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Popular Cultural Holiday
This is a small group guided holiday. The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12 like-minded clients booking individually, in a couple or as friends together.
Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.
A fast paced trip with a wide range of experiences and locations
Cambodia was the highlight of the tour. Our guide there was excellent and even invited us to the blessing of her new home and to meet her family.
We had one for each country we visited. They were all very friendly, knowledgeable and interesting. Channa in Cambodia was particularly good, she was so proud of her country and so pleased we'd come to visit. Nothing was too much bother for her. Noung in Vietnam was great fun and Rapd in Thailand was good though she kept us moving quickly and those unable to keep up missed out on the information being given
Take plenty of mosquito repellent and your own toilet paper, outside loos Don't always have it.
It was a fascinating trip, but with early starts and the heat it was quite exhausting. There was also a lot of time spent travelling on the bus. All in all though I wouldn't have missed it for anything.
This trip is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the history, cuisine and the way of life in the capital cities of Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh and Bangkok. The itinerary also allows you to see how people live, work and socialise in rural areas which is what makes this trip so fascinating. During my 14 day visit I was able to learn more about the Vietnam war, the way of life in the Mekong Delta, the actions of the Khmer Rouge (the toughest part of the trip in my opinion) and the history of Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom.
The itinerary also allowed our group some relaxing downtime which involved sunbathing, snorkelling and fishing off Bamboo Island (near to the resort of Sihanoukville, Cambodia).
This trip does involve 2 fairly long trips by bus to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap although we were given a number of comfort breaks which included a stop at Skuon and a chance to hold a live tarantula and sample a fried spider!!
The most inspirational moments of my trip were:
1) The Homestay in the Mekong Delta and getting the opportunity to assist in preparing a meal (I live on microwave meals so this was a challenge) and being entertained by the local community....listening to a number of folk songs which told stories about their way of life.
2) The Killing Fields / S21 Prison was a very moving experience and I was extremely emotional when I saw the many graves and heard about the events that unfolded at the site. It is hard to take in but I believe it is important to learn about the atrocities that happened in the Killing Fields and the conditions that the prisoners were subjected to at the S21 prison facility. Before leaving the prison, you can speak to one of the survivors in the grounds and here their story.
3) Angkor Wat was amazing (despite the humid conditions) and provided some great photo opportunities.
All 3 group leaders on our tour were very good and provided a real insight into the heritage and culture of their respective countries. A big thank you to Tham (Vietnam), Borey (Cambodia) & Gigi (Thailand) for all their hard work and efforts in making this such a memorable trip.
Make sure that you apply mosquito repellent on a daily basis, particularly at Angkor Wat as they had a good go at my legs and ankles!! Also make sure that you barter / negotiate when buying goods in the shops and markets as one individual in our group learnt the hard way when buying a pair of sunglasses! I would also recommend that you drink plenty of water during the daytime and bring glucose tablets with you to prevent dehydration.
When packing before your trip don't take too much clothing as you will be living out of a suitcase and constantly switching between hotels. Most of the hotels provide a laundry service but I would speak to your group leader as they may be able to get a cheaper deal and allow your clothing to be washed & ironed using an express service.
Lastly....enjoy it and try the local delicacies such as the Elephant fish, crocodile curry and fried spiders.
My only negative comment is in relation to the Royal Princess Hotel that we stayed in (Bangkok). Upon our arrival which was at around 1030hrs, we were informed that our rooms would not be ready until 1400hrs and that our suitcases and hand luggage would be transported to a secure storage room. When returning to the hotel at 1800hrs (having departed earlier to complete a tour of the city) we discovered that all our cases and hand luggage were still in the hotel lobby!! On a positive note, it was great to tour around the 3 countries with a great group of people from all walks of life who made the experience even more enjoyable (will miss the banter, meals out).
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