Next Vacation & Spartan Race: Taiwan!

You read it correctly. Your main man, who goes by the name of Arsenio Buck, is reentering Spartan after a bit of a hiatus.

When I was trekking through the foothills in Hua Hin, sucking in dust particles like it was oxygen, I told myself: “man, FUCK THIS!” I said I would never do it again. However, after listening to my body and feeling how strong I’ve become, my body is craving that immense pain once again!

I made an oath to myself at the beginning of the year that I was going to take a year off from Spartan races because the Beast in Hua Hin last year was just so unbelievably demoralizing. However, after sorting out my visa situation here in Thailand, micro trips to Malaysia and Singapore are NO MORE!

I can’t let just a few assholes at Immigration in Hong Kong determine the outcome of me traveling everywhere. Yes, Taiwan will be another very difficult country I need to acclimate with, but because I will be be the “not-so-thumb-sticking-out,” that means I won’t have a problem recording and documenting my stories. Will the Spartan Super go as planned? I have no idea. I will need to adapt very quickly and once I land in Taoyuan International Airport, I’ll know what I’m up against.

The Ramble of Positivity: Episode 031 – Singapore, I’m COMING!

Excited, jubilated, in harmony, bliss, serenity. Baby, I’m going to Singapore. Cathay Pacific right into the new Terminal 4 which houses that new magnificent Jewel? Oh, I’m definitely NOT complaining.

Excited, jubilated, in harmony, bliss, serenity. Baby, I’m going to Singapore. Cathay Pacific right into the new Terminal 4 which houses that new magnificent Jewel? Oh, I’m definitely NOT complaining.

Land, catch the magnificent train to my hotel, check in, and have my friend pick me up for some Malay/Singaporean food? CHECK! Friend to meet for drinks after? Aquarium on Saturday?

I’m grateful. I’m excited. This is my first “real” holiday since last August. I had Laos in November of last year, topping off the most FORGETTABLE trip of the last 10 years. Malaysia, which was just below average, continued the soar trend.

So I’m going to buck this trend by heading to my favorite country in Southeast Asia.

Heavy Breathing In The Morning

Anytime I go to the airport, I always think worse case scenario, which is probably not a good thing to entertain in terms of having a though. After getting on an always-crowded-skytrain (in the morning — rush hour), I got to the airport link, had my ticket at hand already and got to the airport.

I followed a couple of students up the escalators before finally reaching Cathay Pacific. The guy at the counter looked new, and Chinese. not that the nationality mattered, but there was a guy overseeing what he was doing and of course, he kinda didn’t know what he was doing. After 4 minutes and without any questions, I received my ticket, went through an always-easy security check, and then to passport control.

This is the place I dread because the could be nasty….however, out of all the times I ever left this country, it was one foolish, old, racist lady that put her glasses on and went through my pages before I started laughing at her bigotry. New passport and guy? 1 minute, stamp, done. EASY!

So, all the heavy breathing, again, for NOTHING.

Going into the airport…some questions may come, but last time I came, there weren’t any. If they ask (and they don’t do so often), it’s because I write something ridiculous on my paper that raises a question. So, now I’m sitting here at the airport and waiting for my departure to an ultra-efficient country!

Podcast

How To Book Flights & Save Money

My friend, who is now a flight attendant for Spirit Airlines, first introduced me to travelocity.com 7 years ago.

My first 2-3 flights on there I booked directly through the 3rd party site.  Sites like these are good to find general flights, but don’t book directly through them because you can lose between 200-400 USD in doing so.  I’m going to show you some tips and provide guidance in regards to booking flights.

Now, is this for budget friendly people? It could be….and so I’ll give two perspectives for a backpacking traveler and a traveler who travels based on safety first (lol).

The Example

All right, my next big trip this year will be Nadi, Fiji coming up August 3rd-9th.

The first thing I did was look on travelocity and see what they had….

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So, on Travelocity, this is $1,216 USD.  Remember, I live in Bangkok now and this flight indicates flying into Sydney first, then go to Nadi, Fiji from there.  Personally, I believe that there was a shorter route because flying from Bangkok to Sydney (almost 9 hours) and then another 4 hours to Fiji is a bit too extensive.  Maybe there was a more direct route?  Also, who wants to hang out in an airport for almost 5 and a half hours? Let alone Sydney Airport (which doesn’t have much of anything).  So, I said….hmmm, well, Singapore is the biggest hub in Southeast Asia.  Perhaps I can fly out of there?

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Boom! Price at $866, I found a flight from Singapore to Fiji with a layover in Hong Kong.  I get to fly Cathay Pacific (five star airline) then Fiji Airways (to get the Fijian experience) while going there.  However, flying about 4 hours to HK and then a 12 hour trip to Fiji is just too much for my liking.  Although it might not be good for me in terms of layovers, I found cheap flights from Bangkok to Singapore in case it worked for anyone else.

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For $138 USD, you can fly from Don Meung (just a little bit north of Bangkok and a ten minute bus ride from my condominium) to Singapore and the total price of the ticket would be just shy over $1,000 bucks.  So, you’re already saving $200 dollars just by checking out different ways of flying there.  If you’re not keen on flying from the smaller airport, fly out of the main airport for an additional 30$ dollars (minimum on TigerAsia).

Last but not least, I decided to go on Fiji Airways website (remember, the goals is to not book on third part websites, but rather find the flights before going on the main website to book) and this is what I found.

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From Singapore, I can fly for as low as 991 Singapore dollars if I plus or minus the dates, but if it’s on August 3rd, I have 1079 to pay.  What’s that in USD?

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$771 usd! That’s if I fly directly from Singapore to Nadi which would be essential and just a 8.5 hour flight.

That means if I do decide to fly Air Asia to Singapore for $138 dollars, my entire trip would cost $909 dollars – a $300 dollar difference from the original!

This is how important it is to know how to shop.  Let’s go through the steps thoroughly.

  • Shop on travelocity or some other third party flight to see what airlines go through your destination.
  • Look at different airports to fly out from.  Example, flying from LAX was cheaper than flying from SFO (San Francisco) to come back to Thailand.
  • Look at connecting flights if applicable.  Buying a cheap flight and biting the bullet is often a better way….just fly the big airline for the long-haul.
  • ALWAYS book directly through the Airlines main website.  I saw that Cathay Pacific is outrageously expensive on Travelocity, but if you book on their website, you can get RT tickets from BKK to HK (Hong Kong) for $300 dollars versus $1000 dollars on travelocity.

If you have any questions, ask away!