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Inglorious Travels Posts

Mornings on the river Khwae

Not many travelers make it to Thong Pha Phum, a sleepy town on the Khwae Noi River (a.k.a. the river Kwai), where I stopped on my way to Northern Thailand. A straight giveaway is the absence of a Latin script to double the Thai one, like in most other places, which is why on the evening of my arrival it took me almost one hour to find something to eat. Without a common language for…

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Frustration and diamonds in Bangkok

7:30pm, Bangkok, Sukhumvit Road, one of the city’s major arteries. I’m in the front right part of a bus that looks like a pierced tin can on wheels. Three Indian men, most likely tourists, squash me against the bus window while they show each other photos. At my feet, a Thai woman in business clothes sits on a tiny plastic chair, a makeshift seat, and I can get a good view of everything she’s doing…

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Leaving Lanta

Celebrating your birthday while you travel generates all sorts of temptations to spoil yourself. I gave in to one of these temptations and decided to spend my birthday in style on Koh Lanta, a developed island which doesn’t rank so high on the touristy scale. I rented a decent bungalow in a small resort run by a very young Muslim couple—it was cheap by local standards, but still the most expensive accommodation of my entire…

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Wide frame Tarutao

On the way to Kuala Lumpur, I saw from the plane an island whose shape intrigued me: a big chunk of jungle with three-four long but narrow patches of white beach. I decided right then and there that I would visit it. The island turned out to be Koh Tarutao (“island” Tarutao) and it was located in Thailand quite close to the border with Malaysia. Since I had 0 plans for my itinerary in Thailand,…

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Penang, far and close

Penang was on my itinerary simply for getting a Thai visa. Unplanned and unknown, it grew on me the moment I set foot there and ventured down a narrow alley. British colonial mansions and Chinese shop houses colorfully flank the streets of the historic town center—reminders of a cosmopolitan past, probably brimming with tales in their cracks and weathered wallpapers. As if the architectural enticement weren’t enough, hawkers of various culinary convictions invade these streets at…

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Farms, cables, and automobiles: the Cameron Highlands

Before arriving to the Cameron Highlands, images of undulating green fields lured me on the Internet. In reality, the region is a never-ending construction site. The rush to build and the hilly nature of the area have resulted in a deformed landscape, where neatly rectangular structures, like greenhouses and plants, seem to topple over or poke at each other with their straight lines. I arrive here one evening with the great plan to hike on…

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