Like what Zach from the try guys would say, this post is NOT sponsored..but it could be.
Wendy and I planned to go for a year-end trip since the start of this year. Initially, we did have a place in mind and wanted to check all the information on it. In the midst of researching about the place, Wendy stumbled upon anywhr.co.
It is a website that curates surprise trips for you based on your preferences. After some discussion we decided to go ahead and give it a try. Some of my friends didn’t think that I am the kind of person that would go for such surprise trips. Hmmm I guess I left an impression of being rather serious and rigid? Actually I think when it comes to this, I can be more spontaneous than Wendy (unlike popular opinion). That said, there are indeed certain things I can’t be spontaneous about. Anyway..
First up, the type of trip. [At this point, I am aware that more customization options has been added- head over to their website to have a look ]
Wendy wanted Adventure while I wanted Getaway haha so in the end we opted for Wildcard to see where it would bring us to.
Next, we both filled up a preferences form and received an email 3 working days later. From the timing of the email, I can tell that Anywhr team works really hard to churn it out on time for the travellers- thank you! The travelogue and details of the trip was delivered one week before the trip. We decided to only open at the airport. As we shared with our friends, there were many guesses as to where we were going but they were all wrong! Haha.
We reached the airport around 5am and opened the envelope there (yes we resisted). We had no idea about the place and have not heard of it which made everything really exciting. There were some typo in the travelogue but it was fine, I guess the team could be rushing it out.
Another thing was also discovered- we did not get the bus ticket for transfer (someone else’s flight information was placed in the envelop instead). The flight arrived 20min earlier but I had to do visa on arrival and the queue was really long. I think I spent about an hour there. Without the early arrival of the plane, we might have missed the bus. Thank God! And yes back to the bus, I dm-ed anywhr rather last minute but they responded nevertheless and managed to whatsapp me the correct bus details within minutes! (Thank you Summer!)
The bus (or coach) was really spacious and very comfortable. It was a comfortable journey of 4 hours to destination X. We transfered to a van at the bus station and we managed to see some of the places around along the way. This added/changed some of the itinerary that we had in mind.
We arrived at our accomodation- a guesthouse in the afternoon and we were greeted by the friendly french lady at the reception. Our room was indeed lovely, simple with nice decorations.
First up, time for a meal. We stayed on a street with many cafes/restaurants/bars, massage parlour and a 7-11. We went to a nearby restaurant and ordered food. It was a pretty good first meal as we were really hungry. We didn’t managed to get food/snacks because I spent too much time getting the visa on arrival and it just slipped our mind. Right after this, we walked to the 7-11 to stock up some food & drinks for the next few days.
We then decided to visit a night market in the evening- one which we saw while the van drove past (also pretty famous). We more or less went by spontaneous decisions throughout the trip. We arrived rather early where there were not many people in the place yet. The stalls (apologies, did not take picture as I wanted to just enjoy the walk in the area). Bought some souvenirs for our family members and ourselves before going for dinner.
A variety of food were sold in the food stalls and we were rather spoilt for choices.
Overall, a great night and we returned to the guesthouse.
We wanted to go to this cafe that was walked past for breakfast but when we arrived, it was not opened yet so we went on to another nearby. Nice ambience and good coffee to start off our day.
The highlight of the day was a trek that started with 1hr taxi ride. Felt that we probably paid more than we should have but oh well I guess it was a learning point to always double check the price before getting on the taxi. Nevertheless, it was a nice windy ride and to and fro. The trek was at a national park where we had to first pay the entrance fee before proceeding. We could choose to walk all the way or we could take a boat nearer to the destination and start the hike from there. We opted for the hiking option but soon decided that we should take the boat ride when returning haha. There were two parts to this hike, hike to the end of island (boat ride as alternative) then another hike to the actual destination. Overall, it was not easy as most of it were upward steps. The whole journey took about 2 hours. Coming down was a lot easier and the boat ride was also quite an experience.
I had a cut when I slipped and fell during the trek but still I felt good 🙂
All part of an adventure isn’t it?
The same drive drove us back to the area we were staying and we stopped at a shopping mall to have lunch. We ate at a food court equivalent and it was pretty good (had some local cuisine).
Next we went to another place which we saw along the streets the day before but only to discover it was not as nice as we thought.
Walked to a night market nearby, this was much smaller scale than the night before. Had some drinks before finding ourselves walk into a Coles-equivalent. There is something therapeutic about walking in the supermarket, seeing all the different types of items on the shelves.
Ended the day early as we planned to catch sunrise the next day.
Up early to walk to the beach and catch the sunrise (one of the mission in the travelogue). The beach was about 15 minutes from the guesthouse. The walk was really comfortable under the breezy weather. Tide happened to be low so we could walk in the intertidal zone. There were many sand bubbles in the sand 🙂
Sunrise was supposed to happen around 6.40 but it did not, due to the cloud cover. So yes unfortuntely we did not really catch the sunrise but here is what we had:
Well, we tried. We enjoyed the walk on the beach nevertheless.
For breakfast, we managed to go to the cafe that we wanted to go to the day before.
There were many cafes on the street where our guesthouse is located. They are cozy and the shop owners/barista were really friendly. We could possibly stay there the whole day if we wanted to.
It was a rather chill day where we took a walk around noon to the train station. It was nice just to walk and explore the place around us.
I have to say that the weather has been very good every day that were there. We stayed in the guesthouse in the afternoon where I managed to finish a book. 🙂 another goal of the trip fulfilled- to take time to read.
In the evening we decided to visit this night market nearby the guesthouse to have dinner. Definitely much smaller scale than the famous night markets but it felt really good to be able to sit and chill, especially when it was not very crowded. The food was good and there was live music.
This pretty much sums up our trip. Day 4 was mainly travelling and returning to Singapore. The travel to the airport as similar to the way we traveled on the first day. However, the instruction given to us in the travelogue was not really accurate. I did overhear the staff at the guesthouse that it was a “new bus station” so we decided to go to the place as she mentioned and it turns out to be correct 🙂 we feedback this to Anywhr team and they were open and willing to accept the feedback. Is this something negative? Well, not really. I guess this is what travelling involves- challenges, problems and learning to solve these problems.
Thank you Anywhr team for sending us to destination X. We explored, we had fun and gained a little more knowledge than we did before.
Some may say, “Why do you need to pay more for someone else to plan for you?” Well, we can definitely plan it with a smaller budget on our own but I guess it is also the experience that we would not be able to find elsewhere. The same package can still result in a different experience of the travelers. One may choose to complete all the missions, one may not. One may have walked to explore like us while others might have taken the train. Anywhr may have curated the travelogues, decided on the flight and accommodation, but it you that curate your own experiences. Is there a best option? I guess not. Travelling is all about trials and errors, sometimes it’s good, sometimes not so but all turns out to be your experience. Every trip is unique because you make it so. 🙂