As part of her role as the Commercial Director for Pacsafe Asia Pacific, Sherry Wong is constantly traveling. From China to the Philippines, she visits stores, meeting our partners and testing anti-theft bags along the way. On top of that, she loves to travel around Asia for pleasure. That experience has made Sherry a travel expert on the region, knowing the best things to do in certain places, how to avoid any pitfalls and how to make sure you’re having the best time. Here are Sherry’s top travel tips for Asia, including where to visit, things to think about when it comes to security, and ways to get the most from your travels.
What’s your favorite place to go to in Asia?
It’s too difficult to pinpoint just one place, there are so many great destinations.
Thailand is another incredible spot. The spicy food is so easy to get addicted to (street food is best!). The spas and massages are total heaven. I love the ocean. Laying around on the beach and watching the sunset is one of the best things to do in life.
Beijing is full of culture attraction with long history; Forbidden City, Template of Heaven Park and Summer Palace. You need more than a day to really see Summer Palace.
Taiwan is amazing and the Taiwanese are very kind-hearted. The National Palace Museum and Ji Ming Museum are the must-go places there.
New Zealand in the Pacific is incredible, especially if you are Lord of the Ring and Hobbit fans which I am! You have to go to Middle-earth, Mangaotaki Farm and Waitomo Caves in Waikato.
I recently went to Vietnam, which is definitely the next up-and-coming country. I love the coffee, the culture, the handcrafted products, and art.
What are some safety tips you have when traveling in Asia?
The traffic in places like Manila and Jakarta is really hectic, so be careful and arrange your route according to timing. That way, you’re not in a rush and don’t make silly choices.
At airports, there can be problems with people snatching bags or pickpocketing as soon as you exit the gate, so pay more attention when you’re in those areas.
I usually look to avoid any ‘red light’ districts, because crime can be an issue in those areas.
I always keep my passport with me, instead of leaving it in the safe at hotels. Better in an anti-theft bag where I know it’s secure. As a bonus, some department stores have a ‘tax return’ process for duty free shopping, but you have to have your passport with you to be able to take advantage of it
What about your top travel tips for Asia in general?
So many! I’ll keep them as brief and easy as possible.
With local customs – “do as the Romans do”. For example, in Thailand, don’t “pat” people’s heads and make sure you cover up when going to Buddhist temples. Respect the people and the place and you’ll be respected back.
Always make sure your passport and visa are valid. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t. If you travel often in Asia, especially for business, apply for an APEC card. You get through customs much faster in the priority line.
In South East Asia, where there’s less seasonal differentiation in weather, pack light but bring a scarf/light jacket with you just in case you need a little extra warmth.
In North Asia, plan and pack according to season. For example, Japan and Korea are great for skiing. Cherry blossom season is also incredible in Japan and Taiwan, which happens in November to December.
If you rent an Airbnb, there is usually no locker or safe to secure your things. I usually use my Travelsafe bag as a “locker”.
Support local businesses, they are more authentic.
Please say NO to any products that hurt our ocean (shells, coral, etc.). Remember, no demand no supply.
How can people get the most out of their Asian adventures?
The biggest thing is to speak and consult with the locals. They know best! Make sure you ask about the best restaurants, check out theatres and shows.
There are some amazing theme parks and attractions around if you have kids. Thailand Baan Teelanka Upsidedown House in Phuket Town is just one. Kids love it!
Tie in with a local tour. Some have cooking classes, which are a great option. That way you can bring something cultural home, which you can enjoy with your family and friends.
Any parting philosophy for people on how they should approach travel in general?
Stay active every day. It is easy to lay in bed or enjoy swimming pools at resorts. But, if you do that the whole time, you go back with no experience.
Pick the right person to go with. If you go with someone like-minded it can really bring out the best in your travels and help build a lifetime friendship!
To check out Pacsafe’s range of anti-theft bags, perfect for traveling in Asia – head here.
Opening Image – Photo by Geoff Greenwood on Unsplash
Sherry Wong – via Pacsafe archives
Thailand – Photo by Evan Krause on Unsplash
Traffic – Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash
Cherry Blossom – Photo by Yu Kato on Unsplash
Local Markets – Photo by Lisheng Chang on Unsplash
End image – Pacsafe Archives
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