The Traveling Steve's

Bye to Halong Bay . . . Hello Cambodia!

Note: For the next few days I’m sailing thru rural Cambodia and have limited internet access, so photos will be few.  I will post more when I return home to Orlando.

Today, I slept in a bit while DOS too me the 7:30am cave tour. He said it was a fair bit of steps, up and down the cave, but it was beautiful Inside with the rock formations, I.e. Stalagtites , and stalagmites all brilliantly lit. (I remember from grade school how to tell one from the other: stalagmites are ‘mighty mush’ they mush/push up from the floor with might. These pics below were taken by DOS on the tour.

After the tour we had had a nice buffet breakfast on the ‘Junk Boat’. They had a nice mix of Viennese and westernized food, juices and coffee. We settled our bill from the previous evening ($60 for a bottle of Cabarnet and a few brewskis – what a bargain!) we also left a cash tip in the tip box that is split up among the staff.

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The Captain of the boat, the Boat manager, and the Chef all stood up and thanked us for coming, and got a nice round of applause from our group.

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We then continued on our ‘Orange’ bus to the Hanoi airport, another 4 hour drive. We again stopped at the Marketplace from yesterday, and DOS bought some nice souvenir coasters and some Pringles and crackers for the bus ride. I’m writing his as we have another hour or so to the airport, and our cruise manager, Son, just went the the logistics of airline checkin, customs for Cambodia etc.we are flying Vietnam Airlines, and I’m a bit concerned about our weight restrictions as we are unfortunately flying coach on his short hour and a half flight from Hanoi to Siem Reip Cambodia.

DOS doesn’t seem concerned our bags are way overweight (they only allow checked bags at 40 pounds) and ours are over 50. Plus we each have two carry-ons and the large tapestry we got yesterday. And oh yea, now we have some nice but heavy coasters! At $5 for each extra kilo, this cold be an expensive flight – believe me I would upgrade if we could, but we are traveling as a group. So I will write later from the airport . . .

Later . . . So now I, writing this from aboard Vietnamese Airlines flight 481. As it turned out, we had no issues with our luggage, and it was super easy thanks to Son of AMA waterways. We arrived at the airport and said bye to and tipped both the driver and the tour assistant, a young man with such a boyish face and kind smile. He helped us on an off the bus each time, passed out waters for us, helped with our luggage etc, and I asked if he would pose with us for a photo. Sorry I didn’t get his name.

We then went inside the airport terminal and dropped our checked bag at the group checkin area, and then went upstairs to have a group lunch together. After lunch Son gave us back our passports and included our boarding pass for the flight. We then went thru passport control and security, and only had a few minutes before boarding our 4:30pm flight from Hanoi to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We sat as a group on the flight, and fortunately the flight was not full so When the door closed, I moved over to an exit row seat, and also had the middle seat free.  The flight was quick and comfortable, and they even served a meal on the flight – in Economy!

When we landed in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Son had arranged for us to have a quick VIP entry into the country, as he had already collected our passports, checking for our Cambodian visas.  We collected our luggage and presented the customs form saying we had nothing to declare, and were quickly loaded onto a shuttle bus to our hotel, the Sofitel Anchor Siem Reap.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by singers and dancers at the hotel entrance, playing native Cambodian music.  We collected our room keys from Son, and we were soon unpacking in our room 115, a ground floor room with a terrace, overlooking the huge outdoor pool.  As we were a bit tired from the trip, we had lunch at the hotel lounge, meeting another couple from the AMA Waterways trip.

Soon it was off to bed, and we will have a full day touring tomorrow in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Goodnight, and welcome to Cambodia!

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