5 Confounding Aspects of Vietnam & Cambodia
A trip to South East Asia can be daunting for those who are worried about the language barriers, but it turns out that there are lots of tourists from other countries and continents that will make a visit. In 2015, research data showed that the top 10 source of visitors to Asia are China, EU, Japan, Australia, Korea, USA, India, Taiwan, and Russian. But what is there to do in South East Asia? I’d like to tell you a little about Vietnam and Cambodia specifically, and I’m sure you’ll be amazed at what these amazing countries have to offer!
Beaches and Bays
Cambodia rocks their Otres beach while Vietnam boasts the amazing Halong Bay in its northern parts. Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World heritage Site and consists of natural limestone formations that have been estimated to have been through 500 million years of formation. It serves as a tropical evergreen, oceanic and sea shore system, homing 14 floral and 60 faunal species which are only found in that area. The community of people in Ha Long Bay are distributed across 4 fishing villages, made up of floating houses. There are 989 islands in Ha Long Bay!
In Vietnam you’ll get to learn more about the culture just by immersing yourself in the streets. Visit Hoi An Ancient Town, a well-preserved trading port dating back to the 15th century, or the Old Quarter in Hanoi where you’ll be taken back in time to how Vietnamese culture was like.
Cambodia has lots of old architectural structures that are symbolic to Khmer culture. The Angkor Wat in Phnom Penh, the many other temples, plantations, and farms are great options for getting to know about the different lifestyles in the area.
It is a must to try amok, which is a popular Khmer dish. There’s also lots of tropical fruits, noodles, and for the adventurous foodies, there’s fried spiders. Street foods in Vietnam will also beat your expectations with nem cuon, pho, bun bo hue and many more being popular dishes.
Cambodia has lots of rural style houses and Angkorian style temples that were built from stone. Angkor Archaeological Park, Choeung Ek Genocidal Center and the Cambodia Landmine Museum are among some of the best museums to visit in Cambodia to learn about the history of the country. In Vietnam, there’s the War Remnants Museum and Vietnam Museum of Ethnology which will get you learning about the past and its people.
The Cu Chi Tunnels, Paradise Cave, Phong Nha Caves and Mua Caves… There’s no shortage of caves in Vietnam in addition to its bays and beaches such as Non Nuoc Beach and the Marble Mountains. In Cambodia, you’ll see trees growing into old structures such as the Ta Prohm Temple, and there’s also Battambang Bat Caves located at the top of a mountain, with millions of bats. The Elephant Valley Project is also a great sanctuary to visit if you’d like to observe elephants in their natural habitat without disturbing them.
The interesting cultures, amazing scenery, great food and the possibility of doing all of this on a low budget, Vietnam and Cambodia are perfect destinations for the solo traveler. IIf backpacking is not your thing though, there are plenty of Southeast Asian tours available that will keep you busy while not having to do all the planning!