Day 5 – Last Day in Cambodia 

The second day we spent in Cambodia kicked off with a 6 hour sight seeing road trip to Pnohm Penh – the Capital City of Cambodia. The trip began with a coach full of sleepy girls, however we stopped off at a beautiful service shop with a spectacular view. 
After this, Kien and our trusty driver dropped us at a market packed with snacks such as cooked tarantula and scorpions. A new experience so to speak! 
Our final road trip stop off was the independence monument where we took a couple of snazzy pictures. The lovely Kien then said his goodbyes and we were greeted with our final tour guide, Mrs Thiday.
When we reached Pnohm Penh we first visited the Royal Palace, which could have been one of the most beautiful palaces we visited in the trip. The views were spectacular and the history was explained thoroughly my lovely Mrs Thiday. 
Secondly, we visited the silver palace (which is really made of concrete as Mrs Thiday explained) and Wat Pnohm. Some beautiful scenes greeted us at these sites including a gorgeous Buddhist greenery area. 
We travelled to our final hotel and freshened up for our meal which we spent on the stunning titanic restaurant in which we ate a delicious meal, accompanied by several kittens. A lovely day overall. 
Gemma, Year 11

Final Thoughts

A few thoughts from Mrs Charlton as we prepare for our journey home: edited by Lily Macfarlane 
I think the best line of the week was walking back down from the heights of the 1000 year old temple at the top of the hill overlooking Angkor Wat… “Elephant coming past, oh… and there’s a snake here too!” Swiftly followed by said elephant plodding on by after splatting most of us in the face with his overly enthusiastic tail!
The most heart warming moment (to be honest there were so many!) was watching our students be present, immersed in the many moments when life simply stood still for us all. I was simply proud to be with them all, in that space, at that time. If only we had many more days to come.

There were many shocking moments over the trip. What on earth do I choose? Walking above the planks of wobbly wood keeping us from all of the dozens of crocodiles at the floating village in Siem Reap, waiting hopefully with open mouths, for one of us to drop in? Hearing “Mrs Charlton, they just put the tarantula on me!” when visiting the food market where crickets, scorpions and tarantulas were on display for a snack. Or perhaps the sudden realisation that I was watching people living in absolute poverty with my mobile phone in my hand to capture my experience-feeling the tug of war in my heart as I watched life from outside of the goldfish bowl.

Any other thoughts? Just these for now:

1 Best trip of my life!

2 I am privileged to know our students and to have been a part of our Vietnam and Cambodia family.

3 I have seen many wonders but nothing compares to seeing our students dancing in the rain, just in front of the lake before Angkor Wat. That memory will stay with me until my last day.

And finally…with thanks to Mr Humphrys and Ms Payne because none of the above would have been possible without their constant support. 

See you at AGGS approximately 11.30 Saturday but we text updates when we arrive in London 

The V&C family are on their way home 🙂

Day 4 – Cambodia

Our first morning in Cambodia was greeted with waffles, French toast and a lost passport! After scouring the hotel our new guide Kien came to the rescue and we were off.

Our buses dropped us off in quite literally paradise. One of the seven wonders of the world Angkor wat did not disappoint. After an amazing tour with just about everyone back, our bus dropped us off for some well needed drinks.
Soon after we were all become Angelina Jolie and were immersed into the location tomb raider was shot. It was our lucky day as kien taught us some iPhone tricks to capture the breathtaking views of trees, temples and sweaty students. 
This was followed by lunch in the jungle amongst lizards and spiders (to mr Humphrys delight). By bike or bus we all made it to the big deal… Angkor wat temple! All was perfect and as we begin to walk up: the rain starts- typical! Nevertheless we explored the biggest Hindu temple in the world and were speechless- especially when we met the monk Jack whitehall saw!
Then we got the shower we’d been in need of all day. Despite our monsoon encounter we climbed up the hill for an amazing view of Siem reap. And with steep steps and the odd tumble and snake we made it down in tact. 
Finally we head out for the night with a show! We saw many stories told through dance and costume. Following this we went to yet again another market before heading to bed. Overall a day none of us will never forget.

By Emily, Year 12 

Day 3 – the Last in Vietnam ?? 

Yet another early start (yay!) for our long drive to the Mekong River. During the drive we had a break at the most beautiful rest stop, after which we made our way to our river boat which took us island hopping along the iconic delta. 

First stop: Unicorn Island where we were treated to fresh Vietnamese fruit, homemade honey, traditional music and an amazing river boat experience. 

On the second island we enjoyed a filling Vietnamese lunch and a fresh coconut on a tour of a fishing village, which we smelt before we saw. 

Once we arrived back in Saigon, we had a quick stop at Ben Than market where we practised our newly acquired haggling skills. We then made our way to the Saigon Opera House to watch ‘Ter Dah”; a dance production explaining the lives of idegenous Vietnamese tribes. The acrobatics and tricks in the show amazed us, from dancers balancing on each other’s heads, to spinning upside down from ceiling (we felt dizzy just watching). 

After a quick dinner we went back to the hotel for bed, which we had definitely earned after a wonderful (long) day!

By Hana, Tara, Lena & Aisha (Year 13) 

Day 2

After a long and much needed sleep, we were ready for Day 2. 

The itinerary for today meant we were up at 6, for a 7 o’clock departure. We had a 2 hour coach ride to the Black Lady Moutain, where we were greeted with some spectactual views from a cable car, a magnificent Buddhist Temple and unbelievable humidity. Also, the Day included a visit to the historical Cu Chi Tunnels to learn about and experience life during the Vietnam War. Dinner was at a traditional Vietnaminse restaurant, allowing us to try local dishes. Octopus wasn’t too popular! 

Students also had to free time to explore the markets across from  the hotel. 

Day 1

After very long and somewhat bumpy plane journeys we arrived at Saigon.

Greeted by our tour guide we were taken to the hotel and then much to the disappointment of everybody there was very little time for sleep/showering, instead it was straight out to see the sights! Lunch was buffet style, with a range of local/international cuisines, before a stop/tour of Independence Place. After that it was a trip to a Hindu Temple, the markets and dinner on a boat overlooking the harbour. 

It was an early night, everybody in bed for 9pm, for the 6am wake up call.