Saturday, April 4, 2009

ASEAN On Wheels, Part 1

For my first adventure, I have decided to cover ASEAN by road. For Part 1 of the journey, I will cover the Indochina countries of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar, in addition to Malaysia. (See map on left)

I have set aside two months for this journey, May and June. My co-driver of this trip is Sunny Loo, a close friend of mine for 20 years. I am sure we will have lots of fun together. During this trip, I hope to better understand the car (which is really the travel companion), and what it takes to keep it going for thousands of kilometers, week after week.

I hope to complete the ASEAN on Wheels journey by early next year. The challenges will be different, as regular sea transportations will be a key feature for Indonesia and the Philippines. The ASEAN experience will prepare me for longer trips which I hope to make in the future.

I am looking forward to discovering the different places and peoples of ASEAN. When I was at the STB, we worked very closely with all our ASEAN neighbours and we planned tourism campaigns together as well as crafted policies on how we could promote tourism to the ASEAN region.

It wil be nice to explore ASEAN as a traveler this time. I am sure it will give me a
better appreciation of the immense tourism potential of the ASEAN nations and the challenges faced in realising this potential. Hopefully, I can make a small contribution to the promotion of tourism in ASEAN.

I think what’s needed on a road journey are common sense, some knowledge about cars and adequate preparation. It shouldn’t be too hard. More critical, I think, is having the right mindset.

We should expect to encounter problems along the trip. Overcoming the problems is an integral part of the road journey. They allow us to get to know the places and people better, and in process I am sure will enable us to make a few more friends. With the right mindset, problems, while they can be frustrating at times, can also be fun.

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