Tag Archives: Cambodia

Trip to Japan and Cambodia, August 2016


We began our trip in Nagoya, Japan, where our daughter lives.  Our first day there, she had to work. My husband and I were proud of ourselves because we were able to walk to Noritake Gardens and purchase tickets on the hop on/hop off sightseeing bus from there.  We were able to go to Nagoya Castle and were going to make other stops.  But, it was so hot and humid that we just went back to the rail station and looked in some shops (they have 6 floors of them on top the station) until she came home and met us there.
The next day, we took the bullet train to Kyoto and dropped our overnight bags at the hotel before taking a regular train to Nara, an ancient capital of Japan.  The bullet train beat flying any day.  No airport hassles, just buy a ticket and get on.  It’s fast, smooth and quiet.  Nara is well known now for the tame deer in it’s park.  We were expecting dozens, but there were hundreds.  And, they don’t stay in the park.  People are selling wafers to feed them out on the sidewalks, so that’s where they come to meet you and continue to areas across the street.  They are cute, but can be annoying because they bite at your clothing to get your attention to feed them.

Across the street is a huge building with the biggest bronze Buddha in Japan and the third largest Buddha built of any material there.  I must admit that it was awesome.  Shinto is the oldest religion in Japan.  It’s a nature-based religion – they worship the sun, water, wind, etc.  Jessie says that most people are born Shinto, but turn Buddhist later in life.  That’s probably because Buddhists believe in a life after death and the Shinto religion is just over when you die.

The next morning, we took a half day tour in Kyoto.  We went to the Ni-Jo Jo Castle, where the floors are made creaky on purpose, so the Shogun could hear intruders.  We saw the Golden Pavilion, which is covered in gold leaf and visited the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.  Japan does have an Emperor, but he’s a figurehead, like Queen Elizabeth.  He lives in the Palace in Tokyo, but comes to Kyoto for certain ceremonies.
We returned to Nagoya and left the next day for Siem Reap, Cambodia.  We learned from our tour guide that the city name means Victory from Siam.  Siam (now Thailand) and taken away much of their land and they fought to get it back.  We arrived late in the evening.  Siem Reap boasts deluxe hotels, like Raffles, but we didn’t stay there!  We went to a small hotel, Hollywood Angkor Boutique Hotel.  It’s an old hotel with about 15 rooms.  We were greeted with cold, scented wash cloths and a cold drink.  You have to use an old-fashioned key, then stick the metal plate attached to a slot in the wall to make the electricity work.  The mattresses were like new and everything was spotless.  The service there was amazing!

The next morning we went out and came back, then went to lunch and came back, then went on an afternoon tour and came back, then to the circus and came back.  Each time we walked in, they were there with cold cloths.  In Japan, people don’t tip, but everyone there works hard on their own.  In Cambodia, the people are much poorer and they do accept tips.  They are very gracious and very appreciative of whatever they get.  The pool area at the hotel had beautiful orchids and flowering trees.  Our last day there, my daughter got a massage and facial (done in the room) for about $32.00.  While we were waiting in the lobby, someone brought us cold bottles of water – just another small way they catered to their guests.
The first morning in Cambodia, we were taken to the park across the river from the hotel.  Traffic there is a free-for-all – not for the faint of heart.  It was Saturday, so the Buddhist temple there had live Cambodian Music.  There were people in the park having breakfast, and children were playing.  There were also giant bats in the trees (at night they fly and eat the bugs).  There were also beggars.  One man only had 1 leg, probably from the land mines that were buried all over Cambodia during their war.  We had arranged private tours through TravelBound because they were the same cost as group tours.  Our Tour guide for 2 days said that tourists bring in money, but not a lot trickles down to the people from government.  They have their own money, but it’s worthless.  Their economy is built on the U.S. dollar.  They won’t accept torn or very worn bills because they know they have to use them for a long time.  Before we went, we got cash because our bank said up front that they wouldn’t approve our credit card in Cambodia.
That first day, we had an afternoon tour to a floating village.  On the way, we stopped in the country to go part way in carts pulled by water buffaloes.  The roads in the country are terrible, but they don’t bother fixing them because of the flooding in the rainy season.  The floating village is a bunch of floating shacks, mostly, where people live.  They also have a cooking school, church, school, store, etc.  Our daughter told us before we went that the school where she teaches sponsors a school in Cambodia.  The students that go to her school are from wealthy families.  Their school has fund raisers during the year to get money to send to Cambodia (the next one coming up is a Halloween Party).  They are able to provide the Cambodian children with breakfast, lunch and a snack, as well as school supplies.  For many of those children, it’s all the food they will get for the day.
The next day was our full day tour of the Angkor temples, etc.  After you get by the people wanting to sell you things, the ruins are amazing.  Both Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat are huge.  They date from the 1100’s and 1200’s.  They are constructed from huge blocks of sandstone.  There are hundreds of statues and the walls are totally covered with carvings, showing life at the time, such as enemy’s coming on boats, royalty, common people hunting and cooking, etc.  They tell the story of the time.  Ta Prohm is the area where Angelina Jolie filmed the movie, Lara Craft, Tomb Raider.  There, the Strangler Figs are taking over the ruins.  They are trying to preserve the Angkor complexes as much as possible.  Stones that have fallen are numbered and some statue heads have been replaced with concrete.

Originally, their religion was Hindu, but they changed to Buddhist.  At one point the Hindu people stole many of the Buddhist statues and knocked off the faces of Buddha on the carvings.  You can take an elephant ride at Angkor Thom and there are wild monkeys at Angkor Wat.  All-in-all, they are just amazing.  We climbed all over Angkor Thom but when we got to Angkor Wat and I saw the steepness of the steps, I let the family go up while I went to the far side to wait in the shade.  Two young Buddhists monks came along and they chatted with me for some time.  They were school teachers and were off for the day (Sunday).  At first, I wasn’t sure what to say to them, but they were just regular people and we had a lovely conversation.
When we left Cambodia, my daughter had to go back to work in Nagoya so my husband & I went to Tokyo.  When we arrived, it was raining and they said a Typhoon was coming.  We figured our tour to Fuji would be cancelled the next day.  The storm went North and the next day dawned beautiful and sunny.  We found lots of English-speaking people in Tokyo, but we were only there for 2 nights.  I picked a hotel that was a stop for the airport limousine bus and also a pick up the Mt. Fuji, Hakone and Lake Ashi tour.  On the bus to Fuji, you could see it in the distance, but by the time we arrived, it was shrouded in clouds.  The tour was still good with a cable car ride in Hakone.  We stopped at a volcano, which had pipes that let out the sulfur  gas.  Usually, they take you up to a hot spring and boil eggs in the water (they turn black, but you can eat them) but, they had a landslide, and no one was permitted up at that time.  Afterward, we had a cruise on Lake Ashi in a pirate-type boat.
Overall, it was the most adventurous and the best trip we’ve ever done.  And, the tours and hotels we arranged through Travel Bound (Virtuoso) came off without a hitch.

For more information, please contact Traveline at 1-888-700-8747.


A complimentary 50-minute massage at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia was established in 1932 and provided accommodation for the first wave of travelers for whom the Angkor Temples were an obligatory stopover.  Reopened in 1997 after an extensive restoration and refurbishment programme by Raffles International, the hotel resumes position as the premiere resort in Cambodia.

A grand historic hotel, it is the place to stay when visiting Angkor and is a destination unto itself. The hotel offers superior international standards of accommodation, services and facilities in a relaxed atmosphere with Cambodian hospitality and Angkorian overtones.  Spread over 15 acres of beautifully landscaped French gardens, the hotel exudes old-world Cambodian grandeur infused with the best of modern comforts.


All 2015 Traveline Guests Receive:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
    • in Cafe d’Angkor
  • A complimentary 50-minute massage
    • for up to two people, per room, once during stay
  • Early check-in/late check-out
    • subject to availability

Click here for more information.

Experience Indochina!

Cambodia. Laos. Vietnam. Three captivating cultures in one unforgettable trip.

The very term “Indochina” conjures up all sorts of romantic images, from regal colonial hotels to jungle-covered ancient temples-and at every turn, the smiles of a happy people whose culture, history, food and language are a delight to discover.

Join B&R to discover Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam-three destinations that couldn’t be more different, but come together beautifully in one unique journey on B&R’s Indochina Biking trip.

Explore the ancient Khmer temples of Angkor and the overwhelmingly friendly people of Cambodia. Travel to Laos, offering a UNESCO-protected city, colonial architecture, a Buddhist legacy, and miles and miles of Mekong-side riding. And discover Ha Long Bay, where famed limestone islands rise magically from the water’s surface. Indochina may no longer exist, but the magical and mystical certainly do-if you know where to look. Lucky for you, we’ll show you where.

For more information or to book,

click here to contact Traveline

or call us at 1-888-700-TRIP.


MEKONG RIVER CRUISES IN VIETNAM & CAMBODIA Big savings! Sailings starting from $1,199!
Cruise the Mekong aboard the deluxe 124-passenger AmaLotus or the 92-passenger La Marguerite. This unforgettable 7-night cruise from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City showcases the ancient cultures, temples, rural villages and thriving capitals of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Starting from $1,299 per person

Vietnam, Cambodia & The Riches of the Mekong Vietnam, Cambodia & The Riches of the Mekong
7-night Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City cruise on board the AmaLotus
Embarkation date: December 17, 2012
Starting from $1,299 per person
Optional land program in Hanoi, Siem Reap & Ho Chi Minh City available
for an additional cost, call for details

Cruises starting from $1,399 per person

Embarkation Dates Ship Brochure Rates
Cruise Only p.p.
Sale Rates
Cruise Only p.p.
Dec. 3, 2012 AmaLotus $2,599 $1,599
Dec. 10, 2012 La Marguerite $2,599 $1,599
Dec. 31, 2012 AmaLotus $2,599 $1,599
Mar. 4, 2013 La Marguerite $2,599 $1,599
Mar. 18, 2013 La Marguerite $2,499 $1,499
Mar. 25, 2013 AmaLotus $2,399 $1,399

$1,000 off per stateroom and a complimentary upgrade*

Embarkation Dates Ship Brochure Rates
Cruise Only p.p.
Sale Rates
Cruise Only p.p.
Dec. 24, 2012 La Marguerite $2,599 $2,099
Jan. 7, 2013 La Marguerite $2,599 $2,099
Jan. 21, 2013 La Marguerite $2,599 $2,099
Feb. 4, 2013 La Marguerite $2,599 $2,099
Mar. 11, 2013 AmaLotus $2,599 $2,099
Apr. 1, 2013 La Marguerite $2,199 $1,699
Apr. 8, 2013 AmaLotus $1,999 $1,499
Apr. 15, 2013 La Marguerite $1,799 $1,299
Apr. 22, 2013 AmaLotus $1,699 $1,199

For more information or to book,

click here to contact Traveline

or call us at 1-888-700-TRIP.

Last Minute Virtuoso Specials

Treat yourself to a last-minute escape choosing from historic hotels, sun-splashed island resorts or relaxing cruises to the world’s most charming cities. We’ve added spectacular value to each of these enticing getaways, be it a soothing spa treatment, romantic dinner for two or upgrade to an over-the-top luxury suite — we know you deserve it! Call today for the best rates and availability.

Orchestrate Dreams®. Virtuoso® is a network of the world’s finest travel agencies with knowledgeable advisors who draw upon first-hand experience to craft the perfect vacation for you. Virtuoso affiliated travel advisors have global connections with the best hotels, cruise lines, airlines and tour companies. For you, this means access to exclusive travel offers that you can’t get on your own, along with your best value for the money. That’s the Virtuoso difference.

For travelers who depend on experts to reduce complexity and ensure smart choices, Virtuoso travel advisors design customized travel experiences using the resources and relationships available exclusively through network membership. For example:

For Cruisers:
We offer complimentary benefits when you cruise with Virtuoso, including: escorted pre- and post-cruise trips, shore excursions, land packages and special social events on more than 450 departures per year with luxury cruise lines.

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When you travel internationally, you benefit from our insider access to special fares that you won’t find on the Internet.

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Australia & South Pacific

Snorkel Trip for Two on Great Barrier Reef
Lizard Island Resort is the escape of your dreams – a remote tropical island with 24 white-sand beaches, five-star cuisine and sumptuous spa treatments. Classic Vacations has arranged for a half-day snorkel trip for two on the Great Barrier Reef, a $500 booking credit, all meals and beverages, watersports, roundtrip airport transfers from Cairns and more. Virtuoso rates FROM $3,729 per person (five-night min. stay). Available through December 20, 2012; book by May 31, 2012.
All-Inclusive South Pacific Cruising
Savor a five-star, all-inclusive Paul Gauguin Cruise to Tahiti, the Society Islands, Moorea and more. Virtuoso guests receive a $100 shipboard credit or on select sailings Virtuoso Voyager Club amenities; use of the watersports marina; a white-sand beach day in Bora Bora and a day on Motu Mahana. Virtuoso rates FROM $4,597 per person, including roundtrip air from Los Angeles to Tahiti. m/s Paul Gauguin departs June 23; July 21; August 4 & 11, 2012.


Highlights of Laos & Cambodia
Discover the myriad treasures of Southeast Asia with this nine-night adventure from Big Five Tours & Expeditions. Explore the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia; travel to Koh Ker, a remote group of 10th-century Angkorian ruins; and venture out on a Pak Ou boat on the Mekong River to the Pak Ou Caves, filled with Buddhist imagery. Includes hotel and lodge stays and most meals. Virtuoso rates FROM $2,990 per person. Available May 1 – September 30, 2012.
Pampering Gourmet Delights in Singapore
Named one of the best new hotels in the world, The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore exudes an intimate ambiance throughout its 100 spacious rooms and suites – each offering a private balcony and dazzling views. Guests will receive daily breakfast for two, choice of a room upgrade or afternoon tea for two, and more. Virtuoso rates FROM SGD 588 (approx. $467) per room, per night. Check-in from Friday to Sunday only through December 30, 2012 (blackout dates apply).
Home Suite Home in Hong Kong
Savor your suite stay at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong, complete with an hour-long massage, afternoon tea for two, a $100 dining credit and roundtrip airport transfer. Your suite offers home-away-from-home comforts and spectacular views of The Peak or Victoria Harbour; downstairs, you’re steps from prestigious shopping and cultural sites. Virtuoso rates FROM HKD 9,000 (approx. $1,159) per night (two-night min. stay). Available May 1 – September 30, 2012; book by June 30, 2012.


Private Tour & Shows in NYC and London
Accent your next trip to New York City or London with a private four-hour tour and best seats to a top-grossing musical or play. Think Singin’ in the Rain or Wicked in London, or Spider-Man or War Horse in the Big Apple. Leisure Connect tours include pick-up and drop-off at your hotel. Virtuoso rates FROM $645 per couple. Available throughout 2012.

Caribbean & Bermuda

$200 Spa Credit at All-Inclusive Caribbean Resort
Stay at one of the Caribbean’s most complete resort, Casa de Campo. As a Virtuoso guest receive an exclusive $200 spa credit. Plus, kids stay free! Your inclusive rate features three daily meals at any of six resort eateries, unlimited drinks, horseback riding, watersports, a daily kids’ program and more. Virtuoso rates FROM $219 per person, per night. Available April 25 – September 30, 2012.
$300 Onboard Credit from Cunard®
Looking ahead to the holiday season? Sail to the sun with the world’s most sophisticated cruise line, Cunard, from New York City to St. Thomas, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Kitts. To spice up your cruise, you’ll enjoy up to $300 onboard credit and a tray of chocolate-covered strawberries, compliments of your Virtuoso travel advisor. Virtuoso fares FROM $2,995 per person. Queen Mary 2® departs December 22, 2012.
Golden Amenities at Renowned Bermuda Resort
Experience a ‘touch of gold’ at The Fairmont Hamilton Princess with luxurious accommodations and $100 food and beverage credit. Start your day with complimentary deluxe continental breakfast before you explore the stunning seaside town of Hamilton. Venture back inside to the Fairmont Gold lounge for free afternoon tea and evening hors d’oeuvres. Virtuoso rates FROM $999 per room for three nights. Available through December 31, 2012; book by June 30, 2012.
Earn Up to $1,050 in Resort Credit in Jamaica
Gather your loved ones and jet off to Half Moon, A RockResort, Jamaica’s most iconic destination resort. Villa bookings will earn a resort credit of up to $1,050, plus your fourth night is complimentary. Use your bonus credit for everything from swimming with dolphins to horseback riding on the beach. Virtuoso rates FROM $269 per room, per night. Available April 16 – November 15, 2012; book by June 30, 2012.
Complimentary 4th Night in Puerto Rico
Winner of several ‘hot list’ nominations, W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island is a must-visit in Puerto Rico. Enjoy an extra night to relax at the AWAY® Spa by W Hotels, dip into the Bioluminescent Bay, sample world-class cuisine by Alain Ducasse and sip sunset cocktails at the Living Room. Your stay includes a $100 dining credit, continental breakfast daily, room upgrade upon arrival, if available and more. Virtuoso rates FROM $469 per night. Available through June 30, 2012.

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