But first we stopped on Phu Quoc Island and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)- our last 2 places in Vietnam. From island to city life was quite a transition but one filled with adventure.
Took our first flights to and from the islands since we landed about a month ago. This flying experience was way different than our large international plane ride.
Phu Quoc island was beautiful! We stayed at a resort that was somewhat isolated so we really were forced to relax and slow down, especially since it rained on and off. We did find time to swim (or float on Goldie), walk on the beach, watch the sunset, and eat over priced resort food.
Fay and David tame Goldie and didn't even pop her (although it was touch or go).
Final sunset over the Gulf of Thailand.
Fay celebrated the evening with handstands on the deck.
Then we flew to Ho Chi Minh City- the largest city in Vietnam and formerly known as Saigon. We only spent a weekend there and the traffic and high energy reminded us of Hanoi. The monsoons made their first appearances so we were limited in our activities but still explored a bit.
View from the top of our apartment building where there was a pool and a bar.
Found our first playground in Vietnam. There aren't many children's spaces in the country which seemed strange since there are families everywhere. The park had a large number of rats so you can see David keeping an eye out for those furry friends.
There was some cool colonial French architecture to see- the Opera House and the current City Hall with Uncle Ho statue out front.
After saying a tearful goodbye to Vietnam, we were excited for our next country to visit- CAMBODIA!
We made it in under from 1 hour from HCMC to the international airport in Phnom Penh (the capital of about 2 million people). We were able to purchase our travel visas in the airport in US Dollars. It seemed strange but we soon realized that everything in the city is quoted in USD not Riel, which is the local money. This was the first difference between Vietnam where everything was paid in Dong.
As soon as we made it to the hotel, Fay of course wanted to check out the pool. The rooftop overlooked the city which is full of Wats (Buddhist temples). They are beautiful and so ornate!
After we dried off and ate some yummy traditional Cambodia fish and beef, it was time to explore the city. There was an incredible playground in a huge plaza near our hotel. Fay made her first Cambodian friend (the sweet kiddo in the green pants befriended her and spoke perfect English - as well as Khmer and Chinese!).
We ended up staying at the playground till dark. And of course finding local ice cream as a cultural treat- they have Durian ice cream! They also served scoops of ice cream on bread rolls! What?! David's mind was blown- he wants some for dessert tonight which is our final night here.
The plazas were wide open and great spaces to congregate, walk, and dance in without fear of cars/motorcycles. This was another difference between Vietnam and Cambodia. There are so many more boulevards and public squares and monuments in Phnom Penh. We walked to the Royal Palace which is lit up at night and where there's a huge public park with people everywhere and no vehicles! We weren't scared for our lives every time we crossed the streets!
They we headed to the riverwalk nearby. Fay took a break after walking along the Riverfront to rest in front of the Mekong River.
Then we took our first Tuk Tuk home which thrilled Fay! So fun riding in style.
The next day we saw the sites in the day time. We went to the Royal Palace to explore the beauty, history, and architecture. It was built in the mid 1800's.
Lots of animals protecting the King's Throne Room, including the rare and venomous Fay Luna.
They had a small model of Angkor Wat which we'll be heading towards tomorrow, The architecture of the Khmer people is so impressive!
Fay almost got to ride an elephant! But instead we walked to the National Museum of Cambodia.
The National Museum had a amazing art and artifacts (many depicting Hindu and Buddhist deities) but the courtyard was what impressed us the most! The presence of Buddhism is everywhere, especially with monks everywhere.
Monks on Motorcycles!
At night, we went to the Phnom Penh night market and ate local food on the floor mats. It was quite the experience!
Today, our final day in Phnom Penh, we went to the Wat Phnom- one of the oldest and highest temples in the country. It had a cool rabbit out front. Then we played at a nearby playground that was also incredible and full of kids having fun. Fay loved the playgrounds!
These giant beautiful birds would fly over us at times which has only happened in Phnom Penh and it's a great sign. They are called Great Hornbills.
We took a Fancy Tuk Tuk to the Sosoro Museum which told the history of money and currency in Cambodia and how the history of the country was tied to it. Sounds boring but was fascinating. Fay even got to make her own currency, calling it FLS Money (Fay Luna's $).
Tonight we're going on a sunset cruise on the Mekong River. Tomorrow we take a 6 hour bus ride to Siem Reap, the city closest to the temples of Angkor Wat!
See you there!