Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Love Cheap Destinations!

10,000 Vietnam dong= U$.63 or 63 cents

I know for a fact that it is quite expensive for a middle class, peso-earning Filipino to leisurely travel abroad but it does not have to be if you carefully plan when and where to go. If you ignore the places where tourists come in herds you will save enough money to travel longer, more often or with a touch of class.

A hundred travel tips on how to save from discounts and finding a good deal would not be enough if in the FIRST place the destination is expensive. Even if the exchange rate is 1U$=Php30 or 1U$=Php44 one can travel well if you go to a country where your humble peso is worth a fortune.

As a rule of thumb, you should not worry about how much your taxi ride or your lunch when you are in a foreign place for you to enjoy the experience of being new to a country. Cheap and near countries like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and to some extent Indonesia offer many of the world's most beautiful natural and man-made sights like Halong Bay, Luang Prabang, Angkor Wat and Borobudur which are all listed under the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

To compare the cost, a coupon taxi ride from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Paranaque to our house in the neighboring Las Pinas City costs at least 450 pesos, 270 pesos if via a metered airport taxi. Well, you will also spend the same amount for your coupon taxi ride in Hanoi to your hotel in the city center but that would be a 40-kilometer ride as compared to less than 15 kilometers from NAIA to my house. And in fairness to the Vietnamese people, their taxis are newer and well maintained as compared to a number of Manila taxis.

I thought my 90-peso Camiguin t-shirt is a bargain but to my surprise I can buy 3 t-shirts in Vietnam for just $5, while your $10 in Laos will get you 12 good quality baseball caps (until now I still haven't yet disposed about 3 baseball caps). In Indonesia, I got a very beautiful high quality F1-themed jacket for only about the equivalent of 400 pesos which even some of my former officemates are willing to buy it for 2,000. I thought my $2 Vietnam t-shirt two years ago is cheap, well after practicing my bargaining skills my $5 produced 3 t-shirts this time :) hahaha! It is just like "reverse inflation or deflation" just in time when all the price of commodities in the world are skyrocketing... $2 in 2006 becomes $1.67 in 2008.

Typically, Filipinos consider Bangkok and Hong Kong as the travel destinations when you are in a budget and just would like to go out the country to go on a shopping spree. All I can say is that "yes they are cheap, but it's cheaper somewhere else."


the donG said...

cheap talaga! oo nga.

Lawstude said...

very informative post carlo.

now, about the baseball cap... ;)

kegler747 said...

@ the dong: Yup, kaya nga gusto ko uli bumallik ng Laos at Vietnam.

kegler747 said...

@ lawstude: hahaha, cge il reserve yung isang baseball cap for you atty. ;)