Where's James


I spent just a few days in Dubai to break up the longer trip from Manchester to Taipei. Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, formed in 1971 the UAE is easily the youngest country I’ve visited. I arrived around 8pm so jumped on the Dubai Metro to my hotel just a few stops away. The metro is the best way to cover long distances with the red line running parallel to the coast.

Since last time

Despite best intentions I didn’t continue blogging on the places I visited last year. After spending four weeks in Myanmar I continued back into Thailand (and promptly left again soon after the coup), Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. I’m not going to go back and write about these places (though I wish I had done at the time), but I’ll be making a new effort to write about my plans for this year.

Crossing into Myanmar

Better known as Burma, Myanmar is only just developing its backpacker scene. Following independence from the British in 1948 the country had a brief stint of democracy but by the early 60’s the military had taken over. Corruption, human rights violations, suppression of free speech and one of the longest running civil wars followed, as did sanctions. In 1996 a tourism boycott was called for by the National League of Democracy (NLD) and what little tourism remained all but stopped.


Battambang is a big city in the north of Cambodia that manages to keep a small town vibe with low-rise buildings and street vendors that barely stay open past 7pm. The town is very walkable with some great examples of Chinese, colonial and art deco architecture. The small roads lined with shophouses are some of my favourites. Shophouses and the disused railway station. Other than enjoying the town there are two main attractions in Battambang.

Kep and Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island)

From Kampot I took a short half-hour bus ride to the sea-side town of Kep. Somehow I managed to sprain an ankle on the way to the bus station and spent the first two days in Kep just sat around. Thankfully the guesthouse had a great sea view, restaurant and an Xbox. Lots of locals were nice enough to stop me in the street to ask what had happened, though I should have made up a better story than falling off a curb.