The jet from Pnompenh to Bangkok was filled with as diverse a collection of Eastern and Western costumes and faces as a Singapore bazaar on a Saturday afternoon. The stewardess, her eyes the color of her Dior-blue Air France uniform, directed her special attention to the French priest who sat on the aisle beside me. "Mais, mon P√®re" she said, "vous devriez passer une journée √† Bangkok—c'est la Venise de l'Orient." In the strangeness of the East, the Western traveler looks constantly for the touchstone from the West.
The evening before, I sat on the edge of the terrace that surrounds the moat of Angkor Wat. The twilight glow painted dusty pink the pinecone-shaped towers of the ancient temple of the Khmers. From the DC-3 it had seemed a grand sand castle, beginning to crumble in a wave edge of jungle. A group of young monks came down the sandstone steps to the causeway, the crocus of their robes vivid in the fading light. An elephant and its mahout splashed and bathed in the cool waters, swallows skimmed over the lotus-filled pool, and a parrot shrieked in the banyan tree overhead.
The pleasures I took in that moment, 10,000 miles from home in the remoteness of the Cambodian jungle, were enhanced, not diminished, by the knowledge that across the road behind me lay the comforts of the Auberge des Temples. Its gravel drive, clipped lawns, bright mimosas and jalousied windows might have been transported intact from Juan-les-Pins. I would soon join the charming manager of the Auberge, Mme. Villet, for a Martini in its serene, tile-floored bar. And at dinner I would have a steak au poivre—the poivre the fresh, soft pepper of Cambodia—and a demi-Beaujolais.
In Bangkok I hired a canal taxi to take me up the murky klong (turn right at the Temple of the Dawn) to breakfast at Ethan Emery's place. Emery came out to Thailand to collect otters, leopards, scaly anteaters and slow lorises for the Cincinnati zoo three years ago after graduating from Harvard. He has stayed to open a restaurant beside one of the canals that form the streets of much of Bangkok. The restaurant is open from 7:30 to 10 in the mornings. Before you round the bend in the klong, you hear the hollow, mellow percussions of the gamelan orchestra, meant to lure tourists returning in water buses from the floating markets of Bangkok. On the teak deck of the restaurant, breakfast starts with "the best Bloody Mary in the South Pacific." On a buffet under fly-screening pyramids of wire mesh are mounds of fruit—mangosteens, pomelos, rambutans and papayas—which, for Bangkok, are not such exotic fare as the scrambled eggs, Danish bacon, toast and coffee that follow.
There is no place in Asia that does not have a Western veneer—no place, at least, at which a tourist is likely to call. The British and the French colonists brought such necessities as good whisky and Cognac, roast beef and soufflés, horse racing and Gauloises. They have been assimilated—as readily and as thoroughly as the Raffles Hotel and the garden-city planning of Saigon and Pnompenh—into the character of the East that Kipling and Maugham romanticized.
However, in the matter of changing the face of Asia, the European colonials were only tinkers compared to the master mechanics of American tourism. The Americans may not stay as long, but they come in such numbers (200,000 this year) and leave so much money behind ($120 million this year) that the Orient is transforming itself to please them. The new Hongkong Hilton, tallest tower of steel and glass in the East, rising behind the Victorian Hong Kong Club, has outfitted a crew of ricksha boys in yellow mess jackets with the double H of its monogram in bold black on the back. They cart you to the Star Ferry free of charge. Across the way, in Kowloon tailor shops, catalogs from Brooks Brothers and Rogers Peet are offered to help the customer select the style of his suit. In Hakone beneath the cone of Fuji, Japan's first motor inn, the Ashinoko, overlooks a rolling golf course. Add a cactus or two and you could not tell it from Scottsdale. Even the futon bed on the floors of Japanese inns has been made extra-thick and extra-long, as comfortable as a Beautyrest; and there is a TV set, and often a telephone as well, in a wall niche alongside the painted scroll.
"The Orient without tears," one traveler called it as he gazed through the canted glass windows from the stage-set bar on the roof of the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong. Every new hotel in the East has its version of the Top of the Mark. Few have such a spectacular view as that of Hong Kong harbor. At night, when the fleet is in, the carriers light up like ornamental trees. Unblinking neon paves the water purple and pink, proclaiming HITACHI, SONY, FIAT and, with unconscious poetic aptness, the name of Hong Kong's largest Chinese life insurance society, WING ON LIFE.
Of course, that Orient-without-tears philosophy can and does go too far. Admittedly, it is difficult to get about in a land where the taxi driver does not speak English and the streets have no names—in Tokyo to this day there are taxi drivers who have never heard of the Imperial Hotel. But the fiction that it is impossible to travel without an English-speaking guide in a big American car is a deception perpetrated by the tour agencies of the East. Shed a big tear for the travelers who allow themselves to be shipped, like so much cauliflower under Pliofilm, from airport to air-conditioned hotel room, from sightseeing bus to nightclub; from homogenized restaurant to airport again, and on to the next capital. The tourist returns from that sort of expensive journey with little more to show for going halfway round the world than a copy of a Savile Row suit—or a beaded sweater to wow the girls at the bridge club—and a collection of slides to show where he went, often taken by someone else and purchased in the lobby of a hotel that looks comfortably like the lobby of a hundred hotels back home.
But for the traveler with enough adventure in his makeup to go guideless through the noisy bazaars of the East; to eat the salty coral of sea urchin, or the smoky pine mushroom, grilled on the blade of a hoe; to walk the long beaches of the Philippines in search of the tiger cowrie and the red moon shell—the Orient is today the most satisfying journey of all. Its diversities, entertainments and charms are indicated on the maps of southeast Asia and Japan on the next three pages. These are supplemented, beginning on page 91, with country-by-country travel facts designed to make a free and independent traveler of the most timid visitor to the not-so-inscrutable East.
AN OLYMPIC-YEAR GUIDE TO THE BEST OF THE ORIENT
It has become surprisingly easy to tour most of the lands pictured on the maps on the preceding pages. Each week 37 scheduled airline jets make the trans-ocean trip (average time Los Angeles to Tokyo, with a stop in Honolulu, 14½ hours). For travelers with the luxury of time, an ocean liner leaves the West Coast every week bound for the Orient. And for those who like both modes of travel, airline and steamship companies sell air-sea combinations so one can fly partway, then ease off with, say, a three-day cruise across the South China Sea or the Gulf of Siam. Whichever way you go, there is a special savor in hitting Bangkok first and working north to Japan, where fall will bring the opening of the Olympic Games. While getting to Japan is easy, getting to the Olympics in Tokyo is becoming more difficult by the minute. All Tokyo hotels are solidly booked, and it is necessary to have confirmed room space before you can buy tickets to the Games. The situation, however, is far from hopeless. American Express, the U.S. agent for Olympic tickets, has blocks of them on hand. As for a room, if your travel agent has no space laid by (but most that book Oriental travel do), there are other ways.
Lufthansa has a round-the-world Olympic Tour, via Europe, leaving New York Sept. 2 and stopping in Tokyo from Oct. 10 to 24. The cost, including hotels and tickets to track, field and swimming events, is $2,503. Pan Am and Japan Air Lines are planning special tours as well. P&O Orient Lines' Iberia leaves San Francisco Sept. 25, docks in Yokohama Oct. 9 to 13 and goes on to Hong Kong. After one day there, those so inclined can board another P&O liner, the Oronsay, and return to Yokohama from Oct. 22 to 25 for the last days of the Games.
Finally, the Japanese have established an Olympics Housing Office (write Tokyo Olympics Housing Office: 5, 3-chome, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo). The OHO has a listing of 1,500 beds in 800 private homes in Tokyo, all with westernized plumbing. The price is $5 per night, including an American breakfast. There are 3,900 more rooms put aside in Japanese inns in Hakone and in Atami, the seaside spa—both about 70 miles south of Tokyo. Charge is from $12.50 to $15 per day for two with bath. Transportation from these inns to the Games will be quick: in October the world's fastest train will start its run from Osaka to Tokyo—via Odawara, Hakone's station—at 125 mph.
The fascinations of Japan, suggested by the map at left, are not quickly apparent. Tokyo is not only the world's largest and ugliest city but also the most difficult in which to navigate. There are no street names or numbers. Bewildered, many tourists throw themselves on the mercy of one of the enormous tour agencies, which seem, at first glance, to be the only means of getting about. There is not a corner of Japan that has not been fitted into a package tour: Tokyo by Night, the Tokaido Highway, the Ise Shrine, the Inland Sea, Kyoto, Nara, the Pearl Islands, the Fuji Lakes, Shogunate Nikko. By all means look into the tours—even use them: the Tokyo by Night tour is the only reasonable way of sampling the otherwise expensive splendors of Tokyo nightclub life. But hear this: group touring in Japan was set up for the retired bankers and schoolteachers who were the pioneer American tourists to the Orient. The Japanese tourist business has not yet recognized the arrival of the younger, more adventurous travelers, willing to take the pleasures of discovery along with the knocks of getting lost. Below are tips for these adventurers, to help them about Japan on their own.
You should remember to carry the card of your hotel whenever you go out, so that a taxi can get you back. Have the hotel desk write, in Japanese, the whereabouts of the places you want to go during the day, and give these to your taxi driver.
There are 25,000 bars in Tokyo, most of them no bigger than a Manhattan kitchenette. Best bets when barhopping are the bars that belong to the Suntory whisky chain. The best-looking women in Japan are the hostesses at the expensive nightclubs. As a result, American women often feel that Tokyo at night is for men. (No Japanese wife goes out with the boys.) However, wives are welcome—whether they feel it or not.
Dr. Yoshio Hiyama once described the Japanese as being like seabirds that live on a rock, eat fish and propagate. Fish they do eat—and they serve it in ways that may seem either wonderful or very strange indeed. The true adventurer will delight in sushi—thin slices of uncooked tuna or bonito on a mound of vinegared rice, the whole dipped in soy, chased with a thimble of sake. In addition to sukiyaki and tempura, the average American's idea of palatable Japanese food, there are many other foods Westerners will like. The beef that comes from the area around Kobe, often called the best in the world, is the specialty of steak houses like Misono. Kobe steaks, cut in bite-size chunks, are broiled in front of you on a grill, along with baby onions and bean sprouts, and are eaten with chopsticks.
Like the French, the Japanese want to "taste" the season. In the winter this means the extraordinary strawberries that grow on terraces facing the sun above the sea in Atami. In the fall it means the matsutake, the wild pine mushroom. These appear in soups, with tempura, and especially as companions to game—pheasant cooked in hot sake, venison grilled over an open charcoal pit in such restaurants in Tokyo as Akahane and Takamura.
Tokyo is the greatest bazaar in the Orient. To get an idea of what is available, and at what price, tour Takashimaya Department Store. Then you will have a basis for comparison in the arcades all over Japan.
Despite the sense of excitement in Tokyo, the best way to enjoy Japan is to get out of the city. Train travel is superb. For the sports-minded, Fuji-Hakone is first choice in almost any season—and absolutely incomparable in fall. There are golf courses; there is water skiing on Lake Ashi; there are hikes through maple and bamboo groves; there is fishing in lakes and streams, particularly for trout and black bass. There are health spas of all sorts. And most of all, there is Fuji. Stay either at the Fujiya in Miyanoshita or in one of the beautiful inns. A tip on inns—carry a small English-Japanese dictionary. A tip on baths—in the country, bathing is often mixed. No one stares. The G.I.s stared in Tokyo, and baths in Tokyo are no longer mixed.
In the spring, when a million tourists crowd every shrine to see the cherry blossoms, take one of the small steamers that cruise the Inland Sea. Try to work out your itinerary so you can stop at the Tokiwa Inn in Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku. It may well be the best inn in Japan. In Beppu, on Kyushu, the spas pack you in hot sand: this treatment is supposed to cure everything, including the gloom of a gray Monday. In Kyoto, the heart of old Japan, see the shrines and go to the ancient capital of Nara. In Kyoto also shoot the rapids, an eight-mile trip down the Hozu river. For nature lovers, Nikko, two hours by train from Tokyo, is famous for its autumn leaves. It also has trout fishing and, in winter, a quiet, New England kind of charm, with ice skating and sledding.
Hong Kong's reputation as a Korvette-by-the-Sea has done as much to lure Americans across the Pacific as has the jet. But the prosperity brought to duty-free Hong Kong by bargain hunters has placed the city in a dilemma. Prices are going up. Pearls and cameras, cashmeres and custom tailoring are still extraordinary buys—if you know what you are doing. Do not buy anything that could possibly have been exported by Communist China (presumptive merchandise it is called, and it is illegal to bring it back to the U.S.) unless the shops can give you a Comprehensive Certificate of Origin. Be prepared to go through the toughest customs in the U.S. if you return through Honolulu.
The most important change in Hong Kong this year has been caused by the opening of the Hilton and the Mandarin hotels on the island side of Hong Kong harbor. There is nothing wrong with the brand-new President, and such other hotels on the mainland—or Kowloon—part of the Colony as the Ambassador, the Park and the Miramar. The splendid old Peninsula, with two of the best restaurants in the Colony—Gaddi's and the Marco Polo—is even more splendid with newly decorated bedrooms. But to seasoned Hong Kong hands, the island, center of government and business, is the best side—truly Hong Kong. Both the Hilton and the Mandarin have spectacular roof dining rooms. The Hilton also has a fine swimming pool—most welcome after a day around the dusty, crowded streets. Furthermore, the Hilton's Den, the most popular new bo√Æte in the Colony, features a swinging Italian trio and waitresses in the snuggest-fitting cheongsams in town.
No matter how cozy you feel in these American-style hotels, try to rouse yourself at least once a day to eat out. Hong Kong has marvelous Chinese food, in varieties never dreamed of by the Chinatown gourmet. One gets a good introduction to this variety in the "walking cafeterias"—the Sky Room, and the Cafe de Chine. Girls parade by with trays of food—as many as 80 different dishes. Lunch for two, with beer, will not exceed $4. Every great dish from the varied cuisines of mainland China can be found in Hong Kong. For Peking duck or green cabbage with chicken sauce, go to the Peking. For cold chicken in peanut and sesame sauce and other Shanghai delights, there is Ivy's. For hot pot and grilled Mongolian barbecue, the Pak Lai Shun. This is in the Suzie Wong, sailor-bar part of town. The food is hot—best in the winter. For beggar's chicken—wrapped in lotus leaves, then baked in mud that has to be cracked with a hammer—try Tien Hong Lau, on the Kowloon side. In true Chinese tradition, none of these restaurants makes any pretense of being "decorated." They are bound to be noisy too, since the contemporary Hong Kong businessman usually eats this excellent food with many tumblers of French brandy raised in toast to his guests.
Hong Kong's various clubs, aware of the importance of tourists to the Colony's well-being, have relaxed their British barriers and make visitors welcome. By applying to the Hong Kong Tourist Association, you can arrange to play tennis, bridge or golf. The Royal Hong Kong Golf Club has three courses, and a letter from your club secretary gets you in. You can be admitted to the members' enclosure at Happy Valley track: have your travel agent apply two weeks in advance of a Saturday race. However, the thing to do in Hong Kong is to get out on the water. Not even Rio has a more exciting harbor. There is a sleek junk for hire from Owner Gerald Godfrey, $28 per half day, with crew. The brigantine Wan Fu sails each day at sunset over to the fishing village of Aberdeen. Dinner at a floating Chinese restaurant, drinks and the sail cost $12. Every evening, at the jetty that forms the typhoon shelter, there are rows of sampans, decorated with twinkling lights. For $2 an hour, sampan girls will row you through the "sampan city," where, they tell you, 300,000 of Hong Kong's refugees live afloat. Finally, if you are a yachtsman with half a ton of money, buy a boat. You will save from 20% to 50% over American prices, and the duty is only 10%. American Marine makes nothing smaller than 30 feet. Cheoy Lee Shipyard sent 200 boats to the U.S. last year, motor and sail, from 25 feet to 60 feet. They also make junks—a 30-foot junk without engine costs $5,000.
Macao is a fascinating Oriental anachronism—a Portuguese colony with 17th century Portuguese architecture—only 3½ hours from Hong Kong by air-conditioned ferry or 15 minutes by seaplane. (You can pick up a Macao visa at the ferry pier for $2.) The quiet streets along the still harbor attract many Hong Kong residents on weekends. But in the evening Macao is far from quiet. It is a sort of Portuguese-Chinese Monte Carlo. There are five casinos—three for Chinese workers, two that cater to the tourist. The games at the Swimming Pool casino and the Macao Palace are roulette, fan-tan, black jack, boule and craps. There are several small, good hotels: the Bela Vista, the Vila Tai Yip and the Macao Inn. The food is good—a mixture of Portuguese and Chinese—and also the least expensive in the East. At the Macao Inn a Portuguese version of bouillabaisse costs 36¢. At Long Kei a lunch of fried rice birds, frogs' legs with vegetables, crab with black bean sauce, and chicken liver soup, a cocktail and beer costs $1.50 per person.
Most planned-travel itineraries read Bangkok-Hong Kong-Tokyo; the Philippines are off the mainline of Pacific touring, but Manila is only two and a quarter hours from Hong Kong by air, a pleasant two nights and a day on an American President liner. The old Manila Hotel is an "I shall return" period piece, part and parcel of the World War II nostalgia that hangs over the city. One of Manila's principal sightseeing destinations is the shell-scarred cave on Corregidor. And if you ever wondered what became of the wartime big band, it is here, holding forth in a dozen spectacular nightclubs along Roxas Boulevard, playing Artie Shaw one minute, cha-cha-cha the next. There are bevies of hostesses—in wartime they were called B-girls—available for dancing and conversation for $2.50 an hour. There is, moreover, a disarming notice at the entrance to all Philippine drinking places: "Please check your firearms at the door."
The most interesting nightspot in town is the Sky Room, atop the jai alai fronton. Your waiter places your bets. Food in the Philippines is a mixture of Spanish and Igorot. One specialty is suckling pig, stuffed with tamarind leaves and roasted on a spit. Another is lapu-lapu escabeche, a fried fish with sweet and sour sauce. Native San Miguel beer is a perfect accompaniment.
But the real lure of traveling to the Philippines lies in the immediate future. For with proper development, the Philippines could surpass even Hawaii as a sportsman's paradise. Already there are excellent golf courses in Manila and in Baguio, a mountain resort. In the rice fields outside Manila there is a tremendous variety of fowl and game: snipe, dove, duck and partridge, all with liberal limits and seasons. Wild pigs are everywhere. The crocodile and the cimarron, a wild bull, are special quarry. In the waters around the 7,000 islands there are wahoo, yellowfin tuna, barracuda, sail-fish, marlin and dolphin. The only thing lacking is a charter-boat fleet. The Manila Yacht Club, not yet abused by floods of tourist requests, is very cooperative about taking visitors out.
One new development could set an example for future investors: the Davao Insular Hotel, on the island of Mindanao, has beaches, golf, tennis, snorkeling, water skiing, sailing and two charter fishing boats. It is the best-equipped resort in the Philippines for handling the visitor who would rather come to the islands for their superb sport than for wartime memories.
It is not easy to fit Pnompenh, capital of Cambodia, into the schedule of an Oriental trip. Only a few flights a week go to Pnompenh from Bangkok, Hong Kong or Singapore. It is even more difficult to plan a trip up to Siem Reap, the site of the ruins of Angkor—a lone DC-3 flies there. However, the extra effort is definitely worthwhile if the current political situation does not interfere with visas. Pnompenh looks like a town in the south of France, but one that has experienced an Oriental mutation. Stay at the Royal, which has a swimming pool, air conditioning—and the hardest hotel bed you ever slept on. Eat at Bar Jean, a true bistro. But the real reason for coming to Cambodia is to visit Angkor and see the Khmertemples, which were a bandoned to the jungle 500 years ago. Be sure to allow enough time to study the ruins. One night is not enough—two are. Do not miss Angkor Thom, with its giant human faces, as well as Angkor Wat. Ta Prohm is left as it was found, its tumbling stones held together by the entwining roots of banyan trees. While at Angkor, stay at the Auberge des Temples. It has just been enlarged from 40 to 75 rooms to house the cast of Lord Jim, which will be filmed there this winter.
Twenty-two airlines fly into Bangkok, third most popular city for Oriental tourists (after Tokyo and Hong Kong). A visitor's first reaction is likely to be, "Why did I bother?" The streets are an unbelievable jam, and the humidity could be squeezed out of the air with your bare fist. However, once ensconced in the air-conditioned comfort of the Erawan, with its pool, its good bar, its fine restaurants (La Cave is one of the best European-style restaurants east of Suez), things look up considerably. And once you view the temple and palace complexes, the dusty road you traveled from the airport seems almost like the yellow brick road to Oz. The shopping is first-rate. Not only is there Jim Thompson's, with his world-famous Thai silk—at $4 per yard or so, about one-quarter Stateside prices—but now a new establishment called Design Thai. For this unusual store Jacqueline Ayer, an American, has used Thompson's beautiful silks and designed blouses, dresses, skirts, coats and suits to American taste and sizes. Shifts are $30, sleeveless blouses $12, a three-piece Thai silk suit, $70.
Shoppers with a taste for the Oriental can find bronze Buddha heads, torsos and hands, gold-leaf carvings of temple angels, elephant howdahs that turn into love seats and early Thai porcelain bowls and plates.
Thai food is so hot that most tourists are afraid to try it. At the Salinee, the use of the prik-kee-noo, the Thai chili, is modified for the foreign palate. The prix fixe menu—$6 for dinner for two with drinks—includes satay (small pieces of chicken dipped in coconut and grilled on bamboo shoots), kang kai (curried chicken and coconut served in a coconut shell), mee krob (fried rice noodles), fried prawns, and a frozen dessert of coconut milk, egg and sugar. There is much talk at cocktail parties in Thailand about tiger shooting, but it would take a visitor at least six weeks to get a gun permit—or his own gun out of customs—even if permits to shoot tiger were being given at the time. A tourist would have no difficulty getting a guest card to the Bangkok Sports Club (see page 78). The Gulf of Siam is rumored to be filled with game fish, but there is no boat equipped to take one out. You can, however, skin-dive around the reefs at Pataya, two hours south of Bangkok.
Kuala Lumpur, hub of the new Federation of Malaysia, is a prosperous, flower-filled city with architecture that is a mixture of Victorian Exposition and Arabian Nights mosque. The city's chief fascination is the entrep√¥t character it shares with Singapore. Englishmen play cricket on the lawn in front of the Selangor Club. Sikhs in turbans and Malay boys in sarongs watch from the sideline. The Merlin is a pleasant hotel, air-conditioned, with no charge for laundry or shoeshines. The best Chinese food is at Kum Leng, best Indian at Bilal. The most interesting way to eat Malay food is to go to the Saturday night market on Campbell Road, where satay—bamboo skewers of chicken, beef and mutton, dipped in coconut and cooked over charcoal braziers—cost 5¢ each. You can easily get a visitor's card to play golf in Kuala Lumpur at the Selanger Golf Club courses (SI, Nov. 25). Or better yet, play a cooler game at Cameron Highlands, a hill station that the British colonials turned into a fair replica of Scotland. There are two 18-hole courses. Stay at the Smoke House Inn.
Penang, a two-hour flight from K.L., is called "idyllic" in Malay guide books. Not true, but it is interesting—a kind of miniature Hong Kong, a Chinese-populated free-port island a short ferry ride from the mainland. The beaches are pretty enough, the swimming excellent, but the facilities are a bit Spartan. Shopping is cheap and good, but if you have been to Hong Kong, or are going to Singapore, skip Penang.
Unlike Thailand, Malaya welcomes hunters, and game wardens will arrange both guides and dogs at little or no charge. Customs clearance and firearm licenses can be obtained in one day. No license is required to shoot leopard, wild pig or panther. A permit, good for 30 days, for elephant, tiger and seladang, a wild buffalo, is $30 per head. Safari in Malaya is nothing like Africa—you are in the world's thickest rain forests, and quarry is seldom seen at more than 30 yards.
Singapore, largest city in the new Malaysia, sits, steaming, 77 miles north of the equator. Except to dedicated Maughamists, it is not a first-rate tourist town. There is very little to see, and most sport is strictly behind the enclosures of British clubs that do not welcome foreigners unless they are well connected and introduced. The Raffles Hotel remains one of Singapore's star attractions. Its bedrooms are the size of billiard parlors and just as well decorated. The air conditioning, circa 1937, is a bigger threat to health than the tap water. But Raffles is Raffles. At its Elizabethan Grill, have the Australian rock oysters and krau, a grilled Singapore fish. The Singapura, just opened, is a first-class modern hotel. The Cockpit is the favorite of foreign correspondents, small but comfortable, with an excellent restaurant. And this is only one of a host of fine eating places, for Singapore's greatest virtue is its food, particularly the Chinese cooking, which is almost the equal of Hong Kong's. The Shanghai and the Mui Lam are both excellent restaurants. Shopping may be less expensive than in Hong Kong, but the service and the variety are not as good. One thing special is Javanese batik, in sarong lengths.
AND THE REST
Zooming inflation and the discomfort and chaos of its travel facilities make Indonesia—Java, Sumatra, Bali, the Celebes and Borneo—a place to pass up for now. Taiwan is dull except for superb food—which is equaled by Hong Kong—and its mountains and lakes, which are surpassed by Japan. Burma's Shwe Dagon, covered with gold, is one of the largest Buddhist shrines in the world, but Burma is not issuing visas to U.S. tourists at present. There is no reason for the traveler to visit Brunei, either, or Sarawak or North Borneo. Laos and Vietnam—not now. But Vietnam—definitely—later. For when things settle down, Saigon is one of the most charming cities in the Orient. Korea has glorious scenery but is not well equipped for tourism yet; however, you can catch a whale there—whale-boat charter is $150 a day.
One last point: a round-the-world tourist-class air ticket costs $1,263, only $35 more than a New York-to-Bangkok round-trip ticket. So if you are planning to go as far as Bangkok, you may as well have the fun of going all the way around.
GULF OF SIAM
EAST CHINA SEA
SOUTH CHINA SEA
SEA OF JAPAN