Nestled in the Central Highlands, Dalat was once known as Le Petit Paris. At an elevation of 4,400 feet, the town was settled by the French who chose to escape the summer heat in Saigon. Dalat is considered one of the most appealing towns in Vietnam, with its magnificent colonial villas, premier golf course, fruit orchards and comfortable weather. The town is also a major trading center for the Montagnards (hill tribes).
VANG VIENG, LAOS
This sleepy town a few hours from Vientiane is slowly being discovered by travelers, but is still a delightful place for day hikes or a lazy afternoon boat trip on the river. The surrounding area is notable for its dramatic karst topography and many deep caves, awaiting exploration.
MEKONG DELTA, VIETNAM
The Mekong Delta region, where Southeast Asia's mightiest river splays into a vast system of smaller tributaries and wetlands before emptying into the South China Sea. The Mekong Delta sustains millions of people with its rich fisheries and fertile flood plains, orchards and a wealth of biodiversity.
Located between Kep and Sihanoukville, the beaches near Kampot are perfect for those who really want to get away from it all and relax.
One of Asia’s hidden jewels, this quaint town is an oasis of tranquility, traditional tribal cultures and lush fields. It is best explored on a three-night boat trip from Luang Prabang on the gorgeous Nam Ou River.
Rich with abundant wilderness areas and exotic black-sand beaches, Kep is a delight for nature-lovers. Nearby Rabbit Island offers beautiful white sand beaches and shallow bays ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Travel expert recommendations
Vietnam - When in Hoi An, Vietnam a private cooking class is a must. Spend the morning on a chef-guided tour of a local market picking up exotic produce and spices for your cooking class. Vietnam's markets are an assault on the senses—and a fantastic introduction to the country’s cuisine. Learn how local produce is grown and the many ways it is used in Vietnamese cooking. The real fun comes back in the kitchen with your chef guiding you step-by-step through how to create several dishes - followed by a lunch of your own creations. Excellent with an ice cold local beer
Laos - Interested in experiencing authentic hilltribe villages, but your homestay days are over? We highly recommend the Muang La Resort in remote Northern Laos. They have wonderful interactive programs along with luxury accommodations, an amazing house chef and knowledgeable local guides that can provide you with glimpses into remote cultures that can't be found anywhere else in the world.
Cambodia - Art, up close and personal. Take a private tour in Siem Reap with a local art curator. From traditional to contemporary and everything in-between, you'll uncover various mediums and gain insight in to the current pulse of creativity in this unique area. Its a great way to cool off in the afternoon heat, hopping from gallery to gallery. On request, your private guide can help arrange a cooler of ice cold wine and snacks for your journey!
The Plain of Jars in Laos is home to thousands of mysterious stone jars of unknown ancient origin scattered around Phonsavan.
Ant Egg Soup, a mixture of ant eggs, partial embryos, baby ants, clear soup and vegetables, is a popular Laotian street food.
Vietnam’s 1st president, Ho Chi Minh (commonly known as Uncle Ho), is embalmed and on display in a mausoleum.
In most of Southeast Asia, it is considered disrespectful to let your feet or soles point at people or things. So the feet must be tucked in when sitting.
Cuisine & Recipe
Cambodian Sour Soup with Fish
- About 4 cups water
- 1 whole small fish, chopped into 5-6 pieces (including head and skin)
- 2 lemongrass stalks (only bottom third of stalk, tough outer layers removed), sliced thin
- About 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- About 2-3 green onions, bottom half only, chopped into large pieces
- About 2-3 cilantro stems, chopped into large pieces
- About 5-6 tsps fish sauce
- About 1 tsp sugar
- About 1 tsp salt
- Juice of 2-3 small limes
- 2-3 whole bird’s eye chiles
- ¼ white onion, chopped into fine strips
Seasonings (add as much of each as you want)
- Fried garlic
- Cilantro leaves
- Green onions
- Fish sauce
- Lime wedges
Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients (except the chiles and onions), including the whole fish, and simmer about 10-15 minutes until fish is cooked through. If you’re not using a whole fish, sub fish or chicken broth for water and simply add the fish filets in step 4.
Taste and add more fish sauce, sugar, salt and/or lime, to taste.
Add whole chiles and simmer for about another 10 minutes.
Add white onion in the last few minutes.
Ladle soup into individual bowls and serve with a side of white jasmine rice.
Add garnishes of green onions, fried garlic, cilantro leaves, lime wedges and fish sauce, to taste.
Now and Then
Follow George Fetherling as he journeys through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia looking for any remaining traces of the Indochina that was.
In Indochina Now and Then, George Fetherling recounts multiple journeys through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, keeping an eye peeled and an ear opened for whatever faint traces of French rule might remain. While doing so, he searches diligently in village markets, curio shops, and rubbish bins, not to mention bookstalls along the Seine in Paris, for early picture postcards of Southeast Asia, the sort that native Frenchmen and Frenchwomen sent home to Europe.
The book is illustrated with 60 such images, most of them taken before the First World War. They evoke vanished ways of life in these exotic "lands of charm and cruelty" that have survived the wars and turmoil of the late 20th century to emerge, smiling enigmatically, as the friendly face of free-market socialism. In its prose and pictures, Indochina Now and Then is a travel narrative that will leave an indelible impression in the reader’s imagination.