10 Days in Malaysia & Laos – Budget & Itinerary

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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

Backpacking in Laos Part of 3 of 3: Luang Prabang

I was able to book affordable roundtrip tickets to Laos through one of AirAsia‘s seat sales. Laos has long been on my travel bucketlist primarily because of Kuang Si Falls. I was finally able to realize that dream. The only problem was that the flight to Laos would be from Malaysia as there are no flights to Laos from the Philippines. And so we booked roundtrip tickets to Kuala Lumpur from Manila and decided to spend a couple of days in Malaysia before flying to Laos. Since I and my companions have already explored Kuala Lumpur, we chose Cameron Highlands as our destination this time.

We spent 3 days in Malaysia and 7 days in Laos. I was able to record all of my expenses throughout the 10 days and thought to share it here. There are 3 different currencies you will see on the table below: expenses in Laotian kip (lak) while in Laos, expenses in Malaysian ringgit (Myr) while in Malaysia and expenses in Philippine peso (Php) for all the reservations and pre-bookings we did before the trip. I converted the overall total in USD at the bottom of the image.

The itinerary includes ALL expenses: accommodation, flights, food, shopping, snacks, laundry, etc. I hope this helps you out when planning for a similar trip πŸ™‚

I’ll be writing about our trip in more detail in the upcoming weeks!

Please click on the picture to view the details more clearly πŸ™‚


Puerto Galera: DIY Itinerary and Expenses

A cancelled trip among friends to Southern Visayas made me consider going to Puerto Galera as an alternative. I initially wanted to push through with the cancelled trip even if it meant traveling solo, but the recent events in Marawi and Resorts World made me feel wary of going. The boyfriend offered to come with me but as it was a few days before our travel date, the airline prices were so expensive. So where to go without needing to get on a plane? My sister suggested Puerto Galera since she was there a few weeks ago. I was supposed to have 8 vacation days, but I shortened it to 4 days for Puerto Galera.

My Companion:

Good thing I have a kaladkarin boyfriend and is game for almost-last minute trips πŸ™‚

Sunset at Talipanan Beach

How to go to Puerto Galera from Metro Manila:

We headed to Jam Transit Terminal located in Cubao where we found buses headed to Batangas Port. It took us 3 hours to reach the port because we encountered Friday morning traffic in EDSA.

Upon reaching Batangas Port, there are a LOT of agents(?) who will forcefully pester you to avail their services. They don’t ask for money as it is their job to get customers for their respective shipping lines. They will guide you to their ticketing booth where you can buy tickets to Puerto Galera. We bought tickets to White Beach from Minolo Shipping Lines as they seemed to have the most favorable reviews online. We also had to pay a separate terminal fee.

Aboard the boat of Minolo Shipping Lines

While having the agents to guide you where to go once in Batangas Port is convenient, I advice you not to entrust your luggage to them. We made the mistake of not getting our bags fast enough and the agents who guided us wouldn’t give back our bags. After we bought the tickets, they went into the pasalubong center which I thought was on the way to the boarding area. But no. One of the agents asked us to buy overpriced and tasteless pasalubong from their stall. Only once we bought some that they gave our bags back. So persistent. And then we found out that the boarding area was in another building. Boyfriend and I wondered exactly what happened while we were waiting for our boarding call.

Muelle Bay

It is a 2-hour sea journey from the port for Puerto Galera. In our case, the boat stopped at Muelle Bay where free shuttles of Minolo were waiting to take us to White Beach. A stall was propped up near the docking area to collect environmental fees from the arriving passengers. The driver asked us where we would be staying and dropped each group to the nearest point in White Beach. Since we were staying in a different area, the driver texted our hotel to pick us up in White Beach. I didn’t have to text the hotel to inform them we’ve arrived.

Our Accommodation:

While searching for our accommodations, I considered these criteria: boyfriend wanted somewhere with a pool and I wanted somewhere not located in White Beach because I read that it can get noisy at night. I searched and searched until I found Tribal Hills Mountain Resort. Their promo page indicated that their off peak season rates are in effect (60% off). That made them within our budget range so I reserved a room immediately!

Tribal Hills Mountain Resort

I reserved through their email address. After a few pleasant email exchanges and paying the downpayment through Paypal, our room was already reserved πŸ™‚

The resort’s pool. A staff mans the poolside bar from 6 PM til midnight daily.

I loved the location of the resort. It is located on a hilltop offering a wonderful view of the surrounding hills from our terrace and of the beach from their Tree Tops restaurant. It was quiet and it felt like we were the only people there. Although I loved the location, I discovered that I hated going out of our room late at night. I encountered a few large frogs and grasshoppers on my way to the pool on the first night when I couldn’t sleep. They had me running back to our room immediately. LOL.

Standard double room


The staff were also very attentive. Everytime we would leave our room, they would ask us if we needed anything or if we wanted to go to the beach. Since it was off peak season and they only have few guests, the drivers were always available to drop us off or to pick us up from the nearby beaches. The shuttle was free as long as the destination was White Beach, Aninuan Beach or Talipanan Beach.

Each room is also given a broadband device for the length of the stay. We could bring this even outside the resort. There is no signal inside the rooms though.

The food was delicious! They cook our orders from scratch so we had to wait longer than usual for our food to arrive but it is always worth the wait. πŸ™‚

Tree Tops Restaurant

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The 4D/3N Itinerary:

Day 1

We got to finally settle in our room at Tribal Hills at around 1 PM. We rested for about half an hour before we couldn’t ignore our growling stomachs anymore. We headed to Tree Tops Restaurant, ordered Bicol Epxress and requested the chef to make it super spicy. Eating late lunch with an awesome view of the beach and a tasty serving of Bicol Express was enough to recharge us.

Bicol Express

Our first and only destination of the day was Talipanan Beach. The shuttle took us to the nearest drop off point and we walked the rest of the way. The road was under construction and vehicles would have a hard time plying the uneven dirt road to Talipanan Beach.

A quiet afternoon in Talipanan Beach

An afternoon in Talipanan Beach is so serene. There were only a few people and the calm waters made it perfect for swimming. We just had to be careful not to go too far from the shore as there is a point where the water immediately becomes too deep. We both don’t know how to swim. LOL.

Luca Cucina Italiana

For dinner, we headed to Luca Cucina Italiana which was a well-known establishment in Talipanan Beach. The food is cooked by an Italian so the food is authentic and yummy πŸ™‚ We ate in the dark though since moths started coming in. We ordered the Lucas Pizza which was a bestseller according to the staff, and a plate of fries. The pizza was huge for just the 2 of us and we only finished half. We took the rest home to eat for breakfast the next day πŸ™‚

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Sagada: DIY Itinerary and Expenses

Related Posts:

A Review of Coda Lines and PinoyTravel

Where to Stay in Sagada: Misty Lodge and Cafe

Where to Eat in Sagada

Sagada has been on my travel bucket list for a few years now. But the success of the movie That Thing Called Tadhana put Sagada on the radar of so many people which caused an influx of tourists to the town. So I let a few years pass by and chose a date that didn’t fall on a long weekend or holiday to enjoy Sagada with as few tourists as possible. Sagada on a Tuesday is so quiet compared to Sagada on a Saturday. I am very glad I gave up a couple of my vacation leave days to experience Sagada.

My Companion:

I and my boyfriend chose a date that was in between my birthday and our month anniversaryΒ  for our first trip together. We stayed in Sagada for 4 days so we can do all the tiring activities on the first 2 days and just relax on the second half of our trip.

Me and Francis :)

Me and Francis. Behind us is Bokong Falls πŸ™‚

Also, we chose not to join a packaged tour because we wanted to explore and enjoy Sagada at our own pace. We also didn’t monitor our spend so our itinerary and expenses below might come as a shock. LOL. We just wanted to enjoy Sagada and we don’t regret any of it.

How to go to Sagada from Metro Manila:

Coda Lines Corporation is (I think) the only bus company that offers direct trips to Sagada from Quezon City. Fare is Php 720 per way and they have daily trips to Sagada at 9pm. They are located at Monte de Piedad corner Maryland street in Cubao.

Their seats are very comfortable. We were able to sleep all throughout the trip to Sagada. We almost missed our stop because of this. LOL.

Coda Lines

Coda Lines

The comfy seats are highly appreciated for our 10-11 hour trip <3

The comfy seats are highly appreciated for our 10-11 hour trip ❀

Because they only have 1 daily schedule for Sagada, seats can fill up fast. So I reserved our seats a few weeks before our travel date through PinoyTravel. There is a booking fee but the convenience of not having to go to Coda Lines’ office made it worth it. πŸ™‚

I wrote a more comprehensive review of our experience with Coda Lines and PinoyTravel in a separate blog post.

Our Accommodation:

Our home away from home for 4 days and 3 nights in Sagada became Misty Lodge and Cafe. I found them on Facebook and their reviews were good. The clincher that made me book with them was their location. They are located outside of Sagada Town proper which meant that their place was quiet. Although I found that noise isn’t really a big issue as there is a 10pm curfew in Sagada. Their food is delicious and I’m salivating just thinking about it while I’m writing this.

Misty Lodge and Cafe

Misty Lodge and Cafe

The cafe

The cafe

An overnight stay in their room for 2 costs Php 700 per night with a common bathroom shared with other guests. We opted to stay in their cottage room which costs Php 1,500 per night. It had its own bathroom and a great view from the windows. Because the cottage is separated from the main house, we didn’t have to worry about disturbing other guests and lining up for a turn in the bathrooms. The cottage can accommodate up to 6 pax and the rates vary according to how many will people will stay in the room.

Misty's spacious cottage room for up to 6 pax

Misty’s spacious cottage room for up to 6 pax

Because we stayed at Misty for 4 days, I have a lot to say about the lodge. I wrote another blog post especially for Misty Lodge and Cafe πŸ™‚ Continue reading