Aqua Mekong Plies the Mekong River: Cambodia to Vietnam

This video takes us on a week long journey down the Mekong River, from Cambodia to Vietnam, aboard the Aqua Mekong. The Aqua Mekong is a 205′ vessel, operated by Aqua Expeditions. It holds a maximum of 40 passengers, and does so in teak-clad luxury. This video is longer than my usual videos, because I felt, to produce a shorter video would have been to do an injustice to an amazing week. Through the use of the …

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AmaDara inaugural cruise-Day 6 Capitols Present

ABOARD AMADARA-Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capitol now but from 1618 to 1865 that honor belonged to Oudong, about 22 miles to the north. Its hundreds buildings, temples and royal stupas (repositories for cremation ashes) were destroyed by bombings in the early ‘70s and it is now a small town with the country’s largest Buddhist center. The center encompasses a large temple, housing for monks and nuns, dining hall, a school and pleasant gardens. Our morning began there …

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AmaDara inaugural cruise: Day 3 Siem Reap, Cambodia

ABOARD AMADARA- Angkor Wat is imposing in the dark, in the dawn and in the full light of day. I know because we saw it and so did a thousand or so other travelers. Five a.m. comes awfully early but as early as we were, many more had arrived before us. The line to get in was long and the confused muddle of vehicles just as tangled as we had encountered mid-morning at Angkor Thom. Traveling in …

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AmaDara inaugural cruise: Day 2 – Siem Reap, Cambodia

ABOARD AMADARA- Khmer Building Boom The 12th century was a very good time for builders in Siem Reap. Temple building was at its height and every new monarch wanted his own royal abode and city, not to mention temples dedicated to his gods, himself and his parents. Which makes it a very good time for the tourism industry today. The Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom complexes are on most travelers’ bucket list and today it looked as …

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AmaDara: Day 1- Inchon International Airport, South Korea/Siem Reap, Cambodia

First you drive and fly and walk and sit and then you cruise. The main concourse of Inchon International Airport is paradise for shoppers and gawkers. Not so much for hurriers, though, as crowds amble aimlessly, looking into shop windows or their electronic devices. No one walks in a straight line or at a steady pace. Impossible to try anything but gawking as the “Parade of the Royal Family,” cymbals clashing, pipes tweeting out a regal rhythm …

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Leaving Vietnam with memories of 2013 and 1968

Last in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia My first trip to Vietnam ended in mid-March 2013. I flew out of Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City a few weeks shy of 45 years since I was drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam War. As a soldier, I never made it out of the United States, spending nearly two years based in and around Washington, DC. But I will never forget 1968. That …

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Cruising to Saigon, where people still are careful

Sixth in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia For our last day on the Mekong River, the Avalon Angkor was docked in downtown Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), which was abuzz with people at work, at play and, in between, riding their motorbikes. Lots of locals still call it Saigon, this city of 10 million people and nearly as many motorbikes, which, said a guide, are primarily from China, because the bikes are …

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Cruising Cambodia from rural villages to the gruesome Killing Fields

Fourth in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia Floating on the Tonle Sap toward Phnom Penh, stopping at ancient sites and visiting riverside villages, passengers on Avalon Angkor begin to get a real picture of life in rural Cambodia. “We only got real peace in 1998,” said Wanty, our primary Cambodian guide. “We started from scratch, so it will take us a long time to build a country.” Our riverboat tied up to …

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Cruising on Avalon Angkor, a modern riverboat built for the Mekong

Third in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia. After three days of exploring Cambodia’s temples and ruins, and passing by such roadside delicacies as sparrows and rats, grilled crickets, spiders and roaches, all of which were in plentiful supply, we were ready for the cool comforts and stocked kitchen of a fancy riverboat, Avalon Angkor. We met our home for a week at Prek Dam, Cambodia, where the vessel was tied to a …

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Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, spiritual ruins and temples that amaze

Second in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia A trip to Cambodia’s Angkor ruins surely is a bucket list event. Angkor was home more than 1,000 years ago to a great Hindu empire that left behind some 19 square miles of stone temples and tombs, now in various states of ruin and restoration. The temples at Angkor, built between the 9th and 13th centuries by the Khmer people as interpretations of Indian religious …

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