7th February 2017: Touring with Wendy Wu Tours is a truly unforgettable experience. Their attention-to-detail and hand-picked tour locations make your trip with them truly special. I recently experienced the magic of a Wendy Wu Tour while on a trip across Vietnam and Cambodia. Follow me on my journey as I relive some of my most memorable experiences.
Ho Chi Minh City
My trip started with a flight to Ho Chi Minh City in Premium Economy which I highly recommend for anyone flying this far. Arriving at Ho Chi Minh in the early hours, I was not prepared for the drive from the airport. 10 million people live in Ho Chi Minh City and I definitely noticed this on the way to the city, it felt as though every single one of them were on their way to work. Hundreds and hundreds of motorbikes were on the road and it was amazing to watch, some bikes had at least three people on them! I felt very safe in the city, however I’d advise you to take care crossing the road.
On the tour we visited the main tourist spots of Ho Chi Minh City; Reunification Palace and the War Museum. The War Museum was my personal favourite as I learned an incredible amount about their 20 years of unrest.
Next, we travelled two hours to the Mekong Delta town of Cai Be, where we had a small boat trip visiting the floating markets which were formed in the 19th century and still trade today.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Following this, we experienced the infamous Cu Chi tunnels which were constructed and used as an underground city used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The tunnels stretch 250km to the Cambodian border. The tour takes you down into the tunnels and experience what life was like for those who lived and worked there.
Siem Reap and Angkor Wat
Cambodia was our next stop and the town of Siem Reap, which is the main town to stay in when visiting the temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. Siem Reap has a lovely feel to it and the people in the town are very friendly, the cost of living here is very reasonable too.
Our day began with a trip to visit the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. The crumbling temples date back to as far as the 12th century and are held together by giant tree roots. I highly recommend visiting the temples as they are truly amazing; they definitely need to be seen in person to appreciate just how impressive they are.
We then travelled out into the country where, believe-it-or-not people still live without electricity, and visited Tonie Sap Lake, where the whole community work and live over water.
After a short flight back to Danang in Vietnam, we stayed for a couple of nights in Hoi Ann. The resort had such a lovely feel to it, very pretty with lots of coloured buildings and at night, it was lit up with Chinese lanterns. Set around the tranquil Thu Bon river, the resort is perfectly placed to see local fisherman catching their fish the traditional way – just their hands and nets.
Hoi Ann is also fantastic for its shopping markets, there’s a wealth of street markets selling everything from noodles to Buddha statues but if shopping isn’t your thing there are some great beaches not too far away, making Hoi Ann and Danang the perfect place for some rest and relaxation. That afternoon we took a bike ride though the local paddi fields and it was a definite highlight of the trip as I came face-to-face with a buffalo!
Our final internal flight took us to Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, which is the city closest to the infamous Ha Long Bay, our next stop. As it’s a four hour journey each way you get a long time to see the country at leisure, or, if you’d prefer you can catch a local seaplane.
Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s not hard to see why with its stunning scenery. The bay is very peaceful with the odd boat relaxingly floating, while in the distance you can see the endless jungle-clad limestone pillars of the nearby islands, some of which turned into huge caves. The bay also gives you the chance to kayak, along with learning how to cook Vietnamese food, as well as the opportunity to take an early morning Tai Chi lesson.
Before leaving this incredible country, my last highlight was taking a tour of Hanoi where we saw the 1000 year old Temple of Confucius and the 11th century relic, the Temple of Literature.
This trip was by far one of the most enriching I’ve been on. Discovering cultures which are so different to my own was really eye-opening and I’d highly recommend people visit Vietnam and Cambodia before they get too westernised. The added advantage of travelling as part of an escorted tour with Wendy Wu Tours is you’ll get great guides who have a wealth of knowledge and can tell you everything you need to know. All meals within my trip were included and you get to try local cuisine which adds to the experience.
My Top Tips
- Take plenty of mosquito repellent
- Take lots of $1 bills for tipping
- When visiting the temples, wear clothing which covers arms, shoulders and legs as the dress code is very strict; if you do forget however, there is always the opportunity of buying clothing nearby.
- Be aware that certain parts of the country take different currency, e.g South Vietnam takes US Dollars but North Vietnam only accepts the Vietnam Dong. While there are cash machines, they do take a small charge.