Images of Indochina & Angkor Wat
Immerse yourself in the historical, cultural and culinary treasures of four countries — Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand — on a single, comprehensive journey through Southeast Asia that includes watching the sun rise over Angkor Wat.
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Bangkok is chief port capital of Thailand and one of the most important cities in Southeast Asia. It is the epitome of the country's kaleidoscopic blend of old and new. It is an expression of Thai respect for tradition coupled with their vibrant involvement with modern progress. Rama I built the walled Grand Palace, which contains Temple of the Emerald Buddha. During the 19th century, Bangkok was known as the Venice of the East because of its many canals, which served as streets and commercial thoroughfares. Houses perched along the banks of the remaining canals are still common sight. Some of Bangkok’s most distinctive features are the approximately 400 Buddhist temples, known as wats. Bangkok is Thailand's economic center. Other sights to see include Temples, monuments, museums, Vimarnmekh Mansion, and Jim Thompson’s House.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is often referred to as Vietnam’s jewel and the Pearl of the Orient. Located in south Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is the country’s largest city, with more than six million people and over one million motorbikes. Under the current regime the city is once more being rebuilt. Whole blocks are disappearing, being replaced by concrete, steel and glass structures. Central Saigon, which is still the official name for the city center, shows evidence of the French colonial city, with wide, tree-lined boulevards, sidewalk cafés and elegant French architecture. The city is divided into two sections: Saigon, the municipal and historical district, and Cholon (Chinatown), where the entrepreneurial talent and private funds are concentrated. Cholon appears to be the most populated and in general the most vigorous part of Ho Chi Minh City. It is well worth a visit for its bustle and activity and its pagodas, which are reputed to be the finest in the whole city.
Meaning “Bay of the Descending Dragon,” Halong Bay’s water is calm and undisturbed despite the jutting limestone mountains that soar out of the water and toward the sky. As if a tail of a Dragon plunged into the earth, the mountains are craggy, sharp, and barren, and are dotted with thousands of small caves of various depths and heights. At dusk, they all take on mysterious shades of gray, mauve and olive, lending credence to the local legends.
Hanoi is a city with a history that dates back to the 7th century. In 1954 Hanoi was declared the capital of the Democratic Republic of North Vietnam, and in 1976, following the Vietnam War, it became the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. This political history has made Hanoi one of the country's most fascinating cities to explore. The most renowned of all the monuments is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It is dedicated to Vietnam's most well-respected President, who in 1945, led his country to independence. Other highlights include the Museum of History, containing ancient artifacts from Cambodia, Thailand, Japan and China, the 11th century One Pillar Pagoda and legendary Sword Lake.
The small provincial capital of Siem Reap stretches along the Siem Reap river – surrounded by rice paddies and serving as the gateway to centuries-old temple ruins of the Khmer Empire. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Angkor Archaeological Park contains numerous temple ruins including Bayon, Banteay Srey and legendary Angkor Wat. Those visiting the site stay in Siem Reap. Experience some local flavor, attend a dance performance, or shop in some local craft shops. Angkor Wat’s artistic and archaeological significance rivals the Pyramids in Egypt, Machu Picchu in Peru and the Taj Mahal in India. Unspoiled by over-development, many areas of the area are possible to explore away from crowds. Its three-tiered massive pyramid is crowned by five beehive-like towers on the ground. It is the centerpiece of any visit to temples in Angkor. This amazing structure is thought to be dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu.
Luang Prabang is the crown jewel of Laos and perhaps the best preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The ancient capital of the former Kingdom Lan Xang, it is nestled in the mountains at the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers, and is an enchanting and charming destination. The town is adorned with gilded temples on nearly every street corner and saffron robed monks strolling through the quiet city center, giving it a unique charm of bygone days and rich cultural heritage.
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