We experienced this week a 6.0 magnitude earthquake here in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. It hit the city at about 18:15 local time, on May 5th. Despite a few cracked walls, luckily nothing really serious happened here. The quake was apparently more stronger towards the border of Burma and Thailand and caused even cracks on roads. Our apartment building was evacuated for about 1.5 hours, to prevent residents of returning back during possible aftershocks.
The following night we really didn’t sleep well, mentioning also that we are located on the 6th floor. Not an ideal location.

Then again: a small tremor at about 4:15 am made us jump out of our beds, shorts and shirts on, grapped our earthquake survival bag and ran out on the floor. Sigh – we realized that none of the other residents were on the floor. It just shook a few seconds, probably most of the people couldn’t really feel it while sleeping.
But we considered it as small practice in the event an earthquake might hit us again somewhere, somewhen.


Broken tiles in our apartment building caused by the earthquake 

We came up with the idea of an Earthquake Survival Bag by the time we waited to return back to our apartment. To be honest, we never really thought about that we would be in the middle of an earthquake at any point (who actually does?) – that’s quite ironic though, as we spent significant time in Indonesia, which is located at the center of the famous “Ring of Fire”.

As nobody will be ever able to precisely predict an earthquake, plus warn people ahead of time, we thought it might be useful to keep some essential items of ours always ready next to us – we literally just need to grab it and run out in case of an earthquake, fire or any sort of evacuation.

But we had to deal with a few important questions: what shall we put inside? What do we really need? What can we choose to keep the bag light enough?

Here is what we came up with:

backpack: if possible, water resistant

– copies of passports/ ID’s / drivers licenses / credit cards

– an additional phone charger for one of our mobile phones ( as couple, it would be always good to have the same brand )

– simple version of a first aid kid; that could be plasters and Panadol only

– a small (0.5l) water bottle + crackers or light cookies (without stuff like fillings and so on)

Swiss Army Knife and/or scissor

– notepad and pen

a simple watch

– a small torch

– a lighter

– a light blanket or sarong


Tip: wrap and cover electronics, ID copies and money in small plastic bags for the sake of water protection.

TipTip: depending on where you live, you can also create a very own Tsunami Survival Bag for example.

The list is adjustable according to everyone’s personal needs, just keeping in mind that it should be light and easy to carry for everyone. If you have children, it would be beneficial to clarify the possible dangers of earthquakes / volcanoes / tsunamis and to let them create a Survival Bag of their own.

Always remember – Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Smart Travels,

Kian & Sri


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