Trip Start Oct 23, 2011
22Trip End Nov 12, 2011
And now, a brief summary of our homes away from home.
Siem Reap, Cambodia (4 nights)
I won’t do a star rating but will say that everyone’s favorite was Viroth’s Hotel in Siem Reap it was as lovely as portrayed in the ads. It is small, just 7 rooms, on a quiet street, the entry is at once inviting and the lobby/pool area are very peaceful with a Zen feel that spills over into the rooms. Breakfast or drinks on the rooftop equally pleasant. It is also within easy walking distance of the market and countless restaurants. We saw the same people everyday; it is a small staff and they perform multiple duties, were extremely nice and very helpful. No Internet but wifi was available.
Can Tho, Vietnam (1 night)
The Can Tho Golf Hotel was lovely with a nice room overlooking a riverside park across the street. Internet was available in the lobby. We were only here 1 night and because of flooded streets were forced to eat dinner in the hotel but really enjoyed the rooftop restaurant with a view out over the river and lightening flashing in the distance. By morning the tides had receded and the street was clear of water enabling us to walk to the boat dock but not until we sampled an impressive breakfast buffet remarkable for its offerings of both traditional and scrambled eggs. All that I tasted was scrumptious. I guess the only downside to this would be the inability to try out the local restaurants and explore the neighborhood but Mother Nature has her own ideas sometimes and the stay was quite pleasant in spite of the restrictions.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (4 nights)
The Ha Hien Hotel was in a great location for exploring the sights of the city. Internet was available in the lobby. The room was quiet. We stayed here two different times, at the beginning and end of our trip and the rooms were clean and certainly adequate, nothing fancy though. The hotel served a very good breakfast with traditional choices as well as eggs and good coffee.
Rach Gia, Vietnam (9 nights)
The Linda Hotel was, well basic. The room was comfortable enough but rarely cleaned beyond changing towels and making the bed. Our glasses were never replaced even though dirty. Wastebaskets were not always emptied. Jean’s first glance into the bathroom revealed a dead gecko on the floor.
A side note about the geckos, I don’t mind them generally but while Jean was in the shower one dropped from the ceiling right in front of the shower door causing quite a scene. We were quite a sight trying to get this little gecko to move away from the shower door so Jean could exit; he finally retreated to the safety of a corner and remained there until sometime during the night when he decided to move to a position in the doorway so he could greet the first one up in the morning. Eventually he learned his place was on the ceiling or in the corner and we were much happier.
The water was sometimes warm, sometimes cold. We finally discovered that you had to turn on the water heater at a wall switch but, of course, when you leave the room and take the keycard out of the wall all the electricity goes out so the water goes cold and the frigerator warms up. This is a very cost effective system but that also means coming back to cold showers unless you have time to wait for the water to heat and to a stifling hot room so the air conditioning was always working over time but we did have air conditioning when we had the electricity was working. That was another problem random power outages were common.
Someone in our group figured out they could jam a toothbrush handle into the wall plate and the electricity would remain on. This was nice for quick trips to the store or dinner; they were conscientious enough not use it when out of the room all day.
This was my least favorite hotel because I am spoiled but it was close to a grocery store, restaurants and an Internet café and that’s all we really needed.
Duong Dong, Vietnam (1 night)
The Cuu Long Resort on Phu Quoc Island was a very nice beachside hotel, hard to go wrong with long stretches of white sand beach and tempting warm waters at your doorstep. It was a long walk to town and the roads were not friendly so walking along the beach was the best option or an inexpensive air-conditioned taxi, even better. There was a restaurant on site that served up a lovely breakfast buffet and the gardens were quite pleasant. I have to mention the very best part was the 60-90 minute massage at the beach, warm breezes and a setting sun . . . it just doesn’t get any better.
All of our hotels were on a smaller scale and I really like that. Siem Reap has some very large resort hotels that have a rather sterile, generic look and were a distance from the central core. The same could be said for Ho Chi Minh City, it does have 5-star accommodations but we were really quite comfortable and the locations of all of our hotels were perfect.
But wait, there is one more . . . when it came time to fly home we were faced with not only 17 hours of airtime but also an 11-hour layover in Seoul South Korea. We decided rather late in the game that a hotel room would ease this long day. I checked with my travel agent and learned we could obtain a complimentary room through Korean Airlines for our layover, how nice is that! Arriving in Seoul we made it through immigration and customs went to the customer service desk to pick up the voucher for our room. There was a short delay as the paperwork was prepared and we were given a room voucher and meal vouchers for breakfast and lunch and escorted to the shuttle that would take us to the hotel.
Once at the hotel there was another delay as our room was not ready. It took about 1-1/2 hours to actually get the room during which time we had breakfast. When the rooms were ready, yes rooms, the three of us were given two rooms and they were lovely. Take your shoes off before entering and once inside there were robes and slippers, a beautiful bathroom for a hot shower and the promise of a wake up call. I quickly slipped into a robe and then into a coma for a solid 5 hours sleep before the wake up call. I showered and felt like a million bucks, met my companions, we had lunch and then back to the airport. We were still tired but feeling almost human. The hotel room was a dream and complimentary, THANKS Rick!