Saturday, March 5, 2016

Vietnam via Cambodia...journey back in time, with exotic opulence!

Kick starting the year with a wonderful once in a lifetime vacation was fabulous all the way around.  We flew into Bangkok to meet with our friends from London to begin our journey.  Great friends, great locations, great people, great culture makes it a great recipe for a fabulous vacation.
We loved it so much we wanted to share it with you in case you're planning a getaway!

Here I bring to you exotic opulence from Cambodia and Vietnam.  Exploring the ruins of old Hindu temples is the main focus for Siem Rep.  First we were determined to catch the sun rise over Angor Wat.  Angor Wat was once of the many temples built by the Khmer Empire.  The place was abandoned when Khmer regime moved to Phnom Penh, it is now a tourist haven.
Indian architectural methods influenced the Cambodians. It flourished under ambitious kings who ruled an empire rich in manpower and wealth.



Ta Prohm Still covered by the jungle and roots, this place is exactly as they found it. This is the temple made famous in the movie Tomb Raider.  Here are pictures of Ta Prohm temple where nature took over the remnants of a once mighty civilization.

Pub street is the most happening street in Siem Reap after the sun goes down it certainly qualifies as the party hub for locals and tourists.  Daily massage is a must with fire sale prices!

We then flew to Phnom Penh.  Phnom Penh is a business and cultural hub of Cambodia.  The magnificent Royal Palace is the official residence of the king.  The architecture is amazing.


It is also the hub of the killing fields.  People survived the barbaric rule under Khmer regime and still have a smiling face. With the history under the Pol Pot and the genocide, it was a sad visit to the torture chambers and the killing fields.

One odd item that was crazy scary is their street food (no picture...didn't want to see it again).  They have fried snakes, scorpians, roaches and more.  Due to the famine created by the dictatorship of Pol Pot, the Khmer people turned to anything they could find to eat.  I certainly didn't take a picture but dreamt about it while in Cambodia as it was everywhere!


Vietnam with it's warm people and incredible cuisine is a fascinating destination that will change your life.  We flew into Ho Chi Min City aka Saigon.

 Saigon has 10 million people with 7 million motorbikes.

We stayed in a beautiful hotel in Saigon and took day trips to historic sites of the Vietnam War - the Cu Chi Tunnels.  An incredible underground network constructed by the local people and guerillas to survive the war against the American explosive attacks.  It was sad to learn about the chemical weapons used by the Americans and the devastation left behind. 


Next day we boarded a private boat for a glimpse at the Mekong Delta scenery, we then boarded a sampan (smaller boat) for a relaxing trip along narrow canals.  It was a trip to view the village life.

  Village houses that it reminded me of Sri Lankan villages.

Now to the high lights of Vietnam.  Halong Bay is hailed as one of the natural wonders and a world heritage site with amazing scenary.  This is an experience of a lifetime not like any other place in the world.  When we planned the trip to Vietnam, Halong Bay was on the top of our list.  I present to you Halong Bay:


There are entire floating villages out here who survive solely on fishing and tourism


The sunrise and sunset are breath taking.

Now to the decorating part of the blog post!  We stayed in beautiful boutique hotels...some eye candy.

Doorways in Vietnam with the french and tropical architecture.


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