19th May, 2008
I will be going backpacking in October for just over 3 months to Eastern China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Possibly KL if I can squeeze it in. I've never gone backpacking and will be going by myself!
I will be in China for just over 2 weeks so the bulk of my time will be in SE Asia.
I'd be really grateful if anyone can recommend any good books that they've read before going away so they can get a good idea of the places to visit so I can have a rough itinery.
Any help would be appreciated.
#1 Posted: 19/5/2008 - 00:27
8th November, 2007
Maybe check out essays by the travel writer
Colin Thubron, for an accurate description
of some of those areas you plan to visit.
Great selection by the way! And KL as a
possible is the right thing to do - or skip
it altogether, I feel.
Thubron absolutely nails China. Spot on in
describing the sensory deprivation any traveller
experiences while hanging there long-term, and
by long-term I mean, 6 weeks or a month, maybe.
While reading one of his essays on China I kept
saying to myself me, me, me.
He says, and I'm paraphrasing: "I found myself lingering long after meals were over. (Me) I found,
too, that I was taking longer showers. (Me) I kept
choosing books to read that had nothing to do with China. (Me) And after a while I felt like I had
come down with a low-grade flu."
That's absolutely right. Because of the oppressive
grayness of the place - ground, buildings, sky - the remarkable lack of any joy or spontaneous act of genuine human feeling from the folks there, your mind can start to cave in on itself.
What life remains there, are often the trees surrounded or stuck perhaps in concrete, with their bare limbs outstretched as if to say, "Why am I even still here?"
Now that I think about it, maybe give China a miss,
You can do that on ethical-travel grounds, i.e.
China's tacit support of the increasingly lost and
exceptionally brutal regime in Burma (they have blocked every UN resolution on Burma)...
... and China's, at essence funding and supplying weapons also to the Sudanese govt.'s long-ongoing, horrific crimes against the people of Darfur; not
to mention the legitimate gripe the Tibetans have,
on their own land, no less!
Instead, maybe try this: fly out directly to Bkk,
and for your one extravagance, take the four-hour flight to Kathmandu for your two weeks.
Kick around that centuries-old township for a few
days - great food, wonderful people - then make
your way out to Pokhara (fly 1 hour, bus it for 8
hours) and take a five-day trek around Mt. Annapurna.
Dress accordingly, though: It's colder than a
witch's left teat in Nepal, and hotter'n a bejesus practically everywhere else you plan to go.
#2 Posted: 20/5/2008 - 00:05
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