After our humbling experience in Cambodia, we headed off to the lively and bustling city of Hanoi, Vietnam. Our first morning we booked a (free!) walking tour with two University students through an awesome organization called HanoiKids. Our tour guides, Ha and Tao, took us for a stroll through the Old Quarter (which now appears to be rows on rows of open market; each street known for the specialty product sold in the stores that line it), around Sword Lake (which is known for the sacred 200kg turtle that inhabits it!), through the French Quarter, to the Temple of Literature (which is Hanoi’s first ever University), and finally to a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ coffee shop for some delicious Hanoi-style egg coffee – yummmm! We bid adieu to our new Vietnamese friends and spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Hanoi, soaking in some sights, eating delicious vietnamese foods, and mostly enjoying the warm, sunny weather.
On Monday, we got a tough lesson in the history of Cambodia as we visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (aka S-21 Prison) and Choeung Ek (aka The Killing Fields) to learn about the tragic events that occurred in Phnom Penh during the 1975-1979 reign of the Khmer Rouge.
On Saturday, we hired a tuk tuk driver for the day to take us on a ‘small tour’ around the ancient archeological grounds of Angkor where we explored the famous Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (Bayon Temple, Elephant Terrace, & Royal Palace), and finally Phnom Bakheng for a must-see view of Angkor Wat at dusk.