How to Ride a Motorcycle Across SE Asia

Originally Posted on When it comes to Southeast Asia, everyone has the same guidebook and the same itinerary. Chances are you’ve island hopped through Thailand, trekked through Laos, hit a tranny bar here and there and you still haven’t left the crowd behind. You’re stuck on the Banana Pancake Trail. It’s time to get … Continue reading

Asia in Retrospect – Final Post (Beijing, China)

And now, it is my last day in Beijing; I am finally ready to leave China, finally ready to go to Mongolia, to Siberia to Moscow on Trans-Siberian Railroad.  I have my tickets in my hand, my visas in my passport, and my plane tickets back to the US are already booked.  My journey across … Continue reading

MIA in the DMZ (Lost in Central Vietnam)

It was getting dark.  I stared at my map, trying to find out where the hell I was.  I had not passed a proper town for hours, the highway I was driving down was not even on the map and I was rapidly running out of energy.  I needed to find shelter fast, or else … Continue reading

Over the Hills and Far Away (Nha Trang -> Dalat, Vietnam)

Day Three on the Road marked my departure from the tourist track. Most tourists travel through Vietnam on “Open Tour Bus Tickets”, allowing them to travel to the coastal cities on a pre-purchased ticket along a pre-determined route. But I had sampled the tourists track in Nha Trang, and I had no desire to drive along Highway … Continue reading

The Luddite’s Last Stand (Don Det, Laos)

The Internet and Traveling – A Struggling Outpost – I am a Trojan Horse – The Development Debate – Zeus’s Fury – Escape to Cambodia!  The internet is a mixed blessing for travelers.  The internet connects travelers like never before, allowing us to research travel information instantly, trade tips with others, find accommodation, book plane … Continue reading

Would You Like to Eat Some Beetles? (Savannaket, Laos)

Punk Rock Kids in Laos – Buses and Beetles – Savannaket – Fury from Olympus The gray buildings of Vientiane disappeared and the bus descended from the mountains of the north into the wide, green plains of southern Laos.  We followed the Mekong south past small villages and farms.  Water buffaloes bathed nearby in pools … Continue reading

The Slow Boat to China (Vientiane, Laos)

Vientiane – Chinese Visa – Trouble on the Horizon – The Result Vientiane was a dull city of a half million people; you would never guess Laos’s capital if it wasn’t for the embassies and inflated prices.  A strange breed walked Vientiane’s streets at night: crazy Lao ladies, beggars, 8-year-old punks smoking cigarettes, the usual … Continue reading

Ain’t Gonna Work on the Organic Farm No More

What is “Tubing?” – The Town –The Farm – Decisions, decisions The bus arrived in Vang Vieng at 3 PM.  The other foreigners took tuk-tuks south to the town of Vang Vieng, but I headed north to volunteer on a local organic farm.  For a city-slicker like me, a couple of days working the soil … Continue reading

The Local Experience (Luang Prabang, Laos)

The Local Experience – Luang Prabang – Happy Lao New Year! – Grounds for Celebration   My hosts stared at me impatiently.  I had attempted to hide the food in my hand beneath the table, praying they would assume I had eaten their offering and accomplished the impossible.  I had almost got away with it, … Continue reading

American Bombs (Luang Nam Tha, Laos)

At the crossroads – Trekking – Development Challenges – Luang Nam Tha – Laos’ Future, Past and Present – American Bombs I crossed the Mekong at dawn.  Instantly I felt the subtle differences between Thailand and Laos.  The pace of life was slow in Laos: the border guards had not yet stumbled into work when … Continue reading