General

Vietnam

The Philippines is defined by its emerald rice fields, teeming mega-cities, graffiti-splashed jeepneys, smouldering volcanoes, bug-eyed tarsiers, fuzzy water buffalo and smiling, happy-go-lucky people.

Islands & Beaches

With more than 7000 islands, the Philippines is a beach bum’s delight. There’s an island to suit every taste, from marooned slicks of sand in the middle of the ocean to sprawling mega-islands like Luzon and Mindanao. Sun worshippers and divers should head straight to the Visayas, where island-hopping opportunities abound and the perfect beach takes many forms. More adventurous travellers can pitch a tent on a deserted stretch of coastline and play solo Survivor for a few days.

Why I Love the Philippines

By Greg Bloom, Writer
With 7000 tropical islands on my doorstep, all ripe for exploration, I find it easy to like the Philippines. Love, on the other hand, is borne of subtler things. Love is borne of long rooftop jeepney rides through the mountains of North Luzon; of a frosty San Miguel at sundown on a sublime slab of Visayan sand; of a fresh-fish lunch, followed by a siesta on an interminable bangka journey through Palawan’s islands; of friends with names like Bing and Bong; of phrases like ‘comfort room’; of – dare I say it – karaoke. Now that is love.

Tempestuous Tropics

We’ve all had it happen: your trip to paradise is ruined by day after day of torrential monsoon rain (in the Philippines that paradise is often Palawan). There are a couple of simple ways to avoid this. One, study the climate charts. The western parts of the the country get hammered by rain at the peak of the southwest monsoon (July to September), so go east during this time (unless there’s a typhoon brewing). Two, stay flexible. Dispense with advance bookings so you can migrate to fairer climes if need be.

Cultural Quirks

The Philippines is a land apart from mainland Southeast Asia – not only geographically but also spiritually and culturally. The country’s overwhelming Catholicism, the result of 350 years of Spanish rule, is its most obvious enigma. Vestiges of the Spanish era include exuberant town fiestas (festivals), unique Spanish-Filipino colonial architecture and centuries-old stone churches. Malls, fast-food chains and widespread spoken English betray the influence of Spain’s colonial successor, the Americans. Yet despite these outside influences, the country remains very much its own unique entity. The people are, simply, Filipinos – and proud of it. Welcoming, warm and relentlessly upbeat, it is they who captivate and ultimately ensnare visitors.

Outdoor Adventures

The Philippines isn’t just about finding an isolated beach and getting catatonic. From kayaking to kiteboarding to canyoning to spelunking, the Philippines can capably raise any adrenaline junkie’s pulse. While surfers are just catching on to the tasty (if fickle) waves that form on both coasts, divers have long been enamoured of the country’s underwater charms. Freshwater pursuits include rafting and wakeboarding. Back on terra firma, trekking can be done just about anywhere, while rock climbing is gaining popularity. And the Philippines is also, unofficially, the zipline capital of the world.

Source: Lonely planet

Cambodia

Ascend to the realm of the gods, Angkor Wat. Descend into hell at Tuol Sleng Prison. With a history both inspiring and depressing, Cambodia delivers an intoxicating present.

An Empire of Temples

Contemporary Cambodia is the successor state to the mighty Khmer empire, which, during the Angkorian period, ruled much of what is now Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The remains of this empire can be seen at the fabled temples of Angkor, monuments unrivalled in scale and grandeur in Southeast Asia. The traveller’s first glimpse of Angkor Wat, the ultimate expression of Khmer genius, is sublime and is matched by only a few select spots on earth, such as Machu Picchu or Petra.

The Cambodian Spirit

Despite having the eighth wonder of the world in its backyard, Cambodia’s real treasure is its people. The Khmers have been to hell and back, struggling through years of bloodshed, poverty and political instability. Thanks to an unbreakable spirit and infectious optimism, they have prevailed with their smiles intact. No visitor comes away without a measure of admiration and affection for the inhabitants of this enigmatic kingdom.

The Urban Scene

Just as Angkor is more than its wat, so too is Cambodia more than its temples, and its urban areas can surprise with their sophistication. Chaotic yet charismatic capital Phnom Penh is a revitalised city earning plaudits for its gorgeous riverside location, cultural renaissance, and world-class wining-and-dining scene. Second city Siem Reap, with cosmopolitan cafes and a diverse nightlife, is as much a destination as the nearby iconic Angkor temples. And up-and-coming Battambang, reminiscent of Siem Reap before the advent of mass tourism, charms with graceful French architecture and a thriving contemporary art scene.

Upcountry Adventures

Siem Reap and Phnom Penh may be the heavyweights, but to some extent they are a bubble, a world away from the Cambodia of the countryside. This is the place to experience the rhythm of rural life and timeless landscapes of dazzling rice paddies and swaying sugar palms. The South Coast is fringed by tropical islands, with just a handful of beach huts in sight. Inland from the coast lie the Cardamom Mountains, part of a vast tropical wilderness providing a home to elusive wildlife and a gateway to emerging ecotourism adventures. The mighty Mekong River cuts through the country and is home to some of the region’s last remaining freshwater dolphins. The northeast is a world unto itself, its wild and mountainous landscapes a home for Cambodia’s ethnic minorities and an abundance of natural attractions.

Why I Love Cambodia

By Nick Ray, Writer
Where to start? I first came through as a young backpacker in 1995 and the turbulent history captured my attention. However, the people were the most memorable part of that first trip, their smiles infectious. Angkor is spectacular and special and continues to reward no matter how many times you visit. The coastline is beautiful and blissfully undeveloped compared with some of the region. And it remains a frontier for motorbike rides from the Cardamoms in the southwest to Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri in the northeast. Even as it develops, Cambodia remains an authentic adventure.
Source: Lonely planet

Itinerary Details

Day1: India-Siem Reap

Meet the local representative at the airport, transfer to have lunch at Indian Restaurant and check in hotel (Standard Check In time is 14:00hrs). Afternoon proceed for City Tour including visit West Baray Big Pond, a “baray” is a water reservoir built by the ancient Khmer people. Come back to visit the "Les Artisans d'Angkor – Chantiers Ecole" the Finest Authentic Khmer Arts and Crafts. It is time to visit Pre Rup temple/ Phnom Bakheng for a romantic sunset view. Proceed for Welcome buffet dinner with Apsara Dance Show. Overnight in Siem Reap. Overnight at Siem Reap

Day 2: Siem Reap

Breakfast at hotel, explore South Gate of Angkor Thom known as Big Angkor, 3km2 walled and moated royal city and was the last capital of the Angkorian Empire, The famous Bayon Temple was an architectural muddle, in part because it was constructed in a somewhat piecemeal fashion for over a century. Terrace of the Elephants is an impressive, two and a half meter tall, 300 meter long terrace wall adorned with carved elephants and gradual that spans the heart of Angkor Thom and Terrace of the Leper King is at the north end of the Terrace of the Elephants, a double terrace wall with deeply carved nag as, demons and other mythological beings. Last you will visit Ta Prohm temple which is a wonderful combination of human genius and natural beauty. Giant trees have grown here for centuries and lunch at local Indian restaurant. Afternoon visit Angkor Wat temple, the founder of the temple was Suryavarman II who reigned Cambodia from 1113 to 1152 and built the five towers in the 12th century to dedicate to the Hindu God Vishnu. The plan of the pyramidal conception of the temple combined with spaces, alleys, ditches is an ancient masterpiece of architectural design and construction. Dinner at Indian restaurant and enjoy your time at bars and pubs at Angkor night market. Overnight in Siem Reap. Overnight at Siem Reap

Day 3: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh

Morning after breakfast, we will go overland to Phnom Penh today with first stop at Skuon town to see (or even try) sautéed spiders, a local food. Lunch with local food en route. Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, check in hotel for a short refreshment. Late afternoon, drop by Central Market, a large market constructed in 1937 in the shape of a dome with four arms branching out into vast hallways with countless stalls of goods. Initial design and layouts are from French architect Louis Chauchon. Dinner at Indian restaurants and overnight in Phnom Penh. Overnight at Phnom Penh

Day 4: Phnom Penh-Saigon (Ho Chi Manh)

Breakfast at hotel, in the morning you will visit the impressive colorful Khmer-style royal palace complex build in 1866 by the Predecessors of King Norodom. Nearby is Silver pagoda (the emerald Buddha temple), where contain plenty of Buddha Statues decorated and made by gold, diamond, gemstone and silver. We explore the National museum; a beautiful Khmer architecture building contains more than 5000 art antiques made by bronze, wood, gold, silver, copper, sandstone and others. We pass through the river-front park where 4 rivers met at a junction include mystical Mekong. Lunch at local Indian restaurant, then transfer border Bavet. See off your local guide and driver before processing Immigration procedure to enter Vietnam. Welcome to Vietnam.

Our local tour guide and driver shall be waiting to pick you up and transfer to Saigon city center. Dinner and overnight in Saigon. Overnight at Saigon

Day 5: Saigon (Ho Chi Manh)

Breakfast at Hotel. Head to the South to My Tho and Ben Tre, the homeland of coconut and family factories with local products. Stop en route to visit Vinh Trang pagoda. Upon arrival in My Tho, we will take a small boat to go between canals into gardens and rural houses, where a lot of families produce coconut candy, feed the bee for honey, or plant juicy fruit. Stop at some families and their small factories. Back to Saigon later afternoon for overnight. Lunch en route at local restaurant and dinner at Indian restaurant in Saigon.Overnight at Saigon

Day 6: Saigon (Ho Chi Manh)

After breakfast at hotel, we will visit Saigon city from the Reunification Palace, the witness of the fierce Vietnam War ended in 1975. The grand building today is a Museum and Hall of official receptions. Nearby the Palace are the colonial-styled Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883 and one of the city’s major landmarks. Lunch at Indian restaurant.

Afternoon shall be your own leisure time shopping at Ben Thanh, the most central market of Saigon, or along Le Loi and Dong Khoi street, Diamond Plaza shopping centre, etc., where you can pick from real Pierre Cardin dress to a local wooden miniature. Our local guide and driver shall pick you up from your hotel for Gala Dinner in Binh Quoi at 17.00. Enjoy Gala dinner with Indian food, 02 hrs free flow of soft drinks, mixers, beers, wine and liquor. Overnight at Saigon

Day 7: Saigon (Ho Chi Manh) – India

Breakfast at the hotel. Check out by 12:00hrs. It is your own time today. You are free for relax and shopping in Saigon, the biggest commercial centre of Vietnam until transfer to the Airport for the departure flight back to India.