Be A Smart Traveller

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Archive for the tag “asia”

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.

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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.

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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! 🙂

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.

Tamilok: Palawan’s Popular Delicacy

TamilokBalot may be very popular in Manila, but in Palawan, Tamilok is it’s most eaten and popular delicacy. The best part about eating Tamilok is that it can be eaten at the side of the beach or even in the jungle. For those who live in big cities, eating such dish is unusual and some even consider it as disgusting. Tamilok may look like a worm, but it is actually a mollusk. This “rotting mangrove wood worm” can either be eaten raw or fried. Try it with chilli sauce or vinegar; delicious.

According to the locals, Tamilok got its name from an incident of two Americans who saw the locals consuming this creature one day. One of them said “Tommy, look!”. After the incident, the locals named this delicacy ‘Tamilok’.

Hundreds missing whilst 283 killed from Typhoon in the Philippines

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A strong typhoon hit the Philippines recently, which resulted to blocked roads and severed communications. Hundreds went missing whilst 283 were killed by the strongest typhoon of the year. Typhoon Bopha, with central winds of 120 kph (75 mph) and gusts of up to 150 kph (93 mph), battered beach resorts and dive spots on Palawan island yesterday, but then weakened as soon as it moved west.

The catastrophic event also hit the southern island of Mindanao, and caused landfall on Tuesday. About 300 were missing. While rescue teams are on a mission to search the missing victims, thousands were placed in shelters. Domestic flights were also suspended on Wednesday. Apart from that, schools, town halls, and clinic were also closed; they became shelters for surviving victims.

Malaysia’s Chinatown

One of the top places to visit when you come over to KL is Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. A lot of foreigners love to visit Petaling Street as the things sold here are reasonably cheap. Most of them were once expensive, but thanks to bargaining, the prices are much cheaper. Bargain and may you get the best price! 🙂

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Poverty in the rural areas of Cambodia

It is true that the Kingdom of Cambodia is a land rich with natural resources; yet, due to war and internal conflicts, the country is now one of the poorest countries in the world. It’s amazing how a rich country like Cambodia has to bear with the effects of social and economic challenges. These problems left a ‘scar’ to the country. 

The poor people make up to almost 4.8 million, with 90% of them living in the rural areas. Most of them rely on agriculture, although about 12% are actually landless. Farmers implement traditional methods to run their farms, although they are aware of the low productivity that they will eventually achieve at the end of the day. Life is hard indeed for almost many. Fishermen are also amongst the poor and women are not given equal access to education, paid employment and land ownership. It is such a disappointment on how today’s women are still treated like women in the older days. To know that these women are not given the rights that they also deserve is very much disappointing, but to find out about the fact that they also have to hold huge responsibilities towards their families if their male family members are killed in conflicts is even more depressing. How do they live? How can they ever improve their lives? 

Due to the lack of education and skills training, most of the locals have less to hope for in lives as there are inadequate employment opportunities around the country. Apart from that, they don’t have enough access to natural resources and when a community is lack of all these, the tendency of having health problems is even higher. All these factors simply cripple economical aspect of the poor families in Cambodia. 

What’s even worse, many young women had to migrate to urban factories and become sex workers in neighbouring countries in order to make a living. HIV is easily spread, although recently the rates seem to have shown a decrease.

 

Jenglot: A mystique creature from Asia

For those of you whom may have watched an Indonesian movie called “Jenglot Pantai Selatan”, the face of Jenglot probably gives you the chill. ‘Jenglot’ is a mysterious creature or vampire that is commonly told in the Indonesian culture and mythology. This creature is as small as a human doll even though it was once a human who meditated in the cave and gained supernatural power, according to the locals. It has a scary looking face that very much resembles the famous Medusa of the Greek mythology.

Indonesia is believed to be the birthplace of Jenglot, Java in specific. These creatures can be found whenever a supernatural ceremony has been performed and they can be crawling in various places, such as the grounds, on a rooftop and even in the trunk of a huge tree. To our surprise, these amazing creatures are actually fed by Jenglot keepers; blood is fed to them, such as human and animal blood. What’s even shocking is that Jenglot keepers can actually buy blood legally from the Indonesia Red Cross! Unlike the type of vampire that sucks blood whenever it has the chance, Jenglot prefers to consume blood whenever it is left alone, out from the sight of human beings. 

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Liv Hambrett

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