Pam from our Glen Waverley store recently travelled with her partner John on a trip of a lifetime to Vietnam, Cambodia and Alaska (Inside Passage Cruise, Fairbanks & Denali). They loved their trip so much that Pam wanted to share their journey with you.
John and I recently travelled to some of the most amazing places this globe has to offer. Here are some of our highlights which I would love to share with you.
One of our highlights was a visit to the ‘Gold Dredge 8’ to learn all about how gold was mined during Alaska’s gold rush days.
A few kilometres from Fairbanks, a replica of the original Tanana Valley Railroad train takes visitors a little further through the forested area to the site of the gold dredge. After receiving a history lesson about the discovery of gold and how the dredge works, tour groups have the opportunity to pan for gold themselves. All participants are guaranteed to find some gold specks that can either be kept as a souvenir or embedded into a piece of costume jewellery - available for purchase from the gift shop!
Our journey continued onboard a gleaming blue Alaska Rail Road train with two high-domed observation carriages at the front of the train, heading towards Denali National Park from Fairbanks.
The lower level of the carriage is a dining area where passengers are treated to an included hot breakfast.
As the blue train approaches Denali National Park, the landscape is spectacular with beautiful forested areas, rising mountains and rushing streams as well as occasional sightings of moose and other wildlife.
Alcoholic drinks are available free of charge and passengers can enjoy sipping on a glass of wine as their journey progresses, even though the time might only be 11.00 am!
Glacier Bay National Park is located on the narrow coastal area of western Alaska between Yakutat and Juneau.
Only 250 years ago, Glacier Bay was completely frozen but now it is a large area of water with a number of different glaciers feeding into it. Only 2 cruise ships are allowed to enter Glacier Bay at any one time.
The highlight of our visit to Glacier Bay was to cruise up close to the Marjorie Glacier. This is a huge wall of ice where visitors can listen and watch for frequent episodes of ‘calving’ as big chunks of the ice wall tumble down from the face of the glacier into the waters of the bay.
Cai Be is a small Vietnamese market town on the Mekong River delta, generally reached by ‘junk’ boat from cruise ships moored mid-stream.
Here is a giant python being shown off in the market place and who is happy to embrace visitors with his cold and clammy skin but gentle nature.
The market area displays all sorts of local enterprise – rice paper, popped rice, coconut treats (a bit like muesli bars) and alcohol kilns making various types of spirits including a ‘cobra spirit’ (with the head of a cobra preserved in its glass container!).
The town of Cai Be also extends onto the Mekong River with a fascinating ‘floating’ market.
Chum Mey is a 82 old survivor of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge genocide period who has written a book of his experiences living through the Pol Pot era.
It is a remarkable story that took place only 40 years ago.
This photo was taken at one of the prisons outside Pnom Penh (now called the ‘Toul Sleng Genocide Museum) where people were taken for interrogation and torture before being moved to a nearby ‘killing field’ for execution. Those targeted were teachers, professionals of any sort and educated people who were considered to be a threat to Pol Pot’s socialist ideals.