Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The Southeast Asia Conundrum

76

Wat Phra Kaew Stupas

I’m back in Bangkok — and Southeast Asia — for the first time in two and a half years.

I’ve been indulging in my favorite Bangkok activities — eating pad kra prow on the street. Browsing the wacky clothing stalls in Siam Square. Buying fresh-squeezed orange juice and fruit shakes from my street vendors. Taking Mario to the electronics floor at MBK, gawking at the rhinestone Hello Kitty iPhone covers and buying a bootleg DVD of Monsters University for $3.

Somehow, I’ve been here for 36 hours and I haven’t even gotten a massage yet. That will be fixed shortly!

Best of all, Mario already loves it here as much as I do. I’m so glad. He was a bit hesitant, as his previous Asia backpacking experience prior to this trip took place in India, where he was scammed and harassed more or less constantly, but he quickly learned how different Thailand is.

This is the region that started it all.

I started this site eight months before I left, but my time in Southeast Asia is what catapulted me into the spotlight. I started with a modest following when I arrived, and by the time I left six months later, particularly after a nasty shipwreck in Indonesia, I had become one of the better known travel bloggers.

Southeast Asia is still what I’m best known for. I get emails from people telling me that this site helped them out so much with their Southeast Asia travels more than any other destination.

On many levels, I am SO happy to be here. Being back in Bangkok has made me feel so relaxed. Most of it looks exactly the same as it did two and a half years ago, albeit with a LOT more free wifi, to my great joy.

The prices certainly are welcome, too. After Australia, Japan, Dubai, and Europe, our wallets have taken a fair beating. Mario and I always knew we’d have to balance out our expensive travels with several months on the cheap, and there’s no better place to live cheaply than here.

But I’m concerned about something else.

Sihanoukville Sunset

As far as travel blogging goes, Southeast Asia has been done to death.

Don’t get me wrong — as far as travel goes, Southeast Asia is FANTASTIC. I adore it here. It’s fun, it’s cheap, it’s diverse, and it’s easy, and for those reasons, I recommend Southeast Asia to all but the most high-maintenance travelers.

But because Southeast Asia is such a fun, cheap, diverse, and easy place to travel, it has been covered in depth by so many travel bloggers. There aren’t a lot of stones left to turn. Want to blog about your visit to Koh Phi Phi? It’s been done. And done. And done. And done. And done. And done. And done...

Sure — I know that my posts of these destinations would be different because it would be me writing about them, and because most of my readers don’t read other travel blogs and have never read anything else about these destinations.

It’s just that I want to set a higher standard for myself as a travel blogger. Going back to Southeast Asia feels a bit like cheating, like I’m taking the easy way out. It’s worth noting that I felt the same way about living in Boston, 20 minutes from my hometown, for four years after college.

That was one of the reasons that I left to travel in the first place. Why take the easy way out when I knew I was capable of much more?

Since moving to Europe in 2011, I’ve been covering many lesser-visited destinations. It’s a point of pride that (I am fairly sure) I was the first independent travel blogger to provide in-depth coverage of the Faroe Islands and the Up Helly Aa festival in Shetland. I love that I am one of few bloggers to cover destinations like Macedonia and Kosovo.

Writing about lesser-known places gets me emails like, “We have enjoyed so many places that we perhaps would never have even visited. This includes spending a week in Bologna, visiting Pula in Croatia and the best surprise – Macedonia, what a brilliant country and we would never have been here if it wasn’t for you.”

Phra Nang Beach, Railay, Thailand

What I’ll Be Doing

Mario and I will be in Southeast Asia for roughly five months total. We will be hitting up two of my favorite countries — Thailand and Cambodia. They have both been covered in depth, but I love them so much, I’ve missed them, and I want to introduce them to Mario. I’m also looking forward to taking much better photos this time around — photos that will help me get better commissions in publications.

But I’d also like to hit up two countries that are both 1) new to me and 2) not quite as popular in the travel blogosphere: the Philippines and Myanmar.

(That faint din you hear is cheering from the Philippines. For some reason, I’ve always had lots of Filipino readers, and every day I get asked when I’m coming to their country. I’m finally coming!)

The 7,107 islands of the Philippines are incredibly diverse and I’d love to spent a full month there. The Cordillera, Palawan, and the Visayas are high on my list. Mario wants to take Someone Once Told Me photos of the people who live in the cemeteries in Manila if he’s able to.

Myanmar (Burma) is a destination that I feel an urgent need to visit as soon as possible. It’s modernizing very quickly and I want to experience it before it turns into the next Laos. I said in the past that I wanted to backpack Myanmar solo, but we’re not sure yet — while Mario would like to visit Myanmar with me, it would not be the easiest place to take SOTM photos due to the lack of free speech. He might go to Brunei instead, where he has friends and lots of SOTM opportunities.

And — once again — let me emphasize that the Philippines and Myanmar are not uncovered, untouristed destinations. They are very popular — they just tend to be less covered in travel blogs than Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bali.

Beyond these two new countries, I’d like to see more of the islands and beaches in southern Thailand. Again, very visited destinations, but I’d love to explore some of the lesser-visited islands on the Andaman Coast like Koh Phayam, little Koh Chang, and the Trang Islands (Koh Muk, Koh Ngai and Koh Kraden). Plus, a short inland ride from the Andaman Coast is Khao Sok National Park, which looks like a beautiful place to spend a few days.

Phnom Penh Sunset

What are your thoughts?

Do you think I’m taking the easy way out by returning to Southeast Asia?

Do you want more coverage of Southeast Asia, even though I’ve published so much already?

Do you think it’s more important for prominent travel bloggers to continue visiting unusual destinations, or do you think it’s more important for them to cover the most popular destinations for travelers?

Comments

76 Responses to “The Southeast Asia Conundrum”
  1. Naomi says:

    South East Asia has been done to death but what makes reading blogs about it interesting is the fact that you get the blogger’s unique perspective on it. As long as you feel you can bring something new to the table, I’m sure others will want to read about it!

  2. Agness says:

    Welcome back to Asia, Kate! I had the same feeling when I was back in China last year after my Europe and South-East Asia journey. I didn’t have much money left and China seemed to be the quick fix. I totally get ya and I think you should enjoy your peaceful life in Thailand and catch up with Thai food :).

  3. I understand exactly what you’re saying about everybody going there. I’m making my first trip to SE Asia in January and the first thought I had besides being excited because I’ve wanted to go for so long is, “What the heck can I add that hasn’t already been written 100 times?” I think at some point though the travel has to be first and foremost for you. You go where you want whether it’s the most popular or a completely undiscovered place and bring your own individual perspective accepting that in many ways your readers come to hear you and not just see where you’re visiting. Even though I’ve read a million posts on SE Asia, I’m still reading.

  4. Ok, I agree – there are many, many posts on South East Asia, especially on Thailand, but sometimes it’s all about observing what’s going on around you and taking a different stance on a subject, or seeing things from a different point of view.
    I’m glad you’re going to Myanmar – it’s a wonderful country!

  5. Jean Bean says:

    Has the area been over blogged? Yup but so has New York City, but people still love to read about her and the amazing people that make the city what it is. SEA is the same to me.

    It’s also a great place to visit after Australia. Yes we are a friendly and fun loving country but by no means is it a cheap country to visit. No wonder we love to travel overseas so much, it’s cheaper than travelling across country.

    As someone who is making their first trip to SEA in February 14, I can’t wait to read about your adventures in SEA and especially the Philippines and Myanmar. It’s always nice to see recent blogs on areas and new perspectives on old stories.

  6. franz says:

    Hi Kate, I think you bring up an important point when it comes to traveling & returning back to the country where it all started from. We personally travel back & forth to Lombok at least twice a year due to my partner’s family being based there.

    It’s come to a point where I’m asking myself how much more can I blog about the island? where else should I explore to offer a better & fresh perspective? So Kate I don’t think you’re taking the easy way out but you are taking out most of the need to research, book & plan when you visit somewhere familiar as opposed to somewhere new.

    I think continuing visiting unpopular destinations is important for the majority of readers whom may otherwise never get to visit all these wonderfully listed countries. We tend to get ideas born out of reading some of your posts where we would like to travel to in future so please keep them coming.

    In terms of wanting more coverage of SE Asia yes I think so. I was only introduced to your blogsite after my 1st initial visit to SE Asia. At the time there were alot of stories I had to read in order to ‘catchup’ on it all, so i sped read some. Now that i’ve read most of the posts I can thoroughly enjoy any new posts you have on the subject & take my time with them.

    I look forward reading your posts on Myanmar & some parts of the Philippines, stay safe!

  7. Stephen says:

    Kudos for bringing up the point, because I totally agree that there are certain places that are done to death. Reading about some offbeat cool new place to check out is one of the reasons I follow travel blogs in the first place!

    At the same time, though, I think that leaving the obvious Lonely Planet trail even in one of these countries can open up the possibilities much more. Honestly, even taking the Bolavan Plateau, you’re one of the few blogs I remember offhand having covered it. What if you went beyond there, and just struck out to see what you could find elsewhere in the country?

    At any rate, you seem to always find something interesting and the SOTM project is of course a neat angle; I’m looking forward to see your updated take on the region!

  8. Renuka says:

    Southeast Asia is certainly diverse and interesting! As a travel blogger, I think people would expect you to bring out the best of both popular and the unpopular destinations.

  9. Melissa says:

    I think that there’s something to be said both for covering more unusual places and revisiting familiar ones. The perspective of a first-timer is different than that of someone who’s, in a way, going “home.”

    Paris is the most visited city in the world, but I can’t stop going there, and I’m compelled to write about it because I love it so much. It’s not just about the information provided in a post; it’s also about expressing the feeling of being in a particular place that draws the readers in. I think that connection is what matters most.

    I look forward to reading about your (re)experience of Southeast Asia now that you’ve been so many other places around the world.

  10. Jane says:

    Hi Kate

    In my opinion, even though you have loads of visitors who might want to find the undiscovered and (arguably) more difficult place to travel, many people who come across your blog are no doubt first timers looking for advice – and most probably headed for SE Asia (this was me 6 months ago)! The more recent the content the better – and even more so if you are making the effort to go ‘off the beaten track’ in search of new experiences. I for one can’t wait to read your SE Asia entries! 🙂

  11. Sarah says:

    I think it’s great you’re revisiting SEA! If you love it, do it! I’m sure the angles you will use to cover the destination will be different. You’re older and wiser now, have different interests and that will most likely reflect on your posts! Looking forward to reading some!

  12. Jim says:

    If you want to avoid crowded places and seeking for peace, most national parks in Thailand is an excellent choice. Places like Kaeng Krachan in just 3 hours distance from Bangkok or 1 hour from Hua Hin;

    http://www.thainationalparks.com/kaeng-krachan-national-park

    Khao Yai, north-east from Bangkok is another great national park with rich wildlife.

  13. Kate,

    You travel where you want, and I’ll follow you here. We are also travelers of a different sort…350,000 miles in four motorhomes.

    Your favorite uncle-in-law

  14. Betti says:

    There are so many off the beaten track spots in Thailand that don’t bring anything up in a google search in English, this is really one thing about it that I like so much, still so easy to find little hidden treasures.
    And the same is obviously even more true for some other places in SE Asia, like Indonesia and Myanmar. Though in the latter, most areas are still completely off limits, cannot be visited even with permits. I cannot go an visit my students’ families who have invited me to far-flung corners of the country, not yet.
    When are you coming to Myanmar? (Or going, since I am in Bali at the moment.) Anything I can help you with on the ground?
    It’s always kind of funny when outsiders resent development in a country like Myanmar – sure, I do see the charm of taking pictures of a hundred-years-ago lifestyle etc, but it is kind of nice that those poor people gradually get to have reliable electricity in Yangon (most of the country still has no electricity at all), they can connect to the world with facebook and skype (strictly speaking about Yangon’s nice 3G coverage now, upcountry is still stuck 100 years ago), there are paved roads being built in the country, there is more access to clean water and vaccination and education, people can travel abroad freely, there is quite a bit of freedom of speech, etc….
    I know you didn’t mean that remark in a mean way, but it’s really worth some in-depth thought, all these remarks IN GENERAL when travellers and photographers wish that people stay stuck in their nice picturesque poverty. Burmese people are still so poor, but at the same time so resilient and so proud that they won’t completely mess up the country for a while. And if they do, well it’s their country, isn’t it, I would want to see them getting out of the 19th century, and find their own way, they deserve it.
    By the way, I sure do resent the kind of development when they put up concrete hotels in nice beaches, and so many shops that the amount of travellers cannot support them and they end up haunting and stalking people to make business, building airports in places like Ko Phangan (wtf, Samui is not near enough??), etc etc.

  15. I think it’s important for travel bloggers to cover both the popular destinations and the ones that not many people read about. I think that travel bloggers should be trailblazers. I read a lot of travel-related publications (print and online), and I get tired of the fact that most print publications don’t cover many “off the beaten path” locales. Enter, travel bloggers whose blogs offer insight into places that perhaps we’ve never heard of but that we should be traveling to. At the same time, I also think it’s important to continue to cover the tried and true places but to always look at them from a different angle. For readers like me who have yet to visit Southeast Asia, everything I read about it is new and delicious. So I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts!

  16. Jonas Schropp says:

    Hey Kate, I’m afraid your expectations on Myanmar might be a little bit off. Having visited and travelled around the country I’m pretty sure Myanmar will never turn into the next Laos. I’ve visited basically every Southeast asian country and Myanmar always felt like a totally different world than those. Leaving the touristed areas (the triangle between Pagan, Mandalay and Yangon) and venturing up north was probably one of the best decisions in my travelling life, the ambience and flair of those areas is far different from anything else I’ve ever seen.
    I also kinda think that most of Myanmar really has never before been covered in a travel blog before. Once you’ve left the beaten path in Myanmar (and that’s not hard to do as most of the country is off the beaten path) it’s very wild and untamed, like you’d imagine Thailand a hundred years ago. There’s no electricity, no roads, no phones, ho medical care and areas where whites are nothing more than demons in a childrens tale and even the elderly have never seen a foreigner before. It has a special flair that I fail to put in words. On a side note, it might be hard to maintain a blog like this from Myanmar because the wifi is painfully slow (like glacier-slow) and you might experience electricity shortcuts for weeks, even in the bigger cities like Yangon.
    One more thing I wanna add is that despite the rapid development in Thailand there’s still some areas that are virtually unknown to most travellers. Just a couple of weeks ago I travelled through the Isaan and didn’t meet a single tourist in weeks despite the area around Ubon Ratchathani being rich in beautiful National Parks and quiet yet charming towns and villages.
    Another area I can recommend (but only for extremely cautious and experienced travellers, of course!) would be the provinces in the very south of Thailand, especially Pattani. There’s no tourism, beautiful old chinese temples and beaches as far as the eye can see + the culture is much different from teh rest of Thailand. The same goes for the coastline around Trang, except that it’s not as dangerous to travel there and the locals have more experience with travellers.
    ok, sorry for this lengthy post, I hope you’re having a blast over there!

  17. You’re finally visiting the Philippines – Yay! It’s about time! Although I grew up in New York City, I spent the first 11 years of my life in the Philippines and surely miss it! You’ll have oodles of fun and the people will love you! Cannot wait to read all about it! And I have high expectations of your posts, especially since it’s you 🙂

  18. Elana says:

    I lived in Thailand for a year and a half and didn’t get to so many things on my list. There is are tons of small, untouristy, unwritten about places in Thailand. Go there, write about that.

  19. Megan says:

    I think if there’s anyone that doesn’t have to worry about rehashing content bloggers have already covered, it’s you. It’s one of the reasons your work is so great – you’re aware that some things have been done to death and you find new ways to approach the same old destinations.
    The fact that you know South East Asia so well is also an advantage. Consider some “then/now” posts, talk about what’s changed. You’re now in a position to help your readers discover these destinations better because you won’t just be writing about your first impressions or the great bars and sights you found in a week. My favourite sights in Paris were discovered on my fourth trip to the city and I think my readers got more out of hearing about those places because they already know about all the usual suspects.
    I rarely enjoy posts when the writer has only spent a matter of hours or days in a country. That amount of time doesn’t usually lead to insightful articles. I think the more time, experience and exposure a writer has to the destination, the better the content so I’m excited to see what you have to say about South East Asia now 🙂

    • That’s very true, Megan. I find a lot of value in the posts that are DIFFERENT — like in New York, not just the “wow the Empire State Building” posts but “this is weird and wacky and amazing” posts.

  20. I’m glad you’re finally visiting the Philippines! 😀

  21. Kollin says:

    Do you think I’m taking the easy way out by returning to Southeast Asia?
    – If you like Southeast Asia, then why not? I’m planning on going there between the middle of December to January to teach English in Taiwan. You could be in one city and cover so much more than what you wrote about before. The world is yours, just go on an adventure 🙂 Also, I would love to meet up with you guys when I get there! Will contact you then.

    Do you want more coverage of Southeast Asia, even though I’ve published so much already?
    – There’s a lot that your readers haven’t learned, I’m sure. So yes, of course! Give us something new and exciting. Make it inspirational that will make us want to jump out of our chairs and head to Southeast Asis RIGHT NOW!

    Do you think it’s more important for prominent travel bloggers to continue visiting unusual destinations, or do you think it’s more important for them to cover the most popular destinations for travelers?
    – I think both are important and I don’t think one is more important than the other. Yes, I think it’s okay to just focus on one area for a bit because then you can help your readers out more with any questions that might spring up. Then again, diverse content is what is going to drive your numbers. It’s hard to say. Just go have fun and write about it! We all love your content either way.

  22. Geek Goddess says:

    My company opened an office in Myanmar about three months ago, and a few of my office mates are off to live there for about three years. Or rather, they are going to live in Singapore and commute back and forth, due to the difficulty of living in Myanmar. You have to be invited by the government to even do business with them. Our first project will be to install 5,000 cell towers because…they have none. My boss was there for 10 days, and could only get a phone/wifi signal of any type at all, in their hotel. And we have unlimited international roaming on our phones.

  23. Who cares if it’s been done to death. Like you say, it’s all about YOUR experience, it’ll never be the same as anybody else’s. I loved reading about your first tour of SE Asia and I’ll love to read it again this time around. I’m sure you are two different people. Back then when you were single and maybe a little reckless (thai boxing) and now, settled down with your man and with different priorities. It’ll be like reading two totally different experiences despite the destination being the same.
    Im going soon too so I will love to read about it. Glad you’ve returned.

    • You’re right. 🙂 The biggest differences are that I’m not as reckless, don’t drink nearly as much as I used to, I have higher comfort standards, and Mario, of course. That WILL be different…

  24. Nicole says:

    I don’t think you should NOT cover it simply because it’s been overdone. Maybe there’s a new spin you could take. For example, people think Thailand is dirt cheap. And I suppose it is, if you have USD, Euros or Pounds lining your wallet. And that may be something to talk about: people who take advantage of this cheapness and forget that people actually live there.

  25. Cam says:

    I think you’re making a big assumption that Southeast Asia is over done. Sure, most travel bloggers (particularly the younger backpacker crowd) have visited Khao San Road and got drunk tubing in Laos, but I never tire of travel stories – regardless of the location. I’d argue that Europe is the most “over done” region, when you factor the entire travel blogger scene (not just budget conscious backpackers). I’m sure you’ve changed a lot in the past few years, so you’ll likely have a different perspective and a different story to tell.

    • True, Cam. What you’re saying makes a lot of sense. Yes, in lots of ways, Europe is more overdone — compare articles on Venice to articles on Saigon, for example. 🙂

  26. Matt Inman says:

    Very interesting and thought provoking post. Really made me think about what separates business from personal pleasure and how the two intertwine.

    In my opinion, you (and other travel bloggers) should visit and cover the places that interest you the most, regardless of whether they have been covered to death or no one even knows the place exists. I want to hear what makes you passionate about a particular place, what you enjoy about it. I would much prefer to read a post about a place I’ve already read about with your own unique and passionate perspective than a post about a place you went to only because you felt obligated to do so.

    For me, travel blogging is not about popular vs. road-less-traveled destinations. It’s about letting readers know the aspects of travel and the destinations that make you, the blogger, feel most alive. So Kate, I say go where YOU want to go the most and share with us your experiences. Maybe you’ll gain new insights into the place even though you’ve been there before.

    Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it.

  27. Kevin says:

    You’re not necessarily taking the easy way out here, unless you choose to. Southeast Asia itself is filled with tons of places that nobody has ever heard of, but it’s up to you if you want to share those less mainstream experiences with your readers.

    I just lived in a tiny rural town in the far northern hills of Thailand for 4 months. I guarantee that, even though my blog exclusively covered Thailand for that period, nobody had ever heard of Pua, Nan, Thailand until I started blogging about it.

    All I’m saying is: ditch the Angkor Wats, Wat Phos and Kao San Rds of SE Asia travel blogging. You’re totally right, it’s a brutally beaten path. You’re an expert of “off the beaten path” travel, so find places like Pua, Nan, Thailand and spend a few days there. You’ll love it. And with your prose and photography, I’m sure your readers will too.

  28. While it is nice reading about destinations that a lot of people haven’t been to, I also like reading about more touristy places. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how things have changed in the countries you visited 2 years ago and if you still like/dislike them.

  29. Glad you’re coming back to where it all started for you, Kate. As someone who has yet to travel outside of North America, but who plans to in the future, I enjoy your posts regardless of where they’re based. Your posts are thoughtful and well-articulated. That said, it does seem to this newly-minted travel / coffee blogger that Southeast Asia is practically all travel bloggers write about. I’ve got some friends who have lived in the Philippines so I look forward to that coverage, and Burma has always fascinated me.

    EWM

  30. stephanie says:

    I loved reading about your initial visit to South East Asia. It inspired me to take a year off from life and travel the world. Now I’m in Australia after travelling in Asia for 7 months!
    Like previous people have said, it would be nice to hear your opinion on S E Asia now that you are older and in a different phase in your life.

  31. Anabanana says:

    nah, I think that´s totally fine! I read your post on Sihanoukville when I was about to go there, and it helped me loads but I was sad it wasn´t really recent (I wanted to go to monkey republic, but it had burned down a couple month ago 🙁 – so it´s not an easy way out but a perfect opportunity to post up-to-date information about these awesome places!

  32. I understand what you mean. While I would love to hear more about Southeast Asia, you need to do what’s most enjoyable for you and that’ll show through in your writing! Also, my friend recently returned from teaching in Myanmar this summer. She loved her experience. I look forward to your posts.

    Happy travels 🙂

  33. Jo Fraser says:

    Me and my partner are very, very new travel bloggers on the scene and it can be discouraging when everywhere we want to go has been blogged to death but like many of the other commmenters have mentioned, every person has there own opinions and experiences about a country. For us we are doing all the usual spots, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand but we are also going to be exploring, flming and writing about Nepal and Myanmar!

  34. For me, Laos and Myanmar hold great similarities. Heavily touristed in a few of towns, the rest get few tourists at all. I just don’t understand what that comment “Myanmar is at risk of becoming the next Laos” means. It’s as though Laos is bad — totally open, touristed and not authentic. But it is. Just as much as Myanmar in my view.

    In fact, the same goes for Indonesia including Bali — so long as you avoid that southern tourist strip and a couple of other towns in Bali, you are alone as far as tourists go.

    • Hi, Adam —

      Yes, that’s part of what I meant — tourists in Laos are concentrated heavily in Luang Prabang and somewhat in a few other places, but beyond them, Laos is EMPTY. And there’s nothing wrong with Myanmar modernizing — I just want to experience it before it gets to that point. I don’t want to be sitting at, say, Inle Lake, surrounded by French tourists complaining that the wine sucks, as I did in Luang Prabang.

  35. Cat says:

    Hi Kate

    It was my e-mail that you quoted in this post and I definitely want to hear your current thoughts on SE Asia. I’ll be in SE Asia soon and I’m interested to hear how it has changed in the last 2.5 years. Also, I expect you will have changed as well, not least because you are now travelling with you’re fiance. I’m sure it will be a different experience that we’ll all be interested in reading about 🙂

  36. Joe Achman says:

    Kate,

    I’ve just recently stumbled on your blog and find myself wanting to read all of your posts. It’s inspiring to see what you’ve done, especially as I’m planning to take a similar track in life — I’m gearing up for a round the world voyage with my SO for mid-late next year, and we both are going to be leaving everything we know behind. Though we’ve both done long-term trips before on our own, this is something new.

    Anyways, in response to your questions, I think there’s still room for top quality coverage of Southeast Asia. And if you make it into Burma, I would love to read your take on it. Keep exploring the unusual places, and keep exploring the common places, I’ll enjoy your writing on it all the same.

  37. Colleen says:

    I say, say what you need to say. It doesn’t matter if it’s been said before. Say it in your own inimitable style! = )

    Personally, I’m a little bit dense and benefit from being exposed to information multiple times, in multiple ways. Then maybe it finally sticks.

    Looking forward to your articles from the interesting places on your list.

  38. Dorian says:

    IMO, the experience is always different, not the same people, not the same food ….
    So it does it matter. Can;t wait to go back any way to Thailand.

  39. Honestly in my opinion Southeast Asia can never be overdone! Being a new travel blogger I feel like I am literally the only one who hasn’t been yet! Eventually though… So in answer, I would love to hear more about Southeast Asia! 🙂 x

  40. Shaz says:

    Yes, Southeast Asia has been done to the nines BUT it seems like everyone does the same loop and visits the same sites (Koh Phi Phi). As long as you’re being curious and adventurous I’m sure you’ll have some great stories to share.

  41. Monnette says:

    Since you have plans of visiting the Philippines, I hope you are already here by January since Sinulog can transform Cebu City into a party place. I also hope that you get a reservation before November of this year; cheap accommodations for the days leading to Sinulog are fully-booked by November. I would also encourage you to visit http://bestofthephilippineislands.weebly.com/the-philippines.html for ideas of where to go during your visit.

  42. Sam says:

    This is a very interesting question, and something I’ve wondered about myself lately. Despite being relatively new bloggers, my partner and I have been following several of the older blogs (including yours) for 3+ years, so I definitely know what you mean when you say South East Asia has been done to death! Since after finishing up in South America, and returning to Europe for a while, Zab and I are planning to travel in that region of the world, I have found myself wondering: what will we blog about when we’re there? No doubt by the time we get there (likely not for another year at least), even the Philippines and Myanmar will have received blogging coverage similar to what Thailand and Cambodia have now. But, I think there is always something interesting to say, it might just take a little longer to find that new angle…but then hopefully, it should be something worth reading if that much effort has been put in!

  43. Danae says:

    Hi Kate!

    It’s actually kind of refreshing to hear you going back to your roots, so-to-speak. Your SE Asia coverage the first time around was very social, very party-centric, and very young-and-single – which was perfect when my best friend and I planned a trip to Thailand based almost solely on your posts! (Thanks for the inspiration!) But this time around, you’re a little older, a little wiser, an engaged woman…I’m looking forward to thoughtful and insightful posts about Thailand from a more mature point of view! Don’t get me wrong, Thailand is one if the best places in the world to party, but I’m looking forward to more off-the-beaten-path destinations, places, and experiences that hopefully reflect how your readers have also grown up with you. Have fun!

  44. Brandy says:

    While it’s true that Southeast Asia has been blogged to death, I personally read travel blogs because I enjoy the writer’s “voice”. Their coverage of particular areas – what to see, do, etc. – is always welcome, but I’m less interested in that and more interested in the experiences people have and their own unique take on it. Like others have mentioned, your life has certainly changed since the last time you were in SE Asia, so it’ll be interesting to hear your take on it now.

  45. Jennifer says:

    Yes SE Asia is now very popular with backpackers, so you just need to make sure you write about the nore original, less discovered places in the towns… or talk about the best places to eat or the best markets to visit. People want to know these things. Do you have plans to visit South America on your RTW trip?

  46. I highly recommend that you go to Palawan if you haven’t already been there. As for Thailand, I never tire of reading about every corner of my beloved country and still believe it is one of the world’s best destinations. Where else in the world can you still find a bungalow right on a white sand beach for only $4 a night? Yes, the crunchy mattress was scary and the mosquito net with gaping holes was worthless, but waking up to an oceanfront view of the brilliant blue sea in Koh Chang was indeed spectacular.

    The places you return to or discover are always new because each experience is different and has its own unique story.

  47. Megan says:

    I’ll be looking forward to reading your SE Asia posts! Even when I’ve been to a place or read a ton about it, I’m often able to find something that I wish I would have known about when I was there, and it makes me excited to go back someday. And it brings back a bit of nostalgia. Plus, so many people never get off of the “Banana Pancake” trail. I think you can definitely open up some eyes to lesser-known destinations in Thailand 🙂

  48. Ryan says:

    Just like you Kate, Southeast Asia, mainly Thailand, will be where it all begins. And even though I am kind of bummed to read that it has been thoroughly covered in-out-and-in-between, I am still excited to tell my own stories. And hell, as a writer, if it’s been done and you are going to do it as well, better make damn sure its better! Or different!

    So I will try =)

    I will be there for at least 6 months teaching English starting i November, so maybe we’ll cross paths and I’ll be able to meet you both! And I’ll surely be following along so I’ll know where to go as well.

  49. oggy says:

    Hello, I would like your help with some project. This project is an app that will help people and tourist all around world to connect and meet, go to drink, on concert or something else…this app will come soon but before that we will like to hear your opinion and ideas….so search Funility App and leave feedback. Tha

  50. Hayley says:

    Hi Kate

    Great post! Look forward to reading your stories, as I am off to Southeast Asia next year… I just wondered, what bag you will take for all of this? I read your post about your baggage before but the Venturi you have doesn’t seem to exist any more? Are Air Asia really strict to their cabin baggage sizing etc. rules in your experience – I see some bags which are 40L are over their limits, and also you wore a bag on your front and back plus a purse, for example? And is it safe (theft etc.) and convenient to cart a laptop around with you?

    Thanks 🙂

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