Bob and Judy traveled with us to SE Asia on our Ultimate Vietnam and Cambodia trip. They have traveled extensively but wanted to finally make it to a part of the world that loomed so large in their past. After days spent exploring Hanoi & Halong Bay, scootering around Ho Chi Minh, and watching the sun rise behind Angkor Wat we think it's safe to say the Reeds found everything they were looking for and more. Read a little more about their trip below:
What were the main reasons you chose this itinerary?
This itinerary covered places we were interested in seeing. Bob was lucky enough not to have been involved in the war in spite of a #1 draft lottery spot in 1969, he got a deferment teaching school. We were interested in visiting the country and area that loomed so large in our past. We were very interested in Angkor Wat. This itinerary just appealed to us as an area of the world that we wanted to learn more about and experience.
What places or experiences did you enjoy most and why?
We enjoyed everything, each place had its special moments.
Hanoi - lights at night, walks around Hoan Kiem Lake, trying street food in the Old Town Market. Halong Bay was beautiful and a nice slow down in pace from Hanoi.
Hue -history and great biking through countryside, meeting our guide's family, Hoi An-biking & cooking class, the market.
Saigon-totally crazy traffic, drinks at the Caravelle Hotel, really loved scooter ride, food, music and coffee.
Mekong Delta-homestay was fun, loved meeting family and cooking with them.
Phnom Penh-enjoyed visiting Museum and Palace, cyclo ride fun, attended dance performance in the evening, very sobering to hear the stories of our guide Try and his experiences with the Khmer Rouge. Kampong Thom Village Homestay was exceptional. We loved seeing how the family lived, playing with the kids, talking through our guide with the family
Siem Reap- the crowning jewel (of course) was Angkor Wat, amazing temples and history. Landmine Museum and villages on lake were an eyeopeners.
Very hard to imagine in both countries what the people have gone through in recent history, yet are trying to move forward with their lives. We all want the same things for our families no matter where we come from or what type of experiences have brought us to the present - we are more the same than different
Please comment on your guides.
All of our guides were excellent. We had a different guide in each location. We shared family info and fun stories. We got to know them as friends. Long in Siem Reap really knew his stuff about all the temples! Truly amazing. We asked about how Vishnu could be so many different things and he said he's kind of like a transformer, he becomes what he needs to be. A really effective pop culture reference!
What meals stood out?
The meals on the cruise in Halong Bay were excellent. Our first day in Hanoi we were not on the itinerary but Phom our guide met us and took us to lunch in a beautiful Vietnamese restaurand in the French Quarter, excellent introduction to Vietnamese food. Friends Resaurant (an NGO that trains underpriveleged youth in hospitality) in Phnom Penh was also outstanding.
Please recount any personal highlights or insights you experienced on your trip:
This is so hard to explain. I mentioned earlier that we are all alike, we want the same things for our families and ourselves in spite of the different circumstances we have been through, people are resilient, we are much more alike the world over than we are different, I feel like if more people could experience this the world would be a better place
What advice would you give to travelers going on this Wildland adventure?
Be ready for adventure, keep eyes open and mind open and be very flexible, don't go with any preconceived notions about anything, listen to people and learn