Finally, my mother, a senior citizen, was able to travel out of the country last month. We did not do many activities since we don’t want her to be too tired as it’s normal for elders but we still managed to travel and visited different places in 2 countries.
We traveled to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and the golden triangle in Thailand. Then we moved and went around Hanoi, Hoa Lu Tam Coc, Bai Dinh Trang An and saw awesome mountain formations that looked like El Nido Palawan.. we skipped Halong Bay because everybody goes there.
The 3 weekend trip might be a lot for some elderly but most of what we did were food trips and we preferred hotels when looking for places to stay in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or Hanoi.. so for restless young travelers, it’s not much of an adventure.
Nevertheless, it still was an adventure for my mom since she rarely get out of the house nowadays.
These are tips and observations that I managed to capture while we were traveling. Hope those who are in the stage of planning to travel with parents or elder people, read and hopefully you’ll get some good information:
1. Senior citizen 20% discount is only applicable in the Philippines, unless someone amends the law to make the rest of the ASEAN nation adopt this best practice *cough*
2. Prepare them about what food to expect when they travel.. For Filipinos, tell them beforehand that there are no Jollibee in some places. We were at an expensive restaurant eating my favorite sushi when my mom blurted out – “let’s not go to this place anymore, how come food are not delicious and there are no Jollibee here.” She did not even care how I invested quite a large amount on my favorite food xD
3. Make sure you have a link to the live streaming of their favorite telenovelas in case they miss it. Good thing my mom, although a telenovela fan, did not miss her favorites when we were traveling.. But I have a friend whose mom became cranky when she found out we did not have a television in the place where we were staying in Tagaytay. So to the children of these kinds of parents.. please be prepared. ^_^
4. Do not make them walk a lot unless they want to. Although to be honest, we saw elder people jogging along the streets of Chiang Mai.. I wonder how were they able to maintain such impressive active lifestyles.
5. If you make them walk a lot, and they get cranky and get heatstroke, make sure you have insurance. Well.. reality check.
On the other hand, aside from not being impressed on that expensive restaurant, there are a few insights from my mom that I think is worth noting. Here are a few:
1. People in this region are slender.. Even pilots are very petite which reminds me of the book – The Little Prince. So lesson learned is don’t be fooled by the thin figure.. they might look malnourished but you may not know they are actually rich.. I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about slim pilots xD
2. Noodles.. big noodles, white noodles, dry noodles, noodle soup.. NooOodLes galore. That’s what we observed in Hanoi. We also noticed people like to eat raw vegetables in Thailand and Vietnam.. guess that contribute to the slender figure? For a change, this picture does not show noodles :D
3. Country divisions are interesting, you just ride a bus, or a boat, you’re already in another country. Filipinos in particular find this interesting because we are surrounded by sea, so if you want to go to a neighbouring country, you have to travel far… In Thailand, we just went to Golden Triangle, and we are immediately in the center of 3 countries Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.
4. We also noticed how tourists are very casually dressed.. some of them just brought random plastic bags that seems like going to the wet market to buy veggies or meat.. I think the secret is to dress down like the locals to not get attention of kidnappers..
5. There were actually rude people including a policeman inside the train and rude restaurant waiters in Bangkok; and the rude hotel staff in Hanoi.. probably because we’re Asian too and do not have the white privilege.. We could have avoided that if we just go via tour trips where we’ll be treated nicely like the proper tourists in a bubble but we wanted to do what the locals do so we rarely did tours while traveling around. This way, we have captured genuine reactions of people.
To conclude, there were nice and not so nice aspects of traveling. It is rather annoying when friends and some family members always think traveling is fun. I’m talking about my reality.. and most likely it’s reality to every normal person too. But nevertheless, like the yin and yang, such is life.. and we don’t focus on the annoyance but the bliss that travel has to offer.. and I’m happy my mom just experienced it too…
How about you? Do you have any suggestions/additions to the tips and insights above too? Share them away and let us learn from each other.