Subject: Re: The travel factor and Luang Prabang
Hi Frances,

Also saw the article and was surprised that Luang Prabang was singled out, as I think it is one of the more unspoiled places in SE Asia.

For example, Angkor Wat in Cambodia is like rush hour in a big city - even to attempt to watch the sun come up, you will be accompanied by thousands (possibly tens of thousands) other visitors. Whereas in LP you can still stroll leisurely around past the saffron-robed monks, and the de-luxe resorts are well out of the city (I never even saw them).

However, I totally agree with the issue of travellers overrunning the 'jewels'.

We've even taken this into account in our travels. Realizing that Chinese tourism (that is FROM China) was growing to astounding numbers, we have concentrated on visiting all our SE Asia dsesires in the last 5 years. We were already on an assembly line at Angkor (as mentioned) but still enjoyed most other places. And, indeed, we expect the Chinese tourists to start with places where they can speak the language (at least in part), so, at the risk of worsening this, urge Ziners who want to visit Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore (etc) to do this sooner rather than later.

Tourism within China, is already booming - on a recent visit to Shanghai we were astounded at the numbers of people we encountered at ALL the places we visited. Literally hundreds of buses everywhere (specifically Hangzhou and Suzhou) and 24 hour traffic jams on the Shanghai expressways. The only notable difference we found from tourists anywhere was that the Chinese tended to be more family oriented - the travellers were family groups as well as singles or couples.

And we expect the subsequent wave of Chinese tourists to hit Japan and Australia.

And my # 1 recommendation is to visit Myanmar while you can. Still relatively unspoiled (and if you don't like the politics there (a common issue), it's far better than Cambodian politics - in Myanmar they lock up the opposition; in Cambodia they kill them - obviously not a politically correct statement but broadly true - and I don't like the politics in either place, so I'm making no attempt to justify them).

Alan & Catherine Toronto