Michael Batson

Travel Writer

Vietnam

Cambodia

Other

Travelogue

Great Walls of Glass - 9 June 2012

Changi International Airport at Singapore is much like the city itself; neat, ordered, clean almost sterile, and almost wholly without character, though to be fair the city has Little India and Chinatown.Changi is an airport like many others but run with all that efficiency synonymous with the island state. Singapore has two great qualities going for it; its people and the geography. The first is negotiable and the second, an accident of birth.Changi is a city within a city. The airport is in parts great walls of glass, huge covered passenger processing floors and long, carpeted “piers” stretching off to numerous departure lounges. There are hotels rented by the hour or the day, restaurants, amusement arcades and various entertainments designed to take your money and soothe the soul. There are also swimming pools and theme-based gardens. Changi even offers the opportunity to become a millionaire with a lucky dip for shopping receipts for every $30 spent. At night, the interior resembles a casino, devoid of natural light and timeless.The airport has over seven hectares (70,000 m2) of space spread between its three main terminals for shopping and eating outlets, 360 shops in total. Terminal 3 out does the rest having the largest amount of retail space. It’s where the first FIFA Official Store in the world was opened, along with Asia's first Ferrari travel retail shop.There are mini-marts and gyms, restaurants and shops galore throwing all manner of commerce at

The Bizarre Temple at Banglamung - 28 May 2012

About 100 kilometres southeast from Bangkok at Banglamung near Pattaya in Chonburi is the Sanctuary of Truth, one of the strangest sights in Thailand. Touted as “The Magnificence of Heaven Recreated on Earth”, the Sanctuary of Truth is a huge structure made entirely of carved wood and looks like a temple of the bizarre from some giant film

On Deadly Roads - 20 May 2012

Someone once said that nowhere is a good place to have a traffic accident but in Cambodia it can be worse than most other places.Travel in Cambodia can be wonderful and a real eye opener but it’s a fact that almost four people a day die on roads in Cambodia, and hundreds more are injured in thousands of crashes.For victims, foreigners and

Nahkon Ratchasima - The Gateway to Isaan - 7 May 2012

Northeast of Bangkok is Nahkon Ratchasima, capital city of the province of the same name, and lauded as the gateway to the great northeast of Thailand. This area is known as Isaan and home to 25 million people; a country within a country, the rice bowl of Thailand, and the poorest region in the land.The city, also called Korat (or Khorat) a

Mangroves and Mountains - Koh Kong - 27 April 2012

Koh Kong is about six hours by bus from Phnom Penh, part of it along Cambodia’s most dangerous road and the rest through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, the Cardamom Mountains.National Route Six heads west from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville across the flat expanse of Kompong Speu, a province known in Cambodia for its numerous

Where the New Years are Big and Plentiful - 20 April 2012

New years are big and plentiful in Cambodia, they recognize three in total; the international day; Chinese New Year and the Khmer New Year of these the latter two are by far the more celebrated, all these in a country already awash with public holidays.The Cambodian New Year or Chaul Chnam Thmey, which in Khmer literally means “Enter new

Cambodia, the Elephant and the Deep Blue Sea - 12 April 2012

It’s a big deal when the world’s second most powerful political figure calls by and for Cambodia,a small country, it’s no different especially now, in this, Asia’s century. The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, arrived in Phnom Penh on a state visit, a trip that coincided with Cambodia hosting the annual ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian

The Rain Gamblers - 31 March 2012

In a land dominated by agriculture where the monsoon is both too hot and too short, water comes to dominate living for most Cambodians caught between floods and drought. In northwestern Cambodia this feature of society manifests itself in the form of rain gambling.Although gambling on rainfall is a casual pastime in other parts of Cambodia (and

Sam Mountain Lady & The Million Dollar Hill - 8 March 2012

If you’re planning on experiencing the marvels of river travel to Cambodia from Vietnam on a budget, tour operators on both sides of the border will quickly dispel your notions of wonder and romance. Instead you get a two-day ordeal, much of it by road, and punctuated with a stay in a grimy hotel amongst the poorest I’ve seen in Vietnam.Pity