Indochina: Vietnam & Cambodia in 2 two weeks

You need at least two weeks to visit these two countries; if you have more time you can include Laos and Thailand as well (Indochina is a big area indeed including Myanmar, Thailand, the Malaysian peninsula, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia). Your first stop in Vietnam will be either Saigon or Hanoi. You may find Hanoi historically more charming and Saigon a little tiring and humid. The ancient city of Hue and the little picturesque town of Hoi An will appeal more to your tastes if you are looking...

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Hanoi: The Division between the South and the North

Hanoi: The Division between the South and the NorthSaigon and Hanoi are two cities in Vietnam that symbolize the division between the south and the north of the country. Vietnam is a well-known country due to the recent war which the superpower U.S.A got involved in and inspired many Hollywood movies. Our imagination is filled with the images of chemical bombs striking down the civilian population, of traumas American soldiers suffered, of soldiers fighting in green fields and native people...

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A day in Hanoi: Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake

The best thing to do in Hanoi is to take a tuktuk and do some sightseeing in slow motion. While the bicycle taxi is pedalling on his own rhythm you can sit and watch the city. We make a tour of the Temple of Literature, the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the Hoan Kiem Lake and the streets of old town. Known as the first university of Vietnam, this place is also a temple dedicated to Confucius, academicians, and scholars. It served as a university since the beginning of the 11th century until the...

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Halong Bay

It is hard to describe Halong Bay without the use of clichés. It is so impressive and gorgeous that your admiration never wears off no matter where you look at around here. You need to spend a night at Halong Bay, which is in a 4 hour drive from the capitol city Hanoi. They bay is bigger than we expected; it is speckled by around 5000 limestone isles which took 500 million years to form. Limestone, formed by the tropical wet climate in 20 million years, is the main building block of these...

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Hue, The Ancient Kingdom of Nguyen’s Hometown
Hue

The ancient capital of Vietnam Hue is where you feel the Chinese influence more, especially in the architecture. The old town, the Ancient Palace Complex, with its palaces from the Nguyen period, the tombs, pagodas, temples, are all in the Unesco Heritage List. The main tourist attractions are these palaces where the Nguyen Dynasty lived between the 17th and 19th centuries. The city is a standpoint between the North and the South, and the history tells us that the last king, supported by...

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Hoi An, the city of oil lamps and the reeds

Hoi An and Hue attract visitors as two old cities on the shore line in the middle of Vietnam while the country coils up on the world map like a long serpent. An important port city between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An in that period was the meeting point of Southeast Asian trade and an influential settlement due to its strategic significance. Today it is a magic place where one can admire the architecture of the period, walk in its old town which is under protection and closed to...

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City walks, Saigon

Though the official name is Ho Chi Minh City, the city is still often called Saigon. The climate is quite different from Hanoi, which we visit later on. Here it’s humid, hot and tiring. The streets are full of thousands of scooters, we cannot figure out how to cross a street, a total chaos it seems at first , but one can sense that there is a set of unwritten set of rules that everybody follows. We are passing through the shopping area, the five star hotels and international brands line up...

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Angkor Park of Archeology

For many people Angkor Wat takes the top of the list of the most impressive journeys in a life time. It is hard to describe this experience by dishing out practical information; I think the main reason why it moves you deeply is because the temples are scattered deep in the jungle in numbers that seem never to end and you can be a part of this mystic atmosphere if you a ride a bicycle just as we did. Angkor is the world’s biggest constellation of temples that spreads out in the wilderness. ...

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While Discovering Angkor: Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat has become a popular symbol which even made its way onto the Cambodian flag. It is considered to be the biggest temple in the world, and definitely the most well-preserved one among the other temples in the city of Angkor. Its structure was influenced first by the Hindu religion and then Buddhism. It was built as a temple and eventually the final resting place of King Suryavarman the Second. You enter the temple over a bridge spanning the river, and walk through a courtyard...

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While Discovering Angkor: Angkor Thom and Phimeanakas

We left behind Angkor Wat. We are keeping pedaling. The series of statues on the bridge we will pass over in a few kilometers herald another ancient settlement. Angkor Thom is the last Khmer Empire city and it has the longest history of settlement. Back in its glorious days it was a city where more than a hundred thousand people lived. It was abandoned in the 16th century. It is the first big edifice you would see when you enter Angkor Thom. After parking our bicycles, we are approaching the...

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While Discovering Angkor: Bayon

This temple is one of the places featured most frequently in the visual materials about Angkor. This is because Buddha visages in varying sizes cover the façades of the temple. It is impossible not to notice a Buddha face wherever you look. The temple is darker in color than others and was built in the Baroque style. It was built by the order of the King Jayavarman the Seventh who adopted Mahayana Buddhism in the 13th century and it is the last of the temples built by the king in Angkor. More...

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Ta Prohm

The unique atmosphere of the temple is mostly created by the centuries old trees that creep up the walls, with roots that have become one with the walls, gigantic trees that seemingly conquered the temple, looking like exotic living beings. The place is designed both as a temple and a monastery; unlike other temples designed as pyramids or towers that look like trees, Ta Prohm has straight lines. We are passing through one yard after another and it feels like we are walking in a jungle rather...

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Banteay Srei

This is a Hindu temple dedicated to the God Shiva, some way outside the city. You need to drive in order to get there. Its details are interesting. We encounter the best of mason crafting here. The temple gets its color from the red sandstone used in its construction. Its original name refers to Shiva, the God of the triple world, but it is called today the Castle of Women or the Castle of Beauty; it received this name on the account of the engravings on the walls which are the expression of...

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Bangkok The Grand Palace and the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho

This complex of buildings has been the home of the Siam Kingdom since the 12th century. When you enter it, you start walking under domes and through courtyards that seem to go on forever like doors that open to infinity. It has many ornamental and architectural styles. The golden domes and columns look brighter than they are when they reflect sunlight. It feels like you have travelled to Alice in wonderland. Because they are asymmetrical, it is possible to get a point of view that reveals a...

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