Be A Smart Traveller

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Archive for the tag “travel tips”

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)


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.


Travelling by bus in the Philippines

ImageFor budget travellers, taking the bus for a road trip is certainly the most preferable as it is cheap and convenient. It may not be as convenient as the taxi, but you get to sit comfortably and pay for a bus ticket which is much cheaper than a standard taxi fare. There are lots of buses to choose from, from luxury liners to simple buses with air-conditioning and small TVs. You can also choose to travel by a cheaper bus service, but I do not recommend it if you can’t stand the country’s heat!

The express buses are normally for those who cannot afford to travel by plane although there are some middle-class citizens who would travel by bus to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the country. I would travel by bus to enjoy the view too; I should see trees and clouds, rather than just clouds. As many bus companies in the country offer charting services, travelling by bus is also a great choice for those who go out in groups for special trips. Not only will travellers get to enjoy the country’s natural beauty, they’ll also get to save more on petrol since driving in today’s world is very expensive. If you are going for a long journey, try to avoid yourself from drinking too much; otherwise, you may need to ask the bus driver to stop you here and there just for the sake of going to the bathroom. Do some research on the bus schedule prior to your departure.

Wherever you go, it is important for you to practise safety precautions in case of emergency. Here are some safety tips:

(i) Always inform your friends and family about your whereabouts

(ii) Jot down the phone number of the bus company and share it with those you trust, such as your family members or close friends

(iii) Do not expose your money or talk about it in public (money brings evil to some)

(iv) Avoid wearing expensive jewellery. Dress simple. You’re on a holiday after all

(v) Make sure you have small change with you. Coins will come in handy, especially if you need to make important calls by public phones

(vi) Don’t dress provocatively as it may draw unwanted attention. There are also some regions in the country that take dressing etiquette seriously

Travelling for long hours can be pretty tedious. Some people find sleeping enjoyable whilst some do not. Try some of these tips to keep you company:

(i) Take an MP3 player with you

ImageListening to music can entertain you while you observe the country’s surroundings, or even better, put you to sleep! Be sure to charge your MP3 player before you get on the bus. Most music gadgets these days can run for 2 hours, or more, depending on their battery life span.

(ii) Read a book

Reading book may sound boring to some, but you’ll enjoy it even more once the story gets more exciting. I am not a bookworm, but there are times when I enjoy reading novels and short stories (simply to find out the ending of the story). Reading one book won’t kill, but it would help you to kill time 🙂

(iii) Talk to the person next to you

talk on the bus

You may not be able to talk to the person throughout the journey, but this is the least that you can do to entertain yourself, especially when the journey is about to begin. A simple introduction of yourself can potentially lead you to a continuous and exciting conversation

(iv) Watch something

Most long journey buses would have a small TV in it. Whatever you see on TV, watch it! When I was on my way to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, I actually watched 3 movies in a row. I couldn’t sleep like the others. Hence, watching TV was the only thing that I had to do to keep me entertained throughout my 7 hours road journey.

(v) Play Sudoku

As most roads tend to be bumpy, drawing or writing in the bus can be pretty annoying. However, playing Sudoku only requires you think and jot down numbers on the question’s empty boxes. How hard can it be anyway? If you know how to play Sudoku, consider this idea and try it. If you have never played it, ask a friend who knows how to play it to teach you. It’s fun! If the game makes you sleepy afterwards, go to sleep; a great remedy for sleeping I would say. 🙂

Travel tips in Saudi Arabia


1.      When you arrive at Saudi Arabia, be sure to be greeted by your sponsors, friends or family members.

2.      Always greet people with “As-salam-alaikom”, which means “Peace be with you”. When you are greeted with “As-salam-alaikom”, say “wa alaikom as-salam”, which means “And peace be with you”.

3.      Remove your shoes when entering a living room or holy places.

4.      It will be useful to always behave like the locals.

5.       Learning Arabic will very much help you around the country, even in working out a great relationship with the locals.

6.      Try not to talk with the opposite sex if possible, unless you both know each other.

7.      Do not cross your legs or show the undersides of your feet when talking to someone.

8.      Respect their culture although they may be strange an unusual to you.

9.      Do not raise your voice when talking and avoid loud conversations.

10.  Women are required to wear Abaya when going out in public.

Travel tips in Vietnam

Some useful tips when travelling to Vietnam:


Travel tips in Vietnam:

  1. Dress appropriately. You don’t have to show too much skin; after all, most Vietnamese dress up conservatively. Dressing up provocatively will only lead to unwanted stares by the locals.
  2. Greetings are important. Always address someone politely, especially the ones much older than you. Politeness is a value one must always take with, whether locally or internationally.
  3. When visiting holy places such as the Pagodas, dress up properly. If you are unsure of what to wear, follow the locals and feel free to ask around too.
  4. Drink enough water. You don’t to bring a big bottle with you; there are many vendors out there selling drinks and mineral water. If you carry a backpack with you, perhaps take a small bottle with you.
  5. Always take out your shoe before entering the homes of the Vietnamese. Wearing a shoe inside the house is considered rude. Bear in mind that the Asian lifestyle is different from the Westerners.

Mah Boon Krong Sho


Visit Mah Boon Krong (MBK), one of Thailand’s most popular shopping centres visited by both tourists and locals. There are over 2000 shops here and 130 eating establishments over eight floors that sell almost everything, from clothes to electronics. When shopping here, don’t forget to also bargain for the best deals!

Fake handbags and clothes are also available here, but be sure to seek for help from the shop owner as they are not always on display. Make sure that the prices of the fake bags that you intend to buy are reasonable and don’t forget to walk with your Tourist Discount Card from one of the information desks on the first and second floors. Discounts may vary from 5% to 30%.
When you are tired of shopping, you can always stop by at the food court called the Fifth Avenue on the 5th floor of the building.


Travel tips when travelling overseas

Travel tips:

1. When travelling overseas, make sure you snap as many photos as possible! Store these pictures in your external hard disk to ensure that you have enough space to store new pictures.

2. Instead of making calls from your hotel room, why not use phone cards or better, a LocalSIMKad™ of your destination!

3. Make sure you have enough cash and do keep your cash and credit cards in a secured place.

4. Before leaving your hotel room, double check the things under your bed; you’ll never what is left behind.

5. If you wish to wash your undergarments, it’s better to wash them manually using your hands and the bathroom basin available as it is much cheaper than sending it to the hotel’s laundry service.

Travelling with your dog


Leaving dog at home is not very pleasant for some dog lovers as they are concern about their dog’s well-care. Some would take their dogs with them when travelling abroad. I personally would travel with my dog too even if it means I will have to travel with responsibilities; I have to take care of it if I choose to take it along with me. If you are going through this dilemma, be sure of what to do. Dogs after all, are almost like little children that need to be given extra attention; the difference is that dogs can take care of themselves better than little children.

Taking your dog for a vacation isn’t a bad thing at all if the whole family enjoys its company. As long as you treat it like a family, your holiday will be a great one! Before you take it out for a vacation, make sure you send your dog to the vet for a check-up; perhaps send it for vaccinations and a groom session. Always bring enough dog food for your dog such as the pedigree. You can buy more at the nearest pet shops in the country of visit. A crate is essential to keep your dog safe in the car and it is required if you are travelling on an airplane. Choose a crate with good quality to ensure your dog gets the best comfort and security. Some airlines will not transport pets during extreme hot and cold weathers, so be sure to ask the airlines first if you wish to travel with your dog.


Like us, dogs also need identification. Failure to do so will cause your dog to get caught by the animal control, so be sure to put on a collar around its neck. The collar must have an identification tag that displays the dog’s name, home phone number, and a valid proof of rabies shots. Another useful tip is to always keep a photo of your dog.

Taking your dog on a car trip would probably excite it, especially when it gets to put out its head out of the car window, where it gets to see the beautiful views and feel the fresh air. But, bear in mind that this could be quite dangerous for both of you. If you are going to let it do that, make sure it is watched carefully to prevent unwanted accidents. Always tell your kids not to annoy the dog while travelling in the car because like humans, dogs can be quite moody sometimes. Nobody likes to be annoyed, so why annoy the dog?

Staying in a hotel would probably be a problem for you as many hotels do not allow pets. Please ask the management first before you book the room. If you are allowed to take your dog with you, make sure that it doesn’t make too much noise as it will distract the other guests. Try not to leave it alone in the room because they would bark when left alone.



Tourist Police
If you are lost, look out for the tourist police officers. They wear dark blue shirts and trousers and the letter “I” (information) on a red blue badge on their breast pocket. Don’t be shy, just ask them and they will assist you!


Public Holidays
Malaysia has the most holidays due to the diversity of ethnicity so some of these festive seasons are declared as public holidays! It is best to check the dates with the nearest Tourism Malaysia Office before you plan your trip so that you won’t miss any of these unique festivals! There are a lot to see, so be sure not to miss it!


School Holidays
There are five term breaks in the year for schools throughout Malaysia and they vary from state to state. However, they fall roughly during the later part of the months of January (1 week), March (2 week), May (3 weeks), August (1 week), and October (4 weeks). Check out for the school holiday packages here in Malaysia!


Bottled mineral water can be found almost everywhere, so take a bottle with you wherever you go to avoid dehydration since Malaysia is hot and can be congested at times.


It’s best to wear light clothing. If you’re going to enter mosques and temples, do wear long sleeves and loose pants.


Travel tips when travelling to Saudi Arabia


Going to Saudi? Make sure you are aware of its local laws & latest news updates!

When travelling to Saudi, you should always be alert to regional developments. It’s good to know what is going on in the country. Bear in mind that alcohol is strictly forbidden. So show some respect when you are visiting this country. As for the women, you are required to wear an abaya, regardless of where you come from, whether you are a local or foreigner.

It is also best to know the best time to visit the country. The best time to visit Saudi Arabia is between November and February.  Unlike the other areas, the Asir mountain areas and Taif are cooler all year. If you are not a Muslim, it is best not to come during Ramadhan as it will be very difficult for you to get a daytime meal since there won’t be any restaurants open during the day, unless you don’t mind to fast along 🙂

Travel tips when travelling abroad


Always be alert wherever you are, especially at night because armed theft of tourists can occur & is more likely late at night.

Bring extra money; bring how much you may need only. Don’t expose your valuables

Always use motors to get around the city if it’s already late at night. It’s best to have a driver that can take you around. Try going out in groups too

Before travelling abroad, it’s important for you to try to learn the local language’s basics first

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Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany



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