So to start my year of adventures, I signed up to G Adventure’s ‘Cambodia on a Shoestring’. A 10 day guided tour of Cambodia and a little bit of Vietnam, which I hoped would give me a taste of South-East Asia.
I admit, it was more out of fear of the unknown that pushed me into booking it, but honestly, in the end I was very glad I did. More about that later.
This is a helpful map which shows where our tour took us:
We started out by flying into Bangkok for just one night before getting on a private bus to cross into Cambodia. We were lucky enough to have private buses for the entirety of the trip and I must say, I have never appreciated air conditioning quite as much. They were also always clean, driven (relatively) well and border crossings were a breeze thanks to our lovely tour guide Saroeun. We then drove through Cambodia, into Vietnam and I finished my tour in Ho Chi Minh.
When my friend and I booked to go to SE Asia, we didn’t mind admitting that safety was a priority for us. I’m a worrier. Always have been, always will be and honestly, this tour was a great way to see a lot of places in a short amount of time whilst feeling very looked after. Everything is arranged: hotels, transport, some meals (if not, you’re given a suggestion and we always took it. Do! The food is always on point) and sightseeing activities.
The trip is obviously a well beaten track but that only made it even more enjoyable – the guides were well-informed yet weren’t parrots. One of my favourite experiences was driving through beautiful Cambodian countryside whilst our native tour guide gave us a fascinating history lesson. His passion for his home nation was evident and you felt as though you were getting a true insight into his life.
Highlights of the tour were: Angkor Wat, S21, swimming in a waterfall in Sihanoukville, staying in a Vietnamese home stay where we were fed incredible food and vibrant Ho Chi Minh… but I’ll go into all these in more detail in future blog posts.
Although the coach journeys seem long on paper, they’re the perfect time to catch up on the sleep you’re craving after you had one too many the night before. Plus they’re fine for even travel sick losers like me!
Finally, the best part of the trip other than the amazing scenery were the friends I made. Everyone was in the same boat from day one and lots of people had joined the trip on their own. Four days into my trip my travelling buddy decided that it wasn’t something she was enjoying and decided to fly home. Now I know for a fact that if we had been booking everything ourselves and making our own way through, then I would have been on the next flight home with her. But luckily, the people who I’d met on the tour had already made enough of an impression on me that I felt able to continue, knowing that I had their support.
Would I recommend joining a G Adventures tour? If you’re on your own (or just a worry bug like me) and need a push then yes! In fact I would recommend doing the longer tour which goes to north Vietnam and Laos if you have the funds (I saw photos from the friends I made who carried on and it looked incredible).