Here I go with the last part of this unforgettable trip that we were lucky to do in February of this so unusual 2020. When the cruise ended, we were taken by minibus to Siem Reap, a city which is in itself interesting but also the closest place to the ruins of Angkor Wat, the most famous ruins in the area, although not the only ones.
On the way there we made a stop at what they called the “happy room” which was nothing more or less than the bathroom 🙂 . There we took the opportunity to take a photo with our guides during the days that we were on the ship, Mr. Huyh from Vietnam and Mr. Smiley from Cambodia, two fantastic guys on all the excursions we took during the trip. I also don’t want to forget Mirko (who I don’t have a photo of) a super fun German who was the host during the cruise. Thanks for making our trip amazing.
Once in Siem Reap we separated from the group with whom we had spent the week and continued the journey on our own.
The experience on land was good; we settled in a hotel on the outskirts of the city whose rooms had a certain uniqueness… all the bathrooms were outdoors, not only the part of the shower but also the toilet … a different experience to be sitting “to meditate” and be surrounded by nature 🙂
Another interesting thing was that all the trips we took to the city center were in tuk tuk, so that was very fun and exotic, in fact even our suitcases traveled that way as you see in the photo.
Those who visit the city of Siem Reap probably do so to see the temples such as Angkor Wat and the ones nearby such as Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Neak Poan, and Banteay Srei, among others.
The history of their construction (like their destruction) is very interesting and, as they were abandoned for many years until their reconstruction came, what struck me powerfully were the trees, as they made their way into the middle of the ruins. The force of nature, really impressive.
Maybe many years ago you saw the movie Tomb Raider (if you didn’t watch it, don’t waste your time, it’s really bad) but one of these famous trees appears in it … obviously I’m not the only one that caught your attention 😉
One of the must-do visits is to go see the sunrise at Angkor Wat; there we met again with the folks from the cruise, and unfortunately, perhaps because I was half asleep, I did not take any pictures with Eloise, Leyla or Sandie, but we gave each other many hugs, something that seems like a fiction now, since it’s no longer normal to do… How I miss hugs!!
And here are photos of the temples, of the sunrise and us with our guide whose name we can’t quite remember; what I can say is that he did a super professional job, he showed us hidden things inside the temples, he told us the history of the them and also some things about the Cambodian culture.
And a little more of the temples. I loved this image, as I imagined it was a mom sharing a book with her daughter 🙂
And here I show you again the drawings of the temples made by Robyn Diener. Great, right? I’m still in love with her collection :). I also made a collage with one of her drawings and my photo. Yes, I am a big fan.
After a few days in Siem Reap we took a plane back to Vietnam to visit the cities of Hoi An (which I loved) and Hue.
Many people told us that Hoi An was super touristy and that perhaps its authenticity has been diluted. For me it was one of my favorite cities: decorated with fabric lanterns of different colors that gave life to the streets, with a huge and chaotic market and with exquisite food.
Another of the fun things we did was go get custom-made clothes within a day, it was a different experience, very strange, but it is one of the typical things to do in the town.
After two days we decided to go to Hue, a city that I did not like at all. We arrived, and I don’t know if due to the contrast with Hoi An, but I felt overwhelmed and sad. We had a hard time finding a place to have a drink, and I also realized the importance of karaoke in Vietnam. I never thought that I would find karaoke spaces open to the street, side by side, competing for who can play the “music” louder and who could shout more while “singing”. If when reading this you think that I am an old lady because of this comment, you are absolutely right 🙂 . It was a painful experience for the ears.
Having traveled so much with Barnaby made us know just by looking at us that something was not right and that it was time to set course for a new plan. And so we did, we changed plane tickets and went a few more days to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and it was thanks to that that we had the culinary experiences that I told you of in another of my posts.
Our trip to Hanoi in the original plan was to be able to visit Ha Long Bay, where it is recommended to take a boat and spend a few days near those monumental rocks. This allowed us to do some activities such as kayaking, spending a day at the beach, visiting the interior of one of the rocks, which was an amazing experience, and enjoying a few days of relaxation. There we met Barbara and David, a very funny American couple that I hope we can see again when everything improves.
Back in the capital, we started to settle down for a long trip back home. In the taxi on the way to the airport, I took these photos of the traffic, which is still a curiosity for me.
This was a trip that I enjoyed doubly, as I had told you when I started writing about it, it was not a place that was on my list of favorite destinations, and I am still happy about Barnaby’s insistence to do so. It was very different from a cultural point of view and therefore of enormous learning, the greatest of all is that we should be more grateful for what we have. Remembering the kindness and smiles we had from Vietnamese and Cambodians make my heart happy. As well as the new friends we made around the world (Ilona, Alan, Brian, Sandie, Eloise, Leyla, Ed, Leeanne, David, Peree, Robyn, Chris, Barbara, Sue with whom I keep in virtual contact and who I hope we see again when the pandemic is over).
Thank you for joining me once again on this wonderful adventure and again thanks to Barnaby for helping me in the English version.