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Are the Philippines worth visiting?

Travel Forums Asia Are the Philippines worth visiting?

1. Posted by yo (Budding Member 15 posts) 11y

I will be traveling through Asia for about 3 - 6 months this Spring/Summer and have come up with the following preliminary itinerary so far:

Beijing -> Hanoi -> Ho Chi Minh City -> Bangkok -> Singapore -> Jakarta -> ?

The transportation cost should be low since I'll be traveling mostly by train, except for the HCMC -> Bangkok and Singapore -> Jakarta trips which will be by plane (but those are also pretty cheap).

I'm wondering if I should extend the trip to Manila, however, this would significantly raise the cost of the trip since a flight to Manila from Jakarta is very expensive ($400+). I've heard a lot of great things about the Philippines but am not sure if it's worth the extra money. Plus, I'm wondering if I'll be burnt out by the time I reach Indonesia and perhaps the Philippines will be just "more of the same" compared to the rest of SE asia. Thanks in advance for your help!

2. Posted by yo (Budding Member 15 posts) 11y

Sorry, one more thing I forgot to include in my original post: It seems like the Philippines are not very popular among SE Asian itineraries. Is it because it's not such a great place to visit? Or is it b/c of logistical reasons since it's not attached to the SE Asia mainland?

3. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

It's because of logistical reasons since it's not attached to the SE Asia mainland. Last month, I flew Bangkok - Manila - Bangkok (3.25 hours) with Kuwait Airways for $US345. An alternative could be Saigon HCM)- Manila - Bangkok. The Philippines is quite different to the rest of SE Asia. America owned it for 100 years up until 1993. English is widely spoken, and it is the only Christian country in the region. There's a strong Spanish influence, so it has a a very pleasant and subtle Latin feel about it. If you don't take this opportunity, it's unlikely you'll ever make it to The Philippines. Prices once in The Phils are cheaper than Thailand, and the people (especially the girls) are super-friendly.

4. Posted by yo (Budding Member 15 posts) 11y

Awe, so I finally get to meet the omnipresent Wocca! Wow, you are a good salesman - you convinced me in just a few sentences to put the Philippines on my travel list :-)

I have a couple more questions if you don't mind:

1. I'm wondering how you found such a great deal on a flight from bangkok to manila. I did not see any prices that good on travelocity or sta travel. Do you have any recommeded sources of info for cheap air tickets in Asia? Is it better to search the internet? Or is it better to find cheap local tourist agencies in Asia once I'm there?

2. The options you mentioned (Bangkok or HCMC to Manila) would be a detour from my original route which would have ended up in Jakarta. What are your thoughts on visiting Indonesia? It doesn't seem to be overly popular either. Do you feel as positively about Bali/Java as you do about the Philippines? I'm also concerned about the terrorist incidents which have occured there in recent years.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the lengthy question!

5. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Quoting yo

Awe, so I finally get to meet the omnipresent Wocca! Wow, you are a good salesman - you convinced me in just a few sentences to put the Philippines on my travel list

Yo AL
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"Omnipresent", eh? I guess that has to be much more ephemeral than "omnipotent". Not that I've ever been referred to that. LOL
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If interested, I can give you the names of some great bars in Manila

6. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Quoting yo

I have a couple more questions if you don't mind:

1. I'm wondering how you found such a great deal on a flight from bangkok to manila. I did not see any prices that good on travelocity or sta travel. Do you have any recommeded sources of info for cheap air tickets in Asia? Is it better to search the internet? Or is it better to find cheap local tourist agencies in Asia once I'm there?

2. The options you mentioned (Bangkok or HCMC to Manila) would be a detour from my original route which would have ended up in Jakarta. What are your thoughts on visiting Indonesia? It doesn't seem to be overly popular either. Do you feel as positively about Bali/Java as you do about the Philippines? I'm also concerned about the terrorist incidents which have occured there in recent years.

1. I found out the best available deal before going to Bangkok, and then made friends with the owners of a small travel agency booth. They got me an even better deal. I'll send you their email address by personal message (PM).
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2. I actually know Indonesia quite well. Could have something to do with getting married in a Buddhist temple in Jakarta. On the main island of Java, avoid Jakarta if at all possible. There's nothing there for westerners. Before the new Jakarta city was built, Jakarta was known as one of the "hell-holes" of Asia. The place to head for is Jogyakarta (Jogya), about 8 hours super-comfortable day train east of Jakarta. It pays to keep the train window curtains closed in the country, because some envious people throw rocks at the windows. (There's a great disparity between rich & poor in Indonesia). I honeymooned in Jogya, and went back again a few months later. It's one of my favourite places in the world. Do a URL search for Borobudhur, and you'll see what I mean.
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There's the volcanic Mt Bromo further east on Java.
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It could be too exhausting to go overland to Bali from Java, but you can fly from Jogyakarta to Denpasar (Bali). There's plenty of partying on Bali. Better to stay north of Kuta. Be prepared to be seriously harrassed and ripped off by local street vendors. They're well-practiced at it, and as "in-your-face" as they come. You'll get a good introduction to Aussies on Bali. There's heaps of tours in Bali.
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From Bali, you can get a ship to the next island east ... Lombok. The village of Senggigi on the west coast is cool, however the nearby small "Gilli" islands are much better. Gilli Trewangan is known as the party island. When I was there, local population was 500 and there were no police.
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After Lombok, ship back to Bali. Minibus from the port to Ubud, before flying out of Denpasar.
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Have fun. You can organise all these moves when you're in Indonesia.

7. Posted by yo (Budding Member 15 posts) 11y

wocca! yo yo yo! i suppose i could also call u omniscient wrt asia and also wrt vocabulary (had to pull out the dictionary for 'ephemeral').

Yeah, some pointers on Manila bars would be cool. So Jakarta is a hell hole, eh? Thanks for the pointers on Indonesia. Hopefully I won't get blown up or anything while I'm there. Thanks for your help!

8. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Yo AL

Check your mail, buddy