Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd October 2019
So today we are leaving Cambodia our journey is almost coming to an end.
We head out for a stroll to soak up the ambience of Siem Reap and all things Cambodian for one last time…I love it here!
It is so much less touristy here which makes it even better!
Vietnam and Cambodia have been overwhelming to say the least.
The culture, the environment, the people, it took days to settle into it all but we embraced the fullness of the experience and now do not want to leave.
Both countries have been lands of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages.
They are both exotic and compelling.
We have had unforgettable experiences everywhere we have travelled here.
From the spectacular world heritage site of Halong Bay which has become synonymous with Vietnam, gazing over a surreal seascape of limestone islands from the deck of a traditional junk, to the ridiculousness of taking 10 minutes just to cross the street through a tsunami of motorbikes in Hanoi.
And then in Cambodia, witnessing century old temples, including some of the worlds greatest historic sites, you quickly realise however that Cambodia’s magic extends far beyond the walls of Angkor Wat.
Seeing and experiencing life on the floating/stilted village was eye opening and showed us a totally different way of life.
Cultures throughout these countries are complex, diverse and can represent something of a history lesson.
Northern Vietnam is like paradise for mountain/country enthusiasts like us.
This is where the movie skull island was filmed (King Kong)
Hiking around the many rugged trails in Sapa was a delight…just being at one with nature in such exceptional beauty an unforgettable experience.
Food especially street food has been an eye opening and mouth watering experience with its subtle flavours and outstanding diversity.
Driving, even if your a passenger is not for the faint hearted. Being tossed around the back seat each time we’d run over a pot hole the size of a very large laundry basket was fun though!!
Train Street will stay with me forever – and how someone’s ordinary life may look extraordinary in the eyes of others!
Vietnam and Cambodia have a precious treasure: its people. Everywhere we have went we have been welcomed by smiles. It is the land of smiles.
Friendliness has greeted us in every corner, from the urban cities to the rural countryside.
This could possibly be my favourite thing about these countries, even more so than the historic sites and gorgeous scenery, its the genuine people.
Giant smiles, respectful greetings (known as Sampeath) and hospitality are infectious.
The rich culture captivated me from the moment I arrived in both countries. Some traditions dating back many centuries, and the combination of Buddhist and Hindu customs creating unique rituals.
We had a blast touring these amazing countries.
We fell in love with the hearty people, the vibrant culture and the amazing diversity of landscapes…for me Cambodia touched my heart…it felt more ‘rusticky’ and pulled at the inner hippy in me!
It was also a lot less touristy and less built up and it was good to get off the beaten track…but that’s just me.
It has been the perfect mix of the past, present and future.
I will never forget meeting Chum Mey and Bou Meng the two surviving prisoners from the S-21 Prison and I will continue to help them tell their story by telling everyone that will listen to me about their ordeal and the thousands that were brutally slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge!
Meeting the H’Mong Tribe from Sa Pa and their beautiful children was a humbling experience and I hope their tribe and cultures survive the up and coming tourism in their area!
I found the Vietnam and Cambodia I was looking for, what I imagined and dreamt of before coming here and so much more….and you will too if you visit…and if you stay of the beaten track even more so!
Can you see the real butterfly