I am so grateful to have helped my client/friend/amazing human being Anthony Demby plan an incredible trip for him and his girlfriend to visit Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. I learned an unbelievable amount in the planning process and I feel lucky to have lived vicariously through his journey. If anyone reading this has ever thought of visiting this part of the world, DO IT. If you have questions, please contact us. Mr. Demby was kind enough to send me a snapshot of his visit to Hanoi and Siem Reap, read more below...
When we arrived in Hanoi, we were struck by the overwhelming amount of traffic, specifically people on scooters. It is the main method of transportation there and seemed to possess an element of organized chaos, especially to us as first time visitors. We stayed at a very cool, modest, 102 room hotel called the Mercure Hanoi La Gare, located in a busy business district. It was interesting to see that the kids in Hanoi all ran together in packs and had their own distinct individual aesthetics.
We ate at an amazing Indian restaurant called Namaste Hanoi which had a truly authentic feel as we were the only non-Indians there. The food was incredible. Great place if you like it Spicy. While we were there we hung out with a super cool cat named Phu who owns an incredible performance venue/club called Hanoi Rock City. Phu brought us to a local fish spot called Cha Ca La Vong. Everyone should have this experience at least once in their life. They feature only one menu item: grilled fish. This was my favorite meal in Hanoi, possibly of the entire trip.
From Hanoi, we headed about 3 hours away and hopped on a traditional Vietnamese Junk Boast and did a peaceful relaxing overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay. The boat traveled amongst beautiful islands, some inhabited only by monkeys, and a few included legendary caves and day hikes. Definitely a must for anyone traveling to the area. We said goodbye to Hanoi and took a quick 1.5 hour flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia where we relaxed as soon as we arrived. The vibe was immediately different from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. We stayed in a very nice resort called the Borei Angkor which was just off the main road in town. Great customer service, beautiful rooms, and a fantastic value.
We went to Siem Reap primarily to tour Angkor Wat which is a mystical temple complex. It is something I have always wanted to see and we got a chance to spend Christmas there. I met yogis who extended blessings to me and I was able to meditate amongst some life-changing energy. We hired a local tour company (there are several to choose from) and we spent 6 hours there with a great guide named Mr. Darund who gave us an enlightening history lesson of Angkor Wat, sharing tales of the sometimes tumultuous relationship between Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. We later hopped on a tuk tuk and went to a very good open air modern bistro called Viroth’s. Great food and great atmosphere with amazing music. This is definitely an area that I wish I could have spent more time in and hope to return.