Sunrise at Borobudur

One of the most popular things to see in Yogyakarta Indonesia is the Borobudur temple. This 9th century UNESCO temple is considered to be the largest Buddhist monument on Earth.

I am going to see it at sunrise.

Borobudur temple sunrise viewing is probably the best sunrise viewing I have ever witnessed.

I almost regretted this 3 am wake up call for sunrise but I am definitely glad I went to see it.

I tried to nap during the car ride to the temple. Everything is still pitch black when I arrive. I arrive at the main building to check in and retrieve a sticker to show I have paid admission. The plan is to head out to the temple to watch the sunrise then head back to the main building for a buffet breakfast.

It is off in the dark with a little flashlight to the temple.

I get up to the top of the temple and soon the sun starts sneaking up the horizon.

I find the dragonflies flying around the temple at sunrise charming. Someone tells me their life span is very short.

I actually had tears in my eyes watching the colors off in the distance against the shadow of the mountains. I have never cried at a sunrise before.

The sun puts light on the temple so gently.

After the sun rises I view the temple in full light.

It gets quiet in areas as the crowd dies down. It really is a peaceful experience.

I descend the temple to walk to the main building get my buffet breakfast. Not memorable but I enjoy the coffee (I am so addicted).

Temple from the bottom looks very different

Video of the experience….very sorry about it being vertical.

After breakfast we head out to another temple. I am definitely going to nap on the way!

Angkor Small Circuit: Banteay Kdei

The Buddhist temple Bantaey Kdei is actually the last temple I saw in Siem Reap. I didn’t leave it to last in my posts because I believe in ending my temple posts with the more impressive Ta Prohm .

It isn’t as impressive as some of the others but it is peaceful and quiet and a nice end of two days of extreme temple sightseeing.

Nice terrace across the street

Angkor Small Circuit: Angkor Wat Sunrise

Angkor Wat is the most famous Cambodian temple. This 12th century temple was originally built as a Hindu temple and then later became Buddhist temple.

I am there early, before 5 am to be exact. Myself and probably thousands of other people are there to watch what is the wonder of the Angkor Wat sunrise. When I arrive it is still dark. I cross the water bridge with many other people in pursuit of a spot to watch the sunrise.

Viewing around the lake proves popular, the crowd is already deep enough that I am unable to get an unobstructed view. I am disappointed so I wander around and try to at least find higher ground so I can see. That plan isn’t working so I push myself up to the crowd and hope the people surrounding me are generous with sharing the view with my short self.

Got my selfie in
At one point I walk around the lake and peer back at the crowds.

I slowly watch the sky change. The temple comes more into focus as time passes.

My photos are coming out only so-so therefore I head into the temple for some sightseeing before the sun fully rises and makes it unbearably hot.

I start along the perimeter of the temple. I marvel at the stone carvings along the wall.

I head further inside the temple to look around.

There is a long line to get up to the next level since they limit the amount of people at once. Once I arrive up top I view the line below.

Its getting warm and I still have many temples to see for the day so I head out. Despite the crowds it is a lovely temple to visit.

Heading back to exit gate
Exit and floating bridge

Mekong River Delta

Today I head to the Mekong river delta. Today is just a short visit. A van picks me up at my hotel and we drive out to a launch area.

On the way we stop to see a bunch of Buddhas at Vinh Trang Pagoda.

We arrive at the boat launching site. We are shown a map to see the areas we plan to visit today.

First we stop at a honey bee farm. We learn about honey and royal jelly. We get the hard sell on the wonders of royal jelly. We get to enjoy a honey tea.

Honey Tea

We try some local fruits: Mango, Papaya, persimmon, dragonfruit, jackfruit.

While we sample fruits we experience a musical performance. Singers sing local songs and we hear instruments I have never seen before.

video

It is now time to catch a ride to where we leave for our boat rides.

Apparently it is too far to walk or I would have walked it if I could. The transportation to the boat is a horse drawn carriage. Most people probably think that is quaint but I have vowed to not use animals for transportation like that anymore. When asked if we would like alternative transportation I and one other ask for something else. The other mode is an electric golf cart. Apparently it is a big deal because the guide keeps trying to talk me out of it. I know I am sort of being “difficult” about it but I am going to trust my gut this time. If there is an alternative mode of transport then I am taking it. There is a long wait but the cart finally arrive for us difficult ones. The distance doesn’t seem too far. I probably could have walked it.

Launch area

It gets pretty crowded at the a launch site. Lots of boats are being filled with tourists such as ourselves. Eventually it settles down a bit.

We stop at a coconut candy factory. We get to see how the candies are produced. After sampling the candies I buy some to snack on during my travels. Unfortunately they don’t get too far since ants in my hotel room later in Siem Reap chow down on them instead 😦

We also get to sample some coconut liquor. I try a little bit, but not the type that is fermented with snakes, yuk.

We have another boat ride, this one motorized, to where we are to eat lunch. There are less boats in this area so besides the motors, it is very peaceful.

It is time for lunch. Look at those fried fish!

After eating I take advantage of one of the bikes they have to take a short ride around. There are fish, fruit and random animals around the property to look at.

We take the boat back to the van. We are given a refreshing coconut drink to finish out the day.

Hue Day Tour

Thien Mu Pagoda

Hue is located in central Vietnam on the banks of Perfume River. Some cultural areas of interest are in close walking or taxi distance but I decided to make the most of my time by booking a day tour of the highlights. Day tours are nice because it saves you transportation hassle and it gets me out of my solitary lag. It is nice to spend the day with others every once in a while.

My Hue Vacations tour with tour guide Dany starts with a hotel pickup around 8:00 AM.

Thien Mu Pagoda

Our morning begins with a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda (see photo above). This iconic Buddhist temple is a highlight of the city.

After our visit to the pagoda there is a 30 minute boat trip along the perfume river. It is relaxing but not memorable. The boat operator tries to sell us souvenirs during our ride. I don’t buy anything but a can of soda.


Dong Ba Market

After our boat ride we have a little time to explore Dong Ba Market. I get to feed my love for food markets all over the world. A couple of my tour-mates aren’t happy with this stop but the market is right up my alley.


Imperial City

Next we visit the Imperial city and Citadel. Our guide points out lots of damage from the war. Some of the buildings that are still in place are impressive.


According to our itinerary our lunch is supposed to be at a local home but it is really a restaurant that built for handling lunch service to the various tour groups that come through daily. Lunch is pretty quick and not memorable enough for me to take note of.


Minh Mang King’s Tomb

After lunch we visit Minh Mang’s tomb. It is the final resting place of a famous Confucian ruler during the Nguyen Dynasty. The property has a long stretch of walkways that lead you from monument to monument before you finally reach the tomb which is only open on special occasions.

I enjoy walking around the quiet grounds. There is one influencer doing a photo shoot with her instagram poses but it doesn’t bother me today because the site is not crowded and they also did not block access from others while they were doing their thing – they were willing to put their photo shoot aside while others are around. I give them props for that. So much of my travels were “sullied” by instagram models rudely blocking access to famous sights.

Mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh

The last monument stop is the mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh. He was a very unpopular ruler due to his extravagant spending and closeness to the French occupiers. His extravagant taste can be seen in the tomb he built for himself.

Look at all the designs!

incense stick village

Final stop is at an incense stick village shop. We get a demonstration on how the incense is made. I thought about buying some to ship home but it was hard to pick out scents that wouldn’t cause me to get a migraine. The incense village is an interesting stop to end the tour on.

The tour guide takes us back to our hotels and I take it easy the rest of the evening.