June 15 - July 9, 2011

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This summer (June 2011) Kelly and I took a 24-day trip to the Indochina region of Asia. Indochina was part of the Former French empire (before they adopted their national policy of surrendering at the first sign of trouble). It consisted of the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Malaysia. The French thought the peoople looked like a cross between Indonesians and Chinese, so they named the region Indochina.

We visted only Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand although we were right on the border of the Golden Triangle where we could see Laos and Myanmar. Myanmar used to be Burma as I learned it in grade school. The name was changed in order to promote unity since the Burmans are only one of 40 or so ethnic people there.

Indochina Tour Map:

The map below shows the route we covered. Red dotted lines are the six flights we took in the region.

The Beers of Indochina:

OK, enough boring stuff. First order of business is to sample the local brews. The first one we tried was Bia Ha noi, which loosely translates to Yarky Budweiser Clone. It pretty much went down hill from there. The Asians may be good at making cars, electronics, textiles, and food, but they suck at making beer. Every one of these was of the quality level of Bud, Old Milwaukee, Pabst Blue Ribbon, or Miller Light.

We even tried a Thai wine in Chiang Mai, which was the best area we found for food. The very upscale restaurant we ate at offered a locally produced Syrah, which tasted like a really bad Merlot. --- Yeah, I know. Bad Merlot is redundant.

There was one very notable exception. Angkor Extra Stout was a very full bodied yet smooth and delicious stout beer from Cambodia. It went down very easy after touring Angkor Wat all day long in the 95F heat. Unfortunately, Cambodia was the only place we could find it.

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