Vietnam Travel guide

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

The traveller’s first glimpse of Angkor Wat (admission to all of Angkor: 1 day/3 days/1 week US$20/40/60), the ultimate expression of Khmer genius, is simply staggering, matched by only a few select spots on earth such as Peru’s Machu Picchu or Jordan’s Petra. Soaring skyward and surrounded by a moat that would make its European castle [...]

Angkor Wat

Temples of Angkor

Angkor is, quite literally, heaven on earth. It is the earthly representation of Mt Meru, the Mt Olympus of the Hindu faith and the abode of ancient gods. Angkor is the perfect fusion of creative ambition and spiritual devotion. The Cambodian ‘god-kings’ of old each strove to better their ancestors in size, scale and symmetry, [...]

Les Chantiers Écoles

Siem Reap

Life-support system for the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap (pronounced see-em ree-ep) is the epicentre of the new Cambodia, a pulsating place that’s one of the most popular destinations on the planet right now. Sights  Angkor National Museum  ( 063-966601; www.angkornationalmuseum.com; 968 Charles de Gaulle Blvd; adult/child under 1.2m US$12/6; 8.30am-6pm, to 6.30pm 1 Oct-30 Apr) A [...]

Temples of Angkor

Siem Reap & the Temples of Angkor

Why Go? Where to begin with Angkor? There is no greater concentration of architectural riches anywhere on earth.  All are global icons and have helped put Cambodia on the map as the temple capital of Asia. Today, the monuments are a point of pilgrimage for all Khmers, and no traveller to the region will want [...]

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Sa Dec

It trumpets a minor claim to fame as the setting for The Lover, a semi-autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras, made into a film by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Sights Huynh Thuy Le Old House HISTORICAL BUILDING (Nha Co Huynh Thuy Le; 0939 533 523; 225A Ð Nguyen Hue; admission 10,000d) This wonderfully atmospheric 1895 house on the riverfront [...]

Xeo Quyt Forest

Around Cao Lanh

Sights & Activities Xeo Quyt Forest NATURE RESERVE (Xeo Quyt, Xeo Quit; admission 5000d;  7am-5pm) Southeast of Cao Lanh and accessible by boat tour is the magnificent 52-hectare Xeo Quyt Forest (also called Rung Tram) near My Hiep village. One vast swamp beneath a beautiful thick canopy of tall trees and vines, it’s one of [...]

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Cao Lanh

A newish town carved from the jungles and swamps of the Mekong Delta region, Cao Lanh is big for business, but draws few tourists. Sights Dong Thap Museum MUSEUM (226 Ð Nguyen Thai Hoc;  7-11.30am & 1.30-5pm)  The Dong Thap Museum is among the Mekong’s best museums, despite having no English captions. The ground floor [...]

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Long Xuyen

Beyond a few minor sights and a lively market, the capital of An Giang province offers little to detain travellers. It’s a relatively affluent city, making its money from agriculture (particularly cashew nuts) and fish processing. Until 1956 the Hoa Hao had an army and constituted a major military force in this region. The town’s [...]

Miếu Bà Chúa Xù

Around Chau Doc

Sam Mountain A sacred place for Buddhists, Sam Mountain (Nui Sam, 284m) and its environs are crammed with dozens of pagodas and temples. A strong Chinese influence makes it particularly popular with ethnic Chinese, but Buddhists of all ethnicities visit here. The views from the top are excellent (weather permitting), ranging deep into Cambodia. There’s [...]

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Chau Doc

Draped along the banks of the Hau Giang River (Bassac River), Chau Doc sees plenty of travellers washing through on the river route between Cambodia and Vietnam. A likeable little town with significant Chinese, Cham and Khmer communities, Chau Doc’s cultural diversity – apparent in the mosques, temples, churches and nearby pilgrimage sites – makes [...]

Mui-Nai

Around Ha Tien

Mui Nai The beaches in this part of Vietnam face the Gulf of Thailand. The water is incredibly warm and becalmed; great for bathing and diving but hopeless for surfing. The best of them, Mui Nai (Stag’s Head Peninsula; admission person/car 2500/10,000d), supposedly resembling the head of a stag with its mouth pointing upward, is [...]

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Ha Tien

Ha Tien may be part of the Mekong Delta but lying on the Gulf of Thailand it feels a world away from the rice fields and rivers that typify the region. Plantations of pepper trees cling to the hillsides. On a clear day, Phu Quoc Island is visible to the west. The town itself has [...]

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Phu Quoc Island

Beyond the resorts lining Long Beach, it’s still largely undeveloped, so there’s ample room for exploration and escaping. Dive the reefs, kayak in the bays, eat up the back-road miles on a motorbike, or just live the life of a lotus eater by lounging on the beach, indulging in a massage and dining on fresh [...]

Nguyen Trung Truc Temple

Rach Gia

A thriving port on the Gulf of Thailand and something of a southern boom town benefiting from a serious injection of Viet Kieu money, Rach Gia is home to significant numbers of both ethnic Chinese and ethnic Khmers. Most travellers zip straight through for boats to Phu Quoc Island, but the lively waterfront and bustling [...]

U-Minh Forest

Around Ca Mau

U-Minh Forest The town of Ca Mau borders the U-Minh Forest (admission 10,000d; 6am-5pm, closed Mar-May), a vast mangrove forest covering 1000 sq km of Ca Mau and Kien Giang provinces. Local people use certain species of mangrove as a source of timber, charcoal, thatch and tannin. As well as being an important habitat for waterfowl, [...]

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