Category: Southeast Asia

Fate brought me to Gunung Mulu National Park. Bad research led me try to take a non-existent ferry from Brunei and the only option to leave on that day was the bus to Miri in Malaysia’s Sarawak state. Before I entered the bus, I made sure to book the flights to Gunung Mulu. The National Park lies deep inside the mountains and planes are the only way to get there.
Gunung Mulu is famous for its caves. […]

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Brunei is a rich Sultanate occupying a tiny spot on the island of Borneo. Malaysia has a much bigger part of the island and Indonesia’s territory is much larger still. The sultan rules as an absolute monarch over the roughly 430,000 people in Brunei, applying a mixture of English common law and sharia law. Wealth from oil and gas has transformed Brunei in the last decades. Its GDP per capita, measured at Purchasing Power Parity, ranks among the highest in the world. Brunei just doesn’t look like a rich country. […]

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Time is running short. I have to decide if I want to visit Indonesia for only a few days or not at all. Getting a short impression is better than getting no impression at all, so I go. From Singapore I take the ferry to the nearby island of Batam and from Batam a perversely cheap flight to Padang on the western side of Sumatra. I am glad that I decided to visit Indonesia: Firstly, it is a very beautiful country; secondly, Indonesian girls love to smile and thirdly, the avocado-chocolate smoothies are amazing. […]

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Singapore is an island city-state located off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It sits at the entrance of the Strait of Malacca, a vital shipping lane connecting the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Modern Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles as a trading post of the British Empire. For the Malays its island location made it uninteresting, the city of Johor on the mainland was much more important. Colonial powers love islands though, they are easier to take control of and defend. […]

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I enter Thailand arriving from Laos in the northeastern Isan Province. It is the poorest part of the country and sees few tourists although it has quite a few attractions. For the average traveller it just doesn’t fit in the usual preconceptions of Thailand with beach and fun. The first stop is Ubon Ratchanthani. The Night Market is a great introduction into Thai cuisine, cheap and delicious food all around. […]

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Crossing the border brings an immediate change. Suddenly, every speck of land seems to be used for intensive agriculture or fish farming. The river we cross is full of fishing boats. Things seem a lot more hectic.
The Mekong River runs 4,350 kilometres from the Tibetan Plateau through China, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia before discharging its water into the South China Sea in the Mekong Delta […]

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Angkor Wat is full of people. Understandable, as it is totally worth a visit. The temple complex called “City/Capital of Temples” is the largest religious monument in the world and nearly everybody has seen pictures of its beautiful shape and towers. It is considered the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. But the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site is much more than just Angkor Wat. […]

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I had already gotten my first taste of the Buddhist new year in Yangon, Myanmar. Celebrated in mid-April, the festivities last several days and bring many countries in South-East Asia to a halt. Traditionally, Songkran involved the sprinkling of scented water in a silver bowl but nowadays it has developed, at least for some people, into a free for all water battle. […]

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Part of a trip through Southeast Asia encompassing Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia’s Sumatra, Brunei, Malaysian Borneo, the Philippines and Taiwan. Myanmar – visited March/April 2015 – I had first come into contact with Myanmar in 2003. I met a British traveller who told me about a strange place called Burma that […]

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The Philippines are a country that I honestly do not understand. Meeting Filipinos around the world they are usually well educated, often working jobs that the locals do not know how to perform. They speak good to very good English and when I look at the country, I mostly see potential. But still, the country is poor, the infrastructure is inadequate and Filipinos are leaving in droves. […]

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