Visits Before 1999
Our website covers our travels, and travels in Asia, after 1999. Those travels have all been in East Asia, or colloquially, the Far East, or the Orient. That means, going west-to-east, and south to north, that since 1999 we've visited Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and China. We've also been in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
We haven't covered pre-1999 visits here because initially our site was a "current affairs" travelog. Now, while it seems a good idea to add something, we haven't done it yet because we don't have any photographs available of our previous trips (what there is, is analog film rather than digital and stored away in New Jersey) and, most importantly, we are stretched in just writing up our post 1999 travels.
But what have we seen in other Asian countries?
Our first visits to Asia were to Israel (yes, its in Asia, far west Asia). Gerry made a trip to Israel in April, 1973 and Jan separately visited in July, 1973 and July 1976. Since that time we've visited together in 1985 and (described in this site) in 2002. Gerry's first trip included a night at Sharm-El-Sheik, then in Israeli possession and now an undisputed part of Egypt.
In September, 1975 we moved to Tehran and lived there for two years. We drove there from Europe, passing through Turkey and getting a good, but not deep taste of it. While living in Tehran we travelled all over the country and saw all the main sites, including Isfahan, Hamadan, Persepolis, Shiraz, Kerman, Bam, the Elborz, the Caspian, and many other areas. From the border of Iran we did look at (without entering) Iraq and, at another time, did the same for Turkmenistan, then part of the USSR.
In November, 1977 we left Iran and started a seven month trip that took us to south central and then east Asia. From Iran we flew to Afghanistan and then went overland through the Khyber Pass to Pakistan and continued east overland to India. There we spent three months, making long excursions to Sri Lanka and Nepal. We made our second visit to India in 1981 when we made a stop in New Delhi on our way to Hong Kong and in 2001 we made an overnight stop in Sri Lanka while flying from Bangkok to London.
We ended 1977 in India and from India in 1978 we flew to Burma where we spent a week. We thought we'd taken a time machine when we got there. Then we went to Thailand, seeing primarily Bangkok and Chiang Mai. We returned to Thailand for extensive visits in 2000, 2001, and 2006. Thirty years had made major changes to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. In 2006 we made a day trip across the border from Thailand to Burma. From what we saw we think that Burma also brought itself into the 20th century. (Of course the rest of the world has gone on to the 21st century.)
In 1978 from Bangkok we flew to Hong Kong. The times were such that we couldn't visit Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia; our plane even had to fly around them instead of over them. We finally got to Vietnam in 2000 and returned in 2001 when we also visited Laos and Cambodia. We saw a great deal of Hong Kong in ten days, but of course, not all. China was also closed to most tourists so we went to the border and looked over at Shenzhen, which was all farms. In 2000 we spent nearly six months living in hotel rooms in Shenzhen, which had grown from next to nothing to a city of four million.
Still refering to our 1978 trip, from one "other China" (Hong Kong) we went on to the true "other China", Taiwan, and took buses through the north half of the island. Then we flew to Korea and, also by bus, saw a good part of that country. Our last Asian stop on this trip was to Japan and we saw the major sites, including Tokyo and Kyoto,
After an absense of three years, in 1981 we moved to Hong Kong and lived there for four years. With that as a base we made two trips to China, totaling about four weeks, and two trips to the Phillipines. These were true vacation trips, in that they were breaks from our work in Hong Kong. (A longer break in the summer of 1983 took us around the world with stops in Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand, and a very brief landing and take-off in New Guinea. None of these, of course, are in Asia, but they are closer to Asia than any other continent, so we mention them here.)
In 1984, from Hong Kong we made a two week vacation trip to Japan. That doubled our time in Japan and doubled the places we visted. This time we went farther south, including to Hiroshima and the southern island, Kyushu. Our residence in Hong Kong ended in 1985. In the summer of 1986 Jan was offered a consulting job in Tokyo and went there, staying for two months — much longer than expected.
After we left Hong Kong in September, 1985 we made a short visit to Singapore and then went on to Egypt. Egypt is mostly in Africa, but since Asia has to start someplace, we can say that it starts on the east side of the Suez Canal. We crossed the canal and visited the Sinai. After Sinai we crossed into Israel at Elat And that, in December, 1985, was our last presence in any part of Asia until 1999.
What countries and territories haven't we visited in Asia? The list is long: Mongolia, North Korea, Brunei, Bhutan, Tibet, and Bangla Desh, We haven't been to any part of Central Asia: Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, nor Turkmenistan. We haven't been to their large northern neighbor, Siberia, which, while part of Russia (which we have visited) is definitely part of Asia. And,while we've been to Asian Egypt and to Israel, we haven't been to any other part of the Arab Pennisula: We've so far missed Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Yemen and Oman, We did fly over Oman and Saudi Arabia and spent six or so hours at the Abu Dahbi airport but those hardly count as visits.