Tag Archives: southeast asia

In Defence of Malaysia: Don’t Let MH370 Be Your Last Impression

MALAYSIA’S BEEN BESMIRCHED in the media lately, and for pretty unfortunate reasons. First the shocking vanish itself of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; then the rumours about Iranian terrorists, stolen passports, hijacked planes, suicide missions and missing black boxes. Maybe they found some rubble in the Indian Ocean; maybe they didn’t. Maybe it’s on land; probably it isn’t. […]

Woody Elephant Camp and the Lesser of Some Number of Evils

“THIS IS POWER in the human hand,” our guide said as she showed us the elephant hook, holding it up for the whole group to see. V quickly shot me a glare. “We use to punish them,” she continued with a smile. The man behind her, Jay, jumped from his seat. “It’s not for fun,” […]

The Best Bread in Bangkok, And, Perhaps, The World

THERE ARE TWO REASONS we decided to return to Bangkok. One is that flying out of Siem Reap is unavoidably expensive; the other was bread. But not just “bread” in the generic; rather, a very particular bread, a paragon role model—really, the Platonic form of bread—baked at a mystery bakery just off the Wang Lang […]

The Angkor Album

THE ANGKOR TEMPLE COMPLEX sees around 1,000 visitors in a day, many of whom swarm the western gate at 5:30 a.m. to wait for the 6 o’clock sunrise. I did not know this before we joined them. We rented bikes the night before and left our homestay pedaling at 5 o’clock, following the line of […]

Photo Essay: Diving Into The Killing Fields

I HAVE NO CLAIM, personal or professional, to Cambodian history, politics or culture. I’d been in the country for fewer than 24 hours when we visited the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Prison Museum; the extent of my knowledge re: Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot was having watched The Killing Fields in a journalism class […]

Cambodians Make Travel So Easy it’s Creepy

IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMON SENSE, and any money at all, Cambodia is a remarkably easy country to travel through. This is not because the roads are smooth (they’re not) or the touts polite (they’re obnoxious). It is, as it often is, the people who are making our lives easier, albeit for a price, further […]

Photo Food Essay: Robyn’s George Town

I AM NOT SPECIFICALLY a food blogger, but Robyn Eckhardt is. A friend I trust in all matters of Asian cuisine—we’ll call him Eldma—pointed me in the direction of Ms. Eckhardt’s blog, Eating Asia, which she has been running with her photographer-husband for enough years to make any journo jealous. They’re quite good at what […]

Stories Left Behind in Indonesia

THERE ARE LITTLE THINGS that slip between cracks when trying to keep up a blog. V and I have met a lot of genuine people, some for even just a few moments, who made an impression on us but whose stories got left behind after we moved on; they felt too short to justify full-length […]

Borobudur at Dawn

I DO NOT REGRET spending a total of $50 (40 for the ticket, 10 for the taxi) on the Borobudur Sunrise package, even though it’s almost twice the regular cost of admission, and here’s why: It’s literally unrepeatable. The much-vaunted experience is monopolized by the Manohara research group, which I know very little about but […]

Photo Essay: The Nearly Abandoned Theme Park of Surabaya, Indonesia

NOTHING ONLINE INDICATES that Ken Park, a huge swath of land in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, is actually abandoned. But you’d be blind to think it isn’t. There are signs for hotels that don’t seem to exist, enormous dollhouse-style corridors devoid of people, restaurant stalls left unattended. And it feels even emptier because of how […]