I'm thinking about touring SE Asia in the next year or so on my '06 Bianchi Axis. It's a great bike but I haven't done any touring on it as of yet. Considering I may end up in some remote locales do you think it's up to the job? I'm planning on swapping out the wheels for some 36 spoke steel rimmed ones but I'm worried about the aluminum frame and carbon fork. Will they last me or I should I do I really need something steel?
You might want to consider a used mountain bike in good condition instead, especially if you will be well off the beaten track. You can often pick them up for the price of the new wheel set you're considering.
I don't know about SE Asia, but in many more remote areas 26inch wheels are the norm and you may find it hard to get tubes/tires/spokes if you need them. This will also keep you from having to worry about any problems with carbon and AL. And finally, if you want, you can donate the bike at the end of the trip instead of worrying about shipping it back home.