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Lifestyle, Nha Trang, Travel, Vietnam

COST OF LIVING: NHA TRANG, VIETNAM

May 13, 2016
Nha Trang City View

After spending three whole months in Koh Samui, Thailand the next stop on the list was Vietnam. Here I spent two months in a beach-side city called, Nha Trang and this blog will cover the breakdown of how much it cost to live there.

Rent

Within two days of arriving me and my boyfriend had managed to find a one bedroom apartment within the tallest building in city called Muong Thanh Nha Trang Centre. It was spacious and modern with high speed wifi so it was perfect for what we needed.

The views were pretty amazing too – one side looked out over the ocean with the beach below whereas the other side had views of the mountains which looked amazing at sunset. The overall location was also great as it was right in the middle of Nha Trang just across the road from the beach and just around the corner from all of the main bars and restaurants.

The apartment cost us $500 per month but this did not include water, electric and management fees. With these extra bills on top it came to a grand total of $600 per month which is the equivalent of around £415/€526.

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Getting To Nha Trang and Getting Around Nha Trang

From Bangkok we took a short flight to the capital of Vietnam called Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Siagon City). We stopped over for one night to enjoy the city and then headed back to the airport to catch a 50 minute internal flight to Camh Ramh Airport – the closest airport to Nha Trang.

Unfortunately we didn’t do our research prior to arriving in Nha Trang and thought that the airport was a lot closer than it really was. So we jumped in a taxi thinking we would arrive at our hotel within 15 minutes but instead it took 45-50 minutes, and the taxi meter just kept rising and rising! We ended up forking out over 500,000VND for the ride when it should have only cost 300,000VND for a pre-booked transfer.

My advice here would be book a transfer in advance and save your pennies, but if you have to get in a taxi I’d recommend you only get in a Vinasun or Mai Linh taxi as these two companies have the best reputations and run on meters.

Also living within a city we had the added bonus of not needing to rent a motorbike, like in Bali and Thailand, as everything was close by. However, for a day of adventuring where a bike is needed it shouldn’t cost you more than 100,000VND per day – but be sure to take the receipt with you on your journey as you might breakdown in the middle of know where like we did on our own little day trip – luckily for us we broke down on the top of a cliff-side and the view was amazing.

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Eating, Drinking and Basic Groceries

What I really loved about Vietnam was the cost of eating out and drinking. It was the cheapest place we had been to in Asia. A small bottle of the local beer cost around 8,000 VND (25p) at its cheapest and a cocktail would cost on average 80,000-120,000 VND (£2.50-£3.70) but there was always happy hour where you could get 2 cocktails for 1.

A local street food meal would cost around 30,000-70,000 VND (£1-£2.20) per dish or if you wanted to go to a proper restaurant you’d be looking at around 250,000 VND (£7-£8) and upwards for two people which would be including drinks. We eat out and went drinking a lot more in Nha Trang than we did in any other place because it was such good value for money and is a real perk of living here.

In terms of groceries here is a basic list and the prices of each item:

Milk – 37,000 VND

12 Eggs – 34,0000 VND

Bread – 25,000 VND

Bag of Sugar – 12,000 VND

Bottle of Beer – 12,000 VND

Bottle of Red Wine – 80,000 VND

Pepsi – 20,000 VND

Toothpaste -14,000 VND

Other costs of living that may be useful for you to know is the cost of beach beds on the beach. Here in Nha Trang it is known for its long golden beach stretch and is the place we spent most of our weekends. A bed for the day should cost you around 30,000 to 50,000 VND which is lower than what you pay in Bali. Also, if you wanted to head to the gym as well whilst you’re here then the prices you can expect range from  300,000 VND (£9) per month, 250,000 (£7) per week or 80,000 (£2.50) VND per day.

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Visas

Once we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City airport before passport control we headed over to a section designed specifically for those wanting to get visa’s on arrival.

Prior to our arrival we had applied for approval or sponsorship letters online which would allow us to get a three month, single entry tourist visa on arrival. This cost $15 per letter and then once you get to the airport you will also have to pay a stamping fee which is $25 or you can pay in local currency, but I’m unsure exactly of the price of this.

Upon arrival we filled in about two forms, paid our money and waited for the immigration officers to put the visa on one of our passport pages. This whole process took no more than 20 minutes and once you have it you just carry on through passport control as normal with three whole months to spend in the country.

Conclusion

Overall, living in Nha Trang was very cheap (the cost of rent, eating out and drinking) however, after about a month you do start to get very bored of the city. There isn’t much to do except go to the beach and if you want to explore other places its an over night bus or a flight away which can be a real pain and cost a lot of money. We ended up leaving Vietnam after two months and headed back to the island of the Gods – Bali.

Follow the links to explore the cost of living in Bali or Koh Samui

Lifestyle

MANAGING ANXIETY: MY 4 TECHNIQUES

March 13, 2016

I never knew what anxiety was until I started to suffer with it. A lot of people relate anxiety to conditions like depression and other mental illnesses, but for me it’s a physical condition that really affects my life in a way that having a broken leg or any other physical injury would.

I haven’t been to see a doctor about it because I’m travelling so instead I’ve been trying out different ways to manage my anxiety and have seen some positive results which I want to share with others as I know how frightening and upsetting the condition can be, and I understand the how hopeless it can make you feel.

It’s not going to be with you forever and that’s something you need to believe in.

HOW IT STARTED

As some will know, if you have read my blog, I quit my job as an air-hostess and moved from Dubai to Bali, Indonesia. About one month into my move – on September 12th 2015 to be exact – I was in a supermarket doing my weekly shop for food with my boyfriend and I had a very severe panic attack.

It started with heart palpitations that really caught my attention and I started finding it hard breathe; my hands and lips felt tingly and my body was pumped with adrenaline which made me feel like my heart was beating really fast. It was one of the most terrifying feelings I have ever felt and it took me about 45 minutes of sitting on the shop floor with my boyfriend calming me down to get up and get back home.

The way I would describe a panic attack for me is a sudden rush of adrenaline which causes you to think irrationally and in turn causes your body to initiate the fight or flight response. I actually thought I was having a heart attack in the shop – genuinely!

These are the types of thoughts panic attacks cause the sufferer to have and it causes feelings of intense fear like you are just about to die – another episode I had I was convinced I was having a stroke, hilarious thinking back now! The release of chemicals the body produces in order to cope with this sudden fear effects your breathing, your heart, all of your senses and your ability to think straight.

After this ordeal I was pretty much bed-ridden for 8-9 days. I was crippled with this strong feeling of what I now know is anxiety. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without feeling like I was about to pass out as I couldn’t regulate my breathing and was finding it really hard to breath normally without concentrating on every breath.

I was shaking, lost my appetite and would just lie in bed feeling strong “zaps” of panic flow through my body like electric. Then after I’d say the 8th or 9th day I started to relax a little more and regained my normal breathing pattern which allowed me to start recovering, but the deep rooted anxious feeling in my stomach has never left me.

RECOVERY

That’s as bad as it has been for me and I didn’t want it to be that bad again so I started to look for answers online and found out that what I was suffering with was more than likely generalised anxiety disorder or panic disorder.

I’ve not been diagnosed with this, this is just going off my own extensive research into my symptoms, if you can see a doctor you should definitely do so, I will be getting a full examination when I am home in a few months to see if there is an underlying reason for my anxiety but for now I’m just trying to recover on my own.

It has been an upward struggle every day since the 12th September 2015 – I am still fighting with it 6 months on. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t feel the feeling of anxiety inside of me (in my stomach mostly). It is like the butterfly feeling when you’re about to go for an interview or about to go on a date, except a bit stronger. Occasionally I do suffer with my breathing but lately it’s a symptom that doesn’t really surface anymore unless I’m food shopping which is really weird.

I haven’t had a major panic attack since – perhaps the odd mini attacks but nothing as bad as the first one. But what has really helped me is that you have to try to find the positives in the condition otherwise you will never ever recover from it and feel normal again.

TECHNIQUES WHICH HAVE HELPED ME

Now I have shared with you my background on the whole condition I will detail what techniques I have found most successful in beating my anxiety.

1. Stop or Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

As everyone knows caffeine is a stimulant which “picks you up” and by definition caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant – a psychoactive drug which can alter the consciousness, mood, and thoughts of those who use them. I used to drink about 3-4 cups of coffee or tea a day and it was the first thing I cut out in my attempt to recover. Try to think of the little things in your diet that might affect your chances of recovery and wean yourself off them. I’ve not drank coffee since and I feel better for it – okay, so I might have had one or two cups in the last six months but that’s only because I’ve started to feel better but I do avoid it as much as possible.

2. Keep Busy

I know ignoring anxiety is usually a bad thing and causes it to get worse but I do think keeping your mind and body occupied with stuff like work or exercise or socialising etc. is a really good way to train your brain not to think about it so much.

I think that my lifestyle is really a big contributor to my levels of anxiety as I feel it worse when I am sat at my laptop all day doing work online. I’ve never been so stationary in my whole life I’ve always been on the go 24/7 with university, meeting friends, working weekends and then going to Dubai to work for Emirates as an air-hostess which was such a physical job, then suddenly I have this massive lifestyle change which puts me in front of a laptop all day – no moving, no socialising and no exercising. I do have a feeling that this might be the reason my panic attacks started and then escalated further into long-term anxiety.

But the more I keep busy the less I feel it, so I think it’s important to try and be as active as possible and stay positive.

3. SelfTherapy.org

This website and it’s audios really did massively help me. I came across this whole concept on Youtube when searching “how to cure anxiety” and I’m so glad I found it! When I was really bad at the start and my symptoms were really strong and overwhelming these Self Therapy audios taught me how to control the condition. At first I found it odd and I was feeling pretty hopeless with it all so I thought that this technique is not going to help, but I stuck with it and the audios teach you some really valuable skills on how to deal with feelings of panic and anxiety.

It’s very much like meditation, but different. It’s not about breathing or anything like that, but it’s about learning how to accept and tolerate the symptoms you have until they no longer overwhelm you. There are two stages – the first stage is the most helpful and you need to practice doing it twice a day and after about a week I felt that that strong feeling in my stomach which I have described had eased and that I was more in control of myself.

The second stage is about re-wiring your mind so it thinks like a normal person – one without anxiety. This I found was quite difficult and I really need to focus on this more, but I find every time I practice these techniques my anxiety fades a little more. These audios were created by a person who has suffered with anxiety and has beat it so it gives those who listen a chance to relate to it and really feel committed to it because if it has helped him then it must help others too.

4. TRE Exercises

TRE stands for Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises. I found out about this technique through someone’s blog post popping up on my Facebook news feed and again I’m so glad I found out about it! This is a very small work out that you do yourself at home in order to allow your body to release excess stress or energy it may be holding deep inside.

It was design by a professional called Dr. David Berceli and he developed it to help people with post-traumatic-stress-disorder such as ex-military personnel, child soldiers, victims of domestic or sexual abuse and finally those who suffer from conditions like anxiety, depression and stress.

It is a 7-step work-out mainly focused on your legs and what the exercises do is they tire out your muscles so much that they start to “tremor”. You then transfer these “tremors” all over your body causing you to shake involuntarily. It sounds very weird and I thought it was some sort of joke but it is very scientific and the videos you use to learn the exercises go into detail about how it all really works. However, from my understanding the tremors cause your body’s muscles to relax and this releases a natural hormone which relieves stress and tension, calming down the nervous system where anxiety emanates from and healing it.

This method has been the most successful in calming down my anxiety and I feel so good after a session which I do about twice or three times a week. I really do think it works and my anxiety has been so mild since I have started doing these. It takes a week or so before you start to feel any benefits but I highly recommend finding the time to try them – if I saw a difference someone else will surely feel the same effects!

You can find more information on the exercises here:

www.traumaprevention.com and www.bercelifoundation.org

You can also get the exercise videos from Amazon also.

Don’t Let It Take Over You

I’m not a person who really talks about personal things like this but when I was really suffering all I wanted were solutions – natural solutions – and I think that information like this is valuable so I hope that this has been helpful to at least one person who’s read this and that you see as positive results as I have so far. If you want to know more information about anything just comment below or email me, I’d be happy to help!

And to all those who are suffering with generalised anxiety disorder and related conditions stay positive and strong, it will fade away until you barely notice it’s there anymore it’s not with you forever.

Bali, Lifestyle

HOW I QUIT MY FULL-TIME JOB AND MOVED TO BALI

October 29, 2015

I always wanted to travel the world. It was all I ever spoke about when I was younger and the only thing I knew I wanted to do once I had finished University.

I thought that moving to Dubai to be an air stewardess was perfect for me but it didn’t satisfy the hunger I had for adventure and real experiences.

The job only allowed a mere snapshot (twenty-four hours maximum layover time) of what a destination had to offer and if I’m honest I spent the majority of my layovers in the hotel room sleeping or ordering room-service because I was so exhausted and sleep was far more appealing than venturing out to explore the place I was so lucky to be in – as much as this pained me.

After one year of flying and living in a beautiful city I had made the decision to email my manager and resign from my position. I wanted more from my life and didn’t want to stay in a job that was not making me happy. Me and my boyfriend packed up our lives (again) and bought a one-way ticket out of Dubai straight over to South East Asia.

So here I am (or was) in Bali, Indonesia and I have been here for four months now and already have Thailand booked as my next stop. The “island life” is different to the hustle and bustle of the city which I’m used to. Everything is slower and more relaxed. I wake up when I want, go to the beach every weekend and get to explore at a pace which suits me (and on a scooter). There’s no more layover time-limits.

How do I earn a living you’re probably thinking? Well my boyfriend has always been a big fan of the online working idea and made it work pretty well for himself when he was in Dubai so I have jumped on board too.

However it isn’t an easy way of life even though many “digital nomads” seem to suggest it is – I don’t know, maybe they know something I don’t. But so far it’s been a roller coaster.

I try to earn a steady income through a variety of things like freelance writing or transcribing, web design and also do stock trading from time to time – just anything that will at least cover my living costs such as rent, food and drink. I have had days where I am so full of frustration I could just cry because maintaining a consistent income is hard and to go from a well paying job in Dubai to earning barely anything is a shock to the system.

Luckily, the cost of living out here is so low that I’m not under too much pressure and I suppose this is the good thing about relocating to Asia. If you want to read about the cost of living in Bali take a look here.

I don’t for one second regret my decision to leave my job. It’s been an amazing experience so far to be able to work on things that I’m actually passionate about and have an interest in (like blogging). I am determined to find a way to make it work, but if it doesn’t then at least I tried and I will just have to figure out another way of travelling the world… we will see how it goes.

Dubai, Lifestyle

HOW I MOVED TO DUBAI AND GOT PAID TO TRAVEL THE WORLD

October 27, 2015

I dreaded the end of my time at University. The thought of having to actually go out into the world and get a 9-5 (if I could even get one) was one I avoided at all times. I loved the “uni-life bubble” and really didn’t see myself as one of those people who followed down that whole “get educated and get an office job” path. So instead I went ahead and applied for a job as an air stewardess for an airline based in the Middle-East.

The three stage interview was grueling. So many people applied (for some this was their second or third attempt) and the final few are narrowed down by a simple process of elimination – if you didn’t look the part or say what they wanted to hear you were unsuccessful but kindly encouraged to try again in six months.

I managed to make it the whole way first time, thankfully and got the call that I had been offered the job about a month before I sat my final law exams. I was absolutely thrilled and packed up my life into suitcases a week after that, said my goodbyes and off I went to Dubai.

However, adjusting to my new life was very hard and I didn’t fully settle down for about six months. I really hated the accommodation I was placed in which was not what I expected at all. The two month training program was tough (the 4am starts did not help) and once you finished that and got your licenses to fly it got even tougher.

I did get to see so many places all over the world and went to countries, and cities I never thought I’d ever go to. I can’t count or even name all the places I went to. This was the best part of the job as an air stewardess working for the biggest airline in the world (that and pay-day).

Venice

SriLanka

But there were many down sides to the job that many people wouldn’t understand unless they actually did it. Sickness I would say caused me the most torment at the time because flying at such high altitudes, going to work at any given hour of the day and having your normal diet thrown out of the window took its toll.

I suffered with everything from stomach upsets, sinus infections, insomnia, and migraine headaches. The worst thing that I have to mention was the severe acne. It was devastating going from fairly blemish free skin to having spots, lumps and redness literally all over my face. This was a side effect that affected many of the crew I flew with.

I won’t go into detail too much about the ins and outs of the job itself that I felt so dissatisfied with because working for this airline is what each individual makes of it. Some of those who join love it along with the opportunities it brings and others just don’t click with it that way (it just so happens the majority are the latter).

On the positive side I loved my life in Dubai. I am a city girl and Dubai had me in awe all the time. After about 4 months I had managed to move out of my company provided accommodation and move into a penthouse, duplex apartment in the Marina.

Dubai1

The apartment looked out over the Marina on the one side and on the other you had a beach view with the Palm Jumeirah out on the horizon, it was perfect.

Dubai4 Dubai2Dubai5 Dubai3

By this time my now boyfriend had also moved over to Dubai and I had myself a nice group of girl friends. We would always be out at beach clubs, shopping at the malls, dining out or heading out to enjoy some of the best nightlife in the world. I was in my element because no matter what night of the week you went out it was expected you dress up as much as possible – heels, new outfit, eyelashes, everything.

Expat life was luxurious, but with these high expectations and standards Dubai I believe drew in and still does draw in a crowd which unfortunately lets people “think” that they are superior or upper class and get away with it.

The city is pretentious. I like my nice things, I like to look good, and I like to go to the best places but I come from a very humble background and I started miss the genuineness from back home. I found most nights I would wonder why I was even there.

Please do not get me wrong, my experience of living in Dubai and getting to travel the world as an air stewardess was amazing. I made some of my happiest memories there and made long-term friends who will be a part of my life forever and I will undoubtedly return as often as I can to relive what I loved most about the city – the bright lights, fast cars, world-class nightlife.

However, I was as happy to leave my job and Dubai life as I was to start the whole journey in the first place.

One year was enough and on to Asia I went.