Sometimes I ask myself, ‘Why am I traveling, again?’. Life would be so much easier if I’m just staying at home. Seriously. It is great to go out and see the world, but sometimes I wish I’m at home. I’m sharing five moments, among many others.

Riding bus with chickens...

Sitting in the overnight train whilst people are smoking, spitting, yelling and peeing at the same time.

I seriously think recurring train and bus ride in China reduce my lifespan. Smoking, spitting, yelling, peeing and the stress comes while witnessed the scene… Indoor smoking was shocking in China from the beginning, but if it is way worse when it happened in train and bus. I had nowhere else to escape. Just sit and breathe through my handkerchief.

With the intensive smoking, spitting is following after. I understand; if you smoke, you need to spit. I get it. But why it has to be on the floor, with so loud noise? And yelling; it’s how they talk. Just there’s a lot of yelling.

Thankfully, I only saw children peeing, not grownups. Surprisingly, even though the toilet was right next door, Chinese children didn’t use the toilet. They just went right on the floor. If you have been to China, you’d know the pants with bit hole in the butt. Pee-pee in the street is quite well a known scene in China but if you are standing right next to the toilet, I think parents have to tell them it’s time to use the toilet. How could they learn?

Oh, the smell and the stress. Why am I traveling again?

When I had the most horrifying stomachache followed by millions of trips to the toilet overnight.

Muang Noi, Laos; one of the most peaceful places in Laos, I had the worst stomachache. We were supposed to stay three days in the little town of no electricity and left the next morning. The night before, I woke up with the sharp pain in the stomach. And it followed by a frequent trip to toilet all night. I was actually really scared; thought I might have more serious thing than just simple a tummy ache. I’ve never been seriously ill before, and this was the closest experience I had. I didn’t eat any suspicious food and I mostly drank bottled water. To this day, I have no idea what I got so sick.

So, I stayed in bed for a day, had a sip of water every 10 minutes. I didn’t have the courage to take an hour-long slow boat to Ngong Kiew. Who knows what could happen on that boat. The last thing I want to do was using the river as my personal toilet.

When I kicked out from the guesthouse because I was a foreigner.

A couple times it happened. Well, more than a couple; let’s just say several times. In China, the accommodations have to be registered in the government’s system if they want to have foreign guests. But if you are just passing by one or two days, they might just have you without registering you in the system.

A few times Stephen and I denied staying few places just because we are foreigners. And one time they actually accepted us and then threw us out after we pulled out our passports. I understand if they misunderstood that I’m Chinese but what about Stephen? Do they honestly think that he’s Chinese? Anyway, the problem was, the cities that happened were usually in the middle of nowhere; it means there would be no hotel that legitimately registered for foreign tourists. It’s not pleasant to knock door to door with two heavy backpacks on and constantly denied, at 1 am.

In the bus from Hue to Da Nang. Packed like sardines

When I had go to 573km for one day to get a new visa.

No one forced me to do so, but I did it to just stay in Vietnam for two weeks longer. I thought I was going to jail. More than half of my time in China and Vietnam, I was worried about my visa situation. Somehow, Asian countries are harsher to fellow Asians. I have no idea why. China didn’t let me stay in China more than 30 days in a row and Vietnamese drew a line at 15 days. There’s no way to get more days, not before leaving and coming back to the country. So I did. It wasn’t fun. It was one of the most horrifying days of my life.

When I got hit by a rock by Chinese taxi driver.

Literally, a Chinese taxi driver threw a rock at me. Chinese people hated me. Basically, she was angry that I was fooling her by speaking English, not Chinese. She took us into her taxi when we showed her the address to the new hostel, and apparently she didn’t know where she was going. She drove around for 10 minutes to ask around where this place is. The money is going up and up, and we just decided to get off there and walk to find the hostel. The meter was showing 33 yuan, but we just paid her 30 yuan since we wasted more than 10 minutes.

She started yelling and aggressively pulling my bag. She was about to hit me, and I kind of ran away. Stephen was there with me, but she was staring straight at me. I heard the world for ‘foreigner’ and ‘Chinese’ during the yelling. The security guard at the building came out while she was yelling in front of me; he understood the situation and tried to calm her down. She wasn’t going to calm down at all. The security guard escorted her to her car, and we were heading to our hostel. She yells something behind and throws a big concrete piece at me. It hit my ankle, left me a scar and a bruise.

27 thoughts on “I Don’t Know Why I’m Still Traveling – Top 5 Worst Moments”

  1. Oh my goodness. I feel so sorry for you cos the crazy taxi driver threw a rock at you. It really didn’t have to end up that way. I wonder what was she thinking. Anyway, I could relate to some of your ‘mishaps’. I was in Medan, Sumatra. I bought a bus ticket to Samosir Island thinking it was an express bus meaning from point A to Point B. It wasn’t air condition but it was ok. The journey was supposedly 4 hours. Hell broke loose when a guy behind me was high on drugs. I could tell from his eyes. I could only imagine if he would point a knife at me but that didn’t happen. Thank God. At the same time he was smoking and I had to cover my nose. He wasn’t the only one smoking though. Then, the bus stopped at many places to pick up more passengers. Only then I realised the driver wanted to earn more cash by picking the more passengers. 2 hours later, we were still not out of city. By then the bus which was meant for 32 ended up with nearly 60 passengers if I could remember clearly. People were sitting on each other’s lap. Some were standing. What made it worse was the amount of luggage they brought with them. It wasn’t exactly lugagges. It was huge rice sacks containing food items and dried seafood. The smell wasn’t pleasant at all. What was supposed to be a 4 hour journey ended up with 9 hrs of torture. I was the only foreigner. It was a good experience though. Lol.

  2. I had the same experience in a guesthouse in China. She showed me the room, and seemed perfectly willing to accept me until I pulled out my Canadian passport. Then she indicated that she couldn’t. I thought the same thing…I don’t exactly look Chinese, so what was she thinking until then? Maybe there are some foreign nationalities that are better to accept without registration than others? But then why didn’t she ask me straight away where I was from? Confusing.

    These are obviously the low points of travel, but the good thing is, there are usually more than enough great moments to make up for it!

  3. WOW! What a psycho bitch! I can’t believe she threw a rock at you… I woulda dropped the gloves and dropkicked her to the face! 😛 (or at least that’s what the tough side of me says she would like to do 😉 haha)

    Also… i had campylobacter enteritis (food poisoning worse than salmonella) and was hospitalized for 5 days in Melbourne – so I know what it’s like to have a bad stomach ache ruin an experience. To this day I still havent experienced Melbourne properly.

  4. I can definitely sympathize with a lot of the dramas associated with traveling (like having food poisoning, dealing with the yelling and spitting, and traveling all over the place to get a visa) but wowzers, I’ve never had a rock thrown at me. That definitely sounds pretty aggressive – sorry to hear you had to go through that! Travel does come with a lot of stressors, but at the end of the day, it makes us stronger and better able to cope with everyday situations!

  5. Its really strange how you experience some of the worst experiences in your life while travelling yet you can’t keep yourself from the road!
    Had some daunting experiences in turkey and souther africa as well…. 0.o

  6. “Somehow, Asian countries are harsher to fellow Asians”
    Please read what I wrote in your other entry.
    We give Koreans visa-FREE entry, want more can you ask for?
    Westerners must pay for a visa or they get deported!
    Even if you had stayed past two weeks, they would have just let you go.
    I know Korean people living in Ho Chi Minh City who drive their own car and when they pulled over, the police just let them go when they find out they are Korean.
    Do you know how much trouble Vietnam would be in if Korean government complain that we mistreat their citizen?
    South Korea is one of the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam of course we don’t want to anger you guys!
    I hope you enjoyed your time in my homeland and please come back!

    1. Because I got a free 2 weeks visa, I couldn’t get a month visa before I entered Vietnam without any document better than ‘traveling’. Because I got two 2 weeks free visa, I couldn’t extend my stay for another 2 weeks without any invitation. If I wanted the invitation from travel agency or something, it was very expensive. The extension office was 2 hours away from the city, I couldn’t come back the next day. If I overstayed more than my visa, I would’ve paid 200 USD, or more. You don’t know what will happen. I wrote this post just in the traveler’s perspective. No one treated me special just because I had a Korean passport.

  7. Wow, those are really hard moments. I know the feeling of being lost and helpless in foreign country and it can be quite overwhelming.
    But hey, if you ever have the chance go mealsharing ( ). It’s a site I made with some friends to enable people to share home cooked meals with locals. It’s a really “feel good” experience. Hopefully it would make up for some of the bad moments!
    I’m in Berlin, if you ever come around here… I just learned how to make chocolate chip cookie dough truffles! (chocolate always makes me feel better about the world). It would be awesome to host you guys!

  8. Ow. These are some horrifying stories… But I think you know the answer to why you still travel: because the positive experiences way, way outnumber the negative ones, and may it always stay that way! 🙂

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