Southeast Asia

Saigon After Dark: seeing HCMC nightlife on the back of a Vespa

The two things I loved most about Saigon: crossing the street and eating. The traffic is just as full-on as the countless food opportunities: both are adventures that require a heady dose of bravery and a willingness to throw caution to the wind. The Saigon After Dark tour with Vietnam Vespa Adventures was an incredible way […]

April 18, 2012 Continue reading…

Going to the hard places

When I was planning my first solo backpacking trip around Europe, I chatted with one of my uncles who had lived in Munich. He recommended an afternoon in the beer halls, a bike ride around Englischer Garten and a visit to Dachau Concentration Camp. A concentration camp? Wasn’t that going to be super depressing, a […]

April 13, 2012 Continue reading…

Postcard from Dalat

Nestled in the Central Highlands, Dalat is a cool breeze after the sweltering heat of Saigon. Known for its year-round mild temperatures and bright blooming flowers and as a kicking-off point for motorcycle tours through the mountainous region, the colorful homes of Dalat are stacked around a man-made lake and numerous gardens. It’s also a […]

April 12, 2012 Continue reading…

My list of Southeast Asia travel joys

My love affair with Southeast Asia was one of those opposites-attract scenarios: uptight, punctual hipster meets chaotic-bordering-on-crazy. Although brief, it was intense: it reminded me the act of breaking my rules can be its own reward. It certainly had its downsides, mostly of the insect variety: bedbugs, cockroaches, mosquitoes. Long bus rides, a lack of toilet […]

April 9, 2012 Continue reading…

Staying skinny in Vietnam: it’s a constant struggle

The 80/20 rule that I apply to travel budgeting is also how I approach healthful eating. The vast majority of the time I eat whole, natural foods: raw fruits and veggies (yes, much too much pineapple to the chagrin of the barefoot doctor), cottage cheese or plain yogurt, free-range eggs, spoonfuls of sugar-free peanut butter, a […]

April 6, 2012 Continue reading…

Postcard from Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai isn’t as breathtaking as the islands in the Andaman Sea or as bustling as Bangkok; indeed, the northern Thailand city is laid-back and livable. The streets are lined with food carts attached to motorbikes, selling tangy papaya salad, piping hot steamed pork buns, smoothies of every fruit persuasion. There are countless wats duck […]

April 5, 2012 Continue reading…

Saigon: an assault on the senses

In Saigon, even something as mundane as crossing the street turns into a potentially-life-altering adventure. There are no stoplights or crosswalks: instead, there are massive roundabouts with countless, constantly shifting lanes of traffic. Cars, trucks, motorbikes, bicycles, cyclos all interweave on their journeys. The trick isn’t to run across the street; instead, it’s to assume […]

April 4, 2012 Continue reading…