- Vietnam and Cambodia. A trip almost of 2 quite different halves.
Our tour Leader 'Vinnie' was nothing short of remarkable. Nothing was too much effort and he constantly thought ahead.His mastery of english was amazing! i cannot imagine ever getting a better or nicer guide. A full on itinerary. If you want a relaxing holiday then don't do this tour. The hotels in some cases could have been better but overall there was nothing major to complain about. The restaurants recommended were first rate and as a group we all thoroughly enjoyed each others company.
On all the trips the buses were to a good standard and it seemed that even our days off and our optional tours , especially the cookery in Hoang was tried and tested. Definitely also do the bike tours and the boat tours. The overnight train tour was an experience in itself just for saying you did it. It all adds to the overall immersion and completeness . The knowledge and experience in relating to the war made a fascinating background to the culture of this unsettled country.
As we moved into Cambodia, then things changed a bit. As lovely and accommodating as our leader 'Sitar" was, he clearly did not have either the full experience of Vinnie, and his English was sometimes difficult to understand. Certainly you found yourself checking out from some of his seemingly complicated explanations of culture and history
The Killing fields and Genocide museum were sobering . They seemed to almost lack a deserved feel of respect for so many souls but the scale of the atrocity beggars belief and the Jail ultimately was far more moving and quite shocking. Be prepared for some truly grizzly and appaling pictures.!
As we moved through Cambodia the quality of the transport was way poorer than that in Vietnam and it made long hot trips much more arduous. It was a full on schedule and the heat and humidity took its toll on us. Floating fishing villages were fascinating and you realise the poverty. Also be prepared to accept that the country and the rivers resemble dustbins and sewers. There is rubbish everywhere. Its a hot sticky country.
The temples ultimately did not disappoint and this is really where Sitar shined. Clearly he was on home territory and ultimately Ankor Wat, as mobbed as it is by tourists, delivered a stunning experience, including photos devoid of people. Only possible because he knew his way round so well and where to get the best photo call. We attended a couple of optional first rate evening shows and again the restaurant recommendations proved good.
The whole holiday proved a mixture of emotion with the War and the Atrocities and you really saw all aspects of this poor country and learnt about its political and historical and ethnic mix. Well worth the money
Published on: 14 February 2017