Renegade Writings

The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

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The big Indochina trip

The Big Indochina Trip: final reflections

I’ve been at home for a while now and had time to reflect a bit about the trip and the countries I visited.

Though the region is called Indochina (from the two main cultural influences on the region), it’s much less homogeneous than you might think at first glance. Geographically they are of course very similar with jungles and mountains and very similar climates. The difference lies in the people and culture. In my experience Laos and Cambodia are very similar and Thailand, though more developed, is culturally close to them as well. Vietnam sticks out  as very different from the other … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: back home 

I’m back home and I’ve had a fantastic trip! I’ve actually been at home for a few days now but I haven’t posted anything until now because it’s taken a few days to unpack my stuff and sort through all my photos. Now I’m done with all that and it’s time to write the last post.


Before I sum up my trip however, I want to do a little bit of promotion:
The people I stayed with in Mae Hong Son were so nice and so hospitable I think they deserve a special recommendation. If you (or anyone you know) are … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: Happy New Year! 

I didn’t really have a plan for what to do for new years but I got a few ideas from my guides at the elephant camp. Since new years eve happened to be on a Saturday there was a night market in town, so I went there to start my evening with some street food. It’s a huge market, and it was very crowded but I did find some tasty food. 

Someone told me there would be activities at the various temples, and there were, but they seemed to be mostly for worshipers. I skipped that and … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: elephants

Chiang Mai is rife with activities like rock climbing, zip lining, bungee jumping, you name it. I’ve tried all of them at some time or other except one, petting elephants. A lot of the time when people are allowed to get close to some kind of animal it’s kind of exploitative, and dangerous to both man and beast. There are lots of operators that offer tours that include petting and riding elephants or even circus  like shows. The problem is that the elephants are often trained using a metal hook that causes pain and even when their not, according to … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: the Mae Hong Son loop, day 3

The road back from Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai is bit longer than the previous two days so I was planning to get an early start. However, just as I was getting ready to go, my hosts invited me to go sightseeing with them and they were so nice to me I just couldn’t say no. They took me to Su Tong Pae bamboo bridge. It’s pretty similar to the one in Pai but they claim this is the original, the one in Pai a copy. They kept being super nice to me so tried to at least buy … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: the Mae Hong Son loop, day 2

When I woke up this morning the bike wouldn’t start. Though it seemed fine last night the battery had died during the night. I tried to push start it a couple of times but eventuallyI had to go to a repair shop to get a new battery. 

While walking around in the town last night, I took note of a few of the places Near Pai that tour companies bring their clients to. My next goal was only about 100 kilometers away so despite wasting an hour on the broken bike, I figured I still had time. 

My first stop … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: The Mae Hong Son loop, day 1

Like I mentioned in my last post a lot of travelers have talked about riding motorbikes from Chiang Mai to Pai. When I studied the map I realized there’s a loop called the Mae HongSon loop that people do in a couple of days. It runs northward from Chiang Mai up to Pai, westward over to Mae Hong Son, then back to Chiang Mai in a big southward semi circle (see the map below for details). This sounded like the perfect plan for me, so in the morning I set of in search for a motorbike. 

Map of the MaeHong
Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: off to Chiang Mai 

From Bangkok I took the night bus to my last major destination for this trip, Chiang Mai up in the north west. Something I don’t understand about the night buses here in south east Asia is that they tend to leave around dinner time, then arrive in the early morning before anything is open. It would be more convenient if they arrived an hour or two later, so the hostels and breakfast places have time to open. I wasn’t able to check in directly so I dumped my bag in the hostel then took a stroll downtown to kill some … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: back in Bangkok 

There were a few things in Bangkok I still wanted to see, so after my little excursion to Pattaya I headed back to the capital. After leaving Siem Reap, Renegade Wife and I have been traveling separately but it so happened that we were both in Bangkok for Christmas, so we could spend Christmas eve and part of Christmas day together (she had to go to the airport in the evening). It’s been a long time since I had a proper Christmas celebration with the family  and I’m fine with treating it as just a normal day but it’s still very … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: an excursion to Pattaya 

I don’t know when or where I heard it but the name Pattaya has stuck in my mind as a place to go for beaches and nightlife. Some quick research showed that Pattaya is pretty touristic and that you can do much better for relaxing at the beach, and since I’m not much of a party guy some place like Hua Hin would probably be a better option for me. However, I just couldn’t get the name Pattaya out of my head, I had to see it for myself.

I read that the main beach in Pattaya city is pretty … Read the rest

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