Vietnam never fails to amaze and inspire…Out on tours…More photos than we can possibly share…Evening view Phnon Penh…

View as the day turned to dusk on the river as we lounged on the Sundown Deck on the Viking Mekong River boat.
At 4:00 pm today we arrived by bus in Saigon, the largest city in Vietnam. It was a full day on the bus, onto an amazing tour we’ll share tomorrow and dining at an exquisite Vietnamese restaurant in the countryside. More on all of this soon. 
Lighted front of the Royal Palace.

We were disappointed to be unable to post yesterday due to an entire lack of Wi-Fi signal as the boat made its way through more remote areas as we’d left Phnom Pehn to head toward Saigon where we’re spending two nights in our third Sofitel Hotel during this lengthy and vast experience.

With over 1000 photos in our “photos to post” file on my desktop, we’re in a quandary on how we’ll possibly share the huge batch. Even making a determination which will be most appealing to our worldwide audience based on comments and email we’ve received in email, on our site and in Facebook, in itself is a daunting task.

Tourist boat.
In two days, we’ll arrive in Phuket, Thailand for a six week stay. In discussing our options, we’ve decided to continue posting stories and photos for Vietnam well into the time were staying in Phuket in the following manner:
  • The first half of each day’s post will include photos and information about Phuket, Thailand.
  • The second half of each day’s post will be a section with more Vietnam  photos with captions and our comments/observations as the photos were taken.
  • The “one year ago photo” will continue as always at the bottom of each post.
  • Feel free to post personal or anonymous comments at the end of any post.
Many types of boats, carrying tourists tours along the Mekong River.

With this plan, we’ll happily share these photos while keeping our readers p-to-date on our current location. At this point, we aren’t certain how long it will take to catch up only anticipating a few weeks.

At sundown, the views were beautiful.
This is not unlike how we included the many photos from our first safari in the Masai Mara in Kenya October, 2013.  If you’d like to see those continuing photos, please select the “archives” beginning on October 5, 2013, continuing well into the month, all of which are located on the right the right side of the page.

As for Vietnam, we continue to be enraptured by the magnificence of this majestic country, its people and its never ending charm. How the Vietnamese people have embraced tourists throughout the world and the USA has been a joy to behold.

Sampans are small, low-to-the-water-boats we used to go ashore on tours.

They’ve welcomed us with open arms, generosity of spirit and gracefully sharing their personal stories and family history in their ever changing, growing culture and society.  They are proud of that they’ve accomplished over these past four decades while never losing sight of their ancestors and spiritual beliefs.

Ninety percent of the Vietnamese people practice the Buddhist religion and its gentle ways, evident in everyone we’ve met to date. Their strong attachment to family members from generations past plays a significant role in their daily lives.

Phnom Penh, the capital city is a diverse area of old and new.

We have many more photos and experiences to share. Yesterday, morning we participated in number of tours after we traveled by sanpan (boat) to the shore from our anchored position in the center of the Mekong River to the along the river, dependent upon its resources for a living.

It felt good to get off the ship on a tour after spending a few days unable to walk the long distances required for venues. After the difficult rickshaw rid a few days ago  I had to hunker  down and nurse my wounds after the over-bumpy ride set me back a few weeks in my recovery.

More modern building have been added to the shoreline.

After the extra day’s time spent taking it easy, I’m feeling a little better on a renewed path toward putting an end to this constant painful condition. I can’t wait until this difficulty is over and I’ve returned to my usual energetic, pain free self.

Last night was the last night onboard the Viking Mekong River Cruise with a special evening and party planned for the event.  We sat with some of our favorites at dinner and had a terrific  time together.

It was hard to determine what type of boat this was.

As we made the all day bus trip to Saigon, our group of 54 passengers happily maintained
our high degree of entertaining interaction while sharing the last segments of the cruise/tour together. 

On Friday, July 22nd we’ll be on our way to Thailand.  Please stay with us. We so look forward to posting many more aspects of this memorable occasion in Southeast Asia.

Happy day to all!
Photo from one year ago today, July 20, 2015:

Tom’s first photo of sunrise over the Coral Sea in Australia at 6 am this morning. For more photos please click here.

The Mekong River crossing from Cambodia back into Vietnam…Wheelhouse tour…More Phnom Penh photos…

Tom, me, Captain Han and new friend Bob in the wheelhouse.

The remainder of the cruise will take place in Vietnam. Yesterday, as I began to write this post, we were crossing into Vietnam with immigration officers were boarding our ship to stamp our passports.  First the Cambodian immigration officer boarded to stamp our passports and exit visas.

The sign above the wheelhouse entrance. We’d signed up for the wheelhouse tour.

Shortly thereafter the Vietnamese immigration officer boarded to stamp our passports for the second of the multiple entry visas, we obtained in Singapore at the embassy two weeks ago. 

Our ship captain, Bui Huu Han.

There’s nothing we had to do other than relax and enjoy the view while the ship was anchored in the Mekong River. Yesterday, was a full day “at sea” so to speak, without any excursions.

Today we decided to avoid going on the day’s excursions based on my condition and the strenuous nature of the tours. I was hoping to attend, but after seeing the boats, called sampan, we both agreed boarding would be difficult as well as riding on the tilted backs of the low to the floor seats.  No good for me at this point.

Ship’s control panel on the bridge.

There’s no doubt the less I do, the better I feel. As much as this concept of “taking it easy” drives me nuts, I’ve seen over and over these past six weeks that rest is my friend.

We’re still having a great time, loving the interaction with the other passengers and staff. Getting to know 54 passengers and their names is a daunting task as we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the process. 

Buddhist shrine in the wheelhouse.

Obviously, we knew there would be favorites and we’ve had no trouble narrowing it down to a handful of guests. As for the remainder, there was not one person on board, that we haven’t enjoyed one way or another.

Border monument between Cambodia and Vietnam as we crossed back into Vietnam yesterday afternoon.

Mostly, the ship’s manifest consists of Americans and British passengers with everyone speaking English. Then there’s the very special staff, from Kong and Lee, to our two guides, Enrico, the cruise director and manager, to the wait staff in the dining room to the support staff in boarding and disembarking. They all clearly, exhibit joy in working for this company.

Part of the Silver Temple.

When asked how they feel about working for Viking Cruises, their eyes light up. They exhibit pride and appreciation to be working for this company which we don’t always see on some of the larger cruise ships.

The city had numerous shrines and temples mixed among modern buildings.

Sure, the cabins are small but over these past five nights, we’ve become used to the tiny space easily able to maneuver around the cabin to accomplish everything we’ve needed to do during the short periods we stay in the cabin.

Traffic was busy in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, but no as busy as in Vietnam.

Yesterday afternoon, we attended a tour of the ship’s wheelhouse which on such a small ship is compact and efficient. After the tour we settled into the cool cabin for a short rest and to prepare for yet another fine dinner and evening with all of our new friends and hopefully soon, to be many new readers. 

Bridge over a park area.  Note the cobra statues on either end of the bridge.

We’re so grateful for the warm reception we’ve received from other passengers when inquiring about our lives. We freely share our story with them as we relish every moment in hearing about their adventures as well.

Stairway to a temple in Wat, Phnom Penh.

Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2015:

 Location or Ship  Days  Address or Ship  Dates
 Sydney Hotel   1   9/7/2015 – 9/8/2015
 Fiji Rental  88    9/8/2015 – 12/6/2015 
 Fiji Rental #2  29    12/6/2015 – 1/4/2016 
 Sydney Hotel  1    1/4/2016 – 1/5/2016 
 Sydney to Auckland – Cruise  14  Celebrity Solstice   1/5/2016 – 1/19/2016 
 New Zealand Farm  87    1/19/2016 – 4/15/2016 
 Sydney Hotel  1    4/15/2016 – 4/16/2016 
 Sydney to Singapore – Cruise  14  RC Voyager of Seas   4/16/2016 – 4/30/2016 
 Bali House  59    4/30/2016 – 6/28/2016 
 Hanoi Hotel – to be booked  10    6/28/2016 – 7/8/2016 
 Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City – Cruise  15  Viking Mekong    7/8/2016 – 7/22/2016 
 Phuket House  41    7/22/2016 – 9/1/2016 
 Bali House  59    9/1/2016 – 10/30/2016 
 Sydney Hotel  1    10/30/2016 – 10/31/2016 
 Sydney to Perth – Cruise  16  RC Radiance of the Seas   10/31/2016 – 11/16/2016 
 Perth to Sydney – Cruise  17  RC Radiance of the Seas   11/16/2016 – 12/3/2016 
 GAP 12/3/2016 – 3/1/2017  88    12/3/2016 – 3/1/2017 
 Sydney to Sydney – Cruise  12  Celebrity Solstice   3/1/2017 – 3/13/2017 
 GAP 3/13/2017 – 4/22/1017  40    3/13/2017 – 4/22/2017 
 Sydney to Seattle – Cruise  24  RC Explorer of the Seas   4/22/2017 – 5/15/2017 
Total number of days 617

One year ago today, we posted our itinerary which has since changed with more bookings. For photos from this past date, please click here.