Angkor Wat in the morning light
Alana italk travel Rutherford
How long have you been a travel agent?
I starting working at italktravel Rutherford on the 02nd of April 2016. I first knew I wanted to be in travel during my time at school after attending a seminar run by a travel agent, since hearing her speech about what she does and everything she has experience I immediately knew this was what I wanted.
Where was your first overseas trip?
New Zealand- I did my first overseas trip to the North Island of New Zealand although I was quite young at the time I look back on the photos and its one of my best memories.What is your bucket list place/trip?It is hard to narrow down where my number 1 place is to visit however my dream would be South Africa. Closely followed by Europe, USA/ Canada, Japan pretty much anywhere I would go….
What and Where
Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. Specifically Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Bangkok
My tour was with G Adventures (Cambodia Experience, Ho Chi Min to Bangkok) . Looking through to itinerary we had to cross 2 borders one into Cambodia and the next into Bangkok, so its was clear that we had a lot of travelling to do.
I must say that our G Adventures CEO Nat Dguyen was so organised and efficient and helped with everything. I was really nervous about traveling 7-8 hours on private buses as well as a local bus but time flew by!
My Trip was to Vietnam and Cambodia was supported by Thai Airways and G Adventures.
I was extremely lucky to be able to experience the products that both companies offer first hand. I first started with Thai Airways who had fantastic service I honestly couldn't fault them the staff defiantly made the flight more pleasurable.
Unfortunately due to having limited time we had to cut out a lot of Vietnam by only spending one night in Ho Chi Minh, I am looking forward to booking a personal holiday with G Adventures to get a better experience of the country one day.
Throughout my trip I experienced many things that I will forever remember, and I really can't think of anything negative to say about G Adventures I would 100% recommend doing a tour to experience this part of the world, the team on the ground over there literally know everything!
They give you so many tips and help manage time to maximise every opportunity especially when there is so much to see and do. We first started out journey by departing Ho Chi Minh and beginning our drive by local bus into Phnom Penh.
Our Group ready for adventure
During this time we also had to cross the border from Vietnam to Cambodia which was very easy, I found that the way G Adventures (Our CEO Nat) had organised it was really fast. Once arriving into Phnom Penh, we got settled into our accommodation and enjoyed a Cyclo ride throughout the city from a street level perspective which helped benefit a local organisation.
The locals were extremely nice and gave us little tips and hints along the way.
TIP: Be careful with phones and carry bags. The cyclo's get very close to traffic which can make you more vulnerable to motorcycles and they can easy snatch your belongings if you are not careful.
The next day was very hard but rewarding. We met up with a local guide and leant about the Dark history and devastation that occurred at the Tuol Sleng Museum (used by the Khmer Rouge Regime) and also the Killing Fields at Choeung.
I would defiantly recommend getting a guide as I feel like you get the most out of it and even though it was deeply saddening to walk around were thousand of people were killed it is something that if you ever go to Cambodia you have to experience and learn more about.
The best part about G Adventures is that not only to you get the structured itinerary but you are also about to get free time to do what you would like. During my free time I visited the Royal Palace which was absolutely beautiful!
Our next destination was Siem Reap which was much more tourist driven. More bars and restaurants I felt very comfortable there and didn't feel like I had to be as careful.
During our stay there we experienced Temples, Floating Village and also G Adventures Planterra. The temples were incredible. I think can I speak for my whole group when I say that it was incredibly humid when we were doing our temples, Angkor Wat etc.
However the whole group pushed through it as it was a really big day 3 massive temples but we all enjoyed it. Our guide was literally so funny and joyful he gave so much knowledge and was the best photo taker I must say.
Me enjoying the floating village tour
The next day we did the floating village which I was so glad that we did, its so amazing to see rice planting, even attending schools all done on top of the water.
We did a canoe ride with some of the locals which was even better so that they could take us through and we could see more of the village. One of the things that I really wanted to talk about with G Adventures was there Planterra Project.
It was established in 2003 by G, its a non profit organization that has contributed millions of dollars towards projects in areas healthcare, conservation etc.
What I loved
I loved the experiences that we had. But the thing I enjoyed the most was the Tuol Sleng Prison and also the Killing Fields, it was a experience I will never forget.
The Killing Fields not for the faint of heart
Just being somewhere were such terrible things had occurred blew my mind, I found for me the hardest part was seeing all the skulls and bones it really just put everything into perspective of what took place and not only that but actually going to the prison and seeing the horrific photos of the men, women and children who were brutally tortured and killed and how young the Khmer Rouge Soldiers were just astounded me.
Learning about that dark history in Cambodia which I originally knew nothing about was a good experience that I will encourage other people to learn about.
Tell us about your favourite meal, what, where, when & why
I had so many fantastic food experiences on my trip. I don't eat a lot of Asian food I will totally admit and it was so good to step out of my comfort zone and have it for Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The best places we ate at would have to be by far the local spots, they just do it so well! Its hard to pick a favourite. We did however enjoy some western food (Pizzas and burgers) in Semi Reap which was a nice little break.
Top tip for someone doing this trip
If you want to do Cambodia my biggest tip would be to go with a tour group. I would of had no idea travelling by myself where as I feel like after travelling with G Adventures I haven't missed out on anything.
I had the most wonderful experience with the group, our CEO and our local guides. Travelling and meeting people who have so much knowledge of the area and they have the passion that makes you want to go back and do it all over again.
I tend to find that a lot of people are opposed to group tours for various reasons but the main one is that they want to do what they want and don't want to be restricted. This is not the case with G Adventures, they have so many different tours that they offer that are guaranteed to suit anyone and they also are very flexible with the groups and take every day as it comes.
Anything you would do differently next time
I would spend more time in Vietnam before hand. But this is only due to the timing of the trip that we had to cut that short.
Would you go back?
100% I would go back, I am already thinking about doing a G Adventures trip with my Partner through Vietnam.
Have you got another trip planned and where to?
Next year I have a trip planned to go to Europe with my sister Emma, we will be travelling with Topdeck on the European Emperor.
How can I find out more?
Call italktravel Rutherford on 02 4932 9244
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