The Philippines Itinerary for A Friend

A British friend asked me about how to spend nine days in The Philippines. Here is what I could think of awesome vacation in that archipelago.

philippines

Monday – January 9, 2017

Arrive at Manila.

Tuesday – January 10, 2017

Morning: Visit Malacanang Presidential Palace, join 2 hours of guided tour. My notes: https://perjalananbunda.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/malacanang-palace/

Noon: Take jeepney ride to Quiapo Church (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/philippines/manila/attractions/quiapo-church/a/poi-sig/391357/357305). I planned a walking tour but didnt work because there was major religious event on that day (https://perjalananbunda.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/a-day-in-quiapo/).

Evening at Quiapo Muslim Town would be a great experience (http://www.pacifiqa.com/culture/9-things-to-do-in-quiapos-muslim-town/).

Wednesday – January 11, 2017

Book a day tour to Corregidor Island (https://perjalananbunda.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/corregidor-island-the-philippines/).

Night: Go to Makati to get a massage?

Thursday – January 12, 2017

Morning: Intramuros.

Noon: Rizal Park.

Afternoon: Ocean Park (dont miss that awesome nightly show at 7pm)

https://goo.gl/maps/UdAzQePUaPN2

intramuros-rizal-park-ocean-park

January 13-16, 2017

MINDANAO ISLAND

Start your journey with Cebu Pacific’s first flight from Manila to Cotabato (ETD 4:55/ETA 6:40). It would be only £50 including tuna meal package.

manila-cotabato

After Shalat Jum’at at Masjid Hasanal Bolkiah (http://www.choosephilippines.com/do/history-and-culture/479/Golden_Mosque/), then start exploring the island.

Top 10 Attractions in Cotabato

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g294252-Activities-Mindanao.html

Explore the Diving and Snorkeling Sites of Mindanao

http://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/travel/ph-travel/89575-beautiful-beaches-waterfalls-lakes-mindanao

Top 23 Amazing Destinations in Mindanao

Top 10 Tourist Spots in Mindanao

January 16-19, 2017

PALAWAN ISLAND

Get Monday morning flight from Mindanao to Puerto Princessa (via Manila because no direct flight), then explore Palawan Island.

Favorite Tourist Attractions in Palawan, Philippines

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g294257-Activities-Puerto_Princesa_Palawan_Island_Palawan_Province_Mimaropa.html

https://www.buzzfeed.com/isabellelaureta/feelin-like-a-princesa

12 THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO PRINCESA

https://nature.new7wonders.com/wonders/puerto-princessa-underground-river-philippines/

Thursday – January 19, 2017

Morning flight from Puerto Princessa to Manila, then fly back to London.

China Itinerary for A Friend

A Muslim friend asked me to make an itinerary for 10 days in China, enter/leave from Beijing. So, here is what I drafted for him.

china
https://goo.gl/maps/sTN68LpDQEp

Saturday – December 31, 2016

Arrive at Beijing, visit Niujie Mosque in the afternoon. It’s the oldest mosque in Beijing, originally built in 996 during the Liao Dynasty and was reconstructed and renovated in successive dynasties. The mosque has had three big renovations since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Located in the largest muslim community in Beijing, it takes an area of approximately 10,000 square meters. Its architecture is a blend of Islamic and Han Chinese cultural and architectural influences. Address: No.88 Niujie St, Xicheng District, Beijing.

Sunday – January 1, 2017

Stroll across the world’s grandest city central square, Tiananmen Square. With a history of more than 500 years, the square has witnessed many historical events and significant celebrations, such as the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the dignified military parade on National Day. Then you will enter the Forbidden City, the world’s largest palace complex, from its south gate. It is said that the palace has 9,999.5 rooms where the emperors and his family had once worked and lived. You can explore the Summer Palace in the afternoon. Once used as a luxurious royal garden by the Qing royalty, the delicate scenery and ingenious layout inside earned it great fame from both home and aboard.

Monday – January 2, 2017

Buy train ticket from Beijing West to Xian on https://www.chinaticketonline.com/trains/ (ETD 20:40/ETA 8:31).

Visit the Great Wall at Badaling section. Initially set up as a fortification more than 2,000 years ago, the Great Wall is an amazing product of diligence and intelligence of ancient Chinese people. On the way back to downtown, we will drive by the Bird’s Nest (Olympic National Stadium), where the 29th Beijing Olympic Games were held. You can take some photos of its external features. In the afternoon, explore the Temple of Heaven. Once a site where the emperors offered sacrifices to the heaven, it is even larger than the Forbidden City. Its main buildings progressing from south to north are the Circular Mound Altar, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.

Overnight train to Xian.

Tuesday – January 3, 2017

Morning excursion to the world’s largest underground martial museum, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. The significant underground terracotta army in battle formation is actually the accessory pit beside the first emperor’s mausoleum to guard his afterlife. The unearthed life-figured terracotta warriors and horses as well as the chariots and weapons exhibit the sovereign power and incomparable wealth of Emperor Qinshihuang 2,200 years ago. In the afternoon, visit the Shaanxi History Museum, which exhibits numerous cultural relics from one million years ago to the present. Then see the Xian Museum and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda. This is a 13-story brick pagoda in a shape of square pyramid, built in Tang Dynasty and used to collect the Buddhist materials brought from India. Here, you will also have an opportunity to appreciate a variety of valuable historical relics at the museum.

Wednesday – January 4, 2017

Visit the Xian City Wall, which is the largest and most integrated existing ancient city wall all over the country. Once acted as a huge and precisely designed military defense system, it is now a famous attraction. Enter from South Gate of City Wall, climbing up the wall, you can either walk or ride a bicycle on it. Then walk back to the city center area. The attractive Bell Tower and Drum Tower a few steps away can be your next stops. Also pay a visit to the Muslim street behind the Drum Tower. Muslim street is a residential zone of Hui people in this city. Strolling around the street, you will not only taste the delicious local flavors, but also get an insight into the religious tradition and living habits of Hui people.

Train from Xian to Guilin will be 26 hours 16 minutes refer to https://www.chinaticketonline.com/trains/ (ETD 19:08/ETA 21:24), you might want to get plane tickets to arrive earlier at Guilin, book it from http://chinatour.net/flight/

My suggestion: CA1225 (ETD 18:40/ETA 20:55). Fare was US$70 this morning when I wrote this itinerary, might change anytime.

Thursday – January 5, 2017

Guilin is a cultural city with a history of over 2,000 years.

Get morning cruise along the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo, then have a stroll along the famous West Street. This is a vibrant place alive with cafes, pubs, restaurants and where many westerners gather. Then, you can take an electric car to travel around the villages of Yangshuo to enjoy the breathtaking countryside scenery. Today’s cruise experience along with the countryside trip will be one of the most memorable parts of your journey.

The earliest cruise is 9:00-14:00 (5 hours on boat), ticket must be purchased at leasr one day in advance (refer to https://www.travelchinaguide.com/package/guilintour7.htm) and no cruise ship available from Yangshuo back to Guilin (must take 1.5 hours land trip by bus), then you might want to consider Merryland Theme Park (http://www.guilinchina.net/attraction/merry-land.htm) as alternative to enjoy the whole day (opens 9:00-17:30).

Friday – January 6, 2017

Shalat Jum’at at Guilin Ancient Mosque, first built in Yuan Dynasty(1271-1368). It was rebuilt for many times after destroyed in wars. Now it covers an area of 984 square meters. The temple is a quadrangle courtyard. The Bunker building is in the center. The left and right side of the building are the teaching rooms. The main hall is in the back of the Bunker building. The temple was used as a school, which is a treasure place for teaching and educating. In addition the local Muslim people, many other Muslim people come to the Masque to do prayer. Address: 2 Minzu Road, Xiangshan District, Guilin

Walk around the Rongshan Lake, Ancient Southern Gate, Giant Banyan Tree, Jiuqu Bridge, Sun and Moon Pagoda.

Saturday – January 7, 2017

Morning flight from Guilin to Shanghai, ETD 10:50/ETA 13:05 (US$73 on http://chinatour.net/flight/).

Enjoy Huangpu River cruise at the Bund wharf to appreciate the two representative profiles of the city along two sides of the river. It helps you understand the past, see the present and look into the future of this modern city. After that, have a stroll on the famous Nanjing Road in the neighborhood. Built in the colonial period in the 19th century, Nanjing Road has nowadays become one of the most famous shopping centers in the city as well as a popular destination. The well-known stores from home and abroad make it no less prosperous than any other famous business streets in the world.

Sunday – January 8, 2017

Visit Shanghai Museum, a huge museum that exhibits both ancient historical relics and modern artworks of the country, it is definitely worthy of your visit. Then you can proceed to the Yuyuan Garden by taxi (only takes 10 minutes at around CNY15). Yuyuan Garden is one of the representatives of south region classic gardens. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters in the garden all have unique Chinese gardening characteristics. There are many restaurants in its nearby streets, so you can have your lunch there with various choices. Afterwards, it may be best for you to walk to the Bund area, which is no more than 1000 meters away.

Monday – January 9, 2017

Book Shanghai-Beijing flight from http://chinatour.net/flight, ETD 15:10/ETA 17:35 (should be enough time before flight to leave from Beijing ETD 20:00).

Visit Shanghai Tower (http://www.smartshanghai.com/articles/travel/shanghai-tower-worlds-highest-observation-deck-is-open-now). It opens at 9AM, so better go there early to beat the crowd.

The Shanghai Tower is the world’s second-tallest building (after Burj Khalifa). It has 127 stories or 632 meters (2,073 feet) tall then becomes Shanghai’s premier tourist highlight. It has world’s highest observation deck (561 meters), world’s 2nd highest hotel, world’s fastest elevators.

Tourists can enjoy the view from the deck on the on the 121st, 122nd, and 123rd floor. The deck sits at 561 meters and is 6 meters higher than the Burj Khalifa’s deck (555 meters). The observation deck is 5 floors from the top.

The building dwarfs the Shanghai World Financial Center and the 88-story Jin Mao Tower next to it. It will be about 122 meters (400 feet) taller than Shanghai World Financial Center and the Taipei 101 too.

Mitsubishi built the world’s fastest elevators for the structure. They speed up and down at 65 kph (40 miles per hour). You may want to visit just for that experience before leave Shanghai.