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Allison Murray's Dream trips

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Latin America
San Francisco, Mexico (called San Pancho by the locals) is a great place to spend a week. It's a tiny town on the beach near Puerta Vallarta and it's not tourist-y at all so you can really experience Mexican culture. Great Place to take the...
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Middle East
Cleopatra bathed in the Antique Pool at Hierapolis--before a great earthquake knocked several pillars into the pool. Fed by natural spring, the warm water is said to have healing qualities. My kids and I enjoyed the bubbles; they stick to skin and...
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St. Lawrence's Parish, Macau
People flock to Macau to gamble. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's a shame when time at the roulette wheel takes away from exploring what is otherwise a brilliant little colonial-era treasure. Macau's old cobbled streets are brimming with...
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Crowds may swarm upon it daily from sunrise onwards, but exposure hasn’t dulled the impact of the largest religious monument in the world. Commissioned by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as the centerpiece of the mighty Khmer empire,...
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East Africa
Many have traveled to Lake Niassa in between Malawi and Mozambique. beautiful fresh water lake with largest amount of indigenous fish of any lake in the world. the lodge was started by a cool guy from South Africa and has created an amazing,...
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Kaafu Atoll, Maldives
The island nation of Maldives is said to be the smallest country in Asia, in both population and land area. It may also be the prettiest. The flight approach to the airport in the capital city of Male, is the most beautiful I've experienced....
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B199, Rambukkana 71100, Sri Lanka
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka has existed since 1975. It cares for elephants that are injured, or without Mothers. It is regarded as the home of the biggest herd of elephants in the world. While visiting the Orphanage, you can see...
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Hopkins, Belize
Hopkins Village is a coastal escape with a perfect balance of culture, local and international dining, and some of the best accommodation options in the country. Once a remote Garifuna fishing village, Hopkins has become a full-fledged tourist...
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390 Moo 2, Ao Nang Beach, Muang, Krabi 81000 Tambon Ao Nang, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81180, Thailand
South East Asia's most popular form of transportation between islands is the long-tail boat, or Reua Hang Yao. These large wooden canoes are powered by a second hand car engine with a propeller mounted on a moveable pole that extends out into the...
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Foz do Iguaçu - State of Paraná, Brazil
When you think Iguassu, you think thundering falls, the Garganta do Diablo, or simply the soaking of unending mist. Perhaps one of my real highlights was sitting in a pool of mud before I even got to see the falls... Opting to walk the track from...
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Jl. Badrawati, Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
When you visit Java it's very easy to forget that the region has been ruled by Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms, because of the strong presence of Islam on the island today. However, visiting Central Java allows you to explore the ruins of these...
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Longsheng, Guilin, Guangxi, China
It’s hard to believe as I pour a cup of crisp white grains into boiling water that they began their journey to the stove in a place as serene as the terraced hills at Longsheng, outside Guilin, China. The Longji rice terraces cover the rolling...
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Cataboo, Jamaica
Bypass the roadside watering holes and take a boat ride to Floyd's Pelican Bar, instead. This thatched hut stands on stilts out in the water, making it a dreamy spot for an afternoon of swimming and shooting the breeze, solo or...
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Asheville, NC, USA
In the hills above Asheville, NC, the Biltmore House stands as one of the finest examples of Gilded Age architecture. Built by the Vanderbilt family in the 1890's, it is the largest house in the U.S. Entire rooms and ceilings were transplanted...
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Guermassa, Tunisia
“Old Guermessa is up there,” the locals advised us when we asked, pointing to a rocky hilltop. Needing the 4wd capability of our rented pickup truck, we climbed the steep path. The afternoon was sliding into evening, turning the abandoned...
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Rabindranath Tagore Rd, Pathani Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001, India
On the Ganges to witness the Aarti (prayer) ceremony. Before we boarded a row boat to watch masses come to the Ghats to offer prayers and float tiny oil lamps on the river. The moment that struck me aaas that a woman was sweeping the steps to the...
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Jordan
A couple days after seeing the Pyramids we came to Petra and were completely blown away. The walk through the canyon only builds up the excitement and then the Treasury appears immediately in front of you. The Pyramids might have been one of the...
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Sana'a, Yemen
Yemen is really a mystical place and old Sana'a is the heart of it. It's a special place and you know it; you feel the pressure to be in the now. There really isn't anything like this city in the world. It's a sensory overload. A constant...
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Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
Iceland’s largest and most famous geothermal spa lies around an hour outside Reykjavik, quite close to Keflavik Airport. With a dramatic setting amidst large black lava boulders, the steam-filled, creamy-blue pool area is a striking and...
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Turistično društvo Gorje, Podhom 80, 4247 Zgornje Gorje, Slovenia
Our wonderful host, Luka at the Garni Hotel Berc, told us we shouldn't miss out on the beautiful bridge and boardwalk hike at the nearby Vintgar Gorge- he was right! What a gem. The water was so deep and the most surreal aquamarine I've ever seen....
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Mwanza, Tanzania
Sure, lots of folks visit the land of the Serengeti and Kilimanjaro or Zanzibar (oh, Zanzibar) but few venture over to the Lake Victoria side. Mwanza will be your starting point (daily flights from Nairobi and Dar), and it's a unique,...
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Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India
Summer in India (its monsoon season) with our three kids had too many highlights to count. But our first stop in Udaipur left such an impression, it deserves special recognition. Located in the state of Rajastan, Udaipur and its Lake Pichola are a...
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Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico
This has to be the most colorful thing I've ever seen in a cemetery. In the town of Dolores Hidalgo in central Mexico, singer José Alfredo Jiménez (1926-1973), "El Rey," is memorialized by this sombrero-and-serape tomb. The names of some of his...
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Agra Fort, Rakabganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282003, India
The Agra Fort, built by rulers of the Mughal empire, is a sight to behold. It's sandstone walls and white marble interior will hold you in awe. But before you go, be sure to find your way to the back of the Fort and catch the view of it's sister...
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Amritsar, Punjab, India
Amritsar is a popular tourist destination in India and people from all over the world come here to see The Golden Temple. But once you're done admiring the beauty of the temple, walk around and observe. Look at how almost every individual is...
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Quartier des Tanneurs, Fès 30000, Morocco
The dyeing vats at Chouara—as well as at the city’s other tanneries—are among the Fes medina’s most iconic sights. The ancient craft of tanning and dyeing, in all its visceral authenticity (cow urine and pigeon poop are...
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Aswan, Aswan Governorate, Egypt
A tourist floating up the Nile in Southern Egypt in a felucca (traditional sailboat) is full of wonder: What discoveries will the temples at Abu Simbel bring? The Temple of Isis? What is life like onboard the huge (and expensive) cruise boats that...
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Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain
The Balearic Island of Ibiza is a bustling smorgasbord of disco clubs, shopping markets, and ethnic restaurants juxtaposed with striking vistas, quiet beaches, and dinner music perfectly timed with the sunsets. After several nights of jam packed...
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Waitomo, New Zealand
I’m not afraid of heights, but I’ll admit that peering over the ledge into the 100-metre (about 330 feet) decent awaiting me sends me into a bit of a panic attack. I can’t see the bottom of the cave, as a thick layer of mist fills the gaping...
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This was the end of the Hana Highway in Maui. Our guidebook told of a red sand beach, but it specifically left out information on how to get there, in an effort to keep people from spoiling it. Before our trip, I printed out some instructions from...
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Bilal Eroğlu Caddesi, Mezar Sokak No:8, 50180 Göreme/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
If you only get to ride in a hot air balloon once in your life, do it over Cappadocia, Turkey. Amazing. Cappadocia is surreal when seen from any angle. The region is peppered with strange pointy stone spires that rise up toward the sky, in pastel...
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Juárez, 71980 Puerto Escondido, Oax., Mexico
Puerto Escodido, Oaxaca is primarily known for its double overhead barrels and surf scene. However there are some nice secluded coves protected from the massive surf, where one can enjoy calm, warm Pacific waters and eat fresh mariscos on the...
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Alaçatı Belediyesi, 35930 Çeşme/İzmir, Turkey
We went to a great little surf town called Alacati. It was a glorious few days of relaxing and eating wonderful fresh food (mmmm the olives and cheese and veggies!). We hung out at the beach, just soaking in the sun and watching the surfers....
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Coron, Palawan, Philippines
The Palawan archipelago in the Philippines is a tropical paradise known for its natural beauty and limestone cliffs. One of my favorite experiences was the afternoon we hired a banka to explore the northern part of the province. After visiting...
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Petermann NT 0872, Australia
Ayers Rock – known asUluru to the Anangu Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory – is perhaps the most well-known symbol of Central Australia, though there are no photos, no stories, no tales of wonder that can prepare you for seeing the Rock...
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Peru
This month marks the hundred-year-anniversary of the "re-discovery" of this Inca citadel by Hiram Bingham. Machu Picchu deserves its clichés--'place of a lifetime,' 'bucket-list destination'...'mystical'...'amazing'... Sometimes, it's okay to...
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Jacob Road, Civil Lines, Ganpati Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302006, India
The Palace on water!
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Belvedere is an immense place, definitely to the forte of the days of the Habsburgs. Everything in excess, and definitely showing a sense of wealth and power.
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Mykonos, Mikonos, Greece
Just a short stroll to reach Yialos beach for the action packed beach experience and heavy summer crowds. We preferred the Petasos SLH Hotel, with its the private beach, it sits on a peninsula, surrounded by the breathtaking Aegean sea.
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Ahipara, New Zealand
Sometimes when you travel, you find places that overwhelm you with peace the minute you step into their space. My husband and I found such a place on one of New Zealand’s most northern shores. New Zealand is a sparsely populated country,...
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Kyaukse, Myanmar (Burma)
Located in the ancient city of Inwa, the Bagaya Kyaung Monastery is constructed entirely of teak wood and is a representation of the Wayzayanta Palace, which is the highest level of heaven in Buddhism. Built in 1838 A.D., the entire monastery is...
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Al Farafra - Al Wahat, Al Farafrah, New Valley Governorate, Egypt
When you find yourself in the middle of a desert trying to flag down a camel caravan for help, you’re obviously in a bit of a predicament. That’s the situation my wife and I found ourselves in when our guide’s Land Cruiser broke down in a rather...
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Fenghuang, Xiangxi, Hunan, China
This was the view from a gorgeous terrace in Fenghuang, China, a city in Hunan province. The ancient town is distinctive, with its buildings, alleys, bridges, and towers clinging to the atmospheric riverside. But visitors should also know that...
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Landhuis Blaauw z/n, Willemstad, Curaçao
My trip to Curaçao was a reprieve from too much overtime and a desire to warm up while checking out the scenery under the water to my heart's content. I arrived at Blue Bay with a group from my hotel for a day of sun soaked snorkeling - and I was...
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San Antonio, Limón, Costa Rica
One of the most amazing places I have stayed, and would stay again in an instant, is the Pacuare Eco Lodge in Costa Rica... I stayed in the above cabana high in the rain forest canopy above the ground. The cabana has its own private bridge and hot...
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Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia
You know those places; the ones that make you over-stay your visa and dream of never returning home? Well, this is one of those places. Straight out of a delicious “paradise found” novel, Koh Rong island off of Cambodia’s south-west shore is a...
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Negroman Rd, San Ignacio, Belize
Black Rock Lodge is the ultimate Belizean jungle lodge, located a few miles outside San Ignacio and down a dirt road that leads you into a high-walled, karstic river valley. All the cabinas are perched on the hillside with spectacular river views...
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Sapphire Pool, Wyoming 82190, USA
The brilliant blue color of Yellowstone National Park's Sapphire Pool looks like the perfect hot tub for chilly winter park visitors. Sadly, its pristine waters reach temperatures of 200-plus degrees. A little too hot for a soak, but when the wind...
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21450, Zaraće, Croatia
You know the feeling. As the sun sets and closes the door on a beautiful, relaxing day, you secretly say to yourself "Sun, don't go...just stay a little while longer". That was this moment. Spent snorkeling in the cove, watching people on their...
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Jl. Gn. Sari, Peliatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Make sure to check everything off your to-do list before staying at Maya Ubud Resort & Spa because you'll immediately melt into the landscape and never want to leave. The tiered layout and minimal design seamlessly intertwine with the jungle...
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Tonga
On the tiny island of Eua, part of the Kingdom (yes it's a Kingdom) of Tonga, there are plenty of beaches to choose from. Taking a walk from the Hideaway hostel I came across this sign to aide my search for the sand.
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Kidathineon 41, Athina 105 58, Greece
While sitting outside at a café in Plaka, the historical neighborhood in Athens, a brightly colored wall across the way—filled with bottles—caught my eye. Ouzo was something I wanted to try, as it is for many first-time visitors to Greece, but...
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Sec Gozalandia, San Sebastián, 00685, Puerto Rico
As with many other natural wonders in Puerto Rico, there isn't a clearly defined marker. Normally, to find Gozalandia, you would first have to visit it with a local, because getting directions there can be complicated. Lately, there is talk...
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Havana, Cuba
I had the opportunity to visit Cuba this year, and for the week I was there, I felt like I had taken a trip back in time. The vintage cars are a delight and they are seemingly everywhere. Many are used as private taxis or utilized by hotels to...
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Old Havana, Havana, Cuba
While visiting Old Havana, I couldn't resist a photograph of this elderly cigar smoker. She added some local color to a wonderful day in the historic and colonial heart of Havana. Old Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a beautifully...
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Boat Quay, Singapore
Boat Quay is the easternmost section of the Singapore River. The original shophouses erected here by Singaporean tradesmen have been turned into bars and restaurants with river views. It is a lively scene with English pubs showing sports on big...
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Fisher St, Ballyvara, Doolin, Co. Clare, V95 FY67, Ireland
We had intended to return to Galway for the night after a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher in December 2009, but were so drawn to the remote coastal beauty of the area that we spent the full day exploring. As dusk approached we began to look for a...
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28 Xianning W Rd, JiaoDa ShangYe JieQu, Beilin Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China
11 April, 2012 - Jiaotong University - Xi'an, China. The Wutong trees (called "Parasol" or "Phoenix" trees in English) are just now getting their leaves. In a few more weeks the leaves will be as large as oak or maple leaves. Jiaotong University...
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Phuket, Thailand
One of the water activities in the islands off Phuket is to feed the tropical fish. Those fish are "spoiled" by all the visitors who feed them bread. When you soak a piece of bread in the water, they come to you within a couple of seconds, and I'm...
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Riobamba, Ecuador
Ride along the Riobamba to the Devil's Nose on top of the train. Enjoy the sights as you pass traditional villages and rural life of local people farming and going about their daily business. In many cases, children will run alongside the train,...
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It is easy to get into the flow here, especially with a day trip down the Wailua River on Kauai's north shore. I booked a day trip with Kayak Kauai for a guided tour to the Secret Waterfall (known to locals as Uluwehi Falls). We launched in Kapa’a...
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Sittwe, Myanmar (Burma)
Aircraft contrails in the sky over Lawkananda Pagoda in Sittwe, Myanmar.
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Siberian Federal District, Russia
April, 2012 - Irkutsk, Siberia I arrived from NY met my German friends here and traveled with guide, in minibus for the 5 hour ride up to Lake Baikal. Why? To photograph the 2012 Russian Iceboat Championship. The boats were "DN"s for the adults...
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Kruger National Park, in the northwest corner of South Africa, spans over 19,000 square kilometers and boasts hundreds of animal and bird species including the "Big Five" -lions, rhinos, buffalo (seen here), leopards, and elephants.
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Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Lovely ladies in kimonos brave the rain in Kyoto. This was taken in front of Chion-in Temple near Gion earlier this week. Even in the pouring rain the Sakura, which are in full bloom, were lovely to behold and holding up nicely.
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4 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100006
Beijing's number one tourist attraction is a massive former imperial palace known as the Forbidden City. Between 1416 and 1911, it was home to 24 Ming and Qing dynasty emperors and their families and staff. In 1912, after the abdication of...
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Jiuzhaigou, Aba, Sichuan, China, 623400
Jiuzhaigou Valley (or Jiuzhaigou National Park) is located in Sichuan, China. It is one of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is the longest hiking experience I've ever had - it took me two days to finish every part of the park! However, I...
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Balat Mahallesi, Mürselpaşa Cd. No:10, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
My Local Guide Istanbul provides a unique tour of Istanbul's UNESCO World Heritage listed renovated and ruined Ottoman Houses. Walking amongst the locals was an experience in itself, with local kids curious to see us in their colourful community....
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Ethiopia
Beginning of May 2010, Dominique Soguel, Veronica Ferreri & I took off on an extreme adventure to the Afar region - Danakil Depression of Ethiopia, bordering Eritrea. First stop, Dallol, a beautifully surreal expanse of bubbling sulfur, salt and...
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Crijevićeva ul. 9, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Climb the grand baroque staircase and pass the Jesuit church, cross Gundulić Square, and follow the COLD DRINKS WITH THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW signs. Then, yes, walk through the walls. Buža translates to “a hole-in-the-wall,” and a...
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161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
I have to admit, I am a bit of a snob when it comes to being called a "tourist". I prefer "global citizen", "traveler", or "cultured", mostly for the sake of feeding my own ego. Though while at Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, looking at fresh cherry...
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Kerala, India
If you manage to make it to the southwestern tip of India, where the backwaters of Kerala lay, you can commission a houseboat and spend a day or two floating peacefully along the vast waterways that weave through fishing villages and paddy fields....
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Nyaung-U, Myanmar (Burma)
This was taken during sunrise over the plains of Bagan from a hot air balloon organized by Balloons Over Bagan, a first-rate ballooning outfit--while 300 bucks US might sound expensive, especially for Myanmar, let me assure you that it was worth...
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19/27 Moo 6, Soi Wasana, road T. Rawai, A. Mueang, ถนน วิเศษ ตำบล ราไวย์ Phuket, ภูเก็ต 83130, Thailand
Off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, in the Andaman Sea, a string of small islands plays host to a series of spectacular sea caves. Your guide will assist you, navigating your kayak between towering stone walls through a maze of narrow rock...
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Obala kralja Zvonimira 13, 21220, Trogir, Croatia
My mom kept urging me to go to Croatia because she had seen images of the beautiful Dalmatian coast. I resisted because Croatia was not on my travel agenda at the time. I finally caved in and I’m so glad I did because it’s a gem of a country! Most...
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Jana Jerzego Haffnera 6, 80-001 Sopot, Poland
Known as the Drunken or Unvertical House, the facade of this building is said to be inspired by the fairytale illustrations of Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg. Inside are shops and restaurants.
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Zhujiajiaozhen, Qingpu, Shanghai, China
On a trip to Shanghai, I took a few days to visit nearby water villages which are considered to be suburbs of Shanghai. These are the places where the canals dominate the village landscape. Often, getting from point A to point B requires transport...
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Mostar 88000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Thanks to reading recommendations here on Afar.com, I picked up a copy of Sarajevo Marlboro at a bookstore, just as we crossed the famous, historic bridge in Mostar, Bosnia. At the bookstore, a short film played over and over, documenting the...
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Tarn Taran Sahib, Punjab 143401, India
Sikhs and non-Sikhs go to Amritsar for one reason – to see the Golden Temple (Hamandir Sahib) so, that is what I did on my most recent trip to India. Except, I went on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday which is a national holiday in India and because of...
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China, Beijing Shi, Miyun Qu, Sishui Rd, 古北口镇司马台村北
I snapped photos with every step that I took climbing the Simatai section of the Great Wall. I would preview each photo after I taking it, and none captured the sight before me—a seemingly endless stretch of stone that undulated with the landscape...
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Street 1;Village Matka, Village Matka 1000, Macedonia (FYROM)
Matka Canyon, Macedonia: Since there weren’t any signs and we didn’t quite know what we were getting into, we should have brought more things from the car—like cash for tipping a boat driver. We took the meandering path along the edge of a...
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Sushil Nagar, Patrakar Colony, Shastri Nagar, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001, India
I saw these colorful sari's hung out to dry in a home in the Blue City in Jodhpur. The Blue City neighborhood is a must see when visiting Jodhpur.
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Jl. Ayodya No.10, Mengwi, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia
The temples in Bali, Indonesia are famous for their multi-tiered thatch roofs. This was taken at Pura Taman Ayun in the village of Mengwi. Visitors are not allowed to enter the temples - we could only view from outside the walls. Thankfully the...