Category: Travel

A Lucid Dream in South East Cambodia

A Lucid Dream in South East Cambodia

Am I in a lucid dream? I mean, would I be asking that question if I wasn’t? Either I’ve been tripping around South East Cambodia for the past few weeks, or I’m passed out on a couch… It started in Sihanoukville. The place is a latrine for Chinese tourists. Dumplings go in, then dumplings come …

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I Survived Stung Treng

I Survived Stung Treng

The food in Cambodia is trying to kill you – from rancid meat to fly-blown chicken, from sewage-washed greens to mouldy bread. The grub here is ruthless. The term ‘health standard’ means crossing your fingers before every meal – and crossing your legs after it. Now, I’ve been to some pretty sketchy places. Places where …

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The Contradictions of Cambodia

The Contradictions of Cambodia

So far, I’m not sure what I think of Cambodia. Their national narrative is tragic, reverent, and promising all at once. Phnom Penh is one of the fastest growing cities in Asia. From a low base, the only way is up. It’s a city crowned by cranes, insistent fingers probing skyward – a picture of …

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Finding Common Ground with Chiang Mai

Finding Common Ground with Chiang Mai

I struggled to find common ground with Chiang Mai. People have always talked it up. It’s Valhalla in the jungle, they said. Full of far-out peaceniks with a currency of love. The waterfalls are rainbows, and the rainbows are, umm…double rainbows. Yeah, they’ve got double rainbows! It sounded fanciful. Now here’s the truth… First off, …

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The Ethics of Underwear: a Journey in Central Thailand

The Ethics of Underwear: a Journey in Central Thailand

In Thailand, you’ll confront the big issues. But I’m not talking poverty, sex trafficking, or institutional corruption – I’m talking underwear. Yep. To wear, or not to wear: that is the question. Because, believe it or not, it’s illegal to be caught without it. Now, let me be clear – I’m a staunch anti-undite. I …

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Turn Down for Wat: a Quick Tour of Bangkok

Turn Down for Wat: a Quick Tour of Bangkok

In Bangkok, there’s three things you can’t escape: temples, markets, and aggressive lady boys. Cue the Sesame Street ditty: “one of these things is not like-the-others…” The music stops: now, can you guess the odd one out? I spent a few days in the capital and tried to find out. In Thai, the term ‘wat’ …

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Bad Karma and the Unluckiest Girl I Know…

Bad Karma and the Unluckiest Girl I Know…

Once, I watched a bloke pull three grand from a poker machine. Fair dinkum. “Drinks on you mate, it’s your lucky day!”. “Fuck off – it’s karma” he snapped. Sporting one thong and fewer teeth – I had no cause to doubt him. So, since then, I’ve honoured his adage. Case in point: this girl …

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Trang and Krabi, Not Too Shabby

Trang and Krabi, Not Too Shabby

Trang and Krabi are strange neighbours – cultural antipodes but fraternal twins. With a short bus ride, you can taste the rainbow of southern Thailand in little more than a long weekend. Trang is a rural centre. There aren’t many tourists, and nothing’s in English – that’s what I liked. It’s a drift through a …

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Koh Lipe and the Opposite of Cynicism

Koh Lipe and the Opposite of Cynicism

What’s the opposite of a cynic? Maybe an optimist? Whatever it is, on Koh Lipe, I found it again. Now, this isn’t my first trip through Thailand. I know the score. It’s a place of acute natural beauty and of smiling sanguine people. Of which both, unfortunately, are being tamed by the tide of tourism. …

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Five Days in Penang

Five Days in Penang

Have you tried an Ice Kachang? It’s weird, but refreshing. Think shaved ice and red beans – with sweet corn, cubes of agar, and coconut milk on top. That’s Penang. It sounds ugly – a Malay island, a British port, worked by Indians, and owned by Chinese. But, like Kachang, it’s refreshing.    Georgetown is a …

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