Mayamar, Vietnam and Cambodia Land Tour coupled with a Regent Cruise from Bali to Hon Kong
March5-April 7th 2018

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Emilee's summary

  • We got back Mon (Apr 7th), with no complications, health wise or otherwise..  I had to skip a few temples and wished I'd stayed on the bus for some others because of steps, but otherwise we managed.  Wheelchair assistance in airports was a wonderful way to get through airports.  Weather was clear (though hot ad humid) except for a downpour in Bali where we were eating outside (we were given plastic ponchos and had to run the best we could for the bus.  By the time I got there water was over my shoes) and fifteen-foot waves one night that rocked the ship so we were late getting to Hong Kong and thus missed our tour, but from what we saw on the way to the airport, it's now a maze of skyscraper apartment buildings, so we didn't miss much.  No longer the charming place I saw in 1963.

  • We had excellent guides and drivers  for the land portion.  The only problem was that we were always taken in SUVs and I had to find the handhold, lean backward against the vehicle and pull myself up to the seat.  Coming down I just slid to the ground.   We had several boat rides and I managed to get on with Jerry's help.  For the hot air balloon, the pilot let me crawl in and lie down while the basket was on its side.  As the balloon filled, the basket righted itself and I was standing while others got on.  (12min all, the others Columbia Univ. business students on MBA field trip)

  • Cities were all crowded with motorcycles, scooters, cars and buses, and all airports were modern and clean.  Food was good so long as I didn't order fish soup.  It was asparagus season in Viet Nam, so I had it every night.  It was always one of the 'sides' on the ship, and lobster tails were available always, so I had lobster 7 nights.  Had wonderful breakfasts everywhere.

  • Hue was interesting and the drive from there over the mountains was  beautiful.  Da Nang, site of battles, is now a modern city with long beautiful beach.

  • In Cambodia we rode a tuk-tuk  (a cart added onto the back of a motorcycle) past government buildings and upscale hotels out to the ruins of Angkor Wat and in among its many temples.  The guide urged us not to give to the children there or to buy things from them as their families would then keep them out of school to beg and they would not get an education and would thus spend a life begging.  We went back to the main temple the next morning in the dark to await the sunrise, sitting on rocks among hundreds of others.  This was a disappointment to me, though Jerry got some good photos. (I had watched for the sunrise in Nepal, and that was a disappointment too).  Pnom Penh was a pleasant surprise, with many new, colorful buildings , including our elegant hotel , but a complicated history, which I'm not sure I grasped.  We were taken to the genocide museum where people were tortured and murdered, and out to the Killing Fields.  Wooden walkways were built over the mass groves so we wouldn't step on them  I hadn't realized  that there were  torture sites and mass graves all over the country, as over a million people were killed.  Our guide was 8 when his father was taken away.  His mother escaped with him to the Viet Nam border.  The next day we got to see the glittering royal palace complex, which was spared and is in use.

  • Bali was a disappointment.  I'd imagined terraced hills and sunny beaches and they may be there, but they're hidden behind rows of small shops, and traffic often comes to a standstill.   A surprise on Java was a vast ancient temple named Boda burdir, which was discovered in the jungle.  We had police escorts from the ship to the site and back for our buses, a trip of an hour.  Jerry climbed all the way to the top while I waited in the shade.