Saturday, 11 August 2012

Vietnam & Cambodia in a nutshell

My last evening in Siem Reap, I finally found some time to post something again, although the computers here are painstackingly slow..
I've travelled from North to South Vietnam, going to Sapa high in the mountains with beautiful rice terraces and ethnic minorities like White Tai or H'mong. After that some relaxing on a cruise in Halong Bay, before heading south to the ancient capital of Hue which is all about the splendor of the past with former emperors constructing huge almost entire cities for their graves. In Hoi An one has everything a traveller needs. Nice, relaxed beaches combined with a little old town full with clothmakers, Cham Islands, a Marble Mountain and some history in the form of an old capital called My Son (Mieee Son).A river dividing this little place in two is more than agreeable and the food here is amazing and cheap! (12 eurocents for a draught beer..) Had my next ball gown made and measured up here, so beware to compliment me next time.
Then off to Nha Trang for some relaxed beach baking with 2 funny French dudes, before heading to the buzzing capital of Saigon and be faced with megatourism in the Mekong Delta and the cleverness of the Viet Cong at the Cu-Chi tunnels. After this 2 week Vietnam discovery off to Cambodia, mainly to admire Angkor's beauty but also be appalled by the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot, just about 40 years ago..
Angkor did cast her spell on me, however not by the main tourist sites. The more distant complexes without tourists like Ta Nui covered in jungle and hand-sized butterflies, or Roluos the first one where I was the only visitor present. Kbal Span with the river of a thousand lingas is a refreshing walk up into the mountains with a riverbed totally covered in carving still very well visible after 1000 years, followed by a full body Khmer massage to finally treat my muscles to a little goodness after all the hardships. Today had my last surprise in biking to the floating village of Chong Khneas and seeing what Cambodian life actually is (much poorer than it seems at first) before I headed out to Beng Mealea with my new Brit friends with a 2 hour tuk-tuk drive through one of the only roads in the countryside, before discovering this huge temple partly ruined but still remarkably beautiful and taken back by nature.

As you can probably imagine, I'm having a very good time on my journey and so far no major drawbacks have happened except for the stealing of my beloved camera so there will be no holiday pictures from me.. However I plan to get the pictures of all the amazing people I've met to create my own journey through their lens. Okay, off to some good Khmer food now!

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