Phnom Penh - An Accidental Exploration

Bus Ride: 8 hours || Distance: Siem Reap --> Phnom Penh - 200 miles

After getting kicked off a bus at 5:30am in Phnom Penh - I learned Vietnam doesn’t have visa on arrival the hard way. Typical entitled American moment thinking I can casually enter any country in the world - but hey, got to see a city I never planned on stopping in. -
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Ended up grabbing this incredible pho from a street vendor and her kids. They were quite excited to have their photo taken - despite it being 6am. FYI - it takes 1-2 days for your Vietnam visa to process

Siem Reap - Ankgor Wat

Flight time: 1 hour || Distance: Phuket --> Siem Reap - 550 miles || Locations: Siem Reap, and Angkor Wat Temple
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This is Angkor Wat - or the “City of Temples” - located in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Stretching over 248 square-miles, this collection of ruins is considered to be the largest religious monument in the world.
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Ticket sales account for over 50% of Cambodia’s yearly international tourism - a point of pride that lead the government to place the temple on Cambodia’s flag in 1850. Built between 1113 and 1150, the construction took an estimated 300,000 workers, 6,000 elephants, 5 million tons of sandstone, and 35 years to complete.
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I spent the past few days exploring the ruins - it was without a doubt the most incredible place I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting.

Phuket - Where all Thai Cultural Authenticity is Ruined by Westerners

Flight time: 1 hour || Distance: Bangkok --> Phuket - 460 miles || Locations: Yanui Beach, Rawai Beach, and Palm Village. 
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Phuket wasn't for me. If spaghetti is served on the menu at most restaurants, I'm out. I had gone in search of small fishing villages rich with generations of Thai tradition to draw from. Man, did I not do my research. Over time, everything local had been pushed inland by the rising cost of rent, food, and real-estate. Foreigners were moving in - opening restaurants at cents on the dollar - and driving restaurants that had been their for generations out of town. Now, American-owned New York Burgers thrives on main street. 
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Because I had no intention of staying anywhere near the beach town my hostel was in - I rented a bike with a few friends from Nova Scotia, and headed to the south of the island. It was there I heard there were some small villages and locals beaches still left to explore. 
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-I must say, it was quite beautiful. White sandy beaches dotted with palm trees bordered lines of bobbing fishing boats in the turquoise Andaman Sea. We stumbled up an oasis tucked away in the crevasse of a mountainside. Only locals here. And it was here that I stayed for three days. A vacation within a vacation. Didn't take many photos: 

Pieces of Bangkok: Night 3 + 4

Flight time: 1 hour || Distance: Singapore --> Bangkok - 994 miles || Project: The Unsung Heros of Bangkok

Photo 1: Phijit, a 32 year old Thai monk, stands outside a shop selling religious adornments, Buddha statues, and traditional robes. Phijit has been practicing for 12 years. There are over 300,000 monks, and 32,000 monasteries in Thailand. To become a monk you must be at least 20 years old, a man, and free of debt and disease. This lifestyle requires a great deal of discipline - as monks must abide by very specific set of rules (227 to be exact). These include not touching woman (even their mother), never driving a vehicle, and practicing chants, meditation, and worship techniques up to 10 hours a day. -
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Photo 2: Quinton, 24, of Montana, meditates inside the Wat Thepthidaram Worawihan Temple. I met Quinton on the plane to Bangkok, and we happen to have the exact same travel itinerary - small world. We will be trekking to Angkor Wat and rural southern Cambodia together next week.
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-Photo 3: Nipon, a 48 year old street vendor in downtown Bangkok, sells assorted grilled meats on a busy street corner. Nipon fought hard for the rights to this location, and makes a great return on his investment. Each day he makes around 3,000 baht ($95usd), an impressive daily wage for Bangkok. 
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Photo 5: A woman sews the bright orange robes worn by monks in the neighboring monasteries. The saffron color dates back centuries, and was chosen because of the availability of the orange dye at the time. The robes symbolize simplicity and the detachment of materialism. -
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Photo 6: Soi Cowboy is a 150-meter long street dominated by the sex trade. Consisting of 40+ bars, it’s serves as the central hub for strip clubs and prostitution. Despite being illegal since 1960, prostitution is a well-documented trade in Thailand - generating over 6.4 billion dollars a year in revenue. It is estimated that there are over 2 million sex workers in Thailand - 800,000 of which are under the under the age of 18. (We chose not to explore, as this is an industry I most certainly do not agree with/want to support in any way.)

Pieces Of Bangkok: Night 1 + 2

Flight time: 1 hour || Distance: Singapore --> Bangkok - 994 miles || Project: The Unsung Heros of Bangkok

With each destination, there’s a story to be told: For Bangkok - I’m choosing to focus on the hundreds of street vendors that make this city so unique. -
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Photo 1: Wan Tia, 30, sells a variety of meats cooked to order. Behind his stand is a charcoal grill that he regularly fans to keep alight. Wan has been a street vendor his entire life - and makes between 300 and 500 baht a day ($10-18usd). -
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Photo 2: Likto, 28, rests on his Tuk Tuk in front of the Democracy Monument in central Bangkok. He has been driving for 10 years, and says he enjoys it. “Some day the money very good, some day very bad. I like it though, good job here in Bangkok.” Likto’s father owns the cart - which he and his brothers share during the week. The cart cost his family around 200,000 baht ($6300usd), and Likto makes between 500-800 ($10-20usd) baht per night on average. On this day, he had been driving for 10+ hours, and made 300 baht ($10usd). -
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Photo 3: Kay Ut, chef and owner of a small outdoor restaurant near center city Bangkok, drains water from fresh noodles. Kay has owned the restaurant for over 20 years, and operates it with his wife and children.

38 Hours in Singapore

Flight time: 22 hours || Distance: New York ----> Singapore - 10,347 miles || Locations: Gardens by the Bay, The Bay of Singapore

Singapore’s 250-acre public gardens have evolved into a international spectacle since opening in 2012. Home to the infamous Super Trees - each of these 50-meter metal structures boasts over 200 species and 163,000 individual hanging plants. The 11 trees are also equipt with environmentally sustainable systems like solar cells, natural cooling conservatories, and air exhaust receptacles. Each night a massive light show is held free to the public - Singapore is on top of its game🌲