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A manifesto for slow travel

Posted by somtam2000 on 11/4/2014 at 07:19 admin

Given I've just finished a trip that was pretty much exactly the opposite of this, it resonated very much.

A manifesto for slow travel

Well worth a read.

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by chinarocks on 11/4/2014 at 08:33

"Slow travel is a state of mind. It is about having the courage not to go the way of the crowd."

Wise words.

What he says is lovely in theory, and certainly elements of it should be practiced where possible, but with limited holiday time in certain countries and perhaps kids or elderly folk to consider, it is not very practical to take his approach in a lot of cases. A young couple in their 20s on a year-long RTW trip, for sure. A family of four on a two week holiday, maybe not.

#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740


Posted by DLuek on 11/4/2014 at 10:07 TF writer

Very nice. Reminds me of the days (about a decade ago) when I was actually looking to travel from the northeast US to Australia entirely over land and sea, with no air travel unless absolutely necessary. It was a shame to learn that nearly all of the cross-ocean/sea voyages had to be done by air, that is if not sailing my own yacht, working on a cruise ship or stowing away on a freighter. If only donkeys could swim.

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 12/4/2014 at 17:40

Agree no must see things. Most of these touristy so called.must see things r lame.

Slow sex
Eat slow
Travel slow

U.only rush if its not that good.

#4 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 12/4/2014 at 17:43

Disagree with the assertion a family cant take it slow. 2 weeks on one island makes more sense than going to 5 diff places. Cheaper and more practical to slow it down.

#5 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by chinarocks on 12/4/2014 at 18:51

I didn't mean a family couldn't take it slow, on the contrary I think that's the optimal way for them to travel. What I meant was it isn't practical for a family to travel overland for days on end to get to their destination. But, yes, by all means, once they arrive they should take it slow.

#6 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 14/4/2014 at 04:14

If they hire a car they can.

#7 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by chinarocks on 14/4/2014 at 04:23

They CAN do whatever they like.

As I said, I don't think it's practical. Given the choice, I think most people with limited time would prefer to spend said time at a destination rather than getting to it.

#8 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 14/4/2014 at 15:55

Depends if the destination has much to offer and whether there is much to see along the way.

The problem that families or groups can face is satisfying diff tastes but if u have common interests a driving holiday can be great.

The best way to see the north and north east of thailand is to drive.

#9 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 15/4/2014 at 06:33

I've been saying this for years!

I would think it's not about the "destination". You go to a place to check it out and you go to a country to see what it's about.

Now, if you just want a beach holiday or you're just a horny dog looking to get laid, that's a different kind of traveller altogether. But we're not talking about beach travellers or sex travellers here - we're talking about cultural tourists. For them, taking it slow, getting off the beaten path, learning as much of the language as possible, meeting people and forming friendships - that would seem to be the ideal. But as we've discussed many times here on travelfish, that kind of tourist is exceedingly rare. Far more common is the guy who's doing the bannana pancake trail.

#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by AbigailatPenhandInk on 16/4/2014 at 00:01 TF writer

Hear hear! I'm a big fan of trains, which are faster than a donkey, but not always by much, if Vietnam's inappropriately named Reunification Express is anything to go by.

One of my favourite travels was from the UK to HCMC, all by train. It was interesting to notice faces, food and language change as we worked slowly east. It gave me time to read War and Peace. At the city stop-offs along the way, we didn't just land in the middle, we'd seen the approaches and the suburbs, understood more how the city fit with the wider country.

And while you do need time for a journey like that, the cost is surprisingly reasonable. I think many people want to cram in as much as possible into their available time, and put themselves under pressure to visit the 'must sees'. But that can mean missing out on a lot of personal experiences that will last much longer in the memory.

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 16/4/2014 at 01:32

I have no idea what a must see is. My life isnt better for visiting the barrier reef or the vatican or some pretty temple.

Life is about experiences

#12 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 16/4/2014 at 10:48

"I have no idea what a must see is."

Yep. Two expressions I have always found annoying because they are cliches: "Must see" and "Give it a miss".

I remmember I toured the Ardennes with a retired Army Captain who fought there in December 1944. Walked over the very terrain his company was engaged. He could point to specific buildings, remnants of old fighting positions were still there - I would have called that a "must see". But if you're not into military history, maybe it's a "give it a miss." We are all different in our preferences and that's why these notions are not valid.

"Life is about experiences"

Bingo

#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by chinarocks on 16/4/2014 at 11:58

If you are travelling around France for one month, then Paris is a "must see".

Scunthorpe in England is, under all circumstances and unless you are from there, a "give it a miss".

#14 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by MADMAC on 17/4/2014 at 02:14

I dont' want to go to Paris and it's not on my must see list. Marseille - yes. Lyon - yes. Normandy - yes. Paris? Full of Parisians who have a bad rep. I have a French buddy who lives out here (he's a teacher) and he says not to bother. It's not worth the hassle. I've never been to Scunthorpe England, but maybe it's cool. Everyone is different China. There are no "must sees" and there are no "give it a miss" places either. There are places that will appeal to different people for different reasons.

#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 17/4/2014 at 07:14

Paris lol

Just a big city. Rather visit small french towns.

#16 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by exacto on 17/4/2014 at 23:53

personal choice, you guys. Paris was a must see for me. sorry i missed you there. we could have met at Harry's Bar. the city was awesome each time i went. i'd go again. cheers.

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Posted by travellingsarah on 18/4/2014 at 00:13 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

I agree, there are must sees, but they are personal. Sometimes somewhere a must see turns out to disappoint and at other times we chance upon unexpected pleasures. And I don't believe you can separate 'must sees' from experiences: everything is an experience and a 'must see' can be as much about a 'must do / visit / explore etc.'

So to slow journeys: fantastic if they are good slow journeys, not so fantastic if not. I did not get much out of the bus journey from Laos to Vietnam (apart from a good story) but taking it slow through the Mekong Delta was worth the extra days.

#18 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 679
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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 18/4/2014 at 01:59

Must see implies 100% of people will like it. That never happens therefore there is no must sees. Must see is just a marketing term claiming something is very good and you will like it for sure but personal taste says otherwise.

Just a trendy phrase for "highlights" that travel companies came up with.

Tv stations use it - must watch tv.

Given that some highlights for some are lowlights for others there is no must sees.

Your arms and legs wont drop off if u never visit a certain place.

#19 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 18/4/2014 at 07:07

"Must see implies 100% of people will like it. That never happens therefore there is no must sees. Must see is just a marketing term claiming something is very good and you will like it for sure but personal taste says otherwise."

I know a guy who went to Angkor Wat and was non-plussed, and that is about the biggest "Must see" there is in SEA.

I know another guy who says Pattaya is a must see.

Everyone is different as Leonard points out, and therefore the idea of a "must see" is erroneous. In the case of travelfish it makes the assumption that all backpackers share the same tastes, which is not true.

#20 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 18/4/2014 at 11:21

I have zero interest in angkor wat. I like temples and ruins that arent full of tourists. I enjoyed phanom rung and muang tham cause they were hardly any tourists there apart from thais. I enjoyed visiting buddhist temples in phayao and ubon.

Angkor blah. Couldnt careless.


Im thinking of.doing cambodia next yr and.if i do go i would be skipping angkor. The company that own the access rights is corrupt anyway.

#21 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148


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