10 Weird & Wonderful Things I Did While Travelling Asia

10 Weird & Wonderful Things I Did While Travelling Asia

A Singaporean girl takes on crazy adventures while travelling Asia.

Travelling solo puts you in a different state of mind – there is something liberating about that feeling of going to another country where absolutely no one knows you. You have the freedom to roam without worrying about someone else’s needs and you have the freedom to pursue your own adventure.

solo backpacking

You may even find out that who you are back home is very different from who you are when you’re alone on the road. What I found out about myself was that I started to feel more daring, spontaneous and adventurous while in a foreign country, than when I was back home in Singapore.

Here are some of the things I did while travelling solo that I probably would never do at home.

1. Got on and jumped off a moving bus

While I was in Chennai, I had what I thought was just a small problem of finding the right bus to board. I asked a couple of bus drivers hanging around the terminus, and with limited amounts of English, they pointed to a bus – let’s call this Bus A. After 30 minutes of sitting in this stationary bus with a small group of locals however, I came to realise that this bus was not going to move off.

india bus stationImage credit: Wikipedia

The group of locals on the same bus hurriedly got off to search for their right bus. I followed them, assuming they were going on a similar route. We got onto Bus B just as it was moving off, and my first instinct was to ask the driver for directions. I showed him the address of my final destination, and he pointed to a bus that was way ahead of his bus.

“Go now!” he shouted. I jumped off his moving bus and ran for my life to catch the third bus, Bus C – the bus I needed to board. I’m not a natural sprinter, but for some reason my speed of running improved tremendously that day and I managed to get into the bus just before the driver sped out of the terminus!

chennai bus

Three minutes into my dramatic entrance however, I get a bit of a mouthful from the bus conductor who said that I should be sitting on the left hand side of the bus – where all the women were supposed to sit. I obeyed and thought to myself, jumping on and off moving buses, and getting reprimanded for sitting on the wrong side of the bus, ahh, only in India!  

2. Drove an auto rickshaw in India

thailand rickshawImage credit: Pexels

If you ever want to try driving one of those iconic auto rickshaws in India, you only need to ask, but be prepared to pay a little extra for it! I’ve always wanted to try this out and one rickshaw driver was only too happy to oblige since I was a foreigner. I drove approximately 30 metres on a straight road along a beach in Chennai, where there was no traffic, so it was safe. It’s really not that difficult at all!

Also read: 12 Crazy Things I Can’t Believe I Did in Thailand

3. Danced with strangers on the streets

If there’s something that almost every traveller does in Siem Reap, it would be this – I might even call it a rite of passage for backpackers – dance to the late of the night, out on the road separating Angkor What?! and Temple Club, the two most popular night clubs on Pub Street in Siem Reap.

crazy things travelling solo

I admit, my new friends and I must’ve been slightly inebriated because we randomly choreographed a few simple dance moves on our own and many others started to follow suit. Had we carried on, there might’ve been a mini flash mob along that street!

4. Rode a scooter without a license

riding a scooter in vietnam

Guilty as charged, I’m one of those tourists in Vietnam who rode a scooter without proof of a license – because the Vietnamese don’t ask for it anyway! Just have your helmet on, ride safely and no one will question you.

solo travel

Still, it’s not something I encourage for the general public, I only did this because I had an experienced tour guide with me who knew which stretch of road was safe from traffic and difficult slopes. I got to experience the thrill of riding a scooter for the first time and enjoyed some phenomenal views from the road we were on!

Also read: 3 Things That Happen When You Finally Embark on Your First Solo Trip

5. Drank opium rice wine by accident

Now if there’s one thing I learnt after spending five weeks in Sapa, Vietnam, it’s that the residents there absolutely love, LOVE their rice wine. And they love sharing this passion with us clueless foreigners.

opium rice wineImage credit: Wes Nations

I must’ve tasted a variety of rice wines while I was there, but one night, the generosity of one kind bar owner, decided to gift us – his loyal customers – with a large, 1.5L bottle of rice wine which, upon three quarters of its consumption, was revealed to us as opium rice wine. Gee, thanks for the notice! This was followed by a morning of questionable decisions and forgotten memories.

6. Tasted snake meat and snake blood vodka


During my first week in Hanoi, Vietnam, a few hostel mates came back into the room one night raving about a 10-course meal they had in a place called “Snake Village”. It was a place famed for selling cobra meat to visitors (mostly tourists) and they would even show you how they kill and clean the snake you are about to have.

asian foodie

As an Asian foodie curious about other kinds of Asian food, I thought that this was something I have to try. So the next day, two other hostel friends and I decided to be adventurous in our choice of food and made our way to “Snake Village” for the biggest meal we were about to have for that week.

snake cuisine

The snake’s blood and bile were drained into two separate cups, which was then poured into bottles with a large amount of vodka – apparently this concoction gives good energy especially to men looking to increase the strength of their libido! Feeling skeptical and controlling our grimaces, we took a deep breath, and each took a shot of the snake blood vodka…

bile and bloodBile and blood anyone?

To our surprise, it didn’t taste anything like blood. It was more like a musky tasting vodka! None of us had the guts to try the bile vodka though (pun intended).

snake's heartThe snake’s heart!

snake skin

snake meal

The snake meat itself was actually quite delicious. The chefs cooked every part of it in different ways and even made it into traditional Vietnamese food – nem or spring rolls. It’s not something I would chomp on, on a regular basis but it was definitely an experience to have!

7. Crashed an Indian wedding

A friend once told me, “The best weddings are Indian weddings”. Though I didn’t manage to participate in the typical full three-day event, I can at least say that I’ve had a glimpse as to how awesome it can be!

indian wedding

Heeding the advice of my Couchsurfing host, I managed to sneak into an Indian wedding in Bombay. I even asked the security guard out front what “event” it was. He promptly replied, “Shaadi” (wedding). Playing the role of the clueless tourist that I was, I asked if I could go in to “take a look”. He smirked, and waved me in without hesitation.

traditional indian weddingEntrance to the Indian wedding


Once inside, I proceeded to help myself to the lavish spread of food on the beautifully decorated buffet counters. I got some amused stares from the other guests of the party, but at no point did anyone stop me or tell me to leave. In fact, the catering staff were even helping me with the food and offering me water.

indian wedding buffet spreadAmazing buffet spread

The amount of food I had was unimaginable for a foreign uninvited guest. Still, I enjoyed it and so did my appreciative tummy! Later on in my travels in India, I learnt that some Indians don’t mind having foreigners crash their weddings like that because “the more the merrier!” India’s hospitality never fails to amaze me.

Also read: Why Travel Solo?

8. Rode a bicycle in the middle of a storm

muddy adventureA little muddy adventure.

During my days volunteering in Siem Reap, the monsoon season had just begun. I underestimated the strength of the rain in Cambodia. I later watched a documentary, which explained that the monsoon was part of what caused the downfall of the Angkor Empire!

store mannequinsEven the mannequins know it’s the monsoon!

One fine day, I was cycling back home from the school I taught at, and the rain started to pour. I had my poncho on, but the wind was so strong that it started to push the hood over my head. As the rain got stronger, I cycled with one hand holding my hood, and one hand on the handles.

monsoon seasonDark clouds looming overhead.

Eventually, I came to an unevenly paved road. A large tourist bus honked at me to move to the side – to where a deep puddle of water was. I moved reluctantly, and immediately got both my feet soaked in the muddy water.

As the bus drove past me, it conveniently splashed more brown water all over me! As I continued the ride home, I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation I was in and how silly I must’ve looked, soaking wet in that bright yellow poncho! Definitely not something I would do here at home, but somehow it was fun to have gotten through it while bracing the storm in Siem Reap!

9. Drank tea out of a cup that had only been washed with sand

sunriseSunrise and a cuppa chai

The Singaporean clean freak in me would never approve of this. But I was on a desert safari in India, and our two guides had built a fire and made us some fresh chai. After all that effort, we couldn’t say no and that was the only hot drink we were going to get. Plus, we paid for it.

tea in the desert

The tea tasted good, but it wasn’t the best in the world – flavours of the desert indeed. What was fascinating though, was how they washed the cups and all the other cutleries, with a splash of water and lots of sand!

10. Peed behind the bushes in the middle of nowhere

peeing in the bushesImage credit: Ace Armstrong

The men have it easy on this one. I took a while to get used to doing my business out in the open, but this is something anyone would’ve done if they have been on a long overnight bus ride in Laos. Most of the time, if the driver stops for a toilet break, there would be no proper toilet as the roads in Laos have not been so well developed for long bus rides yet. Plus, the road we were on was along the mountainous areas, which is undesirable for development (thus, no shops, homes or public toilets).

The turning point for me came when I just could not hold it in anymore. It was dark outside and there were no streetlights. I followed a group of ladies to the “peeing spot” close to some trees. We were squatting side-by-side and barely covered by the sparse bushes – though partially hidden by the darkness of the night, I felt so exposed by the bright headlights of the bus!

Still, I was relieved of my full bladder situation and could relax for the rest of the bus journey. And honestly, nobody cares about your big bare arse! After that experience, I never felt embarrassed to pee behind a bush again. Of course, I’d rather choose a proper toilet over this any day, but when you’ve got to go, you just got to go!

Not everyone will have the same kind of experiences on their solo trips, but one thing’s for sure – only you can define where your journey brings you, and how your experiences change you. Instead of complaining about the things I couldn’t change, I learnt to embrace it, like riding my bicycle through a storm, and chasing buses to find the right one! I’d prefer to think of it as, “been there, done that, lived to tell the tale!”

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done while alone on the road?

About Author

Sabrina Siow
Sabrina Siow

Born with an extrovert's personality and a need to always be on the move, Sabrina fervently believes that life is not meant to be lived in one place. Having spent a good number of years in the food and beverage industry, she is now always curious to try new kinds of "exotic" foods – sometimes to the great displeasure of her sensitive tummy. Always on the lookout for adventure, she has found greatest peace in the freedom of solo travel. Currently on the pursuit of life's purpose, she spends her time reading, writing, recycling, and perfecting her bread making skills.


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