In January 2009, we travelled around South East Asia for 4 weeks - we had no more time than that and would have loved more, but we'll have time to go back one day. I have posted on it here so feel free to go and look: http://www.journeymantraveller.com/search/label/South%20East%20Asia
Didn't want to have to re-write the whole thing here so I hope the moderators of Travelfish do not mind me doing it this way.
It was a good, thorough trip report, although I noted you seem to have a lot of distain for commercialism and modernity and a fondness for that which is "different". Loved the pictures and Luang Prabang still looks like a place I will have to take my wife and daughter. Given your distaste for the commercial sides of things, I was a bit surprised you didn't get much off the beaten path in Thailand. I noticed that you talked about Beggars and touts as common place, but they are not, they are just common where there are tourists. I live in Thailand and we don't have hardly any of the former and none of the latter here (and I live in a provincial capital city).
Of course you were very pressed for time, but the next time you come to Thailand, I recommend not going south or north, but northeast. Spend some time traveling around Roi Et, or Kalasin or NKP or Mukdahan. I think you will find those areas interesting.
Thanks for the report though. Inoformative and I enjoyed the reading.
Interesting stuff MAC, but I thought the blog was self-indulgent and written with the self-assured smugness of someone who has grabbed an elephant by the tail and is overly confident they can describe the entire animal to everyone else.
Those oreo cookies mentioned in the blog are actually made in Begasi, Indonesia, and the reason they are everywhere is because the local folks buy and eat 'em.
Anyway, I do think you'll enjoy a trip to Luang Prabang. Lots of great stuff to see and enjoy.
I didn't want to be too harsh - she was trying pretty hard to be a clever writer, but a lot of people try to do that. On the other hand, the report had a lot of good details and good photos. It didn't capture the Thailand that I know at all, but that's OK - she had one week, I've had three plus years.
Madmac: Thailand was not our priority on this occasion which is why we there only for a short time. We will certainly be back as we by no means experienced enough of the country (as if that is ever possible) but we will not be spending much time in Bangkok if we can avoid it. It is sometimes difficult to avoid the "beaten track" as it becomes popular for good reason & most of the monuments or destinations dominating the major routes you still want to see.
I thank you both for your criticism - it's usually very helpful so I'm grateful for you taking the time to comment. To extend Ex's unfortunately rather vague & brief simile, I felt I was attempting, in fact, only to describe my experiences of 'the tail'. That is to say I was characterising what I had seen & the emotions inspired in me by those experiences. It's impossible to do anything more given the time available but that doesn't detract from our experiences at the time.
I've lived in various cities in my life but that doesn't make my comments any more valuable than someone who's been there only a week as we're both having experiences which are relevant to others. To suggest otherwise would invalidate the writings of most travel writers, especially people like Peter Moore & Bill Bryson. To live in, and love, a location places you in a privileged position but equally the majority of people who visit SE Asia do not enjoy that privilege and so will experience some of the sadness & frustration I did. I was there for a short time so anything I say is obviously tempered by that caveat - I must of course accept that there is a great deal more to places I visit than I can write about but that's inevitable. Also, opinions change as experiences grow.
As to self-indulgent, Ex? Yes! Of course! It's a blog - they all are self-indulgent as we're all indulging our desire to write, share & comment. How could it be anything else?
Oh, I'm also a chap!
Sorry Dude! I only saw women in the photos so I thought it must be two women travelling together. Also I didn't see one mention of the fact that the women here a HOT - a fact that can't be missed as soon as you get off the airplane. A dude would notice that, and I, for one, would consistenly comment on it (my wife is used to said commentary).
Anyway, overall I thought it was a good report with some good info. Yeah, the Thailand part wasn't working for me, but the Luang Prabang part sure was. My daughter LOVES to swim, and visitng those swimming holes with her would be a joy.