South East Asia

About This Project

Peter’s exploration of endangered beauty and its preservation concludes in the steamy melting pot of Southeast Asia. He travels to Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital, where Chinese migrants began new lives and sought prosperity during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and which in turn gave rise to an intoxicating racial blend of tall, fair-skinned girls considered highly attractive by Asian men. We make our way towards the lofty hills of Chiang Mai in Thailand’s northernmost province, and discover the centre of the notorious Golden Triangle, the point where Laos, Thailand and Myanmar converge at the Mekong River. These ancient crossroads provide a wonderful insight into the diverse hill tribes who live here, including the Lisu, Lahu, Hmong, Karen and Akha people, whose ancient medicinal and cosmetic traditions are renowned. The Mor Nuad masseurs demonstrate traditional Thai massage, while Mor Tam Yae (midwives) share their knowledge of specific ‘rubbing’ ceremonies to achieve pleasure. We travel to Hanoi in pursuit of the myth that the Vietnamese girls here are considered to be the most beautiful in the country. In central Vietnam Peter visits the Moï tribes, who until the mid-twentieth century were believed to possess tails. From there onwards, he takes us along the Mekong River again, this time heading south into Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, where the mainly ethnic Khmers girls are famous for their flawless posture, appearing to glide rather than walk. Heading to Malaysia, Peter lastly visits Penang and Melaka on the western coast of the Malay Peninsula.