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VIETNAM & CAMBODIA 
Impressions of Vietnam and Angkor Wat
The Ancient Vietnam

The Ancient Vietnam
The history of Vietnam covers a period of more than 2,700 years. By far Vietnam's most important historical international relationship has been with China. Vietnam's prehistory includes a legend about a kingdom known as Van Lang (2787–2858 BC) that included what is now China's Guangxi Region and Guangdon Province, as well as the northern part of Vietnam. Later, successive dynasties based in China ruled Vietnam directly for most of the period from 207 BC until 938 when Vietnam regained its independence. 

The Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year
Tet Nguyen Dan (often referred to simply as Tet) is the Lunar New Year, perhaps the most important holiday of the year. The New Year does not fall on the same date every year, although it is always in January or February. The official holiday lasts three days, but it is often celebrated for a full seven days. In many ways, the Tet "holiday season" is not unlike the December "holiday season" in North America. Tet Nguyen Dan literally means "first morning of the first day of the new period." It is believed that the course of these few days determines the events of the coming year. 

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is one of the most popular draws for visitors to Vietnam as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for its natural beauty. The bay is made up of thousands of limestone islands, many of them named for their distinct shapes, such as Voi (elephant) and Khi (monkey). These islands are home to diverse flora and fauna, including bantams, monkeys, antelopes, and lizards; the bay itself supports 200 species of fish and 450 species of mollusks. Four fishing villages also support around 1,600 people living... 

The Rice of Life

The Rice of Life
Rice is the dietary staple in Vietnam, consumed with each meal. The common practice is to prepare several dishes that are placed on a tray or on a table, with family members sitting around it. Everybody has a small bowl filled with rice, and take food from the serving trays, placing it in their bowl. Then such combination of rice and other foods is eaten from the bowls with chopsticks. Vietnamese often accompany these main dishes with leafy vegetables and small bowls of salty sauces in which they dip their food. 

Angkor Archaeological Park
Angkor Wat ("Capital Temple") is a temple complex in Cambodia and one of the largest religious monuments in the world. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple Angkor Wat ("Capital Temple") is a temple complex in Cambodia and one of the largest religious monuments in the world. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. 

Angkor Wat Temple
Angkor Wat is visually, architecturally and artistically breathtaking. It is a massive three-tiered pyramid crowned by five lotus-like towers rising 65 meters from ground level. At the apex of Khmer political and military dominance in the region, Suryavarman II constructed Angkor Wat in the form of a massive 'temple-mountain' dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu. It served as his state temple, though the temple’s uncommon westward orientation has led some to suggest that it was constructed as Suryavarman II’s funerary temple. 

Sail among the thousands of limestone islands of Ha Long Bay and across the Perfume River, stroll by peaceful pagodas and Buddhist monasteries, watch colorful floating markets of the Mekong River Delta and enjoy a private cooking class. Discover the many aspects of the French colonial Hanoi and the vibrant city of Saigon. Angkor Wat, what today is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was the capital of the ancient Khmer Kingdom built around a Hindu temple to Vishnu. This long lost city, which for centuries existed only as a myth, was discovered in 1861 by a French naturalist, Henri Mouhot. Its enormous temples, towering spires, giant carved faces and ornate bas reliefs, swallowed by the jungle and then rescued, are an eternal tribute to a lost civilization. The "City of Kings", with some of the largest religious monuments ever constructed, is a mystic and magical place which carries a spiritual significance for many, and once in a lifetime travel experience for others.

DATES 

October 2023
15 Days / 14 Nights

Tour starts in Hanoi, Vietnam and ends in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Bayon Temple
If you see only two temples, Angkor Wat and Bayon should be the ones. The giant stone faces of Bayon have become one of the most recognizable images connected to classic Khmer art and architecture. There are 37 standing towers, most but not all sporting four carved faces oriented toward the cardinal points. Who the faces might represent is a matter of debate but it has been argued it may be Loksvara, Mahayana Buddhism's compassionate Bodhisattva, or perhaps a combination of Buddha and Jayavarman VII. 

Banteay Srei Temple
Banteay Srey loosely translates to ‘citadel of the women,’ but this is a modern appellation that probably refers to the delicate beauty of the carvings. This temple was discovered by French archaeologists comparatively late in their research, not until in 1914. Banteay Srey was built at a time when the Khmer Empire was gaining significant power and territory, constructed by a Brahmin counselor under a powerful king, Rajendravarman, and later under Jayavarman V. 

Cambodian Cuisine
Khmer cuisine or, more generally, Cambodian cuisine, is the traditional cuisine of the people of Cambodia. Average meals typically consists of more than one dish and ideally contrasts flavours, textures and temperatures within the meal using plenty of herbs, leaves, pickled vegetables, dipping sauces, edible flowers and other garnishes and condiments. Rice is the staple food in Cambodia, and it is part of every meal, both as an accompaniment and used as an ingredient for many dishes. 

Shopping in Cambodia
Cambodia’s golden silk was once renowned throughout the world for its purity and soft feel. However, recent decades have seen the craft decline, with recent efforts aiming to restore golden silk to its former glory. Those interested in finding out more about the process, from silk worm to scarf, can take a free tour of Artisan Angkor’s silk farm on the outskirts of Siem Reap. You’ll spot the krama everywhere you go because this multi-purpose scarf is the national symbol of Cambodia and used by all. 

Traditional Apsara Dance
Cambodia is a country that is steeped in history and tradition, with classical Cambodian ballet — or Apsara dancing — held in high esteem across the country. Evidence of this delicate form of dancing can be seen etched into the walls of ancient temples, as well as when watching the string of talented dancers who put on shows across the country today. Here’s the lowdown on Apsara’s origins and the best spots to watch this type of dancing. Stretching back to the 7th century, Apsara dancing stems from Cambodia’s Hindu and Buddhist mythology.