The Amazing Race Asia, one of the most adrenaline-pumping travel-themed reality game show, is back on AXN with season 5.
It’s fun to watch from the comfort of our sofas but for the 11 competing teams, this is the most intense travelling experience of their lives. It is a trip that they can’t plan and have no control over. For the entire month of travelling, they don’t know what will happen the next minute, what more which country they’ll be the next day.
Did you know that the contestants are not allowed to bring their cellphones? And that they can only pack one carry on for the whole month of racing? Neither did we, until the three Malaysian teams, Alex & Will, Chloe & Yvonne, and Brandon & Alphaeus, revealed during a catch up session with Zafigo.
We dug more behind-the-scenes info and found out that the contestants were not allowed any communication with friends and family during the course of the race. That was, as they sighed, the most challenging part of the entire experience. The lack of smartphones was also why all of them packed an alarm clock and extra batteries in their backpacks.
What exactly does one pack for The Amazing Race Asia? We got the three teams to unzip their backpacks and show us their 10 travel essentials.
Alex & Will, brothers
Alex and Will got us perplexed, why didn’t AXN brand them as “muscle brothers” instead of just “brothers”? The two gym buffs biggest concern was whether or not they would get the right nutrition and so their packing list consisted of supplements, lots of supplements. Every night after checking in the pit stop, they would whip out their notebooks to write down each team’s strength and witnesses, and strategise their win for the next leg.
“I wished we had brought more supplements. We didn’t know what we were going to be eating and whether we would have proper meals so we brought multivitamins and protein shakes as meal replacements. The supplements were really useful, it helped boost our focus when we felt tired.”
Alex’s top tip for aspiring Amazing Race contestants: Grow muscles, it will come in handy.
*Forax is used for stomach discomfort, Nurofen for flu and fever
“We forgot to bring sunblock and were burnt for the first two days. We had to ask the organisers if we could use theirs.”
Will’s advice for aspiring Amazing Race contestants: Do your cardio, it is very important. Make sure you can run 45 minutes on the treadmill and you will be good for anything.
Chloe & Yvonne, beauty queens
Imagine a class photo – you have the geeks, the athletes, the class clown making a funny face in the corner, and then you have Chloe and Yvonne, the beauty queens. Both former Miss World Malaysias packed a little too heavy for the race with backpacks weighing almost 10kgs. Comparatively, the other two teams packed 7kg bags. The ladies admitted to overpacking, but then again you have to look good for the camera.
“It was really hard to pack because we didn’t know how long we were going to be racing and how much stuff to bring. So I just brought everything. Actually, I regretted bringing so much stuff. Half-way through the race we had to unload our excess clothes, skin care, and batteries.”
Yvonne’s top packing tip: Pack light, you don’t need that many undergarments. You’ll need a hair straightener (laughs).
“The most challenging part of the race was running with our backpacks.”
Chloe’s top tip for packing light: As girls, we tend to bring more clothes than necessary but actually you’ll only need a maximum of three. Bring three different types of tops, three different types of bottoms and you can mix and match to get different styles. You can do laundry in the hotel toilet so you really don’t need any more than that.
Brandon & Alphaeus, old school mates
Just as we thought all of the contestants were avid travellers, we meet Brandon. His CV includes “travelled to two countries in 23 years”. On the other end of the spectrum is Alphaeus, the team’s saving grace when it comes to travelling know-how. The former Corporate Finance Executive has travelled to 18 cities in 13 countries within a 21-day solo Europe experience that had come in handy for the race.
“What’s one thing I didn’t bring that I wished I had brought? My girlfriend. And maybe a credit card so we could swipe our way to victory.”
Brandon’s top tip for reducing luggage weight: Pack old clothes that you’re willing to throw. Everything we brought were items that we were ready to dispose as the race progressed. By the end of the race, our 7kg bags were reduced to about 3 or 4kgs.
“We brought the Jalur Gemilang because we believe that we’re competing in the race not just for ourselves, but for our countrymen. Competing with this bigger purpose in our hearts gave us the added motivation we needed to push further.”
Alphaeus’ hack for sleeping anywhere: I brought inflatable neck pillows, one for sleeping in chairs and one for sleeping on the floor. And I have these sleeping pants (Ed’s note: They are sweat pants) that I wear over the pants or shorts I have on. Then, I’m ready to sleep anywhere.
In Malaysia, The Amazing Race Asia Season 5 airs every Thursday on AXN at 9:00PM on AXN (Astro Ch701) and AXN HD (Astro B.yond Ch721).
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