I definitely recommend seeing some of South East Asia by transport other than car or plane. I love exploring the region by bike. Whether it’s a daytrip around the temples of Sukhothai in Thailand or an entire holiday checking out Vietnam’s coast and highlands, it’s a great way of seeing places and gets you closer to the communities you pass through. Boat as well: lazy days on the Mekong, a junk on Halong Bay, a Thai rice barge... there’s no more relaxing way to see the world. Just lie back and soak in the amazing scenery that is all around you. I think the time I spent on the Laos Mekong was my favourite, ending in beautiful Luang Prabang. There’s a lovely accompaniment of hills as you cruise along, but it’s the close-up of local life that’s so fascinating: fishermen casting their nets while fragile, ancient little boats bob past, children playing and waving waterside, the occasional flash of saffron as a robed monk appears in one of the rickety fishing villages. To go from Laos’ sleepy backwaters to the Mekong’s delta in Vietnam can be quite a shock! It may be rural, but the delta bustles – check out Cai Be floating market, with its hundreds of boats laden down with colourful produce, for a snapshot of go-ahead Asia at its most picturesque. Sure, you can pick up live mudskippers there if you really want to, but I’d recommend trying the delicious fruit instead. Of all the countries I’ve visited, Burma has got to be the most memorable. For understandable political reasons, this is a country where the visitor really feels like a pioneering adventurer. I’ve seen and marvelled at Angkor Wat, and I reckon the plains of Pagan give Cambodia’s masterpiece a run for its money. Thousands of Buddhist stupas spear the rosy dawn, the lush green trees and mist reclaiming the temples in the most photogenic way. Unforgettable – as is so much else in Burma, not least the locals. Genuinely warm, welcoming and totally uncynical - you get a feeling when you travel there and spend your money at the right places that responsible tourism can be a force for good in Burmese communities. In Burma and all around the region, you’re pretty much guaranteed a warm welcome. I’ve travelled in the region many times and can honestly say that the number of times that I’ve not received gracious and kind hospitality can be counted on one hand. Next up is Borneo. Not been there yet, and I can’t wait. One of these days when I’m feeling energetic and fit I’ll tackle Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Track, but first I want to have a close encounter with Borneo’s orang-utans followed by some diving at Pulau Tiga. I developed a taste for all things sub-aqua in Thailand, and I’ve heard that Borneo beats even there for perfect waters and fish-life.
"This is my second trip with Peregrine (Everest Base Camp was the last) and will not be my last. In both cases, I could not fault anything and I am fairly fussy! You have a great product, based on employing high quality local guides. Well done."