Americans knew little of Cambodia until, in 1924, a stalwart Titanic survivor, Helen Churchill Candee, published her adventures there in a book called, Angkor the Magnificent. “We think we have exposed and investigated the secret places of the whole round globe,” she says, “when there comes word of a new one, and not only a secret place but a place full of secrets.”
Cambodia’s exotic allure seduced Candee nearly a century ago, and its power endures today. One of those places war and poverty blotted from our western viewfinder for decades, x has emerged once again.
If you’re looking for a place that offers not only unusual adventure, but also great value and comfortable living…then go. “For the most beautiful deserted beaches in Asia—and the lowest prices—the Cambodian coast is hard to beat,” reports Keith Hockton in the current issue of International Living magazine. Scuba shops and cafés liven towns where you can rent a 2,000-square-foot beach house for $150 a month.
But Cambodia is just one highlight in Asia. Consider Cebu in the Philippines (see page 12 of the current issue). There you find the natural drama hundreds of beaches supply, plus all the modern infrastructure of Manila but on a much smaller, friendlier, more manageable scale. Yet you can live well for $1,000 a month.
Across the region, locals are quick to smile and are generously welcoming. As one expat couple in Phnom Penh puts it (on page 10 of the current issue), “Life is slower, richer, more fulfilling, and more affordable than anywhere we’ve ever lived.”
I suspect the thought of traveling—or living—in Asia intimidates as often as it intrigues. But I hope our stories here (and our map of the region online) will help nudge you onto a plane. As Ms. Candee put it in 1924, “…there are secrets to be pried open…special marvels to be seen…”
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