Jill Higson is a guest who traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia with Journeys Within over the holidays and has blogged about her experiences to share them with friends, family and future visitors. Read on as she shares her thoughts about travelling with Journeys Within…
Many Thanks And Kudos To Journeys Within
First and foremost, many thanks (Cam On in Vietnamese and Aw Kohn in Khmer) to Andrea Ross, Director of Journeys Within and her U.S., Vietnam and Cambodia team of directors, guides and drivers for arranging a trip of a lifetime! Their incredible help and kindness were endless – this included accompanying me to and from locations, educating me about each country’s temples, museums, markets and more.
Also, a big thank you for transporting me in cool and comfortable automobiles, along with the opportunity to ride on fun motor bikes, tuk-tuks (motorized rickshaws), bicycles and ATVs!
I could not have experienced and enjoyed Vietnam and Cambodia in such a unique, intimate and seamless manner without the Journeys Within team, especially since it was high season for travel in Southeast Asia. Airports, hotels, restaurants and sites were full of tourists from around the world – often large groups with their cameras and selfie sticks in hand! Everything was made more enjoyable by being able to follow Journey Within’s expert lead.
My guides were even quite the photographers themselves, finding the perfect spot to take a classic photo of me by a temple or rice field. Also indulging me in a joint selfie as you will see from the many in the blogs – no selfie stick needed!
Time To Share My Travel Blog
So time to share, with excitement, my amazing and memorable two week adventure in Vietnam and Cambodia this past holiday season with my family, old friends, as well as new friends I met on my trip and of course the Journey’s Within team.
Please take a look and hope you will enjoy my blogs with some of my favorite photos and highlights. I think you might be booking a trip with Journeys Within afterward so I included my entire itinerary!
Must See Sites – Angkor Wat and Ha Long Bay
Both Angkor Wat and Ha Long Bay are major tourist attractions, however they should still be considered ‘Must See Attractions’ due to their natural beauty, strong presence and the emotional impact they can have on any traveler. I recommend that you don’t let the crowd interfere with creating your own memories.
Waking up at 4:00AM to head out to see the sunrise was not originally at the top of my to-do list, however, it was well worth a few less hours of sleep to experience Angkor Wat at day break. To begin the day looking at the sky with this beautiful temple in the foreground was a special moment and then walking inside of it and wandering around the grounds beyond peaceful.
The Angkor Wat temple was spectacular inside and out, with its detailed architecture, breathtaking views and beautiful surroundings. One of my favorite photos was taken by a small window opening, where I sat looking out and reflecting upon the peace and tranquility of the temple — a genuine moment captured.
I was fortunate to spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on the lovely Dragon’s Legend Junk boat, sailing through Ha Long Bay. While Halong Bay is a well-known tourist site, it was still overwhelming to take in the beauty of the bay’s many limestone islands and islets that were in every direction I looked. I could not decide which ones to take photos of, so settled on all!
I met wonderful families from Saigon and England on my overnight boat and spent the days embracing their little rug rats in photos while basking in the beauty of the bay. I explored Thien Con Son Cave and kayaked around Ho Co Island – an experience that was enhanced by the innocent and excited eyes of the children we had on board. It was beyond memorable to ring in 2015 with them and the boat’s wonderful staff, who treated us to a delicious eight-course dinner of fish, vegetables, rice and more. Plus we celebrated with a pre-New Year’s Eve toast and dancing on the deck! We may have been in an often-visited location, but the experience was all my own.
As much as I enjoyed taking in the major attractions, I have to say seeing the countryside in Vietnam and Cambodia — villages, rice fields, livestock, etc. — was as memorable and important for me. Mixing in lesser seen locales helped me to better understand the people and the culture of these countries.
I felt in tune with my surroundings and happy as I saw farm lands with water buffaloes in Hoi An by bike, breath taking mountains and islands of Ha Long Bay from a boat and kayak and villages filled with children and cows in Siem Reap by ATV.