Ban Huay Kon / Muang Ngoen border open

We’ve heard, second hand, of a confirmed independent crossing at the Thailand/Laos border crossing at Ban Huay Kon / Muang Ngoen.

The border had been open for ages to Thais doing 4WD “adventure tours” up to Luang Prabang but we’d been told by the TAT that “there were no plans whatsoever for the crossing to be opened to foreigners at any time in the forseeable future“.

So we assume somebody changed their mind!

What this means is that after spending time exploring Nan, you can cross at Ban Huay Kon, head northeast to the village of Hong Sa and jump aboard a slow boat heading either south to Luang Prabang or north to Pak Beng and Huay Xai — what a terrific new way to enter Laos!

As I mentioned, we got this news second hand (a couple of European backpackers related their trip to a friend of ours while on the slow boat in early May, 2008), so it comes with no guarantees whatsoever and our agent on the boat forgot to ask then if visa-on-arrival was available… just can’t get good help these days!

How do I get from Ko Chang to Phu Quoc Island?

With the 2007 opening of the Prek Chak / Xa Xia border crossing between Cambodia and Vietnam it’s now possible to travel from Ko Chang in Thailand all the way along the Cambodian coastline and into Vietnam. For beach and boat lovers, this is a great trip as from Ko Chang you’re able to visit Ko S’dach, Sihanoukville, Ko Russei, Kampot, Kep, Ko Tonsay, Ha Tien and Rach Gia, before finishing off on the glorious Phu Quoc Island. Here’s a step by step guide taking you through the entire trip, commencing in Trat and finishing on Phu Quoc.

Fifteen tips for a great holiday in Asia

This November we celebrated our 10-year anniversary of living and travelling in Southeast Asia. In that time we’ve had the good fortune to live in three of Southeast Asia’s most interesting countries (Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand) and to travel extensively throughout the region. We arrived from Sydney, Australia back in 1997 with just the two backpacks, and by the time of our most recent move (Phnom Penh to Jakarta in 2005) the two rucksacks had bred — giving birth to a 20-foot container. In the past decade, aside from accumulating enough flotsam to fill a very big metal box, we’ve collected the following 15 pieces of advice that we hope will help you get the most out of your trip.

Nine Southeast Asian upcountry hideaways

Everyone knows about Pai, Muang Sing, Siem Reap and Sapa but what about if you’re looking for somewhere a little bit more off-the-beaten-track when it comes to exploring Southeast Asia’s great interior. Not surprisingly there’s loads and loads of places that you’ll read precious little about in your guidebook, that could be just the spot you’re looking for. Here’s a few of our favourites across the countryside.

How to manage your money while travelling in Asia

Questions about travel money are among the most popular topics on the Travelfish message board, with people regularly asking about the how’s and where’s of travel cash. We think the best way to organise your money while travelling in Asia is to first become aware of the fees involved and then research the best card. Read on for advice on how to pick the right card and how to manage your money in a way that maximises convenience without being overly risky.

Should I take malarials?

One of the most commonly asked questions by first-time travellers to Southeast Asia is “Should I take malarials?“. It’s a simple question, with a complicated answer, best summed up as “it depends”. We’ve just added a new story outlining ten points that we hope will help you make a more informed decision regarding malarials and travel to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. You can read the full story here: Should I take malarials during my holiday to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam?