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Southeast Asia

Highlights of Hue

I've learned that when a city is proclaimed as a country's cultural capital, it usually means it's cold. True to form, Hue (pronounced h-way) features gray-hued skies, a chilly wind drafting over the river and squat buildings crowding the winding...
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Postcard from Hoi An

Hoi An is one of the prettiest cities in Vietnam: recognized by UNESCO as an exceptionally well-preserved Asian trading port, the riverfront buildings are colorful and diverse examples of 19th- and 20th-century French-influenced...
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The ups and downs of Phong Nha Farmstay

Every once in a while, I surprise myself and willingly break away from beaches for a chilly, cloudy destination. Exploring Ke Bang National Park was one such adventure: renowned for having some of the oldest, largest caves in the world, the region...
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Postcard from the Imperial City of Hue

When I think of cities surrounded by walls and moats, I think France in the Middle Ages (i.e. Avignon).  I certainly don't think of 19th-century Vietnam. But the Imperial City of Hue was constructed in 1802, its ruin only amplified by American...
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Learning how to cook Vietnamese food in Hoi An

In my opinion, the best thing you can do in Vietnam is eat: I could live forever on prawn spring rolls, steaming bowls of pho and fresh-cut mango dipped in chili salt. After an awesome cooking class in Indonesia and learning how to make papaya salad...
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Postcard from Central Highlands

The world is full of beautiful places, but Southeast Asia seems to have a monopoly on unspoiled landscapes. I've been awestruck by the jutting limestone cliffs of Railay, the sweeping white beaches and leaning palms of Phu Quoc, the stunning sunsets...
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Riding buses in Vietnam: it’s always a daylong adventure

In Southeast Asia, I accepted that any overland journey would take a full day. Two hours, four hours, six hours: no matter what the travel agent promised you as to the length of the bus ride, you can kiss your day goodbye. I never had a bus leave on...
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Postcard from Crazy House

There's weird architecture, and then there's the Crazy House: a guesthouse that takes fantasy design to a whole new level, located in Dalat, Vietnam. One of the most bizarre buildings in the world, it rivals Gaudi's modern masterpieces in Barcelona...
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Jungle Beach: the backpacker all-inclusive resort

Imagine a beach you only had to share with fellow backpackers: no screaming children or overzealous hawkers. I've been there, and let me tell you--it's awesome. At $25 a day, Jungle Beach Resort is the ultimate all-inclusive for the...
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The worst time to get sick? On a motorcycle in the heart of Vietnam

I woke up before my alarm went off and rushed to the toilet. It was clear I'd been hit with my first bout of food poisoning/stomach flu/Bali belly--whatever you want to call it, it's an awful mix of stomach cramps, diarrhea and nausea that makes you...
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