50 pence just bought me a copy of 'South East Asia on a Shoestring' by Tony Wheeler. (Its not the original guide but a 1981 update)
The first thing that is striking is the limits of the book - we're not going to Cambodia, Vietnam or Laos - these countries were all fighting at this time and were seriously off-limits.
And Communist China? No chance! In Tony's words: ''If you want to carry on towards Europe...Chiang Mai is effectively the end of the road''
The Cold War was blowing through this part of the world in 1980 and the borders that us travellers are so keen to cross now were the Iron Curtains of the time - the Limits of the explorable world for westerners. Burma still had a seven day visa limit and the guide advises on a whirlwind tour of the hotspots, with little of the current caveats about supporting the junta. Some things havent changed - the section on 'What To Take' starts with the phrase 'As little as possible', which has always been great advice, as is the common-sense advice on passports, spare cash and dealing with officials.
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