14 Tuesday March, 2017
Here at Ampersand, we’ve been specialising in some of the most unique and remote areas of Asia for fourteen years. We do everything we can to make travelling through Asia smooth and easy for our customers but nothing can better prepare you for your travels than conducting your own research. And what better way to familiarise with a new country or culture than reading first-hand experiences of intrepid travel bloggers?
Travel blogs have provided an eye-opening view to new cultures over the years and here are some of our must-follow Asia travel blogs of 2017.
SOUTH EAST ASIA
Ferdinand Decena is an award winning photographer so expect nothing less than excellence when it comes to the story told by his pictures. Each image gets under your skin with vivacity and depiction of thoughts and feelings, and you will find his adventures to be extremely fulfilling.
What’s wonderful about this blog is the creativity behind it; Ferdinand graduated from Far Eastern University in the Philippines and landed his first job as Art Director, before becoming a fully-fledged freelance photographer in his own right. And today he channels his creativity through his travels across Cambodia, China, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.
Travelfish.org specialises in the South East Asia region, including the region’s best islands. Get information about Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Launched back in 2004 and managed by the Aussie travelling duo Stuart Mcdonald and Samantha Brown, this website aims to create exposure on some of SEA’S lesser known travel destinations.
Stuart and Samantha come from a background of guide book writing and journalism and they are also parents. Their dream is to wait anxiously for their kids to grow old enough to join them in their travels. A family travel blogging team – what an interesting prospect.
3). The Siracusas
Romana Pereira and Emanuele Siracusa have travelled the globe. But one of their main travel focuses is South East Asia, so much so that we would call them South East Asia experts. Their tales of Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam make them knowledgeable sources of travel information. So if you’re looking for first-person reviews and experiences from a down to earth couple, make sure you add The Siracusas to your reading list in 2017.
Romana and Emanuele have also travelled beyond South East Asia, taking their adventures to Fiji, Italy, Portugal and New Zealand so it will be interesting to see what more they have to offer in the coming year. The curious duo are also big foodies so you’ll see a lot of posts on great places to dine and ideas of what to expect from local specialities.
4). Runaway Juno
Juno Kim frequents these lists more often than we have hot dinners; she’s quite the internet star these days. But we simply can’t miss her off the 2017 top Asian travel blogger list here at Ampersand Travel. Her credentials won’t allow us. This inspiring lady is a forever nomad who travels the world (for what seems to be indefinitely) and one of her major travel destinations is the vast continent of Asia. Telling her tales from Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Macau, Juno shows us all that lone travelling can be fun and exciting.
Thanks for the inspiration, Juno!
5). The Planet D
Meet the adventure couple who show us that serious travel and romance can still coexist. Dave and Deb from Toronto have transformed their marriage and their passion for travelling the globe into a comprehensive blog and a serious career. They have worked with – and have been sponsored by – companies such as Expedia.com, American Express Canada and HouseTrip. But what’s really special about these two travel experts is their expansive coverage on the world map. As well as many other destinations, Dave and Deb have covered practically the whole of Asia and this can be seen on their interactive map page. Discover the mystery of Russia, the flavours of South East Asia, the magic of Western Asia, and even the often overlooked Central Asia, home to the “five ‘stans”.
6). Austin Bush Photography
Austin Bush is a treasured travel blogger unravelling each and every layer of the interesting and complex Thailand. Leaving no stone unturned, Austin blogs about food, life, sights and people. And his photography? Simply outstanding. His Kaeng Ho noodles of North Thailand will have you salivating as you almost smell the aroma, and the shots of street vendors at the Haroon Mosque will almost be jumping out of the page as you scroll through his archives.
A published photographer (Bangkok Post, BBC.com, CNNGo and Lonely Planet to name a few), Austin, originally from Oregon, US, now resides in Thailand where he studied. Visit his blog to get the intricate truths of this beautiful country.
7). Tieland to Thailand
This is the moving story of an unstoppable couple. A couple who were unfulfilled with their nine to five jobs back in the USA; Chris and Angela handed in their notices, sold their belongings and escaped for the better life abroad. They now live in Chiang Mai and spend their days travelling Thailand and beyond, and advising wannabe expats on starting a new life just like they did.
Their blog’s strapline is simply “Quit your job – sell your stuff – travel abroad”. So it doesn’t get any plainer than that. These two know how to live and their expat blog divulges every corner of Thailand and what it can offer. But they’re never condescending or preachy. In fact, their entire site is written and presented in such a light-hearted way, that it seems accessible to every traveller or holidaymaker.
8). Breathe Dream Go
Another inspiring female blogger; Mariellen Ward takes us on her intrepid travels across the globe and shows the world that it’s not hard becoming an independent female city-hopper. What we love about Mariellen is her ability to integrate herself into each community, taking on the customs of her new found friends. It’s not unusual to see Mariellen photographed wearing an Indian Sari on her travels or volunteering for local charities. Based in both Toronto (her home city) and India (her second home), her expertise of India and other countries is truly motivating. If you’re looking for travel information for India, Sri Lanka, Japan or Bhutan, be sure to follow Breathe Dream Go.
9). Japan Travel Mate
Dean Wormald grew up in Australia but now works and lives in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. His Japanese travel site is completely dedicated to the country; not only a comprehensive travel guide for all regions but also a written illustration of Japan’s people, its culture, its history and the values of the nation. If you want to know ‘everything Japan’, Japan Travel Mate is a must-read blog.
Dean’s travels take you through the different destinations including Osaka, Fukuoka, Shiga, Shikoku, Tokyo, Nagano, Kyoto, Hakone, Toyota, Okayama, Nagoya and Wakayama. Take a look through his detailed destination guides or read his invaluable travel tips for first-timers. If you’re more of a photo-blog fan, you won’t be disappointed either because Dean has a specialist section dedicated to beautiful, well-shot imagery.
ASIA FOOD BLOGGERS
10). Eating Asia
For those who have been lucky enough to experience Asia first-hand, you’ll know that food is one of the most important and wonderful aspects of your travel. Asia’s food is incredible and this fantastic blog by Robyn Eckhardt is an ode to its complex flavours and inspired ingredients. Eight years ago, Robyn abandoned a paper on politics to follow her dreams in food writing – and as readers, we are forever thankful. Her expert blog explores food across this vast continent, from Western Asia (Istanbul) to South East Asia (Thailand and Cambodia), and each post takes you through such an interesting journey. Read Robyn’s blog and you’ll feel as though you’re travelling and eating with her.
11). Sticky Rice
The Sticky Rice website is a mouth-watering account of everything edible in Vietnam. This Hanoi food guide delivers the latest food news and provides the reader with restaurant reviews from Hanoi and beyond. You’ll find everything from hidden Vietnamese gems and fine dining to serious gastronomic revelations. But what we really admire about Sticky Rice is the intimate relationship with street vendors, the way they prepare and cook food, and the aromatic flavours that seem to jump off the page.
From images of delicious noodle dishes sitting seductively on a wooden bench to a close-up of the grubby stools where locals sit down to eat every day, blogger Mark Lowerson truly captures both food and life (aren’t they the same thing?) in Vietnam.
12). I Eat, I Shoot, I Post
The self-explanatory titles says it. Perhaps an introduction is not needed. But we can’t let this amazing food blog slip through the net without letting you know why we love it so much. As soon as you visit Dr. Leslie Tay’s website, you’ll be in agreement. We’re unsure of his photography background but what we do know is that every time we look at one of his food photos, we’re drooling in food lust.
It’s rare to find a blog dedicated just to Singapore and as one of our most desirable destinations here at Ampersand, we just had to bring this blog to light for those who don’t already follow. Dr. Leslie Tay’s photographs make every single dish look lip-smackingly delicious and his friendly nature makes you want to become his friend. Thanks Dr. Tay for your great work – we can’t wait to see more from you in 2017!
Mark Wiens is both an author and video producer. But first and foremost he introduces himself as an “eater”. His entire website is created for people who love to eat and travel so foodies will find his blog to be completely compelling. Mark’s philosophy is that food brings people together; no matter what country you’re in, what language you speak, food is what connects us all. Having travelled to all corners of Asia, readers can find wonderful food/travel accounts from China, Cambodia, Burma, Bangladesh, India, Japan, Nepal, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.
Whether you follow his blog religiously or just pick out a few essential posts to whet your appetite (such as ‘100 Thai Dishes to Try in Bangkok’ or ‘20 Scrumptious Burmese Foods’), Migrationology is truly the ultimate guide to eating in Asia.
14). Two Green Backpacks
If budget travel interests you, follow the adventures of Lionel and Emma, two backpackers who have been travelling the world on a budget for around nine years. The care-free duo, Lionel from Switzerland and Emma from Melbourne, both quit their jobs, sold their stuff, and changed their lives for the better and have been nomadic writers ever since.
Their story is inspiring because it tells their account from the start, when they started saving money for their travels, stopped buying new clothes and scraped back every penny they had so they could finally buy their one way ticket to Asia. And now here they are, enjoying life in a new world and sharing every moment with us through their blog.
15). The Poor Traveler
Covering Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Macau, South Korea, Indonesia and Japan, bloggers Yoshke Dimen and Vins Carlos share their experiences with both honesty and humour. These online travel writers are the first to admit that nothing goes right when they’re involved. Their first trip together resulted in them becoming stranded at a deserted wharf, and their second trip involved a boat crash. But despite things never going to plan, the two friends continued to pursue their dreams of travelling around the world.
Both broke and stuck at the bottom of the corporate ladder, Yoshke and Vins (who were also housemates at the time) knew it was time for a change. And they haven’t looked back since.
If you want more than just a travel guide – if you want a blog which also gives you a story, and also a few giggles along the way, be sure to visit thepoortraveler.net.