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Southeast Asia Travel News

The Southeast Asia Travel Specialists Since 1999

Following on from our recent aerial pix of Penang’s George Town post here’s a few shots of some of the lovingly restored buildings of UNESCO-listed Chinatown Penang (Pinang) at street level. First up – the 19th-century Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in Leith Street is probably the most iconic of George Town’s Chinese heritage buildings and certainly one of the most…

A Kutisvara update in the light of a couple of precisions regarding our recent post on Angkor’s Kutisvara Temple from some interesting feedback we received. Firstly, whilst several prominent archaeologists, such as Coedes and Jacques have ascribed the central tower, pictured above, to the Jayavarman II/Preah Ko style, according to the E.F.E.O. (École Française d’Extrême-Orient) there is no conclusive evidence…

As with Ak Yum, Kutisvara temple is another of those minor Angkor temples whose historical importance is equalled by its lack of tourist cachet! The 3 unspectacular and ruined brick towers are never going to get 5* in any temple guide but it is considered by many historians to be the oldest temple in the entire central Angkor area, so…

Photos this time come courtesy of Wipaporn (Wi) from her Reefs and Rainforests, south Thailand tour in May. The monsoon had come early this year but judging by these great pix they still had plenty of sunshine. The rainy season sadly puts a lot of people off visiting Southeast Asia but we’ve always tried to point out the advantages of…

The Angkor Royal Enclosure is a walled-off area slightly to the north and west of the centre of Angkor Tom and which housed the palace complex of the Angkor kings. The palace itself was constructed of wood so nothing remains except for said surrounding walls which were constructed out of laterite, the sandstone-clad entrance gopuras and some stone-lined bathing pools. …

Another of Yunnan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Shilin Stone Forest lies in the Shilin Yi Autonomous County some 2 hours drive from the provincial capital, Kunming City. Formerly the bed of a shallow sea, over hundreds of millions of years the sandstone and limestone rocks have been carved by the wind and the rain to form this spectacular labyrinth…

Prasart Sikhoraphum is a small yet remarkably well-preserved brick, laterite and sandstone Hindu temple complex dating from the 11th century and lying just east of SurinTown in northeastern Thailand. (The exact reign is unknown but the early 11th-century kings Suryavarman I or Udayadityavarman II look like good suspects. Some descriptions we’ve come across assign the temple to the Suryavarman II…

Little do most people realise when they’re whizzing along in their bright blue bus that many important routes in Thailand’s impressive 21st-century road network follow the traces of, and are built over the top of, ancient roads dating from the Angkor period. (As for example with England’s road infrastructure and the Romans.) The extensive Angkor road network covered not only…

The tiny, but well preserved Prasart Phnom Ngok or Chnork in Kampot Province is probably the best candidate for Cambodia’s oldest temple (or at least reasonably intact oldest temple. It clocks in at some 1,600 – 1,700 years (estimates do vary). That’s nearly twice as old as Angkor Wat! A brief history With the expansion of the Chenla kingdom, from…

One of Thailand’s remotest and least visited Angkor period temples, yet its very remoteness, jungle setting and total lack of tourist development are exactly what made it a great little temple to visit. It’s missing the grandeur of Phnom Rung, the photogenic lily ponds of Muan Tam and the well-preserved carvings of Sikhorapum but Ta Muan is an interesting enough…

According to this article, the word for blue and green is the same in Hmong, though I reckon that probably depends on which Hmong dialect one is referring to and our White Hmong mate says that’s nonsense! There is certainly some confusion between Green and Blue Hmong though, and indeed the aforementioned article also categorizes the Black Hmong of Sapa…

Just received some excellent Cambodia overland – photos from Gerry who participated in our recent Vietnam and Cambodia tour so, though there are way too many good ones to post here, (he claims to have taken over 3,000 photos in 2 weeks!), we’d like to stick up a few for your perusal! (Gerry’s captions, our comments.) Classic Cambodian shot –…

Although the ambulant Akha street vendors of Khao San, Tha Pae Gate and other tourist hot spots are very successful and the Lisus in Pai night market do well in the high season, across Southeast Asia it’s the enterprising and commercially minded Hmong that dominate the hill-tribe handicraft market. Their bright colours and bold patterns can be and have been,…

Continuing westwards from the Flower Hmong of Ha Giang and Black Hmong of Lao Cai we reach Lai Chau Province and its colourful Red Hmong sub-group. Their villages are quite widely spread across the northern and central parts of the province, being replaced to the south and west by Tai and Lao sub groups.  Occasional White Hmong villages can be…