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Mark with the Kuli tribe, Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea

Mark, Southeast Asia Specialist

After five years working at IBM, Mark headed off to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. Destined for a year-long adventure in Australia, Mark cut it short after three months realizing that Southeast Asia had everything he was looking for. He returned to Asia and relocated to southern Thailand for 12 months, where he taught English. On his return to the UK, Mark's love of reportage photography turned to photo-journalism and then coupled with his passion for Southeast Asia and first-hand knowledge of the region, Audley became the logical way forward. Since joining Audley, Mark has traveled back to Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and more recently Papua New Guinea, topping up his specialist knowledge of the region and giving him the chance to enable others to see the culture, architecture and diversity that captivates him.

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Audley Travel specialist Mark

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Mystical Mount Popa

I recommend visiting - Mount Popa

Driving two hours south-east of Bagan the picturesque journey takes you past farmers working the arid fields then onto the lush landscape that surrounds Mount Popa. For many years Burmese spirit worshippers have journeyed from all corners of Myanmar on a pilgrimage paying respect to the Nats, or spirits, while stupas, monasteries and shrines adorn the crest of the rock pinnacle to keep a watchful eye over the surrounding area.

Mount Popa itself, a volcanic core, is steeped in history and tradition but what really attracts me to this fairy tale setting is that it could quite easily have been created in the mind of Hans Christian Andersen or J.R.R Tolkien with golden spires, rich vegetation, cotton wool clouds and welcoming locals add to the appeal. After exploring the mount itself the best way to witness the magic is from the hillside view point where you see Mount Popa, the temples, and the plains of Bagan in the distance.

Gardens at the Belmond Governor's Residence

I recommend staying at - Belmond Governor's Residence

First Class

Possibly my favorite hotel in Southeast Asia and in the quiet embassy district of Yangon is the Governor's Residence. A grand teak mansion, and as the name suggests the former home of the Governor of Yangon, with a beautiful garden where outside dining is a must amid the traditional Asian-lit umbrellas that scatter throughout the grounds. Each of the rooms are finished to the best of standards with great use of Burmese teak that transports you immediately back to the 1920's and days gone by. I find there is no better luxury property in the country that allows you to soak up the Burmese and British colonial history than here.

I'll never forget when…

I was fortunate enough to be in the ancient city of Bagan with Audley the night before my birthday. I had been sat on the terrace of my bungalow overlooking a lily pond and the many surrounding Buddhist temples when the sun slowly sank behind the mountain range in front of me, casting a beautiful reflection of the silhouetted temples through the warm orange sky.

Photos of Mark

  • Mark birdwatching in Cambodia Mark birdwatching in Cambodia
  • Mark at a Buddhist temple on Marble Mountain outside Danang, Vietnam Mark at a Buddhist temple on Marble Mountain outside Danang, Vietnam
  • Mark and Audley colleague Craig with Mr Huu Ngoc, the famous Vietnamese historian Mark and Audley colleague Craig with Mr Huu Ngoc, the famous Vietnamese historian
  • Mark at Halong Bay, Vietnam Mark at Halong Bay, Vietnam
  • Mark and Audley colleague Craig in Nam Nern, northern Laos Mark and Audley colleague Craig in Nam Nern, northern Laos
  • Mark in Hang En, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam Mark in Hang En, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
  • Mark on a water buffalo, Hoi An, Vietnam Mark on a water buffalo, Hoi An, Vietnam
  • Mark in Sagar, near Inle Lake, Myanmar Mark in Sagar, near Inle Lake, Myanmar
  • Mark overlooking the temples in Bagan, Burma Mark overlooking the temples in Bagan, Burma
  • Mark with members of the Muun Tribe, Chin State, Burma Mark with members of the Muun Tribe, Chin State, Burma
  • Mark with the Kuli Tribe, Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea Mark with the Kuli Tribe, Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea