Our dream trip across 12 countries – how much did it cost us?

Having finished our 6-month journey, during which we visited 12 countries  (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam, Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, China and Nepal), we often get questions regarding the cost of such a trip. In this post you will find information that will help you to realize that you don’t need a lot of money (which does not mean you need very little of it) to make your travel dream come true. Of course now we can call ourselves smarter and advise you which country you could skip right away if your budget is very limited; and this does not mean that it must be Australia, which many people associate with gigantic travel expenses! Sit back comfortably and make yourself decide after reading our tips whether a long travel is something you could go for taking into account various destinations and travel costs:)

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Kanazawa – the pearl of Japan Alps

Spending only a week in Japan and being on a really tight schedule, we still wanted to get out of Osaka for a day to get to the Japanese Alps. Have you heard of Kanazawa – a city called “Little Kyoto”? Like Kyoto, Kanazawa avoided bombing during World War II. The city name literally means “golden marsh” – in its peak period it was considered to be the richest region in Japan producing about 180 million kg of rice! In addition to samurai and geisha districts you will also see there many interesting temples, museums and the Omi-cho market resembling a bit Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. Honestly our aim was to come mostly for the views, yes! – gorgeous views of the mountains from one of the 3 most beautiful gardens in Japan, Kenroku-en. Arriving at this place only for a few hours was definitely worthwhile even though the one-way trip from Osaka to Kanazawa took us 3 hours. Have a look how beautiful the place is 🙂

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Bloody Good Friday in Angeles, the Philippines

It could seem to any of us that Easter should be celebrated by Catholics in the same way anywhere in the world. Well, it’s definitely not. You do not have to search far to spot some differences. Go to Spain to see at least one of the Holy Week’s processions and you will experience a completely different Easter atmosphere. We did this 2 years ago, but this year we wanted to spend Easter in the Philippines, where you can observe local people during specific celebrations performed on a large scale too. On Good Friday Catholics anywhere in the world commemorate the death of Jesus Christ – that’s the fact. In Poland we have the Liturgy of Word and then – adoration of the cross, whereas in the Philippines (especially in Luzón Island) many men participate in a procession/parade, during which they whip themselves and stop along the way visiting chapels one by one until finally they fall to the ground at the last one with their arms stretched out and whole body forming the cross; then after 1pm a crowd of people is waiting for the performance of the scene of the Passion of Christ (an actor playing a role of Jesus and the other two convicts are literally nailed to the cross, and after the “event” they are taken to hospital). So in a nutshell, this is what we saw in Angeles City, where we decided to stay for 2 nights. Initially, we had wanted to go to San Fernando, where in the nearby ​​Cutud there is a big ”spectacle” taking place including scenes of whipping and crucifixion every year, but we finally chose Angeles to experience it more locally. You’ve probably heard lots of stories about people coming to the event groaning and yowling during the crucifixion performance which is described as the most profound experience for them during Easter time (BTW forbidden by the Catholic Church). We have a slightly different impression from the mentioned performance in Angeles. Sharing our experience with you here below.

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Matcha & its widespread use in Japanese cuisine

Japan is not just sushi. For us the keyword for describing Japanese reality is matcha, a powdered high quality green tea, which is used as an ingredient in myriads of products and dishes, especially sweets, to which it gives an intense green color and a characteristic taste. You can discern the Japanese green tea powder madness in at least 10 types of Japanese products! Green tea powder is obtained by grinding tea leaves from its first spring harvest. Matcha is the world’s healthiest green tea, rich in catechins (antioxidants), believed to be anti-tumor, antiviral and beneficial for the heart. The matcha tea ceremony itself is called Chanoyu, which is actually nothing special. What seems the most interesting and impressive at the same time is the extremely widespread use of matcha in Japanese culinary world!

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Penang, Malaysia: enchanting street art of Georgetown!

It happens very rarely to us to visit any city with so much fun when ticking off sightseeing points from our ”prepared” list, as it was the case with Georgetown – the most  fascinating and colourful city of Malaysia built by the British. The city’s colonial and Chinese architecture with temples representing various religions attract a plethora of tourists. The capital of Penang was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Strolling down the streets, in addition to admiring stylish buildings, you can enjoy the time exploring wall murals on the city buildings, majority of which was painted by a Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic, giving the city a unique image. Even with a map in your hand you may sometimes be surprised by the result and confused when reaching a particular place as some of the paintings have been “hidden” somewhere in the back of boutiques or shops. Many times when looking at the map you are sure that you reached the place you wanted to reach, but in fact you need to look around, up and down trying to find a hidden wall picture as it’s sometimes not so obvious. Finding some of them is pure satisfaction and then it’s time for playing trying to fit you in with a mural image to be an integral part of it and snap a riveting photo 🙂 If you ask us, we spent a wonderful time in Georgetown:)

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Meeting Sumatran orangutans – a 2-day trekking to the jungle

Visiting Indonesian Sumatra had always been on our bucket list. We wanted to see orangutans in the wild, whom you can spot even on a one-day trek to Gunung Leuser National Park which you can start in Bukit Lawang. While we generally prefer going trekking on our own, doing it here in the jungle without a guide would be unreasonable knowing that you are to deal with wildlife and you can expect an aggressive behaviour from animals that you may spot on your way. We opted for a 2-day trekking including sleeping in a tent, food, 2 guides and a tube rafting back to Bukit Lawang. We met 5 orangutans on the first day, some of the guys from our group saw one more creature swinging from a tree to a tree somewhere in the distance when they woke up early in the morning on the next day:) It’s easy to fall in love with orangutans at first sight;) You can find detailed information on our trekking and myriads of photos in the below post.

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Indonesian words which will help you communicate in the villages of West Papua

As promised , the following post is devoted to basic Indonesian vocabulary that will be of great use for you if you want to explore West Papua on your own without a guide (the guide could cost you up to 500EUR for 4 days only)  and go trekking to villages of Baliem Valley. Bahasa Indonesia is really one of the easiest Asian languages. There are no declinations, it sounds very simple as if  there was no grammar at all, and the pronunciation shouldn’t be a problem if you know a little bit of Spanish (for us, Polish people – it’s also very easy).

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West Papua: trekking to villages in the Baliem Valley – DIY with a daily budget of 7-8 EUR per person!

Being in West Papua and not experiencing a direct contact with local people or tribes living in the remote villages somewhere in the jungle or mountains would mean not being there at all .. we were anticipating this for a long time and our dream finally came true: we managed to reach Papuan villages and meet local people. We did it without a guide, porters and without a non-essential travel permit, thanks to which we saved about 400-500EUR! We followed the trail through the picturesque mountainous Baliem Valley starting our trekking in Kurima heading to Hitugi, and continuing to Userem, Yuarima until we reached Yogosem, a village situated at an altitude of 2500m above the sea level. This would not be possible without learning the basics of Bahasia Indonesia (without learning the language you cannot communicate with local people and will not get to know their culture well), plus our determination and stamina turned out to be be paramount in that experience too 🙂 (the most strenuous trekking path from Yuarima to Yogosem took us about 3.5 hours and all the time we were to trek the steep trail up, and at the end of it we literally had the opportunity to stand in the clouds :)). We didn’t meet any white people on the way during our 4 day trekking and in fact we felt ourselves to be the main attraction for the locals, especially in Yogosem. In this post you will be provided with more details regarding our 4-day adventure including the info how we got to Kurima, and where we slept and ate with locals for 7-8 EUR per day per person! 🙂

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North Sulawesi: meet people who eat dogs, monkeys, bats…

Travelling usually provides us with many positive emotions and experiences, especially when we get to know different and interesting cultures and extremely friendly people. This time we are in North Sulawesi, an Indonesian Island, near Manado, Tomohon and Tondano, a region originally inhabited by the ethnic group of people called ‘Minahasa’, and even though we are dealing with really friendly people here (you can say even: ‘’much more friendly than ever before’’ ), their eating habits and culture can scare off many Europeans, Americans or Australians. At first glance, everything seemed normal from our perspective, there are lots of Christian churches prevailing over mosques; besides, you can buy here stronger alcohol such as vodka, whiskey, which was impossible to get in Lombok (a typically Muslim Island); local people rejoice when they see a white man in the street as it’s a rare view for them, they will accost you and start a small talk and it doesn’t matter they don’t speak English, and the atmosphere seems so pleasant and relaxing until … you visit Pasar Tomohon (a local market in Tomohon) and get to know the true reality and tastes of these people .. In addition to the standard food in any local market such as: vegetables, fruits, fish, you will also see dog, monkey or bat meat. There will be rats and pythons on the stalls and you will come across cats and dogs locked in cages, which in a few hours are going for slaughter … and it takes place there in the market on the eyes of other people, as if it was nothing extraordinary. Sharing with you more details regarding this harrowing subject below, but please… note that this is not an entry for everyone as some of the pictures are really drastic.

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Albany & surrounding areas – a picturesque city, the most beautiful Australian beaches and &impressive cliffs!

Out of all the places we have visited in Southwest Australia Albany was the city that literally stole our hearts along with 40-meter-high cliffs situated in its neighbourhood and some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia being part of national parks with Little Beach as the TOP attraction considered one of the best beaches in the world! Albany itself is not just a picturesque city, it is also a place rich in history from the 1st World War. The awful weather did not spoil our enjoyable stay there, we could only imagine how magnificent this place has to be on a sunny day if it was still so beautiful on a windy and rainy day. For sure Albany can absorb anyone thanks to its exceptional ambience and the landscapes around the city! Check it yourself!

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