Cambodia to Vietnam holidays can be easily arranged. After the must-see temples of Angkor, make your way to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
Compelling Cambodian history
Of great importance, although harrowing, is a trip to the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. You will see a monument made of the skulls of those slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot’s leadership. There are mass graves, with clothes still strewn over and under the ground. The Khmer Rouge was responsible for the deaths of up to a million or more people. The reasons they condemned citizens to death included if the citizens were professionals or intellectuals, in addition to people of ethnic minorities (Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese nationals).
It’s necessary to visit to get an understanding of why the country is so broken, and why tourism is key in its contribution to putting it back together. There are also many positive things to see in Phnom Penh, like the numerous restaurants that take young people from deprived communities and train them to become professional chefs.
Variety in Vietnam
After Phnom Penh, travel to Vietnam by bus. There are good clean buses that do the trip, many of which are air-conditioned. You’ll notice the change from Cambodian roads to Vietnamese abruptly. The road to Ho Chi Mihn City in Vietnam is not pot-holed concrete, but an incredibly smooth tarmac road.
From Ho Chi Mihn, Vietnam is open to you. Perhaps take the train all the way up to Hanoi, stopping in places like Hue and Hoi An on the way.
Hoi An has been a trading port for hundreds of years. The Old Town is a UNESCO world heritage site. It features a centuries-old Japanese bridge with a Buddhist pagoda fastened to one side. The only known covered bridge of its kind. There’s a prepossessing mix of French colonial buildings, painted yellow and blue and pink, in the new town, in addition to the grey stone Vietnamese and aforementioned Japanese architecture of the old. Hand-crafted colourful lanterns adorn the streets and the smell of pastries from French patisseries floats in the air.
Hoi An is also well known for its made to measure clothes. There are a vast number of tailors waiting for you to pick out designs from old English catalogues that can be created for you within three days.
Hue rests on the banks of the Perfume River, which takes its name from the flowers that fall into it in the Autumn. While you are in Hue, take a tour on one of the boats with a brightly carved dragon’s head at the bow. The boat will take you to several pagodas and temples along the way and you’ll see lush green hills and fishermen with traditional covered boats wearing conical hats, to provide shelter from the sun.
From Hue travel up to Hanoi, the resting place of Ho Chi Mihn’s embalmed body (which you can go and see if you queue up early enough). From Hanoi make your journey onwards or homewards. Cambodia to Vietnam is an adventure well worth taking.
Bio – This guest post is by Sophie Collard a travel writer who you’ll find writing about trains, places to go by train or people she’s met on the train . She’s travelled over rails in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia and loves how train travel gives a sense of distance and changing landscape.