SE Asia, December 2010

Chiang Mai

Soiphet and driver (I wish I could remember his name) drop us off at our final hotel for our final 2 nights.  The Rachamankha is extraordinarily beautiful, and so peaceful.  Like a museum, actually.  That night we have dinner in an open, tree-filled courtyard, while a musician plays ancient instruments.  I feel existential for a split second, like, Wow, I’m really somewhere right now. Continue reading

Two Nights in Bangkok

From Phuket, we head to Bangkok.  Here’s where I broke my no-within-country-flight policy.  To travel overland would take us a day and a half, and we just don’t have that kind of time.  So instead, we jump on a Thai Airways flight, and arrive in 85 minutes for about $100 per person.  With a full lunch and wine served in-flight, of course, in keeping with the Asian hospitality theme.

Bangkok.  There’s something about that name, like Kuala Lumpur, that sounds all exotic and mysterious to me.  I can’t wait to see it.

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Christmas in Krabi

Today a long journey lies ahead of us.  We’ll spend about three hours crossing the Andaman Sea to get from Malaysia to Hat Yao, Thailand, then another few hours overland.  First up, a limo pries us away from our fantastic beach paradise and takes us to the other side of the island, where we wait for our ferry.  A little motorboat takes us from the pier to the waiting vessel.  The weather is a bit temperamental, the waves high and the ride rough.  The boat is packed.  Everyone has a seat, but there are no seats to spare.  Someone behind us gets seasick.  Continue reading

Langkawi

Langkawi… ahhh.  I had never heard of it before beginning research for this trip, but apparently it’s “Malaysia’s best-known holiday destination” according to Lonely Planet, and now I can see why.  Seb’s request for this vacation, well, besides being somewhere developed, was that we would find a place to spend several days in a row doing nothing but relaxing beside a beach.  This was the kind of place I hoped he’d had in mind.  We just had to rush through the first several stops to get here.

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Kuala Lumpur

I love trains.  They’re a comfortable and fun way to travel, not to mention much cheaper and greener than flying.  And unlike flying, you get to see stuff while en route.  There’s a great website for train travel that I’ve used in China, India, and throughout this trip: seat61.com.  It’s written by one dude whose job I envy and is chock-full of details and travel advice.  I may use it more than Lonely Planet, even.

Our train to Kuala Lumpur left Singapore a taddd early for my tastes – we were at the station by 6am if I remember correctly – just to make sure we had plenty of time for check-in.  We did.  Ahem.  Continue reading