• 07 . 04 . 11
  • It’s awards season again, and after months of furious lobbying, all the locations were on hand to see who’d go home with the glory.

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The 54th Annual Away From Home Awards

After the entirely unmissable Overseas And Abroad last Saturday, awards season continued in earnest as the lovely Udee Guesthouse last night played host to the prestigious Away From Home Awards in the centre of Bangkok. Traditionally regarded as a leading predictor for the premier Monkey Travel Awards that mark the culmination of months of lobbying and schmoozing, the AFH Awards nevertheless occasionally throw out the odd surprise.

No surprises early on though, as the smaller categories were dispensed with.

The Site Of A Significant Sight award this year went to Siem Reap and its magnum opus Angkor Wat, repaying a 37 year production time and proving the good ones really are worth waiting for sometimes.

The Suit Up award went to this year to Hoi An for its 1001 Tailors, edging out perennial contender Bangkok, despite help for the latter from Crafty Tuk-Tuk.

Mui Ne took home both Windiest Beach and Warmest Water, but suffered in the Best Sights category with some calling its Lighthouse “remote, distant and closed off to viewers”, despite having previously gained plaudits for Sand Dunes and Red Rocks.

The surprise of the evening was the award of Cheapest Meal to Bangkok, managing two nominations 3 Bucks For Two Meals and Only 90 Baht?!. Luang Namtha and Kep had been considered strong contenders, but the chicken strike led to inflated prices and deflated portion sizes of their offerings.

Controversially, the prestigious Best Guest House went to newcomer Campus, which provided Perfect Service Heaven for Phnom Penh. Arguments and opinion pieces had been raging over this category for the last few weeks with a decided majority sure it would be going to Sawasdee of Chiang Mai under the direction of the excellent Sam. Chiang Mai itself didn’t miss out entirely though, collecting the Greatest Variety gong, for an exceptional output including Cookery School, Pachyderm Paradise, Start Trekking, the glittering Doi Suthep and its sprawling (if somewhat turgid) follow up Doi Inthanon.

There was the potential for controversy in the Friendliest People category as Cambodia narrowly beat out Laos, but in typical fashion representatives from both just smiled and shook hands.

Most Dangerous Roads went to Hanoi, with its incredible 2 Motorbikes Per Person and What Traffic Lights?. Nong Khiaw picked up Best Hammock, with Nam Ou being so good as to be almost considered cheating. Cheapest Guest House went to Botanica of Kep with 8 Dollar Bungalow. Rabbit Island was edged out because of needlessly excessive deconstruction in Leaky Roof.

All that remained on an evening of glitz and glamour was the presentation of a Lifetime Beeping Award to Hanoi, which crossed the incredible milestone of 1 trillion horn presses since motorisation took hold and then the guests dispersed, eager to show their faces at the after show parties.

We’re looking forward to next year’s awards already!

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