The New Reform Club Gazette
Interview of Bernhard Heiser (October 2004)

Why this passion for Indochina ? 

I think it all began with my first trip to Lao, when I felt like traveling at least 50 years back in time. I really love thist combination of laid back atmosphere, nice and helpful people, good food, great music and fascinating landscapes. Itís also the tranquility of Buddhism that adds to this special feeling, people are very much influenced by religion in their daily lifes. Last but not least history and politics of the whole region are very interesting. Just think of the cruel Khmer Rouge regime and what they made of Cambodia. Or the millions of bombs that went down on Laos during the Vietnam war, many of them still unexploded. There is a special mystic surrounding the Golden Triangle with its druglords and opium villages. On my last trip through Burma I heard again many of these interesting and sometimes sad stories that you just canít read in the newspapers from people who had a remarkable past and witnessed things by themselves.

What is ? What was your target when you have launched this website ? is a personal website about my trips, my impressions. I want to show how I have seen things and offer practical advice for other travelers. The internet is about giving and taking information, I just want to participate in that. People email me from all over the world and I have had many interesting contacts through my website. 

You comment every photo. Whatís the role of a text when associated to a photo ? 

Originally I wrote a travelogue (about my first Lao trip) and added some pictures. On my Cambodia and Burma Pages I did it the other way round. First the photos, then I added the description. Thatís completely different. However, I wanted to create something like a continuous story, so I wrote about the part of my trip related to each photo. When I visit other travel sites, I always find out that text is more important than photos. Good photos are great, but they cannot tell the whole story on their own. 

Have you already sold some pictures thanks to your site ? 

Yes. I sell my photos to magazines, airlines, travel companies and everyone else who just likes my photos. Someone referring to this interview will of course get a special discount :) 

Which of the five presented countries (Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos & Thailand) is for you the most interesting to visit ? 

Thatís really hard to say, as each county offers itís own kind of adventure...Thailand is of course the most developped country, coming back there is always like a little cultural shock for me. But there are still many places in Thailand that are worth going to. 

No travel planned in Vietnam ? 

No, I think thatís too late and there is already too much tourism there. Maybe I will visit Vietnam soon when I come back from my planned trip to South China. I think the area around Hanoi is really beautiful. I also want to visit the Mekong delta, I really love that river.
0ctober 2004


Laos, 1999: Rice paddies near Muang Sing. 

Cambodia, 1999: Little houseboats and fishing boats in the warm evening sun.

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