After a great new years eve we spend new years day at the beach, chilling out and saying goodbye... Next day we got on a bus for a change :-) and headed to Ho Chi Minh City, sorry Saigon, as the southern Vietnamese call it.
Having arrived at Saigon, we instantly got surrounded by motos (Moped taxi) and pushy women, trying to Sheppard us towards the guesthouses they were paid by. We could get out of their clutches and found a really nice, clean room with a real window, where you actually could see the sky, not very common!
We explored a bit our new surrounding, acclimatizing again to noise and in the evening we found a massage centre, run by blind masseurs, where John had an hour back massage, he got really beaten up, but it was good.
Next day we made our way to the Vietnamese Notre Dame, the main post office, that we mistook for the central station and finally to the War Remnants Museum.
This museum shows photos and war exhibits of the recent Vietnamese history, in a very one sided way, trying to persuade you, how wonderful uncle Ho was and the greatness of the communist cause. Most of the photos were very interesting but harrowing and disturbing.
The following day, hungry for more of Saigon's history, we visited the Reunification Palace, the former home of South Vietnam's presidents. Here communist tanks crashed through the gates and marked the surrender of South Vietnam. Very impressive palace, not attractive from the outside but a stylish interior.
This was our last day in Vietnam, we rewarded ourselves with a large vegetarian dinner at a restaurant run by a Buddhist family, yummy!
Again on a bus we left Saigon the next day on our journey to Cambodia... Very long long trip! We had several stops and had a glimpse of local food: fried Tarantulas with chillies and big Locusts in lemon. It's much hotter here, which means bigger bugs...
Thank god we prebooked a guesthouse including free pick up, as we arrived really late in Siem Reap and we wouldn't have been able to deal with the swarms of tuk tuk drivers. A nice guy was waiting for us and holding up a sign with our names on. Pleasant ride to the guesthouse and a very good sleep.
Next day we cycled around and after a few kilometers we found the ticket office for the temples of Angkor( ancient temple city built by Khmer kings). Red faced as we were, we had photos taken for our three day ticket and cycled back to the centre. We found a peaceful quiet cafe set in a garden and enjoyed lush fruit shakes.
After a nearly sleepless night thanks to the noisy Russian neighbours, we made our way on bicycles to Angkor Wat, the first big temple on our sightseeing list. With our guide book in hand we discovered ourselves the secrets of the reliefs and spent hours walking up and down the different levels of the temple. Afterwards we explored the big area a bit more and visited another temple called Preah Khan. Very old and slightly overgrown by trees, it gave us a real Indiana Jones feeling. Having underestimated the expanse of the area, we found ourselves cycling against the sunlight, wanting to get out of the jungle like park before sunset.
Another day, another big temple tour. This one, Angkor Thom, had Tomb Raider shooting here. We climbed up and down lots of steep stairs and towers, enjoying the overwhelming views. This is an amazing place!
One more day to tour in Angkor tomorrow and then a day of rest, before we leave on Wednesday morning on a bus (surprise) to Battambang.