Published: October 5th 2007September 28th 2007
The Beach, Thailand
Kick back and relax on one of Thailand's beautiful islands.
© L. Birch 2007
The wonderful thing about S E Asia is the variety of landscapes and experiences to be had there. You can mingle with remote hill tribes, be bowled over by hi-tech mega cities, climb an active volcano, explore the ruins of a 'lost city', trek through virgin rainforests or simply kick back on an idyllic beach. In the course of a year, we had done most of these things - and more. Moving on from the region would be hard for we had come to know it quite intimately. This wasn't the end however. We were still 5-months away from returning home. In the interim, there was still one last challenge - India.
Following our return from Australia, there was time to say "Goodbye" to S E Asia as we made our way slowly back to Bangkok. What memories would we be taking with us? They are almost too numerous to recount. We had seen beauty and ugliness, overcome personal adversity and self doubt, experienced life, albeit briefly, as it was lived by local people and - above all - had been touched by the generousity and kindness of people we had met along the way. We would never forget the
Try out new foods and experience some of Asia's tastiest fruits.
© L. Birch 2007
experience of seeing life in modern-day Burma, a country recently in the news and still shackled by the ruthless dictates of a brutal military regime. And then there was the simple kindliness extended to us by so many people. Offers of food and accommodation in unexpected places and by people much poorer than ourselves. How could we ever forget them or thank them enough? The Good Banana Pancake Guide
Most banal thing we would miss? It would almost certainly be that humble staple of the backpacker trail, the banana pancake. We had experienced this popular snack all over S E Asia, from Laos to Indonesia and everywhere in between. Some were served with panache others with indifference, all provided a tasty treat when an appetite for anything else was flagging. Here's a brief guide to our Top Five:
And finally, for all those following in our literary footsteps (and who might want to recap on some of our adventures) or for anyone else embarking on a tour of S E Asia, here is our guide to some of the best experiences on offer: Jungles and Wildlife
Want to rub shoulders with Orangutans or discover what it's like to explore rice paddies on elephant back? Follow the links
"Lost City" Ruins, Thailand
Explore ancient city ruins and play at being Indiana Jones for a day.
© L. Birch 2007
below to find out. Borneo Orangutans in Sumatra Elephant Trekking, Laos Lost Cities and Antiquities
Fancy playing at being Indiana Jones or Lara Croft? The links below will take you to some of the most exciting ruins and ancient monuments to be found in Asia. Plain of Jars, Laos Forbidden City & Great Wall, China Bagan Ruins, Burma Angor Wat, Cambodia Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand Deserts
You don't have to go to the Middle East or North Africa to experience wind sculpted dunes and desert vistas. Try Vietnam instead. Mui Ne Dunes, Vietnam Islands and Beaches
South East Asia boasts some of the most beautiful coastal and island scenery of just about anywhere in the world. Wanna know what a full-moon party's like or where to stay on an island in the middle of the Mekong River? Check out the links below for answers. Tioman Island, Malaysia Koh Phan Gan, Thailand Don Det Island, Laos Concrete Jungles
South East Asia's cities can be exciting, scary, overwhelming and... fun. Check the links below for a representative look at some of its largest and finest.
Bangkok,Thailand Singapore City Penang, Malaysia Volcanoes
Bicycle Rickshaw, Cambodia
Experience the thrill of a train journey in 3rd class or a bicycle rickshaw ride in heavy traffic.
© L. Birch 2007
Indonesia lies squarely on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' and has hundreds of volcanoes from sleeping giants like Toba to raging monsters like Java's currently active (and extremely volatile) Mount Merapi. Click on the link below to visit two of Sumatra's most accessible volcanic sites. Gunung Sibayak and Toba, Indonesia Great Journeys
Want to know what it's like to spend two days on a boat down the Mekong or to take a train across China? Buckle up and click on the links below... you're about to find out. Xiamen to Beijing by Train Taking the Boat to Mandalay Down the Mekong by Boat For Grant....
Whose pancake habit will probably go unfulfilled in darkest Afghanistan.
Why not check out our new gallery feature? Click on the "Gallery" icon in the bottom left corner of our profile page
. A new window will open - simply click on the image displayed to see a selection of the best images from our 2007 trip through SE Asia and Australia.
There are more photos below