Category Archives: Cambodia

Highlights of Vietnam & Cambodia

Copy of wittravel blog header (2)

Intrigued by our last post on Vietnam/Cambodia, featuring Pam’s visit with Vexplore Tours, but not sure what all the fuss is about? Here’s each highlight we mentioned, so you can truly appreciate everything Vietnam & Cambodia have to offer:

vietnam-2141587_640

1. Hanoi & Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and a curious melange of East-meets-West, with French colonial architecture meeting traditional Sino-Vietnamese motifs. The most stunning part of the city is Hoàn Kiếm District, marked by the Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter. This area also houses most of the tourist attractions, from temples, cathedrals, bridges and the Hanoi Opera House.

tran-quoc-pagoda-3559145_640

2. Tran Quoc Pagoda

This ancient, red Buddhist temple is located on a small island in Hanoi’s West Lake. Constructed in the 6th century, it was originally on the shores of the Red River, but relocated in 17th century due to risks of flooding.

van-mieu-2506727_640

3. Van Mieu

The Temple of Literature was built in 1070, dedicated to the studies of Confucius. It’s remarkable for its elegant pavilions, halls and statues. If you’re lucky enough to be there during Vietnamese New Year Tet (February 5, 2019), you can watch the calligraphists at work outside the temple.

halong-bay-601608_640

4. Halong Bay

The much-revered Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, drawing thousands of visitors each year. The name means “descending dragon,” and is known for its limestone karats and millions of isles. Reaching an area of around 1,553 km2, including 1,960–2,000 islets, you can imagine how picturesque it is to cruise in the canals here!

bars-ramen-in-saigon-3227779_640

5. Saigon

Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, is Vietnam’s largest city. As the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina, it still bears nods to its colonial influences in food, architecture, and culture

life-2229837_640.

6. Cai Be

The small town of Cai Be is a river/land settlement known for its floating market. Lying along the Mekong Delta, the soil is fertile, tropical fruits are aplenty, and people are known for their warm hearts and welcoming natures.

cambodia-1569431_640

7. Siem Reap

Welcome to Cambodia! This popular resort town is known for its traditional Apsara dances, Chinese-style architecture, souvenir shops, rice paddies and a vibrant food and drink scene. It draws many tourists on account of its proximity to the Angkor temples.

agriculture-1793403_640

8. Treak Village

Treak Village is a traditional town just 4 kilometers south of Siem Reap. Its a great destination to see how life in the countryside was like 100 years ago.

angkor-809753_640

9. Angkor Wat

If you haven’t heard of Angkor Wat, chances are you’ve been living under a rock! Called the 7th wonder of the world, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, stretching over 162.6 hectares. Initially built as a Hindu Vishnu temple, it was converted to a Buddhist temple in the 12th century. Serving as a temple complex, mausoleum and cultural symbol, Angkor Wat is a must-see for all visitors to Cambodia.

angkor-thom-1233669_640

10. Angkor Thom

Thom goes down in history as the last capital of teh Khmer empire. Built in 12th century, it is known for its stone monuments, peaceful Buddhist visages, and ancient temples.

angkor-wat-345462_640

11. Banteay Srei Temple

Also known as the Citadel of Women, Banteay Srei is a 10th-century site dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Built of red sandstone, a malleable medium, the sculptures are revered for their miniature buildings, intricate carvings, elegant colonettes, and many other delicate features.

Intrigued and would like to know more? Call one of our agents to speak Vietnam, Cambodia, Southeast Asia — there and back again! 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com.

More of our posts on SE Asia, one of our most popular destinations for clients looking for a culinary and cultural destination!

Explore SE Asia with Vexplore Tours

Vexplore Travel: Unique Itineraries of SE Asia

The Quiet American”, and other classics of SE Asia

Festivals in Asia

 

agriculture-1807570_640

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Cambodia, Vietnam

Pam in Vietnam with Vexplore Tours

Copy of wittravel blog header (1).png

This week, Pam has joined Vexplore Tours on a fascinating discovery of Vietnam & Cambodia’s cultural & culinary delights. 

09 days / 08 nights
Hanoi – Halong Bay – Saigon – Mekong Delta – Siem Reap

 

ta-som-temple-934043_640.jpg

Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi airport, you have warm welcome from our guide. Transfer to hotel check in. Free time or you may take complimentary history tour “the Lost Bomb Shelter” of this hotel, an honorable mentioned in 2013 UNESCO Heritage Awards.

Accommodation: Sofitel Legend Metropole – 2 nights

the-ancient-village-3358831_640.jpg

Day 2 – Hanoi (B,L,D)

Today we spend full day to explore Hanoi, the city’s cultural heart that bears trace of centuries of changing dynasties. We visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in the city, and Van Mieu, a famous historical and cultural relic consisting of the Temple of Literature and Vietnam’s first university. Then enjoy traditional cyclo ride through Hanoi Old Quarter.

After lunch visit “Hanoi Hilton”, where American prisoners of war were once confined. We end tour at local coffee shop enjoy sips of coffee dripping from the filter. Transfer back to your hotel.

Dinner will be served at authentic Vietnamese restaurant.

hanoi-street-food-3559156_640.jpg

Day 3 – Hanoi – Halong Bay (B,L,D)

Morning, leave your hotel and drive to Dinh Vu Port. Onboard the Azalea Cruise. Cruise briefing and safety instructions. Start cruising and explore Halong Bay, UNESCO World Heritage Natural Site. Lunch and dinner on board.

Accommodation: Azalea Cruise / Deluxe balcony cabin – 1 night

vietnam-2672163_640.jpg

Day 4 – Halong Bay – Hai Phong – Saigon (B,D)

Enjoy Tai Chi session on the sundeck. Continue sailing across thousands of islets. Disembark and transfer to Hai Phong airport for flight to Saigon. We have dinner at local restaurant . Check in hotel.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel – 3 nights

Day 5 – Saigon – Cooking Class (B,L,D)

In the morning, we will join “Grain by Luke Nguyen cooking class”. Grain studio have its own fresh market on site. You will hand on cooking 4-­‐‑course meal, and demystify Vietnamese cuisine so you will gain a new-­‐‑found confidence that will inspire you to cook more at home. Lunch will be your own prepared and served at the cooking class. It will be a great Vietnamese cultural and culinary experience.

Afternoon, we have a sightseeing of the city’s colonial legacy; the Reunification Palace, the Central Post office, the Fine Art Museum and stop Ben Thanh Market. Tonight enjoy dinner at local restaurant in town.

cambodia-2238000_640.jpg

Day 6 – Saigon – Mekong Delta (B,L)

In the morning transfer to Cai Be. We take a small boat to visit interesting villages and workshops that produce local products. Go by boat deeper into the Delta to Tan Phong Island to visit workshops where villagers make unique products for export. Walk or bike on the island. Visit a traditional family home and enjoy Southern Vietnamese folk music. Return to hotel late afternoon. Evening is free on your own.

Day 7 – Saigon – Siem Reap – Cooking Class (B,L,D)

Arrive in Siem Reap, you have warm welcome by our tour guide.

Transfer to Treak Village (10 minutes drive from Siem Reap town). Learn to make traditional Cambodian Cuisine in a rural village. Classes include a visit to a local family and garden. Learn about cooking in a traditional Khmer household, local food customs and superstitions. Lunch will be served at lovely bamboo pavilion. Transfer to hotel check in.

Late afternoon. Inspection Villa Ni Say, cocktail and dinner will be followed.

Accommodation: Heritage Suites – 2 nights

hanoi-old-quarter-3559137_640.jpg

Day 8 – Siem Reap – Angkor Wat – Angkor Thom – Ta Prohm (B,L)

Early morning, we depart to Angkor Wat for sunrise picture. Back to hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, we explore the wondrous Angkor Wat Temple Complex.

After lunch, continue vist Angkor Thom included the grand Bayon Temple, the South Gate, Bapoun, the Terrace of the Elephant, Leper King and Ta Prohm – the 12th century temple that has been left largely unrestored. Back to hotel. Evening is free, you may explore Siem Reap night market.

Day 9 – Banteay Srei – Siem Reap Departure (B)

Today we will visit Banteay Srei temple, the Citadel of Women with its very attractive carvings and Siem Reap market. Back to hotel check-­‐‑out. Transfer to the airport for departure flight. Have a safe trip!

resort-921933_640.jpg

Inclusions

  • Private air-­‐‑conditioned vehicle;
  • Local English speaking guide in each city;
  • Accommodations based on Twin/Double sharing;
  • Meals (excluding drinks): daily buffet breakfast, 6 lunches, 5 dinners;
  • Boat fee & sightseeing fee as specified;
  • Government taxes and service charges

Excluded: Visas Vietnam & Cambodia; Travel insurance; Tips and gratuities; Personal expenses

More Tours from Vexplore

Northern Beauty with a Mighty Mekong Cruise

Cruising Mekong River on a Private Cruise

Cultural Mosaic of Indochina

Highlights of Cambodia

 

cambodia-603432_640.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam

Sail the Mekong with the Brand-New Emerald Waterways Harmony

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 1.38.02 PM

If you love Emerald Waterways, here’s your chance to join their brand-new river cruise ship on the Mekong River.

The 84-passenger Emerald Harmony, will sail the Mekong River in 2019.

is_halong-bay_497152200_21day

Emerald Harmony will have many of the features of the line’s European “star ships,” including:

  • Panorama Balcony suites with drop-down windows
  • Asian design touches
  • Horizon Bar & Lounge will be Asian-themed
  • the ship’s main dining venue, Reflections Restaurant, will serve a locally-inspired menu.

One standout feature of the ship is that it will be built to allow access to the center of Ho Chi Minh City, so passengers can embark there as opposed to a dock outside of the city. Emerald Waterways has been sailing on the Mekong since 2014, with a chartered vessel, Mekong Navigator.

Emerald Harmony will be the first time that the company has put a “star ship” style ship outside Europe.

CGI-ownersuite-05_sm

Itineraries

Beginning August 2019, Emerald Harmony will sail three itineraries in Vietnam and Cambodia:

a 13-Day Majestic Mekong River Cruise – cruise tour sailing between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap, with time for Angkor Wat; 

Your journey begins in Siem Reap, where early mornings and ancient architecture promise to be the perfect combination. Angkor Wat is sure to fascinate, as is Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. Then your journey along the majestic Mekong introduces Phnom Penh, invites you to a family-owned silk-producing factory and to attend a scarfweaving workshop in Long Khanh Island. Continue onwards before leaving your Star-Ship at the center of Ho Chi Minh City for a two-night stay in a 5-star colonial-style hotel.

a 17-Day Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia: that adds stops at Hanoi and Halong Bay in the north;

Begin your adventure in Hanoi, where centuries-old architecture is a wonderful nod to the past and the Old Quarter strikes a fine contrast with its many temples. Cruise the emerald waters of Halong Bay in a traditional junk boat, learn of Ho Chi Minh City’s fascinating war history and embark on a once-in-a-lifetime river cruise along the Mekong. Enjoy tuk-tuk and ox cart tours in Phnom Penh and finish your adventure in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, where you’ll witness Angkor Wat and attend a circus performance.

and a 21-Day Grand Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia that encompasses all of the above, plus Hoi An and Hue.

Hanoi’s labyrinth of streets is filled with food stalls and markets. Journey to Halong Bay and embark on a traditional junk boat as you sail its ethereal waters, and drive through Da Nang before crossing the Pass of Ocean Clouds. Discover Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi Tunnels, before meeting your Star-Ship and sailing the Mekong, stopping off in My Tho, Sa Dec and Phnom Penh. Conclude your trip with three nights in Siem Reap, attending the Phare Cambodian Circus and visiting the historic Angkor Wat.

CGI-suite-02_sm

Inclusions

Fares for Emerald Harmony will have the same inclusions as other Emerald Waterways ships:
  • transfers,
  • port charges,
  • meals,
  • unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner,
  • bottled water in the cabins,
  • complimentary Wi-Fi,
  • at least one shore excursion in every port and
  • all onboard and excursion gratuities.
  • During the cruise tour portion of the trips, hotel, internal flights and transfers are also included.

is_angkor-wat_923634756_sm_17day

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Cambodia, Cruises, emerald waterways, Thailand, Travel by Ship, Vietnam, Vietnam

Asia with Avanti Destinations

travels in asia

This is the time to book travel to Southeast Asia, for travel in November to March as the dry and temperate season rolls in, and the Chinese New Year seems to awake everyone up out of their wintry reverie.

scenery-2846777_640

We’re excited to be working with Avanti Destinations as one of our reputable tour guides in Asia. Avanti makes it simple to book hotel, transport and tour packages with local guides, and their customizable itineraries just shave off the hassle of travel planning.

Let Willamette Intl Travel design Asian itinerary for you and your travel companions, complete with flights and a personalized package. Whether you need an affordable hotel package, or would like to build in some unique culinary or outdoor escapades, Avanti offers a hassle-free way to build it into your existing Asian itinerary.

victoria-bay-2904283_640

Want to leave it to the professionals? Avanti can take care of you from the moment you step off the plane to your last spectacular evening in Asia.

Or perhaps you like planning hotels on your own, but need a fun tour of downtown Ho Chi Minh and not sure where to start looking. Not sure how to make friends in the rice terraces of Sapa? Avanti’s got you covered:

ancient-1822502_640

Thailand: Discover the “Land of Smiles” on the bustling streets of Bangkok, to the famous temples of Chiang Mai, to the achingly gorgeous beaches of Phuket.

China: As part of an Asian cruise, spend 1-3 nights post-cruise in Hong Kong exploring Kowloon. Or build in a stop at the ancient port city of Shanghai, now one of the most technologically advanced cosmopolises in the world.

Myanmar: Looking to explore the blooming country of Myanmar? Go back in time to a simpler Asia with Avanti’s Myanmar Essentials: Yangon, Bagan and Manadalay.

hoi-an-2919621_640

Singapore: Explore Singapore Highlights, such as Kampong Glam, Chinatown, Majestic Gardens and Little India, experiencing a one-of-a-kind after dark wildlife safari adventure–on your way to connect to Bali.

Taiwan: Uncover the sleeping, hidden gems of Taiwan, its ornate temples, beautiful lakes and stays in the countryside.

River Cruises: Enjoy ancient waterways with a Mekong River Cruise, Halong Bay Cruise or Yangtze Upstream Cruise.

And Many More Destinations: Japan, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, etc. 

Our Agents at Willamette Intl Travel can design your Asian adventure from start to finish. Call us 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

1 Comment

Filed under Asia, Avanti, Cambodia, China, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam

“The Quiet American” and Other Classics of Southeast Asia

ocean

By Wailana Kalama

Bangkok overtook London last year as the world’s second most popular travel destination!

If you’re joining fellow travelers and heading to Southeast Asia, you’ll need some reading for the plane. Step into these books and understand just a little bit more about what makes this region tick.

Graham Greene, The Quiet American. Travel writer Pico Iyer has long proclaimed a long affinity with Greene: “who, almost in spite of himself, taught me and so many others how to move around the world and even how to hazard trust.” Greene’s most famous novel centers around the relationship between the cynical Brit, Fowler, and the idealist American, Pyle. This book is a fictional essay on the moral ambiguity of love and war, and the impossibility of neutrality. My Favorite Quote: “Innocence is a kind of insanity.”

Aung San Suu Kyi & Alan Clements, The Voice of Hope. An icon of peace and optimism in a corrupted society, Kyi rose to headlines when her country Myanmar opened its borders in 2010. This biography takes the reader directly into the heart of Myanmar and Kyi’s struggle, her optimism, and unfailing commitment to her beliefs. My Favorite Quote: “Saints are sinners who go on trying.”

The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.

–Aung San Suu Kyi

George Orwell, Burmese Days. I always enjoy reading Orwell, ever-sensitive to the plights of common men. Drawing from his experience as a police officer in 1920s Burma, Orwell’s novel addresses bigotry, racism, and imperialism. My Favorite Quote: “There is nothing like an earthquake for drawing people together. One more tremor, or perhaps two, and they would have asked the butler to sit down at table with them.”

Marguerite Duras, The Lover. Believe it or not, but Duras’ The Lover was the subject of my bachelor’s thesis. A non-traditional spin on a time-honored story, this short book follows an adolescent French girl and her Chinese lover. It’s all about colonialism, feminine writing, marginalized people, and–if you believe my thesis abstract–a bit of Saïd’s Orientalism thrown in there as well. A chaotic, instinctual and dreamy read. My Favorite Quote: “Very early in my life it was too late.”

Read our earlier post on WIT Agent Nancy’s favorite books to take with you on a trip to Southeast Asia.

Heading to Southeast Asia in 2017? Give us a call! We have the know-how and the connections to land you a trip of a lifetime! call us at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

xgxqkw-urkc-annie-spratt.jpg

1 Comment

Filed under Asia, Cambodia, Europe, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam

Conscientious Traveler: Goway

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-17-39-17

Welcome back to Conscientious Traveler—our monthly series in which we showcase one of our fantastic partners with projects that support the environment, wildlife and local communities. This month, we feature Goway

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 17.44.38.png

Goway is one of our favorite trusted vendors specializing in fully customizable trips around the world. We have worked with them for years organizing trips for our clients to Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan and more.

Goway has supported many foundations over the years, donating to causes that benefit local communities, cultures, wildlife and the environment. Here are just a handful:

tourismcareslogoTourism Cares. Goway participates in Tourism Cares initiatives that preserve and enrich the travel experience of travelers worldwide through giving back and volunteering.


logo_top_enChildren’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
A nonprofit that helps Canadian children diagnosed with a life-threatening illness realize their favorite dreams. In 2015 & 2016, Goway received a Valued Partner Award for their efforts to support Children’s Wish, and last summer raised $10,000 for one child’s wish at their annual fundraiser.

canadianbloodservicesenglishlogofinalcolourrgbCanadian Blood Services. Goway had their first annual blood drive last month, during which staff donated blood to the clinic.

wildlands-logo-high-reso

Wildlands Conservation Trust. Goway has made two sizable donations to the Trust’s “Looking out for Rhino” campaign, supporting the latest tracking technology fitted for rhinos.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-17-39-49

So you can combine Travel with a Good Cause! Call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel and let us arrange a remarkable journey for you! Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Australia, Cambodia, Conscientious Traveler, Goway, Laos, News

Textiles & Culture of Southeast Asia

We interrupt our two weeks in Iceland to exhibit this exclusive escorted tour in Southeast Asia!

Check out this Small Group Journey around Southeast Asia (max 2-10 Guests!!)

The journey takes you through the artistic and cultural heart of Vietnam – Cambodia, Laos – Thailand. You can book one leg or combine both!

Call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel at 503-224-0180 for more information or to start your adventure!

https://i1.wp.com/www.vexploretravel.com/data/gallery/fullsize/aodaidihoc89871866.jpg

 I. VIETNAM – CAMBODIA (September 4-16, 2014)

Hanoi – Sapa – Danang – Hoi An – Siem Reap

Our journey begins at the charming and vibrant capital city of Hanoi. Visit the Ethnology Museum, which will provide an illuminating introduction to the costumes and lifestyles of the 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam.

Visit Bat Trang village, the most ancient and famous Vietnamese pottery village that is still running and developing new pieces.

Discover the highland peoples of northern Vietnam by taking a train to Lao Cai and drive to Sapa for the valley of “Cat Cat” village – the settlement of a Black H’Mong ethnic group that still retains its unique customs and practices. We will have the opportunity to see and learn the process of indigo dyeing and hemp weaving. Visit “Ta Phin” village, where we will have an experience to learn the secrets and techniques of the amazing embroideries from the ladies of the Hmong and Red Dao minority groups.

https://i0.wp.com/www.vexploretravel.com/data/gallery/fullsize/tetque7739.jpg

Spend time at the amazing Coc Ly market of local ethnic groups—the colorful Flower H’Mong, Dzao, Nung, PhuLa and take a soft trek to Ban Pho village, home of the Flower H’Mong. Take a scenic boat ride along the Chay River and stop at the village of the “Tay” people. We’ll travel to the charming city of Hoi An, a UNESCO heritage site.

Discover the art of ancient silk weaving techniques of the Cham folk in Quang Nam province, witness the full cycle of silk making from silkworms to dress, and learn the difference between natural silk and synthetic silk in this charming village located in the hub of Hoi An.

Flying from Danang to Siem Reap, we’ll visit the magnificent and unrivalled temple complex of Angkor Wat and the National Angkor Museum for an overview of Angkor history. Explore a variety of the textiles that are distinctive to Cambodia—ikat silks, known as chong kiet; the twill-patterned silks known as hol; and weft ikats, once recognized as the best in the world.

https://i0.wp.com/www.vexploretravel.com/data/gallery/fullsize/img53369145.jpg

II. LAOS – THAILAND (September 16-25, 2014)

Luang Prabang – Mekong River – Chiang Rai – Bangkok

Our adventure continues to ancient Luang Prabang, its beautiful temples, gorgeous textile galleries and one of the best craft night markets in Asia. As the centre of textiles in the region, we can explore age-old traditions and lifestyle, home grown materials used in textile and enjoy hand-crafted goods with a field day at the craft centre in Luang Prabang where the fascinating world of Lao Textiles come alive. Create your own silk textiles and discover the secrets of natural dyes when you learn how to weave with your own private teacher overlooking the mighty Mekong River. We have an opportunity to participate in the morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting alms for early risers—a unique Laos tradition.

https://i0.wp.com/www.vexploretravel.com/data/gallery/fullsize/p18b7844.jpg

We take a cruise up the Mekong River to Pakbeng, stop at the mouth of the Nam Ou River to visit Pak Ou caves where thousands of Buddha images are found. Observe rural life in a Kamu village at Ban Houy Phalam along the Mekong River. Visit the Hmong and Lahu tribes. Get ready for a firsthand experience on how to make a Hmong batik handkerchief with Hmong ladies. Take a nature walk up to the Lahu hill tribe through plantations and corn fields scattered with small bamboo huts.

Visit Doi Tung, a site of major socio-environmental projects, the Mae Fah Luang Garden and the Royal Villa. We travel to the Golden Triangle on a long-tail boat for a cruise on the Mekong River down tot eh fishing village of Baan Had Krai. Our journey will end at Royal Bangkok, where we’ll visit the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew) built in 1782 by King Rama I.

Included—

–          Roundtrip airport transfers

–          Local English speaking guide in each city

–          Accommodations based on Twin/Double sharing

–          Daily buffet breakfast, most lunches and dinners

–          Daily tour sightseeing included, admission fees

Prices (approximate)

–          Land tour Vietnam – Cambodia $2428 per person

–          Land tour Laos – Thailand $2349 per person

–          Domestic Air ticket in Vietnam $125 per person

–          Domestic Air ticket in Thailand $145 per person

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Offers are subject to availability at time of booking. Prices do not include visa fee, taxes, fuel surcharges and airline baggage fees.

Agent Nancy has traveled to Southeast Asia multiple times, and would love to give you her firsthand account! Call us at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com for her scoop!

2 Comments

Filed under Asia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vendors, Vietnam