Travelfish #443: When a place is new
Advice for writers works for travellers too.
This week, I’m leading with a piece aimed at writers, but the advice works just as well for travellers. Just as the writer should ask themselves why are they writing about a place, so the traveller should ask themselves why they are visiting a place. I grabbed it from Emily Ding’s Movable Worlds newsletter, one which I always find delivers something of interest—sometimes literary, sometimes travelish, sometimes, well, just interesting.
A few people asked me over the last week why I didn’t include any of the Bali digital nomad visa stories in the last newsletter. My reasoning is the stories are entirely speculative and I do not expect a visa as described to see the light of day any time soon—if ever. Happy to be wrong, but talk of a five-year tax-free digital nomad visa for Indonesia is exactly that—talk. Don’t hold your breath. If a visa agent suggests otherwise, get another agent.
With all the news over the last month or so about Laos’ fast train (and now, seemingly, pending national economic default) I thought I’d throw in a couple of pics from bus travel in the 90s when the best way to go was on the roof of the bus. I wonder how many travellers will continue to use the bus system. Wait and see I guess.
On the road to Luang Prabang
Probably will not get views from the train like this. Photo: Stuart McDonald.
The following chart is per capita—not total numbers. The dark green bar is the one that matters—it represents the percentage of the eligible population that is fully vaccinated. You can see a full-size and interactive version of the chart here.
Source: Our World in Data
So where is open and where is closed? This chart by Hannah Pearson at Pear Anderson summarises the state of play in the region as of Sunday, June 26, 2022. To receive Hannah’s report in your email mailbox every Sunday you can sign up here (it is free!)
⭐️ Story of the week
When the Place Is New to You from Craft Talk
Amid Conflict, Travel Flickers Back to Life in Myanmar from The Diplomat
Scam City: How the Coup Brought Shwe Kokko Back to Life from Frontier Myanmar ($)
Traditional Rituals Welcome a Cambodian Elephant to Married Life from SEA Globe ($)
DIY Is Not a Trend—It’s a Necessity from Atmos
Why Climate Change Is Not an Environmental Issue from The Walrus
Maskless Foreigners in Canggu, Kerobokan Spark Rise in Covid-19 Cases from Coconuts Bali
After Decades of Loss, the World’s Largest Mangrove Forests Are Set for a Comeback from The Conversation
Talking Indonesia: the Salafi Movement from Indonesia at Melbourne (podcast)
Indonesia’s Campaign Against Islamists Is a Ploy to Silence Critics from The Economist ($)
Is Bali Tourism Back on Track? from The South East Asia Travel Show (podcast)
Laos Faces Public Backlash as Economy Teeters Toward Default from NikkeiAsia ($)
Plans for New Airport Spell Trouble for Tioman Marine Park from Malaysiakini ($)
Slogans on T-shirts and Overstaying Welcomes from We, The Citizens
The True Curse of the Blue Diamond from Secret Siam
Thailand’s Digital Divide: Leave No One Behind from Fulcrum
Đom Đóm: Why the Light Is Going Out for Fireflies in Vietnam from Saigoneer
Random other stuff
In Southeast Asia, Luxury Hotel Bargains Aren’t Hard to Find from The New York Times ($)—Also, tone-deaf award for the week.
‘The Last Resort’ Interrogates the Beach While Enjoying It from The New York Times ($)
Air Travel Is a Disaster Right Now. Here’s Why. from The Atlantic
Couchfish: Southeast Asia’s New Borders (Old post, from November 2021)
Couchfish (Paid subscribers only)
On the road to Luang Prabang
The sort of bus I’d rather take a photo of then be on. Photo: Stuart McDonald.
See you next week!
So that’s the wrap. I hope you are all in good health, and thanks for reading.
See you next week,