Southeast Asia Travel Writing

Featured Books

* Floating on a Malayan Breeze: Travels in Malaysia and Singapore
* Ring of Fire: An Indonesia Odyssey
* Bangkok Found: Reflections on the City
* Bad Karma: Confessions of a Reckless Traveller in Southeast Asia
* Walking to Singapore: A Year Off the Beaten Path in Southeast Asia

Floating on a Malayan Breeze: Travels in Malaysia and Singapore

Floating on a Malayan Breeze: Travels in Malaysia and Singapore
by Sudhir Vadaketh
Hong Kong University Press, 2012

What happens after a country splits apart? Forty-seven years ago Singapore separated from Malaysia. Since then, the two countries have developed along their own paths. Malaysia has given preference to the majority Malay Muslims — the bumiputera, or sons of the soil. Singapore, meanwhile, has tried to build a meritocracy — ostensibly colour-blind, yet more encouraging perhaps to some Singaporeans than to others.

How have these policies affected ordinary people? How do these two divergent nations now see each other and the world around them? Seeking answers to these questions, two Singaporeans set off to cycle around Peninsular Malaysia, armed with a tent, two pairs of clothes and a daily budget of three US dollars each. They spent 30 days on the road, cycling through every Malaysian state, and chatting with hundreds of Malaysians.

Not satisfied, they then went on to interview many more people in Malaysia and Singapore. What they found are two countries that have developed economically but are still struggling to find their souls.

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Ring of Fire: An Indonesia Odyssey

 

Ring of Fire: An Indonesia Odyssey

by Lawrence and Lorne Blair
Didier Millet, 2010

The true story behind the internationally award-winning PBS television series, Ring of Fire charts the Blair brothers’ 10-year journey through the world’s largest and least-known archipelago–the islands of Indonesia. Amid seemingly impenetrable rain forests, erupting volcanoes, and unimaginable natural beauty, the brothers hoped to capture on film and in words the customs, beliefs, and wisdon of the islands’ inhabitants.

Their odyssey began with a 2,500-mile voyage through the Spice islands, guided by the notorious Bugi pirates, in search of the Greater Bird of Paradise. An entire decade of exploration followed, during which the authors lived among the Asmat cannibal tribe of West New Guinea and the sages and healers of Bali; encountered man-eating dragons of Komodo, and the elusive “dream-wanderers” of Borneo; and learned the legends of starship ancestors in the Clelebes highlands. With extraordinary courage, humor, and passion for the unknown, they draw us into their extraordinary journey to a magical land where ancient myths still flourish.

LAWRENCE BLAIR is also the author of Rythms of Vision (Destiny Books). He has appeared on television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic and has lectured in psycho-anthropology at University of California. LORNE BLAIR worked for the BBC until 1971, when he began his work as an independent filmmaker. In addition to Ring of Fire, his films appearing on international television include the prizewinning Lempad of Bali. Lavishly illustrated with more than one hundred of Lorne’s photographs, Ring of Fire tells the story of one of the most captivating and intriguing journeys ever made. It will stand as an enduring record of a vanishing world.

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Bangkok Found: Reflections on the City

Bangkok Found: Reflections on the City
by Alex Kerr (Author), Vasit Kasemsap (Illustrator), Navin Rawanchaikul (Illustrator), Thongchai Srisukprasert (Illustrator)
River Books Press, 2010

Southeast Asia is a world filled with mystery and intrigue, and one that doesn’t give up its secrets easily—as the author and his wife soon found out! Walking To Singapore is an often hilarious, but always informative look at the daily lives and disparate cultures of the region, and provides insight into the history of the region, the best (and most bizarre) foods, even religious temple etiquette. The book celebrates the beauty of Southeast Asia: swimming with sea turtles in Malaysia, seeing the sunrise from the rim of a smoking volcano, the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and watching wild orangutans waking at sunrise in Borneo. The author’s adventures also take them to some of the most magnificent historical and archaeological wonders of the world such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Burma’s city of 4,000 temples at Bagan, and the magnificent Buddhist and Hindu monuments of Borobudor in Indonesia. Helpful as a guide to budget travel in Southeast Asia—for about $10 per day!—Walking To Singapore also recounts some of the difficulties and downright danger that await—from an all night journey along the Road to Mandalay in Burma, to leeches in Sumatra, to grenade attacks in Phnom Penh!

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Bad Karma: Confessions of a Reckless Traveller in Southeast Asia

Bad Karma: Confessions of a Reckless Traveller in Southeast Asia
by Tamara Sheward
Academy Chicago Publishers , 2007

Sheward hits the road with her twenty-something chum, Elissa, and they head for Thailand, Laos and Cambodia with nary a plan. Sheward has a gift for writing humorous prose, with chapter titles such as “Smells Like Leprosy” amd “Subterranean Hoedown,” and they find themselves in the most incredible situations. They meet these characters, like the Kip Kid and the Queen of Whatever, and a variety of stoned backpackers and slum runners, in what turns out to be a series of absurd and funny misadventures. Sheward is our guide on a wayward journey through the underbelly of Southeast Asia, so often bypassed by traditional travel writers.

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Walking to Singapore: A Year Off the Beaten Path in Southeast Asia

Walking to Singapore: A Year Off the Beaten Path in Southeast Asia
by Britt A. Bunyard
Writers Club Press, 2000

Southeast Asia is a world filled with mystery and intrigue, and one that doesn’t give up its secrets easily—as the author and his wife soon found out! Walking To Singapore is an often hilarious, but always informative look at the daily lives and disparate cultures of the region, and provides insight into the history of the region, the best (and most bizarre) foods, even religious temple etiquette. The book celebrates the beauty of Southeast Asia: swimming with sea turtles in Malaysia, seeing the sunrise from the rim of a smoking volcano, the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and watching wild orangutans waking at sunrise in Borneo. The author’s adventures also take them to some of the most magnificent historical and archaeological wonders of the world such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Burma’s city of 4,000 temples at Bagan, and the magnificent Buddhist and Hindu monuments of Borobudor in Indonesia. Helpful as a guide to budget travel in Southeast Asia—for about $10 per day!—Walking To Singapore also recounts some of the difficulties and downright danger that await—from an all night journey along the Road to Mandalay in Burma, to leeches in Sumatra, to grenade attacks in Phnom Penh!

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