Asia: home of ancient civilizations, tropical jungles, and the tallest mountains on Earth. Travels in Asia are a sensory barrage, the aroma of spice markets, the brilliant colors of clothing, the cacophony of some of the most crowded cities in the world.

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Asia: The Bucket List

Young pandas at play (Ann Burnett)

Peering at Pandas in Chengdu, China

I suppose I could have gone to my local zoo and seen pandas there, but it’s not the same as actually seeing them in their native habitat, or at least, their native country. So Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center was on my list of must-sees. But my first sight of ...
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The Chinese Public Bath Ladies Ladies' Entrance 
© Roberta Sotonoff

Soaking up the Unique Culture in the Chinese Public Baths

Before I went to China, I saw the Chinese movie, The Shower. In the film, the public baths were a place to forge friendships, unload your troubles and even play cards. Bathing was part of it -- but only part. It piqued my interest. I thought maybe a visit to one ...
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Barbwire outside the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh

Visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Security rule no. 6: "When getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all." A board on the courtyard lists 10 rules for the S-21. The facility, in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, was once a school. Between 1975 and 1979 it became the headquarters of the Khmer Rouge regime's internal ...
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A mass grave in the Killing Fields, Cambodia

Learning about Cambodia’s History at the Choeung Ek Memorial (Killing Fields)

I hold it together until I see the Killing Tree, but then it's impossible to stop the tears. The Killing Tree, as the sign next to it explains, is "the tree against which executioners beat children". Previous visitors have attached colorful ribbons to the trunk to remember the babies and children ...
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The Great Wall of China

Standing Sentinel on the Great Wall, Badaling, China

The last of the fall color was about to disappear from the trees growing in the shelter of the Great Wall. "A really awful place to be a sentry in winter," I said. My companion nodded. We were looking out from one of the many watch towers dotted along the Wall’s ...
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Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Exploring the Historic City of Ayutthaya, Thailand, by Bicycle

As I park my bicycle next to a 7/11 and a collection of souvenir shops, I realize Ayutthaya is not going to be the step back in time I hoped it would be. It feels more like a history theme park. Before I came to Ayutthaya – the old capital of ...
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