After spending four months in Bangkok, I was ready for some rest and relaxation. I wanted to spend some time at one of Thailand’s world-famous beaches, but I also wanted to do some rock climbing. That narrowed my search down to the Railay and Ton Sai areas near Krabi and a couple small islands. I was heading down there alone (i.e., sans climbing partner) so I chose the only place that had bouldering: a small island in the Gulf of Thailand called Koh Tao.

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Mike and I each bought used Chinese bicycles in Phnom Penh for $35. The bikes themselves were the same except for a few minor differences. Mike’s bike looked cooler than mine. It sported a dark, silvery-gray paint job and a sweet orange Panasonic sticker. My bike was a much lighter gray. It was covered in City Walker stickers (was that a brand? the name of the bike? Who knows…) and small stickers of flowers. Both bikes had a few gears in theory but only one in practice. Neither bike shifted well, though I think mine was in moderately better shape than Mike’s, which made mildly disconcerting metal-on-metal clanking noises. Both bikes also had a rear rack, a front basket, a simple lock, and a bell.

What more do you need? Continue reading…

At about this time tomorrow, I’ll be on a bus heading for the Laotian border, and I’ll be in Laos by early evening. I’ve spent about 7 months in Thailand: 4 months in Bangkok, 1 month on Koh Tao, and 2 months in Chiang Mai. It ranks fifth on the list of countries I’ve spent the most amount of time in, behind the US, China, Ukraine, and Mexico. Continue reading…

Objectively speaking, Mandalay isn’t that great as far as cities go. It’s relatively new. It’s kind of ugly. It’s very dusty and dirty. But it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. Why? The people there are the nicest and most welcoming that I’ve met anywhere. We’d be walking down the street and literally every 30 seconds, someone would wave at us, smile, or say/yell “Hello!” I felt like a rock star. Continue reading…

Mike and I rented bikes and pedaled for 45 minutes in the 100+ degree heat out to U-Bein Bridge, arguably the most photographed thing in Myanmar. The bridge itself is .75-miles (1.2 km) long and is the oldest and longest teak (a type of wood) bridge in the world. The bridge is supported by 1,086 wooden pillars that stick up out of the water.

But mostly the bridge just looks really cool. It’s fun to walk across it and watch the locals enjoying themselves in the water. Continue reading…

Angel’s Landing is arguably the best-known landmark in southern Utah’s Zion National Park. It’s a striking mountain with a few dead vertical sides nearly a thousand feet tall. There is a trail that goes up the side, but these pics are from an ascent Lee and I did of the route Prodigal Sun (V 5.8 C2, 900′) back in 2009. I could have sworn that I’d posted these photos here already, but better late than never, right? Continue reading…

In the late 1970s in Cambodia, 1.5+ million people (a quarter of the country’s population) were killed. Today, the prison in central Phnom Penh where thousands of people were tortured before being executed is a genocide museum, and the place where those prisoners were taken to be executed—now known as the killing fields—is open to visitors.  Continue reading…

I’ve spent about four months now in Bangkok, but up until last week, I hadn’t bothered visiting many of the city’s main tourist attractions. It’s felt great to more or less stick to one place for a while, make friends, and be without feeling like I need to go see another church, temple, or ruin. Over the last couple weeks, though, I’ve started to feel the itch to get out and start seeing stuff again. The first manifestation of that itch was a day spent on Bangkok’s waterways and in its temples. Here are some pics from that day.  Continue reading…

My two-month Thai visa was expiring, so I needed to go to another country to get a new one. I chose Cambodia.  Continue reading…

Cory and I headed out early to find an open car rental agency in Chiang Mai. We had a bit of a problem, though—I had my driver’s license but didn’t want to drive, while Cory didn’t have his driver’s license but did want to drive. I ended up renting a little Toyota in my name (for only 900 baht, or around $28 US), but Cory drove all day. We figured that if Cory got pulled over without a license, we’d be able to bribe our way out of it. We picked up Anna and headed southwest from Chiang Mai toward Doi Inthanon National Park. Continue reading…

One of my goals for 2014 was to keep track of everything I ate throughout the year. Here’s a list of what I ate in January.  Continue reading…

When flying from Kathmandu to Bangkok, I had a 14-hour layover in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, so I made the most of it and got out to see some of the city. I didn’t know what to expect, but I liked it a lot. In terms of actual things to see, Kuala Lumpur really doesn’t have a whole lot to offer, but it’s still a great city. I spent a while wandering around the very modern city center, and it was like being in a tropical New York. Lots of beautiful steel and glass buildings. I imagine that it’s a bit of what Singapore is like. Continue reading…

I head to Asia the day after tomorrow for the first time in nine years, ending five months of living in and traveling around nine countries in Eastern Europe. Here are my thoughts on the highlights of what I’ve seen. Continue reading…

Kaş (rhymes with “osh”) is a beautiful town on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coastline. Continue reading…

It only took a few hours for Istanbul to become my favorite city in the world. It’s massive, vibrant, crazy, old, beautiful, smelly, historic, dirty, confusing, mysterious, exotic, crowded, and fascinating. Continue reading…