Be A Smart Traveller

A travel blog for smart travellers like you

Beware of Bag Snatching while travelling in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

My friends kept reminding me to be aware of my surroundings whenever I travel around Ho Chi Minh as snatch thieves are everywhere. I took note of their advices and ensured that my belongings were never left unattended. Unlike most female travellers, I don’t carry a handbag. Instead, I had my bag pack with me. Travelling with a back pack is much easier and safer compared to handbags (well, that’s what I have always believed in anyway)

Image

Here are some travel tips to prevent yourself from becoming a bag snatching victim:

  • Never display your cash when unnecessary. The more money you have, the more attention you’ll get.
  • If you are wearing a handbag, cross it over your chest. Most of my females friends do this whenever they travel.
  • Don’t walk too close to the street. Always walk on the footpath. However, there are certain areas in Ho Chi Minh that has no footpath; these are the areas that you should pay more attention on.
  • Never leave your bag unattended. I always have my bag placed on my lap instead of the chair next to me. If you need to go somewhere, take your bag with you, even if it’s just for a short while.
  • Always trust your instinct. The time I ignored my instinct was the day I got myself robed. Some things are avoidable if you really make use of your instinct.

Have other tips to share? Feel free to comment! Cheers. Stay safe.

What a fancy toilet seat at Borneo Rainforest, Bandar Sunway

I had my dinner at Borneo Rainforest Restaurant at Bandar Sunway, Malaysia. After drinking a glass of Ice lemon tea, I just I had to use the bathroom. To my surprise, the toilet seat was pretty fancy! I loved it -it’s something unusual as I don’t have anything like that at home. Perhaps I should get one for myself :D

Image

So much love for Arabic cuisines

I just love Arabic food – they’re so delicious and unique. I can feel the right textures and flavours in my mouth. My tongue just crave for more tabbouleh, fattouch, Shawarma, Kabssa and Kibbeh. Arabic restaurants are everywhere In Malaysia; just name any location you want! Check these out:

Image

Image

Image

If you are planning to visit Malaysia, I’ll buy you one ;)

Have a great day!

A local SIM card for travellers like us

Image Have you ever wished that you could just call back home and share your travel stories with your friends and family? When I travelled to Vietnam early this year, I realised how important a SIM card is to me. Having Internet data was the most important thing for me when I travelled abroad because with it, I can keep in touch with my friends and family. I tell them lots of stories – basically, I talked to them about my travel experiences and how Vietnam was like when I came over to the country. The first thing I did after I passed through the immigration checkpoint was buying a SIM card. I chose Vinaphone SIM card. I got it along with my taxi ticket at the Ho Chi Minh International Airport. I had to face language barrier as I didn”t have any Vietnam language basics. The salesgirls who entertained me were also not very fluent at speaking English. Despite the language problem, I managed to get myself what I wanted and left right after.

Image

Waiting for the taxi was another different story. I got a bit annoyed by everyone because they were impatient. There was a young lady who was responsible to calm everyone down – telling them that the taxi will arrive soon. Some of the travellers were already showing faces to her. Poor girl. I had to wait for quite sometime before I got myself a taxi ride. My hotel wasn’t far from the airport. Thank God. It only took me about 15 minutes before I arrived at my destination.

Image

I checked in at Hon En Hotel – a boutique hotel in Go Vap District. I won’t recommend this hotel to travellers who are planning to stay for a long period of time as it is very far from the city centre. If you had a travel buddy, you can really save up on taxi fare. I didn’t regret for staying at the hotel tho. I just wished that I have tried some other hotels during the rest of my days in Ho Chi Minh. Travelling alone from Go Vap to the city centre was very expensive for me (especially when you had to face dishonest taxi drivers). I was quite depressed for awhile. I felt a little lonely. Luckily, I had a SIM card with me. So, I sent some messages to a friend of mine who is currently living in Ho Chi Minh. His name was Chris and he is from Singapore. Chris and I met up for dinner and he showed me around. He gave me plenty of travel tips too. He also guided me on how to activate Internet data on my SIM card. I can’t believe how cheap Internet data was in Vietnam! I only used up Internet data when I was out from my hotel room. Whenever I stayed in my hotel room, I would use the WiFi instead – the connection was really good!

2 days before I flew back to my country, I felt like my days in Ho Chi Minh was getting a little boring. I would have gone to other places in Vietnam such as Da nang, Na Thrang, etc. However, I had to just explore the places nearby instead due to insufficient funds and very limited time. I was going through some emotional breakdowns (probably due to loneliness as this was my first time travelling alone). I don’t normally travel alone, but I told myself “Why not give it a shot?”. I was not scared when I travelled by my own. I just thought that it would be more exciting if I had a friend with me. I called up my friends via Skype (thanks to good WiFi) and told them about my likings and dislikes of the country. I would love to come back to Vietnam again if I had the chance, but hopefully with a travel friend. Some of my friends suggested me to hangout at the backpackers streets. I did. I went there yet I was not very comfortable hanging out with new people all by myself. I guess my trip to Vietnam was indeed memorable due to the hardship (my 2nd time should be better).

Vietnam has lots of nice people who would help you if you need one. But, it is advisable for any solo traveller to always stay alert and calm. Don’t trust strangers before you really get to know them better! As for me, I met really nice friends while I was in Vietnam. Thank God! :) Because I was travelling alone the whole time, I felt a little bored as I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Thanks to my mobile phone + Internet data, I was able to talk to my friends on just about anything! Few hours before I left Vietnam, I had some difficulties at the airport. I wasn’t sure where to print out my boarding pass. I then realised that there was no boarding pass printing machine at the airport! I was a little upset because the lady who was suppose to entertained me did not bother to help me out with my problem. When a Vietnamese guy came and asked for help, she quickly entertained him and after she helped him out, she then said to me “Hi, how can I help you?” , with a smile on her face. At that time, I just felt like yelling at her and asked her why was she behaving that way. I thought that she probably didn’t want to entertained me because of language barrier, but I then realised that she could speak English all along! I panicked when she didn’t want to entertain me, so I had to text Chris to ask him about the boarding pass printing machine. Upon my return, I sighed and told my friends all my stories – it was a pretty challenging week. Language barrier is a big problem for me when I went to Vietnam. Perhaps I should learn some Vietnamese basics. I can’t expect everyone to speak English after all.

Learning other languages is also a very good and useful effort. I realised that communication is really important when I travel abroad. I am not sure if you all think the same way as I do; I just knew from the very beginning that I am the kind of person that needs to always stay connected with the world.

There is a travel SIM card that can help travellers like me to skip all the hassles that I went through while I was in Vietnam. Visit http://www.localsimkad.com I personally like the product and I believe that this product will work well for me. I like to plan before I travel. With this product, I can book my local SIM card before I travel and have my overseas mobile number in advance. I can also top up online and if I have any problems with regards to the service, I can always call its customer support. LocalSIMKad Vietnam is powered by Viettel. I may have chosen Vinaphone on my first visit, but trust me, I’ll pick LocalSIMKad the next time I come over to Vietnam! To find out more, visit http://www.localsimkad.com

ImageDrop me an ink if you have any questions to ask. Cheers! :)

Ngoc Suong Marina Restaurant in Ho Chi Minh

If you love seafood cooked in Vietnamese style, this is a great place for you to have your dinner. I came here with a friend of mine and we ordered 4-5 different dishes. I tried the shrimps soaked in coconut juice, crab & corn soup, bread and some salads. I also tried the soda, mixed with lime and sugar. Overall, I enjoyed eating here. The service is good although one of the waiters was very clumsy. It is not very cheap. Therefore, make sure you bring at least VND300,000 to VND500,000 for yourself. Dining in groups would of course cost more. Below are some photos of the food we tried:

ImageImageImageImageImage

The significance of Chinese Ang Pow

ImageChinese New Year is just around the corner. What’s on your mind – Ba Gua, Cookie or Ang Pow? Speaking of Ang Pow, it is a red packet containing an amount of money customarily given to unmarried individuals on Chinese New Year. It is also given in Chinese weddings and birthdays. It has beautiful designs and decorations on it that represent wealth and prosperity; it is also believed to have the power to exorcise evil spirits. The two very popular characters that are commonly displayed on the face of the Ang Pow are The God of Longevity and God of Wealth.

If you ask me, I love Ang Pow very much – who doesn’t? Giving money in auspicious occasions is rather simple, practical and convenient. You don’t even have to go out looking for a gift. Instead, Ang Pow is given with a handsome amount of money which any recipient would appreciate! Ang Pow envelope comes in red, a colour that represents good luck and prosperity. The decorations displayed on an Ang pow are always different from one another. Ang Pow designers would always come out with creative and meaningful designs that are capable of delivering significant messages to an Ang Pow recipient. Shapes like flowering lotuses and legendary creatures such as the dragon and phoenix are commonly used as Ang Pow decorations.

As mentioned earlier, the colour red represents wealth, good luck and prosperity. Do not give money in white envelope during auspicious occasions – unless you are going to a funeral. I can’t wait to receive an Ang Pow this year. What about you? Happy Chinese New Year to all who are celebrating it this year. Have a great one!

Times Square Amusement Park

Times Square Amusement Park

A gigantic fun park for both kids and adults; it not only attracts tourists, but also the locals that come over to spend time with their loved ones. This indoor park is nothing like Genting Highlands as most critics would say, but one thing for sure, it offers you fun and excitement! There are rides for adults and kids; for most adult rides, height measurement is required prior to entrance. To those who want to experience some unforgettable rides of their lives, head down to the ‘Galaxy Station’. Trust me, you’ll scream out loud!

I came over last weekend, and I must say that I loved it! I spent the whole afternoon here. I went with my friends, named Ameer & Justin. We had so much fun. To be honest, I have never played in any amusement parks before – this basically was my first time! I’ve been to the infamous Genting Highlands, but I went there merely to watch; that’s all. I was broke when I went to Genting Highlands for the first time (those were the days…LOL)

Located in Kuala Lumpur, the Berjaya Times Square Amusement park sits on the 5th & 7th floor. Adult entrance fee would cost RM48 whereas children admission is RM38 each. The park operates from 12pm-10pm (Monday to Friday) and from 11am-12pm (Saturday, Sunday, Public & School Holiday).  A wristband will be given for every entry; do ensure that you wear it all the time. You can choose to go out from the theme park, and then enter again, with your wristband validated upon your next entry of the day.

ImageVisit ‘Galaxy Station’ to experience some of the exciting and memorable rides that the park has to offer, such as ‘Space Attack’, ‘Ooort’s express’, ‘Dizzy Lzzy’, ‘DNA Mixer’, ‘Supersonic Odyssey’, and ‘Spinning Orbit’. If you have not tried any of these rides anywhere else in the world, it is best for you to watch how others do first, and then decide on whether you want to try them or not. The best thing is to stay calm always and do not panic. What I did was close my eyes and smiled. The ‘Space Attack’ was the scariest ride for me. It reminded me of the ‘Boat ride’ that I tried few years ago at the carnival back in Borneo Sarawak. There were times when I actually opened my eyes – I was upside down – in the air.

The cool thing about trying these kinds of rides is that they help us to overcome our fear against height. The only way for us to overcome the fear is to think positive and imagine that for once, we actually have wings; just like birds.

Your roaming solution in South Africa

ImageLocalSIMKad.com has officially launched its brand new destination, LocalSIMKad™ South Africa yesterday. It is now available on http://www.LocalSIMKad.com, a booking platform for global travellers to book LocalSIMKad™.

With the new country on board, the team hopes to expand its business to more countries in the future, followed by its upcoming product, International Call Easy (ICE).

For those who are still unclear about LocalSIMKad™, it is another roaming solution that travellers are encouraged to try if they wish to save more on roaming charges. The product may be new, but it has received positive responds after the past few months. Demands are increasing, so is the number of countries offered by LocalSIMKad.com.

KL Pedestrian tunnels

Image

A friend of mine, Hussein, came over to Kuala Lumpur recently and I was his tour guide of the day. Another friend of mine by the name of Gaby was also with us. We went around the city to take photos of the national mosque, Islamic Art Building and many more. When heading back to the KL train station (KTM), I was begging them not to take me back to the pedestrian tunnel because I just had a really bad feeling about that place.

Image

Upon our arrival to the KL train station, we walked to one of the pedestrian tunnels that are available in the city. The first tunnel that we passed through was super creepy and dark. It looks pretty abandoned as well. I don’t think that anyone actually walks through it now as it has no lights (it looks like a place where zombies live) -that was how it creepy it was to be honest. I was too freaked out and had to have my friends to hold my hands! Hussein was pretty confident, but Gaby and I felt like we just had the shock of our lives. I told Hussein that was the first and the last time I will ever walk through that eerie place. Gaby said he could feel an unpleasant feeling when he walked through it. I also experienced the same feeling, but I did not say anything about it until I got out of the tunnel. Well, that was the first tunnel. I don’t have any photos of this tunnel.

KTM_Building

We took another tunnel to get back to the station. This tunnel got us out to the KTM station main entrance. The tunnel was much better than the first one that we took; at least there were lights switched on. There was another man walking with us too, and he walked as fast as he could. He probably knew about the history behind the tunnel’s isolation. None of us knew until one of my colleagues told me about it. I was curious, so I went on Google and searched for the news. My colleague was right; there is a history behind the tunnel’s isolation after all.

Pedestrian tunnesl were built for pedestrians due to the increasing of traffic around the city. The government thought that it was a good idea to help the pedestrians as many offices are located around these busy roads. Unfortunately, most pedestrians choose not to cross these tunnels although surveillance cameras are available in all of these tunnels. A news that shocked the whole country was the rape and murder case, involving a young Indian school girl. She was raped and then brutally killed in one of these tunnels. There are still school children and working adults crossing these tunnels yet the numbers have declined over the past few years. Ladies especially would avoid these tunnels as there were also robbery and snatch theft that occurred here. The tunnels smell like piss and some do not even have lights! (how do you expect a rationale person to walk through it?) I took the risk merely for the experience and thank God nothing happened to me. I will never cross through it if I was alone; I think that’s just stupid, especially when crime rates are getting worse each day. This does not just happen in Malaysia, but also in other countries. Wherever you go, you must always be careful and never take your safety for granted.

pejalan kaki_berita_latest

Surveillance cameras have also proven that not many locals choose to use the tunnels. Most of the pedestrians that cross through these tunnels are amongst tourists who probably never knew about the rape and murder case that happened in one of these tunnels. The government no longer builds pedestrian tunnels at the city since tunnels are not pedestrians’ first choice; they rather cross the road and that is perfectly understandable.

I would like to advise everyone to not cross through these pedestrian tunnels when alone. If you have to go through them, make sure that you walk in groups. As people are getting more inhuman in today’s world, it is wise for everyone to always be careful of his/her surroundings, and I have always trusted and listened to my natural instinct. If you feel that something is wrong, you’re probably right.

Gunung Gading: Home of the Rafflesia

Image

Located in Borneo Sarawak, Gunung Gading is a great place for both nature lovers and jungle trekkers to truly feel the park’s natural surroundings. Home to a range of wildlife such as the civet cat, wild boar, giant squirrels and many more, Gunung Gading is also home to one of the biggest flowers in the world – the Rafflesia.

Rafflesia is a parasitic plant that can be found in Borneo. It is known that there are 17 species of Rafflesia, with some being extinct already. However, 3 species can be found in Borneo Sarawak, which are Rafflesia Pricei, Rafflesia Arnoldi and Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae. The only one that can be found in Gunung Gading is the Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae. Rafflesia

Tourists from all around the world would come over to Gunung Gading to witness the plant blooms. The best time to watch this amazing process is during the wetter months, sometime around November to February. It is best to seek for advice from the park’s staff about the best time to visit Gunung Gading if you wish to watch the plant blooms.

There are waterfalls and streams nearby, where you will get to sit down and relax, surrounded by nature. Those who wish to go for jungle trekking are free to explore the forest, as long as they watch out for themselves as wild animals also live there, but most of them live at the upper slopes of the park’s mountains. There are also villages that surround the park. Therefore, in case of emergency, there is always help nearby.

Post Navigation

Liv Hambrett

Official Blog & Writing Portfolio

THE VIBE 101

DAILY DISCUSSIONS. DAILY EXPERIENCES. DAILY LIFE.

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Pure Comedy Online

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,667 other followers

%d bloggers like this: