I was lucky enough to embark my tour to Vietnam and Cambodia and folks here I am sharing with you the happiness and experiences of it. With me and my wife Regina was a group of 30 senior citizens from Maharashtra and the tour was arranged by M/s Veena Tours Company.
Accordingly as planned I met up with all members of my group at Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai where we took off to Vietnam. Vietnam as I had heard was a country that lures in travellers with its spectacular scenery and keeps them thoroughly fascinated with its unique heritage and I was very eager to explore it.
My first stop was Hanoi, Capital of Veitnam. The capital Hanoi in the north, the southern hub of Ho Chi Minh city and the central city of Danang are the top three Vietnamese tourist destinations. The latter two are served by Cambodia Angkor Air and have direct links to Siem Reap. Ho Chi Minh city also connects to Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
Hanoi is a city of lakes, and Hoan Kirem Lake is one of the most popular with visitors. It is superbly scenic and serene. Also the lake provides a habitat for soft- shell turtles and contains many photogenic Pagodas (tiered towers with multiple eaves) and small bridges. Meanwhile, Tran Quoc is the most historic pagoda in all of Hanoi and is the foremost symbol of Buddhism in the country. Millions of visitors visit its shores each year and get attracted by the luscious landscapes, picturesque villages, colonial architecture, war museums and ancient fortresses. Yummy!!! Let’s not forget the food- Vietnamese cuisine is regarded as one of the best in the world!. We took a two hour drive down to the famous Ha Long Bay- a UNESCO world heritage site where you’ll have your breath well and truly taken away by its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by jungle flora. Later we visited the Hochiminh Complex which comprises the Mausoleum of the nation’s founder Hochiminh, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh’s house.
On the second day we proceeded to Hanoi, en route we enjoyed fantastic cruise in Halong bay and vosited Dinh Huong Island and Ga Choi islands. Later we enjoyed the water puppet show in the evening. On third day we visited One Pillar Pagoda whose origins date back to the foundation of city, temple of Literature, which is well known as the first university of Vietnam built in 1070. Later we fly to seim Reap.
On the forth day we were lucky to visit interior brick sculptures of Prasat Kravan , the Srah Srang reservoir (Known as ‘The Royal Bath’ - one used for ritual bathing), Banteay Kdei (surrounded by 4 concentric walls), Eastern Mebon (Guarded at its corner by stone figures of harnessed elephants , some of which are still in a reasonable state of presentation) and the mountain temple of Pre Rup.
The next day we visited the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th Century), Ta Promh Temple, Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and represents the mountains at the edge of the world and enjoy sunset at Bakheng Mountain.
On the sixth day of our tour we boarded the flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Indeed it was an experience to remember. We explored the city of Ho chi Minh, visited the War Crime Museum which features a comprehensive collection of the machinery, weapons, photos and documentation of Vietnam’s wars with the both the French and Americans . Also we visited the reunification Palace which was the former US Embassy, Cho Lon including the Thien Hau Pagoda. The district is home to the City’s 400,000 Chinese people and has many beautiful temples and pagodas.
The next day we visited Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi was an important base during the America War because of its strategic location. The Vietcong built a 200km long network of tunnels connecting command posts, hospitals and shelter & weapon factories, dug out of hard late rite by hand tools without the use of cement.
Within the system of Cu Chi Tunnel, Ben Duoc Tunnel was the base of party Committee and Headquarters of Sai Gon Cho Lon- Gia Dinh Zone & Military Zone. This being ranked as national relics under Decision N 54 / VHQD dated April 29, 1979. This is a unique architectural structure, a system of deeply underground tunnels having several floors and alleys and branches like spider web more than 250 km long with places for dining, living, meeting and fighting. This tunnel system embodies the strong will, intelligence and pride of Cu Chi people and also a symbol of revolutionary heroism of Vietnamese people. Each year, there are more than 1 million tourists, domestic and overseas, who come to visit tunnel.
Indeed it was a wonderful and enthralling experience of a life time to me.