Travel expert shares 'amazingly bustling' experience along the Mekong River | KNKX

Travel expert shares 'amazingly bustling' experience along the Mekong River

Apr 9, 2019

In the past month, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has opened up new direct routes to destinations in Asia. The airport bills itself as being roughly equidistant between the rest of the Pacific Rim and Europe.

KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley recently returned from a visit to Cambodia and Vietnam, and told All Things Considered host Ed Ronco all about his trip down the Mekong River.

Brumley has spent decades leading tours around the world, but hasn't spent a ton of time in Southeast Asia.

“As soon as you get to the border (of Vietnam and Cambodia), you arrive in this amazingly bustling commercial place in the lower Mekong,” Brumley said.

Goods from rice to chicken and everything in between are changing hands. It smells like diesel fuel and fish, and the air is heavy with humidity.

“When you go into the village, they’re cooking everything under the sun,” Brumley added.

It’s a “shockingly different” place, he said.  

During his travels, Brumley talked to a man named Steve Grace — a 68-year-old who looks 55 and has the energy level of 22-year-old, he said. As other people his age wind down at golf courses, Grace is revving up.

“He’s passionate about the environment, he’s passionate about travel, and he’s passionate about the future of the planet,” Brumley said of Grace.

Listen to the full conversation above.

Matthew Brumley is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to destinations around the world. For five years, he hosted “Going Places,” a weekly travel segment on KNKX. From time to time, we check in with him on his travels.

The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is home to the country's king. It's housed the country's monarch almost continuously since the 1860s.
Credit Matthew Brumley