Tokyo- City of the Future

Location: Tokyo, Japan

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Let me just begin by saying: Japan is more than an interesting place. It is like nowhere else in the world, not exclusively because it was at the forefront of technological innovation for several years, but also because it is one of few places to become successful without embracing all of the tenants of Western culture. Japan is extremely insular. Even its largest city, Tokyo, after having been rebuilt after World War II, managed to retain some of these specifically Japanese elements.

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Siem Reap- The Spiritual Place

Location: Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia

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Siem Reap greets you with an assembly line visa service. There’s a line of ten or eleven functionaries. Each of them has a rubber stamp, signature, and necessary paperwork. For just $35, your passport can progress down the line, and you gain entrance to a country that only 20 years ago was life threateningly dangerous to visit. It’s quite the different story today.

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Kampuchea

Location: Angkor Wat, Kingdom of Cambodia

Even though it’s been a few months, our memory of Cambodia has yet to fade. The other young people we met at the hostel were kind, generous with their time, and great to talk to. They were some of the first people we spoke to in English after leaving China, and our eagerness to make friends showed. But our experience there wasn’t just about cheap beer, swimming pools, and markets.

Cambodia is home to the Angkor temple complex, an astounding relic known the world over. One can easily spend a week going from ruin to ruin and seeing the testament to human engineering and spirituality. People make pilgrimages to the place for good reason, especially Angkor Wat.

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Phuket- Life’s A Beach

Location: Patong; Kr’abi; Pranang Island; and Poda Island, Thailand

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As it is the first day of Autumn, I can think of no more perfect a time to reminisce about a place that I can only describe as a kind of perpetual summer paradise. Phuket, Thailand is a location for a specific type of vacation person. In my experience there are at least two different types: those who enjoy a lot of sightseeing and movement and those who just want a little R&R. K and I were skeptical before venturing to the Thai seacoast because we tend to be in the former group. If there aren’t a lot of things to “do” in a place, why go? We were even more skeptical when we heard a lot of people in hostel describe Phuket as the “Cancun of Thailand” (not to knock those who like Cancun). That is to say- Phuket has a bit of a reputation for being the non-authentic Thailand that caters strictly to tourists, has dirty overcrowded beaches, is filled with overpriced resorts, and swarming with scam-artists keen on taking your money.

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