Preah Khan, Angkor

Preah Khan was my favorite of the Angkor temples. Not because it was the most beautiful in a classic sense, but because it was beautiful in it’s ruin. Time and the jungle had taken Preah Khan and reduced the grand temple complex into mostly rubble, but many beautiful carvings and statues remained.

Preah Khan was originally a Buddhist temple that was converted into a Hindu temple when Hinduism had a resurgence during the Khmer reign. The states and carvings of Buddha were altered to resemble Hindu gods.

This was also the temple that felt the most “India Jones”-ish to me, where you could escape the crowds and feel like you were exploring somewhere new.

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Ta Prohm, Angkor

Ta Prohm is one of the more famous temples of Angkor after it’s role in the Laura Croft: Tomb Raider movie. You know, the temple with the massive tree overtaking the ruins?

We visited while the temple complex was under restoration and much of it closed off, including the most iconic shot, but it was still easy to spend some time there wandering among the collapsing ruins covered in trees.

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The Time We Got Scammed in India

The REAL Brown Bread Bakery sign (via TripAdvisor)

We are eight weeks into our trip (!!) and in about a week we’ll be finished with the Southeast Asia portion. SE Asia is infamous for the scams targeting tourists and, thankfully aside from a few rouge taxis, we have managed to avoid all but one.

That one is the knockoff-bakery-cum-fake-charity in Varanasi, India.

Brown Bread Bakery is a real restaurant in Varanasi (the first organic bakery and restaurant) that supports a real life charity called Learn for Life, proving education for impoverished children to help break the cycle of poverty. Read more about Brown Bread and Learn for Life here: http://bakerybreadbrown.blogspot.com/

Unfortunately, Ryan and I stumbled into a fake version. They have the similar signs and are a mere 10 meters down the road from each other. The fake Brown Bread has the same menu (although many items are “unavailable” since they aren’t actually a bakery) and will even take “donations” meant for Learn for Life, but pocket them instead! This fake restaurant is owned by the unscrupulous ex-business partners of the REAL Brown Bread who are just using the name of a good restaurant and charity to make more money for themselves.

I hope Karma takes notice.

We spent less than $10 at the fake Brown Bread, but it was still heartbreaking when we walked out to the real one and to find out the situation. The real Brown Bread has a rooftop seating area, four floors total, and a shop area on the ground floor selling muesli and other organic wares.

We didn’t do our research and have felt pretty down about it, but lesson learned.

Temples of Bagan at Sunset

It’s hard to grasp the immensity of Bagan. Over the course of 230 years, over 4,000 temples were built in an area of about 10 sq km. Standing atop one of the many temples at sunset, you can see the tips peeking out above the trees, quite literally as far as the eye can see. It’s breathtaking and so difficult to capture in a single photograph.

But I still tried.

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Mount Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock), Myanmar

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