Category Archives: Travel

Travel articles and travel advice from Tommy. Learn more about his favorite international destinations and get inspiration for your next adventure.

Apo Island Beach Resort: Dumauguete Dive Getaway

Island Time on Apo: Getting Off the Grid at Liberty’s

Staying overnight at Apo Island is definitely the way to go. You’re totally unplugged (electricity is only available from around 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. It’s enough to charge your camera batteries and power the blender to make some mango shakes (mmm, mango shakes) and refill the dive tanks. Other than that you’re on island […]

Meeting the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India

Finding the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala: On the Path to Enlightenment, Smelly Feet

Getting inside was the easy part, I’m holding the aspiring Buddhist’s equivalent of a backstage pass. The monk at the entrance to the Dalai Lama’s Tsuglagkhang Temple takes one look at the little saffron-colored book with the title “Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva” stenciled in silver lettering on the cover and wordlessly waves me through […]

Night Diving with Tiger Sharks in Tubbataha, Palawan

Tiger Sharks in the Dark: The Scariest Night Dive I’ve Ever Had

“Another one,” I thought to myself as a three-legged sea turtle swam lopsidedly past. Its birdlike eyes warily scanned a sunlit expanse of coral garden on Tubbataha’s South Island atoll in the Philippines. The crippled green slowed cautiously as it approached the edge of the reef wall plunging cliff-like into the indigo depths below. This […]

Palawan Sea Kayaking Overnight Island Beach Camping Trip

The Optimist’s Guide to Island Beach Camping

Kris and Kristen bought a small traditional Filipino boat known as a bangka to take on short trips to the islands surrounding El Nido. Preston and I borrowed their little boat one day to take an overnight trip to Dilumacad Island which is located about 4 or 5 miles from El Nido. We didn’t have […]

Trekking the Taman Negara Rain Forest Jungle in Malaysia

Trekking the Taman Negara Rainforest: Like Leeches Much?

The final leg of our Southeast Asian adventure was an overnight jungle trek through the Taman Negara Rainforest in Malaysia. The over ten mile slog through the rainforest was torturous as we endured drenching downpours, jungle heat, hordes of blood sucking leeches, sandals that failed at the worst possible moment, and a fitful night of […]

Rain Forest River View from the Taman Negara in Malaysia

Malaysian Road Trip from Penang to Taman Negara Rainforest

Road trips are among my favorite things to do–especially when exploring a new country. After being crammed into the van from Thailand to Malaysia, it was a godsend to stretch out (a little–no SUV’s here) in our commuter sized Proton rental car. At least with the Proton we were able to come and go according […]

An afternoon street scene in Penang, Malaysia

Street Eats in Penang, Malaysia: Overland From Thailand

To reach Malaysia after spending a week on the southern beaches of Thailand, we chose to catch a van down the Thai/Malay peninsula to Penang. Despite the cramped conditions for ten hours in the van, the trip wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I’m not saying that it was comfortable or something […]

Sea Kayaking the Karst Limestone Islands of Koh Lanta

Sea Kayaking Koh Lanta: Karst Cliffs & Yellow Canoes

We didn’t spend the whole time on Koh Lanta lying by the beach and watching Germans crash motorcycles into small ponds. One day we met up with Andy, a local sea kayak guide to explore one of the smaller islands just offshore of Koh Lanta up close and personal. The relatively slow pace of the […]

Sunset at the Koh Lanta Island Beach

Exploring Koh Lanta: Yes, It’s Not As Crowded as Phuket

Koh Lanta was the antidote for our disappointing trip to Phi Phi Island, and was the “sit by the ocean” leg of our otherwise hectic itinerary. On a recommendation from some other travelers, we lucked into staying at the Narima, an awesome resort perched on Koh Lanta’s rocky cliffs overlooking the Andaman Sea. The Narima […]

Thai long tail boats on the beach at Koh Phi Phi

Phi Phi Island: Isn’t This Supposed to Be a Marine Park?

From Bangkok, Steve, Alex and I decided to head south to Phi Phi Don Island via a super cheap flight to Phuket for only $30 (I think the 15 hour bus ride was only a little less than $20). The trip to Phi Phi turned out to be a reminder of the “you can’t go […]

Bangkok Street View from a Backpacker Guest House

Exploring Bangkok: From Busy Streets to Best View in Town

A few afternoons of wandering around Bangkok will usually result in some truly odd discoveries. For example, I’m really not sure who is in the market for a set of Joshua Tree era U2 bowling pins painted to resemble the band. Or I wonder who wants a eat a turtle with a side of wriggling […]

The Reclining Golden Buddha Statue at Wat Pho in Bangkok

Bangkok Temple Tour: Chao Phraya River to Wat Pho

Even if you’re too cool to be a tourist, a visit to Bangkok wouldn’t be the same without at least a quick stopover to see one of the many historic buddhist temples (wats). Wat Pho is my favorite because of the enormous Reclining Buddha housed there–it’s over 150 feet long and 50 feet tall and […]

A huge King Cobra from the Bangkok Snake Farm

Bangkok Snake Farm: It’s Random But Worth the Trip

At first glance the Bangkok Snake Farm feels like one of those off ramp sideshow attractions that you come across in rural America sometimes–sort of like a really dangerous petting zoo. But the Farm does keep Thailand stocked with antivenom for all the poisonous snakes in the country and where else can you see a […]

Bangkok's Busy City Streets at Night

Bangkok Guide: Getting Around the City

Depending on where you’re headed, Bangkok has more options for getting around than most cities. A lot of tourists opt for the sputtering tuk tuks that are featured on brochures and guide books everywhere. But maybe you don’t feel like getting ripped off or spending an unexpected afternoon shopping for a new suit because the […]

Thai Food on Bangkok's busy Streets

Best Thai Food in Bangkok: Exploring the City’s Awesome Eats

I’ve met a lot of people who hate Bangkok for some reason. Usually their explanations vary, but they often seem to cite the crowded conditions, pollution and a few other very pragmatic reasons. I find myself waiting politely, then asking them”but what about the the food?” In my book at least, all the sins of […]