Thailand Motorcycle – Tears In The Land Of Smiles

Thailand Motorcycle Misery in the jungleThailand motorcycle – Drama in paradise

I was breathing sand and sweating salt while squeezing the brakes as strong as I could. If I would loose my grip for the smallest of seconds I would most likely slide into the cliff and disappear for ever. Swallowed by large green leaves and digested by the dark moist soil.

Stranded in the jungle

My first solo journey into the wild was an adventures mix of great experiences and miserable moments. There were plenty of moments when I relaxed and plenty of moments when I got in trouble. In this article I will tell you about a particular bad situation, which made me cry for my mommy in the land of smiles. It all happened when I got stranded with my motorcycle in the “jungle” of Ko Tao, Thailand.

Making a wrong choice

I had rented a motorcycle in town and then I wanted to drive back to my bungalow before sunset. However, to get there I had to drive trough a rough, sandy road full of huge stones, sticks and coconuts. Steep cliffs on both sides of the road and the pending darkness of the evening made it even more of a challenge. But of course I made the decision to go anyway.

The beginning of the end

Somehow, somewhere I made a wrong turn, and that was the start of a miserable night. It got dark and the road became a real challenge. On top of that my motorcycle started to break down. Sprocket and chain decided to separate while I was struggling on a steep and sandy hill. I dropped to the ground and it cost me all my strength to keep the motorbike from sliding down into the cliffs.

However, I managed to get the chain back on the gear. Only to experience the same situation after a few more meters, the chain snapped lose again. I had to drop myself on the heavy bike and squeeze it to the ground otherwise me and my motorized friend would disappear in the jungle forever.

Pure Thailand motorcycle misery

I managed to drag the motorbike uphill and there I sat down to weep while drowning in my own sweat. I had no idea where I was, where I should go and how I should go somewhere anyway. I cried out of misery and I swore to myself that this would never happen to me again.

The rescue mission

Somehow, I managed to drag my motorcycle to a house in the jungle. The Thai residents in that house stared very confused at the white boy who was weeping at their doorstep. I put up my saddest puppy face and eventually managed to explain that they needed to call my resort.

After a while some people from the resort arrived with a pickup truck. The brought me and my bike back to the resort. I was relieved as I had overcome my  stupid mistake. A mistake that taught me some valuable lessons about myself and about renting motorized vehicles in Thailand.

Some Tips

  • Before renting, always check your motorcycle for existing damage
  • Do not underestimate situations. Especially in an unfamiliar place
  • Rent an automatic scooter if you are not used to shifting gears

Useful links

  • Renting scooters in Thailand: Do you want to rent a motorcycle / scooter in Thailand? Avoid making the same mistakes that I made. Do yourself a favor and check out this Youtube video from Darren Brinkworth. In the video he talks about how you can avoid scams and how you can drive safely. He also gives advice about legal matters when it comes to renting a bike in Thailand.
  • Renting a motorcycle in Southeast Asia: For the readers. This is written down advice about renting motorbikes in Asia. The writer from the artice, Greg Rodgers, describes into detail what you need to be aware of when renting a bike in Southeast Asia.
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Travel Medical Insurance Contracts For Germany

 

Travel Medical InsuranceGetting a travel medical insurance for Germany

Are you planning to visit Germany? Whatever your reasons for traveling to this destination might be, there are some important things that you need to arrange before your trip. Having a proper travel medical insurance is one of those things. Costs for treatments can get really high when you are abroad. You might end up losing a big part of your travel budget if you are not properly covered.

Travelling provides you with a lot of surprises but a high medical bill is not the surprise you want to encounter. Make sure that you stay healthy and that all your medical expenses will be covered. In this article, I will explain more about the insurance requirements for a trip to Germany.

What is a travel medical insurance?

When you travel to Germany, you have the obligation to protect yourself against medical costs. In Germany, you can choose between two health care systems. The first one is the compulsory system, which is a basic package for everyone. The other option is a private contract, which covers the costs of the individual.

Why you need it

You might need medical attention when you get sick or when you get an accident. Being insured means that you are financially covered in the case of these problems. You need to choose an offer that matches the reason for your visit to Germany. A person who comes to Germany for work needs to comply to different requirements than someone who visits the country as a tourist or a student.

Advantages

The major benefit of being properly insured is that you don’t have to worry about any possible medical costs. Whenever something happens, you can focus on recovering instead of having to deal with high bills. Another benefit is the extra support that you get from your insurance company. This could mean that you can use their 24/7 telephone service in case of emergencies, or that you can ask them to arrange an evacuation.

The costs

Costs for insurance contracts differ. It depends on what you want to cover and for what reason you stay in Germany. Obviously, activities which involve high risks like dangerous jobs or adventurous vacations will cost more to cover. It also depends on which health care system you choose. The costs for the compulsory policy are based on a person’s income, while the costs for a private policy are based on health and age.

Where to get it 

One easy way to get a travel medical insurance for Germany is by applying online. Various companies offer affordable packages. By using the internet, you can conveniently choose a contract which suits your needs. Another option is to contact your current health insurance company and ask if you can add a travel package that matches the requirements for a journey to Germany.

Be prepared

Remember that a healthy traveler is a wealthy traveler. If you are careful and you take good care of yourself then you might not have to deal with potential health problems and costs, which of course is the most ideal situation. However, it is always good to be prepared for worst case scenarios.

Did you ever visit Germany? How did you find your ideal travel insurance contract for this country?

Useful links

  • Covomo.com: This useful site provides independent insurance advice to travelers who want to visit Germany. You can use Covomo to compare insurers and their tariffs. You can also read a lot of general information about the particular insurance requirements for a visit to Germany.
  • Brain Dump: Health Insurance in Germany: A while ago, I stumbled up on this very informative article from blogger Andrew Couch. He is an expat living in Germany. In this article, he talks about Germany’s health care system.
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How To Save Money By Being A Healthy Traveler

 

Learn how to save money by eating healthy food.Learn how to save money by living healthy

As a traveler you probably maintain a budget. In order to keep this budget healthy you have to make sure that you stay healthy yourself. Unexpected high medical bills could really ruin a trip. Try to prevent these bills by taking good care of your body. These tips will teach you how to save money by being a healthy traveler.

Fast

You burn a lot of energy when you are digesting food. Try to fast frequently, preferably once a week. When you fast your body does not have to spend energy on digesting. Instead it can use that energy on unfinished maintenance work. Give your body that opportunity. I plan my fasting days on the moon calendar. The moon can help to cleanse the body, especially during certain moon phases like full moon or half moon.

When you fast, you will not only boost your health but you will also save money, because you do not have to spend it on food. I recommend you choose an easy day, at which you do not have to do much physical or stressful activities, like work, relocating, sightseeing or meeting people. Choose a day at which you can stay at home and relax.

Avoid unnecessary junk food

Society has made us consuming slaves. We constantly buy and eat foods which we do not really need. You want to be in it for the long run? Then keep away from the chocolates, the cookies, the chips and all those other unnecessary junk foods. You do not really need those products and you will save money when you are not buying them.

Eat and drink in moderation

Besides fasting I also believe a person should eat and drink in moderation. Eat moderate meals and stop before you feel completely full. Do not eat keep eating all day long but eat at regular scheduled times. Only eat a few times a day, and stop eating at least four hours before you go to bed. This will allow your body to digest the food while you are still awake.

Digesting food during your sleep seems to be very unhealthy. Your body is burning energy because it needs to digest the food, but actually it needs to rest. This can make you feel tired even though you had a long sleep, By eating in moderation you also save a lot of money. Eat three meals a day with in between 3 small healthy snacks, like apples, nuts and seeds.

Treat your body like a temple

It is very important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle when you are going to travel for a long time. Take good care of your body. Brush and stoke your teeth carefully, eat and drink healthy products and exercise regularly. Also make sure that you protect yourself against tropical diseases if you go to tropical countries.

A high dentist or hospital bill could unexpectedly take a big chunk out of your travel budget. Try to prevent problems instead of resolving them. Medical care might be the biggest unexpected cost that you encounter on you travels. Therefore it is very important that you treat your body as a temple.

These thoughts are my own

My health tips are not only for travelers but also for people who just want to maintain a healthy lifestyle back home. These described health tips are my own thoughts and opinions, based on my own experiences. It could be that they benefit you but it could also not be. Take my tips as a starting point and then seek contact with health professionals. They can help you create personal eating, fasting and exercise methods.

Do you treat your body like a temple? How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle and budget? 

Useful links

  • www.moonconnection.com: On this site you find more information about the moon. A particiulair section describes the moon diet. In this section you learn more about fasting in combination with certain moon phases, and the cleansing effect this can have on the body.
  • why-not-treat-your-body-like-temple: There are many ways how you can treat your body like a temple. Blogger Shannon Ables describes a few methods in her post on which I agree.
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5 ways to protect yourself from dog attacks

5 ways to get rid of dogs.5 ways to get rid of dogs

As a frequent traveler you eventually find stray dogs and watch dogs on your path. There is no way to avoid them. They can act aggressive when you are jogging, cycling or walking. Encounters with aggressive animals can be very stressful and scary. They can be vicious, and they can carry dangerous deceases. Be prepared on dangerous encounters. If necessary you can try the following methods to safe yourself.

1. Ultrasonic noise

This is one of my favorite methods for protection against dog attacks. Ultrasonic dog stop devices will produce an ultrasonic sound, which will scare your attackers away. This device is especially useful if you are surrounded by many dogs. You can get rid of them all at once, and you do not have to hurt them to get away. People will not hear the ultrasonic sound.

2. Food

If you know you will visit a place where dogs are roaming around, you can prepare yourself by having some (dog) food in your jacket. These animals seem to love foods like yogurt and meet. Distracted them by trowing the food on the ground and try to sneak away in the other direction, if they go for the distraction.

3. Spraying

Only use this method when the dogs are at the point of attacking, and you really have no other choice to defend yourself. Use any spray you might have in your bag ( hairspray, deodorant, pepper spray etc.) and spray toward the eyes. The pain and strong smell can distract the attacker, so that you have some time to escape.


4. Sticks and stones

It might be useful to carry a stick if you go out for a long walk. This stick can support you while walking but it can also defend you from aggressive attackers. Swing the stick towards them when they approach you. Shout at them while you swing the stick. This might scare them off. You can also put some stones in your pockets, which you can trow at them.

5. Run for your life

If you can not think of anything else to do then you can always try to make a run for it. Make sure you run towards an obstacle for the dogs. Otherwise they might outrun you. Try to run towards a high object like a car or a tree, or run towards some traffic. The noise and the movement can cause a distraction.

Did you ever had an encounter with vicious animals? What kind of method did you use to get rid of them? 

 

7 things you don’t want to know about Thailand

 

Thailand7 things about Thailand that might upset you

By now means I want to create a negative image about Thailand. It really is one of my favorite countries, but like every country it has some flaws as well. This article describes some of those flaws. Some facts are horrible, some are annoying, and some can actually be funny when you have the right mindset.

Make sure you prepare yourself for some horrible facts before you plan a trip to Thailand. it is better to not be negatively surprised while you visit this country, even though you might just want to close your eyes from some facts, and pretend you don’t want to know. Here is a list of 7 things you don’t want to know about Thailand. Do you..?

1. (Stray) dogs

Dogs where one of the reasons why I did not enjoyed the Northern part of the country O well, maybe it was more the lack of decent fences that where supposed to keep the dogs inside. I remember walking down a street in Lopburi once, every step I took seemed to alarm a new dog. Those monsters where surrounding me with a terrifying barking symphony, and there was still so much road to go.

Even though it was hot, the whole experience gave me the shivers. Those small pieces of wood that where pretending to be a fence would most likely not hold even the smallest dog. I was constantly expecting to see one of those monsters doing a horse jump over the fence. Now that is not a nice situation when you are walking with a heavy backpack. In fact it is never a nice situation.

2. bugs

Do you have an apartment in Bangkok? You would probably not like to know is what going on behind those walls in your nice apartment. Those of you who have been following me on Facebook, must have seen regular updates of my ongoing war with the bugs in my room. Luckily it seems quiet on the front recently. Maybe due to the compulsive cleaning regime of my girlfriend Dianna. Thank you honey. 🙂

Most of the times I am on a war with ants. Which proof to be annoying as well as fascinating insects. They seem to be very useful as natures vacuum cleaner. However, if your are not fond of invasions, then I do advice you do not leave food residues in your house. They will come after it with military precision and dedication.

3. Violence

Thailand might look like the perfect holiday destination. Friendly Thai people, lovely beaches, peaceful temples and a cheerful nightlife scene. However realize that it ain’t all sunshine, zen and rainbows. I am sure that most of you guys have heard of the ongoing battle with political protesters in Bangkok. There are also constant bombings and fights in the south of the country, and occasionally there are problems at the border regions of Cambodia as well.

You might not notice it as a tourist but the use of violence is common in Thailand, and not only on a large (political) scale. There are many weird and sometimes horrible stories of tourists and expats who encounter bad tempered Thais. Believe me a bad tempered Thai can mean serious trouble if you push it to far. For the sake of your own health, swallow your pride and just walk away.

4. Exploitation of children

For those of you who travel to Thailand because of its infamous adult industry. Please be aware. The girls could be under aged. Sometimes they are even really young children. The country enforces strict punishments against people who exploit children. Sadly enough, there are still many crazy criminals who seem to think that it is normal to ruin children’s lives.

5. Scams

Be aware of scams, especially in big cities like Bangkok. There are a lot of different scams. Some of them are more bad then others, but they are always annoying. Some are easy to avoid but sometimes you get tricked even though you are on your guard. To make you feel a little bit at ease, you will most likely be charmed out of your money instead of being negatively harassed.

There are various ways to get scammed, but there are also various ways to avoid scams. Trust your intuition, especially in touristic places. When you visit these places it is better that you ignore people who approach you on the street. Most of the time they want something from you. Luckily people seem to be more genuine in non touristic places. There are a lot of locals who are helpful, without wanting your money.

6. Criminality

Violence, (child) exploitation and scams are often practiced by criminals. Examples of places with a lot of organized crime are Phuket and Pattaya. In general you don’t have to worry of encountering any criminals. However, some of them are involved in touristic services like jet ski rentals and night live entertainment. Be careful not to upset criminals. Making a normal Thai angry is bad, but upsetting a Thai criminal can be especially unhealthy.

7. Rude behavior (land of the smiles?)

People talk about Thailand being the land of the smiles. However, sometimes you don’t want to know what is behind those smiles. The following sentence are occasionally spoken by Thai speaking people who accompany me on walks: “omg did you understand what those people just said about us.. so rude!” Sometimes I get an explanation at which point I feel the urge to turn around and make a fuss about it.

Learning a new language is great. However it  can be difficult to stay calm if you understand what is really being said to you. The worst thing is that they often do it with a smile on their face. When you approach them they might think or say that you are but ugly and a complete loser. However, you could end up walking away while thanking them and thinking: ow those where such friendly people.

What kind of experiences in Thailand would you prefer to have erased from your memory?