Photo: Wong's Bar, Bangkok.

Idle banter forum

The first trip...

Posted by somtam2000 on 4/12/2017 at 21:04

From this week’s newsletter: “That first time, be you 18 or 80, when you do the hugs and kisses by the wall just before immigration. You let go, wander towards the officials. Hand over your passport. They wave you through. You step forward, around the corner, into some kind of walkway, and leave your life behind. Over the years I've done this dozens of times. Hugged friends, family, lovers and yes, even the odd taxi driver. But the first time was in the early 90s and I remember it like it w ...

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Viewed 2,831 times, with 2 replies. Last reply by gecktrek on 10/12/2017 at 02:26

SE Asia: Buy tours online before departure or at destination?

Posted by WEBLACKBURN on 1/12/2017 at 07:48

My wife and I will be leaving for SE Asia and the Philippines the end of January 2018 for 6 weeks. I have researched tours/excursions via the internet for weeks, and now wonder if it is best to wait until I arrive to book. Some of the web sites I have used: Travel fish Tours by Locals Backstreet Academy Tuk Tuk Safari Tours Trip Advisor Cruise Critic GoAsia We start in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia and pick up a cruise in Hong Kong for the last two weeks of the journey. I would appreciat ...

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Viewed 2,309 times, with 1 reply. Last reply by somtam2000 on 1/12/2017 at 23:49

Authentic travel

Posted by somtam2000 on 7/10/2017 at 19:37

Interesting piece from a 2012 conference on the “place of authentic travel in a post-authentic world”. Striving for “authentic travel” (whatever that actually means) is a bit like the “adventure” and “eco” travel terms which predated it, and, have largely been taken over and watered down to meaning little by brands and marketing. The whole “eat like-” and “travel like a local” are similar streams of thought/marketing, but they never seem to feature McDonalds, which is al ...

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Viewed 1,452 times, with no replies.

Rough Guides sold. Some thoughts.

Posted by somtam2000 on 3/10/2017 at 07:48

Bit of inside baseball here, but if of interest, news today of Rough Guides being sold by DK to APA. APA are known for their glossy style guides under the Berlitz and Insight titles—think semi soft colours, lots of colour pics maps and so on. The Bookseller (an industry press title) pumps up what sounds like a fairly gloomy-sounding story. “The division has seen steady sales for the last five years, up 5% in 2014 and with boosts of 2-3% over the last couple of years. However, 2017 has seen ...

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Viewed 1,756 times, with no replies.


Posted by exacto on 21/7/2017 at 19:05

I read a few articles recently about the increasing problem of backpackers in Southeast Asia making their way along by asking for cash. They are called beg-packers. I've experienced it to some extent now and again over the last quarter century, but the articles made it sound like the problem has grown dramatically, particularly in Thailand, with rumors that border checks now include proof of 20,000 baht cash before they'll let you in. What gives? I definitely encountered a few in Munich on my ...

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Viewed 3,709 times, with 3 replies. Last reply by SBE on 22/7/2017 at 04:53

Backpacking in one's 40s or 50s

Posted by chinarocks on 5/4/2012 at 04:15

So I've done the backpacking thing in my 20s (South America, NZ, Oz ands Asia). Now that I'm back home with a family on the horizon I wonder when I'll get the chance to get away for an extended time again (holidays are great but they are not quite the same). Do people think it's feasible to hit the road again in your late 40s/early 50s when the kids are reared? ...

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Viewed 54,695 times, with 75 replies. Last reply by mikal83 on 5/6/2017 at 04:43

Getting all provincial

Posted by somtam2000 on 9/5/2017 at 15:40

From this week's newsletter (don't get it? You can sign up here) Getting all provincial You'll come across these towns throughout the region: the Ban Phes, Surat Thanis, Trats, Trangs, Satuns, Pak Chongs, Rach Gias, Padang Bais, Gorontalos and Kuala Besuts of the world. They're all leaping off points for places that are often (fairly) considered to be considerably more "worthy" of your attention. To many travellers, they're little more than a bus station, bed, street stall and ferry ...

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Viewed 2,180 times, with 2 replies. Last reply by fondo on 11/5/2017 at 23:15

Travelfish and World Nomads: A question

Posted by HungryMan on 9/5/2017 at 19:22

Hello Travelfish people, I'm a longtime reader - at least five years now (thankyou) but only joined the site today to post this question. Yesterday I was sent a video on Facebook that was made by your partner World nomads and, to say it is a pile of conceited garbage that I found to be profoundly offensive is an understatement. The video is here Now of course world nomads can make whatever they choose to, but I'd like your take on ...

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Viewed 2,321 times, with 3 replies. Last reply by gecktrek on 10/5/2017 at 17:48

The end of the road for overland adventures?

Posted by somtam2000 on 6/5/2017 at 17:51

While not Southeast Asian specific, this is an interesting piece on changing desires & demands for overland travel. "Surprisingly, given the time he has spent in trouble spots, Hann says he has suffered only one really bad experience, which occurred last summer when he was leading a tour of western Afghanistan. His group was travelling through Herat under the protection of Afghan government troops when they came under attack from Taliban fighters. Several people in his party were hit b ...

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Viewed 2,357 times, with 3 replies. Last reply by somtam2000 on 9/5/2017 at 15:36

What you don't know about Trip Advisor

Posted by somtam2000 on 27/2/2016 at 07:01

Interesting (very long) piece highlighting some of the perceived flaws with TripAdvisor. I'm not sure I agree with all the conclusions, but absolutely agree with many of the flaws! I hadn't noticed just how prominent the Viator stuff is on TA -- often very very overpriced fare for the traveller. Anyway, worth a read perhaps. ...

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Viewed 3,172 times, with 2 replies. Last reply by somtam2000 on 3/5/2017 at 19:26

Backpacking comedy novel

Posted by spoonz on 15/4/2017 at 08:30

This is a funny read, obviously written by an old school traveller. It's quite rude, so not for the easily offended. The humour is like a cross between South Park and The Inbetweeners. Long time backpackers to South East Asia might recognise themselves as the butt of a few jokes. Good read for that hammock time. The book is called 'Escape from Pleasure Island' and it's on kindle on Amazon. ...

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Viewed 1,670 times, with no replies.

Where to go in August

Posted by travelinchen on 27/2/2012 at 15:47

Hi everyone, My boyfriend and I are planning our yearly holidays and they will, again, take place in August -- not our fav. month for this but it can't be helped. Anyways, my boyfriend were thinking of going toCentral America/ South America, but ended up wanting to go to Asia once again -- it's simply our dream destination We're on a rather tight, but not super tight budget of around 100 USD a day(excluding flights) between the two of us and we'd like to go for approx. 4 weeks. Since we've bee ...

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Viewed 6,881 times, with 4 replies. Last reply by moejo12 on 9/8/2016 at 22:26

Say whatever you like

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 3/9/2013 at 10:08

Talk about anything you like. No set topic. ...

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Viewed 18,060 times, with 84 replies. Last reply by swiggle on 8/5/2016 at 12:39

Hi from Belgium!

Posted by stannis on 6/5/2016 at 07:55

Heyeveryone, My name IsCliff. I’m currently living in Belgium and I’m 26. In my early twenties I hadthe opportunity to travel a lot. Some of the places I’ve visited are China,Russia, Vietnam, South Africa, Many countries in Europe, the US… These were alwaysroad trips, hiking vacations etc. However, two years ago I started working a joband soon after started my own little business, moved out of my parents’ house…Which basically meant I haven’t been able to go for a real travel since ...

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Viewed 2,085 times, with no replies.

Should travel be rationed?

Posted by somtam2000 on 15/4/2016 at 16:34

Interesting piece regarding getting tourism under control. I don't agree the Bhutan model transfers well, but the piece is worth a read. In particular: "What is the logical endpoint of this? Sitting here in Bhutan, I can tell you. We will go back to the past, when the best foreign travel was reserved entirely for the lucky, the wealthy and Prince William. In the future, enjoying a summer holiday in Tuscany might be like having Centre Court tickets for Wimbledon." You can read the ful ...

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Viewed 3,345 times, with 2 replies. Last reply by antoniamitchell on 16/4/2016 at 03:31

Soapbox: Oh the outrage!

Posted by somtam2000 on 7/3/2016 at 06:08

From this week's Travelfish newsletter. Not on the list? Sign up here. In pre-social-media times a traveller would do something dumb or inconsiderate -- say visit a temple sans enough clothes or panhandle on a city street or get really drunk and hurt themselves on a beach -- and the only real witnesses would be those unfortunate enough to be within line of sight. The worst, most offensive, trangressors, would be passed into traveller lore, a la The Beach. I remember one story about an American ...

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Viewed 2,837 times, with 2 replies. Last reply by exacto on 7/3/2016 at 14:39

Travel on television

Posted by liion on 23/2/2016 at 14:18

Hey all! What are your favorite programs on travel on television? I recently bought the Easybox iptv and now I have access to a lot of channels, I can watch programs available elsewhere as well, other than the regional tv that's offered in my country. ...

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Viewed 2,452 times, with 1 reply. Last reply by Alii on 23/2/2016 at 14:20

Soapbox: Loosen your grip

Posted by somtam2000 on 8/2/2016 at 07:28

From this week's Travelfish newsletter. not on the list? Sign up here. Hi all, Don't mind me, I'm a traveller on my $10,000 gap-year trip, using my $500 smartphone to leech the WiFi from the Bangkok guesthouse next door. I need to access Facebook so that I can ask complete strangers advice on how I can save $2 on the overnight bus to the silly islands that I want to catch tonight. Okay, this is a fictionalised example -- the poster was actually trying to find out how they could spend less tha ...

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Viewed 3,070 times, with 1 reply. Last reply by walkerpub on 8/2/2016 at 08:50

On tourism

Posted by somtam2000 on 21/1/2016 at 01:21

Great piece in Awl regarding the NYT's latest "places to go" story, "Reading the list is worthwhile, however, if you’re curious about what contemporary city and regional governments are thinking—why they’re skimping on social programs and littering their skylines with gherkins and sinuous curving mounds and mirrored, tin man variations on Disney Hall. " and "Knowing the list’s inevitability, the way it always swings back around and cycles through the world, ch ...

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Viewed 2,516 times, with no replies.

On authenticity

Posted by somtam2000 on 5/10/2015 at 10:20

From this week's newsletter: "I'm in Bangkok at the moment, staying in a Chinatown hotel within the grounds of a temple and on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. It's a wooden house, supposedly more than 100 years old, and the water literally washes under my room, a couple of feet below my bed. The glass windows open out over the Chao Phraya and I can watch the river traffic roar past through a tangled web of ivy that falls down from the roof above. To me this is "authentic Bangkok&q ...

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Viewed 8,066 times, with 26 replies. Last reply by clevam on 27/12/2015 at 01:08

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