A Beer and a view: Celebrating independent travel experiences

Going through my online photo albums, I am stunned by how many pictures feature cans or bottles of beer. I reflect on it and come up with two possible explanations:

One – I am an alcoholic, or, more properly, a beer-a-holic.

Two – Solo travel makes you tired of selfies and anxious to find photo companions, and booze is always ready to hand to fill in the void.

True as one and two may sound, there’s also three. There is just so much to celebrate during independent travel.

Take the featured image of this post, for instance. I remember that drink vividly. My first cold San Miguel after recovering from a ghastly food poisoning in Dumaguete, Philippines. I was in Siquijor, which I didn’t love as much as I thought I would, but still liked the vibe and the colour of the sea in Salagdoong beach. It felt truly great to be back in travel shape as I zipped on my scooter from beach to beach!

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There are of course shots of memorable bars and cafes. Sipping wonderful Beer Lao with my friend Ek at Utopia bar in Luang Prabang after a rewarding day of temple-hopping with plentiful views over the Mekong.

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Great beer and great views at Cafe Utopia, Luang Prabang

And, more recently, Three Sixty Bar in Koh Phangan, Thailand, where K. and I were treated to a wonderful sunset after a steep climb on our Honda Click.

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I don’t usually drink before the evening, but sometimes, you just can’t resist. Like during my first trip to Ko Samet, when I hit the whitest of sands during my intense beach-hopping trip.

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Or, a year later, again in Samet, at Ao Phrao – the only West facing beach on the island, and one that I had failed to visit the year before.

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There are also riverside views, as in Krabi town.

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Mind, you, sometimes I can take non-alcoholic views. In Koh Yao Noi, for instance,  I slowly sipped a mango juice with views as part of my recovery from a heat stroke that caught me kayaking.

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Views of Phang Nga Bay from Koh Yao Noi. Still miss them.

On the other hand, sometimes, it can get over-alcoholic. The relentless rain in El Nido in August 2018 was not fun, so some of us decided to compensate that with some Tanduay ‘n’ coke. It’s more fun in the Philippines, and Tanduay can help fuel that!

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Still in the Phils, Red Horse also turned to be a bit too boozy for me, and didn’t help digest the chicken feet and other delicacies I tried in Port Barton, Palawan – which inevitably resonated within me when, two days later, I got sick.

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Bad photo, ghastly food, unnecessary strong beer.

As you might have guessed, there are many other shots where beer accompanies food. Beer on ice to help wash down Isan fare, in Krabi or Phimai (Korat).

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Pad-mee-phimai for 30 baht and beer through a straw!

Or a large bottle of Carlsberg or Tiger in touristy yet wonderful Jalan Alor, in Kuala Lumpur.

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What can I say. Not the most profound blogging here, but definitely a post that had to be written in order to share a piece of my travels: when things go well and you just feel like kicking back, sipping your liquid fix and, well, humbly saying thanks to your God for so much beauty there and then.

So yes, here’s to an ice-cold Asian beer after a rewarding day of independent travel!

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