Every time I travel, I try my best to do some research on the country and cities I’ll be visiting to have an idea of what to see and do. I don’t want to come empty handed and have no idea on what I or what my travelling companion should expect, well that’s just me. So when my friend Cj sent us an itinerary of what she had prepared for us on our visit to Toronto, Canada, I searched the places online right away to see at least a picture on those spots we are visiting. As I was checking on the itinerary, I was curious with one of the places which is Graffiti Alley, “what’s that?” it seems interesting. And as we are walking towards the Graffiti Alley while enjoying the very cold weather, we are greeted right away with the beautiful and colourful wall graffiti, as shown below.
I was just amazed how they were able to transform this alley as colourful and as creative as possible. If you love art, this place is for you. If you appreciate graffiti walls, then put this on your place to visit when you go to Toronto. And if you would love taking Instagram worthy photos, be ready and shoot as many as you can and be sure to come to Graffiti Alley.
Graffiti Wall Art
Graffiti Alley, it may be one of Toronto’s most beloved attractions, street art wasn’t always accepted in Toronto. The issue came down to street art versus vandalism, with the lines blurred in the eyes of city officials and authorities. The debate about graffiti in the city still exists, but the current view is one of more open acceptance of street art having the power to beautify a neighborhood. StreetARToronto (StART) is an initiative started by the City of Toronto in 2012 as a way to reduce graffiti vandalism by replacing it with creative murals and street art that engage the community and make a positive impact on the city, much like Graffiti Alley has done.
Art indeed brings colour into our life, so it must be appreciated, it must be recognised, it must be shown in a big or small scale because its a person’s way of expressing once feelings and emotion. And just like what was done in Graffiti Alley in Rush Lane, Toronto, as long as it was regulated well and it was executed the right way, this can or should be done in other places or countries as well and become a tourist spot and be visited by a lot of tourists. Marketing My Word, include this in your place to visit.
Hey I’m back! Finally after several weeks or a month, I’m happy to be able to write again about my travel experience. And let me greet everyone a Happy New Year, and may we all have a Blessed and Exciting 2019!
Last time, I was able to write about a brief introduction about my last trip for 2018 which is the time that I was able to reach for my dreams and visit Canada, particularly Toronto and explore the beautiful spots and places in that lovely country. And when I knew that we are going to Canada and visit my friend Cj and her family, the first thing that came to my mind of what my goal is when it comes to what I won’t missed to see, Niagara Falls was at the top of the list. I have seen it in photos, travel shows, and instagram pictures of people who’ve been there. I’ve heard of stories of how beautiful it is and how majestic it is to see it in person. And I told myself that one day, I’ll be able to see it and experience it, and here it is last October 2018, it really did happen.
I’ll be honest, there were tears seeing it from a far, and I just cried as we walk close towards the edge of the viewing area. I cried because I couldn’t believe that I’m actually there, that I am seeing it right before my eyes, that I am actually smelling the fresh air and feel the cold weather, and it was just so surreal. It was just stunning, beautiful, amazing, astonishing, majestic, etc. It is an understatement to say its just beautiful, because for someone like me who’ve dreamt of seeing it in person the experience was just surreal. I told my friends, I’ve always wanted to see this, and someday with my family, because just seeing it in photos won’t give justice. It was made even more special because you are with your closest friends and sharing that magical moment was just superb, look at us we are all happy.
Hearing the water that aggressively flows, seeing it stream down the waterfalls, seeing birds fly, enjoying the cool drizzles, the very cold weather, and it seems the water from the top is endless, was just a different sight to see. From the starting point where we were dropped-off by Boris, the husband of Cj, I never stopped looking around and fed my eyes with this amazing view. I tell you, the feeling is surreal especially for a dreamer/traveler like me, its a moment to remember forever. It was just a magical moment for me, and I said to myself, that it will be another goal to have my family with me in the same spot and share the moment with them, I’m sure it will be as amazing like the first time.
When you dream, dream beyond your imagination, dream bigger than whatever you can imagine, dream as far as you can, dream as if you have all the riches in the world has to offer and be able to reach for it, because you won’t know if God above will just give you that dream and made it into a reality. My recent Canada trip for me is just the most memorable to date, from getting a visa (which I’ll share to you how I got mine, 10 years multiple visa), buying airline tickets (check as early as you can!), planning your itinerary (thank you CJ!!!), and Save Save Save (its better to come ready for all your expenses, most importantly SHOPPING! haha). MARKE My Word, you should visit Canada and explore as far and as longer as you can.
As I was able to travel to different Asian countries like Japan (which is my favourite), Hong Kong (my second home), Taiwan (food haven which I’ll share my experience also), South Korea (k-bbq is life), Macau (egg tart please), Singapore (very beautiful), Thailand (shopping shopping shopping), Indonesia (Bali would really be a good place to live in for me!), China (my fave spot is The Bund), well I think that’s about it, and I remember telling myself that “someday I want and I will travel to a country beyond Asia.” And who would’ve taught I was able to fulfil that dream/goal in my life this year 2018, and happily me and my friend was able to see and experience and appreciate the very beautiful Toronto, Canada.
For our trip to Toronto from Manila, we had a connecting flight to Seoul which is around 3 hours to 3 1/2 hours. Then as we wait for our flight to Toronto, were able to catch some sleep and bought some snacks before we board the plane. And as experience our first long haul flight (13 hours to be exact), we had no idea what to do, and how to survive this inside the plane. Well here’s my experience, I watched a movie (around 4 movies), eat the food served by the flight attendant, and the most important is sleep. And when I saw that the time left before we land was 1 hour, I was already ecstatic and happy because finally we are landing safely and at the same time my dream of travelling beyond Asia came true, Toronto here we come!
As we land and inhale for the first time the smell of Canada, it was just surreal for me, well both of us actually. And feel the very cold weather, its like 5 degrees when we arrived, at it was freezing cold but for me I was really happy. From the airport, we were fetched by Boris, the husband of our friend Cj, and good thing jet lag hasn’t sink-in yet I was just amazed of what I’m seeing outside the car, and I’m mesmerised and trying to absorb everything that I’m seeing for the first time. Seeing the beautiful orange, red, yellow, maple leaves was just really something for me, and be in a place for the first time in my life I was teary-eyed. When we finally reached our destination, at the condo unit of Boris and Cj with the very cute and adorable baby Sara, we just hugged Cj so tight because it was 2 or 3 years since the last time we’ve seen each other and its our first time to see baby Sara. And as we unpacked some of our stuffs and put our thermal clothes, we went out for our first meal in downtown Toronto which is Hotdog and Fries, and I must say it was so delicious especially the fries with gravy (Poutine). And as we walk towards the food stand, my eyes are filled with beautiful views, skyscrapers, familiar stores and resto and the new ones, and a lot more, I was just extra happy that time because I never imagined it will happen so soon. I was just so blessed to experience it and for me its just a dream come true and like what I said when you dream dream big and dream as far as what your mind CAN(ada) imagine.
the food truck
During this 10 day trip, very short trip, it was all worth it. The places we’ve been to like Muskoka, Niagara, watched a play, went a stroll in the forest, and see in front of me Niagara Falls was just an amazing experience, and a lot more activities. I will be sharing it with all of you in my next blogs so watch out for it, ok? but for the meantime I’ll keep you hanging first and make you look forward to my Canada experience, its all worth it MARKE My Word.
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“Is it expensive travelling to Bali?” That’s one of the many question my friends ask me when I got back from my recent trip to Bali. And my honest answer was, “No!” Its actually very affordable, from their hotels, tours, food/s, souvenirs, etc. If you’re a budget traveller (like me!) Bali is a perfect travel destination for you and your companion, because it won’t break your wallet’s heart and you don’t need to break your coin bank as well. I will breakdown my expenses for you to have an idea how much you have to prepare before your upcoming trip to Bali and also some guidelines on what to do and expect.
Expenses from my recent Bali Trip (5 days and 4 nights)
Plane Ticket: P10,485
(AirAsia, direct flight Manila – Bali – Manila: what is included in the plane ticket is Airfare, luggages 20kg per way, taxes, meals for RT flights, insurance)
(P5,750 per pax. The Bene Hotel, Kuta Beach area, Superior Double Room: rate is per room for 2 pax, for 4 nights, with buffet breakfast)
Airport Transfer: 200K Rupiah
(one way for 3 pax) = P727.23 for 3 pax; P242.41 per person
Tour Guide: 1,708,333.33 Million Rupiah per person = P6,212
900K Rupiah (for 3 pax; East Bali Trip), 900K Rupiah (for 3 pax; Singaraja Trip), 675K Rupiah (per person; Nusa Penida Tour) + 350K Rupiah (for 3 pax; for the car/driver), 725K Rupiah (for 3 pax; Swing Activity; Airport Transfer going home is already included or free since we went straight after the tour)
Note: you still have to pay for entrance fees in some of the tourist spots but its not expensive.
Total: P22,689.41 per person
Not intimidating right? Imagine for the amount of P22,689.41 (we just booked and planned everything 2 months before the said trip) because almost everything is included already. If you want to get a cheaper plane ticket, try to book early so that you can catch seat sale fares, and also if you don’t like to include meals and seat assignment and luggages the price will go down from what I wrote down in the breakdown of expenses.
“Then how about the food?” “How about the souvenirs”
Well I didn’t include the food meals because it will depend on what kind of meals do you prefer, but if I were you try to eat heavy breakfast so that during your tour you don’t have to spend that much. BUT you don’t have to worry because the normal meals you can order at their restaurants will range from 25,000 Rupiah to 60,000 Rupiah (when you convert it will be from P95 to P190). With that amount you can already order a very good meal from American cuisine, Local cuisine and a lot more to choose from so definitely you will not get hungry and I repeat its not expensive.
If you’re thinking of getting your loved ones a souvenir from food, coffee, shirts, keychain, sarong, etc., you can go to Krisna. Tell your tour guide or driver to take you to this famous souvenir store and you can find anything and everything you want to bring your loved ones back home. It’s a huge store and for sure you will not leave the store empty-handed and all the famous souvenirs in Bali can be bought here and they can also assist you in packing it in huge boxes. You can pay for everything you bought either cash or credit card, so it’s hassle-free.
REMINDER before going to Bali
What should you know before going to Bali and what should you prepare? Well first is change your money from your home country. It is better if you already have a Rupiah with you before going to Bali because you might have a lower rate and have more Millions of Rupiah with you. But if you’ll be having a hard time looking for Rupiah in your home country you can have it change in Bali, BUT A REMINDER change your money only at those authorise and legit money changers, if you’ll get the service of a tour operator you can seek for their help and take you to a good money changer. Be careful ok? because not all are legit and you might be dismayed and not be able to have a wonderful Bali experience, so DON’T FORGET!
Another thing, if you prefer to have a hassle free trip and tour around Bali I would suggest that you talk with a legit and good tour guide and operator. For me I was able to find in Instagram Bali Daily, and the rate I posted was their rate during our trip. Why would I suggest a tour guide? Well with their help all you need to do is wait at your hotel lobby and they will take you to your desired destination, and from our experience they are good and legit, they are very accommodating from my inquiry until the time we got there and have done all the tours, they definitely made our Bali trip a memorable one.
Are you ready?
So was I able to encourage you to go to Bali? I hope so because it should really be part of your bucket list for any traveller like me who’s on a budget. There’s a lot to explore and do in Bali so if you want to maximise your trip, be sure to save some more and plan early. Btw, if you are a person who’s always online due to work or other reason, you might want to bring with you a pocket wifi that you can bring with you all around Bali. Here in the Philippines, I make sure to always use a pocket wifi abroad that I rent every time I travel. I use Flytpack always because for me they really have a good service and connection wherever I’ve been through so far. But then again its up to you if you should bring one or not, because in Bali its better if you take a break from getting connected first if you can, so that you can enjoy your stay and your tours. In that case, you don’t have to hold your gadgets while looking around and instead enjoy the view and what Bali has to offer. But if you really can’t do that then I suggest rent one and maybe while your in a tour set it aside for awhile, and at the same time when you reach your hotel all of them (I believe) offers free wifi for all their guests and make it a travel to remember, MARKE My Word.
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They say “to see is to believe”, and that’s what I tell myself every time I’m going on a trip. Just like my visit to Bali, Indonesia, one reason why I travel is because I don’t just want to see this amazing places all over the world in pictures in social media and all over the internet, but to have a first hand experience and enjoy the beauty of God’s wonderful creation. Just like our Swing Activity Tour, were we visited Bali Swing site, Coffee Plantation, Ubud Market and Tegalalang Rice Terraces. We did this tour on our last day in Bali before heading back to the Philippines, and since our flight was still past midnight why not make use of the day well by still doing a tour.
Let’s start with Bali Swing site (sorry I can’t find the pictures), we may not have experience the swing and other water activities due to lack of time and at the same time we are not dress for the said activity, we skip it but not to worry because we are able to do a swing activity already during our trip to Wanagiri Hidden Hills which I can say that it has a much more better view and much more thrill in it. But here at the Bali Swing, you will be able to enjoy a lot more swing activities and much more Instagram worthy picture spots with a wonderful view as well. And if you are thrill seeker and adventure junky this place is also a must go for you because they also offer white water rafting. And since this is located in the Ubud area which is known for this type of activities, then if you get a chance do one and you will enjoy it, which I’ll do when I get to visit again.
Now let’s move on to Tegalalang Rice Terraces, is it amazing? YES YES YES! If you are a nature lover like me then you will enjoy this part of the tour. But make sure you are ready to walk up and down the rice terraces because to enjoy this tour you will need to walk down and up and down and up again and tour around the beautiful Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Aside from enjoying the view, you get to experience another swing activity here and imagine riding a swing and have a view of the rice terraces, isn’t that breathtaking? Woooh! Tired and Hungry??? Not to worry! Because when you’re done with doing this activity there’s a lot of food choices for you to choose from as well. Imagine having your meal and having this view in front of you, will it not make your experience even more fulfilling? Don’t miss it ok?
And now let’s have some coffee, YES for coffee lovers like me, you should drop by their coffee plantation. Bali is also known for there coffee especially made and crafted in this lovely island. And there famous, quite expensive from the others, is called Luwak Coffee which comes from a poop of a Luwak. What’s a Luwak? it is a Civet cat and is known to be part of the cat family and it is native to Bali. They are known for eating coffee beans, which are then collected after the luwak poops them out, and used to make what is known as a Luwak coffee, sounds weird? well you should try it because the taste is really good. Game? You should really give it a try.
Now to my favourite activity, well everywhere I go this is my favourite, SHOPPING! Who wouldn’t enjoy it right? Especially its time to get your loved ones some souvenirs from the place where you came from and make them feel love. And if you are a fan of the Native bags from Bali which comes in different shape and sizes, and other local souvenirs you van bring home then Ubud Market (I don’t have the picture because it was raining that time and we are on a rush so I forgot the picture) is a place you should include in your itinerary. Be sure to have your skills in haggling with you when you visit this place because the best part of going to Ubud market is you can bargain for the item that you like to the price which suits your budget. I have the skill and the confidence in bargaining, every time I haggle for an item whether in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bali and of course here in the Philippines, I get to buy the item that I want for the price that suits my budget. So that’s what the best thing to have in you when visiting Ubud Market, and also aside from the native products they sell here their are also some branded stores around the are, and there are also temples to visit and see the Monkey forest, beware of your things ok, just a heads up because this monkeys are really playful.
What to do next? well head back to the city area and go to the airport to catch our flight later that night and we should get ready. I really enjoyed our trip in Bali and I will definitely come back for more experience and adventure. You should visit Bali too, because it won’t just fill your eyes with beautiful sites, fill your tummy with their delicious foods (which I’ll try to come up with a blog with some of the meals we had on this trip), but also fill your heart and mind with peace that you need and deserve, because Bali has this tranquility and serenity feel in my own experience while your enjoying your trip. You can really have a quiet time with yourself and with God, spend a quality time with the people you’re travelling with, and at the same time enjoy a lot of activities to do and experience around Bali. I will go back and I’m looking forward to more adventures in Bali, want to join me? hmm you’ll never regret it MARKE My Word.
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Let’s go to East Bali this time around, ready? Last time I was able to share about our Singaraja trip, and like what I shared with you every day during our trip to Bali was really full-packed and it was all worth it (just rest when you get back to your home country). So this time I’ll be sharing with you about our East Bali adventures or for some they are familiar with this tour as Lempuyang Trip. Unlike Singaraja trip we are able to visit 5 different tourist spots in one day, for this particular tour we will be visiting 3 different places such as Lempuyang Temple, Tirta Gangga and Virgin Beach.
Why only 3? Well from the tour name itself it’s visiting the East side of Bali, and from our hotel where we are staying at The Bene Hotel in Kuta Beach which is really beautiful and relaxing and will be sharing about the place next time, we need to travel for around 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours by land to reach your first destination which is Lempuyang Temple. And after the long drive from Kuta Beach we have finally arrived at our destination at Lempuyang Temple were our driver/tour guide drop us off at the parking area where you will need to ride a mini jeep/coaster up the temple. Was it an easy ride going up? Hmm a little bit because the road was really steep and you need to hold on to the bars of the coaster but the view is priceless so just sit back, hold tight and enjoy the view. And once we reach the starting point of the temple you need to pay for entrances fees, rent a along to wrap around your waist so it’s as if you are wearing a skirt because you are entering a holy place which for them is very sacred and you need to abide with their rules. From their you will have to hike up the stairs and the road to see the beautiful Lempuyang Temple where you see a lot of tourist enjoying the view and the locals doing their religious practices. And if you notice my featured image and if you want to capture at the same spot, well you have to be patient because you have to line up for about an hour or even more just to wait for your turn to take your best shot for about 5 minutes or less. If you are lucky enough to capture the volcano as your background, lucky you but during our visit the clouds were covering it sadly but again it was all worth it. Then after that, you can still go up the temple because it just goes up and up depending on what you want to see and experience. So after your time in Lempuyang Temple you need to ride back the coaster towards the parking lot, and again sit back, hold tight and enjoy the view.
From there you will be travelling to Tirta Gangga which is not that far from Lempuyang Temple, and here you’ll find peace. The surroundings is just really peaceful, enjoy the view and walk through the stones at their pond and also feed the Koi fish. There you can just relax for awhile and at the same time you can dine at the restaurants outside the temple and enjoy the local food served there and feast yourself.
And for the last tourist spot for that day, we went to Virgin Beach which is also peaceful and relaxing at the same time. This area isn’t develop yet which is good because you can still enjoy the beauty of nature and walk towards the beautiful Virgin Beach. Since this place isn’t develop yet and no hotels around the area, you can just stay here while the sun is up and swim and also enjoy the view. Just make sure to bring your swimming clothes during this trip because Virgin beach is a good place to swim while in Bali. Woooh that sums up our East Bali adventure and from Virgin Beach you have to travel again for 3 hours heading back to Kuta beach, and just relax while you’re on the road. I hope you make this part of your Bali vacation and the long trip is all worth it, MARKE MY WORD.
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