Impossible to say anything specific was a highlight as the entire tour was amazing. Everyone will talk about the insane traffic and that going native meant stepping into the oncoming traffic and just aiming for the other side. Trains and boats and planes, and buses and motorbike taxis and rickshaws, we did it all. Hot, busy but never boring, I needed a holiday when I got back.
The amazing contrasts between Hanoi and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city), the beautiful coastline and the Mekong Delta. Wish we could have had more than 40 minutes at China beach, it was so lovely to get into the sea. The only negative would be the guy who owns the cafe next to the hotel in Hanoi ripped us off on packed lunches. There was a menu of various choices and when we opened the lunches they were all the same and the vegetarians in the group were faced with meat sandwiches. The lunch wasn't very good and most of the group ditched it - not Explore's fault.
There was such great variety to see and experience on the tour and the very mixed group travelling together got on like a house on fire. There was the odd tear in the eye as goodbyes were said at the end. The Cambodian extension was well worth it. Significantly poorer than Vietnam, it was an education in Phnom Penh and the temples at Angkor were breathtaking, although personally I felt a bit templed out by day three 13 temples later!
We ate crickets and spiders at the roadside and some of the group raved about the Cambodian barbeque in Siem Reap. We made an unexpected visit to a little orphanage, and some of the teachers in the group wished we could have been prepared with books, pens and toys, and maybe an opportunity to teach some basic English for a couple of hours. All in all one of the best holidays I have had so far, would highly recommend it as a 'must do'. Thanks Explore! (VNC -6th August 2011)