View Full Version : South East Asia: Part I of IV

July 25th, 2011, 06:59 AM
South East Asia Part I of IV

Slight delay in posting this - I had lost the file containing all the below text and images that I had uploaded...until the other day!

In summary the trip followed a clock-wise movement from Bangkok in Thailand, up to Chang Mai in the north, eastward to Laos. We then travelled down the Mekong to Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and eventually the border with Cambodia. Inside Cambodia, we went to Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh and Choeung Ek before making our way back to Bangkok.

A rough outline of the route can be found on Google Maps here: http://maps.google.com/maps?msid=206397868011428447301.0004a8e1a7bff8b76e bf1&msa=0&ll=34.813803,38.671875&spn=75.133402,151.083984&z=4

To ease everyone's broadband, I've slimmed the photo series into a handful across four threads;

South East Asia: Part I of IV
- Bangkok
- Chiang Mai
- Thai/Laotian Border

South East Asia: Part II of IV
- Mekong River Cruise
- Luang Prabang
- Vang Vieng
- Vientiane & Escape From Laos

South East Asia: Part III of IV
- Siem Reap
- Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom

South East Asia: Part IV of IV
- Sihanoukville
- Phnom Penh, S-21 & Choeung Ek (The Killing Fields)
- Bangkok and home

The first part of the journey involved flying from London Gatwick to Dubai with Emirates. We had a long stop-over and decided to venture into urban Dubai which doesn't require a visa for most Europeans/Americans.

Amongst Dubai's repressive and unrelenting heat I didn't manage to get many shots and Deira City where we stayed wasn't exactly a bundle of fun. We were unable to venture down to the scraper district along Sheikh Zayed Rd, which is quite some distance from the historic core, principally due to the lack of knowledge of our taxi driver. The only good shots I managed to take were in Deira City and that isn't exactly photogenic.


Bangkok has been covered by a lot of people (for good and bad reasons) so our stay was brief. Bangkok can be summarised in two words: oppressive concrete - the city is littered with horrific elevated motorways and railways that carve through the urban fabric. The place is also exceptionally dirty, even for Asian metropolis-standards, with sub-standard transport infrastructure (although an airport express line was under construction at the time of our visit and there are plans to expand the system) that makes getting around the city slow and tiresome. The city also lacks the architectural mish-mash that Tokyo throws around in hefty doses.

Sunset Street
http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/3162/img6914u.jpg (http://img209.imageshack.us/i/img6914u.jpg/)

Street food
http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/5818/img6919gc.jpg (http://img156.imageshack.us/i/img6919gc.jpg/)

More food, this time at a water park to the east of the city - one of the largest water parks in the world, and we were the only people there.
http://img810.imageshack.us/img810/2295/img6923.jpg (http://img810.imageshack.us/i/img6923.jpg/)

http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/4148/img6929g.jpg (http://img820.imageshack.us/i/img6929g.jpg/)

Durian Fruit. The British naturalist Russell Wallace back in 1856 recommended anyone to go to the 'east' just to experience a fresh durian fruit, it has a unique odour.
http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/3598/img6931.jpg (http://img546.imageshack.us/i/img6931.jpg/)


Leaving Bangkok, we made the 750km trip north by bus to the northern city of Chiang Mai. Originally founded back in the 13th century, Chiang Mai is a city located just 100km from the border with Burma and is dominated by various religious sites (300+ wats) canals and old city walls. The city is more laid back, lacking the noise, neon and other unsavoury nightlife of Bangkok.

Asleep on the job
http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/9721/img6945n.jpg (http://img836.imageshack.us/i/img6945n.jpg/)

http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/3975/img6948s.jpg (http://img405.imageshack.us/i/img6948s.jpg/)

http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/5190/img6958yx.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/img6958yx.jpg/)

http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/8375/img6965k.jpg (http://img716.imageshack.us/i/img6965k.jpg/)

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http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/3397/img6976t.jpg (http://img441.imageshack.us/i/img6976t.jpg/)

http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/5797/img6980q.jpg (http://img26.imageshack.us/i/img6980q.jpg/)

http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/2908/img6986.jpg (http://img577.imageshack.us/i/img6986.jpg/)

http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/3802/img6992r.jpg (http://img375.imageshack.us/i/img6992r.jpg/)

http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/1427/img6996d.jpg (http://img200.imageshack.us/i/img6996d.jpg/)

Bio salad and strictly Italian!
http://img403.imageshack.us/img403/7450/img7002n.jpg (http://img403.imageshack.us/i/img7002n.jpg/)

http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/7700/img7003d.jpg (http://img411.imageshack.us/i/img7003d.jpg/)

Took an opportunity to cook at a Thai Cooking School, some results....
http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/5451/img7006j.jpg (http://img823.imageshack.us/i/img7006j.jpg/)

http://img816.imageshack.us/img816/3139/img7016h.jpg (http://img816.imageshack.us/i/img7016h.jpg/)

http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/4561/img7018n.jpg (http://img513.imageshack.us/i/img7018n.jpg/)

Downpours are sudden. As with most of SE Asia, you can get torrential downpours that last two minutes, and then burning bright sunlight for the rest of the day.
http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/3369/img7034m.jpg (http://img153.imageshack.us/i/img7034m.jpg/)

http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/7505/img7039gm.jpg (http://img593.imageshack.us/i/img7039gm.jpg/)

One of the old canals that ring the city.
http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/4699/img7050g.jpg (http://img98.imageshack.us/i/img7050g.jpg/)

Insulting the monarchy is a serious crime in Thailand, even foreigners have been known to be chucked in jail for lengthy terms.
http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/3420/img7059b.jpg (http://img51.imageshack.us/i/img7059b.jpg/)


Leaving Chiang Mai, our next destination was a ride north-eastwards towards the border with Laos. To get to Laos, you have to cross the Mekong river to Huay Xai - one of the most remote areas of SE Asia.

You can't cross the Mekong at night (unless you want to get killed by trees floating down the monsoon river in the pitch black), so accommodation is on hand for travellers to stay the night. Probably the best accommodation of the trip.
http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/6098/img7092a.jpg (http://img266.imageshack.us/i/img7092a.jpg/)

http://img703.imageshack.us/img703/8365/img7115l.jpg (http://img703.imageshack.us/i/img7115l.jpg/)

Unorthodox border crossing.
http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/162/img7121v.jpg (http://img713.imageshack.us/i/img7121v.jpg/)

Huay Xai - tuk tuk trip to get further down the Mekong for a river trip towards Luang Prabang.

(http://img522.imageshack.us/i/img7132c.jpg/)South East Asia Series
South East Asia: Part II of IV http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24976
South East Asia: Part III of IV http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24977
South East Asia: Part IV of IV http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24978