Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Day (was enough) in Da Nang

Nowhere in Vietnam is changing as fast as Danang. For decades it had a reputation as a provincial backwater, but big changes are ongoing. Stroll along the Han riverfront and you'll find gleaming new hotels, and restaurants are emerging. Spectacular new bridges now span the Han river. Oh, and for good measure, a revamped international airport opened in 2012. Hence this being our first stop in Vietnam, as it was a good jumping off point to Hoi An, as well. 

That said, the city itself still has few conventional sightseeing spots, so for most travelers, a day or two off the tourist trail enjoying the city’s restaurants and nightlife is probably enough.

This is what we heard, and we barely lasted 12 hours.

After a late night flight from Cambodia,  we landed late into crazy Da Nang. As the taxi weaved in and out of cars and motorbikes, driving on the opposite side of the road to dodge traffic, I knew we were no longer in sleepy Cambodia. We arrived at our pre-booked hotel and instantly crashed. 

We woke up the next morning to the sea and sunshine. Having not really prepared for much in Da Nang, our hotel offered us bikes to go explore the city. We basically lasted along the boardwalk and instantly realized this city was not for us. It was dirty, and really lacked any noteworthy Vietnamese sites. We decided to hightail it out of there ASAP, to head to the more majestically described area of Hoi An. So after approximately 3 waking hours, we were off to our next city. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuk Tuks in Cambodia

My only experience in Southeast Asia has been Singapore and Bali, so I truly believe Cambodia was the first introduction to the real "Southeast Asia" that so many of you know and love. Seeing the tuk tuks pick us up from the airport, and driving us around Siem Reap with their open air goodness is something I will never forget. These drivers make all their money off of these pedicabs, making only dollars a day. It was such a neat experience to meet the drivers each day, and have us transport us around the hectic city. I love it, and wish all cities had them! 

just waiting... and sleeping. 

On our way from the airport! Notice the shirts. It is a very conservative country, and even in 95 degree heat with 100% humidity, drivers are covered up. 

Open beers in an open tuk tuk on our way to the airport. Vietnam, here we come! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Temples of Ankor

Where do you even begin with the temples of Ankor, and most specifically Ankor Wat? Explaining it can take all day, but avoiding it is one of t

Your first glimpse of Angkor Wat, the ultimate expression of Cambodian genius, is simply staggering and is matched by only a few select spots on earth such as Machu Picchu or Petra.
Angkor Wat is, quite literally, heaven on earth. Angkor is the earthly representation of Mt Meru, the Mt Olympus of the Hindu faith and the abode of ancient gods. The ‘temple that is a city, Angkor Wat is the perfect fusion of creative ambition and spiritual devotion. 
The temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia. It is the national symbol, the epicentre of Khmer civilisation and a source of fierce national pride. Soaring skyward and surrounded by a moat that would make its European castle counterparts blush, Angkor Wat is one of the most inspired and spectacular monuments ever conceived by the human mind. Simply unique, it is a stunning blend of spirituality and symmetry.

Our first look! We came and got our tickets the day before we entered at sunrise.

Sunrise over the temples. Breathtaking.
We charged in the temples while everyone waited on the outside for the sun to rise. 

Ankor Thom

This is the best.
Everyone watching the sunrise while we were in the temples alone! 

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Beginning - Cambodia Here We Come!

Well, hello! I finally returned from an amazing trip to Southeast Asia! Be prepared for some heavy blogging over the next coming weeks, because I have over 700 pictures from my time in Cambodia and Vietnam. I can't wait to share some stories with you! 

I have to begin with a few pictures from the start of our trip. Because Lisa and I live in different states, we were in constant communication about what we were packing. Plus, I was going to a bachelorette party in San Diego before flying out of LA Sunday night. Packing was a challenge, but one I welcomed with open arms. I love this stuff! 
First glass of wine as we embark on our journey (and 24 hours of travel) to Cambodia.

Without even asking, we got an exit row for our long flight to China. Best surprise ever! We were SO excited! 
The first Tuk Tuk ride from the airport! A little bleary eyed, but excited to see a brand new culture.

I love guidebooks! And coffee to keep us awake. 
Our first massage. So cheap, so good. 

Welcome to Cambodia!