We are back from our most complex trip yet. This time in South East Asia.

Some stats:

  • 8 countries (not including the US)
  • 10 flight segments
  • 6 airlines
  • 14 days
  • 4 boats
  • 1 elephant ride
  • 1 scooter rental

Countries:

  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Vietnam
  • Singapore
  • Brunei
  • Philippines


Cambodia

For Cambodia we concentrated on Siem Reap since that is the city closest to Angor Wat. The Angor Wat park complex is enormous. The active temples have oscillated between Buddhist and Hindu over the years. We were quite interested in a huge stone carving depicting a great battle. It is very similar to the Bayeux Tapestry. Interesting, the Bayeux Tapestry predates the Angor Wat carving by about 100 years (1066). We also liked Angor Thom best, the temples with the large faces. Good vibes there for sure.

I haven't seen this type of pull-tab on a can for probably 30 years (or more).

Apparently bamboo scaffolding is still used in Cambodia.







Vietnam

Vietnam is a photographer's paradise. We went to Hanoi as well as Ho Chi Minh. It is recommended as an American to call the city Saigon these days. It carries both labels. There is no limit of what you will see on a motorbike. No limit. Hanoi was a particular delight. Highly recommended for adventure tourism.

There are few traffic lights. The traffic is enormously heavy, you use natural protocols in crossing even the busiest street. You walk out into moving traffic, the bikes, trucks and buses will steer around you. It is best not to stop, but continue moving, slowing if you have to. But most of all, Don't Panic! It really is amazing.

We took a day trip to Halong Bay. It is touristy, but we felt compelled to go. Our boat was the White Tiger. The caves and kayaks are about an hour away from port on the boat.



Brunei

We managed to squeeze in a flight into Bandar Seri Begawan the capital of Brunei Darussalam a semi-enclave of Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It was a very different country than others on this trip. Sharia law is in place in Brunei. We stayed for one night at the majestic 5-star Empire Hotel. The whole place is made of an immense variety of marble--everywhere. The Royal Brunei airlines has a prayer in Arabic proceeding the safety video nicely subtitled in English on the video screens. There was no trace of any Christmas decorations. We got the opportunity to swim at private beach in the South China Sea.

There is a town there that is all on stilts over the water. You might think slum at first, but this is Brunei, one of the richest countries in the world. Approximately 10000 people live in this town. It is complete with stilted schools, fire departments, etc.





Thailand

Thailand calibrated our palettes for Indochina cuisine. Bangkok is a big city and reminded me the place is indeed Indo-China. Something in between India and China. What I saw was cleaner than India but very similar in character. Seeing things by tuk-tuk is best.



Laos

We concentrated on Luang Prebang. Good choice. The atmosphere was very relaxed- very chill - Buddhist. We took a nice trip up and down the Mekong river to some caves and some Hmong communities. You cannot beat the value of the crafts, including the crazy whiskeys, textiles, and carvings.

We put about 100 km on a rented scooter in crazy traffic to go see some waterfalls and elephants. Great adventure! My overall favorite.





Singapore

Singapore is near utopia in many regards. Expensive. Play by the rules. The light show in the artificial forest is crazy cool. The experience is most like winding thru never ending opportunities to spend.








Philippines

Crazy place where no one trusts anyone else. We focused on Manilla Bay and Makati. I had to settle on the few pics I got of the distinctive "Jeepney". Jeepneys are tragically being phased out. It is one thing that I see as uniquely Filipino.




Korea

Cold. Wired. Modern. Clean. Safe. Efficient.








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Birds at Canary Lake and Cardinal Lake Duluth Georgia

New Job, New Car and Always New Experiences

New Job Experiences