The first time you travel is when you learn so much. For instance you discover that your hotel room is cleaned for you as discovered by today’s travel blogger, Nurul Liyana of Travel With Liya.
What is your name?
Nurul Liyana but most people will know me as Liya.
Which country do you come from/call home?
I am born and bred in Singapore.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I am a backpacker and hopefully become a long term traveller pretty soon.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
I work full time so I save up and also sometimes sell stuff online to fund my travels.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
The first trip I remembered was when I travelled to Bandung, Indonesia. It was my first time traveling by plane at the age of 10. All I could remember was going up to an active volcano, the Tangkuban Perahu and vomiting all the time during the whole trip.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Not really. Always expect the unexpected. I never really put much hope on the places I visit. Okay maybe one time, I was in Nha Trang, Vietnam. I booked a hotel that states it will be at the beach front and it was along the roadside. A picture of the hotel shows the beach as well as there were no buildings next to it. I was surprised when I got there at night to check in, it was located at the back alley behind some shop houses! What a bummer, I hate Photoshop.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Not much of bad experiences, I would classify it as not that bad, it could have been worst. Maybe that point of time when I almost got ripped off by a young boy forcing me to give him money, I actually made him cry. Ooops.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Ah, this one will forever be etched. It was my first time staying in a hotel, I was not sure of hotel policies like cleaning the room and stuff. So one time, I left my hotel room with all my stuff strewn over the place (looks like an animal shed, trust me!), I went back about evening and to my horror….I thought there was a break in! All my stuff have been neatly pushed into a drawer, some being placed on top of side table and towels being hanged in the toilet. I was in utter shock but luckily none of my stuff went missing and it was probably hard work for the cleaning lady. I’m so embarrassed. I realised that it was a service that hotel provides…well I will stick to hostels.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
None. I learned to see the good in places I have been to and the people that I have met. That way, I am able to appreciate better.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
It is Saigon, Vietnam! In the midst of chaos, I feel invincible and also invisible.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Yes but it’s an ever growing list. You checked something off, you add dozens more. I think that’s the case of all travellers. I hope to go skydiving, do a flight of the gibbons trail and hike Mount Kilimanjaro…well this is just part of the infinite list.
Can you imagine life without travel?
I can’t. I just couldn’t. My feet is always itching to go somewhere, to discover new territories even from my own neighbourhood.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Maybe working in a travel company or working in a cruise ship!
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
The name of my travel blog is Travel With Liya and the url is www.travelwithliya.com
When did you begin your website?
I begin my website in 2009, no touch of travel at all and then decided, hey its 2013, I just turned 21. My mum finally gave me the green light (YES!!! Typical Asian mothers) to travel and off I go documenting stuff!
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I already love writing since I was a kid so it was no surprise that I have been writing quite a lot on my blog. When I was younger, I suffered from depression and panic attacks so it was kind of therapeutic when I concentrated my energy to writing and sharing the world on coping with it. It’s like an unknown release of energy in the attempt to recovery. Very successful indeed, I am very happy now. Yes, connecting with people is part of it and also I have not earned any money yet for my travel blog and in time to come I hope it will be possible.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
My site tells a story of a rookie traveller on her current mission to conquer IndoChina. Lots of true tales about the places I experienced and also some quick rough guides to save money on a destination.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
No, but I get lots of questions from people asking for advices on places I have visited. I will almost 100% reply to them and give them tips.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
It will be about the Art of Crossing the road…..in Vietnam. Like the title, it’s a post about how I managed to conquer the anxiety of crossing the road in a busy city like Saigon. I believed it got popular because other travellers want assurance in travelling.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
All of it! I don’t mind. All of them has a view so it doesn’t really matter how repetitive it gets.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Save up and just go.
What has travel taught you?
Travel taught me to be a better person and to appreciate the things in our life more.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Emirates
Favourite country? Vietnam
Favourite city? Saigon
Favourite beach? Aonang Beach, Krabi
Favourite food? Koh Nangkam fried rice (Thai fried rice cooked in turmeric with prawns. Yum!)
Favourite language? Vietnamese
Please provide the following:-
Website url? www.travelwithliya.com
Twitter handle? www.twitter.com/travelwithliya
Facebook page? Travel With Liya