Best of east - Vietnam and Cambodia - Awesome Experiences

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Best of East - Vietnam and Cambodia

Vietnam and Cambodia are both worth a visit individually, but you can actually do the highlights of both in a week with AX! Hanoi is wonderful. Everyone travels by motorbike, so we decided to join in and tour the city from the back of a Russian bike. Ho Chi Minh's tomb is an unexpected mix of the hagiographic and macabre. He lies in state, maintained by Russian embalmers who learned their trade with the body of Lenin in Red Square.

Everyone wants to see the UNESCO islands at Halong Bay, but not everyone wants to drive the usual 4 hours there and 4 hours back ; so we decided to take a seaplane instead, flying around the bay and landing on our own water runway.

Hoi An is also worth a visit, as are the grim, close Cu Chi tunnels near Saigon. These served as hiding places and supply channels during the Vietnam War, and they gave us a clear picture of the hardships endured by the Viet Cong fighters in that desperate struggle. There’s also a cool new bridge you can see on the Vietnam trip that has been featured on all newspaper covers...

Then it was time to fly to Cambodia. Our first destination in Cambodia was a place for mourning and reflection. Our visit to "The Killing Fields" of the Khmer Rouge gave us an insight into one of the greatest and most senseless political atrocities of the modern era, shown in the famous Peter Weir film of the same name, and in Angelina Jolie's brilliant "First They Killed my Father".

Given the horrors perpetrated in those films, we came to marvel at the gentleness and warm hospitality of the Cambodian people, who show daily the resilience and triumph of their spirit after immeasurable suffering.

Finally, we paid our tourist pilgrimage to the wondrous Angkor Wat, travelling by bicycle about its many interlocked temples and inscrutable stones, before surveying its bigger picture by helicopter, hovering high above its ancient geometric footprint. Many people have seen it, but few have seen it from the angels' view. Truly awesome....

 

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