11 Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia

After exploring Vietnam and Cambodia for 12 days straight, 12 hours a day, I was exhausted. But every single day after I would remember something that made me laugh, smile, or excited. This tour stuck with me in a way many haven’t. So I want to share my highlights from each day.

Day 1: Eating Duck in Saigon

I’m going on record and saying the best way to get a tour going is with food. And the street food scene in Ho Chi Minh City was perfect. Vibrant, exciting, and delicious. My favorite was this delightful duck. Mouthwatering.


Day 2: Thien Hau Temple Water Temple

Our second day was an emotionally taxing one. Visiting the War Remnants Museum was a shocking reminder of what this country and it’s people have gone through in terms of war. But before we did, we had a chance to visit one of Vietnam’s most beautiful temples.


Day 3: Floating Down the Mighty Mekong

I’m often asked how I communicate in countries where I don’t speak the language (99.9% of the places I visit). My answer is simple: a smile. There are very few things in life that are more universal than smiling or laughing. It’s the default many of us have in most scenarios. From happiness to discomfort.

While exploring Southern Vietnam, we were consistently met with smiles and waves. Even more so than any other part of Vietnam. Southerners seem to be the kindest around the globe.


Day 4: Sunrise Over a Lotus Field

While many experiences can be duplicated around the world, there are a few that are unique to specific destinations. We had the opportunity to spend the night in a “homestay” which happened to be located on a Lotus farm. The family that owns the homestay make their living off Lotus farming. Our private cabins were situated on TOP of the Lotus field they work together, which meant we got to know the local creatures quite well.

Many aspects of this experience stood out for me. From engaging with the local community that subsists on the fragile Mekong Ecosystem, to the delicious cuisine. But I’ll never forget opening my eyes and seeing this view outside my window. I honestly thought I was still dreaming.


Day 5: Museum of Vietnamese History

It’s no secret that the British Museum in London is my absolute favorite museum anywhere in the world. But let’s be honest, it’s the world’s largest museum of Colonialism. We’re often presented a bastardized version of history and view from peoples in the west. With the adage, “History is written by the winners,” taking on a quite literal meaning. Any frequent traveler will say this revisionist history that we’re presented with is possibly the worst when it comes to Asia and Africa.

In regards to Asia, it’s especially baffling given how economically, socially, and technologically leading-edge this continent is. This is why it’s so enjoyable to visit national museums IN these countries. Here we can truly explore and learn about a place through the eyes of its people.

While exploring the Museum of Vietnamese History in Ho Chi Minh City, I was happy to learn several surprising facts about Vietnam I didn’t know prior.


Day 6: Hidden Foodie Heaven of Cambodia

Cambodia gets eclipsed by places like Thailand, Singapore, or Vietnam when people discuss Street Food in Southeast Asia. But this is part of the mystic that makes Cambodia such a special place. The true essence of Cambodian food culture is a bit undercover. Where other destinations have been covered ad nauseam, Cambodian food still has some delicious surprises. Exploring Phnom Penh’s Street Food by Cyclo was a highlight of the year for me.


Day 7: National Museum of Cambodia

Like the museums in Ho Chi Minh, we also visited the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. Everyone knows the history of the Khmer people. But few know what happened before and after their reign. Or what happened in Cambodia during and after the Vietnam war. Our eyes were indeed opened.


Day 8: Tonle Sap and The Boat Baby

Local’s lives have long been documented throughout Southeast Asia. There aren’t many new stories to tell. Or so it might seem. Sometimes a pair of eyes will grab you by the curiosity and shake you to your core.

Part of what makes exploring cultures around the world so much fun is their curiosity about you. The cultural exchange. With thousands of boats filled with foreigners riding up and down this lake yearly, locals have just gotten used to seeing us.

Seeing the wonder and surprise in this child’s eyes reminded me of how incredible discovery could be.


Day 9: Angkor Wat Sunrise ( Social Media Vs. Reality)

As an avid traveler, my attention tends to wander away from the typical sites. When in a position where I’m in a place I’ve visited often, I try to find something new to document. While I noticed this before, there was just something about the crowd that stood out to me. The level of apathy in this crowd was baffling. As people shuffled to get the obligatory shots and browsed their phones, it bothered me in a way that surprised me.

I don’t believe everyone will experience or connect with travel the same way. But I do feel that if we allow ourselves to enjoy the moment, something extraordinary can happen. It was a real reminder of how important it can be to put down our devices, and enjoy what’s happening right in front of us.


Day 10: Artisan Market and the Art of Craftsmanship

If you look at our itinerary, this market isn’t on it. My fellow tour participant and I wanted to do a bit of shopping. Instead of letting us go to a generic souvenir shop, our guide organized a visit to one of Siem Reaps hidden gems. Artisan Village. An excellent organization that helps young Khmer learn and hone their artistic skills to provide from themselves and their family. True craftsmanship on display.


Day 11: Noodle Making the Local Way

You’ll notice these highlights don’t include experiences like Angkor or Pub Street. The reason being that I prefer and advocate for authentic travel experiences that allow tourists to engage with locals. Not as a customer and merchant. But as human beings. Our trip into the Siem Reap countryside allowed us a unique look at local life. Which included some fun interactions with locals. Including them teaching us how to make Khmer noodles.

My 11 days with Club Adventures was nothing short of amazing. From our brilliant guides to beautiful accommodations, this experiences has been one of the highlights of my career. I can’t recommend them any more highly.


Photographer, Philanthropist, and World Traveler, Erick Prince is blazing a new trail in travel and business. Combining his love for photography and travel, he created MinorityNomad.com. One of the premier travel blogs for African-American and Latino travellers. Inspiring low-income communities to explore the world and document their travels. Currently, on a quest to visit every country in the world, Erick has turned a hobby into a thriving business. Visiting 95 countries along the way. Through his blog and digital marketing company, Erick has worked with brands such as Facebook, Singha Corp, LAN Airlines, InterContinental Hotels, and Sony.