Life according to megaworldasia
I was born, and grew up, in New Zealand at a time when getting out of the house was still the thing to do. Computers had hardly been heard of at that stage and the idea of spending the day cooped up inside a building was something that was only done if you were struck down with severe illness or there was a flood. Roaming far and wide from sunrise to well after sunset, beyond the boundaries of the one’s front door, was a normal state of affairs. From early on I was imbued with a sense of adventure - and the need to explore things - and was always looking for something of an outdoors/physical type activity to keep me occupied. As a teenager I was fortunate enough to live near the coast and it wasn’t long after my thirteenth birthday that I started surfing. Eventually, surfing became the main preoccupation in my life and it was to fuel my curiosity for seeking out locations, off the beaten track, on this planet. Surfing gave me a reason to travel and the fact was that, more often than not, I and many other guys of the same ilk, ended up in far flung locations simply because that’s where the best, and most uncrowded, surf was. A t the time I didn’t fully realize it but involvement in an adventure activity (surfing) and travel to exotic, remote locations became inextricably linked together.
The idea that travel needed some kind of purpose became a natural course of events and it was a mindset that saw me moving across the Tasman Sea to Australia; to seek out new and uncrowded surf locations in some distant land. A few months after arriving in Sydney I, and a couple of like-minded comrades, had eventually surfed our way across the southern coastline of Australia to end up on that continents’ west coast. During the trip across I’d met others who’d been to Indonesia and a few weeks after arriving Perth, I was on my way to experience the exotic charms, and flavours, of South East Asia. That first visit through Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia was to ignite an attraction, for this part of the world, that eventually saw me moving to Thailand, almost twenty years ago, and I’ve been here ever since. The surfing eventually gave way to a keen interest in scuba diving and I was fortunate enough to spend several years residing in one of the world’s premier recreational diving locations; Phuket. My involvement in scuba saw me work my way up to instructor level as I dived in some of the best locations in the region. Somewhere along the line I developed a fondness for going into caves. This probably had a lot to do with going forth into the unknown but, never the less; it was an activity which provided a challenge as well as an adrenaline charge.
These days I’ve backed off on the cave diving and moved more towards dry cave exploring of which there are literally thousands of in this predominantly karst region of the world. Going on a caving adventure usually means a trip into a remote location and it may also mean an opportunity to have a look at other unique, or interesting, things – Buddhist temples – along the way. Quite often, the two things are combined as people in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia will usually install Buddha images (including statues) within cave interiors.
It’s an opportunity to get off the beaten track of the beaches and air-conditioned restaurants, that so many seem to hardly move beyond, and get to some of the more remote, and interesting, locations of this varied and diverse landscape.
Laos: Ventianne, Veng Vien, Luang Prabang, Thakhek, Kong Lo. Thailand: Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan