This part of South East Asia has been on my travel wish list for the longest time. A little over two weeks saw three girlfriends take a total of seven flights, eat countless bowls of pho, catch a sunrise or two, get lost among ancient Khmer temples, and create many, many new memories! Here’s little snapshot of our Far Eastern adventure…
1.) Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
You can’t miss this city’s colonial past, with its beautiful architecture that you can happily take in mooching around on foot. We travelled at the end of May which, while we were caught out by the odd shower (read: downpour!), was fine to explore by ourselves.
2.) The Deck
This gem was listed in the Luxe travel guide for Ho Chi Minh. Located on the Saigon river, we were treated to some of the best modern Vietnamese food of the trip. It’s a little out of the city but worth the taxi ride. Ask to be sat on the deck itself for the best views.
2.) Mekong River tour and floating market of Cai Be
A boat trip down the Mekong offers a little tranquility from the city’s hustle and bustle. We took an overnight trip to Cai Be, a few hours out of town, to see the floating markets there first thing in the morning. Apparently one of the largest on the Mekong, it was amazing to see the market vendors sell everything from prepped pineapples to homemade soup noodles from their traditional barges.
3.) Chef Vu’s Cookery School
I’m not sure whether Chef Vu knew what he was taking on as we rolled up as his apprentices for the afternoon! This was actually a lot of fun, learning on-hand a few traditional Vietnamese recipes. Best part was, of course, sampling our new-found signature dishes 😉
I’ve recreated the king prawn summer rolls using ingredients easily available back home, if you want to try your hand at this too!
4). Da Nang and Hoi An
Easily my favourite part of our Vietnam trip, the town of Hoi An by night is filled with the light of traditional lanterns. It is truly picturesque and a taste of “Old Vietnam”. Japanese, Chinese and French-influenced architecture line its cobbled streets. Hop on a bike during the day and explore the nearby rice paddies.
We stayed in the coastal resort of Da Nang, about 20 minutes south, at the beautiful spa resort of Fusion Maia. Three indulgent R&R days for three intrepid travellers – it couldn’t have been more incredible!
5.) Angkor Wat temple hopping
Our final leg of the journey took us to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to see the beautiful Khmer temples that still stand. As you might imagine, the various temples are busy but if you take a short car journey further out, you will come across the Ladies Temple (our informative driver told us about this place). It is possibly the most well-preserved of all the temples in the region and, arriving in the late afternoon, we were just some of the handful of visitors that had also made the trip. Sunrise over Angkor Wat is worth the early rise, as is returning for the sunset on Baksei Chamkrong.
Check out my travelling companion’s blog, Nome from Home.
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