Monthly Archives: May 2014

Seven days in Indonesia

Beautiful Indonesia

Two months. Eight countries. Nineteen airports.

Time has flown by, I can’t believe that my wife and I are now wrapping up our Asia travels. We’re flying home to San Francisco for a one-week respite and wedding, and then will ship off to Europe for three months.

We capped off our Asia travel in style, spending a week in Indonesia — most of that time in Bali.

Indonesia is so freaking huge. It’s got 240 million people and a gazillion islands, each featuring very unique sets of people and cultures. My wife and I have only seen a tiny speck of the country but we loved what we did see. We’ve vowed to come back later to do a dedicated Indonesian trip where we can take in some more islands.

You gotta visit Indonesia. This place is so freakin’ cool. Here are a few highlights from our trip.

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Three days in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur City Scape

Time is flying and my wife and I are now towards the home stretch of our Asia tour. We intended to finish our Asia travel in Indonesia, but just to mix things up we took a three-day detour to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for an extended layover.

I did not expect Kuala Lumpur (or “KL” as everyone here calls it) to be so modern and developed. It reminded me a lot of Seoul. What’s more, the residents here are really interesting: it’s a predominantly Islamic society, but given the fact that the city is one of the major economic centers of Southeast Asia, many Westerners also live here. Everyone speaks English, and really well too.

The food is great (fantastic melting pot of Malay, Indian, and Western) and the city is nice, but there was something missing for me about this place. To me, KL just felt like another big city and I started to feel bored quickly.

I’ll keep this update brief. Here are some quick highlights from our KL trip.

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Three days in Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat Sunrise

I’m not a morning person, but this is worth waking up at 4:00 AM.

Westerners don’t often think about Cambodia as a must-see tourist destination. That’s really unfortunate.

My wife and I just spent the last three days in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which was our staging area to visit Angkor Wat along with many other temples in the region. The experience was perfect: few tourists, amazing amazing amazing temples, and a unique and friendly culture.

Go now. See this country the way it’s meant to be seen before it’s too late. The country is still unspoiled, but who knows what it will be like in another 5-10 years.

Here are some highlights from Cambodia.

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2.5 weeks in Vietnam

Good morning Vietnam!

Vietnam made us nervous.

Not because my wife and I thought we would be in danger or anything, but this was the first trip we ever took where we didn’t plan anything in advance, other than the plane tickets to enter and exit the country. As novice travelers, the prospect of a blank itinerary was a bit nerve wracking.

It turns out that we had nothing to worry about; moreover, I’m now convinced that traveling without an itinerary is actually the best way to travel.

Vietnam is the perfect country to visit without any plans. As a Western tourist, you can get by very comfortably here: decent hotels can be found for under $20 USD/night; meals are normally under $5 USD; transportation is cheap-ish (less than $100 per in-country flight); and Vietnamese people are quite friendly and helpful. We had no problems booking transportation and accommodations on the fly, mostly through the smart phone we brought along. We thought that last-minute planning would stress us out, but it actually allowed us to feel more freedom.

The two-and-a-half weeks we spent in Vietnam went by in snap. We started in Hanoi in the North and slowly made our way down to Saigon in the South. My wife and I saw some amazing stuff along the way.

Here are the highlights of our Vietnam trip.

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How Chris Dixon helped me handle Fear

Thanks dude!

Thanks Chris!

Oh shit.

That’s all I could blurt out. I was at the ATM staring at my Chase business checking account balance and the number staring back at me was $500.

Oh shit.

An $8,000 bill that my business owed was scheduled to post tomorrow. Earlier in the day, I hounded a client about a slightly late payment they owed for a big marketing campaign. The VP I spoke to curtly assured me that the payment would arrive the next day.

Oh shit.

Running through the logistics in my head, the mailman arrived at my office every day around 3:00 PM. That gave me about two hours to collect the client check (assuming that it indeed would arrive) and deposit it in the bank. If the $8,000 bill posted at the end of the day, I’d be okay. If it posted earlier, then I’d now have to deal with a bounced check, which was sure to create headaches for the line of credit I had applied for at Chase…

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