Luang Prabang, Laos
The thing about Southeast Asia is that it is simultaneously one of the most infuriating and one of the most intoxicating places I’ve ever travelled through. And while I occasionally bemoan its faults (pushy tuk-tuk drivers, unfathomable humidity, questionable health care, an assortment of strange bugs and creatures, and the neverending paranoia of being pickpocketed all spring to mind), the fact is that I love it. The fact is that, while Melbourne and Seoul are fascinating and beautiful cities, I missed the streets of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. I realized I had been going through Southeast Asia withdrawals, desperately missing the mix of fast-paced cities and relaxing hideaways, missing zooming motorbikes and wandering monks, missing cheap beer and scores of other travellers.
I am now sitting in my hostel in Singapore, and so far the city seems full of looming, shiny skyscrapers; it’s not the kind of city I think I’ll love, but I’ve been surprised before, and it is a stepping stone back into Southeast Asia for me. Five days of sightseeing here, and then it’s back to Malaysia, back to beaches and street food and the life I’ve fallen in love with, the life I never want to leave.