Shanghai Blog

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Went to the Philippines during the Chinese New Year, and met up with Bevan in Manila. This time we travelled to Palawan which is a province in the west of the Philippines consisting of many islands.
I booked tickets quite late so didn’t get the best flight schedule. In the end I took a high-speed train to Xiamen with Nara (Jan 23) and then a night flight to Manila.

I met up with Bevan very early in the morning in Manila airport before we got on the early flight to Coron. I also managed to exchange my expired philippine pesos that I had kept since my last visit.

Coron airport is a really tiny airport with basically just one big room as terminal building. We hadn’t booked any accommodation in advance but that sorted itself out quite nicely. We started with a really nice hotel in Coron (Corto del Mar hotel).

I tried to avoid getting burned this time in the Philippines but its very very easy to burn yourself here, even if your careful. We met up with a pair of Americans in the hotel that had burnt themselves pretty badly. My long-sleeved surfing vest (UV-protection) is pretty handy to use to avoid getting burnt.

We stayed two nights in Coron before we took the boat from Coron to El Nido. El Nido is a lot more touristy compared with Coron. First night we got a pretty shitty room high up in a hotel. We were quite a bit more lucky when we found a room in Rico’s Cottages. It was a great room with a perfect view of the El Nido beach and sea. Stayed there for two nights. The last night we stayed in a hotel quite some distance away. We had actually found it on the way back to Rico’s Cottages and then reserved a room, but when we were gonna go back there later with the luggage we could hardly find it. El Nido spreads out quite a bit even though it looks quite tiny from the beach.

We did the lagoon boat tour and snorkling. I used my Xiaoyi 4k sports camera to shot some videos underwater. I had a close call with my leg getting stuck between our boat and a rock (in very wavy conditions). I scratched off quite a bit of skin which prevented me from going into the water during the last two days.

Another thing about El Nido was how difficult it was to withdraw money, as they only had 2 ATMs and both were out of money. Had to queue up early the next day to get money out before they ran out of money again. The Chinese Unionpay card works good though when the ATMs are working. Most ATMs support Unionpay.

We did the zipline at Marimegmeg beach (about 750 m long) / beach bars instead (Red Horse beers are pretty good). Also went to see a very funny doctor who cleaned up my wound and got me some medicine.

Had an early breakfast with the Miss Universe competition on TV. The competition was held in Manila this year and it seemed like everyone in the Philippines were watching the show. Took the bus from Coron to Puerto Princesa, that took about 6 hours to get to the airport. Flew back from Puerto Princesa, to Manila (Jan 30). Stayed a night near the airport in Manila (Pinoy Pamilya hotel, very simple hotel 4.5 km from the airport) and then flew back to Shanghai via Taipei! It’s also a bit difficult getting a taxi that doesn’t want to rip you off in Manila airport, but after walking all the way to the end of the taxi queue I finally found normal taxis that charged by the meter. Bevan continued on to Port Barton in Palawan, which also seems like it is a really great place to visit.

Posted: 09 Jun 2017

Me and Nara went to Koh Samui in Thailand over the Christmas (22-27 Dec). Stayed 4 nights, first in Best Western Samui Seaview Resort and Spa, and later in Lamai Bay View Resort. We flew from Shanghai directly to Surat Thani in Thailand. After that bus to the port, taking a boat across to Koh Samui and finally bus to the hotel. All transportation was included in the travel package.
I really liked the bungalow next by the water in Lamai Bay View Resort! The resort had received so-so reviews from Chinese tourists (breakfast having too few choices) but I thought the resort was quite excellent! There are plenty of Swedish restaurants (and plenty of Swedish tourists!) in Koh Samui. After looking around a bit we found no less than three restaurants offering traditional Swedish Christmas table dinners! They were all fully booked but we managed to get a dinner spot for a late dinner! Really appreciated some good Swedish Christmas food! Too be honest the food was much better than the Christmas table available in Shanghai (that is one time in mid-Dec; there are no Swedish Christmas tables on the actual Christmas Eve in Shanghai). The night before Christmas Eve we had “toast skagen” and “plankstek”, also very tasty!
Other than that is was a just a very nice trip. The transportation time going the the island is quite long though, so shouldn’t go for a shorter stay than this. And it did feel a bit unusual driving a motorbike in left-hand traffic.

Posted: 08 Jun 2017