A Happy New Rooster Year!
Today I have a few selected pictures from Vietnam and Cambodia to share with you. I have a lot of pictures, and it was not easy choosing just a few. They will in no way give a satisfactory picture of these 2 awesome countries, but hopefully a small taste to inspire. We had a little less than 2 weeks for our vacation over christmas and new year, and we decided to see both Vietnam and Cambodia. We definitely want to go back and see more.
We started with Vietnam where we visited Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh (old Saigon). My first impression of Vietnam was that the Chinese influence in traditional architecture, decorations and old temples felt huge. The people and food were completely different though, and I would love to go back and visit some smaller towns along the coast. People were so kind, enthusiastic and just great. The food was excellent. I could honestly go back just for the food! Easy to say: we loved it there!
Hanoi was busy and noisy. Scooters, laughter, music, street foods and restaurants everywhere. But it was a positive atmosphere. We spent 4 days exploring the city before flying down to Ho Chi Minh. It almost felt like coming yet to another country. A more modern country. Downtown old Saigon was like a smaller version of Shanghai. The people and food just as amazing.
Lets start of with a traditional vacation picture. Here we are, all 4 of us travelling together. From the left: my hubby, me, Blair and Rain.
The architecture in Ha Noi old town was quite different. Very narrow houses that could be several stories high, and often very deep.
Cozy street food.
Pho. The traditional noodle soup of Vietnam. Yummy!
Ho Chi Minh. The largest city in Vietnam.
The remnants museum in Ho Chi Minh. A museum dedicated to the war of Vietnam. Not for the faint hearted as the pictures inside are quite horrible. Interesting to see, but also very depressing. We also went outside the city for a day and had a look at the network of tunnels the Vietnamese people used in their gerilla war against the Us troops.
Wet market. All the fruit, veggies and seafood that you need.
Here we leave Vietnam and continue with Cambodia. We flew from Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap. There we spend 3 days exploring Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples. From there we hired a car to drive us south to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. We celebrated New years eve there before heading back home. Cambodia felt more exotic than Vietnam, mainly because for me it felt so much more different from China than what Vietnam did. The people were even more friendlier if it's possible. The food however... well, lets say that we did not eat a lot of 'local' food. The traditional food tasted like watered down Indian food with not much taste. Maybe we were unlucky in our first choices. But we did find excellent sushi, Mexican and even French food... I think it is the first time I have come to a new country and not liked the local cuisine...
From all my photos from Cambodia I have chosen my favourites from the temples to show you here. Angkor Wat and the hundreds of temples surrounding it in the 'jungle' were awesome, and I am so happy that I have had a change to see it. Beautiful architecture, and looking quite romantic half in ruins amongst the trees. The Khmer civilisation that build the Temples has a fascinating history. Angkor was was the biggest city in the world in its glory days (12th and 13th century). Quite a lot is known about how they lived thanks to ancient texts, but why they suddenly abandoned their cities and temples is a mystery. There are a lot of theories about foreign invasion, starvation and so on. But as there are very few written documents about that, they remain theories.
The main temple Angkor Wat. It is the biggest and the best preserved temple of them all. Build for the Hindu god Vishnu, but became later a buddhist temple. Every new Ruler of the Khmer empire build his own temple, or added to the existing ones. So the forest around Angkor Wat is 'littered'with temples of all forms and sizes. Many of them are almost complete ruins today as they have been 'retaken' by the forest, but many has been reconstructed.
The side of the temples were richly decorated and almost every surface was in some way or another carved. Pictures of the Hindu gods and a lot of ornaments and texts.
One of my favourite temple was a temple who's 'creator' (one of the emperor of Khmer) had his own face carved on all the towers instead that of a god.
The most photographed ruin and tree in the entire temple complex. I have to admit that it is beautiful.
I hope you enjoyed these pictures, and I can really warmly recommend these two countries for a vacation.