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Top Things To Do In Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand – Trip Chronicles Part 1
Exploring different parts of the world runs deep in my blood. I’ve touched down on all seven continents, visiting places like Doha, Qatar, Australia, South Africa and Italy, just to name a few. A few years ago I traveled to Northern Asia and really enjoyed myself, now, in 2018 my plan is to travel the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. For three weeks I will experience all the amazing and wonderful things to do in Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand. I’m really looking forward to this trip. First stop will be Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam. I’m excited about jumping on a motorbike and navigating my way through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi, but also craving to see the countryside. The landscapes that I’ve seen in pictures are always stunning and I can’t wait to view this firsthand. I want to walk through the paddy fields barefoot and watch the farmers tending to their crop. I want to see all of Vietnam. I’ll leave Vietnam and enter Cambodia via the Mekong River. High on my list of things to do in Southeast Asia is visiting the Temples of Angkor. There are a great number of ancient ruins throughout the country, many of which are around the Siem Reap area. Trust me when I say, I’m not leaving Cambodia without seeing Angor Wat at sunrise. From Angor Wat, I’ll make my way to the capital city, Phnom Penh where I’ll take in a few additional sights. Finally, I will hop on a flight and head to Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok “City of Angels”. Sampling the delicious street food, walking through the ancient temples, and visiting the Grand Palace will all take place before I head to Chiang Mai and Krabi island. September can’t come fast enough, this is going to be one A-MAZING trip! MY TOP 15 THINGS TO DO IN VIETNAM 1.Phú Quốc – A Vietnamese island off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. Known for white-sand beaches and resorts, Phú Quốc ranks high on my list of things to do in Vietnam because of the water element. Anyone that knows me knows I love roaming by the water. HO CHI MINH CITY (Formerly Saigon) 2. Cu Chi tunnels – Visitors experience what it must have been like for soldiers to navigate their way through the network of tunnels to remain undetected by their enemies. I’m not sure I’ll fit in the tunnels but I’m going to try 🙂 Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00 Location: 70km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City Address: +84 83 794 8820 3. Ben Thanh Market – A large marketplace in central Hồ Chí Minh City. This market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and is an important symbol of Hồ Chí Minh City. Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 – 17:00 Address: 57A Thap Moui, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City 4. The War Remnants Museum – This museum details the effects of the 30-year long war between America and Vietnam. Opening Hours: Daily 07.30 – 12.00 & 13:30 – 17:00 Address: 28 Vo Van Tan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City 5. Skydeck – Bitexco Financial Tower – Standing at 262 meters high in the city’s business district, it is the tallest building in Vietnam. I want to sit at the very top and take in the view of the city while sipping on a few cocktails. 🙂 Opening Hours: Daily 09:30 – 21:30 Address: 36 Ho Tung Mau Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City HANOI (Capital of Vietnam) 6. The Old Quarter – In the heart of the city The Old Quarter is filled with narrow shops that sell cheap delicious Vietnamese food. Location: Hanoi Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem District 7. The Opera House – Resembling the Opéra Palais Garnier, the stunning Hanoi Opera House was built in 1911 by two French architects. Address: 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: +84 43 933 0113 Price Range: VND 100,000 – VND 2,000,000 8. Street Food – Hanoi is a foodie’s paradise from what I’ve been told and as a self-proclaimed foodie, I can’t wait to experience the Vietnamese flavors bite by bite. DA NANG 9. Marble Mountains – A cluster of five marble and limestone hills named after the five elements ( metal, water, wood, fire, and earth, ) I’m looking forward to exploring these mountains located south of Da Nang. Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00 Location: 9km south of Da Nang, Hoa Hai District Price Range: VND 15,000 10. The Dragon Bridge – I’m not a fan of the number 666 so when I found out the Dragon Bridge measures 666 meters in length I rolled my eyes. Wouldn’t it still be the longest bridge in Vietnam if they have made it 665 in length or 667? 🙂 Location: Da Nang City Centre, Da Nang 11. Da Nang Cathedral – One of the most unique Catholic churches in Vietnam. Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 05:00 – 17:30, Sunday 05:00 – 17:00 Address: 156 Tran Phu Street, Da Nang Tel: +84 511 387 3445 12. My Khe Beach – A 20-mile stretch of white sand, need I say more? Location: Nguyen Van Thoai, Da Nang NORTHEASTERN VIETNAM 13. Vietnamese Sunrise – I’m not really looking forward to getting up early in the morning, but I know the northeastern sunrise will be worth it. Ha Long Bay Bai Tu Long Bay 14. The Sand Dunes of Mui Ne – I love a good sand dune, matter of fact I was recently dune bashing in Doha, Qatar with the best of them :). The Sand Dunes of Mui Ne are two geological wonders in a resort town along Vietnam’s southern coast. After doing some research I understand that one can rent a plastic sled and go down the dunes. IM SO DOING THIS! 15. Sapa – The pictures speak for itself, the mountainous landscape is astonishingly beautiful. MEKONG RIVER A trans-boundary river in Southeast Asia that runs through six countries, China’s Yunnan Province, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, it’s the world’s twelfth longest river and the seventh longest in Asia. The Mekong River is in my top five for things to do in Southeast Asia. MY TOP VIETNAM HOTELS HO CHI MINH CITY The Reverie Saigon Sofitel Saigon Plaza Caravelle Saigon The Myst Dong Khoi HANOI Hilton Hanoi Opera La Siesta Trendy Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi DA NANG Hilton Da Nang Brilliant Hotel Diamond Sea Hotel Fusion Maia Da Nang NORTHEASTERN VIETNAM Aira Boutique Sapa Topas Ecolodge Victoria Sapa Resort Pao’s Sapa MY TOP 15 THINGS TO DO IN CAMBODIA SIEM REAP 1.Angkor Wat Sunrise – Built during the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries, Angkor Wat, is the world’s largest religious monument and it’s been on my bucket list for about a decade. 🙂 I’ve seen pictures of this place and I’m in love with its beauty, especially during sunrise. 2. Bayon temple – This temple contains numerous towers that are waiting for me to explore. 🙂 Location – Angkor Thom. Timings – 5AM to 6PM Entry fee – $20 USD 3. Preah Khan (meaning, Royal Sword) – One of the largest complex temples at Angkor, built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII to honor his father. Timings – 7:30AM to 5PM Price – The temple is part of the Angkor Archaeological Park, the entrance fee is $20 USD 4. Siem Reap Street Food – I enjoy doing all the touristic things a country has to offer, but I prefer to travel like a local and eat like locals do. 5. Prasat Preah Vihear – One of the most historic temples in Cambodia 6. Angkor Archaeological Park – 400 square kilometers, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire of the 9th to the 15th centuries. Timings – 5AM to 6PM Price – $20 USD 7. The Terrace of the Elephants – Covered in stunning sculptures, the Terrace of the Elephants is one of the most popular sites in Angkor Thom. Location – Angkor Thom complex, Siem Reap. Timings – 5AM to 6PM. Price – $20 USD. If you buy tickets for Angkor Thom, you don’t need to pay again for Terrace of Elephants. 8. Angkor Thom – History and beautiful architecture is a win-win for me 🙂 Location: Angkor Thom is located in Cambodia Price: Free 9. Village Cooking Class – I’m no chef but it would be fun to learn the secrets of authentic Cambodian cuisine from local chefs. 10. Baphuon Temple – A three-tiered beautiful mountain temple in Angkor. Location – Angkor Thom Timings – 5AM to 6PM Price – The temple is part of the Angkor Archaeological Park, the entrance fee is $20 USD 11. Angkor Silk Farm – This farm gives visitors a chance to see how silk is made in Cambodia. Location – Puok district, about 20minutes away from Siem Reap Centre. Timings – 8AM to 5PM Price – Free PHNOM PENH (Capital City) 12. Ounalom Monastery – One of five original monasteries in the capital city, Phnom Penh. 13. Royal Palace – A complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia. Location – Phnom Penh Timings– 7.30AM to 11AM and from 2PM to 5PM Price – $3 USD; additional fee of $2 USD to take pictures. 14. Wat Ounalom Phnom Penh – The of Cambodian Buddhism. Location – Ly Yoak Lay St. (172), Phnom Penh 12000, Cambodia Timings – 6AM to 6PM Price – Free 15. Phnom Penh Local Markets – I love strolling around local markets in other countries looking for handmade items. MY TOP CAMBODIA HOTELS SIEM REAP Victoria Angkor Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor Navutu Dreams Resort & Wellness Retreat MY TOP 15 THINGS TO DO IN THAILAND BANGKOK 1.The Grand Palace – A complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok 2. Phang Nga Elephant Park – I love animals and I’m really looking forward to visiting this small family-run Park that helps improve the care and well-being of Thailand’s elephants. 3. Tad Kwan Village Park & Waterfall – One of the last unspoiled Mien Hill Tribe villages. 4. Chatuchak Weekend Market – The largest market in Thailand, and one of the world’s biggest outdoor markets. Location – Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Khwaeng Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, กรุงเทพมหานคร 10900, Thailand Timings – 9AM to 6PM ( Closed Monday & Tuesday ) Price – Free 5. Wat Arun ( The Temple of Dawn ) – Buddhist temples in Thailand are called wat’s. One of these, the Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn, is named after Aruna, the Indian God of Dawn. Location – 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, กรุงเทพมหานคร 10600, Thailand Timings – 8:30AM to 5:30PM ( Closed Monday & Tuesday ) Price – $3.50 USD CHIANG MAI 6. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – A sacred site to many Thai people this temple is named after the mountain where its located. 7. Chiang Mai Night Bazaar – Known for its handicrafts and portrait paintings I plan on venturing out at night to see this night Bazaar. 8. Wat Suan Dok – Buddhist temple in tranquil surrounds with a golden dome, ornate interior & historic mausoleum. Location – 139 Suthep Rd, ตำบล สุเทพ อำเภอ เมืองเชียงใหม่ Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand Timings – 6AM to 10PM Price – $0.60 9. Koh Lipe – Famous for its white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters this island is gorgeous and that’s why it’s on my to-do list 🙂 KRABI 10. Limestone cliffs, dense forests, and more than a hundred islands, there’s a four island day trip which includes – Phanang Cave Beach, Chicken Island, Tup Island, and Poda Island. PHI PHI 11. Similar to Krabi, Phi Phi Islands is one of the most beautiful and easily accessible island groups in the world. PHUKET 12. Patong – a beach resort town on the west coast of Phuket Island. 13. Wat Chalong – The most important of the 29 Buddhist temples in Phuket 14. Phuket FantaSea – Cultural theme park offering elephant shows and an animal exhibit. 15. Big Buddha Phuket – This statue is forty-five meters tall and sits over 400m above sea level on a hilltop in the south of Phuket island. MY TOP THAILAND HOTELS BANGKOK Amari Watergate CHIANG...