These are dream destinations for many visitors from around the world and are already much visited. Six thousand visitors descend on the vast World Heritage Site of Angkor Watt every day but there is so much more to see in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Joylyn’s second travel guide will be out in the spring.
Travelling in Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong River
They are young post-war countries leading a simple life under communist governments with a few overtones of sophistication in the big cities. The vast majority of the population are less than sixty years old, so older visitors from the west are both revered and a novelty.
There are of remnants of French colonisation in some of their architecture and there is a legacy of Catholicism from those days mixed in with the Buddhism that was their native religion. Tourists are taken to visit ancient Buddhist temples, royal palaces, Catholic churches and cathedrals along with sites commemorating the sacrifice and barbarity of war.
These are countries with stark differences between the lives of city dwellers and country folk, although almost all use scooters or mopeds for transport as being best suited to the rough tracks which pass for roads. The alternative transport is the Mekong River along which sumptuous tourist boats ply alongside ancient barges carrying cement, building materials, fruit, vegetables and all the necessities of life. Some cities on the Mekong still feature large floating markets continuing a long tradition of avoiding local taxation by river trading.
Both Vietnamese and Cambodians are friendly and welcoming to visitors, even if they do look in astonishment at your age, height and dress.
Be warned that nothing here is ever how you expect it to be, whether it is the weather, the food or the scenery.
This travel guide delivers the essentials you need to know before travelling and takes you on an armchair journey through these two fascinating countries whilst avoiding the intense heat, humidity and torrential rain. Pour yourself a cuppa or a glass of wine and sit down and travel with Jolyn.