Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Monday, 21 April 2014

Pictures from Angkor Archaelogical Park. Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm.


We're back in Vancouver, the trip pasted all too quickly! Looking back, there were many highlights;
The gourmet walking tour of Hanoi.
Watching the sunset from the deck of our junk in Halong Bay.
The incredible temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm.
Swimming under the stars in Siem Riep with bats swooping overhead.
The storys of our Cambodian guides about life under Pol Pot.
Sunrise on the Mekong River.
The delightful children from the small villages, schools and orphanage.
Shopping in the local markets.
Watching local artisans weave silk & mats, prepare food.
The wonderful hotels we stayed in, Sofitel Legend Hanoi, Sofitel Angkor Phokeenthra, and Sheraton Towers Saigon.
The comfortable cabins and sundeck with pool on the Amalotus.
The friendliness of the people in the small villages we visited.
Our interesting and well travelled fellow guests.

This is a trip that would appeal to people who are interested in history and seeing both the grand world heritage sites and the way people live in the countryside. Although things are improving you're travelling in developing countrys. There is much less infrastructure in place than for example a River Cruise in Europe. Most places we docked the gangplank was dropped to the bank, and as the water was low it was a steep walk up the riverbank. There is a lot of pollution, litter and dirt. It can be extremly hot and there can be very heavy downpours. Internet is not always available, and when available can be slow. ATMs don't always work. Roads are often rough and under construction. I can't say enough about Ama's scheduling and orginization. We were taken care of from the moment we were picked up at the airport in Hanoi till when we were dropped off at Ho Chi Minh airport. We never had to check-in to a hotel, boat or flight. Sightseeing started early to beat the heat, with a break of several hours midday at the hotel or ship for lunch and rest. Most days there was also sightseeing in the afternoon, but you could choose to just go in the morning or just the afternoon if that's what you prefered. The guides were very interesting, they all had their own stories and were very open about what their life was like. All in all a fantastic experience and one of the best trips I've ever taken.
I'll try and upload more pictures in the next few days, there are so many to go through!
If you would like more details about the trip, feel free to phone or email;
604 987-2214
Here are some pictures from the Chu Chi Tunnels and Ho Chi Minh City.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

I can't believe it's the last day. The time has flown by, and I've been too busy to post.
The last couple of days have been in Ho Chi Minh City at the Sheraton Towers, a perfect central location. We are right near the opera house and about 10 min from the Old Post office , Reunification Palace and Cathedral.
The City has a population of 8 million, with 4 million scooters. Traffic is loud and constant.
On the first day we visted the War Remnants museaum which was so interesting, one floor had pictures from all the American photograhers who died in the war. Also a section on Agent Orange, and a collection of War posters.
Yesterday 6 of us did a van tour out to the Cu Chi Tunnels- incredible how they lived underground.
Last night 11 of us went out for a farewell diner at a restaurant near the hotel, and drinks on the lounge on the 23rd floor of the hotel, an incredible view.
Once I get home I'll do a retrospect and post more pictures, no time now, I'm off to the airport!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Here are the pictures I couldn't add last night!
Buddist temple
Grade 4 class
Monk's blessing

Sunday, 13 April 2014

We've now crossed back into Vietnam, and have internet again! The River Cruise is wonderful, the ship very comfortable and our excursions so interesting. The small villages we've gone to have very primitave conditions, usually no electricy or running water. Most people are farmers, growing rice, corn, beans, and fruit.The people are very friendly and curious about us. Many of the children are learning English and are eager to practice. We visited an Elementary School in a small village in Cambodia. They were on holiday for the New Year, but a grade 4 class was there to greet us. They sang us a couple of songs & asked lots of questions. Since tourists have started visiting them they have been able to buy a photocopier, they are now hoping to get a computer.
We've also visited many beautiful Buddist and Hindu temples. At one of the temples we meditated as the monks chanted, then gave us a blessing.Some of the excursions are by Tuk tuk, small boat, tri-shaw, or walking.I find with the heat and the humidity none of us walk very fast!
The excursions start fairly early to beat the heat. We come back to the boat for lunch, a swim and a rest and do another excursion later in the afternoon.
It's wonderful to sit up on the sundeck sipping a beer or soda water and watching the traffic on the river as well as the small villages with the kids playing.
The cabins are very large, the bathroom the largest I've had on a cruise.Most of the cabins have both a balcony and a French balcony.
I've been trying to add pictures for the last few days, but the internet is too slow. I haven't been able to connect at all the last few days. I'll try again from Ho Chi Minh City.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

We've had no internet for the last few days as well as being very busy touring, so I haven't had a chance to update.
We're now on the Mekong on our ship the Amalotus. Exploring villages, meeting the locals and having the occational dip in the pool. Tomorrow is a more relaxing day, so I'll add more details!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

One of 100s of faces on the Bayon in Angkor Thom

Siem Reap
We've had a busy and fascinating stay here.We visited 3 of the best known temple sites, Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm as well as an Orphanage.
The temples are the most interesting and extensive I've seen anywhere, very well preserved and incredibly intricate. The weather has been better than expected, several downpours (all in the evening or when we've been on the bus) have kept the temperature down.
We had a little time this afternoon to enjoy the beautiful Sofitel resort.

Friday, 4 April 2014

We've had a couple of days without internet on our trip to Halong Bay. A magical setting, the pictures can't do it justice.We stayed overnight on a wooden junk, and cruised through the multitude of limestone islands. The population of fisherman live in floating villages.