A Summer in Southeast Asia

Jan 05, 2016

When I signed the job offer for my first post-college job, I was offered a choice of start dates: June, July or August. I was in no hurry to start so asked for August and booked myself a flight to Bangkok for the summer. Five weeks, arriving in Bangkok and departing from Singapore.


I decided on a month in Thailand followed by a few days in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Singapore. Through Wikivoyage, Lonely Planet Thailand and a few other web sites I settled on an itinerary. After starting in Bangkok, I would head to Kanchanaburi to see the Bridge over the River Kwai then swing north to Chiang Mai, home of huge temples and cool cafes. Following that, I would turn south again, to Sukhothai to bike around the ruins of the ancient Thai capital. On to Ayutthaya, where old temples sit intertangled with crowded modern streets and markets.

After, a week on Koh Pha Ngan, the island famous for its Full Moon Parties, though I avoided doing much more than lounge on a beach chair during my time there. A quick flight to Malaysia and a visit to the city that wishes it was Singapore, Kuala Lumpur. Then Malacca, the old Dutch port, before reaching Singapore and being greeted by their charming immigration forms, each declaring “DEATH TO DRUG TRAFFICKERS” in bright red letters.

Unlike my last trip to Asia, this one didn’t feature disasters or disrupted plans or anything so exciting. I took Thailand slow, mostly sitting at a low-slung plastic table with a cheap bowl of noodles, watching the world pass by.

My previous trip report was a day-by-day account of my time in Tokyo during the Fukushima crisis. This report will not recount every day individually. Two reasons: no one is going to read forty different posts on this trip and I don’t remember it in enough detail to make that even possible. Instead I will recall various experiences that marked my travels around Southeast Asia, the moments that vividly bring back the sights and smells of Thailand and Malaysia.

So here we go:

  • Australians in Bangkok
  • To Amphawa and Back Again
  • Lost and Happy near Kanchanaburi
  • Chiang Mai
  • Ancient Ruins of Sukhothai
  • The People You Meet in Ayutthaya
  • Koh Pha Ngan, Prayers and Prostitutes
  • KL
  • An American in Malacca
  • Singapore