Snails on Snail Street, Saigon
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The Friday Photo #138 – Snail time in Saigon

We arrived in Saigon last night, walking straight from the air-conditioned sanctity of the arrivals hall into a hot, humid mass of humanity. Two friends of ours recently started Saigon Street Eats, local street food tours, so what better (re)introduction to the city than jumping on the back of their motorbikes and heading straight for Snail Street?

I can’t imagine why they call it that……

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Can Tho floating market melons
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The Friday Photo #136 – Nice melons in Can Tho

In celebration of the fact that in two weeks I’ll be just about to embark on an epic scooter road trip through Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, I present: these melons.

Back in 2010 I woke up at some horrific hour in Can Tho to take a trip on a rickety boat upriver to the famous floating markets. While I actually found the later parts of the tour more interesting than the markets themselves, there were still a few highlights.

Boats piled so high with produce that they seemed about to sink were commonplace, but not all of them were quite as green as this. Or, come to think of it, quite as melon-y.

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Sunlight through the clouds, Vietnam
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The Friday Photo #89 – Sunlight through the clouds in Vietnam

I had arrived in Chau Doc late in the afternoon and with rainclouds rolling in and light starting to fade I didn’t have long to explore this colourful town in the Mekong delta.

A friendly xe om driver offered to take me up to Sam “mountain”, a hill overlooking the town and out into Cambodia. My hopes for a beautiful sunset from the top didn’t materialise, but seeing these fingers of sunlight poking through the clouds above the border made the trip worthwhile anyway.

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Scooters in Vietnam
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Why I love riding scooters in Asia

November 28, 2011 | Laos, Thailand, Travel, Vietnam | 17 Comments

I have a confession to make. It’s kind of embarrassing really. *deep breath* Ok, here goes I don’t have a…

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Temple on the rock, Halong Bay
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The Friday Photo #55 – Temple on the rock, Halong Bay

Moored up at sunset during a two day cruise in Halong Bay, Vietnam, the warm breeze and great company bought a contented smile to my face. This is the life. As the light started to disappear I took the opportunity to snap a few last photos, including this one of a Buddhist temple perched high on a steep rocky outcrop in the middle of the bay.

The logistics of people building a temple up there defy belief, really. Quite how they managed it was a topic of much discussion over a few beers for the rest of the night …

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Roadside stall, Vietnam
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The kids of South East Asia

April 25, 2011 | Cambodia, Laos, Travel, Vietnam | 8 Comments

There’s no doubt that kids everywhere are cute, but for some reason the miniature citizens of South East Asia seem to be especially photogenic. Whether they’re peering inquisitively at the stranger in their midst, playing with their friends at the side of a dusty road or just splashing around happily at bath time in the river, there’s something about them that made me reach for my camera every time.

Here’s a selection of shots of those pint-sized people from my travels through the region.

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Some of the stupidest things I’ve done while travelling

As you know, I’ve been doing this travelling thing for a while now. I’d like to think that I’ve got better at it over the years. That I’ve learned stuff, y’know? Don’t book too far in advance, for instance. Packing light is a virtue. Imodium is a tradeable currency in Africa. That kind of thing.

Every time I start getting a bit too cocky, however, I manage to find a way of bringing myself back to earth by doing something especially stupid. It’s a good thing though, I reckon – while travel confidence is vital, travel over-confidence is not. When you start to think you know it all, bad things start to happen.

Here’s just a few of many, many examples…

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Dreaming of South East Asia

It’s a funny thing, you know.

Something I’ve realised about myself over the years is that I don’t deal well with routine, with things being much the same from one week to the next. Predictability isn’t my style – I need the thrill of the new and unexpected to keep me inspired. If that’s the case, I shouldn’t have any real desire to head back to South East Asia. I spent four and a half months there last year, the longest I’ve ever spent in a region that I wasn’t actually living in, and saw an awful lot of it. From crazy motorbike adventures to getting off the grid in a little slice of paradise, eating bugs to exploring incredible wonders of the world, I did it all and a whole lot more.

So why can’t I get the place out of my mind? When I start daydreaming during yet another sleepy meeting, why is it always a vision of Asia that jumps into my head? Given that I don’t have enough money or annual leave to go anywhere outside Australia right now, why is it that dozens of options for Thailand holidays or Philippines adventures still seem to appear as if by magic in my imagination?

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