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southbysoutheast posts

Travels In Myanmar: Under A Night Sky

Travels In Myanmar: Under A Night Sky Apr 5th, 2012 at 10:00AM: I had no idea what to expect that morning in Yangon. Inside the city's once grand but now decrepit train station, a few lonely bulbs fought weakly against the dark. Across the arrivals hall was the silhouette of my transport, an intimidating iron locomotive. I moved hesitantly towards this slumbering rusty giant, past anonymous passengers squatting on the cracked cement floor, huddled in...

South by Southeast: Coming home

South by Southeast: Coming home Mar 30th, 2010 at 9:00AM: Long-term travel forces us to face our fears. Whether it's eating something unfamiliar or visiting a place that scares us, we're forced to rely on our wits and abilities in ways we never thought possible. But of all the daring activities that occur during a long trip, none is more frightening than the simple act of returning home. After spending five months on the road in Southeast Asia, it's a...

South by Southeast: Top 10 Southeast Asia

South by Southeast: Top 10 Southeast Asia Mar 19th, 2010 at 9:00AM: There's a lot to see in Southeast Asia. Over the past five months, as I've traveled through this amazing region, it's something I've experienced firsthand. From mind-blowing jungle ruins to outstanding food and world class beaches, there's a never-ending wealth of curiosities for visitors. But with so much to see and do, it's hard to know what to prioritize. Is Angkor Wat really as awesome as...

South by Southeast: Picking a beach in Thailand

South by Southeast: Picking a beach in Thailand Mar 15th, 2010 at 9:00AM: The allure of Thailand's islands and beaches is immense. Sugar white sand. A wealth of activities, from diving to rock climbing to sailing. Raucous beach parties. But all these pleasing options can actually cause a big headache. With literally hundreds of beach and island choices, spread between Thailand's west-facing Andaman Coast and the eastern-facing Gulf of Thailand, visitors will be...

Hong Kong goes retro

Hong Kong goes retro Mar 11th, 2010 at 1:00PM: Hong Kong is truly the city of the future. The city's ubiquitous skyline of shiny beveled-angle skyscrapers towers above you like a giant wall of steel and glass. Meanwhile, residents tap their Octopus cards at cash registers, magically paying for purchases without bills or coins. Yet lying beneath Hong Kong's fancy neon wizardry is a puzzling trend. It seems these days, Hong Kong is not looking...

South by Southeast: 5 tips for Angkor Wat

South by Southeast: 5 tips for Angkor Wat Feb 22nd, 2010 at 9:00AM: I was alone, deep in the Cambodian jungle, flanked by the scattered ruins of ancient Khmer temples. My ears tickled with the cackle distant bird calls and buzzing cicadas. My shirt clung to my skin with a thick layer of sweat and ocher-hued dust. Suddenly, I heard movement to my right behind a wall. What was it? An ancient spirit of temples? A fearsome jungle cat waiting to pounce? My muscles...

South by Southeast: Eating in Saigon

South by Southeast: Eating in Saigon Feb 16th, 2010 at 9:00AM: Amniotic fluid tastes like chicken soup. At least, that is, the amniotic fluid that comes from Hot Vit Lon, a Vietnamese delicacy consisting of an duck egg with a half-formed baby chick nested inside. As I squatted on a flimsy plastic chair in one of Saigon's labyrinth of steamy back-alleys, with a cracked-open Hot Vit Lon in one hand, sweaty bottle of Saigon beer in the other, I had to wonder...

South by Southeast: Avoiding the hordes

South by Southeast: Avoiding the hordes Jan 29th, 2010 at 9:00AM: I had high hopes for my arrival in Hoi An. This historic city, set along Vietnam's Central Coast, has all the ingredients to be the perfect destination: a charming downtown lined with ancient Chinese buildings, a picturesque waterfront setting and a unique culinary history. So it was a shock when I stepped off my bus to find the city the epitome of a tourist trap, stuffed to the gills with...

South by Southeast: Five reasons to eat more street food

South by Southeast: Five reasons to eat more street food Jan 22nd, 2010 at 9:00AM: Welcome back to Gadling's series on backpacking Southeast Asia, South by Southeast. In Southeast Asia, the center of daily life is the street. In Hanoi, pedestrians stop for a trim at sidewalk barber stands. In Bangkok, co-workers gather for steaming street-side bowls of noodle soup. And in Mandalay, men huddle at curbside tea shops, sipping milky-sweet chai while trading stories and gossip. You...

South by Southeast: Hit and run Hanoi

South by Southeast: Hit and run Hanoi Jan 20th, 2010 at 9:00AM: You don't just visit Hanoi. Hanoi visits you. Take a walk down any street of this fast-paced Vietnamese capital of commerce and communism and prepare to be overwhelmed by sensory delights (and annoyances). Motorbikes buzz around intersections like nests of angry hornets. Your feet trip over small plastic stools at street-side noodle shops. Vendors chase you down the street like used car...

South by Southeast: The hill tribes of Southeast Asia

South by Southeast: The hill tribes of Southeast Asia Jan 13th, 2010 at 9:00AM: Welcome back to Gadling's series on backpacking Southeast Asia, South by Southeast. Southeast Asia is modernizing rapidly. These days, malls line the streets of Thailand and WiFi signals and cell phones blanket the cafes of Vietnam. But that doesn't mean the ways of the "Asia of old" have vanished – in fact, in the mountainous northern regions of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, a...

South by Southeast: Ugly bargaining

South by Southeast: Ugly bargaining Jan 6th, 2010 at 9:00AM: Welcome back to Gadling's series on backpacking in Southeast Asia, South by Southeast. Most visitors in Southeast Asia are on a tight budget. Lucky for you, the prices here are very negotiable. As I've learned during the past two months, everything from the price of my guest house, to my tuk-tuk to souvenirs, is up for negotiation. For a traveler living "on a shoestring," it's a been a useful...

South by Southeast: Exploring Luang Prabang

South by Southeast: Exploring Luang Prabang Dec 30th, 2009 at 9:00AM: Welcome back to Gadling's series on backpacking in Southeast Asia, South by Southeast. As travelers, we have a tendency to overload our trips with adventure and movement. This is especially true in Southeast Asia - as I've discovered in Thailand and Laos, there's no shortage of motorbikes to ride or zip lines to catch. But if you truly want to understand this part of the world, it's not a vigorous...

South by Southeast: The Gibbon Experience

South by Southeast: The Gibbon Experience Dec 21st, 2009 at 10:30AM: As a kid, did you ever fantasize about living in a tree house? Of climbing into your own hideaway stocked with chocolate bars, hanging out with monkeys and doing as you please? If you've ever wanted to feel like a kid again, it's time to visit The Gibbon Experience, a magical realm of tree houses, waterfalls and exotic wildlife hidden deep in the dense jungle of Northern Laos. The Gibbon...

South by Southeast: Motorcycle Thailand

South by Southeast: Motorcycle Thailand Dec 11th, 2009 at 10:00AM: Each year thousands of travelers head for Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, ground zero for jungle treks, cooking courses and plenty of shopping. But good as Chiang Mai can be, it's the regions beyond the comfy confines of Thailand's second-largest city where travelers will find real adventure, an undertaking best-tackled by motorbike. Northern Thailand's vast terrain remains one of the country's...

South by Southeast: The man from Kathmandu

South by Southeast: The man from Kathmandu Dec 1st, 2009 at 9:00AM: Everybody wants to talk to you in Myanmar. Almost daily I was greeted by a welcoming committee of friendly taxi drivers, curious adolescent monks and mysterious jobless "men about town" wanting to shoot the breeze. In a country that restricts access to the media, it's not surprising the Burmese are eager to talk: they seem hungry for access to the outside world. For the most part, the...

South by Southeast: Taunggyi Balloon Festival

South by Southeast: Taunggyi Balloon Festival Nov 25th, 2009 at 9:00AM: Daily life is a struggle in Myanmar. For the average local, working days are filled with long hours of backbreaking manual labor, meager pay and no weekends or vacation time. Considering this exhausting schedule, festivals and holidays are special times - a chance to kick back, relax and let loose. In Myanmar's Shan State, one of the most important of these festivities is the annual Taunggyi...

South by Southeast: Who goes to Myanmar?

South by Southeast: Who goes to Myanmar? Nov 23rd, 2009 at 9:00AM: Who does visit Myanmar these days? For Southeast Asia travelers exposed to a daily diet of CNN, Myanmar is literal no-fly zone, a destination with an infamous reputation for unrest, opium and political repression. Even as other "notorious" Asia destinations like Cambodia and Vietnam emerge into adolescence on the global tourist stage, Myanmar remains largely hidden from view - a mysterious...

A taste of Seoul, Korea: Three nights

A taste of Seoul, Korea: Three nights Nov 5th, 2009 at 9:00AM: Korean food is hot! "Spicy" is probably the most prominent flavor in Korean cooking, but it's also a sign of the increasing popularity of Korean cuisine. Everywhere you turn these days, it seems like someone is talking about Korean food, from New York's superstar chef David Chang to the insanely popular Kogi food truck in Los Angeles. But for all the buzz Korean food is getting among eaters, many...

South by Southeast: In Bangkok? Head to the mall!

South by Southeast: In Bangkok? Head to the mall! Nov 3rd, 2009 at 9:00AM: Bangkok means many things to travelers. The backpacker ghetto of Khao San Road. The sublime temples of Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew. The seedy go-go bars of Patpong. But after visiting this crazy Southeast Asian capital for the first time, I'd like to suggest a new highlight in Bangkok: the malls. You're probably going to tell me I'm a spoiled Westerner, too acclimated to the comforts of home to get...

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