Many of you enjoyed my recent trip Discovering Southeast Asia with G Adventures by following me on Facebook and checking out my pictures on a daily basis…..what a great trip! And more than that, what a great tour company to travel with for this trip…….
Vietnam has always been on my “bucket list” -and when I finally decided to go- the hard decisions started- with which tour company should I travel? And what itinerary should I choose?
Because I enjoy small group adventure travel, I chose G Adventures with one of their Upgraded Trips- Adventure by day but Comfort at night……and then put the trip out there to all my friends……and yes- the timing was right and so I was able to share this wonderful experience with a friend. Together we decided on the itinerary- and rather than simply concentrating on Vietnam, we chose an overview type of trip- a few days in the major cities of 4 countries. The trip was called Discover Southeast Asia and was a National Geographic Journeys trip…….
And what an overview it was……rather than skimming the surface I truly felt we were able to “get under the skin” of each country we visited, thanks to the CEO (Chief Experience Officer) who travelled with us. He smoothed our way, recommended restaurants as well as activities, and ensured the participation of many local guides who provided us with the cultural and historical backgrounds along the way. Thank you Thou Sao! You were one of two of the best guides I have ever had!
What We Saw Along The Way
For example, in Bangkok we saw the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha, went for a boat ride along the klong canals. In Chiang Mai, we partook in a cooking class and came away with a recipe book we can all use, visited markets, and listened to the monks chanting at sunset. Cycling through the countryside was unforgettable.
In Luang Prabang (Laos) we rose at dawn to offer alms to the monks, went swimming at the fabulous Kuang Si Falls, and toured a Wat with a former Buddhist monk.
In Vietnam, we enjoyed kayaking and swimming in Halong Bay, touring the Old Quarter of Hanoi, and exploring Saigon’s past and present…….
In Cambodia, we were able to see close up and personal the sobering and devastating effects of the civil war of the 1960’s and 1970’s. This was off-set however by the continuing recovery and forgiveness present in today’s Cambodia- demonstrated when we were able to enjoy a home cooked meal in the home of one of the local guides with his family. The exploration of Siem Reap and the fabulous Angkor Wat as well as other local sights made Cambodia unforgettable for me.
This quick description is just an overview of our trip; truly it hardly does it justice as I have included only a few of our activities…..and yes- we did have time to relax- many of our afternoons were spend by the swimming pools at our 4* and 5* hotels.
One thing I really like about G Adventures’ style of travel is that it allowed us to give back to the local economy in so many ways- by supporting local businesses (accommodations, restaurants, guides, local transportation and activities) along with visiting their Planeterra Foundation projects. Truly we felt we were contributing to their communities, and I felt in Laos and Cambodia in particular that this really mattered.
Finally, at the end of our trip, we added on a few days in Hong Kong for rest and relaxation…….a wonderful way to wind down in so many ways and begin to slowly re-adjust to Western culture.
If travelling with G Adventures appeals to you, stay tuned to the next blog post where I will explore the types of adventures they offer- something for everyone!