I am getting ready early because I am excited and I want to make sure I got all essentials. 🙂
Visa & Passport:
My Visa made it to me in time. If you are Swiss you need a Visa for Vietnam, but not for Hong Kong (as long as you don’t plan to stay any longer than 60 days).
In order to get a Visa you simply download the form on the website of the Vietnam Embassy, fill it out and send it with your Passport and 100CHF to them. It took only one week to get back my passport.
If you are from another country you can always check online if you need a Visa for your planned destination or not. Better be prepared. Another important thing is to check if your passport is valid at least for 6 more month at the time of travel.
Things I pack:
- Handwash soap
- Desinfection for Hands and surfaces
- Travel- Chewing gum for travel illness on a bumpy Bus ride or on a small rocking boat tour 😉
- Thermometer (important if you travel in a malaria region)
- Fenistil ® in case the mosquitos nibble me like in Thailand 😉
- Malarone ® (Malaria drug, needs to be taken if you are feverish)
- Imodium ®
- Motilium ®
- Bioflorina® (Swiss product)
- Merfen ®
- variety of patches
- Paracetamol (important: you should/ must not use any other painkiller, because all the other active substances thin your blood -> not very useful with Malaria)
- patches for blisters
- and personal drugs (for examples: birth control pill, make sure you consider the time difference while taking the pill )
- Sleeping bag
- Silk liner (because it will be very hot and humid so a sleeping bag might be to much)
- Raincover for my backpack (it’s rainy season)
- travel pillow (inflatable)
- Rain jacket
- Microfiber towels
- My old Feiyue (Kung Fu Shoes)
- folden backpack (orange) for Daytrips
- Bowl folden (to wash and cut fruits)
- Swiss Army Knife
- Thin Fleece
Yes, I could just download the map to my smartphone or Ipad, but I like to be old fashioned in this case. I prefer to have a touchable and foldable map. I went for the 1:1,2 Mio map, it covers the indochina region (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia). It says that the map is waterproof and tear proof, thanks your- perfect, will be tested 😉
I also looked through the language books and decided to buy a small and compact one, even tough I already have an app for Vietnamese. It looks very practical. You could also just use your english and get quite far. But I also experienced that in Thailand, as soon as you are out of the city (2-3km are enough) people barely speak English or no English at all. Besides that I think it is only polite if you try to speak and understand a little of the language spoken in this country, I mean it is part of their culture. I also think its fun to learn some phrases and try to use not too widely spread languages. Even though I am not a language talent at all.
The “Point it” book (the one in the middle) can be taken everywhere you go. In an emergency you can always use this and your hands & feet to describe to someone what you need.
I will also be visiting Hong Kong. In Hong Kong they speak Cantonese and Mandarin. During my time in the USA (I lived and worked there) I took private lessons in cantonese for half a year, just for fun. I learned some things and will be able to use some of it but I will be happy I brought this book. But I heard that you get along with English in Hong Kong quite well.
Now I am almost there, in a couple hours I gotta take my bag and head towards Zurich Airport. My flight leaves Zurich tomorrow 15.July 2014 at 1:30pm. Other than expected I am not nervous yet, but for me this is almost normal. I was not even nervous before my final exam.
Everything is packed. I shortened all the PINs for my Maestro or Credit cards to 4 digits, where we usually have 6 digits in Switzerland. This was suggested by my Bank, because in some countries it would not even be possible to enter more than 4 digits even if your PIN is longer.
About two months ago I went to the Tropical Institut in Basel. They provide you with informations about your travel destinations and discuss with you what vaccinations you might should get or what diseases are common in this travel region. For Vietnam they suggest to have a Hepatitis A&B and rabies vaccination, especially if you are Backpacking. I already had Hepatitis A&B vaccinations trough my work with human cell lines in Cancer Research, and I also decided to get the rabies one. Because is you are not vaccinated and you get bitten by a dog that has rabies, you are going to die. If you are in a remote area and you get bitten by a dog and don’t know if he has rabies, you will have to live with the thought that you are going to die until you reach the next hospital or you are literally going to die on the way. And even if you reach the hospital, they do not always have the treatment needed against rabies. Thats why it is much safer to just get vaccinated.
The rabies vaccination is called Rabipur®, Mérieux®.
I needed to get 3 vaccinations, Day 0/ Day 7 or later / and Day 21 or later, important are just the minimal break between the doses. It is also not really cheap, I paid, about 100CHF per dose, but I guess it is worth it.