The Rookie Blogger

November 3, 2019

Malaysia is Affordable

If you are a tourist planning on your first trip or just a casual trip but on a budget, I would highly suggest traveling to Kuala Lumpur. If you are traveling from the Philippines, only AirAsia has a direct route from Cebu to KL but there are numerous airlines offering Manila to KL route. The airfare is also affordable if you chose the budget airlines such as AirAsia and Cebu Pacific.

When I traveled to this country, I was with my classmates that's why the trip was more fun. We arrived in Kuala Lumpur on an AirAsia flight from Cebu. Like any other international airport, the floor area of the airport is quite huge and we have to transfer through a sky bridge to get to the immigration. From the airport, there are many options to travel to the city center of Kuala Lumpur like through an LRT, Grab, or bus. We took the bus because it only cost around ₱300 for the VIP type. The ordinary bus and LRT are way cheaper. The bus took us to the KL Sentral Station where almost all of the train lines converge. From there, I took the train to my hotel which was three train stations away.
I stayed at the PNB Perdana Hotel and it only costs around ₱11,000 for three nights. The price might sound pricey but my hotel room has a living room, kitchen, the bathroom has a tub, and there's a balcony. In Cebu, a room like this would cost upwards of ₱5,000 per night. The area in which the hotel is located is just one train station away from the Petronas Twin Towers. This is definitely the best hotel room for its price that I have been to.
Traveling to Malaysia also marks my third time to present to an international conference. The conference was held in Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation. This university is quite huge as well. Some buildings inside the campus were fairly new and we were told that the old campus was not that far. When we were there, I noticed that the school has students of different nationalities even though most of them are not exchange students.
The day after the conference, my classmates and I decided to rent a van to visit tourist spots around the city. We went to Genting Heights for a cable car ride, went to a strawberry farm, Batu Caves, and sightseing around the city. There are tons of places to visit in Malaysia but our time was limited and we were there mainly for the conference. Overall, I really like the city of Kuala Lumpur because it is clean and the cost of living is not that high.

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Traveling to Guangzhou Alone

I'm comfortable traveling alone as long as it's within the country and I am able to understand the people I'm visiting. But imagine traveling to a foreign city where only a few people speak and understand English. When hardcore tourists are asked to visit China, the city of Guangzhou is not really their first choice because there are a lot of options like Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu. Nevertheless, this city is almost comparable to Singapore in terms of public transportation and cleanliness, the only difference is the cost of living being not expensive.

The only tourist destination that was on my mind for this trip was the Canton Tower. Standing at 604 meters, this tower is the second tallest tower in the world. I even picked a hotel near this tower so that I can easily visit it. In fact, I can see the tower from my hotel room. When I arrived at the base of the Canton Tower, I was shocked at the number of tourists in the area which are mostly Chinese. I wasn't able to purchase tickets for the rides on top of the tower because the line was too long.
The reason why I visited Guangzhou is to present my research at Sun Yat-sen University. This is my second time presenting research at an international conference (The first was Singapore). The university campus is huge and you needed a bike to visit all the nice places inside the campus. Sadly, I wasn't able to rent a bike because they don't accept Visa or Mastercard credit cards and for some reason, the bike rental doesn't accept cash. They just accept Alipay or WeChat. The payment process is almost true to almost all of the restaurants even the ones at the airport.
I did not explore the city of Guangzhou that much aside from Canton Tower and Sun Yat-sen University because it's hard to travel alone. Another thing that made this trip a little harder is the taxi drivers unable to understand any English at all. Showing them a map on my phone does help and I can see that the taxi drivers are trying very hard to help me. I did enjoy my travel to Guangzhou even with the language barrier but I probably would enjoy it more if I had my friends with me.

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Singapore: My First International Travel

Let me start by saying Singapore, in general, is expensive. I was bragging to my friends about my hotel room that costs more than ₱3,000 per night only to arrive at a motel. That motel, however, is very clean and classy and was worth the money. For my first international travel, this country doesn't disappoint. Starting from its airport all the way to the farthest corner of the country accessible by light rail, this country is amazing.

Voted as the best airport in the world since 2013 by Skytrax, Singapore Changi Airport is a tourist destination itself. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and numerous gardens to stroll by. The restaurants though are a bit pricey but there are fast food options that offer affordable meals and snacks.
When I arrived in Singapore Changi Airport, I immediately purchased a three-day unlimited MRT pass. Because of this, I was able to visit almost a quarter of the MRT stations in Singapore on my second day. This was my first time to ride a rail-type transport and I was very impressed. I live in Cebu (Philippines) and we do not have any sort of rail transport that's why I was almost inside the trains for almost the entire day. My friends met me on the third day, so for a lot of these first-time experiences, I was all alone.
On my third day, I went to Nanyang Technological University to present my research. This was the main reason why I traveled to Singapore. Presenting to at least two international conferences is a requirement I need to fulfill for my studies. The university building and grounds are mesmerizing because it blends to the forested hills and the city. This university is also one of the best in the world so to be able to present my research on a conference held here is truly an honor.

Overall, despite the high cost of living, I highly recommend Singapore for a country to visit. The clean streets and public transportation are the strongest points of this country for a tourist. I haven't visited any theme parks in the country while I was there but there are lots of it like Universal Studios and Haw Par Villa. I might be coming back to Singapore for a conference or maybe as a tourist but whatever the reason, I will be very excited.

More photos on my Instagram account at thejamesarnold.

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About The Rookie Blogger

This is a personal blog of James Arnold. This blog contains posts about travel, technology, dining, and many more. James is also a freelance photographer that caters events such as weddings, debuts, birthdays, and even personal photoshoots. You can contact him through +63 916 659 7001 if you have any questions or plans to advertise on this blog.