Travel stories on Southeast Asia

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  • Songkran festival in Thailand

    Songkran festival in Thailand

    Kids fire super-powered water guns from the back of a zooming tuk tuk. A wrinkled woman blesses her grandchildren in a touching ceremony. Scented water showers over a Buddha image as Thai rock music thumps. Held annually from April 13-15, Thai New Year, or Songkran festival, is a time to cleanse, pay respects and let loose in some of the world’s wildest water fights. Sawasdee phimai! (Happy new year!)

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  • Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

    Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

    Wander the streets and beaches of Phuket and other tourist destinations around Thailand and you’ll often soon be met by someone trying to sell you a photograph with an exotic animal. The thrill of an encounter with a gibbon, slow loris, iguana or python might add some excitement to someone’s tropical holiday, but what many don’t realise is that these happy snapshots mask a brutal, damaging and illegal trade.

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  • Ko Chang's east coast

    Ko Chang's east coast

    "An idyllic, deserted beach" with "no road access" — this was how the Ko Chang tourist map described Haad Wai Shak. Yet satellite maps revealed a thin ribbon reaching into the far southeastern corner of this vast and mountainous island, and we decided to give it a shot. Anyone who says Elephant Island is too crowded or developed has never come this way.

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  • Ko Lanta's best budget guesthouses

    Ko Lanta's best budget guesthouses

    Coconut trees sway in the breeze as you swing in your hammock, marvelling at miles of feathery white sand. In the back of your mind, a worrisome voice begs to know how you can stay a little longer checking out such sublime slices of paradise in Thailand without going over your modest budget. The answer? Head to Ko Lanta.

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  • Great river trips in Southeast Asia

    Great river trips in Southeast Asia

    If it's true that the journey is more important than the destination, it's even truer when it comes to river-boat travel. Often slow, uncomfortable and unreliable, boat trips can nevertheless deliver on magnificent scenery and insights into local customs and ways of life. Thanks to rapidly improving road networks and also due to the proliferation of dams in Laos, options for boat travel in Southeast Asia are slowly fading away, but some fabulous trips worth trying do remain. Below we cover some of our favourites, along with a handful no longer really possible to do easily.

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  • The changing face of Ko Lipe

    The changing face of Ko Lipe

    It couldn't have stayed obscure forever. Ko Lipe has officially joined the ranks of Thailand's most popular islands thanks to brilliant beaches and seascapes to rival the Maldives. Once tricky to reach due to a far-flung location, the tiny yet increasingly busy island is now served by a fleet of speedboats from multiple directions. It's a tried-and-true recipe for hordes of high-season travellers.

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  • Where is the best place in Southeast Asia for ...

    Where is the best place in Southeast Asia for ...

    A simple question, with rarely a simple answer. Where is the best beach/party/temple/breakfast in Southeast Asia? Below we tackle ten typical queries and take a (highly personalised) stab at why I reckon somewhere in particular is the best in Southeast Asia. One proviso -- the Philippines and Brunei are not included in the mix as we're yet to head to either -- maybe this year...

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  • Best places to stay on Ko Phi Phi 2015

    Best places to stay on Ko Phi Phi 2015

    Ko Phi Phi has a large and growing variety of places to stay. Since it was struck by the Asian tsunami of December 2004, Ko Phi Phi has been redeveloped at a relentless pace, which is showing no sign of slowing 10 years on.

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  • Khlong Toey Music Program

    Khlong Toey Music Program

    Music has the power to launch you far and wide, create a sense of community, replace hopelessness with creativity and soothe the deepest roots of your soul. In Bangkok's poorest area, underprivileged kids are exposed to all of this and more thanks to Khlong Toey Music Program (KTMP).

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  • Which Ha Long Bay tour is right for you?

    Which Ha Long Bay tour is right for you?

    If you ask a travel agent or your hotel tour desk what the differences are between the various cruises to Ha Long Bay, they will all tell you the same: the more expensive it is, the better the boat and the better the food. But how different are they and what's going to suit you and your budget?

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  • DIY Ha Long Bay

    DIY Ha Long Bay

    While all the talk is of visiting Ha Long Bay on an organised tour, it is sort of possible to visit it independently. Sure you'll still end up on a tourist boat, but you won't be a part of the group onboard. Is that close enough? We thought it was and here is how we did it.

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  • Mid-range Ha Long Bay

    Mid-range Ha Long Bay

    If you're travelling independently through Vietnam but you've a bit more cash to flash than the norm, you still want to know when it's worth spending that bit extra or not. When it comes to Ha Long Bay, tours are priced from very cheap through to reasonable, then there's the splurge take.

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