Cambodia and Vietnam with Journeys Within Tour Company

To characterize our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam from Journeys Within Tour Company and Bed & Breakfast (Box 93155, GPO Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia; call toll-free 877/454-3672, fax 855 63 964748 or visit as a “tour” would be a major understatement. Our experience would be better described as a personal invitation from a Western couple living in Cambodia to share their home, staff of 15 and their experiences in Southeast Asia over the past three years.

From the overnight response to our initial e-mail inquiry to Andrea Ross ( to a note of appreciation received at our final Saigon destination, owners Andrea and Brandon were gracious to us, their “house guests.”

The tour began with a stay at the Rama Gardens Hotel near the Bangkok, Thailand, airport, then a short flight to Siem Reap and three days of exploring Angkor Wat as well as other fascinating and majestic temples in the area. Our highly experienced personal guide knew all the ways to help us make the most of our daily excursions and how to best avoid the bus-tour masses.

After Siem Reap, we took an early morning boat to Phnom Penh, where we stayed at a 4-star hotel overlooking the Mekong River. Also included was a city tour and visits to the Khmer Rouge museum and the Killing Fields. A highlight of our stay in Phnom Penh was the front-row table Andrea had booked for us at the Foreign Correspondents Club.

The final leg of our journey across the nine Mekong River tributaries to Saigon included a ferry crossing and provided many outstanding photo opportunities.

The total cost of this high-season, 7-day trip, Jan. 3-9, ’06, was $1,000 per person, including airfare from Bangkok to Siem Reap, boat tickets, tours and admission fees. This did not include tips, visa fees and a few meals. In my book, this was a modern-day travel bargain.

Rhodes, Greece