There have been recent attempts to advance research in tourism studies and to redefine the rationale and focus of this field of study. Erik Cohen and Scott A. Cohen have published important and stimulating papers in a recent exercise aimed at rethinking the sociological and anthropological analysis of tourism. They propose a “mobilities” paradigm as a conceptual way forward. However, with reference to Southeast Asian research material the established concept of “encounter”, incorporating the notion of a field of social, cultural, symbolic and virtual interaction, continues to provide an alternative way to think about and analyse on-the-ground activities at tourism sites. © 2015 ISEAS.