Best for bright city lights
It’s time to jump borders again, something that is remarkably easy to do in this neck of the woods. Board a train in Phnom Penh, and half a day later, you’ll be stepping off in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City
The capital of former South Vietnam, HCMC (or Saigon) has its own share of heavy history, but there have already been large doses of that, and it’s time to keep things light for a few days. Ho Chi Minh City is a good place to do that, to – as the base of the American operations in the country. It has quite a bit of a city-slicker vibe left over, though not in a way that takes away from its innate charm. It’s a city that’s got neon lighting up the skyline and immaculately-dressed residents walking along its broad pavements, sitting check-by-jowl with tiny lanes crammed with traditional ‘pharmacies’ and quiet temples offering respite from the chaos outside.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Ho Chi Minh City
And it is chaos outside. Everyone in Ho Chi Minh City gets around on two wheels, and the roads are always covered by a veritable swarm of motorbikes. It’s rather unnerving at first, navigating your way across Continue reading “Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!” »
Best for a history lesson
Cambodia is a country of many contrasts. The population is largely young and carefree, but they carry the burden of painful memories. Poverty is a huge problem, but that hasn’t stopped the capital city, Phnom Penh, from blossoming into a well-organized, cosmopolitan (if small) city. They’ve taken the remnants of all the invading cultures and cobbled together a city that’s completely Cambodian in essence. Walk around Phnom Penh and you’ll see ritzy hotels, sprawling bungalows and wide avenues, but also seedier corners and more run-down eateries and cafes. There are also constant reminders of just how recent Cambodia’s rehabilitation has been – it’s not unusual to have someone maimed in the war approach you for alms, not something that you’ll find in Siem Reap.
To understand the country that Cambodia has become, it’s important to understand the country that it was, and Phnom Penh is perhaps the best place to do it. It isn’t the easiest choice to make – and you can definitely spend a Continue reading “Phnom Penh, Cambodia” »