How to avoid travel mishaps

How to avoid travel mishaps

This is an update on how to deal with challenging events when you are travelling. I travel solo most of the times and have encountered all the scenarios below.. but it doesn’t mean I won’t travel again despite all those misfortunes.. the world is too beautiful not to see before our mortal time is up and these setbacks should not discourage us from travelling.

At least we know these can happen, so we can all be prepared.

Don’t get caught in the delusion that travellers are always happy and having a fun travelling life.. that will make some of the readers get envious instead of being inspired. Well reality check, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. But some people chose this as a way of life, together with the mishaps that goes with it.

I don’t have the control of your feelings after you read this.. But I do hope it will help you be ready and do necessary steps just in case unfortunate incidents happen to you while travelling:

0. If you arrive in a place that is currently undergoing floods and storms.. I strongly advise you to store lots of food and don’t go out until the storm has subsided. If you feel down because you can’t enjoy the holidays, you can always create ways to have fun indoors. Bored from staying indoors? Join volunteering and aid relief groups, that will give meaning to your holidays.. that’s an extra adventure too. Here’s a video of me and other volunteers trap in a far flung village.. looks exciting ya?




1. If you lost or broke a stuff during travel… learn how not to be too upset about it. I lost a few things during my travels including almost loosing a toenail when I was travelling solo in Mindanao. But while I travel, I have become more and more unattached to stuffs.. I buy inexpensive phones, buy dress in bargain stores.. if I lost them then it doesn’t hurt too much… The downside is some cheap stuff gets easily broken.. Oh what about broken hearts? Wait, I don’t know how to deal with that too. Go ask other experts xD

2. If you get ill while travelling, oh dear, take all measures not to get ill… Get appropriate Hepa shots if you love eating at local shops, rabies shots if you’ll be dealing with crazy dogs while walking around, and mosquito repellents if you want to avoid dengue. Although even if you are traveling in style and being careful, sometimes you really can’t avoid getting sick, so make sure you have enough medicine emergency supplies.. and a doctor or nurse friend on your facebook account just in case you need advise and no one is around to extend a helping hand.. and if you really got ill, please make sure you have travel insurance so you don’t have to pay huge medical bills.

3. And in case you get into an accident, make sure that travel insurance get it’s worth. This is for people with a birthmark on their butt. That’s a way of saying that you’re prone to mishaps.. I don’t have a birthmark on my butt but I’m really prone to misadventures because I’m special. Yeah you can sing – trouble, trouble, trouble.

This makes me think – Is someone voodooing me?


voodoo doll


4. If your ATM card is not working, have backup ATM/Debit/Credit Cards. Better yet, make sure you have enough money ready in your wallet. I really don’t recommend getting a credit card specially if you have an addiction to buying and don’t know how to manage your expenses.. But if one of your ATM is not accepted in a country, then you can try another ATM/Debit/Credit card… if all else fails, make sure you have money on your phone so you can call someone in an emergency. To have a rule of thumb, as much as possible, don’t withdraw your money from an ATM if the country you are in doesn’t have a good reputation to these kinds of transactions.

5. Speaking of money, if you are travelling in Myanmar/Burma, have ready crisp dollar bills.. I’m not sure about the status now but the last time I went, people do not accept dollars that are folded or old..

6. If you encounter harassment on the road.. learn the basics of self defence, or carry self defence tool such as pepper spray. Be sensitive with the culture and don’t go around wearing only a bra and miniskirt in most parts of India and other conservative countries because you might be inviting rape in the eyes of the men.. Good thing I never really experience being harassed to the point of getting raped when I was there, just men looking at the small mammary glands even if I make all the effort to hide it. I’m sure I disappointed them.

7. If your bus or boat gets stranded in the middle of nowhere.. have emergency snacks and water so you can munch on something. This was my smart move when I was travelling solo in Laos. The bus broke down that left us stranded for a very long time… The bus is expected to arrive in Vientiane at early morning and its already lunch time and we’re still on the road! Good thing I brought snacks with me and i was able to take one bite and one gulp every hour.. and was still able to share some to the kid in front of me..


Stranded in Laos


8. If your footwear got broken.. well don’t buy cheap ones specially if you are walking a lot. It happened to me when I was walking along a sleepy posh village in Chiang Mai, Thailand and suddenly, voila! the pretty pink sandals I bought in Hong Kong broke.. and like a stroke of luck (feel the hint of sarcasm?), there was no one else along the road and I don’t know where I am. I walked barefoot for like 10 minutes until I saw a human being. Armed with my basic Thai, I asked for directions on how to go back so I can get another footwear from the house I was staying in. Yeah that’s embarrassing.. it’s okay, they don’t know me there anyway.

9. If you got lost.. make sure you know the number of your hostel/guesthouse/hotel. Buy a local sim so it will be cheaper to call people. Getting lost almost always happen if you are new to a place. It is safe to wander with new found friends but if you’re a true blooded soloista like me sometimes, make sure the place you are exploring is safe. I met a Japanese young lady in Melacca Malaysia almost bursting with tears as she struggle with her English telling me she is lost and don’t even have a map or number of her hotel. It’s a good thing that people in my hostel are very kind to assist her so she can safely go back.

10. If you don’t have clean clothes because there is no time to wash or get changed… at least have the effort to smell good. I have seen lots of travellers wearing the same clothes in 2 or 3 consecutive days because travel schedule is hectic and simply there is no time to wash or change… It’s okay to wear the same clothing but please take pity on your travel companions and make an effort to smell nice.

When I was travelling nonstop from Phonasavan Laos to Chiang Mai Thailand I also wear the same clothes in 2 consecutive days and by the time I was in Non Khai, I was really already filthy.. imagine the horror in my eyes when I boarded a van and it was full of good smelling newly bathe handsome Filipinos!!!

So folks, please be ready when you encounter such mishaps. Currently I’m taking a break from travelling, which means taking a break from collecting misadventures.. so people who love me can breathe..

For those embarking on a new adventure, kindly bookmark this. If you think this won’t happen to you and it did, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. ^_^

Shopping in ShenZhen when traveling in China

Shopping in ShenZhen when traveling in China

Shenzhen, the bordering city to Hong Kong, is just a bus ride/ mtr away. It’s a good hang out and a huge shopping city at a tiny bit more than half the price of Hong Kong since most products are made in China nowadays. One should note that there are four border crossings between Hong Kong and China. Luohu is the most popular by far due to the easy accessible mtr that connects most of Hong Kong that would bring you right to the Chinese immigration entry. Aside from that, tourists from certain countries can obtain a 5 day visa at Luohu border. This list is forever changing. One day, Filipinos were allowed the 5 day Shenzhen visa, the next day they weren’t.

The minute you step into the city of ShenZhen, you’d realize the writings are different. Everything is written in simplified Chinese. Culture, language, education, government, clothing, and people wise, you would feel and see the difference between the people from China and people from Hong Kong. At the moment, there is some turmoil between the people from these two “countries”. If you look around carefully just outside the LuoHu border, you’d see some signs written in Chinese “buy/sell baby milk powder”. This is what a lot of people from Hong Kong are angry about. That people from China would come over to Hong Kong and buy a lot of the imported products in Hong Kong and bring it over to China to resell at a much higher price. Some years back, there was a case of poison in the Chinese made baby milk powder, hence the reason behind mainlanders (Chinese from China) buying or overbuying the products in Hong Kong and causing a shortage. In my opinion, I don’t see a reason why one should hate the mainlanders just because they are buying something from your country and reselling in theirs. It’s called business, isn’t it?


mall in shenzen
LuoHu Commercial City is something you would not miss when you exit the immigration control point. This mall offers almost everything and is a place where a lot of Hong Kong people and tourists would come and spend lots of money. From clothes to knock off brands to shoes, and of course, the massage and the mani/pedi cure at a very decent price. One could easily lose a whole day in a heavenly mall like this. If you are hungry, there’s the food court on the fifth floor too. Now, as for bargaining at a mall like this, the Shenzhen people have seen so many tourists by now, they know how to speak money English. Anything English related to money, they can understand. It’s easier to shop that way, but it means you might not win too much in the bargaining. I once heard a foreign man telling the shop owner “I live in China. I speak Chinese. Don’t try to fool me with your price.”

If you do end up staying until late in Shenzhen, head on over to the two famous bar streets: Huaqiao Town or Ocean World Square of Shekou District of Shenzhen. From what I’ve heard, they got extremely cool shows and lots of foreigners like to stop by there for a drink or two.

The newest fairy at grasya.com is Sarah Tang, a Canadian traveller currently stuck in Hong Kong. Learn more about her in this video:



What to eat in Hong Kong

For those celebrating, Happy Chinese New Year!

Sorry this is late posting because for the life of me I felt that the food that I’ve eaten in Hong Kong are very similar to the Chinese food in the Philippines… Example, Pancit, Taho, and Fishballs :D… yes that’s my friend, Enoch, who have visited me in Antique last year and ate all our coconuts and now it’s payback time for him to introduce me to Hong Kong streetfood.


fishball in Hong Kong
Well, there’s a slight difference from Fishballs in Hong Kong because they are not fried in oil but they are boiled instead.. and the sauce is spicy.

I tasted their very spicy noodles, I ate their rice and braised pork, even went as far as tasting their snake soup.. You know what I found? The food that I have tasted are like same same.. I’m such a lousy food blogger :))


hong kong food

But I knew there’s more to Hong Kong food than the usual HK Chinese food that we eat in Chinese restaurants.. I just need to dig in deeper into the culture.. Too bad my friend went to visit when I was about to leave already.. but lo and behold, the universe sent me someone online and she knows the culture very well! On my next visit, I hope Sarah will still be in Hong Kong, would love to hang out with her and see the authentic culture of the place. So what else is there to do and eat in Hong Kong? Check this out:


Click here on related articles about what to do in Hong Kong. Have fun!

This Grasya is in Hong Kong.. again

The Filipina in charge of the boutique hotel inn asked me – “are you not afraid of getting lost? You know some locals do not speak English? And some you know have strong character they might appear as rude to you but it’s normal for them”

I assured Ate, default name for big sister, to not worry. I’ve been lost in Hong Kong before so I’m used to it already.. well, getting lost has become part of the agenda in my travels already.. I’ve become so used to it that I think I can consider myself an expert on the field.

She laughed at me for not displaying a hint of worry. I thank her for worrying about me though.. at least she cares enough to make sure I’m traveling safe.


boat in hong kong

I’ve been here before so not really keen on going around. I’m just here for a client meeting and to eat exotic food.. Don’t worry my intestines survived the big waves when I was traveling during a tropical depression, it should survive snake soups and other exotic food here. More details of the trip later.

Click here for related articles about What to do in Hong Kong

Free stuff I have discovered in Hong Kong

Free stuff I have discovered in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a very expensive place to travel for many people (that includes me) . But if you plan it right, you may find freebies that not many knew. And because sharing is caring, here’s what I’ve discovered.. Freebies means more freedom to travel in other places so hopefully you’ll find this post useful:

 

1. Free WIFI in the airport. The place is really a nice hang out. I see many travelers hanging out and sleeping there while they wait for their next flight.. you can have that as a backup plan actually just in case you haven’t found a proper place to stay

2. Free coffee and WIFI in my hostel. It’s kinda ironic that I haven’t found any coffee shops with free WIFI though. Boo. Good thing the hostel provided these.. although my old cranky laptop wasnt able to grab the free WIFI due to gadget discrimination errr compatibility issues, but neighbors have free WIFI so that made me happy. I know there might be some security issues with free WIFIs but I have nothing to declare really :P.. I got a great deal at airbnb, and you can get a great deal too, just look around at my travel resource section.

3. Free accommodation. Yes it is possible if you couchsurf although it is really hard to request for a couch in HK, and maybe I just got lucky I got a free stay on my last night. I cooked and bought a wee gift for my host in return though ^_^.. this was my view at night.




 

4. Free entrance at Museums on a Wednesday. I went to the Art and Space museum for free YAY! This would cost something if I go there on other days.

5. Free ride on the longest mid-level escalator in Central station. Ride along while you see places while the escalator moves.. thing is, its only a one way ride.. so you’ll have to walk on the way back :D

6. Free walking tour.. especially when you get lost haha! So dont get annoyed when you end up in the wrong place, your legs will probably have some added muscles for too much walking but at least you’ve seen places that not many people gets to see ;)

 

You can get more ideas here: http://www.back-packer.org/2012/08/7-free-things-to-do-in-hong-kong/

So that concludes my freebies discovery. How about you? What freebies have you discovered in Hong Kong? ^_^

Next Post: Immigration details; How much did I spent in Hong Kong and more budget tips; Travel stories in Macau; Coffee shops; Future travel plans and lots more.

This grasya is in Hong Kong.. and Macau

This grasya is in Hong Kong.. and Macau

I’m currently traveling in Hong Kong.. a much needed break from spending long times in the mountains. I didnt go to some usual touristy areas like Disneyland but I think going to other places in the country is more awesome. Plus visiting nearby Macau, is much more awesome. I think I’m doing a great achievement already :D *pats self at back*

 

(Note: not many people knew that Hong Kong and Macau are not really countries although they have their own money currency and immigration system, that includes me. Really confusing. But hey now I know :P)

Here’s the draft of what I did in Hong Kong so far, I’ll try to make a much more detailed blog post with lots of pictures when I get much more settled to write.

Day One
1. Hangout at the airport. Free aircon. Free WIFI. You can live there actually.
2. Go to Langtau island to ride the cable car. If you ride the regular cable car for one way for 90 HK Dollars, and ride the bus afterwards, you’ll be able to save than buying the 2 way ride.. but if you love cable cars that much, then 2 way rides back and forth are worth it.
3. Familiarization of the city. It’s great that the MTR train is easy to use here.

Day Two
1. Macau for a day to see St Paul ruins




2. City tour in Macau (because we got lost)
3. Met awesome people which includes:
– a Korean tourist, we went to the ruins together. He’s going to the casino to play but forgot to pay me the bus ticket which I paid earlier because he’s got no change. Well he was my map reader so I guess its okay.
– couple of Pinoy DH traveling to Macau, they helped us gather our change when bus drivers are being rude. It was great to have a conversation with them on their lives during the bus travels too
4. Met up with my couch surfer and taught me some local customs and food.
5. Went shopping and saw the cutest dog with the longest eyelash *drools*

Day Three
1. Met up with awesome people in the hostel and talked about German Au Pairs and Filipino nannys xD
2. Lost in the city. Woo hoo. Good thing a Brit guy was traveling around with me to carry my wee but heavy backpack. You’re an angel dude ^_^.. go get that girl you met in Dubai! ^_^
3. Met Antonella, whom I havent met for 10 years! And we catch up with life.. time fries, *sigh*
4. Visit the art and space museums.
5. Coffee hunting. Cant find one that offers free WIFI. Boo.
6. Cooked turon for my super awesome couch surfer host

Day Four.

1. Was set to visit the walled city but had to work online in the morning and did mystery shopping in the afternoon so wasn’t able to go. Boo.
2. Toured the malls in Central :D.. I’ve upgraded my shopping skills from window shopping to mystery shopping. How cool is that.
3. Rode the longest escalator in the world, the mid-level escalator in Central station.. thing is it’s only 1 way route and you have to walk if you want to go back. Or go down the stairway and explore other streets too.
4. Went to Sheun Wan and explored the area, and saw some temples and some pretty art stores.

Hong Kong is kinda expensive though. I’m really afraid to count down my expenses later, i might get sad! So for now, I keep happy thoughts and document them not just in my memory but in this blog. ^_^