rice fields in vietnam with woman walking

Indochina Revealed

1 December 2016

Indochina evokes the certain romance of a bygone era, with French colonial architecture, Parisian-style boulangers and a sense of adventure and the new world.

It’s a place where city streets are abuzz with activity, tropical mountain ranges erupt at the edge of calm, blue seas and waterways are the heart of industry. Travel Experts Kaitlyn Esposito and Lynsey McKenna recently explored Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos with Wendy Wu Tours and discovered a region that has emerged from a turbulent history to reveal a pride in its rich heritage and an enticing lust for life. 

The first place that often springs to mind when we think of Indochina, or even Southeast Asia, is Vietnam. Lynsey from Flight Centre Liverpool says her experiences in Vietnam were
the highlight of her journey. 

Halong bay sunrise from a lookout Halong Bay is a spectacular natural sight that has to be seen to be believed. (Image: Getty)

“We visited the Cu Chi Tunnels in the jungle and I made my way through 100 metres of the underground tunnelling system.Visiting Halong Bay from Hanoi was a spectacular experience too. The scenery was unbelievably beautiful and sailing out to the caves past the Kissing Rocks took my breath away,” she says. 

No mention of Southeast Asia would be complete without talking about the flavours. Wendy Wu Tours prides itself on connecting travellers with local businesses serving quality, locally loved food for an authentic experience. “Vietnam was outstanding for food and my first Vietnamese coffee had me hooked. Every time we stopped in a new place, we all ordered more, it was so delicious,” says Lynsey. 

women cooking pancakes over fire in vetnam Meals in Vietnam are a flavour explosion but also an integral part of social life, as seen here where women are making pancakes togther. (Image: Getty)

Another region where the culture and exposure to local life really stood out was Laos. Kaitlyn from Flight Centre Forest Hill in Victoria says: “My favourite location was Laos by a long shot. It was so untouched and so traditional that I felt I was constantly surrounded by the history and culture of the place.

I loved the cruise down the Mekong, seeing elephants bathing in the river and young kids playing by the water. Since getting back, I have recommended everyone who goes to Indochina to check out Laos.”

Buddhist monks in alms giving ceremony For Buddhists, the practice of giving plays an important part in developing spirituality. Witness this in practise at a ritual Buddhist Alms Giving Ceremony. (Image: Getty)

Lynsey agrees, adding: “The Buddhist alms giving ceremony was very touching and really opened my mind to how a community rises early each day to give their offerings to the monks – a completely unique experience for me.” 

This region is so abundant with natural beauty and history to explore that visiting with an experienced company like Wendy Wu Tours creates a carefree yet locally focused experience for travellers. 

“The Wendy Wu tour was exciting and fun. I felt that the guides were incredibly knowledgeable and equally as charismatic. They really made an impression on our group and we loved their company.
What we found touching about our guides was that when asked a personal question, they were willing to share their stories with us. It really helped us as travellers to understand deeply about their country and them as individuals,” explains Kaitlyn.

Expanding horizons and exploring new cultures is at the heart of what Wendy Wu offers – the interesting, exciting and value-packed journey is an added bonus.


Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Asia.


 

Vicki Fletcher

An Australian writer and photographer, Vicki loves road trips down unknown tracks, following locals to the best food in town and spending long afternoons people watching in city squares. She's written for publications across Australia and Europe. Top travel tip: always look up. Follow Vicki on Instagram @vickijanefletcher.