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Category: Asia

Backwards Glances: Remembering Three Years in Southeast Asia

Backwards Glances: Remembering Three Years in Southeast Asia

June 1st, 2015: The day we arrived in Southeast Asia. October 1st, 2018: The day we departed from Southeast Asia. If you’d told me even five years ago that I would spend — not one, but over THREE — years of my life living in Southeast Asia, I would’ve laughed. A lot. Because the thing is: Asia never really “called” to me. What calls to me? The mountains. The deserts. Wide open spaces. Big blue skies and endless open space…

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A Journey Through Cambodia: Past and Present

A Journey Through Cambodia: Past and Present

When I first visited Cambodia back in 2009, it was my first taste of traveling in a third world country. But a lot has happened in Cambodia–for the better–in the past nine years. To understand the Cambodia of today, it’s important to know the Cambodia of the past. It’s a small country by Asian standards, with a population of 15 million. It’s bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos to the north, and Vietnam to the east. Due to its…

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Day Trip to Petra: Jordan’s Epic “Lost City”

Day Trip to Petra: Jordan’s Epic “Lost City”

January 12th. 1 pm. Petra, Jordan. It flourished as an ancient civilization for over 500 years. Then, forgotten by the outside world, it faded into obscurity and disappeared off the map for centuries. It’s best known for Indiana Jones’ famous ride through its canyon walls on his quest for the long-lost Holy Grail. Where is this ancient city? It’s Petra, the lost (and rediscovered) “Rose City” in Jordan. Our journey to Petra began at the very early hour of 3 am….

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Bali’s Best Beaches: Black Sand and Emerald Water

Bali’s Best Beaches: Black Sand and Emerald Water

It was our last day in Bali, and we still had a few things to check off the bucket list. The volcanoes and rice terraces were spectacular, no doubt. But we still hadn’t found Bali’s best beaches. Truth be told, we hadn’t found any great beaches. The famous backpacker haven of Kuta Beach was quite the disappointment. And while the volcanic backdrop of Amed was stunning, the actual beach was nothing but rocks and stones. There was no way we could leave this island paradise…

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Bali Road Trip: Volcanoes and Rice Terraces

Bali Road Trip: Volcanoes and Rice Terraces

It was another beautiful morning in Ubud, Bali. Today was sure to be one of the highlights of our trip: a visit to the famous Tegalalang rice terraces and a drive around the still-active volcanic peak of Mount Batur. Breakfast was at the fabulous little French cafe, Le Moulin, just a few minutes’ walk from Kamandhani Guesthouse. One of our favorite things about Ubud is the amount of truly stellar food you can find. On one little stretch of road…

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Horse Riding in Bali: Temples and Rice Terraces

Horse Riding in Bali: Temples and Rice Terraces

I don’t often wake up before my alarm. I’m not what you’d call a “morning person.” However, there are exceptions. And one of those is when I’m about to go horse riding in Bali. I awoke at 6am on the outskirts of Ubud at the charming Kamandhani Hostel. (A little gem of a place, tucked at the end of a very quiet street but only a few minutes’ walk from the liveliness of Ubud.) A few cups of insanely delicious…

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Bali Road Trip: North Coast to Central Highlands

Bali Road Trip: North Coast to Central Highlands

The gentle sound of lapping waves stirs you awake. Warm sunlight pours through the balcony doors, illuminating the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The scent of salt and blooming frangipani drift in through the windows. And right in your backyard, the towering peak of a still-active volcano casts a long shadow. Welcome to Amed Beach, Bali. This beautiful little beach town is truly one of Bali’s hidden gems. Set way off the beaten tourist trail, it will take…

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Bali Road Trip: Kuta to Amed Beach

Bali Road Trip: Kuta to Amed Beach

Ah, Bali. The famed island paradise. The stuff postcards and honeymoons are made of. If you’re planning a visit to Bali, you’re not alone. 2016 saw a record 4.4 million foreigners descend on the tiny Indonesian island! So where can you go to escape the masses? If you’re feeling adventurous, why not explore one of Bali’s less-traveled routes – the coastal road from Kuta to Amed Beach. Arriving in Kuta Bali Tip #1: SKIP KUTA. (Note: This does not apply…

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How NOT to Cross the Thailand-Myanmar Border

How NOT to Cross the Thailand-Myanmar Border

Remember the time we illegally crossed the Thailand-Myanmar border…TWICE? Oh, wait. That was today. Since there’s already plenty of (boring) advice floating around about how to make visa runs from Bangkok to a neighboring country, let me share with you a humorous story of how NOT to do it. Why visa runs? Any foreigner who’s spent any time in Thailand knows the aggravation of visa runs. Truthfully, they’re the bane of our existence. While having a built-in vacation every 2-3 months…

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Nepal’s Poon Hill Trek, Day 3: Ghorepani to Tadapani

Nepal’s Poon Hill Trek, Day 3: Ghorepani to Tadapani

When I first started researching the Poon Hill Trek, I read countless accounts of exhausted hikers waking up at 5am and climbing the “hill” (translation = a 10,000-foot peak that would be classified as a “very tall mountain” anywhere else) in the freezing cold to watch the sun rise. “Dumb morning people,” I muttered to myself, knowing that I’d never be seen among those idiots who awoke that early and climbed an icy mountainside…in the dark. I mean, what’s wrong…

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