Saturday, February 28, 2015

Affordable Airbnb Private Room in Beijing

Last year, we found a very cool website called Airbnb, a trusted community for people to list and book unique and affordable accommodations around the world. We tried it first during our Japan trip because we challenged ourselves to look for a cheap place to stay in Japan (since it is a known fact that Japan's cost of living is very high especially compared to the Philippines). 

We were lucky enough to stumble upon Airbnb and the entire experience was awesome especially for budget conscious travelers like us. We were very satisfied with our stay in an Airbnb home that's why we've decided to try it again during our China trip. 

When searching for a place to stay we always have the following considerations:

1. Price
2. Location (should be near a subway) and
3. Type of room (either shared or private room)

These three are very important to us and all of these criteria are present in Alice's (name of our landlord) Beijing listing. To view the listing click here.

Our room costs us Php 1,569 per night per room or about CNY 214 but we still divided the cost by 2 so I only paid Php 784.50 per night per person. 

The neighborhood is located in a prime real estate. It is just an 8-minute walk away from Jinsong subway station and around the area, there are convenient stores, restaurants, markets, and banks. The nearest bus station is also just a 3 minute walk. The station is called Jinsong Giao Dong Station.

From Jinsong station, it's just one station away from Panjiayuan Antique Market, 5 stations to Sanlitun, and only 2 stations away from Guomao or their CBD.

From Guomao, you may transfer to Line 1 which bisects the entire city and from there you can now go anywhere you want like the Forbiden City, Tian'anmen Square, and Wangfujing.

Alice's business is to rent out her different apartments with 2-3 bedrooms per unit. She has a lot of apartments being rented out in Airbnb that's why she is considered as a trusted and experienced "landlord" haha. Alice allows guests to rent the entire apartment OR you may just rent one bedroom at a time. In our case, we just rented 1 private bedroom but shared the bathroom with other guests renting the other rooms in the apartment we stayed in. There was no issue for us in sharing the apartment with other people because we have separate keys per room and most of the time, the guests are just locked up inside their rooms anyway haha!

Alice's apartment is very convenient and easy to locate. Here's how to get there:

1. Ride the subway line 10 and alight at Jonsong Station exit B.
2) Walk straight and you will be able to see a 7-11 convenient store on your left.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Conquering the Great Wall of China

When I was in high school I remember I had this fascination over Chinese culture especially on the dynasties perhaps because I felt it was very relevant to me since I'm half Chinese haha. On top of that, I've always wanted to visit the Great Wall of China because it is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. After all these years, I'm finally able to tick this on my bucket list!

Last November 2015, my boyfriend and I went to China (Beijing then Shanghai) for 6 days and we made sure to visit the Great Wall! We've learned that the Great Wall has numerous sections that is open to tourists and we initially planned to visit the less restored part which is called the Mutianyu Wall because it has one of the best views of the wall and there fewer tourists which crowded the wall. However, we also learned that it is extremely challenging to go there because there is no direct public transportation going there and language barrier is an issue haha! Since we're pressed with time, we just decided to go to Badaling Wall, which is the usual tourist destination because it's very easy and convenient to visit.

We went to Badaling Great Wall via public bus and here's how to get there:

1. Ride the MRT Line 2 and alight at Jishuitan station Exit A. 
2. Once you're out of the MRT station, immediately turn left and look for this sign located on various lamp posts. Just follow the sign and walk straight to Deshengmen Arrow Tower for about 10 mins.
3. You will be able to see this huge gate or the Arrow Tower to your left. You then need to walk across and go to its left side to get to the bus station. 

[RE-POST] Korea Announces New Visa Requirements for Tourists

MANILA – Filipinos planning to visit South Korea now have to comply with the new visa requirements for tourists.

The embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines made the announcement on its website last February 17. The new requirements for Korean tourist visa will take effect on March 1, 2015.

Those who will be traveling after March 1, 2015 would need to provide additional information from the required Certificate of Employment, Bank Certificate and copy of Income Tax Return. The embassy also requires applicants to submit their Bank Statements.

For the Certificate of Employment, it must include the applicant's position, date hired, compensation, address, office landline number (cellphone number is not allowed), and e-mail address.

The applicant's Bank Certificate meanwhile needs to include the account type, current balance, account opening date, and 6 months average balance (ADB).

Another additional requirement is the Bank Statement for the last three months. The Bank Statements/passbook must be in its original or certified true copy form.

The Income Tax Return copy must also include the applicant's personal number.

"All documents must be issued within 3 months on the date of application," the embassy said.

The Korea Tourism Organization said 434,951 of Filipino tourists visited South Korea in 2014.

02/25/2015 1:09 PM

Friday, February 6, 2015

Chinese Tourist Visa Application Process for First Time Filipino Applicants

Good news to all Filipino applicants applying for a Chinese Tourist visa! Few years ago, I was told by a friend that it's hard to get an approved visa because they have a very strict list of requirements for example:

1. You need to secure an updated NBI clearance for travel and
2. You need a minimum of Php 100k monthly average in your bank account  

#1 is quite easy but a hassle thing to do but let's face it, item #2 is a major concern by many right? BUT the good thing is, the Chinese embassy simplified their requirements  which makes it easier to apply for a tourist visa. Yeeey!!! 

Here's how we got our visa:

1. Check if you need a visa- Filipino citizens and passport holder needs a visa but if you're a citizen of Singapore, Brunei, and Japan, you may enter China without a visa as long as the purpose of your visit is for tourism, family visit, and business for not more than 15 days.

If you're from the following countries, congrats! you're exempted from applying a visa but only for less than 72 hours (ex. in transit) haha.  

Austria, Belgium, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Lativa, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, America, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, the Uinted Arab Emirates, Qatar

For the complete list of countries and exemptions, please click here.

2. Prepare your basic requirements

a) Passport
-Bring your original passport valid for at least 6 months with at least 1 blank visa page.
-One (1) photocopy of your passport's info and photo page AND emergency contact page.

b) Visa Application Form
-Complete and signed visa application form. DO NOT LEAVE ANY FIELD BLANK. In case the information being asked is not applicable to you, write N/A or NA.

-Handwritten is okay as long as your writing is legible but it is best to computerize the form. Well, I used type writer in my application form since I encountered problems with my PDF software :) 

-NOTE: in filling up the visa category part, write the letter "L" if your purpose is just for leisure or travel visa. Check the table below in case you will apply for a different purpose.
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