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cheong fatt tze mansion penang
Asia Destinations Malaysia

Discover the Penang Peranakans in George Town

Opulent mansions, elaborate clothing, succulent dishes, and a culture wholly unique to Penang. If you don’t experience the Peranakan culture in George Town, you haven’t totally experienced Penang. Who are the Penang Peranakans? The Peranakans are Straits-born, Chinese descendants who…

corn in Sapa
Asia Destinations Vietnam

Sapa: Hiking with the Hmong

Tung had buck teeth and a smile that played about her eyes. She wore huge hoop earrings and indigo embroidered clothes that marked her out as a member of one of Vietnam’s highland minority groups, the Black Hmong. It’s hard to…

interior of Cat Ba island
Asia Destinations Vietnam

Halong Bay: Motorbike adventures

Throughout Asia, I harboured dreams of whipping through the countryside on a motorbike. It’s the quintessential Asian adventure, right? The wind would lick at my hair and the breeze would cool me down. I’d scoot through out-of-the-way roads, waving…

war museum
Asia Destinations Vietnam

The best propaganda museums in Vietnam

No matter where you grow up, you’re always going to hear a slightly skewed version of historical events. As an Australian, I learned briefly in high school about the trauma Aussie soldiers – and their American allies – experienced…

elephant at elephant valley project
Asia Cambodia Destinations

Where elephants go to retire in Cambodia

Bob’s head appeared to crumple inwards at the temples. His concave appearance made him look exceptionally skeletal. He guzzled his food, yet a thin, sagging ribcage betrayed a body tortured and fatigued from a long working life in logging.…

bokor
Asia Cambodia Destinations

The ghosts of Bokor Hill Station

In a gutted royal villa of mildewed walls, a wild gust welcomes cold spray into the shelter through long-glassless windows. Our guide, Dara, is ill-prepared for the weather in rain-soaked shirt and shorts. He shivers, hunched over, his hands…

beach at perhentian islands
Asia Destinations Malaysia

Cast away on the Perhentian Islands

The rocks became more jagged, larger, and more tightly fitting until they were one obstinate cliff front. I had several options: Turn back. Swim. Or start rock climbing. I couldn’t turn back. I’d come too far, and I had…

Classical_Thai_Massage
Asia Destinations Thailand

Chiang Mai: My massage by a Thai ex-convict

They were labourer’s hands; calloused skin and sausage fingers. Kneading my back, they were ruthless. They probed upon a weak spot, my body would tense, and these fingers, sensing friction, would begin to pound. They worked quickly, cruelly, stampeding…