Today was our departure day to go home. For those who were not ready to leave had the option to have the trip CEO to help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.
Today,we explore the dark side of Cambodian history at Choeung Ek Memorial, the site of the infamous killing fields. We also visited Tuol Sleng prison, the notorious Khmer Rouge prison where thousands of Cambodians perished. The dark side of Cambodian history at Choeng Ek Memorial, the site of the infamous killing fields that were the execution grounds for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge during their reign from 1975-1979. We also visited Tuol Sleng prison, the notorious Khmer Rouge prison where thousands of Cambodians perished. This is a haunting look into history which serves to remind everyone that genocide must not be ignored, or those lost, forgotten.
Today we took a flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia take an NGO-supported cyclo city tour along the waterfront and key city sights, and then we visited the famous Foreign Correspondents' Club for sunset drinks.
In Ho Chi Minh, we discovered the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, legendary for the vital part they played during the Vietnam War. We took a half day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels with a local guide. With some free time in the afternoon, we took time to sightsee or shop. Some tried their hand at bargaining at the Ben Thanh Market, while others hired a cyclo (cycle rickshaw) for sightseeing or to take a boat ride on the Saigon river.
We caught our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam and take a thrilling cyclo tour of this bustling city.
Toda we returned to land and headed back to Hanoi. We enjoyed lunch at Hoa Sua, an NGO and training school for disadvantaged youth. After lunch, we set out on a guided cyclo ride and orientation tour of the Old Quarter. Classic French colonial architecture, beautiful decor and a scenic location makes Hanoi a fantastic place to visit. We were encouraged that if local cuisine piqued our interest to pre-book the "Hanoi Street Food Walking Tour".
This day, we visited Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, then continued to Halong Bay to spend the night on a traditional junk boat surrounded by turquoise waters, where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from the calm waters. We cruised through Bai Tu Long Bay, a more secluded section of this stunning World Heritage site, and then continued to cruise around the bay and explore the Me Cung cave with our local guide.
Our morning was free for optional activities such as visiting textile galleries, relaxing in one of the town's cafes, or visiting the Ethnology Museum. In the afternoon, we took an excursion to Kuang Si waterfall.
Rising at dawn, we were able to watch the monks collecting offerings of food from the locals in exchange for blessings, then visiting the Royal Palace Museum and Wat Xiengthong. Later, we caught a boat to Pak Ou Temple caves and stop in local villages.
Today, we explored Chiang Mai with some free time. This evening, we visited a village outside Chiang Mai and sit down around an authentic khantoke for dinner in a local family's guesthouse. We traveld to the countryside near Chiang Mai. This night, we enjoyed a chant dinner, a must-do when you reach northern Thailand. Khantok in the Northern dialect means a wooden tray used for carrying dishes, round in shape, made of teak wood. The host invited guests to sit on the floor around the khantok. The main dishes on the khantok usually include sticky rice, hang-le curry (Burmese-styled curry), and some chili-pasted crispy pork. After, we enjoyed tea time with the opportunity to talk with local people to learn their way of living.
Today we voyaged to the market with a local chef to learn about traditional ingredients. We participated in a Thai cooking class and enjoyed our creations for lunch. Later, we visited an historic temple and sit down with one of the young monks to discuss daily life and Buddhism. We visited the Doi Suthep Buddhist Temple and listened to monks chanting at sunset. We could opt to visit the bustling Chiang Mai night market. Monk Chats are a great cultural exchange, but is also important in helping the young Monks improve their English. Our hotel was located in the heart of Chiang Mai city, a five-minute walk from the famous night bazaar.
Today we explored Bangkok and took a boat along the klong canals. We were able to visit the Grand Palace and sacred Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew temple. Later, we caught a flight to Chiang Mai followed by us settling into the exquisite surroundings in Chiang Mai to take a relaxing break from the fast pace of Bangkok.