Leave out the rainforest and you can do tiny Brunei in a day. Just hopping over the border and back makes sense for those on a budget because overnighting in the resource-rich Bornean kingdom run by one of the world's wealthiest men costs a lot.
So you haven't heard of Miri? How shocking. What ignorance. Actually, that's half the point of this post; hardly anyone has heard of Miri. Miri can be found in Borneo, the world's third biggest island, which lies off the coast of peninsular Malaysia.
Girls, I’d like to let you in on a secret. I’ve discovered a city bursting at the seams with heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing action. It’s a city that rarely sleeps, and that never lets you say ‘no’ to a good time. It’s a city where it’s inexpensive to be fashionable, and therefore everyone always looks fabulous. It’s a city so friendly, so welcoming, and so inviting, that it’s a wonder it’s not packed full of city girls like me thriving on the non-stop lifestyle.
I’ll admit that clubbing was not the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Phnom Penh. Temples, yes. Cheap booze, check. Genocide, affirmative. And you’ll get all of the above in Cambodia’s capital but if you like late night parties and tunes that get your booty shaking you may have a surprising amount of fun in this seductive city.
New Zealand’s natural attractions are spectacular but the urban environments also have their own appeal. Auckland is the biggest city and point of entry for most tourists and it has a lively after-dark party scene.
Nightclubs may seem like places where anything goes, but appearances can be deceptive. Clubs are governed by written and unwritten laws which change from country to country but there’s a few etiquette rules applicable right around the world.
One of the biggest NYE parties this 09/10 took place on a tiny Thai island called Koh Pha Ngan. The year changed on the very night there was a full moon – and if you know clubbing at all, you know that Koh Pha Ngan is famous for its wild full moon parties – so this was a truly cosmic coincidence. Over 50,000 locals and travelers converged on the beautiful Haad Rin beach to dance in moonlight and welcome the first dawn of 2010.
Jakarta is not famous for its nightlife like some other Asian capitals, which was why I was very pleasantly surprised to find a smorgasbord of club options. Despite being a Muslim country, the alcohol flows freely and clubs are open until late, so I’m officially declaring Jakarta Asia’s undiscovered party city – get in quick before the secret’s out!
The city of Bangkok, with its mazelike interconnecting streets and tiny sois, is endowed with plenty of strange things to feast one’s curious eyes upon. Here, you will find pushcart stalls selling edible pig’s body parts and guts, deep-fried insect snackables, and even a couple of elephants strolling down the sidewalks…and this is just to name a few.
For us locals, things that were mentioned above are nothing to get excited about. But the tourists! They get so easily worked up over these things it’s quite funny, actually. I have seen foreigner friends staring in disbelief (with dropped jaws and all) at a little old Thai lady who appeared to have jammed a lipstick look-alike up her nostril. They couldn’t comprehend what she was doing until I explained that what the lady had up her nose was in fact a ‘ya-dom’, or stick-type inhalant used to clear nasal congestion and help free the breathing system.
Very few people have the resolve to diet when traveling – part of the ‘authentic’ experience is to consume as much local cuisine as your stomach will physically allow, or that’s always been my policy. Still, in the interest of not being mistaken for a lost dugong while floundering in the breaks off Karon Beach next vacation, here are some low-fat Thai foods to gorge on.