Paul Kan’s Asia Journal

Paul Kan

Paul Kan was a financial sponsor banker in New York City for DLJ until
they were acquired and he was laid off. In March 2001, he left on a six-month journey through Asia, planning to visit China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, Bali, and Singapore. On his return he plans to work on his interest in photography, and process and post some of the hundreds of rolls of film he brought on the trip.

Paul started this travelogue as weekly email updates to his friends. Follow his journey via the links below. You can see the start of his photography web site at You can reach Paul at

Intro & Itinerary
How it all began, and where it’s all going.

Latest Articles
Nepal & Tibet, Part II (July 5-17)
The monastery seems to have given way to the marketplace, even around the mighty Potala.

Nepal & Tibet, Part III (July 5-17)
The most interesting monasteries are outside Lhasa, just beware the yak butter.

Catch Up On The Journey

Nepal & Tibet, Part I (July 5-17)
Arriving shortly after the royal family massacre, it’s only after passing an effigy that Paul feels a sense of danger.

Seoul, Korea (June 22-26)
If one city in Asia seemed distinctly more Western than other Asian cities, yet also distinctly proud of its own national heritage, it was Seoul.

Tokyo, Kyoto & Nara, Part III (June 15-21)
Understanding Japan is difficult, if not impossible for a foreigner, but despite its contradictions Paul can’t help but like the place.

Tokyo, Kyoto & Nara, Part II (June 15-21)
Kyoto feels like a laid-back college town, but it rains too hard to even run out for some grub.

Tokyo, Kyoto & Nara, Part I (June 15-21)
Need to get around Hong Kong or Tokyo airports? Paul can show you the way.

Saigon & the Mekong Delta (June 8-13)
It is all like coming home again, with familiar faces and a feeling of comfort and hospitality all around. How can he leave?

Cambodia, Part II (June 1-7)
Paul resumes his travelogue back with Cambodia, in Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat. But he can’t figure out why everyone seems so eerily nice.

New York City Interlude (Sept. 11-Oct. 25)
We haven’t heard from Paul for a while. Between illness in Asia, and returning home to NYC just before the Sept. 11 attacks, he’s been out of commission. But now it’s time to get back to writing.

Cambodia, Part I (June 1-7)
Don’t motorbike and film at the same time, especially in "chicken village".

Bangkok & Koh Chang (May 28-31)
Forget Bangkok’s sex shows – buy knock-off brand merchandise instead!

Yunnan & Guanxi, Part III (May 6-24)
Paul comments on Chinese and Asian values, how life and society change, and how Westerners should not be so quick to judge such different cultures.

Yunnan & Guanxi, Part II (May 6-24))
Courtesy abounds, new friends are made, but poverty also rears its head.

Yunnan & Guanxi, Part I (May 6-24)
Silence, order, balance; the contrast to Vietnam’s seeming bustle and disorder leaves Paul both surprised and relaxed.

Vietnam, Part II (Apr. 14-May 3)
Fifty years of warfare have not been able to steal away or destroy the beauty of Vietnam or its people.

Vietnam, Part I (Apr. 14-May 3)
Hustle and bustle abound, even before sunrise.

Beijing & Shanghai (Apr. 5-13)
This tale of two cities is a study of contrasts, especially when it comes to grub. But where Beijing disappoints, Shanghai picks up the slack.

Bali (Mar. 29-Apr. 4)
Frustrating at first, but as Paul settles in he decides another trip will be needed to fully appreciate Bali.

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