Alternative Stops for Popular Southeast Asia Destinations

Has Southeast Asia “jumped the shark”? Judging by the crowds jostling for a sunrise view over Angkor Wat during peak season, you might think so. But don’t write off the rest of the region just yet! Go a little further off the beaten track, and you’ll find beaches that look just as splendid as Phuket’s, […]

Ringgit And Sense: Tips For Travel To Kuching

KUCHING / SARAWAK / MALAYSIA / JUNE 2014: Blue hours over the r

For a really cool holiday trip that doesn’t soak up your last penny, you need to know the basics: 1)How to get there 2)Where to stay 3)What to look for, and 4)Where to eat How to Get There If your way leads to Kuching, Sarawak, how to get there, is easy; you fly. The old […]

Religious Sanctuaries in Southeast Asia that Cherish Coexistence

Hindu Sadhu the holy men visiting the Kailasa Temple, Ellora caves, UNESCO world heritage side.

The ancestors knew something we moderns seem to have forgotten: how to reconcile varying religious beliefs. Southeast Asia’s trading ports were bastions of tolerance; how could they be otherwise, when on any day you could be doing business with a Malay Muslim, a Chinese Taoist, or a European Christian? Instead of building walls, community leaders […]

Wearing Traditional Costumes in Southeast Asia – Dos and Don’t’s

Beautiful Asian woman in traditional Thai dress costume white background

Locals in Southeast Asia take great pride in their national costumes, and – within reason – are proud to have you try them on as well. That should reassure tourists who worry about being tarred for “cultural appropriation” by social-justice-savvy friends. Contrary to campus cries of “we’re a culture, not a costume”, trying on a […]

Southeast Asia’s Most Photography-Friendly Places

Marina Bay area in Singapore city.

After your ticket and passport, your camera comes a close third as a travel essential for visiting Southeast Asia. Whether you’re in laid-back Brunei or bustling Singapore, you can’t leave your hotel or hostel without taking snapshots of the region’s scenery and people – visiting Southeast Asia otherwise would be pointless! For Instagrammers and serious […]

Watch (Or Join In) Southeast Asia’s Ancient Sports

Muay Thai athlete training at Thai boxing indoors, ultimate fight concept

As cradles of cultures reaching back into the millennia, the countries of Southeast Asia have developed their own sports that still thrive, even as football and basketball dominate popular culture. Many of these traditional sports developed from ancient livelihoods: warriors of the former Khmer, Thai and Mon empires; the farmers in Malaysia’s rice paddies; and […]

Cambodia: Cultural & Heritage Tourism

Angkor Wat Temple - Cambodia. Ancient architecture

The glory of the Khmer Empire lives on in these temple ruins in Cambodia; at least two have won UNESCO World Heritage recognition. 1.1. World Heritage Site Cambodia has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: one is an icon of Cambodian identity, the other is only catching up. Both are still worth visiting! 1.1.1.     Angkor Wat, […]

Exploring Southeast Asia’s Royal Palaces

They ruled Southeast Asia once upon a time, though their lives were hardly the stuff of fairy tales. Before Europeans changed the local political landscape, power was exercised by local kings. As absolute masters of their respective realms, Southeast Asia’s monarchs waged wars and built civilizations for thousands of years, creating the local cultures that […]

Thailand: Cultural & Heritage Tourism

A woman sitting alone in ancient temple in Ayutthaya , Thailand

Influences from successive empires – among them the Khmer and Sukhothai – have left behind a number of historical ruins that modern tourists can still explore to this day. 1.1. Ayutthaya Historical Park This former capital of the Thai empire was invaded by the Burmese in 1767, leaving this city of 400 temples in ruins. […]

Philippines: Cultural & Heritage Tourism

Rice terraces. Banaue, Philippines

Rice terraces, ancient churches and “dreamweavers” only scratch the surface of the Philippines’ rich cultural pickings available to every tourist brave enough to venture off the beaten path. 1.1. Ilocandia Heritage and Cultural Tour (Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur) The northern Ilocos provinces are home to an industrious and frugal people who populate a land […]