so they’re going home to visit their families.

Finally, after 4 hours. We got stamped. Woohoo, hello Brazil!

Still day 3: Corumba to Sao Paulo

Alright, alright. Don’t celebrate yet. You still need to take a 23-hour bus to Sao Paulo. Another day, wow! After getting stamped with a Brazilian entry, we took another taxi to Corumba which cost R$40 (U$18.08). I was still with the Colombian dude who I met on the bus from Santa Cruz. He’s also going to Sao Paulo so I figured, it would be better to go together. Normally, the price of the taxi would be half (come on, Corumba is not even 15 minutes away) but then we realized it was the World Cup. People will always take advantage of events like this. Okay, R$40 it is.

TOO. TIRED. TO. ARGUE.

It was only 11:30 when we arrived at the bus station. Famished, super tired and on the verge of breaking our shoulders from carrying our backpacks, we bought our ticket to Campo Grande for R$90 (U$40.67). The bus leaves in 4 hours so we had time to eat. No. We had time to change our minds. I was told that there are no buses coming directly to Sao Paulo from Corumba and that we had to stop in Campo Grande but that information was wrong. After one hour of debating with my new Colombian mate, we decided to change our tickets to Corumba-Sao Paulo. This cost R$238 ($107.55) and it’s the same amount we’re going to pay even if we stop in Campo Grande. It just feels lesser because you’re buying the ticket separately but to be honest, it’s exactly the same.

And yes, I literally slept on the floor because Anthony said so. The bus going straight to Sao Paulo leaves in 5 hours so I had time. I had a nice prato feito (typical Brazilian plate) across the station for R$10 (U$4.52) because I think I deserve it. I haven’t had a decent meal since La Paz and man, the food was oily, shitty, not presented well but these are one of the things I missed about Brazil.

One more bus. 23 hours to go.

Sooner or later, I will be in Sao Paulo — the place I consider my second home.

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” Anthony Bourdain
Day 4: Sao Paulo!!!

O.M.G. I am here. ASDFGHJKL!! I cannot believe I just did that! Not saying OMG but the 4 days non-stop bussing. We arrived in Sao Paulo at 17:30 the next day and this is the time where I had to separate with my Colombian travel companion. After making it official on Facebook (we’re friends), we exchanged hugs and our good lucks as we continue the journey to our long-time dream: WORLD CUP 2014. The spirit was strongly felt.

Assuming I still know Portuguese after six months of travelling in Spanish speaking countries, let alone having a thick Argentinian accent, I chatted with the taxi driver on the way to Bela Vista where I’ll be staying. I asked him how’s the World Cup been since I was a week late. My heart jumped with his stories. Flags of Brazil on windowsills and terraces’ railings put a big smile on my face.

I made it. I am here. Let the World Cup dream begin!

P.S. The taxi cost R$25 and I didn’t give a sh*t. For once, I had to treat myself after a long successful journey.

However, I felt the expensive days ahead. Welcome to Brazil, Trisha!

Have you conquered the Bolivia-Brazil border crossing? How was the experience?

What are the challenges? How many hours/days did you do it? Do you have any additional tips? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Use Pinterest to plan your travels!
This article can help you conquer the Bolivia Brazil border crossing!! Hover the image on the left to pin to Pinterest!
Liked this article? Did it help?

I take my time in creating the best content that will help you plan your travels smoothly. Money is also required in order to maintain this blog but I won’t ask for that! You can spare a dollar or two to my coffee fund, only if you think this blog is helpful!

Explore more!
TRAVEL SOUTH AMERICA
EXPLORE BOLIVIA

The post The great adventure of Bolivia to Brazil border crossing appeared first on P.S. I'm On My Way.

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Author’s Note: This post was originally published on 04 December 2014. Photos are not of high quality because the author traveled Latin America with an iPhone4. The story, however, is written as it happened 4 years ago.

Right. I’m in the Malbec capital of the world! Coming to Mendoza has always been a dream. A few months ago, I wanted to learn more about wines in Argentina by taking an extensive course. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time here (my visa is expiring soon) so I decided to take a customized wine tour instead.

Since I do not have prior knowledge about the wine houses in Mendoza, Uncorking Argentina helped me organize. The staff was really helpful and I was also given a personalized gift bag with the itinerary, a map and a wine opener which will serve me better for my trip!

I visited three different wineries that offer different kinds of activities: biking, extensive tasting, and food fusion.

1. Vineyard biking in Trivento

Trivento is located at RP60 & Jerónimo Ruiz, M5517, Mendoza, Argentina

I warned the tour guide that I am not physically fit to do this. How far will we go biking? How many hours? What’s the road situation? I asked these questions as soon as I arrived and I think I irritated the guide. Nonetheless, he answered everything with patience and I was relieved to know that it’s not that hard to bike the vineyards.

In English, Trivento means three winds which signifies the winds blowing across the lands of Mendoza. These are called Polar, Zonda and Sudestada. This winery is one of the biggest in the city and belongs among the pre-eminent exporters of Argentine wine.

I was brought to different big freezers (I want to call it that way) and was really awed on the process of making wine. It’s a lot of work! Although I have so much interest in producing wine, I don’t think I will be able to maintain something like this. The change of climate greatly affects wine quality so Trivento is doing a lot of hard work to preserve their products.

Above is my tour guide, Gustavo, who explained everything very well. My tour was conducted privately and in Spanish, however, you can request yours to be in English. He speaks both languages very well! As for me, I just wanted to practice my Spanish listening skills so I bravely suggested it. Luckily, I understood everything. If I didn’t, he’ll go back and transform the sentence into an easier translation. Thanks a lot, Gustavo!

2. Wine tasting at Carinae

Carinae owner and wine connoisseur Philippe, originally from France

“Bonjour!” My French was tested as soon as I arrived Carinae, when owners Brigitte and Philippe welcomed me. They have been living here for 16 years now and when they started their winery, they didn’t have any idea how to do it. I was really impressed with the results of their labor! Carinae was inspired by the beautiful constellation of the Southern sky called Carina. The vineyards were also named after different stars/signs such as Libra, Aquarius, Sagittarius and the like.

The tour was short because the winery is not that big as they specialise on quality, not with quantity. I’ve seen photos on how they were able to transform this place to what it is now and I am truly surprised on how they did it! This couple is amazing!

The tour might be short but let me tell you that I tasted 10 different kinds of wine here. Philippe was so generous almost gave me everything on the list! For the young wines, I had Malbec Rosado, Cuvee Brigitte (named after his wife) and Octans Assamblage; Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon for Harmonie; and for the most premium of them all, the Hommage — Malbec, Syrah, and Prestige Assamblage. I also tried the Passito de los Andes, a sweet wine which is very distinct from the others because of its fruity flavor.

Tip: Do not miss Carinae’s olive oil! It’s the best I’ve tasted in years of traveling!

I felt very drunk after this bodega but the experience of learning so much about Argentine wines was fantastic! Despite telling me that he’s not very good at English, Philippe explained everything very well and I am very glad to have received first-hand information from the owner himself.

3. Lunch at Ave Maria Purisima

I didn’t realise I started the tour at 9:00 am and I was famished by the time we got to the last stop: Bodega Ave Maria Purisima. I am going to be really honest — I couldn’t wait to grab the food while listening to the beautiful tour guide (Dibe) who told me that this is one of the oldest wineries in Mendoza (100+ years old).

How they were able to maintain the property is a mystery. I was able to see how they still do things manually but they were able to develop new machines to help in speeding the process. Since they did not totally change the building, they had to adapt to its capacity in terms of technology. Hence, creating new machineries is still a challenge. Still, they were able to maintain the quality of the wines they produce. I think things are better when done manually!

This tour is different because I was able to learn which wine tastes good with different types of food. I had 4 types of wine here:

  • Torrontes – originally from Salta, the northern part of Argentina. This wine goes well with spicy food.
  • Tempranillo from La Consulta, Mendoza which is good for starters/ appetizers.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon is my favourite so I’ll have to say it blends well with everything.
  • Consulta Select – a fusion of everything: 42% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah and 9% Tempranillo. It’s kind of strong and dances well with red meat.

And oh… the food was fantastic. I have no words!

Ave Maria Purisima is located in the Department of Maipu and is one of the sub-branches of Bodega Alto Cedro, owned and managed by Karim Mussi.

Okay, did I just drink 18 different wines in a span of 5 hours? No way!

Tips on selecting your wine tour in Mendoza

Mendoza has diversified on how they offer wine tours to tourist. Remember, this is an adventurous tour and not the typical sit-down-gulp-a-wine-type of activity. These questions may help you choose what’s best for you:

  • What type of wine activity are you looking for? Are you an outdoor type of person?
  • Do you prefer bubbles, red or white?
  • What style of wine do you most enjoy?
  • How about your travelling style?

As for me, I wanted to experience everything so I had three different tours with different activities. Should you be interested in a customized tour (and something worth it), book it with Uncorking Argentina! The staff is very attentive and professional and everyone can communicate in English very well. There is also no limit to what you want to do as you can select the wineries/tours you prefer! Their services are superb!

This tour was sponsored by Uncorking Argentina. Please remember that I never recommend a product just for free stuff — I only recommend something I genuinely believe in and trust.

The post The amazing wine experience in Mendoza, Argentina appeared first on P.S. I'm On My Way.

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My constant habit of doing things last minute is the fruit of my years of “pack and go” life. I lived most of my formative years without a base so “preparing for a travel” wasn’t really a thing.

Then applying for an Indian e-visa hit me. Please don’t skip reading this as this is very important: you need 5 working days in order to process the visa. I did mine with only 3 days.

Indian visa for Filipinos is applied online and you need to input the arrival date as part of the application. When I click on “July 30, 2018,” it required me to apply for an “urgent” visa. I didn’t know the price of the visa will change if it’s an ‘express visa’ so I still continued with my application. When I was about to pay, $240 USD flashed before my screen.

I was definitely not willing to pay for this price most especially when I know my friends whom I went on the trip with only paid $80. I didn’t have much choice so I paid it anyway.

The funny thing is, after 15 minutes, I wanted to cancel the application. As soon as I received the Indian e-visa receipt, I asked for a refund and cancel the processing. In my mind, I can still look for other websites who will process it for cheap. Or maybe, just maybe, I will be able to put the arrival date and it will get through.

But it didn’t. The visa representative asked me the reason for cancellation and I said, “it’s too expensive.” He explained the price hike and it all boiled down to one thing: I only have 3 days left before my flight to Jaipur. I could feel that the guy didn’t want me to cancel the application as this is less customers for them so he said the magic words:

“Madam, I can access the system and put your Indian e-visa to normal processing so you won’t have to pay this price.”

What, really, they can do that???? This is why I truly believe that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I’m from a culture who’s not assertive, who are always doing what we are told. No service offers us a solution. It’s always on their advantage.

I processed the visa half the price and the money was refunded to my credit card after a week.

I don’t want you to have the same experience so here are the steps in applying for an Indian visa for Filipinos. It’s really easy as long as you do it ahead of time!

Step 1: Check your eligibility for an Indian e-visa

Don’t be alarmed. Filipinos are eligible to apply for an e-visa to India with the usual protocols:

  1. 6-month passport validity. This is a common knowledge so don’t dare travel if your visa in less than 6 months. I know it’s very hard to renew passports in the Philippines (this is why I do it in other countries) but be patient and take time to renew! Passport should also have at least 2 blank pages. I usually fill a passport quickly so when I have 6 pages left, I always make sure to renew.
  2. Make sure your main objective in India is for travel/tourism/leisure. In my first travel to India, I did volunteering and a tourist visa is not valid for this kind of activity. Take note that you need to go to the Indian Embassy in Manila if you want to apply for a volunteering visa.
  3. Before applying your visa, make sure your ticket lands in the following cities/airports as this is the only ones who will accept this kind of visa:
  • Ahmedabad
  • Amritsar
  • Bagdogra
  • Bengaluru
  • Calicut
  • Chennai
  • Chandigarh
  • Cochin
  • Coimbatore
  • Delhi
  • Gaya
  • Goa Guwahati
  • Hyderabad
  • Jaipur
  • Kolkata
  • Lucknow
  • Mangalore
  • Mumbai
  • Nagpur
  • Pune
  • Tiruchirapalli
  • Trivandrum
  • Varanasi

Otherwise, again, you have to go to the Embassy of India in Manila to apply for an Indian visa.

If you are applying for an Indian visa in Manila, Philippines, the e-mail address is cons.manila@mea.gov.in. The embassy’s address is 2190 Paraiso, Makati, Metro Manila. They will definitely help you with everything!

Step 2: Prepare the necessary documents

Note that these are not hard copies as you are eligible to apply online. However, the application website will ask you to upload the following:

Valid passport & scanned passport bio page

One (1) recent passport size photo (3.5cm x 4.5cm)

Visa fee of $80 USD

In my experience, the visa fee actually varies. You must know that if you search for “Indian e-visa” on Google, a lot of websites will appear but they are all legitimate. They are travel agents although it says “Indian goverment” on their website. I was really confused!

Step 3: Go to the visa application page 

Like I said, there will be many websites when you search on Google but don’t panic! This website is what I used to apply for an e-visa in India. Accomplish the form and make sure you will already pay after filling out.

You can pay later with no problem but this website is not too friendly. If you choose the “pay later” option, they will send you an e-mail but all your details will not be saved even if it says you already filled out the form. You will have to do it all over again even if you clicked “save” already. Believe me, I did it three times as I was comparing visa fees to other websites and it was very tedious!

Once you pay, you will get instant confirmation via e-mail. It will state that you will get the visa within 5 working days. When I saw the e-mail signature, this is when I realised that the ones processing the visa are the agencies.

Step 4: Once received, print your visa

Some items were covered to protect my private information.

I’m not really a fan of printing as I’m all for “save the trees” but you need to present a hard copy upon entry in India. In my years of travel, I only show e-visas via mobile but some visas have barcodes so they need a printed copy.

I didn’t really need this after entry at Immigration in Jaipur International Aiport as they already stamped the visa on my passport. It’s such a waste of paper! I wish India can find a way to be paperless when it comes to this e-visa thing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long will the visa processing take?

I have to repeat this over and over again. 5 days is what it takes to receive your Indian e-visa.

Can I apply for an Indian e-visa weeks ahead?

Yes, you can. Remember that the Indian e-visa application page asks you to input the date of arrival so your visa will be valid from the arrival date. You can even do it months ahead for peace of mind! Make sure you already have a ticket though!

Do they ask for travel insurance when applying an Indian visa for Filipinos?

I was not asked during the application or upon entry at Jaipur International Airport but I always have a travel insurance. India is not really a super clean country and most of the people I know here got sick so don’t risk it! I had an ear infection when I traveled in India but I didn’t need to go be admitted to a hospital. They only prescribed me with antibiotics.

You can purchase one at World Nomads. It’s the travel insurance I am using for years now.

When is the best time to visit India?

India is a big country so the weather differs. I visited end of June to mid-July. This is low-season for them and before the trip, I read that it was raining a lot but it didn’t when we were there! I think I enjoyed it more during the low season because there weren’t a lot of people and prices are extremely low compared to other seasons.

Normally, how long is the validity of the Indian visa for Filipinos?

Everyone is given 60 days for an Indian e-visa.

How much money should I have in my bank account?

Again, they did not ask for proof of income/travel money – which was really convenient. Don’t worry, India is super cheap! You can always travel there for less.

Are there any reasons I will be denied a visa to India?

Like most visa application process for Filipinos, there are no concrete reasons for our visa being denied. I guess we just have to complete our requirements and follow the process/system. Til then, let’s hope for the best.

What did you learn from applying an Indian visa for Filipinos? Have you been denied/granted a visa before?

If your visa was approved, did you enjoy your visit to India? I’d like to hear your thoughts! Leave your ideas in the comment box below and let’s start a conversation!

Are you a Filipino citizen planning to apply a visa to India?
Hover the image on the left and pin it for later! This post may come handy!
Liked this article? Did it help?

I take my time in creating the best content that will help you plan your travels smoothly. Money is also required in order to maintain this blog but I won’t ask for that! You can spare a dollar or two to my coffee fund, only if you think this blog is helpful!

Please keep on exploring!

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I don’t know if you do it but every time I travel, I browse the “places” feature of Instagram where you can see all photos taken in a particular place. As a content creator, it is very necessary to make a plan of action before visiting a place to maximise time and energy.

However, upon looking at pictures on Instagram, I only see images that are taken from inside the palace. I’m sure there is a lot of pictures from these rooftop views I am about to share to you but without prior knowledge of the names of the hotels (where they are probably tagged on Instagram), you will have no idea where good photos will be taken.

I discovered these places only when I arrived in Agra so today, in the hopes of you to get amazing photos, I am sharing to you the best restaurants with Taj Mahal view:

#1 Hotel Saniya Palace

South gate of Taj Mahal, Taj Ganj

7:00 - 23:00

Indian and Chinese

Not only that Saniya Palace have the best view of the Taj Mahal but also the ambience of the restaurant is very good! This rooftop restaurant is surrounded by plants and the interior is better than the other places I’ve been to.

Food is slightly more expensive (between 150 INR ($2.17 USD) to 300 INR ($4.34 USD). This is compared to the other restaurants in the area, not the whole of Agra. However, this price deserves the quality of the food you will be receiving. The dishes here are very tasty and have medium portions.

There is also a roofed seating area but the Taj is not that visible. The photo above is taken in the outdoor area but the sun is too strong when I visited – I don’t really recommend sitting there to have a meal. It was really hot!

This restaurant is best for having breakfast. They have a wider variety of breakfast sets that cost around 200 – 220 INR ($2.89 – 3.18 USD). You will get coffee/fresh juice of your choice with these sets. Indian and Continental breakfasts are the best-sellers.

Hotel Saniya Palace is also a hotel but they welcome non-guests to the restaurant.

#2 – Sai Palace

3/117, Chowk Kagzian, Taj Ganj

7:00 - 23:00

Indian and Chinese

I booked a stay in Sai Palace because this was the only place I found on Booking.com that has actual photos with the Taj Mahal view. The rooms are very clean and the people here are super kind! The stay cost us 800 INR ($12 USD approx) per night for a private room with air-conditioning. They also have non-AC rooms for 600 INR ($8.86 USD) but please do check the prices as I came here during the low-season (August).

We kind of got into trouble here by taking off the drone in their rooftop but everything was sorted out. Apparently, flying a drone in India is illegal most especially in busy places like the Taj Mahal.

This has the farthest view of the Taj among all the restaurants I am recommending in this post but it still looks gorgeous! From Jaipur, I arrived here in the evening and immediately took photos. The night pics here are gorgeous! Even if you are not staying in their hotel, you are welcome to come to the restaurant to dine. They are open till late so this is your best midnight snack option. Mind you, the Taj is still visible even in the dark!

My stay at Sai Palace was NOT sponsored. If you book through my link above, I may earn a commission. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. Please remember that I never recommend a product just for the commission — I only recommend something I genuinely believe in and trust. The small income I make here will help in maintaining this blog. Thanks for your support!

#3 – Hotel Kamal

South Gate of Taj Mahal, Tajganj

7:00 - 23:00

Indian and Chinese

I loved Hotel Kamal because the staff are super friendly and will even sit with you during the sunrise! There is one waiter here who will say he takes the best pictures so go ahead and let him do it. He’s really funny!

This is also the first time I encountered the red Kingfisher beer (for some reasons, I always get the green one) that has 8% alcohol! The beer was a bit pricier (250 INR = $3.62 USD) but I prefer the red over the green.

Our evening here was very fun even if there were less people. We got the best seat in the house! There is only one table facing the Taj view but you can have the staff set up additional tables for you.

This rooftop restaurant has a lot of monkeys so be careful with your stuff and food! They also have a low barrier on the terrace where monkeys can easily reach you.

By looking at the pictures of all three, I consider Hotel Kamal as the best restaurant with the Taj Mahal view.

All the restaurants on the list are searchable via Google maps and are very close to each other. If you want really amazing and good Indian food, you need to go to Pinch of Spice in Agra, a slightly expensive restaurant (from 400 INR = $5.79 USD). They don’t have the best view as it is about 8km from the Taj Mahal area but you need to go have dinner here!

Note: The restaurants above did NOT sponsor my meals while I am in Agra. All opinions are my own.

What are the restaurants with Taj Mahal view in Agra? Want to add something to the list?

What is your favourite on the list? I’d like to hear your thoughts! Please leave your ideas and suggestions (that may not be in this post) in the comment box below!

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The post 3 restaurants with the best views of the Taj Mahal appeared first on P.S. I'm On My Way.

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