Page 15 of Budokan Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Singapore May 5th 2012

Saturday, 5th May 2012 Over Vesak Day holidays earlier this month, I booked myself a private room at the Aqueen Hotel Lavender for a quick weekend getaway from the hot weather. As my url= of the property turned out, it was saddled with its own fair share of shortcomings despite its contemporary room design. I should have guessed it, given that I've only paid SGD 117 for a night's rest in pricey Singapore. Well, that's 3-star comfort for me in a non-touristy neighbourhood. I tried to make do with whatever the room offered even though sound proofing to cut off unwanted noise from the elevators and the neighbourhood was almost non-existent. The streets surrounding Aqueen were having their own sort of religious celebrations. Clearly, ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City April 20th 2012

Friday, 20th April 2012 After 6 days in Saigon and Vientiane, it was time for me to call it a day and head back to Singapore. My brand new work week would convene from 23rd April 2012. Effectively, I had only 2 days over the weekend to recuperate and prepare myself for the new challenges ahead. I'm thankful for this week-long holiday since it was considered "extravagant" at my previous job given the unreasonable demands at work. Anyway, on my final day in Vientiane, I finished breakfast by 9am where I had enough time to hang around in my room before being transfered to the airport for my 11.45am flight back to Saigon. There was nothing much for me to pack since I had purchased practically nothing during the trip. After discarding a couple of my ... read more
With a nice view of the Saigon Airport

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane April 19th 2012

Thursday, 19th April 2012 (Day 05) I knew that I wouldn't be able to climb on board Bus #14 for my journey to Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan), about 25km from Vientiane. The 12,000 kip (USD 1.50 return) local bus was jam-packed with people when I passed by the Talat Sao Bus Station on Wednesday. Even the reception at my hotel advised me against using public transport since none of the guys at the bus station spoke English. I probably wouldn't know where to alight - it seemed. After having a fair idea of the on-going tuk-tuk rate, I walked down a couple of streets to find the right fit for my budget. In fact, the rate was a standard 200,000 kip flat (USD 25) no matter how far I walked. There seemed to be an unwritten ... read more
That Dam (Black Stupa)
Unknown Soldier Monument (Mekong Riverfront)
Swensen's Vientiane

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane April 18th 2012

Wednesday, 18th April 2012 Yes, the heat in the capital was unbearable at times during the day. But there were several cooling spots in the city worth checking out to combat against the harsh aggression of the sun. A perfect spot was hidden beneath the Patuxai (Victory Gate), Vientiane's best answer to the Arc De Triomphe of Paris. Located at the far end of Lang Xang Avenue, construction of the Patuxai spanned 10 years between 1957 - 1968 to commemorate Lao's victory against the French colonialism. With a small fee, visitors were allowed to climb up to the top of Patuxai which guaranteed a great view of the city across Lang Xang Avenue. This was one of the highlights of my trip in Laos and worth the extra efforts of getting to the top. On my ... read more
Of Wats and Flags
The Victory Gate of Vientiane
The view from the top

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane April 18th 2012

Wednesday, 18th April 2012 Day 04 of my trip in Indochina. The sweltering heat in the Laos capital was something quite unlike I had experienced back in Singapore. The weather was scorching hot right from the start of the morning. To a certain extent, the leafy boulevards in the city helped to provide a much needed relief from the sun. However, the heat in summer was simply too much for an average human being to bear. For the most part of the day, I had my brolly put into good use. This was partly inspired by the tangerine-cladded monks along the streets doing the same. After a healthy breakfast consisting of croissant, yogurt, banana shake with honey and plenty of fruits to kick-start my day, I began my morning walk from Hotel Khamvongsa, passing through numerous ... read more
Breakie @ Hotel Khamvongsa
The Presidential Palace
The COPE Center, housed in a humble house

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane April 17th 2012

Tuesday, 17th April 2012 Day 03 of my vacation in Indochina. It was breakfast as usual for me in the earlier part of the day. And of course, being rewarded with the same breathtaking view of the city from one of the vantage points in Pham Ngu Lao district. In the afternoon, it was time for me to say goodbye to Vietnam as I caught my 4.10pm flight VN920 out of Saigon to Lao PDR. Enroute, the plane stopped for a 50-minute transit at the Cambodian capital before making its way to Vientiane. Dinner was served on board and it gave my body a much needed boost from the long day of travelling. I proceeded to finish the whole lot in front of me even though it was a simple serving of cold cuts and salads. ... read more
Farewell lunch from Saigon, Fried Pho.
Laap, the national cuisine of Laos
My Bedroom

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 April 16th 2012

Monday, 16th April 2012 (Day 02) Despite the obvious flaws in Saigon Mini Hotel 5, there was a certain level of quality in the overall breakfast experience. The morning break was served in the Breakfast Room at level 10 of the property with a view of the Saigon skyline. The night before, I had pre-selected my breakfast items on the menu and the nice ladies would cook it right in front of me. Worth mentioning were the flavourful omelettes done almost to perfection - rich and creamy. After breakfast, it was time for me to head to the Ho Chi Minh City Museum about 25 minutes from where I stayed. The 35 degrees temperatures wasn't too inviting given the lack of shade even though navigating through the well sign-posted streets in District 1 was straightforward. Most ... read more
Ho Chi Minh City Museum
The Reunification Palace
Overlooking Le Duan Boulevard

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 April 15th 2012

Sunday, 15th April 2012 (Day 01) My Jetstar plane touched down at Ho Chi Minh Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 8.30am this morning. Having spent a couple of days in the city in late 2010, there was a sense of familiarity as I passed through the arrivals on my way to the bus-stand. My 2 nights stopover in HCM was a bonus given that my main purpose was to visit the city of Vientiane during my 1 week break from work. While the airport bus 152 had since upped it rates from 3,000 dong to 8,000 dong (what a rip-off), this was still the most economical way for me to get to my hotel in District 1. My bedroom wasn't ready by the time I arrived at url= Mini Hotel 5 @ 196 Bui Ven ... read more
People-watch, Pham Ngu Lao, Saigon
Lunch at Quan An Ngon
Saigon's skyline

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Bandung April 9th 2012

Monday, 9th April 2012 (Day 04) Our 1115hrs flight did not leave us with opportunities for further sight-seeing in the city. For breakfast, we decided to go ahead with room service to save the hassle of finding food in the neighbourhood. By 6.50am, the friendly service staff had arrived with our selections which we had pre-ordered the night before. Bon Appetit! This was a nice ending for our Bandung vacation as we partake the spread in front of us within the comfort of our room. Expenses Air Asia Air Tickets: SGD 215 3 nights accomodation: SGD 144 Expenses + Airport Taxes: SGD 258 Total Damage: SGD 617 (1 SGD = 6,150 Rupiahs)... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Bandung April 8th 2012

Sunday, 8th April 2012 (Day 03) Day 03 proved to be the most calming for our tired souls as we opted for a staycation within our vacation in Hilton Bandung. Here is a run-down of the key events for the day. Breakfast Each of us decided to shell out 181,500 Rupiahs (SGD 29.50) for our breakfast at the hotel's eatery, the Purnawarman Restaurant. Our breakfast buffet was more than a 2-hour affair starting from 8am till 10.30am in the morning. This was necessary in order to do the lavish spread justice and of course, making sure that our lunch was "taken care of" as well. Swimming / Gymnasium The strong breezes that morning did not deter us from heading to level 6 for some serious swimming in order to work out that extra calories from breakfast. ... read more
Breakfast Affair
The huge hotel pool
Nice View from Hotel's Pool

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