Cambodia and Vietnam | Where Colonial Meets Contemporary
Cambodia and Vietnam have rich histories – in recent times ones of hardship and struggle. A visit to these countries in Southeast Asia offers an opportunity to learn about their pasts, along with their amazing landscapes and beautiful people.
Cambodia offers a great introduction to the region. The small resort city of Siem Reap provides an ideal jumping-off point for the ancient temples and sites of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Banteay Srei. Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh takes you to the present. Though still haunted by the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge that occurred from 1974-1979, this sophisticated and charming city is well on its way to becoming the next great metropolis. Phnom Penh is particularly enjoyable to explore on foot.
Visitors can dig into the history of the Vietnam War in Saigon (officially named Ho Chi Minh City), the former capital of South Vietnam. The museums are top-notch, and they expose Westerners to the other side of a very complex story — particularly poignant for Americans. A flight to Da Nang is well worth it for visiting the nearby enchanting town of Hoi An, which is like a leap back in time. A southeast trading port from the 15th to 19th centuries, Hoi An was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999. This charming town is known for its peaceful atmosphere, fine tailors and exceptional cuisine. About 15 minutes away by car are some of the most beautiful resorts on the South China Sea.
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam today and the former capital of Ho Chi Minh’s Communist government, is a fantastic bustling metropolis. The French quarter is home to the beautiful Hanoi Opera House as well as the Hotel Metropole. Try to include in your itinerary an excursion to Ha Long Bay. Consisting of over 1,900 islands, this place is unlike anything you have ever seen and is not to be missed.