Things I Will and Will Not Miss About Southeast Asia

After making similar lists about South America and Oceania while waiting for my flights to the next destinations, I made this my farewell-to-this-continent tradition. It gave me time to reflect on my experiences in different regions and to appreciate what I had liked and disliked before moving on to the next leg of the journey. The notebook and pen again appeared in my hands as I waited for my flight out of Bangkok to Milan via Jordan and I thought about my time in Southeast Asia.

Everyone should carry some emergency cash, even the monks.

Things I Will Miss About Southeast Asia:

-Seeing monks in robes wandering about town, occasionally doing unexpected things like withdrawing money from ATMs

-The shopping (second-hand bookstores, custom made clothing shops, and pedestrian marketplaces)

-All the food (street food – from chopped fruit in a bag to fried-before-your-eyes Pad Sew; spicy coconut curries; 24 hour pho restaurants; Malaysian roti canai; banana vanilla milkshakes from the Blue Pumpkin in Siem Reap; and oh-so-much more)

-Snorkelling and underwater coral gardens

-Spending time aboard longboats and junkships

-The smell of tea and strawberries in the highlands

Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Things I Will Not Miss About Southeast Asia:

Trying to cross the road in Vietnam

Miri, Borneo

-Sharing my swim space with reef sharks and sea lice/jellyfish

-The surprising number of bees in the rainforests of Brunei

-Sweating even while in the shower due to the suffocating humidity

-Worrying that every mosquito that bit me after 5pm was giving me malaria

Cruising the Coves of Halong Bay

Ahhh… this is the life. A slow cruise, weaving through the mists of humidity among the limestone cliffs and green waters of Halong Bay, was just the ticket after the traffic insanity on mainland Vietnam. I’ve written before about the value of taking a vacation from your vacation and I was ready to take my own advice again in Vietnam after a whirlwind trip around the country. Three days sailing around Halong Bay on an upgraded junk ship sounded just about my speed.

Continue reading