Bino Chua is an independent travel blogger with a full-time desk job. Going against social norms, his curiosity has taken him to exotic countries like North Korea, Iran and Ukraine. Here’s his take on his experiences.
“One of my favourites is Iran. People are super friendly and surprisingly, it was easy to get around.”
Bino Chua loves sharing information with people. Outside of his full-time desk job in private wealth management, the millennial Asian consumer makes time for food escapades and off the beaten track experiences.
When we met over summery evening cocktails, I was piqued by his unusual travel stories. With a bit of imagination, here’s a quick exchange about the unique and amazing places he has visited.
Doyenne: Looks like you caught the travel bug.
Bino: I wish I could spend more time travelling. Seriously, I have a full-time job! On average, I go on trips for some 20 odd days a year. I could always do with more, despite the perception that I am always on the go.
D: And you go to exotic countries like Iran and North Korea! What did you know about these countries before visiting?
Bino: To be honest, I didn’t decide to go there because they have some sort of shock value. I just happen to be really interested in them. That curiosity has brought me to visit these awesome sights, seeing for myself if their media personas are actually true, or not. If you look past their notorious reputations, you can be rewarded with one of a kind travel experiences.
One of my favourites is Iran. People are super friendly and surprisingly, it was easy to get around.
Another memorable place is Ukraine. It is as European as Italy and France, but at a fraction of the cost.
D: Where else have you been to?
Bino: I also visited Myanmar before they opened up, and Bhutan, East Timor, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Poland and many more. That being said, I would enjoy a trip to Tokyo or Taipei as much as a trip to Tehran or Timbuktu.
D: Is travelling to such places easy and accessible for Asians?
Bino: You’d be surprised. I think Asians have a natural geographic advantage since many exotic destinations are already located in our region. Quite often, Asians also come from non-aligned countries, so it is easier to get travel documents sorted. In general, it tends to be easier for Asians.
However, travel information to exotic countries is still hard to come by or simply unreliable. Thankfully, there is a small group of travellers who have been to almost everywhere. They are very valuable sources of information.
“I would enjoy a trip to Tokyo or Taipei as much as a trip to Tehran or Timbuktu.”
D: What is your biggest takeaway from travelling?
Bino: This sounds cliché, but people are generally the same wherever you go. It’s amazing! Underneath it all, you will find shared values, common goals and similar aspirations from everyone. Travelling to off the beaten track destinations feels as exciting as any other trip!
Bino is a male 20-something based in Singapore. In his spare time, he tinkers with his camera, wanders around and generously shares fresh travel ideas via his online portal, iwandered.net. Contact Bino via his website and he will make a point to answer each and every email to know what is on your radar.
Photo credits: iwandered.net