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Southeast Asia Travel News

The Southeast Asia Travel Specialists Since 1999

The Danum Valley, Sabah State, Borneo, Malaysia. Awesome photographic contribution by All Points East, Malaysia manager and tour-leader Marc Modin. During a night trek in Sabah’s fabulous Danum Valley Marc came across this brilliantly coloured, sleeping kingfisher – probably a Brown-winged Kingfisher but impossible to say for sure from this angle! The remote Danum Valley Forest Reserve is one of…

Rafflesia – a spectacular, flowering parasitic plant found in  jungles across Southeast Asia. The above looks like Rafflesia, parasites the same species of vine as Rafflesia but is actually the closely related species called Sapria.  The former have 5 petals whilst the latter have 10. True Rafflesia is found in the more tropical areas of South Thailand and the Malay…

Pai – no idea when this former sleepy little northern town first had the idea to knock up bamboo huts, start fabricating banana pancakes, (and we mean pancakes not the authentic rotis that north Thai Muslims have been making for donkey’s years), dis-intoxicate some local guides enough to lead treks and thrust itself on the backpacker trail? Presumably some time…

Quite why this magnificent region of vast, pristine rain-forest is almost unknown to foreign visitors is both a great mystery and a great pity! The Belum Forest Reserve, abutting Thailand’s Hala Bala National Park, is one of the largest areas of near virgin tropical rain-forest in S. E. Asia, let alone in Malaysia. (Actually it’s either virgin or not isn’t…

Lizard catching it’s lunch in Chantaburi Province’s Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary. Looks like a Horned Tree Lizard, (Acanthosaura Armata), though my Reptiles of Thailand book says it should only be found in the Peninsula? No idea what the spider is, other than large black and hairy! Soi Dao Mountain, at nearly 5,000 feet, is the centrepiece of this great,…

Very commonly purported myth amongst regular visitors to Thailand and expats to show how well they know the country and how silly you are for not having been on Samui 20 years ago. But is it true or false? Now firstly you can replace 20 with 25, 15 or even 10, years ago, depending upon what you think you can…

Excellent article on Thai street food here! Spot on and really captures the oddities and delights of eating on Bangkok city pavements! For the majority of the food loving Thai people the grub itself, (that’s grub not grubs which are in an earlier blog!), is the number one criteria in choosing a restaurant. Forget the decor, location, floor show or…

Here’s a list of crackers and having been in the tour trade for over 10 years I can believe most of them! (Well except number 2 which is a classic old tour company joke along with the one about the woman who books a cruise on the QE2. After boarding the ship at Southampton docks and checking in she calls the purser to…

Ah – those fried Cambodian spiders again – coming in at number 1 on the Daily Telegraph’s weird food list!  (See earlier fried tarantulas in Tunbridge Wells blog). What is it with these spiders!?! Anyway we’re glad, (proud even), to see that plenty of other mouth watering S. E. Asian nibbles appear on the list, so here’s a brief run down…

Nyonya – Baba Nyonya, ‘Straights Chinese’ – i.e. the people/culture derived from descendants of Chinese – principally Hokkien – settlers in the ports on Malaya’s Malacca Straights coast.  They established themselves as traders in British colonial outposts such as Singapore, Malacca, (Melaka), and Penang as well as Sabah, Sarawak and Dutch settlements in Indonesia, during the 16th and 17th centuries…

A ‘truly spectacular combination of rocks and water’, the awesome Halong Bay is one of S. E. Asia’s most dramatic and iconic landscapes.  An inlet of the South China Sea situated just off the coast of far North-Eastern Vietnam -nearly 2,000 islands and rocky outcrops fill the bay’s waters with a range of dramatic karst scenery; – sheer limestone cliffs, stalactites, caves, jungle-topped…

Rajendravarman II c. 944 to 968 Even King Rajendravarman’s title itself is still a matter of debate, with historians opting for either Rajendravarman I or Rajendravarman II depending on their acceptance, or otherwise, of a Rajendravarman the 1st from Sambapura, purported to have been ruling in the Angkor area during the latter half of the 8th c. Since this does…

The excellent Saray Water Hyacinth project is a community project in Prek Toal, Cambodia’s, organized and funded by the NGO Osmose and the Australian Govt. Prek Toal, a large village – or small town – situated at the point where the Sangker River meets the Tonle Sap Lake is entirely constructed on rafts, floating on the water. Schools, shops, karaoke…

Unspoilt tropical paradises are great! ‘Aren’t unspoilt tropical islands fantastic!?’ Well is it true or, are they, like ‘cheesy peas’, better than they sound? Well, being really pedantic if it was really unspoilt you wouldn’t be there or it wouldn’t be unspoilt anymore. You’d throw your cigarette butts on the beach, piss on the plants, damage the coral with sun…

Maybe that was true in the past but things are changing now with Thailand’s new professional premier league. Money’s coming in, foreign players are being signed up, crowd numbers are on the rise and top TPL teams regularly progress in the Asian Champion’s League. (Bangkok based BEC Tero were losing finalists to UAR’s Al Ain in 2003 whilst in the…

An English headmaster created something of a controversy recently when he ate a tarantula during school assembly in Orpington, Kent! See article… (They never did that sort of thing in my day) The tarantula was already dead (!?), having actually been imported from Cambodia where it’s considered something of a delicacy, and was crunched in order to raise cash for a…

Koh Tonsai or Rabbit Island lies just off the coast from Kep in the province of the same name – a 3hr drive or so from Phnom Penh. Formerly known as Kep-sur-mer, the popular and fashionable pre-Khmer Rouge seaside resort is currently experiencing something of a renaissance. (Firstly, there aren’t really any rabbits whatsoever on the island but supposedly the…