Here we are, nearing the end of 2021, the future looks brighter around the world, and we hope to all get traveling again. Travel is one of life’s great joys. We learn about the world. We learn about ourselves. Sometimes in the best possible ways, occasionally in horrifically bad ways, but with some perspective, hopefully in a memorable way. Today, Scott and Trevor share some of their Best, Worst, Scariest & Strangest Travel Experiences.
What began as a brainstorming exercise for new topics turned into a trip down memory lane. One of the greatest gifts of travel is the stories we carry with us for a lifetime. Just as we have recorded not 1, nor 2 or 3, but 4 episodes of Tantalizing Travel Tales, we bring you something similar: Our Best, Worst, Scariest, and Strangest Travel Experiences. In Asia of course!
Scott and Trevor banter…
Trevor: I’m always excited to hear your travel tales. It just goes to show how much we’ve both experienced that we can still share stories that the other might not have heard yet before…
Trevor asks Scott about his wife Erika being back in Bangkok: “The two of you must be excited to enjoy a trip together.”
- Hopefully Canada at XMAS.
- Lots of biking and long walks in reduced traffic city, Hua Hin, Nakon Nayok, Chonburi
Trevor explains that he has been away from Siem Reap for a few weeks. Forgot his suitcase, got sick on his birthday beach trip, recovered already, and busy as ever. So he still needs a holiday, more than ever, Trevor explains.
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Most memorable trip:
Scott: likely Trans-Siberian with my Dad, although Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan with him as well was really eye-opening
Trevor: Impossible to say. The first one always has some amazing memories, and portions of it appear in many of the following questions. Otherwise, between burying myself in books and maps for months on end and then throwing myself headlong into a destination to research and write about it for guidebooks was like being both Ben Stiller and Sean Penn’s characters in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. If you’ve seen the film, there’s the scene when they finally meet, upon a mountaintop and savor the moment instead of taking the phone. I’ve stopped to do that many times. Every trip is the most memorable if you take the time to be present. Otherwise, my first trip to Asia, which is covered in answers to other questions below: a month in Bali, a month in Thailand, a few weeks in Sumatra, a few weeks in Malaysia, then via Singapore to my hitch-hiking adventure around Australia. And then Fiji.
Best beach trip:
Scott: I’ve had some good ones lately: 7-nights for Songkran in April 2019 at Ko Phayam was great, 8 nights in Phuket in April 2021; Kampot and Ko Rong with my parents in Cambodia in December 2019 was great too.
Trevor: Researching and writing the Travel Dojo Bali guide. It was a nine or ten month trip Deep dive into Bali. Stayed in my friend’s Joey and Miyuki’s house – adopted their dogs for a while –crazy story– LOVED THEM. The house had huge maps all over the walls of the island, color coded regions and folders with smaller maps. Hanna, my assistant, and I GPSed and photographed every beach on that island. We tried to find em’ all.
Over my life, I’ve developed expertise in finding routes down to secluded beaches. That’s my jam. Bali has beautiful beaches hidden away here and there. I had maps of every mile of coastline and color coded to-do lists of what to photograph, GPS, etc. It’s hard to beat a beach trip where it’s your job to go to every beach.
Trevor: Carved wooden staff from a small village in Sumatra – for the story. Tantalizing travel tales 4? And maybe even on our Shopping in Asia episode, if we’ve done such a thing. This was my greatest negotiation. Lake Toba. On a hot dirty road between the lake and the tribal village longhouses (where I made an ice cream man appear — different day, different story). Along that road are some rice fields and a wooden house-slash-souvenir shop. Open-air kind of wooden house, like houses here in Cambodia I imagine. And she’s got this carved wooden staff from the indigenous people. Like 4 feet tall, like a totem pole of animals and people on top of each other and along the spine. Sick. So cool. That negotiation to buy that thing is one of my great travel stories. And eventually discovering it in California many years later is interesting too.
Scott: A Tanka painting I bought in Patan, Nepal. I really love two bronze Buddha images I’ve purchased at Patan, Nepal, as well as a Tibetan Thanka painting I purchased in Bouddanath, Nepal. A hand-carved wooden put is pretty neat as well and always reminds me of our trek to the Honey Hunters’ village in the Mahabarat Range south of Kathmandu.
Golden Monkey in Ao Nang, Krabi – TTT as well.
Top Wildlife Moment:
Scott: Seeing a rhino while atop an elephant in Nepal.
Trevor: Orangutans in Sumatra.
Worst Wildlife Moment:
Scott: Those elephant camps in northern Thailand where they kick footballs and such; those are pretty bad.
Trevor: See Monkey Tales, episode 130
Most adventurous trip:
Scott: Cycling from the north end of Annapurna up to Mukthinath, then down the west side back to Jomsom and on to Pokhara in about 2006 or 7?
Trevor: that Sumatra trip – the Thai and Malaysia bits too. Camping on Malaysian beaches etc, warming up for the Australian outback, which was my most adventures by far. This could be most memorable, if we included Australia in “almost Asia” – episode idea!
Scott: Cycling from Lhasa, Tibet to Mount Everest Base Camp and onwards to Kathmandu, Nepal about 2006
Strangest tourist site visited:
Trevor: I don’t think I could imagine anything strange anymore because I’ve seen so much strange shit. Ah, The two headed calf at Wat Prampi Loveng
Scott: Nimbin Museum in Australia was pretty wild, as well as the Forensics Museum in Bangkok, the Stalin Museum in Georgia was odd (you can buy Stalin t-shirts and stuff – who would wear that?)
Most Physically Demanding Trip:
Scott: Cycling from Lhasa, Tibet to Mount Everest Base Camp, and on to Kathmandu, Nepal. One time my friend Grew W and I did ourselves in though in northern Thailand over 5-days and ended up sodium deficient; that wasn’t pleasant.
Trevor: Listen to the episode to hear Trevor’s answer!
Scariest trip moment:
Scott: Bungee jumping at The Last Resort, Nepal
Trevor: Khao Yai – went looking for elephants (Tantalizing Travel Tales 1 or 2)
Best motorcycle trip:
Scott: Really a collection of dirt biking trips I led in Chiang Rai province back in my tour leading days; so many great ones along the Thai-Myanmar border, remote hilltribe paths, nicely paved roads through Mae Hong Song, Nan, Phayao; I feel so fortunate in hindsight being able to do those
– Preah Khan Kampong Savoey
Trevor: I’ve enjoyed them all and not enough to have an all-time favorite. I’ll go with the first one – up phnom Chisor and the most recent one: to Veal Veng last year, which my friends are doing right now.
Trevor: I’ve never really been injured while traveling. I hurt my wrist getting on a boat a couple years ago that kept me from having fun in Hawaii that year. Any injury is the worst when it fucks up your vacation. Worst was in Hawaii, actually, which was while traveling, as I used my Thai insurance… cut knee, banged head, missed bachelor party.
Scott: I’ve been lucky and not had too many but I did cut my shin really badly on a motorcycle peg in July 2020; also had bad food poisoning on a bus from Thailand to Malaysia back in 2000 as a backpacker.
Scott: In late 1999 when I first moved here I had a blister across my entire forehead on Ko Tao from a bad burn – that was awful
Trevor: I have $1/day sunblock budget
Most dangerous moment:
Scott: Taking a taxi in Mumbai one evening (this was on one of the Travel Tales episodes)
Trevor: Almost sucked out to sea in Bali with preaw. One thing to be alone. Another to be with someone inexperienced. Different experience
Scott: Two really come to mind: the food at Pak Putra in Melaka and smoked duck at Sek Yuan in KL; Momos at Jazz Upstairs, Kathmandu, Grapow w egg in Thailand
- Sukhothai noodles at the Sukhothai airport
- Some random restaurant in Kota Kinabalu that I ate at two nights in a row
- Coffee in Sumatra was the best
- Any other time I was ever in Thailand
Worst thing you ate:
Trevor: This is like asking what’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen. It’s so frequent that it’s no longer memorable. Ants? Tarantula? Nah, I’ve eaten way worse, I’m sure. I don’t go out of my way to eat gnarly food, but it finds you here sometimes. Probably in China.
Scott: It tasted fine, but learning we had just eaten sharks’ fetus in Hoi An, Vietnam in about 1996 was a bit off-putting
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Scott: The old Cheap Charlie’s, Teepee Bar in Chiang Rai, and also Upstairs in Kathmandu
- Nara bar jazz and omelet
Trevor: Not a bar but I was served alcohol, at like 7am. Shots of Thai firewater served by a medicine man. In a village in Chiang Rai. We rolled chicken bones and drank shots of some kinda Lao Khao Ya Dong… firewater.
Bummer Trip moment:
Scott: I loved Sri Lanka, but when my wife and I went there over XMAS/NY in about 2014, there were a few rough moments: the hotel in Marissa was an absolute turd, and every time we had a driver, they pocketed the $2-3 for the expressway and took us on slow roads and tried to take us for massage and factories; resulted in some fights between us and you realize why you want the ‘moments’ to be just right and how things that either of your fault can really damper a great trip
Trevor: Living in Bali a few years ago, when my neck was injured and I couldn’t surf. I think i only surfed once in 3 months. Even my friend Elbert came out and surfed and I couldn’t join him. Sucked.
Thing we Love about Traveling in Asia
Scott: Hosting so many travelers on life-changing adventures in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Nepal for 13-years
Trevor: Making Friends
- Tantalizing Travel Tales 1
- Tantalizing Travel Tales 2
- Tantalizing Travel Tales 3
- #78 – Favorite Asian Adventures
- Favorite Meals in Asia
- #122 – Monkey Tales with Scott & Trevor
- #120 – Tantalizing Travel Tales IV
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