South East Asia

Southeast Asia bali/batur/rim Southeast Asia singapore/clark quay

Every busy man should go to bed for a year when he is forty.
- Bernard Shaw

This is my trip report for southeast asia. Since this is sortof a hobby and all, it's taken a long time and, hey, I'm not a web pro. This site is surfable with Netscape version 2, probably, for instance. Mostly pictures and links and my ramblings and the goofy stuff that happens to me.

Guide to Photos

Southeast Asia hong kong/victoria Most of what's cool in here is photos. To give you an idea, here are the sizes of various sections, in kbytes. More than 90% of that is jpeg photos. There's I dunno 250 or 300 photos.
Size in kSection
1603 hongkong
711 saigon
240 singapore
1298 malaysia (total)
185 malaysia/temannegara
853 malaysia/tioman Southeast Asia bali/agung/clouds
5491 bali (total)
1228 bali/agung
1517 bali/batur
590 bali/funeral Southeast Asia hong kong/cemetary
413 bali/tirtaganga
582 bali/tulamben
272 bali/ubud Southeast Asia singapore/clark quay
2341 sulawesi (total)
369 sulawesi/lakeposo
554 sulawesi/togian
1189 sulawesi/torajaland Southeast Asia bali/batur/panorama
11763 Total

9 1/2 Weeks

I spent 9.5 weeks in Southeast Asia (May 24 through July 30, 1997).

I went to the cities of Saigon and Songan. I visited Ujung Pandang and the Ujung Water Palace. I dove the undersea wreck of the Liberty merchant ship and the undersea wreck of a Liberator fighter bomber plane. I stayed at the Togian islands and the Tioman islands. I scampered through the Cu Chi Tunnels and rode a bike around Cheung Chao island. I climbed Mount Agung, but never got around to climbing Mount Abang. I stayed in Kadidiri and Candidasa. I took a bus to Palopo and then to Pendolo in order to get to Poso.

Things changed while I left. Gil Amelio resigned from Apple. That was a big bummer; I didn't find out until weeks later.

I went into a grocery store. The carts now have this big plastic module on one of the back wheels. It disables the cart if you take it outside of the supermarket parking lot. Never saw that before. Pretty amazing these computer things they have these days. I feel like George Bush.


Southeast Asia consists of a collection of a zillion islands and a large peninsula hanging down from the southeast corner of the eurasian continent.

Five days in Saigon, Vietnam Six Weeks in Indonesia Twelve days in Malaysia Singapore, boring but easy The peninsula is usually called Indochina and consists of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma/Myanmar. Go further and it's india or bangladesh. East of Vietnam is China; the southern entry point for that is Hong Kong and Macau, seen on the map as two tiny orange dots on the underbelly of China. (Not the big island above the word Kong; that's Taiwan.) Hong Kong is the dot on the right.

There are several countries amidst the tens of thousands of islands that scatter off into the pacific. Thirteen thousand of the islands on the western side under indochina are the country of Indonesia.

The chain of islands actually scatters out into the pacific ocean and includes a lot of islands made famous during World War II, and lots of island chains you've heard of but can't place. If you were a giant and could jump over 500 miles of water, you could island hop all the way up to Japan as far east as Tahiti, and even farther, to the same lattitude as British Columbia. It's usually called Oceania and there's no clear division between what is Asia and what is Oceania. This stupid map I got off the web doesn't even consider Papua New Guinea part of southeast asia (that's the blue half of that island).

There's a lot of stuff in southeast asia.

Indonesia has 366 ethnic groups living on about a thousand islands, forty species of mammals, thousands of species of birds, hundreds of thousands of species of insects, 250 species of bamboo, Komodo dragons, the largest Bhuddist temple on earth, and about ten volcanic eruptions per year. I spent more than half of my time there, even though I saw almost none of what I just mentioned.

Also in the islands there's parts of Malaysia, and Singapore, the island that is very very close to the equator. Yeah, yeah, where they cane foreigners for spray painting graffiti, yeah. But it's not that primitive; Singapore is in some ways more modern than America.

Here's where I went:


I recommend, if you go some bizzare place like anyplace outside of the US, spend all of your time in one general area. Like one country, or the cities along one major river. You learn the language a little, you figure out a hub city and learn your way around a bit, and that makes all the difference in the world. You'll get more out of three weeks in Burma, than you will trying to visit three different countries over those three weeks. After this trip, I'd say that a "location" like a big city should be about one week to visit, or two weeks if in a third world country.

Just what is a "location" is up for grabs. I started out thinking Bali was one location, one week. It's about as big as Hawaii, the big island, but there's much more going on. After one week, I had basically figured out what I wanted to see on Bali, without actually doing it, and I had like a day left to see it in. I ended up spending three weeks on Bali, and there was plenty I'd missed.

Money: Take several forms of money: Visa, Mastercard, ATM, AmEx card, traveler's checks, US cash. Not all of my cards worked in all places; it's a pain when you have to walk from bank to bank. The US cash should be very clean, crisp $20 or $100 bills. Dog-eared currency, and off-denominations are harder to cash; don't take them. Coins or denominations under $5 are pretty much worthless. At the very minimum, carry a small amount of cash or traveler's checks, and carry a variety of cards with low credit limits, just to help out in those emergency situations.

Here's my recommendations about Hotels.

Here's my recommendations about and to Cybercafes.

Take language issues with good humor. I went and learned some Indonesian because I stayed there more than a month; and languages is a hobby so I was curious. In practice, it's hard for americans to learn new languages; but just learning "sorry" and "thank you" is very helpful and leaves the impression that you aren't an ugly arrogant westerner.

Here's a funny exchange apparently between a (probably british) westerner and a (my guess vietnamese) hotel clerk.

Room Service:  "Morny. Ruin sorbees"
Guest :  "Sorry, I thought I dialled room-service"
RS: "Rye..Ruin sorbees..morny! Djewish to odor sunteen??"
G:   "Uh..yes..I'd like some bacon and eggs"
RS: "Ow July den?"
G:   "What??"
RS: "Ow July den?...pry,boy, pooch?"
G :  "Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry, scrambled
RS: "Ow July dee bayhcem...crease?"
G:   "Crisp will be fine"
RS: "Hokay. An San toes?"
G:   "What?"
RS: "San toes. July San toes?"
G:   "I don't think so"
RS: "No? Judo one toes??"
G:   "I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo
 	one  toes' means."
RS: "Toes! toes!...why djew Don Juan toes? Ow bow singlish
 	mopping we bother?"
G:  "English muffin!! I've got it! You were saying 'Toast.'
 	Fine.  Yes, an English muffin will be fine."
RS: "We bother?"
G:   "No..just put the bother on the side."
RS: "Wad?"
G:   "I mean butter...just put it on the side."
RS: "Copy?"
G:   "Sorry?"
RS: "Copy...tea...mill?"
G:   "Yes. Coffee please, and that's all."
RS: "One Minnie. Ass ruin torino fee, strangle ache, crease
    baychem, tossy singlish mopping we bother honey sigh, and
G:   "Whatever you say"
RS: "Tendjewberrymud"
G :  "You're welcome"

Here's how I made this website.


In case you care, this is when I was where:
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