Philippines – Singapore – Indonesia: Planning The Itinerary

We would like to share the great news of our next Asia journey which starts on February the 1st 2014. We are going to visit the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia. All flight tickets have been already booked and our passports are ready for the next stamps.

The choice of countries was mainly based on flight ticket prices, local cuisine (we have tried some Indonesian and Filipino dishes before and we totally loved it) and the weather of course (we can’t stop thinking of Filipino beaches and sunny Bali). In total, we spent roughly $350 for our flights per person (4 flights). We fly with Cebu Pacific and Tigerair airlines.

As we have already started thinking of most interesting and adventurous places to visit there, we decided to ask you guys for the advice. If you have ever been either to the Philippines, Singapore or Indonesia, please share your experience and give us some budget travel tips on:

Destination 1: The Philippines

  • What’s the most stunning beach in the Philippines?
  • What off-the-beaten places in the Philippines would you recommend?
  • Any food we can’t miss?
  • How cheap are the Philippines? Is $25 budget enough?
  • Any places we should definitely skip?
  • Any blog recommendations on budget travel tips in the Philippines?

Destination 2: Singapore

  • Singapore in 24h – what places are worth seeing?
  • Any local dishes you should/shouldn’t try?
  • Where is best to sleep without paying (airport, train station, park, etc.)?

Destination 3: Indonesia

  • Any hidden gems here/ places undiscovered by ordinary tourists?
  • Where to go in Bali?
  • What to do in Jakarta?
  • Any hiking places worth exploring?

As you know, we love to keep ourselves busy with sightseeing and we are keen on exploring off the beaten paths on the cheap so if you know of any places that should be on our travel list, let us know. Besides, if any of you would like to meet up for a cup of coffee or a pint of beer, let us know. We will do our best to make that happen!

Share your advice, any recommendations and thoughts in comments. Many thanks for your help. We are just over the moon to be back on the road.


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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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103 thoughts on “Philippines – Singapore – Indonesia: Planning The Itinerary”

  1. Bennett - The Further Adventures of Bennett

    Singapore – defs sleep in the airport. I did as well as loads of other people around me on benches, but was glad of an extra layer as was very air conditioned there! :)

  2. super exciting plans! i have only been to singapore of the three, unfortunately…but my time spent there was amazing (ok…because i was in a food coma half the time). i highly suggest getting some murtabek in the ‘arab’ district and some chicken rice at the maxwell hawker center (near chinatown). the most famous stand there…which will have the longest line, is tian tian. very good stuff. and SOOOO cheap! i would stay away from restaurants and eat mostly at hawker center type places.

    as for free sleeping…i have no idea ;) i stayed in a hostel and obviously paid. i do know that the airport there is like the worlds best, so im sure if you decide to crash there, it wouldnt be so shabby.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks Megan! I simply can’t wait to try some street food in Singapore. Good to know it’s so CHEAP! You made my day!

  3. The Philippines, Singapore AND Indonesia – whoo-hoo!
    Can hardly wait to read those posts and scroll through the photos.
    Bon voyage!

  4. what an exciting trip! Have never been to The Philippines, but I heard from a friend about the stunning beaches. Envy you!

    The foods in Singapore are one of my favorites! Try their local Chicken Rice, Chili Crab, O Cien (oyster omellete), Carrot Cake (totally different with the sweet carrot cake we used to know), and of course, Indian food!

    About Bali, just rent a motorbike and ride!

    Have fun, you two! :D

  5. #Philippines
    >if you’ll be arriving at NAIA and don’t have plan to spend additional cost for plane tickets going to Visayas or Mindanao region, i’ll recommend to check this tourist attractions area in Luzon:
    1. Puerto Galera
    2. Ilocos Region (Pagudpud(beaches), Vigan)
    3. Batangas (Laiya)
    4. Pangasinan (Hundred Islands)
    > you may also check some reviews in this website for the right address and perhaps map or means of transportation

  6. #Philippines
    > for food i would recommend kare-kare, adobo, sisig, and sinigang. they’re worth to try. But please try per region delicacies also (a lot to mention). . . God bless to your trip!

  7. I feel like packing my bags just reading this post!

    My personal favorite place in Singapore is the Asian Civilization Museum. It’s the type of museum for everyone. Kids would love it, adults can appreciate it too :-)

    Near Gambir/ Juanda Station in Jakarta there are several places to go, from the National Monument (Monas), the National Gallery, Istiqlal Mosque and Jakarta Cathedral. The old town (Kota Tua) is also interesting. Full of old buildings. My favorite is the Puppet Museum (Museum Wayang). The Art and Ceramics Museum, though huge, is a sad place and I don’t really recommend it. By the way the old town is located only a few stations away from Juanda Station (they’re within 1 line), so visiting some of those places in one day is doable :))

    Bandung (about 3 hrs from Jakarta) has some charming places to go, like Kawah Putih. A lot of tourists go to this city for shopping (mostly Malaysians and Chinese I think). But it’s also the place to go to find some really good food :D Next week the mayor will launch a new program close 1 street (Braga) every Saturday night, allowing pedestrians to taste various food from different stalls, from the most humble street food to pretentious (LOL) food. I think I will go there next weekend to see how this program goes.

    My comment is already this long, maybe others can add more :p Have a nice trip! Travel safe guys!

  8. Jess @UsedYorkCity

    Yay, how very exciting for you guys! I actually just flew out of Singapore (layover in Frankfurt now!), and although it was a quickie one night stay as more of a pass-through city, I would definitely recommend checking out the famous infinity pool for the view, and grabbing some street food for tasty (but cheap!) eats!

    Excited to hear about your adventures!

  9. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    What an awesome adventure you have in store for you! Tony & I have been fortunate to have visited all three of the places you’re heading to, so I know from experience that you’ll have a wonderful time. We’ve written extensively on our site about The Philippines and Singapore, so there should be plenty of posts there to get you started on places to visit and things to do (as well as giving in depth budget breakdowns—check out our “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About…” posts for that information).

  10. Agness, if i’m not busy, I will accompany you to travel around Jakarta on the weekend :) just let me know when will you arrive in Jakarta.

    In Jakarta you can do some museum tour, park and night market. If you like an architecture, then in central Jakarta there’re a lot of buildings with colonial architecture.

    You should try our street food too, like somay, batagor, chicken satay, gado-gado (mixed vegetable with peanut butter sauce), ketoprak (rice cake with beansprout and peanut butter sauce), chicken noodle, baso (You must try these), kerak telor, and many other local dessert.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hey Meidi. That would be so awesome. We don’t want to spend too much time in Jakarta though unless there is something interesting to do there. We will dig into some local street meals, no worries! Let’s keep in touch!

  11. I’m so excited for you!!

    I went to Singapore last January for 2 days… with how small it is, I was actually able to cover a lot of ground. I enjoyed visiting the Singapore Zoo, eating in Chinatown and of course wandering the Marina Bay Sands and infinity pool!

    For sleeping, the airport would be perfect. It’s easily accessible by the train and it’s a super nice airport. They even have comfy lounge chairs and massage chairs.

  12. How exciting! I can’t wait to read about all your travels in Asia as I try to relive my own :) In the Philippines, definitely go to El Nido. It is stunningly beautiful and the town is a lot of fun. Make sure you lechon, sinigang, and lumpiah. The fresh seafood is also delicious. Accommodation can be a little pricier in the Philippines than in the rest of SE Asia, but you could probably manage $25 a day if you try hard. Singapore is expensive, but worth it. Eat at a hawker center. In Bali, I really liked Ubud even though it is super touristy. Also, try to get out east (Candidasa, Padang Bai, or Amed) as it is waaaay less touristy than the rest of the island and the beaches are beautiful.

  13. Stefania - the Italian Backpackers

    Congratulations on those cheap airfares! I’m excited for you: Indonesia has been on my bucket list for years. When I finally make it to Asia I’m definitely checking it out. Oh, and the Philippines seems to get more and more love from travel bloggers recently. People there are supposed to be super friendly, so enjoy your stay!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks! We actually think the flight tickets were expensive, but it’s National Holiday so we are lucky to get them for this price!

  14. Hey Agness,
    Your plans sound awesome, I just had to chime in.

    Okay, so I have not been to the Philippines or Singapore, so my info is second hand.

    In college, I had the privilege of having mostly Filipino friends so I have some insight as to the food. My absolute favorite is “pancit” which is a thin and salty noodle. I am surprised I’ve never heard of a travel blogger talk about it, but I’m sure you’ll like it. Cebu was hit hard by the hurricane so I would check if it would be a problem. If you want more info, I recently came across this blogroll or only pinoy (filipino) travel bloggers. I got it from Flipnomad, which is also a Filipino travel blogger I follow.

    I dont have first hand knowledge, but since you will be there 24 hours, I’m sure you will have time at night. The night zoo is very famous and many people have recommended it to me in the past. It is one of the few zoos that open at night.

    My most recent trip (outside of Korea) was in Indonesia. I know you like off the beaten path places so I would HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you split your time in Bali and take a quick flight over to Labuan Bajo and a boat to Komodo National Park. Komodo is a thing of legend with its amazing Komodo dragons, and some of the most unreal scuba diving in the world. Bali is the island of the gods…Komodo is where the gods go on vacation.
    Here is a how to guide I wrote:
    And my (very long and picture heavy) post on Komodo NP:

    As for Bali, I was pretty surprised how developed it was, and to be honest, I didn’t spend time in the south part of the island at all. I am really into scuba and snorkeling and if you are too, Tulamben has a shipwreck (U.S.S. Liberty) you can see 15 meters from the shore (north Bali). The town next to that, Amed is known for its black sand beaches, and also has another shipwreck (Japanese ship). Both of these are quiet towns and have relatively cheap accommodations.

    If you have more time in Indonesia, and are feeling like the most adventurous person in the universe, consider Mt. Tambora. The volcano erupted in 1815 and caused planetary wide cooling for a year. The blast was 10 times greater than pompeii and coincidentally, also covered the Tambora people and village with lava.

    I have never seen another travel blogger post about tambora, so if you go, you could be the first and I’d love to hear about it!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hey Julio! Thank you so much for the tips. We really wanna visit Mt. Tambora! I will of course check out all of the links you sent me. Cheers mate!

  15. Hi guys, when will you be in the Philippines? I’ll arrive on 20th January and will stay for a while. Hope to bump into you guys at some point…

    Cheers, and see you soon!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      We will meet for sure. We will be arriving in Manila in February 1st and then travel around for another 2 weeks so we will meet for sure!

  16. Oh lucky you. Feeling jealous as I look outside and see the drizzle dripping down the window. I look forward to reading about your travels.

  17. I am a Filipino and this post actually got me very excited. Hmmmm, where to start? There are actually a lot of places you can visit here, if you love nature, if you love history, if you love food. There’s a lot. And i would like to think that my country is very tourist-friendly, we speak English so you guys won’t have a problem getting around. 

    However, one thing you need to understand is that my country is made up of islands. 7,107 to be exact. There are 3 major “regions”: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. You can access one region to another by plane (or by water, but I am
    assuming you’ll only have a limited time here, so I’ll stick to air/land travel) 

    Most likely, you’ll arrive in Manila, which is in Luzon. Starting from the north, you’ll see Banawe Rice Terraces (around 12 hours from Manila by car,  no direct flight), this is also near Sagada Province, where you can see the hanging coffins. Then you also have the Ilocos Region (around 8-10 hours from Manila by land, 1 hour by plane where you’ll get off in Laoag, Ilocos Norte) You’ll see the Bangui Windmills, Paoay church, Pagudpud beach (white sand beach), then there’s Ilocos Sur, where you’ll see the famous cobbled stone streets in Vigan. A lot of old houses here. Must try the Vigan empanada sold at the streets. A little bit further south will be Baguio in Benguet province, when you are craving for colder temperature. You must try UBE (i think its called Taro in english, I am not sure). Then you have Zambales, where you can see Anawangin and Nagsasa beach. The sand here is ash-colored, they said its because when Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales, it was covered in ashfall. You can also go trek to go inside the crater of Mt. Pinatubo. A plane ride away is the province of Palawan, where you can see the underground river (it is in Puerto, Princesa, if you like diving, you can go to Coron instead, a lot of nice dive sites here). I almost forgot, a plane ride away is Batanes, up north, it is probably one of the most picturesque places here. It is so beautiful and peaceful, and thankfully, away from the hordes of tourist. Plane fare going there is a bit expensive because there are only limitef flights. The cheapest can set you back around $200.

    Then we are off to Visayas! unfortunately, the famous Bohol was affected by a strong earthquake, where centuries-old churches crumbled. These
    were made using corals and egg-whites, and have proudly stood until the earthquake. This is where the famous Chocolate hills are located and where you can find the cute and lovable tarsiers.   After Bohol, you can go to Donsol, Sorsogon or Oslob, Cebu to swim with the whale-sharks. 
    Boracay, our famous white-sand beach is also in Visayas, and there are flights going there direct, via Caticlan or you can also go to Kalibo, Aklan, its around 2-3 hrs by land. Its a bit too touristy for my taste, but a great place to hang-out if you don’t mind the crowds.

    I haven’t explored Mindanao that much, but here you can try white-water rafting in Cagayan de
    Oro. I have also tried the longest zipline in Asia in Bukidnon, the place of a great pineapple plantation.

    My country is a safe place. Most of what you see on TV about rebels fighting are usually in the far flung areas and away from the touristy areas. As with all places, research well so that you will not be ripped off. Don’t go out flashing your valuables, specially in Metro Manila. Our transport sytem is a bit messed up, but taxis are kinda cheap. around 4 dollars for a 10 km ride. But do try to ride the tricycles, jeepneys and habal-habal..

    And try to endear yourself to the locals by saying: 
    Salamat po- thank you
    Magandang umaga-Good morning
    Magandang tanghali-Good afternoon
    Magandang gabi-Good evening
    (Maganda is beautiful in english)
    Ako si.. I am ..

    There are still so much to say about my country, but I will leave that to you to discover. Plus, I am
    sleepy. Goodluck! 

  18. IndieTraveller Marek

    Excellent choices for destinations!

    In the Philippines do not miss:
    – Palawan. Home of many of the most stunning unspoiled beaches!
    – Sabang and El Nido on Palawan for beaches, incredible islands, snorkeling and nature
    – Northern Luzon: rice terraces of Batad (better than nearby Banaue) and hiking in Sagada
    – Malapascua Island is a MUST if you like diving
    – You can go off the beaten track pretty much anywhere and experience the friendliness of Filipinos. I did so in central Bohol.

    As I recall Philippines was just a bit more expensive than other SEA countries. Might have to budget $30… but you may be more resourceful than I was.

    – Eat chicken rice at a Hawker Center
    – Visit the Sky Park and infinity pool

    I recently wrote some tips about Philippines and Singapore on my site:

    Enjoy!! :)

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