I’ve been to four Asian destinations so far: Hongkong, Macau, Vietnam and Cambodia. And though I did not travel in comfort during the adventure, I could vouch that my travel experience on each destination was fascinating enough to brag that I am a prudent traveler. 

I learned a lot exploring those places.

At the Victoria Harbour in Hongkong, 2013

At the Venetian, Macau, 2013

I always traveled through a DIY (do-it-yourself) budget trip. I find it more practical because I have all the freedom to explore different options how to create a travel itinerary that suits my budget and adventure preferences. I always made my own travel itinerary, doing a laborious research about the destinations and creating a budget plan that would not make squander in another country.

Preparing a DIY budget travel offers thrill and tons of learning and discovery. You are alone, pulling a wise itinerary plan that never guarantees comfort. There’s a chance that you might get lost or overshoot your travel timeline but that’s the essence of the travel adventure. You go out there, discover things on your own, and learn from it. The experience is worthy of a book.

I’ve done quite a few times following this unique travel pursuit, and so far I did not mess up horribly. Everything went well as planned. Though each destination has a unique story to tell, including the mishap and the thrill of discovery, the outcome is always the same – I’ve gained insights and learned massively.

Hongkong is a terrific place for people who adored amusement park and oriental dishes. All the wonders you’ve lost in your childhood can be recaptured in Hongkong through Disneyland and Ocean Park, and even Noah’s Ark. While Macau is a perfect destination for travelers who love elegant shops and casino boutiques. It’s a quaint city where the influence of Portuguese is still alive.

This French colonial architecture is so gorgeous! 
At Saigon, Vietnam, 2015

Saigon (officially Ho Chin Minh City) in Vietnam is a beautiful place where serenity still thrives. The relaxing environment with huge trees and flower gardens provide comfort and peace of mind. It’s a place where travelers can still experience the French colonial feel through its artistic buildings and landmarks. Even food. Saigon is an ideal destination for foodie junkies. It offers a wide array of international cuisine and authentic oriental dishes at cheaper rates.

Siem Reap in Cambodia (where Angkor Park is situated) is a modern city that managed to maintain a classy atmosphere despite Cambodia’s struggling economy. It is home to cozy and affordable hotels, great food and cheap bargain shops. The historical landmark of Angkor added fascination. It’s where travelers can witness the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia.

Having a fun moment at world's largest religious site! 
Sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, 2015

Basically, when you enter Angkor Park, it feels like you’re entering the jungle and get lost in time. The ancient trees, which are as tall as the temples around the archaeological park, will leave you in so much awe. It provides tranquility and silence, a perfect diversion from the chaotic atmosphere in Metro Manila.
But asking where would I revisit if given a chance to travel again?

I would say Saigon, Vietnam. The place is very relaxing with an atmosphere that strides back in time. The environment is very cozy. Huge trees and public parks are everywhere. And French colonial buildings still dominate the landscape. It’s a great place to choose when you are looking for an out of the country destination to relax and get out of the hustle and bustle of EDSA. Food is great and everything is so affordable and cheap, including hotel rooms.

Another one is Siem Reap City in Cambodia. The atmosphere is really magnificent. Ancient trees still thrive across the province and Siem Reap a tourist hub where shops, boutiques and restaurants dominate the city. It offers the best of a travel experience to visitors. Closer to Bangkok, Saigon (only 8 hours) and even Myanmar and Laos, Siem Reap City is a good place to start if you’re planning to embark into a long week South East Asian adventure.