August 16 2003:

this is the 2nd time i've done this so bear with me as i lost it all before.

before last week i can honestly say the only connection i had with
thailand is the stories of my cousins arriving as refugees and their boats
being pillaged and robbed by thai pirates. crossing over into thailand
into Hat Yai, Krabi, Ko Lanta, and Khoa Sok some 9 days ago, i can almost
promise you that the thai pirates had some sort of smile on their faces
while pilligaing and robbing.

we came into krabi via minibus from penang. if there is one thing i forgot
about my last time in asia its that these minibus drivers are maniacs
while driving. swerving in and out of traffic, between lanes, these guys
want to make record time, everytime. from krabi we booked the ferry over
to ko lanta in the andaman sea. Initially i wanted an island like Ko Chang
(which overlooks BUrma) or even Ko Jum, but since its monsoon season, no
boats ( which is nothing more than a canoe with a motor) will go that way.

Ko lanta proved to be an amazing choice however as it proved to me the
closet to paradise i have ever seen. we had our own bungalow on the beach
for 200 B which is around $5 or 2.50 each, meals were amazing at $1 US and
Beer Chang is catching up to Tiger beer as the tastest beer. The water
there turns from green to blue to crystal clear, the sun set is over Ko
Phi Phi (where the beach was filmed) is a pink to blue to gold cloud
formation, a waterfall intersects the beach, bringing the sea water up to
meet the fresh water (brackish....)and the sea water feels warmer than
taking a bath. It is simply too much for any words, pictures, me telling
you to go. but if you want paradise (or the closest thing I have ever
seen, book you flight to bangkok now, take the minibus down to the west
coast, pick your island…..and worry about nothing the rest for your life.
It really kills me that there are more perfect beaches out there in the

Koah Sok was the next stop, a national park in southern thailand. the
brochure claimed there were panthers in the park and that was enough to
convince me to go. I didnt see any panthers but did manage to catch a horn
bill bird, gibbons, monkeys and elephants. what i thought ko lanta would
be (completely rustic, which it wasnt) Koah Sok was. I think for the few
days we were there there was a total combined some 4 hours of electricity.
The bungalows looked over the mountains where the clouds touch the earth.
and we went tubing (which was more like white water rafting in a tube) in
the sok river.

which brings me to where i am now. in bangkok, back in cities. Ko sanh
road, backpackers hell. the smell of exhaust is really something i could
do without, but since i'm leaving for chang mai tomorrow, i'll deal. we
have some ridiculous rate of 100 B for a sleeper bus to chang mai tomorrow
night, so if you don't hear from me in like a week or so, assume i got
jacked, my stuff got stolen, and there is a ransom for me. thats what you
get for choosing a bus for 100B to take you 1000 Kilometers.

anyhow, forgive me of the informality of this group email, i just want
everyone to know to go to thailand, swim, and soak it up. it truely is the
land of smiles.

I'm off to Chang Mai, then Cambodia (where i heard they have weapons
checks at the doors of bars much like a coat check) and then to Vietnam.
hope all is well in the states, heard about the power outages, hope it was
nothing too severe. Happy belated birthday to the queen of thailand, my
new third home.

drop me one when you get the chance.
Anyone who wants a postcard drop me your address.

anthony thanh hai chu

August 28 2003

Hello all,


From the exhausting 8 hour journey from the Poipet border (a 14 hour ride
in all) on roads of which I have never seen (all dirt, potholes the size
of cars, and generally all and all an unplesent experience) to staying
with the Death Row records of Cambodia (the Cambodian Suge Knight owned
the guesthouse we stayed at), playing a game of snooker with the owner of
our guesthouse (It was more like playing a game of Russian Roulette with
an AK-47 rather than a revolver, all thirty rounds empty), seeing one of
the wonders of the world (angkor wat and the surrounding temples are one
of the greatest things I have ever seen in my life), being dragged off
into a field (again I thought I was going to die...) just to sing karaoke
in some shack in the middle of nowhere.., to playing cards with the locals
meanwhile there was a gun at the table.
That was Siem Reap

After an exhausting 8 hour journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh that
included me sitting in the most uncomfortable position in my life (a wheel
was at my foot the whole time) to having to almost throw down with a monk
(he was dressed as one, but threatened everyone on the bus with a metal
This is Phnom Penh.

We forgot to take out enough money so we could shoot rocket launchers
(ATMs and MAC machines are not available here). We saw the S-21 prison
today (a horrific example of man's inhumanity to man).

Cambodia is quite an experience.

Hope all is well in the states, I sent some postcards, tell me if you got
some if you wanted one, and if you want one, drop me your address. We're
here in Phnom Penh for a few more days before going into Vietnam...
To those who start school in a few days, good luck.

anthony chu

September 8 2003

my vacation (in vietnam) from my vacation (in s.e. asia) from my vacation
(that is current unemployment and such..)....

its been about a week since I arrived in saigon, been six years since
doing so before. naysayers beware, if you ever hear someone say that
vietnam is too touristy (like the kid we went to burma with..) get the
hell out of the backpackers area and stop hanging out at those bars they
list in lonely planet.

basically the climax of our trip, its been nice hanging out with family,
being able to understand and speak the language, and relax in saigon. this
city still breaths the life that bangkok lacks.

in what was supposed to be the tail end of my journey is being extended.
i'm tired of pinching pennies, riding 14 hour minibuses to stay one day in
a destination, and i'm tired of not being able to soak in the life (which
is the reason i did this in the first place). so after i say bye to my
travelmate, mr. kevin hirten on the 22nd of this month, i will remain in
saigon until either mid or late october (don't really know yet.)

so thats it, just a quick update, probally the last for a long while
unless something extraordinary happens, i'm laying low though.

hit me back, sorry i've been really bad about individual repsonses, i've
been really busy recently but as i'm going up to the beach tomorrow i
should be able to find some time to hit you guys and gals back.

so drop it like its hot and write something down.

sincerely your friend or family member...
anthony thanh hai chu