Published: August 11th 2009August 13th 2009
One of my Áo Dài
Sometimes I bring my Áo Dài (traditional dress) and Nón (conical hat) to travel with me.
It has been 12 years since my first trip as a solo traveler in Vietnam, but the same questions like "Why do you go alone? Don't you feel bored/sad/lonely?" that I was asked all the time have not changed at all. I realize that there are still very few solo Vietnamese travelers and people still have not changed their minds yet about going somewhere without a companion. For most Vietnamese, when you travel alone, it's very boring because you have no one to talk with, or you may be in danger because of the possibility of being kidnapped (no, it's not common in Vietnam), or face many difficulties that you cannot handle on your own. My answer to them all the time was "I cannot sit and wait all my lifetime until someone agrees to go with me. Once I decide the destination that I want to reach, I will determine to go".
In fact, it's very easy and safe for me to travel in Vietnam, as it's my homeland. It's always more difficult to go abroad alone and take care of everything on my own. Sometimes I feel I have a burden on my shoulders before the trips, as
India guide book
I've used Lonely Planet guide books only twice. This thick and heavy India guide book is a present from RomanB, the Moderator of the Thorn Tree travel forum, after I created Vietnam FAQs thread for that website. I also brought this guide book to India.
at some places I still have no air tickets for connecting my flights, plus various concerns like where I can find hotel and food, how I can catch up with bus, plane, train, boat timetable, what if I am sick or lose my money, passport etc.
Every member of my family travels in different ways. My parents love to hang out with people of their own age, so they want the trips that are easy and relaxing. Sometimes they bring cassettes and CDs and organize dancing. They don't like me to travel too much, so they are not happy whenever I inform them I am going to travel again. My sister, who is living in Sài Gòn and working for a Swedish company, is a crazy fan of shopping and she only likes to visit the developed countries. She has been to Singapore more than 10 times, twice to both Europe and the USA. She can spend thousands of US$ just for shopping on a trip. Another sister of mine is married and has a son. She often travels with her husband and son in their car with other friends at weekends, but certainly they cannot go too far.
My father bought this clock for me and it has been my faithful friend for many years. I cannot travel without alarm clock.
For me, the material life is not the most important thing. I don't buy expensive motorbikes or mobile phones or jewelery, I save money for traveling. I also don't mind going to the remote and poor regions (which my sister is never interested in) and I enjoy anywhere I go. I used to stay at a US$2 room in Phonsavan (Laos) or US$100 room in Tokyo, but the hotels are just places to stay at night as I go out all the daytime. There was a time I slept on the floor of a train in China, as the travel agent couldn't get a train ticket for me. Next day some Chinese invited me to join a table with them, although we talked with each other through the guide.
My most scary experience was the bus ride on Highway No. 7 in Laos from Luang Prabang to Phonsavan. I could have been killed by bandits on that day. I also never forget the risks when traveling by truck in the mountains in Nepal, or passing by the dark rice fields with the Cambodian motorbike drivers in Siem Reap, wondering who would rescue me if something may happen. Some
Ricoh film cameras
I've got 3 cameras and all of them are of Ricoh. These two roll film cameras had travelled with me for 9 years until my trip to the Philippines in April 2006. After that I changed to use a digital camera (also Ricoh).
other days I felt unsafe, when standing alone at 5am on a street in Yangon (Myanmar) when it was dark, trying to catch a taxi to the airport, or arrived at Sukhothai and Chiang Mai (Thailand) at 4:30am and went by tuk tuk with local drivers who took me to the guest houses. The worst experience was my serious sickness on the last night in Brunei and I even thought of going to hospital. In Brunei, it's very hot outside, while the aircon inside the shops and restaurants is very cold, so it's very easy to catch cold. Fortunately, I felt better after falling into sleep and next day I could fly to Kuala Lumpur.
One of my funny situations happened on my trip to Hạ Long bay
last year. When our boat stopped at a local floating house for visitors to view how to raise fishes, I asked a local woman to allow me to use a room at her house, so that I could change to wear Áo Dài traditional dress for taking some photos. It was a small dark room without mirror and I had struggled with matching 12 pairs of buttons from neck down to waist, feeling
Myanmar guide book
An overseas Vietnamese in Canadia, who was also a member in the Thorn Tree forum, presented this guide book to me after he travelled in Myanmar. It helped me a lot during my trip in Myanmar in February 2005, especially when I met with some Burmese, who couldn't understand English. The picture on the cover is the famous Golden Rock in Myanmar.
so nervous that the boat may leave without waiting for me. The woman came in to ask me why I was there for a long time and she helped me with the buttons. Problem is that she never wore this dress before, so we had to do it again and again until the 3rd try. My heart was racing so fast when I left that room and I was relieved to see the boat was still there. What if it had left without me? I would have to stay at that floating house and try to find another boat to get back to the harbor.
The great side of traveling alone is that I had the chance to meet and talk with so many helpful travelers and friendly locals, as well as being independent to decide many things and feeling more deeply what happened around me. However, I also think that it is great if we have someone to enjoy beautiful sunset with and share both fun and difficulties on the trips.
Other blogs about my travel experiences: Difficulties on my trips My life during the last decade The people I met when traveling The meaning of life What did I bring home after the trips?
Đây là một đoạn trong bài viết đăng trên
World travel iron
Before every trip, I make a check-list of necessary things to pack. They must be of small size and not heavy. This iron used to travel with me to Egypt, but it's impossible to use in Japan since the voltage in Japan is 110kV.
báo Lao Động về những lữ khách du lịch bụi: “Với những ai đã đi nhiều thì những khó khăn vất vả cũng đáng phải chịu để được sống một mình, hoàn toàn một mình. Với cái cảm giác hoàn toàn cô độc ấy, người ta mới có thể thấy hết được những điều mới lạ, những vẻ đẹp của thiên nhiên, những cảm xúc chợt ập đến trên từng bước đường lữ hành. Chỉ khi thật sự đơn độc, người ta mới có được cái cảm giác của một người đang khám phá thế giới xa lạ. Cũng như những nhà thơ thường chỉ thấy ý thơ chợt đến vào những lúc cô đơn, cũng như chỉ những kẻ lữ hành thực sự mới biết cái thú của việc được đi một mình”.
There are more photos below