Hanoi, Vietnam : Getting Tattoo In Vietnam

So you are in Hanoi and plan to get a tattoo?
I’ve visited 6 tattoo studios in Hanoi and to be honest, I only impressed with two studios. But if I have to choose one between these two, I go for Hanoitattoo Studio based on their studio, the equipment that they use, the prove of their tattoo artists’ artworks, professionalism and well, the price offered for sure. The other one is equally good but not in term of price. The rest is just a little bit too shady and didn’t give me a good impression of professional in tattoo studio/artists. Few of it look more like mafia hiding place rather than a tattoo studio!
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Not that I am a pro about the whole thing related to tattoo but well, at least I know what I should know. I don’t have huge art piece on my body, to be honest. I only had 8 “stamps”. At I got myself 2 tattoos at Hanoitattoo Studio. It was my 7th,8th and 9th tattoo. The #7th – The infinity symbol + anchor + 3 birds + “faith” + “refuse to sink”. The #8th – Calvin & Hobbes and the #9th, shark in tribal design 🙂
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 So far many backpackers that I brought to Hanoitattoo Studio were happy with the results of their tattoos. They love it as it was very detailed, very beautifully and carefully done and most important they are happy with the price which pretty a good deal (well, thank you to me, I always negotiate the price for them as the people in the studio know me pretty well already. Hehehe!).
So yeah, if any of you wanna get a tattoo in Hanoi, I strongly suggest you to go to Hanoitattoo Studio for the best tattoo works. Click HERE for their facebook and more info!
Oh! Before I forget, there is lovely, shy yet friendly pitbull dog at Hanoitattoo Studio! You’ll love that big boy! Cheers!
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Backpackers Tips : Price Comparison in Southeast Asia

On my previous post, I was so pissed about people who dislike Malaysia just because they’ve been to Kuala Lumpur only for 2 days. LOL! Well, I couldn’t help it but justify stuffs.
Now I want to continue feeling pissed off when people said Malaysia is fucking expensive compare to some Indo-China countries (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) or Indonesia/Philippine. Let me make just a simple comparison. And forget about Singapore and Bali, Indonesia or Boraccay in The Philippine. That place is just too expensive in SEAsia.
OK, yes, I love Malaysia. My fav country in Southeast Asia.

price-comparison

Avgerage price for accommodation (hostel, dormitory (a comfy one, not shit hole)):-
Malaysia = RM22.00 (USD7.00)
Thailand = 300.00THB (USD9.00)
Vietnam = 147,000VND (USD7.00)
Average price for breakfast (in a simple cafe/restaurant):
Malaysia = RM3.00 (USD0.80) for Teh Tarik + Nasi Lemak + 1 Kuih
Vietnam = 35,000VND (USD1.70) for Pho + Hot Tra
Cambodia = 6,000KHR (USD1.50) for Sandwich + Iced Coffee
Average price for lunch (street food or simple cafe/restaurant):
Malaysia = RM6.00 (USD1.50) Chicken Rice with Vege and Soup + Iced Lemon Tea
Vietnam = 50,000VND (USD2.40) Bun Cha + Iced Coffee
Laos = 16,000KIP (USD2.00) Chicken Noodles Soup + Iced Tea
Average price for dinner (street food or simple cafe/restaurant):
Malaysia = RM6.00 (USD1.80) Fried Rice with meat & egg + Iced Milo
Indonesia = 20,000IDR (USD1.70) Rice + Vege + Meat + Iced Tea
Philippine = 80Peso (USD1.80) Turo-turo
Average price for beer (in a shop, not bars/discos):
Malaysia (excluding duty free islands) = RM4.50 (USD1.40)
Vietnam (on bia hoi streets) =5,000VND (USD0.25)
Cambodia (on cafe) =2,000KHR (USD0.50)
Average price for cigarette (per pack of 20s):
Malaysia (excluding duty free islands) = RM17.00 (USD5.20)
Thailand =67.00THB (USD2.00)
Vietnam =20,000VND (USD1.00) <– and probably fake ciggarette.
Well, that’s all for now. More information, please contact the local tourism office. Thank you. Hahahahaha!!!

Malaysia : Something Different, Really Trully Asia

I don’t know why but I got pissed off about people who told me that they don’t like Malaysia when the only place they’ve been in Malaysia is just Kuala Lumpur and was there for only 2 days before fly to some other country.
Malaysia is not just Kuala Lumpur, you idiots. Malaysia consist of Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka @ Malacca, Selangor, Perak, Pulau Pinang @ Penang, Kedah, Perlis, Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Sarawak & Sabah and 3 Federal Territories which is Kuala Lumpur, Labuan & Putrajaya and lots of Island like famous Sipadan, Perhentian Kecil, Perhentian Besar, Tioman, Langkawi, Pangkor to named a few.
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Also house of few National Parks and one of them is the oldest tropical rainforest in the world situated in the state of Pahang mainly known as Taman Negara. Penang noted as the #1 street food capital of the world, it is fucking cheap and variety. Malacca is a historical city listed under UNESCO Heritage which is a must to visit. Sipadan is one of the top 5 diving spot in the world leaving all the overrated islands in Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippine. Perhentian Kecil recognized as #13 the most beautiful beaches/islands in the world, leaving the so famous Maya Bay in Thailand behind. Sabah is a original house of Orang Utan and they have the sanctuary there. Sarawak is a house to 2nd the biggest cave (Mulu Cave National Park) in the world that can fit in 40 Boeng 747. Langkawi, Tioman and Labuan are duty-free island for cheaper alcohols & cigarettes (well, I have to agree alcohols & cigarettes are not so cheap in entire Malaysia, probably because the government don’t want to encourage people to damage themselves).
There are so much to offers in Malaysia, not just Kuala Lumpur, aite? So stop telling me and discourage people to come to Malaysia by telling them how you hate Malaysia just because you been there for 2 days or maybe slightly more days and just did a very much just a touristy stuffs. Oh, and alcohols & cigarettes is not the only way you can achieve happiness and I bet it certainly not your main goal of traveling the world, right? And certainly not a culture in Malaysia especially when Malaysia’s official religion is Islam. Modern/liberal Islamic, not fucking stupid moron suicide-bombers/terrorists that too absurd.
Note: Malaysia consists of 3 major races – Malay (the highest majority), Chinese & Indian. Not included more than 32 ethnic minority which is Kadazan, Dudun, Bajau, Melanau, Iban, Dayak (to name a few) which mainly in Sarawak/Sabah. The main (official) language is Malay but many speaks English, Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese/Hokkien/etc.), Tamil too.
It is a pro-claimed democratic country. Well, I have no say on the political issue here (fuck it!). People can practice their religion (Islam/Christianity/Taoism/Hindu/etc.) freely and respect each other. You’ll hear an Islam prayer calls 5 times a day if you live near mosque/surau/musolah and never ever mock it. Religion is pretty much still a very sensitive issue.
The rest, go and explore yourself  Cheers!

Hanoi, Vietnam : Hanoi Celntral Backpackers Hoste

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Address (Hostel 1) :
Hanoi Central Backpackers Hostel 
No. 16 Ly Quoc Su Street
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Vietnam
Address (Hostel 2) :
Hanoi Central Backpackers Hostel II
No. 11 Hang Manh Street
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Vietnam
Address (Hostel 3) : *the biggest, newest*
Hanoi Central Backpackers Hostel Old Quarters
No. 16 Thanh Ha Street
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Vietnam

 

Charge: USD$5 per night for 8-beds dorm room with free simple breakfast froom 7:00am-10:am (all 3 hostels) and free flow of local fresh beer (bia hoi) everynight during beer-o’clock hour 7:30pm-8.30pm. Also other offers like free shots, cocktails, etc. (hostel 1 & 3). Also, free pub crawling guided tour with special deals!
All 3 hostels also offers private rooms at good rate.
  • Free wi-fi in a room and free computer/internet usage in common area.
  • En-suite bathroom/toilet in every dormitory, with hot & cold shower.
  • 24 hours air-conditioning
  • Balcony (hostel 1 only)
  • Hair-dryer to borrow from the receptionist

 

  • Laundry service for 30,000VND per kilogram
  • Taxi service to the airport for USD$15 per taxi, not per person
  • Tour service to many places including Ha Long Bay, Sapa & Perfume Pagoda
  • Bus, train and flight booking service for domestic & international routes
  • Visa service for any other countries especially Laos, Cambodia, Thailand & China

 

Note: This is not paid neither free advertisement for Hanoi Central Backpackers Hostel chain. 

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia : The Paradise On Earth

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Pulau Perhentian Besar (bigger Perhentian island) which suitable for family with kids, honeymooners, older tourists and people who willing to spend more as it is much expensive and quieter

Pulau Perhentian Kecil (smaller Perhentian island) which carter much for backpackers, singles (or couples), younger travelers and have lower budget than those who opted for bigger island.

Both islands has no road, no vehicles, no chain-stores, no supermarket, no cinema, no ATM/banks (cash advance via credit/debit card service available at bigger resorts/dive centers at between 5-10% charge, so bring enough cash if possible before you hit the islands), no electricity (electricity generated by diesel-pump generator which resulted most of the chalets, guesthouses, resorts only have power supplies at night except for the expensive options) and don’t worry about water supplies as the government already installed the clean water piping since 2011.

Surrounded by many other smaller islands like Pulau Rawa Kecil, Pulau Rawa Besar, Pulau Susu Dara Kecil, Pulau Susu Dara Besar, etc. Also houses so many beautiful dive sites like Tokong Laut @ Sea Temple, Batu Nisan, D’Lagoon, Sea Bell, Sugar Wreck & Ship Wreck (for wreck diving), etc. And also spectacular snorkeling site like Light House, Shark Point, Turtle Point, Romantic Beach,Fish & Coral Gardens, etc. And there’s also a semi-modern local fishing village situated on the smaller Perhentian island.

The Perhentian Islands is more likely envisioned the likes of Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui to be more than a decade ago, before the tourism is out of control in Thailand. It is just beautiful, barely developed (although now on Pulau Perhentian Kecil there are walkway made to connect between Coral Bay and Long Beach), crystal clear clean water, white powdery sandy beach, amazing coral gardens, dazzling array of sea life (turtles, sharks, barracuda, clown fish, etc etc etc) and very laid back beach life.. In another word – paradise on earth. To be honest, it’s almost impossible to talk about the Perhentian Islands without descending into holiday-cliche like mentioned above but that’s the reality, that’s just the Perhentian islands!

True, nearly every beach destination claims most of these things, but the Perhentians do the dive/snorkel beach holiday better – and cheaper – than just about anywhere. The sea is clearer and the beaches whiter than Koh Phi Phi or even around the Great Barrier Reef; the travelers are less obnoxious than in Koh Pha Ngan  or Bali; the diving is cheaper than Koh Tao; food and accommodation are basic but cheap. Diving in the Perhentian Islands is top-notch for the money. With single dives as cheap as RM70 (USD $23), getting under the water for an afternoon is a great way to shake off last night’s party.

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It’s nothing like much-hyped Koh Tao – a so-called divers paradise in south Thailand – small islands with more than 50 dive centers/schools. Unfortunately, with a literal fleet of dive boats sputtering around the reefs there for decades – as well as leaking petrol into the water… The Perhentians are far less dived, so no need to battle for parking at dive sites, and friendly shark encounters are that much easier to find.

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Suggestions:-

Dive centers on bigger island – Alu Alu Divers/Watercolors/Sea Horse Divers

Dive centers on smaller island – Angels Divers/Ombak Divers (on Coral Bay area), Panorama Divers/Matahari Divers (on Long Beach area).

Snorkeling centers on bigger island – Alu Alu Divers/Flora Divers/Watercolors.

Snorkeling centers on smaller island – Ombak Divers/Yellow Station (on Coral Bay area).

Budget accommodation on bigger island – Flora Resorts and few others.

Budget accommodation on smaller island – too many!!! Highly recommended:-

Fatimah Chalet, Ewan’s Chalet & Cafe, Tropicana Inn, Panorama Chalet, Matahari Chalet, Mohsein Resort, Bintang Chalet

High-end accommodation on bigger island – Perhentian Island Resorts/Alu Alu Divers Lodge/Awana Resorts/Tuna Bay Island Resorts and well, many others.

High-end accommodation on smaller island – Bubu Resorts/Shari-La/Ombak Resorts/Senja Bay Resorts.

F&B on bigger island – Tuna Bay Island Resorts/Perhetian Island Resorts.

F&B on smaller island – Ewan’s Cafe/Amelia’s/Mama’s/Ombak/Oh La La/Bubu

**(for RM20, you can get an awesome BBQ dinner (consists of rice, baked potato, seafood, fruits, banana cake, choice of sauce & a glass or cordial juice) at Amelia’s or Mama’s on Coral Bay area).

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Note: PERHENTIAN ISLANDS IS OPEN FOR PUBLIC FROM MID FEBRUARY  – MID OCTOBER. THE ENTIRE ISLANDS WILL COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN FROM ANY BUSINESSES DURING MONSOON SEASON WHICH IS FROM MID OCTOBER TO MID FEBRUARY, EVERY YEAR.

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia : Metropolitan City With A Soul

Kuala Lumpur’s very own Petronas Twin Tower or known as KLCC with the locals is a significant trademark of Malaysia. RM64 (student price) – not complaining. Might sound pretty expensive but for the view and the experience to be on the sky bridge at 41st floor and the view point at 86th floor, it worth the price. I mean, come on, it is not you gonna go up there everyday unless you work there, right? Well, go, if you have a chance to go. A must-visit place if you come to Kuala Lumpur or your visit to Malaysia will be incomplete no matter how many pictures you take below/outside the twin towers.

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I stayed in Serendipity Backpackers that situated in the middle of Golden Triangle – Changkat Bukit Bintang – where all the bustling nightlife comes alive when sunset down. RM20 (without breakfast) in a 8-10 beds dormitory room. Pretty OK; with a/c, shared bathrooms/toilets with hot/cold shower. I like the common area where most of the backpackers who stays there hangout chit-chatting, online, watching movies and some just nap!
I also love Travel Hub Guesthouse situated in Chinatown @ Petaling Street. RM22 for a/c dorm, inclusive breakfast. Quite spacious compare to Serenity Backpackers. All beds comes with own power socket and reading lamp. The wifi much better here, too. The fact it is in Chinatown, it is pretty much easy excess to everywhere as the LRT and bus station is nearby.
Batu Caves is a must-visit place if you come to Kuala Lumpur. It is a sacred place for Indians/Hindus. It gonna take a little bit of hard work as you gotta climb up 272 stairs to reach the top.
The rest, ask me. Too many to write about Kuala Lumpur! It is a metropolitan city with soul!

Melaka, Malaysia : UNESCO Heritage City

Melaka @ Malacca “the historic state” is the third smallest state in Peninsular Malaysia located next to the Strait of Malacca (Selat Melaka). Just 2 hours bus ride from Kuala Lumpur. This historical city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 7th July 2008.
Malacca, is heavy influence by it then colony back in 16th, 17th century – the Portuguese; also the Chinese. And well-known for its Baba-Nyonya people. However, Malay still make quite a large population in Malacca. The Chinese people in Malacca especially from the Baba-Nyonya background speaks perfect 10/10 Malay language without any Chinese accent.
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Lots of place to visit in this tiny city such as A’Famosa, Jonker Walk, St.John’s Fort, Melaka River Cruise, Portuguese Square, Taming Sari Tower, Stadthuys, Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum (if you are museum person), Fredrick Hendrick Bastion Archaeological Excavation Site, Bastion Middleburg, Kampung Hulu’s Mosque, Mini Malaysia & Mini ASEAN Park, and maybe shopping malls?
While in Malacca, I stay at the Roof Top Guesthouse. RM25 per night in a 4-beds dormitory. All single beds, no bunk beds. With a/c and quite big wardrobe cabinet, too. The owners of the guesthouse, a local couple were really friendly, helpful and informative. The wife will bake a pastry (roll bun or cake) at night for the guests’ breakfast the next morning. How awesome is that, eh?
I also hang out with the Couchsurfing Malaysia community in Malacca whereby they have their own “port” in the middle of the Chinatown called Zero Art Gallery.