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JAKE’S TRAVELS: WEEK 1

Hello & welcome – this section, until further notice, will be dedicated to detailing my month long trip though Southeast Asia. As you all well know, most travel blogs (except the cool National Geographic ones) are generally boring and filled with poorly taken photos – this one will be no different. My goal will be to help detail how two ignorant white American college students made it through some of the most beautiful and culturally rich places this world has to offer with just a couple backpacks stuffed with clothes, a handful of cash, and a camera. No one really wants to hear about other people travelling, so I hope you can take this information here to help plan your own trip and get out and see the world.

– Enjoy, Jake.

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Early morning sun hitting the Buddhist carvings at Angkor Temple

A quick introduction, my name is Jake, I’m a junior at Tufts University and a major travel enthusiast. I’ve spent time backpacking in Europe, China and North America but Southeast Asia, with it’s sprawling geography, iconic temples, and world famous cuisines has always been a dream of mine to visit. My main travelling companion, Nate, goes to school with me at Tufts, and together we’re both spending next semester fucking around – I mean studying abroad — in Shanghai. Our primary goal of the trip was to see as much of Southeast Asia as we could in our relatively short winter break, and spend some time partying along the way.

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Exploring the Angkor Wat Temple Grounds

Our trip started and ended in Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam and one of the bigger cities in the region. From there, we took a three hour bus ride outside the city to the world famous Halong Bay for an overnight cruise before heading eastward to Cambodia. Our only stop in Cambodia was Siem Reap, home of the Angkor temple complex, which is quite deservedly considered one of the 7 modern wonders of the world.

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Your Two Protagonists: pictured taking a breather at the Royal Palace in Bangkok

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Relaxing on the train on our way to Bagan

From Cambodia we made the short trip across the border to Thailand, where we made the obligatory backpacker pilgrimage to Bangkok, home of the best Pad Thai I’ll ever eat, some very bejeweled palaces and a massive sleeping Buddah, and of course the backpackers’ party capital on Khao San road (spoiler alert: not that great). Our other stop in Thailand, Chiang Mai proved incredibly refreshing after the non-stop excitement of Bangkok: We mostly stayed outside the city, staying in a quaint Air B&B ‘treehouse’ in the suburbs and spending the majority of our time motor biking along through the lush mountains and rice fields spread throughout northern Thailand (another spoiler alert: this was awesome).

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Motorbiking in Northern Thailand

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Getting some home cooked, Northern Thai food at a traditional restaurant outside Chiangmai

Our last stop, Myanmar, was quite the adventure, starting in the surprisingly interesting capital, Yangon, and winding up to the north via overnight train to Bagan, land of 1000 (at least) temples. If you’re looking for off the beaten path, Bagan is still relatively unknown and well worth seeing – a much more laid back social scene and a really unique temple viewing experience.

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A slightly cloudy, but nonetheless beautiful view of Halong Bay in Vietnam

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Hot air balloons floating over sunrise in Bagan
Next week I’ll start in on Hanoi and Halong Bay, but for now enjoy these photos of some of our trip highlights. Thanks for reading!

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