My long-standing wish to spend the first week of New Year in a foreign land will finally come true this 2015.

Just booked a ticket for Saigon, Vietnam and will visit the country on New Year's day. I will be traveling with two good friends and former University colleagues, Rowena Tagaan and Vangie Colastre. We will be crossing Cambodia also by land.

It has been my great fantasy to travel on New Year's day to another land, not just for leisure but for some sort of learning and discovery. I want to observe how other races welcome the start of another year.

Our round trip ticket for this holiday adventure is Php8,573.46 quite expensive compared to other Asian destinations like Singapore, Malaysia, Hongkong, Macau and Thailand. But I wanted to be in another country comes New Year to experience how it would feel like being in another country at the start of another year so we decided to give it a go.

Saigon is very historical and offers plenty of things to learn. It combines the delight of a European thrill (on its architecture) and a thriving unique Asian culture. French influence is still visible in Saigon, so much so that it is called the Paris of the Orient! We never book for a tour guide so we're on our own exploring Southern Vietnam.

The South of Vietnam, where Saigon is located, had been under French rule for many years until 1945, thus most of its structures are designed under heavy French influence. Southern Vietnam had been the focal point of the Vietnam War, hence, it offers so many learning and discoveries about things of the past. 

Although we wanted to visit Hoi An and Hue, two of Vietnam's historic places and where the country's cultural highlights can be truly felt, the long hours of reaching these places from Saigon appear so tiresome that we agreed to visit the neighboring Cambodia instead.

Cambodia offers the best cultural and historical discoveries also. There's Angkor Wat in the Siem Reap province which has been on every traveler's bucket list due to its amazing structures and rare formation of temples and pagodas. It's one of the best wonders of the world.

Cambodia's capital, Phnom Pehn city has an equally beautiful spots to boasts, royal palaces, architecture and the famous Killing Fields where thousands of Cambodians were murdered at the height of atrocities of Khmer Rouge.

So many discoveries await for this travel!

We will only have a budget of Php20,000, including airfare, hotel accommodations and food, for 6 days, we'll see how far this budget can go the moment we will arrive in Saigon.

I already prepared an itinerary and budget plan for this trip and looks like we can control our budget on many things as Vietnam and Cambodia have lower costs of living.

Things to discover in South Vietnam and Cambodia:
  • More on history and culture discoveries
  • Remnants of the Vietnam War
  • Beautiful pagodas and temples
  • Palace ruins
  • Unique Asian culture
  • Beautiful countryside
  • Angkor Wat is simply magnificent
  • Royal palaces
These historic features set Cambodia and Southern Vietnam apart from the rest of Asian cities. So many things to learn, so many things to discover.

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