Posted in Mobile App, Travel

To Exchange Money Or Withdraw Abroad

Should I exchange my money before leaving? Or should I use the ATM abroad to withdraw abroad? The answer to that would depend on the currency of the country you’re heading to and try to do the USD/Your Home Country’s Currency and Currency of The Country You’re Visiting/USD exchange rate comparison.

On ATM Withdrawal:

For the past year up to the present, the USD to THB (Thai Baht) exchange rate fares well compared to PHP (Philippine Peso) to THB. My Payoneer MasterCard, for example, is in USD currency and if I use it to withdraw at an ATM in Thailand, I probably would get 200 baht more compared to using a GCash MasterCard to withdraw THB money which is in PHP currency by default.

An ATM in Thailand from a bank called Siam Commercial Bank (colour violet) would prompt me if I wanted to follow the bank’s conversion rate displayed on the screen. There also is an additional 220 baht withdrawal fee. From countless withdrawals with the SCB ATM machine, I noticed that choosing the option of NOT following the bank’s conversion rate was preferable. I also tried the Krungsri Bank ATM machine many times but it would not give me the option to view the bank’s conversion rate.

On Exchanging Currency:

I do not recommend exchanging money three ways. Stick to the bills on hand and exchange them at a currency exchanger WITHIN the city or locale you’re in. Exchanging my money at an airport almost always gets me 500 baht or 350,000 dong short. That’s a lot. Local currency exchangers (and legal ones, please) often have the best rates – the kind of rate that’s closest to what you would see on the XE mobile app.

Here’s the slip of a currency exchanger at the airport (arrivals) in Don Mueang:

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At the time, 1 VND was equivalent to 0.0013 on the XE mobile app. It fluctuates between 0.0012 and 0.0014. What’s interesting was when I exchanged my Vietnamese dong into Thai baht at a local exchanger in Ben Thanh Market before leaving HCM a month and a half ago, the rate they had was 1 VND = 0.0013 THB.

Before I left Thailand for HCM in early October, I went to a local exchanger to exchange my baht into dong. The rate of the local exchanger was similar to that of XE’s.

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Here are the details of the currency exchanger I recommend:

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Posted in Mobile App, Travel

Visa on Arrival Application in Vietnam

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For Philippine passport holders, you’ll be glad to know that tourist visa extension in Vietnam is not as long-winding as the visa extension process in Thailand. The longest period for applying for a visa on arrival for Philippine passport holders is 90 days and this could either be multiple entry or single entry visas. Philippine citizens can stay in Vietnam for 21 days on visa exemption.

You might encounter a few visa on arrival websites online for a longer stay in Vietnam but Vietnam Visa Easy is the one I prefer because of the affordable fees. Upon completing the form online via the Apply Now button, I would only wait 1 or 2 days to get an email reply if my visa on arrival application was approved or unsuccessful.

The replies I would usually get include the visa on arrival form along with the list of names of the visa on arrival applicants. Yes, you will see other applicants’ names and others approved will also see your name on the list. Few websites offer the option to exclude your name on the approved visa list for an additional fee , which means you get a more personalized approval letter with only your name on it. I do not really mind the idea of my name being on others’ approval letter but that’s just me. Whatever floats your boat.

Stamping fee assistance indicated as additional option in the Vietnam Visa Easy website is not the same as the stamping fee which you would still have to pay at the visa on arrival counter.

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Upon submitting the form at the visa on arrival counter, names would be called out via a television screen and you can expect to see your passport ID displayed too. Only then can you join the immigration queue for passport arrival stamp. Easy-peasy.

Posted in Travel

Tourist Visa Extension in Thailand

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As a Philippine passport holder, it took me a year to find out that a tourist visa extension beyond 30 days is possible here in Thailand. Before 2018, I thought that I could only apply for a 2-month visa in the Thai Embassy in the Philippines and that it ought to be done right before leaving the home country.

Still, after having found out in mid-2018 that it is very much possible to do a visa extension within Thailand for a Philippine passport holder like me, I began having the impression that immigration rules are as fickle as the officers implementing them.

Prior to my first tourist visa extension attempt in Thailand, I had already taken advantage of a hassle-free Vietnam tourist visa application online. Philippine passport holders can enter Vietnam visa-free for 21 days but can avail of a 30-day or 3-month stay visa on arrival at this link. I stayed in Hanoi for 90 days in two separate trips before August 2018. Tip: Applying for a visa on arrival online is cheaper compared to doing it within Vietnam.

A week before my 30-day visa expiration in Thailand, I decided to go to the Immigration Building in Chaengwattana. I have Cai to thank for writing this helpful guide about how he went about with his visa extension in Thailand although he needs to update the faulty link he entered there for the TM 7 Form download.

Staying in Nonthaburi meant I did not have go through the same route as Cai explained in his blog post. I simply booked a Grab Car ride to and from the hotel.

Outside the Chaengwattana Immigration Division Government Complex 

Cai also wrote in the article that he was able to successfully get stamped for a visa extension twice. For tourist visa extension, this is not entirely true. Back in 2014 or 2015 Thai Immigration Bureau amended their stipulations regarding visa extensions for some countries, Philippines included, which allowed for 1 30-day visa extension only per trip. I know this because I applied for a second consecutive 30-day visa extension and the immigration officer declined my application but gave me a 7-day grace period instead. It was not bad luck on my part as their immigration rules state this on their website. You can also read about it in other travel forums.

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First attempt at a 30-day visa extension

My recent visa extension experience this week was rather disappointing. I went to the Immigration Building in Chaengwattana thinking all I have to worry would be the long wait but it was even more stressful than that. The well-meaning immigration officer glanced at the second page of my TM 7 form and cursorily encircled Nonthaburi with her pen. As I strained to hear what she was trying to explain to me in English, my heart sank when she informed me that I was in the wrong immigration office. She referred me to the Nonthaburi Immigration Office.

I did a little bit of Google search about cases of foreigners being referred to the Nonthaburi Immigration Office and it’s curious I stumbled upon a blog post detailing that same ordeal I just had dated December 2015. Can you imagine that?! Back in August and September 2018, nobody in Chaengwattana ever told me I was supposed to be in the other immigration office even when I’ve always stayed in the same hotel.

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Nonthaburi Immigration

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I traveled to Bang Kruai where the Nonthaburi Immigration Office is located, hopeful I could still get a visa extension stamp within the day. I had all my documents in order – a TM 7 form and a photocopy of my TM 6 (departure card) and arrival stamp page on my passport. The officer browsed through them and handed me another form. It was the TM 30 form which was to be filled up by the owner or the manager of the hotel I’m staying in. At that point I decided to call it a day and went back to the hotel to hand the TM 30 over to the receptionists on duty.

Two days later the hotel manager accompanied me to the Nonthaburi Immigration Office. As I watched the conversation exchange between the immigration officer I was assigned to and the hotel manager, it dawned on me that I wouldn’t have felt so accomplished that day if she hadn’t shown up. The officer kept coming back to her about that one piece of paper which looked like some sort of certification or ownership.

In a nutshell, landlords or hotel owners/managers are required to register the foreigners staying in their property within 24 hours. This is the reason why the receptionist would ask for my passport and TM 6 departure card upon arrival to make sure they have me on file. You can read more about it here.

For the third time I’ve been doing this, I wasn’t asked about a return ticket or at least a ticket out of Thailand. I do have a departure ticket from Thailand to Vietnam for December 24th which I booked last month.

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Third visa extension attempt

It was 4:16 pm by the time my appointment there. The office closes at 4:30 pm. I was so relieved to not have to think about this visa extension problem over the weekend and worry about re-booking my ticket just in case.

If you’re ever planning to extend your stay in Thailand, make sure you download the TM 30 form from Nonthaburi’s Immigration website.

 

Posted in Mobile App, Travel

Grab Pay By Moca

I get it that progress and change go together. Unfortunately, it was not a seamless transition from Grab Pay credits to Moca Wallet by Grab Vietnam.

My last week in Ho Chi Minh was beset by trivialities such as seeing my Grab Pay credits get replaced by a Moca Wallet activation and debating whether or not I should exchange my Vietnamese dong into Thailand baht within HCM. Things have a way of working out to your favor by the time you’re done stressing over it but the Grab Pay by Moca problem still confounds me so I hope this helps anyone who’s encountered the same problem I did.

So, where did my Grab Pay credits go? When I tapped on Activate for Moca wallet, I had this inkling it would involve locally issued ATM cards. I knew this from attempting to register to a number of Vietnamese mobile apps which usually exclude international cards from being linked to the mobile app account. Moca Wallet was no different.

I could still pay rides using my GCash MasterCard or GCash AmEx by changing the payment method before confirming a Grab ride booking. I tried it with a few discounted rides (ones which charged me 0 VND) until I booked a Grab Bike ride with a promo code which required 2,000 VND to pay, which is like Php5 or PhP6. It was strange that my GCash MasterCard could not successfully deduct Php5 since I’ve used it before to top up Grab Pay credits in Vietnam and have used it in Thailand for paying Grab rides. I had PhP1, 750 in my GCash balance.

 

I thought it was a MasterCard-related issue or a GCash faux pas. I tried it with GCash AmEx and with a Visa card issued by another bank and I still would get the Unsuccessful error message.

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Like other Grabbers in Vietnam, I was left with no choice but to continue with cash when I took a Grab ride to the international airport.

But, lo and behold, shortly upon arriving Don Mueang International Airport in Thailand, I got the long-awaited “Success” message. Of course, I inserted my AIS sim back in the plane and once I disabled Airplane Mode I updated my Grab profile’s country and sim number.

The app prompted me the 2,000 VND outstanding balance before I could book a ride. I re-entered my AmEx number as I intended to use it for pay with the airport to hotel fare with the same card. It didn’t even take me many attempts to be able to see the “Success” message. I received a text notification of the amount deducted.

Grab Support reached out to me again to follow up my concern. I replied that the problem was solved once I was in another territory and pointed out that the REAL problem was Grab Vietnam’s forceful Moca wallet activation.

 

Posted in Mobile App, Travel

Can I Use Grab Overseas?

 

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So you’re planning a trip outside of the Philippines but just within Southeast Asia and you’re asking yourself, can I use Grab overseas? The answer is yes. But can I use Grab overseas and still have my Grab rewards points intact? The answer is also yes.

Sometime last year I went out of the country and used my Grab mobile app overseas. This entailed a change to the local sim card and when I landed in NAIA 3 after my trip, I saw my Grab rewards points restarted to zero even though I had the same email address with which I registered my Grab account with. No one in Grab Support could satisfactorily address my concern.

Since they overhauled their system, the option to link one’s Grab account to a Google account or a Facebook account has become available. This feature helped keep the rewards points intact even if you are changing your Philippine sim card to a local one. I’ve done this in Thailand and Vietnam. I would insert my Thai or Vietnam sim card once I arrive at the airport or at the land border. As I had emphasized in this article, I do recommend using a local sim if you plan to get around as much as you can in Southeast Asia where Grab transport service is available. I cannot stress enough how it is the safest option for tourists.

The catalog for rewards points redeemable vary from one country to another. I had wanted that iFlix subscription for 1 year for Platinum Members worth 2,100 points but the Grab Vietnam market does not offer it as it was only available in the Philippines.

Posted in Android, Food Delivery, Lifestyle, Mobile App, Telco, Travel

Best Mobile Apps in Vietnam For Expats and Tourists

My first travel experience in Vietnam was not a very pleasant one and looking back, I knew I had to write about this guide to the best mobile apps to use in Vietnam for tourists and travelers. These are the best mobile apps to use in Vietnam whichever city you may be in:

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GRAB – I will primarily start with the transport service mobile app Grab because of that not so pleasant incident when I first arrived in Ho Chi Minh via the land border. When you don’t know the language of the place you’re going into in Southeast Asia, Grab can be trusted to give you the correct fares and take you safely to your booked accommodation. It’s not uncommon for unsuspecting Ho Chi Minh tourists to report being charged ridiculous exorbitant fares by unregistered taxi drivers. If you came from a neighbouring country like Thailand, Laos or Cambodia and you already have a Grab account, you can still use your Grab mobile app to book a ride to get to your hotel. If you’re coming to Vietnam via the land border, you’ll be glad to know some buses offer free WiFi and this will allow you to book a Grab ride long before the bus leaves the drop-off spot. If you’re coming in via an international flight, the airports offer free WiFi too.

I personally have taken more Grab Bike rides than the Grab Car/Taxi ones because I prefer to look around and explore.

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GOOGLE TRANSLATE – There aren’t a lot of Vietnamese on the street you can ask clear directions or recommendations about so you need Google Translate mobile app for communicating with them.

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Google Translate mobile app does not always get it right but it can get across the general idea of what you’re trying to inquire.

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MY VIETTEL/MY MOBIFONE – If you intend to stay longer than a week, you might want to get serious about buying a local SIM card. You can see Viettel and Mobifone SIM cards being sold in airports and some currency exchangers even sell them. Once you have bought a SIM card, you can download the corresponding mobile app. I had a brief experience with using Mobifone last year so I cannot write about it. I’ve used Viettel the longest. You can top up at Circle K or Vinamart convenience stores or any stores with the sign boards Viettel or Mobifone.

A local SIM card is very useful for answering your Grab driver’s calls. Even if I don’t understand the driver, I would ask for help from a guard or valet nearby to assist me by letting them talk to the driver on my behalf. No need to be shy. It’s also useful for food delivery.

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NOW.VN/FOODY – NOW.VN or Foody is a food delivery service with many merchants to use from ranging from lunch, drinks, desserts, or fast food. There are a lot of healthy choices and some stores offer discounts. My only problem with NOW.VN is the debit card limitation – it won’t accept my home country-issued Visa and MasterCard debit cards. I’ve tried only to be greeted with a card declined confirmation.

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I could only pay in cash for my orders. However, you will be granted 1,000 VND credits to your Foody account after a completed delivery.

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VIETNAMMM – Vietnammm is also a food delivery service although it’s not as varied as Foody, its best feature is the availability of PayPal as a payment option. I did compare the menu of one restaurant which is also listed on Foody and the latter has one item more. You can filter your searches via payment options as well.

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CGV CINEMAS – There are more CGV Cinemas here in Hanoi and I’ve used it to check schedules. Pre-booking cinema tickets is not ideal for those holding a non-local debit card. Again, this has something to do with the same debit card limitation I mentioned with the Foody mobile app. I could only really browse for schedules on the day I’m watching the movie as their schedules often vary. By downloading the app and signing up for an account, you are eligible to earn rewards points for money spent as long as you present the CGV Cinemas mobile app to the ticket counter for QR scanning.

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LOTTE CINEMA VIETNAM – There are more Lotte Cinema branches in Ho Chi Minh than there are in Hanoi. It’s a shame there is no IMAX theatre here, though.

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SPEED LOTTE – I only knew about Speed Lotte mobile app because one store clerk approached me about it and had me sign up while I was browsing tissue boxes at Lotte Mart. Speed Lotte allows you to pick items on their grocery menu and Lotte Mart will have it delivered to your doorstep.

Posted in Travel

How To Avoid Getting Offloaded By Immigration

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In all those times I had traveled out of the Philippines via NAIA, I know immigration interview questions can be tedious and long-winding. It would be easy for one to think that the immigration officers are just being thorough, but when you’re anxious you won’t make it to the boarding gate on time, you can’t help but think the odds are against you. I had never experienced getting offloaded by immigration. Almost, yes. In this regard, I would like to share my experience in handling immigration interview questions in NAIA.

Deferred I first got out of the country when I worked for a company in Malaysia in December 2007. I had all the relevant documents for my employment there so it wasn’t as challenging as the immigration interview I faced when I was at NAIA I bound for Darwin, Australia.

February 2012. My return trip is It was a long queue yet the immigration officer took her time with me. She asked me, “What is your purpose for this Australian trip?”, “Do you have a boyfriend there?”, “Do you have a sponsor?”, “How long are you staying there?”

I was there for more than 5 minutes. I answered all her questions truthfully yet she rose from her seat for a split second to consult with her supervisor perhaps but she quickly decided against it and told me, “Alam mo naman siguro anong gagawin mo ‘dun. Bahala ka na sa buhay mo, malaki ka na.” (I trust you know what you’re doing as an adult.) And with that biting humour, she stamped my passport and let me through.

Why did she not decide on getting me offloaded? Although she didn’t address it directly, I knew she had her doubts because of the original travel plan indicated when I applied for my Australian tourist visa back in October 2011. I got myself a booking certificate (not a confirmed ticket) from a travel agency for a tentative travel date, November 11-15, 2011. My final itinerary was February 2012 to March 2012. TIP: Be consistent with the supposed itinerary indicated in your tourist visa application. 

August 2008. It was an annual company trip to Taipei, Taiwan and I was still working for a company in Malaysia then. My palate didn’t really favour the Malaysian cuisine that much and I was emaciated. I also endured bad acne which contradicted the cleaner passport version of my face. It was so embarrassing being held up by Taiwanese immigration solely because I did not look anywhere near the person on my passport. I felt like I stole someone else’s identity even though I had an approved visa to show them. I think the only people in the world who ever knew about this experience were my co-workers as I did not feel comfortable talking about it even in jest to my friends. There recently has been news about a Filipina getting offloaded for the mere change in hair colour. I do not know if this news bit is related. TIP: It’s obvious. Don’t change your appearance too much if you can help it. 

May 2016. I was in NAIA 3 and Hong Kong bound for a short birthday trip. The immigration officer asked me, “What do you do for a living?” “Have you ever traveled outside the Philippines before this?” “Where would you be staying in Hong Kong?” “What was your job then in Malaysia?” “You traveled to Australia before. What did you do there?” “Did you have a sponsor for that Australian trip?” “Did you travel by yourself?” “Did you have a boyfriend there?” “Do you have a credit card?” “Can you show me your birth certificate?” It was longer than the immigration interview in February 2012 and he mostly addressed the Australian trip 4 years ago. TIP: It was at this point that I realised I had to have a clear folder with all my documents in it so all the immigration officer would do is browse through them and ask less questions. My clear folder contains the Booking.com accommodation, my return ticket, my Upwork’s certificate of earnings, a photocopy of my USD savings account’s passbook, and my birth certificate.

October 2017. Mactan International Airport in Cebu. This time I was Kuala Lumpur-bound but my return ticket (a faux one) was departing from Bangkok and arriving in Manila 2 weeks from date of departure in Cebu. I did have a clear folder with me with all my papers in it but the immigration officer wouldn’t have it. He took out a form and told me an immigration officer would interview me after I fill out the form. It was a form for a potential deferred departure and it was to be assessed by an immigration officer. I honestly was more worried about being late for boarding (even though I was an hour early) than for the prospect of being offloaded, which I cared little about because my gut told me not to worry.

The form was so-so. I remember writing down my permanent address in Cagayan de Oro, my purpose for traveling overseas for two weeks, my contact number, my email address, my employer’s address, etc. I sat down with an immigration officer and she asked me, “What are you going to do in Malaysia?” “What are you going to do in Bangkok?” “What is your job?” “You’re staying overseas for a total of 2 weeks. What are you going to do there?” “Why did you not book a return ticket for Cagayan de Oro?” It obviously wasn’t enough for her that I had a return ticket that states I would be landing in Manila. Manila is still Philippines, Ma’am. She then wrote some comments on the last page of the form. She cleared me for travel because what was in my clear book was proof enough that I could take care of myself financially overseas. TIP: Be consistent with your return ticket – if you go to Malaysia, your return ticket should show you would be departing from Malaysia before coming back to your home country.

This was a serious blunder I overlooked as I had always shown my consistent return ticket before. Even if you have financial documents to support your two-country destinations, the immigration officers will flag you for it even before they see your income on paper. In my previous travels, I would book a separate return ticket slated for 2 weeks from Philippine departure date. I would not use this return ticket that is why I call it a faux return ticket because I use up the destination country’s allowable period for a Philippine passport holder. What happens to the faux ticket? I file a reimbursement for the airport tax with the airline. At least with AirAsia this is possible, provided the faux ticket is for an international travel and not a domestic one. I’ve done it a few times and got refunded. My travels last year and the present year has been primarily in Indochina and AirAsia always has promo seats. For the purpose of sticking to the topic of how to avoid getting offloaded by immigration, this is the short of it as the long one is for another article.

April 2018. I departed Hanoi and arrived in Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok. I pushed my trolley past through the NOTHING TO DECLARE gate and unloaded my luggage from the trolley for machine inspection. The Thai customs officer signaled me to halt and called his supervisor. The supervisor who knew English requested to open my luggage for inspection. The problem was that I wrapped my travel organizers with a plastic food wrap – yes, the kind that you use for food storage. Prior to traveling, I had washed my luggage inside and out and I wasn’t confident it was perfectly dry for my clothes to put in. In an obsessive-compulsive move I wrapped my travel organizers with a plastic food wrap that it was hard for the machine to see through the clothes that were actually in them. Of course, I realised too late that to the customs officers thick plastic food wrap smells like drug paraphernalia. This was a huge mistake. The germophobic part of me cringed at having to open my suitcase and finding out my use of plastic food wrap was justified because the bottom part of the suitcase was a little wet. Sigh. Yes, I was worried about the cleanliness part more than the fact that they could have wrongly detained me. TIP: Do not use plastic food wrap for maximizing the space in your suitcase. I found an alternative: wrap the travel organizer with another travel organizer. (Yes, I have OCD.)

 

 

 

 

Posted in Finance, Mobile App, Travel

Withdrawing Funds Using RCBC MyWallet Overseas

When traveling overseas we may overlook the fact that not all debit cards can be used in a lot of ATM machines. I would always recommend to bring two or more debit cards. I currently have the GCash MasterCard and RCBC MyWallet for the meantime.

I also have my PayMaya physical card which is already linked to my verified PayMaya virtual card account but I am excluding it for now because of the Ph500 roaming fee my Smart postpaid account would automatically charge me once I insert my SIM to a working phone here while being overseas. As PayMaya now requires a text verification upon logging in to the PayMaya mobile app, I don’t think it’s worth it using my Smart postpaid SIM when I have two other debit card alternatives.

In Thailand, I could withdraw funds from my GCash MasterCard in most ATM machines. Most 7-Eleven stores in Thailand have ATM machines outside the premises but you have to also make sure the ATM machine is not that of a local bank. As for the RCBC MyWallet, I have tried withdrawing cash from it in both Siam Commercial Bank and Krungsri ATM machines and have been able to transact successfully.

I should also like to mention that solely depending on GCash MasterCard is not a good option because of the monthly withdrawal limit. There were times when I’ve reached my limit in GCash on the last day of the month and I had to wait for the next day, the first day of the next month, to do a withdrawal. In case waiting might pose a hassle for you, it’s good to have other options too.

It gets tricky here in Vietnam for the RCBC MyWallet. Techcom Bank, BIDV Bank, Lienviet Post Bank, Vietcom Bank and Maritime Bank are the most common ATM machines I could run into and GCash would be accepted in all of these. The only ATM where I found I could use my RCBC MyWallet is that of VP Bank. Unlike Vietcom and Techcombank, you won’t come across VP Bank ATM machines in most big malls. I had to research VP Bank ATM locations online.

I do find my travelling situation to be unique but I hope this has helped anyone who has trouble finding a bank in Vietnam they can withdraw their funds with using RCBC MyWallet.

Posted in Mobile App, Telco, Travel

Mobile Apps for International Mobile Top-up

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If you plan to travel outside the country for a while, you need to think about mobile apps for international mobile top-up. Speaking from experience, it is never a good idea to keep your local postpaid SIM inserted on your phone unless you have managed to deactivate the roaming status with your network provider prior to getting out of the country.

If you’re a frequent traveler and you need to change SIM cards wherever you go, I recommend the mobile apps Coins.ph and Mobile Recharge for international mobile top-up. I alternate between the two mobile apps as each has unique services to offer.

I signed up with Coins.ph a few years back and completed the profile verification steps quickly. I knew Coins.ph dealt with Bitcoins primarily and they only extended their services to include mobile top-up not only for Philippine mobile numbers but also for international numbers. I have tried their Buy Load feature with my Philippine mobile numbers and also for my Vietnamese and Cambodian SIM cards and the top-up was successful. You will immediately be notified if a particular international mobile number is no longer working – your Coins.ph account balance will be adjusted.

You can top up your international mobile numbers with Mobile Recharge as well. In fact, M-Recharge mobile app is mainly for that purpose. I have used it in the past to top up my Malaysian and Thailand SIM cards. The only reason I keep Coins.ph as an alternative for mobile top-up is that the available denominations in Mobile Recharge for international mobile top-up are higher compared to that of Coins.ph. The minimum amount for international mobile top-up with Mobile Recharge is at $10 which you can conveniently purchase using your PayPal account. Coins.ph does not have the option to purchase via PayPal as users would have to top up their Coins.ph Wallet first before they can purchase using their Coins.ph account.

There are other web services and mobile apps out there for international mobile top-up but these are the two I haven’t had problems with so far.

Posted in Lifestyle, Travel

Where To Buy Cheap Luggage in Bangkok

If you’ve come to this page for information on where to buy cheap (but quality) luggage in Bangkok, then I am sure you’ve also encountered other Google search results about travel forums talking about the same topic. I also know that one of the advice you read from those travel forums mentions MBK as one of those places where you can buy cheap luggage in Bangkok. I did go to MBK my first time here in Bangkok and even though you can haggle with the small store owners, I would not recommend it and I am writing this to give you, readers, another convenient option.

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MBK

 

There is no shortage of buying cheap luggage in Bangkok and hailing from the Philippines myself and once in a while trying to convert my baht into pesos in my head, I have come to know the difference. My first stay in Bangkok was in May this year for two weeks and I arrived here in Nonthaburi (same place I stayed at before) on July 2nd and am about to leave on July 30th, that’s in two days from now.  During these two separate visits, I have bought 2 luggages.

When I tried going to MBK because Caucasian and European travelers alike deemed it as one of the best places to buy cheap luggage in Bangkok, I was questioning myself whether or not it was worth heeding that travel forum advice. Since I stayed in Nonthaburi in May, it was quite a travel by taxi to get to MBK. I had to pay for the toll fee once, which the Grab driver was kind enough to let me know. MBK is huge and I did scout each floors for stores selling luggages and after two hours I was not so impressed. So, yeah, you better think twice about what you read on travel forums these days.

I did find a decent page to buy cheap luggage in Bangkok, though. I tried browsing through Lazada.com’s Thailand page. I already have a Lazada account from the Philippines and I did have to sign up again by using my Google sign-in credentials, too. It was shipped to my apartment within two days and best of all, delivery was free. I bought it for 999 Baht; the ones I found in MBK were around 1500 Baht. I did get a better deal and I did not have to go out, pay for the fare and toll fees because the luggage was delivered right to my doorstep.

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My second luggage purchase from Lazada Thailand was priced at 890 Baht. I bought it just this month. You have to be aware of the dimensions you want in a luggage. The item description in the website is not lacking in that info. And, yes, I also did get it within two days from ordering it at Lazada Thailand’s website.

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If you’re staying more than a week in Bangkok and need to replace your luggage, try to browse through Lazada Thailand. Make sure you tick the option “Ships from Bangkok/Thailand”.

UPDATE: May 1, 2018

Just an FYI to anyone still searching for keywords related to this article, I have been using the 2 luggages I bought in Lazada Thailand for 10 months already and I have been consistently moving from one country to another on an average of every two months or so. Both luggages are still intact despite being constantly on the road.