Destination X: On jackfruit curry and kindness in a strange land.
The location may be a mystery, but the adventure’s universal. Anywhr’s travel series, Destination X, recounts the adventures of Anywhr travellers, while keeping the location a mystery. Hint: It is not in South East Asia. ;)
We sit down with travel buddies Xinyee and Jeslyn, as they recount their experience of amiable strangers, perilous tuk tuk rides, and the weirdest things the gals put in their mouths during their 1-week Anywhr Experience .
Anywhr: First things first - Are you girls constant travel buddies?
Jeslyn: Yes, in a way. We’ve been to four countries together: Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Anywhr: So, tell us about your travel quirks. If you had to evaluate each other, what would be the other person’s best and worst travel habits?
Jeslyn: (To Xinyee) I got your best but don’t have your worst.
Xinyee: Jeslyn’s best is that she will entertain me; not everyone can entertain my nonsense. It’s good to travel with someone and have someone to talk to, be it a friend or the locals. Having someone to talk to is very important… [puts on a theatrically touched voice] And someone to fall asleep with.
Jeslyn: [Laughs] Gross
Xinyee: Her worst is her fear of insects.
Jeslyn: And my farting?
Xinyee: No, your farting is okay. That’s love. [To the interviewer] Write that down ok? That’s love.
Jeslyn: Xinyee’s best trait is that she always brings everything along, in a big backpack. She also takes care of everything and is also always checking to make sure that everything is okay.
Like, “Eh the door got lock or not? The bag got zip or not? Need to bring ziplock for this one, later got water go inside your camera…eh you got bring spare batteries, got bring the charger, tissue, wet tissue, sunblock?”
*You may also wish to read about: Top 5 Survival Tips for your first Solo Trip
Anywhr: And what’s your worst trait, Xinyee?
Xinyee: My worst [travel habit] is that I’m quite easily annoyed
Jeslyn: Yah, but not annoyed by me. Like if the food’s not nice, she will be unhappy for the whole day. Oh another thing bad about her is that she doesn’t trust anyone. The first tuk tuk we got on tried to overcharge us, and after that she was like oh my god let’s avoid all the tuk tuks. And whenever anyone smiles at her or talks to her, she thinks they are trying to cheat her money.
Xinyee: Yeah, I always think that whenever someone is too nice to me, they want something from me. That’s the other bad thing about Jeslyn - She trusts everybody.
Anywhr: What concerns did you have prior to your trip?
Xinyee: The language barrier.
Jeslyn: But it was not a problem lah.
Xinyee: Yeah, we thought we would be going to the rural parts of Thailand or Vietnam at first. Then we saw the weather in the Day 3 email and thought it was in the mountainous regions in China. So there was this joke we had, that we would be sent to China to pluck peanuts in Shandong. Laughs.
Anywhr: Before travelling with Anywhr, what was the most adventurous thing you did?
Jeslyn: Everytime we travel together, we say that we’re going to do the most YOLO things. But we never end up doing them.
Xinyee: We went kayaking in Krabi. Which was adventurous for me because I can’t swim and have had an experience where I almost drowned. Other than that that’s all, we’re very boring one.
Jeslyn: When I went to Bangkok alone, I walked on the streets alone, and I slept in the room alone. Which was very scary for me already lah.
Anywhr: Tell us a little more about your Anywhr trip. Was not being able to prepare a challenge?
Jeslyn: We didn’t have time to Google about the location and things to do, so we just went YOLO.
Xinyee: We hopped into a random tuk tuk and he just brought us everywhere. We didn’t intend to go to some sightseeing spots, but he took us there anyway and we just went.
Xinyee: I liked how Anywhr planned a bus trip in our multi-city journey, and not all just all train rides, as we got to experience how the locals travelled from places to places at a very low budget.
During our 5-hour bus ride [to the next city], the bus attendant even asked two locals who were seated to give up their seats for us. The roads were pretty bumpy in the mountains, and I guess they were thinking, “These two girls confirm cannot survive [the ride].”
*Related Post: 4 Simple Reasons why you must take a Grad Trip
Anywhr: How did your Anywhr trip compare to your usual trips?
Xinyee: For usual trips we can plan a lot and research: what we want to do everyday and where to go. You only go to all the touristy places, and not the local places. But with Anywhr, we had to explore, and find places to travel to.
Jeslyn: During our regular trips, we usually go to touristy places…and the people there will ask you to book a package…book this book that, tour agencies trying to sell you stuff.
But at [Destination X], we had to rely on the locals a lot and ask them for suggestions: Where to eat, where to go, what to eat. Even Google didn’t have much [information on the destination]. And there were no touristy signs at the attractions; we didn’t even know that was an attraction. Like when I was in Krabi, everyone was trying to tell you to do this and this, and many signs up for tourists for tour packages.
Xinyee: Our Anywhr trip really made us explore more. And talk to the locals. You even have to talk to the bus conductor to let you know where to alight, because there are no signs. And he will be like ‘okay you get down here.’
But the people were all very nice, and helping us.
Anywhr: What did you love most about the trip?
Xinyee: The people there. They are very nice, very helpful.
Jeslyn: I thought that everyone who’s nice to you is trying to cheat your money?
Xinyee: (Laughs) Yeah, but they are very nice. They are very helpful. When you ask questions, they will come back to you with directions like, “This is not the right train, it’s the next train you have to take.”
Jeslyn: Also, when the people there help you, they’ll try to help you till the end. They really care about you reaching your destination. Like this teashop uncle we met, he took our number because we were a bit lost and we told him tomorrow we are taking the train to our next destination. So he took our number and sent us the timetable.
I thought he would just say ‘bye bye’ and that would be the end of it. But when we got to our next destination, he even texted me to ask if we reached safely and if we had lunch.
Anywhr: What’s the most unexpected adventure you guys had during the trip?
Jeslyn: Taking a tuk-tuk up to [Ed: Specific location omitted…it’s somewhere up high].
Xinyee: We wanted to catch the sunrise, so we waited for the driver at 4am by the streets, which was dark and had no lights. It was dark and the roads were eerie, and the tuk-tuk had to make many steep U-turns up the narrow mountain roads. We looked out of the window and it was so steep. So if he missed even one stop during his turns, we would probably just fall into nothing and die there, and nobody would know.
Jeslyn: I think that was the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done. My mum would kill me if she found out.
Anywhr: What’s the strangest thing you put in your mouth during your trip to Destination X?
Xinyee: Fresh cow’s milk coffee. I poured the milk into my coffee, and it smelled like raw cow’s milk and there were curds on top. I couldn’t take the smell.
Jeslyn: Everything I ate there was weird. There was jackfruit curry, but it was quite nice. When we saw the jackfruit in the curry, we thought it was chicken and we were very happy. But it turned out to be jackfruit.
*Read about other Travel Tips, Guides, and Experiences here at: PROJECT #GOANYWHR
Anywhr: What was the most surprising thing you discovered about the location?
Jeslyn: We really didn’t expect the scenery to be so beautiful. Before that I thought [Destination X] was very boring, because like nobody go one. And I liked that there were not many tourists.
Xinyee: The nature. There were a lot of mountains, and good locations for hiking.
Anywhr: If you could take one thing back from the trip, what would it be and why?
Xinyee: The three favourite things we had there: Jam biscuits, a local lime juice drink we had by the roadside once and could not find it anymore, and ice-cream from a neighbourhood playground.
In Singapore we don’t see metallic frames for playgrounds anymore, and when we saw that we got very excited. We spotted it first when we saw a dinosaur sculpture at the playground, and we got the tuk-tuk driver to take us there on the way back from sightseeing... Sorry we’re very lame!
When we were there we just felt very happy. When we were playing there, the tuk-tuk driver was watching over us… like a father.
Jeslyn: I would bring back the kindness of everybody there.
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