Relaxing Retreat at Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa

We recently conducted our team building activity at Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa. I have been feeling stressed from the summer heat and a little bit from work, and this short getaway came at such a perfect timing. The team building committee intended this outing to be relaxing instead of the usual team building activities which required physical exertion. Everyone from the team enjoyed our time at Luljetta’s. If there was one thing I wished for, it would be to stay longer – perhaps overnight (but it was way beyond our team budget).

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa is part of Loreland Farm Resort located in Antipolo, Rizal. I really had the impression that I was escaping the hustle and bustle of Manila because it was quite a distance from the city and we passed by mountains through zigzag roads to get to our destination.

I immediately felt embraced by nature as soon as I entered Loreland Farm Resort. The designs of the structures complemented well with the lush greens of the mountain. Although everything looked beautiful. I thought that visiting in the cooler -ber months would be perfect because it was so hot in the summer. I didn’t feel even a breeze during our whole-day stay.

After our registration at the reception, the welcoming staff led us to a room where our breakfast composed of tuna sandwiches, macaroni salad, suman, coffee and juice was waiting.

One of Loreland’s venue halls where Christmas is still alive 🙂

When everyone was finished eating, we hopped into a golf cart that would take us to Luljetta’s. It was only a short 2-minute ride. Others chose to walk to absorb some vitamin D – it was only 5 minutes via walking anyway.

The entrance of ed directly to Luljetta’s Cafe. The hot and humid temperature was somewhat lessened by the electric fans that hung along the walls. The signal for Globe network is so weak in Luljetta’s so I was forced to explore the area and talk with my colleagues since I couldn’t check my work email. LOL. I loved the view from the cafe.

View from Luljetta’s Cafe

Once everything was settled at the reception, we were led to the guest registration where the staff each gave us keys to our locker and robes to wear.

Then there were another set of stairs that led to the movie lounge where lockers were located. The bathrooms were right beside it. There was an assortment of games available in the lounge like a pool table, chessboard and sungka. They showed movies during the whole day at the lounge as well. The lounge looked like a traditional wooden structure which looked so cozy. But the reality is that it was so hot there and I couldn’t stay more than 10 minutes without sweating a ton.

Me trying hard to recall how to play sungka

We changed into our robes and started exploring the facilities of Luljetta’s. A word of caution to those who plan to visit, there are endless sets of stairs in Luljetta’s. It was so easy to get lost because of this. Every time I wanted to get to another part of the place, it meant going up and down the stairs again. My legs hurt the next day because of this. It might be a challenge for kids and those with knee problems to explore Luljetta’s.

When I think of Luljetta’s, I think of lush greens and stairs. LOL.

The infinity pool!

My first mission was to find the infinity pool which featured another wonderful view. The water was so cold and refreshing. I liked that it wasn’t so deep, just about 4 feet. The pool wasn’t as big as we expected though. My companions discovered the fish spa located just above the pool but I didn’t want to leave the water until they called for lunch.

View from Infinity Pool

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Backpacking in Laos Part 3 of 3: Luang Prabang

Also read:

10 Days in Malaysia & Laos – Budget & Itinerary

A Weekend in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Backpacking in Laos Part 1 of 3: Vientiane

Backpacking in Laos Part 2 of 3: Vang Vieng

Day 4 (PM): Travel to Luang Prabang

Same with our travel arrangements to Vang Vieng, a van was supposed to pick us up at the guesthouse at 3PM. But we got bored so we decided to walk to the Wonderful Tours Laos office where we we booked our tickets. The van was spacious because there were empty seats. However, our companions throughout the whole trip so it was impossible to fall asleep. The road the Luang Prabang was full of curves and turns which our driver expertly navigated.

I really enjoyed sightseeing along the way because of the mountain views. We made 2 stops within our 5-hour trip. Our driver stopped at a gas station a few minutes outside Vang Vieng to gas up and to let us buy snacks for the trip. The second stop was for the wonderful view deck when we were halfway to Luang Prabang. It felt like we were so high up in the mountains and we could see the silhouettes of the mountains of Laos all around. The area was so cold so we didn’t stay too long.

Halfway point between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang

We arrived at a transport terminal in Luang Prabang around 8 PM. Our guesthouse was a few minutes drive away so we hired a tuktuk to take us there. After some haggling, the driver agreed to drop us off at our guesthouse for a reasonable rate. But even though we showed the address and the name of the guesthouse, we still a hard time searching for it. The driver dropped us off at the Night Market because he thought our guesthouse was located along the same street and vehicles can’t enter the Night Market. It was our first glimpse of the night market and we were a bit distracted by everything that was on sale instead of focusing wholly on finding where we would sleep that night. LOL.

Night Market

Our Accommodation: Jasmine Ville GuesthouseFinding Jasmine Ville Guesthouse was a challenge for us. I incorrectly assumed that tuktuk drivers were familiar with all of the accommodations in Luang Prabang, but this was clearly not the case. We only had the street name for the guesthouse and we didn’t print out the map. We entered the Night Market as our tuktuk driver instructed but we didn’t find Jasmine Ville Guesthouse. We asked for directions from the locals but they kept pointing us in different directions. Jayvee volunteered to search for it on her own and we waited for almost an hour before she came back for us. We were looking in the wrong area, and there were two Jasmine Guesthouses in Luang Prabang which made it more confusing. LOL.

Jasmine Ville Guesthouse

Once we figured out where it was, we were happy with the location. It was walking distance to the sites we wanted to go in Luang Prabang and it was located from the main street which meant that it was quiet at night 🙂

We were assigned 2 rooms during our stay. Jayvee left a day earlier so we got transferred to a room for 3 during our last night.

Room for 4

Room for 3

I loved Jasmine Ville Guesthouse for the same reasons as our stay in Maylay Guesthouse. Our rooms and bathroom were spacious and clean. The WiFi worked great. And the breakfast was hearty. Aside from the array of breakfast meals we can choose from, we were also each given a smoothie and a plate of fruits for our group. Continue reading

Backpacking in Laos Part 2 of 3: Vang Vieng

Also read:

10 Days in Malaysia & Laos – Budget & Itinerary

A Weekend in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Backpacking in Laos Part 1 of 3: Vientiane

Backpacking in Laos Part of 3 of 3: Luang Prabang

Day 2 (PM): Travel to Vang Vieng

A van picked us up at Green Box Hotel just before 2 PM. We were supposed to transfer to a bus, but for some reason the van became our transport going to Vang Vieng. The travel time was around 4-5 hours without any traffic. I tried to rest on the way as much as possible because the scenery didn’t interest me much. It was so similar to what I see in the Philippines whenever I travel to the province. There was only one stopover where the driver gave us enough time for a bathroom break and a quick meal if we wanted.

We arrived at the town of Vang Vieng at around 7 PM. The van stopped somewhere in the town center and we just asked for directions going to our guesthouse which we could reach by walking in 5 minutes.

We passed by The Walking Street which is intended to be the tourist hub of Vang Vieng at night. But it hasn’t reached its full potential yet in my opinion. There were only a few shops and stalls along the whole street – far from the hustle and bustle of well established night markets like the one in Cameron Highlands.

Vang Vieng’s The Walking Street looked a bit deserted. It needs more shops and people!

Along the way, we saw the office of Wonderful Tours Laos from whom we availed our next day’s tour. We made a quick stop to confirm our reservation which I made via email, and to pay for our tour. Our guesthouse was only a block away from the tour office.

Our Accommodation: Maylay Guesthouse

We were most satisfied with our stay in Maylay Guesthouse ❤ I found them via Agoda and the great reviews along with the affordable price convinced me to book 2 nights with them.

Maylay Guesthouse

Here are the reasons why we loved Maylay Guesthouse:

Location. It was located right in the center of the town which meant that everything was within walking distance. We didn’t have to ride a tuktuk during our stay just to find some place to eat, shop or (in Jayvee’s case) to get a massage.

Our rooms. For around Php 1,200 or USD 24 per room, we didn’t expect much. But our rooms were spacious and clean, the beds were so comfy and the bathroom was huge. I also appreciated that there was a space where we could hang our towels and wet clothes for when we go swimming.

Maylay Guesthouse’s twin bedroom. We booked 2 rooms for our group and they had similar layouts.

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