48 Hours in France

Two days is certainly not enough to discover a new country, let alone even put a dent on its shiny surface. Having said that, attempting to see France from top to bottom in 48 hours will always be an unequal struggle for the first-time visitor.

Instead, with its reputed cultural heritage, great cuisine, good weather and numerous attractions, I would strongly suggest these villas in the south of France, like Toulouse in South West France, as an ideal getaway for that perfect weekend French holiday.

The Toulouse – Blagnac international airport is well connected with several airlines from different parts of Europe. The airport is conveniently situated a mere 10 km from Toulouse city center, making access quick and easy.

Day 1 – Morning

Place du Capitole (Photo credit: Ignis)

Toulouse lures the visitor to France like no other city primarily because of its rich culture.

As you step out of your hotel into Place du Capitole, the main square of this laid-back city, the splendor of the Capitole square itself will leave you mesmerized. Hidden behind the 18th century facade is the exquisite terracotta colored architecture, courtyards, and galleries packed to the hilt with ancient art.

Day 1 – Afternoon

Head to the main shopping street on Rue d’Alsace Lorraine, and discover a 14th century monastery full of murals and religious scripts. The principal museum of fine arts, Musee des Augustins, is situated nearby and is marveled for the fine Gothic exterior, while the interiors and the chapels house a large number of sculptures and paintings dating back to the 14th century.

Photo from augustins.org

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Korea on a Budget: 5D4N Itinerary

We just got back from Korea, and I’m already thinking of going back in the winter! In the meantime, let me share with you a suggested 5D4N itinerary to hopefully help you enjoy your trip to Korea even on a budget.

While I didn’t expect Korea to be as cheap as Taiwan, it is also not as expensive as I expected it to be. With proper planning and research, we were able to get the most out of our trip. In fact, I spent less than Php20,000.00, and that’s not even a super tipid trip!

Here’s a suggested 5D4N itinerary and a breakdown of our expenses per head:

*I booked 5 nights because our flight arrived at night.

gyeongbokgung

BUDGET TIPS:

  • If you’re not in a hurry to get to Seoul Station from Incheon International Airport, you can take the all-stop train (blue) for only KRW4,250.00 instead of the express train (orange) for KRW8,000.00. You can also check the link on the table above to see discounted ticket.
  • If you’re bringing USD, just change enough Won at the airport to get to your accommodation. When we arrived (September 15, 2017), the exchange rate at the airport was USD1 = KRW1,085.00. In Myeong-dong, we found the best exchange rates at the stall directly in front of the Chinese Embassy. Their rates were USD1 = KRW1,131.00 (September 16) and USD1 = KRW1,134.00 (September 19).
  • If traveling with a child (below 6 years old) and/or senior citizen (65 and older), present their passports at ticket counters to avail discounts or free admission.
    • Free admission to palaces (worth KRW3,000.00)
    • KRW3,000.00 discount at Namsan Cable Car
  • You can try on a hanbok free of charge (just for photo op, but not wear them to roam around palaces) in some places like Seoul Global Cultural Center, K-Style Hub, and at the airport.
  • Register at Visit Korea website to get access to seasonal discount coupons (Home > Shopping > Discount Coupons).
  • I traveled with senior citizens, so we booked a private tour to Petite France and Nami Island from Klook and availed a round trip shuttle service to Everland. If you’re traveling solo or on a really tight budget, you can commute. Obviously, the travel time is longer and will take several transfers from one mode of transport to another.
  • You can go to Namsan Tower by bus instead of taking the cable car for only KRW1,200 (cash)/KRW1,100 (transpo card) per way.
  • Being a touristy area, street food in Myeong-dong is expensive, and in my opinion, overrated. For example, we spent KRW14,000.00 for a cup of ‘tempura’, Korean fried chicken, and 2 pieces of egg bun while a cheeseburger set and Wagyu (Wagyu!) burger set from Lotteria at the airport costs KRW15,600.00!
  • Download the Subway Korea app to help you navigate Seoul’s extensive rail network. This is particularly helpful if you plan on commuting to Nami Island and Everland. I also use MAPS.ME to guide me when navigating on foot.

If you have other budget tips for traveling to Korea, please share them in the comments section below.

Taiwan: Sample 3D2N Itinerary and Budget

Taiwan seems to be high on the list of most Filipino travelers right now, and for good reason.

It’s only a couple of hours away, and with low cost carriers flying the Manila – Taipei route daily and visa-free entry* (please check first if you’re eligible), it’s the perfect weekend getaway.

And did I mention it’s pretty affordable too? We spent a little over Php10,000.00 (USD200.00) each (exclusive of shopping/souvenirs), and this wasn’t even a budget trip. I traveled with senior citizens so comfort and convenience were priority.

#Taoyuan #Taipei #Taiwan #ROC

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Our AirAsia flight arrived past 1:00am at Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1, and good thing I pre-arranged airport pickup with the hotel because there was a long queue at the taxi stand when we left. Continue reading “Taiwan: Sample 3D2N Itinerary and Budget”