Grand Tour of Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

My first cross-border train ride in Europe was from Prague to Vienna, so I was very excited.

The train was modern, clean, very comfortable, and even had WiFi on board which made the 4-hour journey bearable. The scenery along the way was pretty, too.

Scenery on the way to #Vienna #Austria #katgoestoeurope #centraleurope

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It was drizzling when I arrived in Vienna, so I didn’t push through with my original plan of going to the Old Town. I just went around the Westbahnhof area.

Next day’s agenda consist of only one thing: Schonbrunn Palace – the former imperial summer residence of the Habsburgs.

I inquired with the hostel’s front desk about the best way to get to Schonbrunn Palace and the receptionist said I could walk. I looked at the free map provided, and it looked like it was just down Mariahilfer Straße…and it was, only it was more than a 2-kilometer walk.

Ten minutes in, and I already regretted the decision.

But then shortly before reaching the palace, I passed by Auer-Welsbach Park, and was mesmerized with the beautiful fall colors. I spent a few minutes watching kids play football, and even tried to chase some squirrels. LOL

The palace offers several types of tours – some you can do on your own with a free audio guide, some with a palace guide for an additional fee.

I chose a guided Grand Tour of Schonbrunn and paid €19.40. Some may find the price steep, but I don’t mind paying that amount for an hour of being cultured. :p

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Prague – A Land of Stories

Fresh from a 17-hour journey (figuratively; I wish I could say that literally), I emerged from Staromestska Station and was greeted by the cool autumn wind. I can’t believe it. I’m finally in Prague. I’m finally in Europe!

I trudged the cobblestoned streets, luggage in tow, searching for my hostel. It didn’t take me long to find it as I easily spotted Tyn Church’s spires, so I knew the Old Town was close by.

I arrived at the hostel earlier than the official check-in time, so I left my luggage at the storage room first, and made my way through Old Town.

I was too excited to explore.

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I meandered through Karlova’s alleys lined with restaurants and souvenir shops.

It didn’t take long for me to reach the Astronomical Clock where people flock for the hourly show. I decided to just check it out at a later time, and went straight to the center of Old Town Square.

The square is surrounded by beautiful buildings. Its center is filled with tourists, buskers and various street performers, and even Segway operators.

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Backpacking Central Europe: Itinerary

Planning a trip to Europe can be quite overwhelming. So much so that I drafted 5 itineraries (maybe more) before I finally picked which one to submit to the embassy.

You see, even with its extensive rail networks, there’s just so much to see in each city/country that you can’t possibly visit them all in one Euro trip.

So for my first Euro trip (yes, I plan to go back!), I just focused in Central Europe. Why? Frankly because that’s only what my budget allowed haha

I was actually surprised people were interested with my itinerary because, according to them, it’s not the ‘usual Europe route’.

What I’m going to share here is my actual ‘itinerary’, and not the one I submitted to the embassy. I found that over the years, I have become less meticulous about making itineraries and following it to a T, so you may feel that it’s ‘too relaxed’.

Sure, I could have visited more cities/countries in 21 days, but I’m way past the stage of jamming as many sights/attractions in a day. I’m on vacation, after all, and not on a mission.

Anyway, here it is. Feel free to modify according to your preference.

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A Taste of Java in Yogyakarta

Nothing excites me more than exploring another country for the first time, so I made sure to include Indonesia in my month-long solo backpacking trip around Southeast Asia.

My first stop was Yogyakarta (often called Jogjakarta or Jogja), a special administrative region in the island of Java.

I arrived on a late afternoon flight from Kuala Lumpur via AirAsia, and took the Trans Jogja bus to EDU Hostel where I stayed for 2 nights. Sure, it wasn’t the best accommodation, but for about $7.00 a night with breakfast, it’s definitely value for money.

The hostel also offers several day tours including, of course, tours to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Borobudur and Prambanan.

Borobudur looking ‘golden’ shortly after sunrise
Together with 3 Brit girls, we booked the ‘Beautiful Morning at Borobudur’ tour thinking it includes sunrise viewing. We only realized the following day that we got a different tour because it was already past 5:00 am when we were picked up from the hostel lobby by the tour operator. It wasn’t a big deal for me anyway.
Even though the sun had already risen by the time we arrived, we could still feel a cool breeze as we walked along the park leading to the massive temple.


I am always in awe whenever I visit an ancient temple. It’s fascinating how people in the early days managed to build such majestic structures without modern technology and equipment.

Lao PDR Diaries: Luang Prabang & Vientiane

The alarm went off at 5:30 am.

I opened my eyes, and saw the eerily life-like portrait of a Laotian woman hanging on the opposite wall looking at me. Then I saw a stranger sleeping on the other bed. Well, not a total stranger. She is Guonmin from Guangdong, China. We met on the slow boat a day ago…or was it two days ago? I can’t remember. All I know was that we were the only Asians on the boat…aside from the crew, of course.

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My Top 5 ‘Buti na Lang!’ Moments When I Traveled Solo

As you can probably tell (or not) from the title of this blog post, Taglish ito because…why not? Gusto ko lang! Para maiba naman. There’s always a first time, pero limited edition lang ito kumbaga. Wow! haha

I remember nung nag-travel ako for 32 days nang solo, twice lang ata ako nakapag-Tagalog: when I met up with fellow travel blogger, Joshua, in Chiang Mai, and nung inampon ulit ako ni Riz when I went to KL. Hindi naman ako naubusan ng English pero nag-level up ang charade skills ko. :p
 
Anyway, ano nga ba ang ikkwento ko? Ahh, yung mga bagay na buti na lang ginawa ko nung bumyahe akong mag-isa. 

Kung inaakala mong ang post na ito ay isa sa mga ‘quit-your-job-and-travel-the-world’ posts, pwes, nagkakamali ka. Masyado nang gasgas yun. At sinasabi ko sa ‘yo, maganda lang yan pakinggan sa simula pero pag hindi ka na makabili ng kape sa Starbucks na dati eh inaaraw-araw mo, babalik ka rin sa corporate world. *evil laugh*

5 Itineraries to Help Kickstart Your Sourtheast Asian Adventure

Ever since I got back from my month-long Southeast Asian trip last August 2014, some friends have expressed their interest of doing the same, but don’t know exactly where to start.  

The thing is, when people ask me for my itinerary, I’m a bit hesitant to just give them what I used because it is customized according to MY traveling style. 
I found that it has changed over the years. I no longer feel the need to pack as many attractions as I can in day, and would prefer to pay more for convenience rather than sacrifice comfort for the sake of sticking to my budget. 

I also traveled solo, so my expenses were inevitably bigger than usual. And the only tickets I had pre-booked on sale were my Manila to Bangkok, Bangkok to Chiang Mai, and Bali to Manila flights. The rest of the flights, I booked when I was already on the road.

I actually traveled for 32 days

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