A Travellerspoint blog

Siem Reap, Cambodia Jan 26 (Day 5)

Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom , and the night market

our day started with a six o'clock wake up call and then on the bus to see beautiful Angkor Wat. it was originally a Hindu temple built in the early 12th century but later became aBuddist temple. I can see why people flock from all over the world to see and experience this magnificent place. Our guide, Tek was a wealth of information. you enter the grounds along a wide stone pathway that runs through a moat. we were looking forward to climbing the steep staircase to the upper level of the temple, where shoulders and knees must be kept covered, but it was closed for maintenance so we returned next day. more on next blog entry about that

after Angkor (which means Holy City) Wat, it was on to Angkor Thom, smaller but no less impressive. this temple was built in the Bayon style as a Buddhist temple with many beautiful faces carved on all sides of the temple walls

after hours of temples it was time for lunch then back to the hotel for a snooze before taking a tuk tuk to a balloon ride to watch the sunset and have a great view of Angkor Wat. our driver waited for us while we rode up the tethered helium balloon then took us back into town to enjoy a fantastic and dirt cheap Khmer dinner

after dinner we walked around town enjoying the night market and all the colourful neon and craziness of some Reap. fish massages every block where you sit with your feet in a tank of water while tiny tilapia fish nibble the dry skin off, and pedicures on the street for one us dollar.

Some Reap means Siam (Thailand) Defeated

Posted by ciannaloo 06:40 Comments (0)

Flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia

another long bus ride and a fantastic dinner

After breakfast this morning it was another four hour bus ride to the airport in Hanoi, then a 1 hour 45 minute flight to Siem Reap. After coolish Hanoi the heat and humidity felt great. our hotel here is lovely, done in a French colonial style. the heavenly scent of frangipani greeted us when we walked into the lobby.

dinner was absolutely delicious and had the most exquisite presentation and was eaten while we watched beautiful dancers preforming folk and Aspara dances, once reserved only for a king's audience. I am tired and cannot remember the name of the restaurant/theatre.

the small city of Siem Reap is quite the contrast to Hanoi from what we have seen so far. tomorrow we will be visiting temples and I imagine we shall come out of it with a head full of interesting knowledge

Posted by ciannaloo 07:35 Comments (0)

Ha Long Bay - Jan 24 (day 3)

Cruise and Cave

we headed north and west from Hanoi on the bus today to beautiful Ha long Bay. it was a four hour journey through pretty thick white smog. We kept hoping it would clear for the cruise but no such luck. I think it is pretty typical for this time of year. blue skies happen in summer but then it is like 45 degrees. Even so the cruise was magnificent. The haze made it feel rather magical and mystical or 'mist'ical if you'd rather. there are over 5000 limestone formations rising out of the sea as you glide along in a junk. Definitely an experience I will never forget.

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We got off the junk to visit one of the caves that have formed there. it was very beautiful. Lots of steps both up and down. we've been in some pretty impressive caves in northern Ireland and South Africa's this one ranked up with those.

we spent the night in Ha Long and slept really well after a long day. Tomorrow its off to Cambodia

Posted by ciannaloo 06:38 Comments (1)

Hanoi (day 2) January 23, 2013

Mausoleum, Military Prison, Temple of Literature, Cyclo ride and Puppet show

well today we started off with a dead body. I did not realize when we want to the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minn, Vietnam's beloved leader until 1969, that we would see his actual body, perfectly preserved and guarded by 6 soldiers standing stock still. it was quite the sight. At first I thought he must be wax as I could not see the glass he was encased in. I thought he was out in the open , but no, he is under glass and cold with nitrogen. Two months each year they undergo a special maintainance on him to keep him looking wonderful. He was 79 when he died and I must say quite a lovely looking fellow.

next it was onto the military prison which was very sobering. Deplorable conditions under French rule. the prison was later used to hold American pilots during the war Keeping them in the city lesson ed the chance of Hanoi being bombed

The temple of literature where Confucionism was taught for over 800 years produced only slightly over a thousand graduates

we had fun in the afternoon riding a cyclo, like a rickshaw only with the passenger in front. how touristy but interesting to ride through the chaotic streets of Hanoi. we finished off the afternoon with a water puppet show

lunch and dinner were both excellent and we were pretty exhausted by bedtime

I shall write about today later but right now need to get some sleep

Posted by ciannaloo 07:03 Comments (1)

Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter

overcast 19 °C

WOke up this morning very early. It was a very long flight and it was wonderful to sleep in a comfy bed last night. A nice breakfast at the hotel and then off to do some exploring. After our second taxi ride we realized we had been converting dongs to dollars incorrectly and had given the drivers double. NO wonder they grinned so much!

We did a lot of walking today around Hoan Kiem lake and the old town. absolutely craziness with motorcycles, cars, bicycles and people. no stop signs and very few traffic lights, just go and honk lots. we had lunch on the sidewalk amid the chaos where you sit on a little plastic stool about eight inches off the ground.

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LEo has been in heaven with all the photo ops
By early afternoon jet lag was catching up to us so a bit of a nap was in order. then a glass of wine at the bar by the lake. our hotel is right on west lake, right over it in fact
with the rooms on (concrete) stilts.

we were not quite as adventurous for dinner, staying at the hotel and having a wood fired pizza and vanilla gelato
we are both still a bit off from the long flight and hopefully a good nights sleep will fix that

HAnohi is pretty smoggy but it is not a brown smog, rather a whitish haze

Posted by ciannaloo 18:45 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

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