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Part 1 Trip report of Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangkok

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Mar 27th, 2013, 02:17 PM
  #1
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Part 1 Trip report of Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangkok

Well all, this is my third attept to file this report. The first two times I was typing on my i-Pad with my great Logitech keyboard and must have hit the wrong button and it all vanished, Is there any way to save as you go along on the site.?

Flew from Lax to Phon PHen through Shanghai, Bangkok . Used FF miles for business class so not a lot of flexibility on routing. Had an overnight in the Bangkok airport so we took a room at the "day hotel" in the terminal so no need to clear customs or get luggage. It was great. Checked in about 11:00 showered, and went to sleep. Up at 6:00 for breakfast and our 7:30 departure. This actually made the arrival in Phon Phen easier.

After much deliberation we did this trip through Friendly Planet rather than our typical doing our own planning. Since I do all of the research and DH just goes along for the ride, I was just to busy to do it all with so many hotels and airlines. We loved this trip and Friendly Planet could not have been better. We had 20 in our group with singles, couples, two women traveling together without husbands, and two recently married young doctores. Everyone got along great and frankly we would all travel together again if possible.

Rather than tell everything we did as most of the sights are the same from everyone, I will hit some of the high points and low points.

In Phon Phen we stayed at the Inter Continental Hotel. Hotel was beautiful and we loved it. I used the spa which was great. In Phon Phen we ate at Friend's and Romdong all suggested here .They were both great and I felt like we were helping these young people. Also toured the city and went to the Killing fields. The first night with the group togethe for dinner was great and we all clicked immediately.

Day 3 we left for Siem Reap. We stayed at the Borei Angkor Hotel. What a treat, enormous pool which we actually used, amazing spa which I also used for a great massage at 9:00 at night. Only issue with the asian hotels is that the beds are really hard and we all asked for foam pads to be added to the beds which they did. I guess not the first time for them. After a good nights sleep we started wtih the different Angkor sites. Breathtaking and amazing does not cover it. Although I had looked at Dawn Rooney's book before we left I reread it when we returned and understood so much more.

Now the first downside of a tour. Some of us wanted to ride the elephants, and there was not enough time for this as we were on a schedule. Oh well will have to do that elsewhere. Second downside at Angkok is that I got seperated from the group as I was taking tons of pictures. (I will post a few if someone tells me how to do this.) I must have turned left when I saw this young monk standing in a doorway, and the group turned right. Additionally I guess I missed the instructions on which gate to meat at if we got seperated. When I decended instead of turning right to the correct gate I turned left. Needless to say in 90 degree heat I proceeded to walk around the entire perimiter of Angkok wat. Not my finest moment. I listened closer for the remainder of the trip.We went to Angkok Wat in the morning and back at dusk for sunset. I know this site is always crowded but as we were there for TET is was even busier.. Amazing amazing is all I can say, Exhausted we finally headed back to the hotel. At the suggestion of this group we had dinner at Cusine Wat Damnak. Thank you all as the restaurant, food and service from hostess Carol was great. We had a question about one of the seasonings and the chef came out to talk with us. It was Asian Basil which has a wonderful flavor. After this we were to tired to walk in the town to the market so headed to bed.

Next installment on to Saigon.
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Mar 27th, 2013, 05:56 PM
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If you're using an iPad type yourr entry in Notepad and then copy it over to Fodors, there's no save function here.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 11:03 PM
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We flew from Siem Reap to Saigon where we checked into the New World Hotel. It is the middle of TET so the good news is the city is decorated and there are throngs of people everywhere. This is our first encounter with the thousands of motorbikes loaded with families, groceries, and anything else you can imagine. The hotel is beautiful and very centrally located. We take a walk around the corner to view the new Starbucks that has just opened and the line is around the block. This is the first one in Vietnam and it appears that everyone wants to check it out. One of the highlights is meeting a man that we know from Los Angeles who moved to Vietnam and married a Vietnamese woman who is a doctor there. He has been there two years and is still not allowed to drive a motorbike alone. He and his wife take us on a very special tour of the city not usually seen by tourists. We go to the top of one of the hotels across from the Opera for drinks, a pagado that is so crowded, and Ruby takes me into one of the side rooms where she makes an offering to the diety of new babies. She is trying to get pregnent and all of the Buddas in this room have large stomachs. All of the women in this room want to have a baby. As you walk around this Pagoda and you see parents with babies under one year old you are told that these are "last years TET wishes come true." We walk the city, eat the special sandwiches, see the amazing flower displays, and just mix with all of the people celebrating this amazing holiday. TET is actually a wonderful time to travel there if shopping is not your primary focus. WE see the traditional sites and take a tour of the Cu Chi tunnels, Cao Dai Temple, and a ride through the canals of Tan Phong island. Next installment is Da Nang and Ho An
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