Travelling to Southeast Asia During the Coronavirus Outbreak

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Before Our Trip and the Beginning of the Outbreak

We had been planning this trip for nearly a year — our 10th wedding anniversary trip to Southeast Asia. Everything was in place — first a cruise on the Sapphire Princess for 11 days departing from Singapore, followed by three days in Siem Reap, Cambodia, three days in Hoi An, Vietnam and then two days back in Singapore before our departure back home. Three weeks of complete disconnection from work and responsibility. Three weeks to connect with one another. Three weeks to explore different cultures, eat different food and sneak in as many cheap massages as we could.

Our Departure at the Start of the Outbreak

One day before our departure, I had an appointment for a manicure and a pedicure. The entire Vietnamese nail parlour community discussed my trip — in Vietnamese. They talked about how even they would not go back home to visit their family at this time.

Arrival in Hong Kong During the Outbreak

When we finally arrived in Hong Kong — the mood was actually sombre. Other than the fact that the airport was fairly empty, EVERYONE was wearing a mask and walking around in a hushed silence. I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie. The only thing missing was the HAZMAT suits.

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A Princess Cruise Amidst the Outbreak

We were relieved to get onto the second leg of our travel journey and then finally land in Singapore. Things were starting to feel a little lighter — a little more like a vacation and a little less like running away from the Coronavirus. However, a few days later when we arrived at the cruise port for the embarkation process onto the Sapphire Princess, they pulled us aside when they found out we had a two hour stopover in Hong Kong. They put us in a special line to see the ship’s nurse, take our temperature and ensure that we weren’t getting onto the ship with a fever. This was not going to be an ordinary trip.

Plan B?

While this announcement did not affect our plans personally, the cloud that appeared when we began our trip came back and settled in. The ship was buzzing. The line-up at the customer service desk wrapped around the deck. People were frantically trying to figure out what to do and where to go from there. Even the Princess Staff was at a loss — the news came to them at the same time as it came to us. They did not know if they would be staying on the ship or disembarking with the rest of us. Would they be on sterilization duty or would they be sent home until further notice?

Next Stops: Siem Reap, Cambodia; Hoi An, Vietnam and Singapore

Our experience in Siem Reap, Cambodia was incredible. The staff at our hotel, Golden Temple Residence, treated us like guests in their own home, demonstrating at every opportunity what it means to go the extra mile. We loved the city, we loved the people and we loved the graciousness that we were exposed to.

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The End of Our Trip: Surviving the Outbreak

Our final days in Singapore were not nearly as rich. Something I ate, somewhere along the way, got to me and I ended up needing to stay very close to our hotel room on the last day of our trip. Still, we got to experience the wealthy side of the city — at the Conrad Hotel, where an order of toast, orange juice and two bowls of steamed rice costs $50!

Coronavirus Medical Resources

All information in this article is reflective of a personal travel story and do not reflect any empirically evidenced medical sources. For more information regarding Coronavirus, visit the links below.

Written by

Kim is the President & Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ & JournalEngine™ Software, an executive coach & a supermom of 5.

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