Wednesday, December 8, 2010

{Saigon traffic} Rules are rules

No space on the road? Just ride on the footpath!

We're into week number two with our own car and driver.

At only 22 years old, our new driver Mr Long is just a baby but so far he has impressed me with his cautious attitude to driving.

Unlike many of the taxi drivers in this city he doesn't constantly sit on his horn (only using it to warn motorbike riders who stray into our path) or overtake in an aggressive manner i.e overtaking for no other reason than the need to be in front of someone else!

So tonight I was surprised when my housekeeper told me he was pulled over by the police and fined for a traffic infringement on the way to school this afternoon.

Oh no! I immediately thought my high opinion of Mr Long was going to be crushed. Was he only behaving while I was in the car?

When I learned he was fined 700,000VND (that's about USD36) for not using his indicator when changing lanes on the highway I was shocked!

Seriously? This is the city where motorbike riders travel on the footpath because they can't be bothered waiting in the peak hour traffic! Surely footpath driving endangers more lives than someone who forgets to indicate a lane change?

I am impressed that the police seem to be trying to make the roads safer (even though the cynic in me knows it's really just revenue raising and unfortunately, in many cases, an opportunity for individual police to line their own pockets).

Unfortunately for Mr Long, sitting on the highway and pulling over drivers who do the wrong thing is the easiest way for police to teach locals that flouting the rules has consequences (because obviously trying to do that in the District 1 peak hour traffic is just going to cause further road chaos).

Vietnam's reputation has been marred by stories of police on the take who shake down the drivers for cash and pocket bribes in order to let offenders go without a huge penalty.

Not sure whether Mr Long refused, or whether he was just lucky enough to get the new breed of policeman who knows that many drivers are unlikely to risk their job by paying a cash bribe.

Either way, this was one of those "official" fines where Mr Long will have to report to the police station next week and hand over the cash to get his licence back. 

As sad as I am for our driver (USD36 is a lot of money for his family) this is a good lesson for him to learn and a small step towards teaching the newest generation of Vietnamese drivers a hard lesson in road safety.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

{Saigon Snaps} A Team Somerville Xmas

The tree has been decorated...

The stockings hung...

And Georgia and Mackenzie have had their first Santa cuddle for 2010!

A cuddle with Santa at this morning's BIS Xmas Bazaar

We're ready for a Team Somerville Xmas in Saigon!

Friday, December 3, 2010

{Saigon Snacks} Ben Thanh Night Market

Tonight we played at being tourists.

Most people are shocked when I tell them I haven't been to Saigon's infamous Ben Thanh Markets - despite living here for 5 months.

Sadly, after almost 2 years in Vietnam, every market feels a bit "same, same" and the thought of visiting yet another tourist trap didn't hold much appeal.

After some prodding from my colleagues, who raved about the dining delights at the Ben Thanh Night Market, I decided that tonight was the night for me to shake off my apathy and behave like a newly arrived tourist.

The fact that we were dressed in our work gear must have looked slightly odd as we mixed with the sunburnt, shorts-wearing foreigners, but I must admit it was good fun!

Ben Thanh's Night Market is held on the two streets that run either side of Ben Thanh Market - a vast building that straddles the block between Le Thanh Ton and Le Loi Streets in District 1.

On recommendation we headed straight to Hai Lua - a streetside restaurant at the night market with plenty of plastic tables and chairs surrounding an open air kitchen.

Ben Thanh's Night Market
Hai Lua restaurant at the Ben Thanh Night Markets
 Hai Lua is a feast for the senses and it was fun to watch the tourists staring in wide-eyed amazement, mesmerised by the chefs preparing the food before grilling it on massive barbecues.

Interesting...all the barbecue chefs at Hai Lua are female!

If you can stomach it, wander to the far side of the kitchen to watch the chef pluck a live fish from a bucket of water and scale it while it flops around (in vain) on the chopping board. A wee bit cruel but nice to know the meals are fresh!

We ordered a barbecued whole red snapper, a plate of salt and spicy squid (a little thick and chewy), Cantonese fried rice and a few beers, all for under US$15. The fish was delicious. A little small and only 140,000VND - I'd recommend ordering one per person.

Delicious red snapper

Dining at Ben Thanh Night Markets
Tonight I learned a valuable lesson.

As a resident (albeit a temporary one) it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you'll get around to seeing the sights one day, or reaching the point where you become blase and bypass the local experience because it feels too touristy.

Tonight I discovered that, despite almost 2 years in Vietnam, I still actually enjoy behaving like a tourist!

To my surprise I also learned that I'm (thankfully) still not immune to the charms of the local hawker children touting their wares.

The staff at the Hai Lua restaurant do a great job of moving on the kids if they look like they're bothering the diners, but one young girl (around 7 years old) caught my attention.

With her olive complexion and gorgeous smile she tried to convince Rob to buy a hand held fan.

"You buy one from me?" she asked politely. Rob declined. "You sure you won't buy one from me?" she persisted. "How about I buy zero from you," Rob retorted (with a grin). "How about you eat zero then," she shot back (with a cheeky laugh!).

Clever girl. She had me. I found myself handing over 100,000VND for a packet of 3 hand held fans that I'll never use. They mean nothing to me, but a lot to her family.

After dinner we wandered the markets, drunkenly giggling at the tourists buying all manner of tack (realising we were once like them!) before making a snap, alcohol-fuelled decision to walk to the backpacker area on the edge of District 1.

Our destination was the very busy Bui Vien strip - a tourist area lined with heaps of bars, restaurants and shops for foreigners.

We were coaxed by the CO2 bar's roadside touts to pull up a plastic stool in front of the bar. A few too many dodgy wines and mojitos, but it was a fun (albeit unusual) Friday date night in Saigon!

The backpacker bar strip on Bui Vien
Roadside drinks at CO2 bar on Bui Vien

Here comes the hangover!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

{Saigon Snaps} Telecom Vietnam!

After almost 2 years in Vietnam, watching the locals fix power cables still gives me a giggle!

Of course I shouldn't laugh because it's clearly dangerous, but nobody seems to realise or care!

Snapped in Saigon: corner of Thi Sach Street at 4.20pm

Monday, November 29, 2010

{Expat life} Saigon's traffic troubles

Our new set of wheels - a Toyota Innova

I've finally cracked. This week I'll join the countless other expats (and wealthy Vietnamese) in Saigon with their own car and driver.

I know I'll face ridicule from some sectors of the expat (and broader) community, but I'm willing to shrug it off.

Of course nobody says anything directly to your face, but it's there on the blogs and expat community websites where many scoff at those who refuse to travel by taxi or motorbike.

I could fill a book with countless stories of my horror taxi experiences in Vietnam, and that's what has ultimately led me to this point.

From drivers who tried to rip me off with a dodgy meter or deliberately went the long way to get more money (pretending not to understand my Vietnamese!) to those who decided they couldn't be bothered sitting in peak hour traffic and made me get out on a busy highway (that was my favourite!).

When we lived in Hanoi, the initial language barrier and dangerous driving, coupled with the difficulty of travelling with 2-year-old twins on my own, led me to renting a car and driver.

When we moved to Saigon in June, I naively dreamed that we could save money by travelling in taxis (because trust me, the monthly cost of renting a car and driver is not something you want to pay for if you don't really need to!).

For me this was an enormous leap given I know how dangerous it is for young children to travel in a vehicle without a baby seat. There have even been moments, while lamenting Saigon's traffic woes, that I actually considered buying a family-sized motorbike...yes, it's amazing how your point of view warps after a while in this country!

In Vietnam's expat circles, the need for the car and driver is widely debated.

In one camp you have the expats, generally locally engaged or not on a package with bonuses, who grumble that those on the big bucks push up prices and behave like wankers because they choose to live in secure compounds and drive around in a private car.

In another camp there are the expats, generally transferred here by an international company, who are lucky enough to get a housing allowance and a car and driver. Good on them I say. If the company gives you a car as part of your package, why wouldn't you take it?

In between these two camps there are the expats who, regardless of what kind of money and perks they get, think that any foreigner who comes here and still behaves like they're in their own country by not living in a local neighbourhood, riding a motorbike or eating only on the street is missing out.

Then there's us - expats who come here with an international company and get a lot of perks, but not enough to cover everything we feel is necessary to have security and peace of mind.

For us, the choice to live in the secure gated compound (part of which we pay for ourselves), and the decision to get a car when we were in the north, and now, (which we also pay for) has been influenced by our role as parents.

Some would argue that you don't need to live in the gated compound and travel by car, but it all comes down to a matter of personal opinion and how you're willing to live.

Do I want to worry at night that my house could be burgled while I sleep? No thanks. Do I want to have to put up with the abovementioned taxi woes? I tried it...too much bother.

So, once again, we've joined the much-maligned pack of expats who get around town with their own car and driver (except on the weekends when we'll suffer at the hands of the city's taxi drivers!).

Whether this will make the daily battles with Saigon's ridiculous peak hour traffic easier to handle remains to be seen, but for now I'm happy knowing there is someone at my house every weekday morning waiting to drive me when I'm good and ready!

For those of you reading this who've never experienced expat life, and think we're all wankers who need to rely on drivers and housekeepers, just know that most of us would give anything to have a car that we could safely drive ourselves on the right side of the road (that of course being the left side!) . Needing to rely on someone else to get around is, quite frankly, a pain in the ass!

But no, even if it makes me sound like a wanker, I wouldn't give up my housekeeper for anything! I've admitted're jealous...move on!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

{Saigon Snaps} Xmas Vietnam-style

It's not yet December, but many of Saigon's major hotels and shopping centres have started to hang Xmas decorations.

I'm surprised at the number of businesses, in a primarily Buddhist country, riding off the back of what is an essentially Christian tradition. In Hanoi there were a lot of Christmas lights, but nothing to this extent.

Foreigners who've lived in Saigon for some time tell me that the displays will become more prevalent and extravagant as December arrives, culminating in a huge street party in Dong Khoi on Xmas Eve.

Although quite a simple design, my favourite display so far is the concial hat-wearing snowmen out the front of the Legend Hotel on Ton Duc Thang Street.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

{Saigon Snaps} Saturday in Saigon

Oliver's 2nd birthday party!

When we moved to Hanoi in early 2009 and met the Liddell family, Oliver was just a wee little man. How time flies!

Opening presents with Daddy Darrin

A special ladybug cake made by clever Mummy Lotta

Playing pass the parcel with Elliott, Mackenzie and Georgia

Lunch at Loaves & Fishes cafe in Thao Dien

Mackenzie and her very funny balloon!
Delicious chicken quesadillas

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

{Saigon Snaps} Another Vietnam "What the?!" moment

A couple of classic "what the?!" Vietnam moments on the ride to work this morning.

Below is a photo of my taxi driver who thought it was a good idea to multi-task while driving in peak hour traffic along Nguyen Huu Canh Street.

Granted, we were crawling at around 10kms/hour, but the traffic was stop-start so reading the newspaper while moving was probably not the smartest idea!

Just moments before I took this photo we were overtaken by a Vietnamese ambulance - a small, white mini van marked with a red cross on the side. Sadly, nobody seems to pay any attention to these guys, even when they have their sirens on!

As the ambulance passed I saw a guy sitting in the back, wearing a surgical mask, hanging out of the open window smoking a cigarette! (if you look closely at the photo the offending ambulance is in front of the taxi - obviously he had to remove his mask each time he took a puff!).

Not sure whether the smoker was a patient or an ambulance officer, but the fact that he was actually allowed to smoke inside a hospital on wheels...What the?!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

{Saigon Shopping} Charity Bazaar @ The Deck

Saigon's expats came out in force today for the annual  Bazaar @ The Deck in District 2. With proceeds going to various charities, this is one of the most popular charity bazaar's on the Saigon calendar.

Heaps of cool expat-run businesses had stalls at today's Bazaar with loads of items perfect for unique Xmas gifts.

Not only did I come away with bags full of purchases, I actually discovered there are a some very talented AIS Mums who have their own fashion and kids products. (oh to be that creative!)

My favourite purchases at today's Bazaar:

One of the Mum's at our school makes Barbie tents. They come flat packed in 3 different colours - pink, purple and camoflauge style (in case you have a boy who's into Barbies!). Each tent comes with 2 sleeping bags. The tents were selling today for 400,000 VND each. I'll post contact details soon.

An AIS Mum from Sweden has joined with another expatriate to launch their own range of fashion, with material sourced from Vietnam and Dubai. Today they were selling a gourgeous line of clothes for little girls. Georgia and Mackenzie picked out some very cute skirts (150,000 VND each). Visit their website.

I also bought some very funky, handmade serving platters (I think they're made from bamboo?!) that have an attached food cover fly net - perfect for outdoor entertaining. Made in Indonesia, a set of 3 cost 350,000 VND.

The next Bazaar on the Saigon calendar is the Consular Club Charity Bazaar at the Legend Hotel on Ton Duc Thang Street on Saturday 20 November from 11am - 3pm. Ho Chi Minh-based Consulates will sell products from their countries.  I'll be one of the many volunteers running the Australian stall. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

{Saigon Snacks & Sights} Black Cat and Saigon's fine arts

After this morning's swimming lesson we headed into District 1 for lunch and a look at some of Saigon's popular (expensive!) art galleries. My plan, although somewhat ambitious with the toddler terrors in tow, was to aimlessly wander the galleries in search of souvenir artworks.

{Saigon Snacks} Black Cat

Our lunch destination was the popular Black Cat at 13 Phan Van Dat in District 1. This is the place to go when you're over Vietnamese food and have a craving for a western-style burger, sandwich or salad.

They have extensive brunch and lunch/dinner menus with salads, sandwiches/wraps, burgers and Mexican fare (including heart stopping deep fried burritos!), delicious juices and dairy-free smoothies.

This charming two-level burger joint, with walls covered in photos of Hanoi and Saigon tourist sights,  was famously put on the map in 2006 when voted it one of the "Top 10 Places in the World You Must Eat".

Undoubtedly the menu item deserving of this prestigious accolade is Black Cat's 1.5 kilogram cheeseburger - an almost dinner plate-sized bun containing a 500 gram beef pattie , 6 slices of bacon, 4 slices of cheese and more. Photos of patrons attempting to finish the burger adorn the walls, but reportedly only a few have made it to the end.

Watch this space when Rob challenges my brother-in-law Justin to a burger eating contest when he visits us in December!

Black Cat - Mackenzie attempted to eat the kid-sized cheeseburger (she didn't make it to the end!)

Georgia at Black Cat
Rob had a Black Cat sub

{Saigon Sights} Saigon's Art Galleries

Saigon has a thriving art scene with many popular Vietnamese artists showing original pieces in the exclusive galleries on Mac Thi Buoi and Dong Khoi, and numerous galleries throughout the city with in-store painters happy to rip off famous artists (alive and dead).

I must admit, I haven't done a lot of research on where to buy art in Saigon. I had previously passed a lot of galleries on Dong Khoi so the plan was to start there and see if we could find a large piece to take home as a souvenir of our time in Vietnam (as well as a few smaller pieces to fill the space on our walls).

Did I mention that these galleries are EXPENSIVE??!

In summary, the many galleries in this exclusive pocket are well worth a look if only so you can salivate over what you can't afford!

Some of the priciest pieces were in the Apricot Gallery at 50-52 Mac Thi Buoi, which has a sister gallery in Hanoi. Georgia and I spotted a pair of funky, abstract streetscapes which I thought would look great hanging side by side in our dining room. That dream was quashed when I was informed they were US$1800 per paitning. And they were certainly two of the cheaper pieces in the gallery!

If, like me, you wouldn't know the difference between a real or fake Monet, let alone an original by an apparently famous Vietnamese artist, it will all come down to what you like the look of and how much cash you're willing to part with.

Dong Khoi Street
Some Dong Khoi galleries, a little cheaper than Apricot but still with many gorgeous pieces:
  • Quoc Dung Gallery at 36 Dong Khoi - boasting all original artworks, prices here are a little more affordable at US1,000 and under!
  • 83 Dong Khoi - houses two galleries in one space, as well as the Gallery Deli upstairs (a restaurant with an artwork display). Both the galleries downstairs have a range of small, ready framed canvases starting from US$30 as well as larger range of more expensive, original pieces. The gallery at the back specialises in modern art.
  • Thanh Mai Gallery at 52 Dong Khoi - a huge multi-level space with many original, large pieces (oil and lacquer). It's owned by Apricot Gallery. Definitely not cheap, but worth a look.
 For tourists who want to spend as little cash as possible, there are numerous pockets of galleries outside of the Dong Khoi strip offering up cheap copies and some funky originals.

I promise to devote another post to the location of Saigon's budget art gallery gems (once I locate more of them!) but my best find this afternoon was a gallery called Kim Do at 32 Le Loi Street in District 1 (across from the Saigon Centre).

I purchased a small, abstract painting of a traditional stilt house for US$35. The painting had just been finished so I left it at the gallery to dry. I'll post a photo later this week.

Happy hunting!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

{Vietnam holidays} Peak season travels in Vietnam

After a frustrating 5 days emailing numerous Vietnam resorts and travel agencies to finalise a holiday itinerary for my family visiting in December, I finally managed to secure a booking!

With only 11 days to spend with us in south Vietnam over Christmas and new year, my sister and I agreed that a few days seeing the sights of Saigon, an overnight tour to the Mekong Delta and a 3 night stay at a beach further north for new years eve was a good  holiday plan.

A tip for anyone planning to visit southern Vietnam's hot spots over Christmas and new year - book at least 4 or 5 months ahead!

The Mekong tour was easy enough to organise as I'd thankfully done my research well in advance. I'd read a lot of positive reviews about an expat-owned agency called Come & Go Vietnam that organises tours (among others) into the Delta.

Having already been to Can Tho in the Mekong Delta, where we stayed at the fanciest hotel and did sedate (and expensive!) hotel tours along the river that were all a bit "same same", I wanted to give my sister and her family an experience that was a little less touristy.

We've opted for Come & Go's Mekong Short Break which they have kindly customised (slightly) for our 3-year-olds! I'm excited that we'll be staying overnight with a local family who'll teach us how to cook Vietnamese food (something I'm yet to master despite almost 2 years living in Vietnam!).

Now to the beach break...the original plan had been to head north to Nha Trang on the south central coast of Vietnam. In December, despite still technically being the wet season (depending on which website you look at!), Nha Trang was reportedly a safe option in terms of swimming weather.

My first stop was the Vietnam Airlines webiste to make sure flights to Nha Trang were still available. For approximately US$355 for a family of four we could get flights for the dates we wanted. 

Next was a blanket email to all of the highly regarded resorts and hotels in Nha Trang. With every reservation email politely telling me I'd been placed on a waiting list, or from hotels wanting to charge me over $400 per night to get rooms large enough to fit a family of four, I became just a little bit despondent!

There was no way I was going to pay US$2,000 for flights and a hotel just for 3 I moved to Plan B.

A little way north of Saigon are the beach areas of Phan Thiet and Mui Ne - favourite expat haunts which we haven't bothered with to date due to the fact that you can't get there by plane. The option of up to 4 hours trapped in a car on reportedly one of the worst roads in Vietnam with 3-year-old twins had never really appealed, but it was time to take this option a bit more seriously!

After a bit of Internet research I discovered a "5-star" tourist train to Phan Thiet. The train takes 5 hours, but I figured the option of letting the 4 kids run loose while the parents enjoy the passing countryside, and a few relaxing beverages, was a great idea! Of course I haven't been able to find anyone who can confirm the "exact" price of this train - I've been told prices ranging from US$5 to $25 one way.

My next stumbling block was finding an available hotel. After more blanket emails to about 30 resorts in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet I was emailed a very financially appealing quote from the Novotel.

After a two days of emails back and forth, with me trying to argue the necessity of a compulsory new years eve dinner with a ridiculous price tag for adults and kids, I finally conceded that we had no other option. I sent the reservations department an email confirming the booking only to be told it was no longer available and we were back on a waiting list! Ugggh!

I hit the jackpot this evening when the Accor website (owner of the Novotel) had a similar deal to that I'd been quoted directly by the hotel. Not sure how it works, or why the hotel couldn't book it themselves, but fingers crossed the booking will stick (we've paid for it upfront after all!).

Despite my niggles with the reservations department, the Novotel Phan Thiet Ocean Dunes and Golf Resort gets mostly rave reviews on Trip Advisor and from my colleagues who have stayed there in recent times. Despite not being in the heart of Mui Ne, which is where all the restaurants and bars are located, the resort is more of a family friendly option that's away from the noise.

Now I just have to book train tickets, otherwise the local taxi service will be getting a very lucrative booking from Team Somerville and co. in December!

Photo flashback:

Here's some snaps of Team Somerville enjoying a holiday in Nha Trang in March 2009. We had heaps of fun, hence our desire to return with the family (not to be this time!). We stayed at Vinpearl Land - a resort located on its own island just off the mainland. You can reach it by cable car or speedboat and it has its own amusement park! So not a cultural experience, but very cool all the same!

Nha Trang Beach
Cable car to Vinpearl Land
Mackenzie and Rob in the Vinpearl Land cable car
Georgia and Rob - Vinpearl Land beach (South China Sea)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

{Saigon Snaps} Bong Milk!

Snapped at An Phu Supermarket in Thao Dien:

Vietnamese Bong Milk...should this product come with a health warning? Just add your own hose and enjoy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

{Saigon Snaps} Saturday in Saigon

An early lunch at our local favourite...Mekong Merchant in Thao Dien.

Georgia tried to phone in her order!

Rob and Mackenzie...Mekong Merchant
 An after lunch stroll through Van Thanh Park...

Van Thanh Park

Mackenzie (l) and Georgia...Van Thanh Park
A late afternoon swim at home...

Sunset on the Saigon River

Friday, October 22, 2010

{Saigon Snacks} Hoa Tuc on Hai Ba Trung

Rob at Hoa Tuc
Hoa Tuc restaurant  in District 1 is my preferred caterer for the regular events I organise for my day job in Saigon.

Tonight, I finally managed to dine at Hoa Tuc's restaurant and I was pleased to see a few of the friendly young waiters who regularly work at our functions.

Hoa Tuc is located on the grounds of Saigon's former opium refinery on Hai Ba Trung Street (hence the restaurant's name which means opium flower).

Enter through the archway at 74 Hai Ba Trung Street and you'll find a number of top quality restaurants catering to tourists and expats including The Refinery, Vinos, Vasco's and Hoa Tuc.

Hoa Tuc has an extensive contemporary Vietnamese menu with nothing over US$10 (unless you want to order the soft shell crab!).

You can dine in the dimly lit front courtyard or inside which is a popular option for large tour groups.

Our recommendation: try the seafood spring rolls and beef in betel leaf for starters. Also the banana flower salad and for mains the sea bass with mango salsa.

Hoa Tuc: 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Travel-weary Team Somerville back home in Vietnam!

Ok, so it has been 2 weeks since my last post. My excuse? Too much travel, too little time!

Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia, Singapore...yep, we're just a wee bit exhausted and over travelling (for another fortnight at least!)

As previously posted Rob and I had booked a weekend in Siem Reap, Cambodia for my birthday (sans kids) before our trip back to Australia. In summary...fantastic!

Siem Reap is a funky, vibrant town that, despite being packed with loads of hotels and bars catering to the tourist trade, has surprisingly managed to retain its charm and cultural heritage. 

As expected, our stay at The One Hotel in Siem Reap was indeed a unique experience. The staff were lovely and we were treated like royalty!

Of course the highlight was exploring the vast Angkor temple ruins. We started at sunrise on the Saturday and still only managed to cover Angkor Wat, the Bayon temple ruins at the centre of the Angkor Thom complex and the temple ruins of Ta Prohm (now more commonly known as "The Tomb Raider Temple" thanks to Angelina Jolie!). 

I'll post more about our adventures in Cambodia in the coming days, but in the meantime below are a few snapshots of our day at the ruins.

From Cambodia it was back to Vietnam to pick up the girls (who had a fun weekend without their parents!) and then back to the airport a few hours later through the heavily flooded streets of Saigon for our flight to Australia.

We spent eight days in Brisbane with a packed itinerary catching up with family and friends. Not exactly a relaxing holiday but lots of fun all the same.

After a stopover in Singapore for the night we arrived back in Vietnam yesterday ready for the return to work and school today. 

But - as you'll have come to expect from me by now - even before the plane had landed in Saigon I was busy scribbling ideas in my notebook for our next holiday in December (more Vietnam travel with visiting relatives and a trip to Hong Kong!).

Yep...I'm an addict! Here's to many more travel adventures in the coming months!
Angkor Wat at sunrise
Angkor Wat sunrise

Angkor Thom's south gate
Angkor Thom's south gate
Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom
Inside the Bayon Temple complex
Bayon Temple...our tour guide (Mr Em Somuch) knew all the cool spots for fun photos!
On the other side of Bayon Temple 

Ta Prohm - aka Tomb Raider Temple

Rob the Tomb Raider!
Our recommendation: if you're looking for a knowledgable, English-speaking guide to take you on a full-day tour of the Angkor ruins contact Mr. Em Somuch on email: or telephone (855) 12 853 271 or (855) 99 459 972. A full day tour from US$25 (contact him directly because if you book through a hotel it will cost you more!).