Student Flights


Student Flights' Consultant Tanya Waltisbuhl does Southeast Asia with Geckos and Intrepid

Published November 4th, 2015

We get the low-down on Tanya’s Southeast Asia highlights after her adventure through Vietnam and Cambodia with Geckos and Intrepid. Taking in the bright lights of Ho Chi Minh City; winding along the sprawling Mekong Delta; bus tripping through small villages in Cambodia; exploring the lively city of Phnom Penh and so much more.

The biggest surprise from the trip? Finding out tarantulas and crickets actually don’t taste too bad!

Read all about Tanya’s adventure in our quick Q&A below…

Say hello to the mystery of Cambodia

1. Best thing you ate on the trip?
We went to a family home in Phnom Penh and had some amazing home cooking. My favourite by far was the chicken curry. But all the meals along the way were great.

Tanya tucks into a tarantula

2. Strangest thing you ate on the trip?
Tarantula and crickets at a random road stop between Ho Chi Minh and Phnom Penh. Definitely not something you’d do by yourself. But I was actually surprised – they tasted great!


3. Hot tip for Ho Chi Minh City? 
When it comes to food, don’t go to the tourist traps, head down the alley ways and find yourself a gem. For our first night we headed to Asia Kitchen, brilliant start to the trip.

Tanya and her tour group on the Delta

4. Highlight of travelling along the Mekong Delta?
The Mekong Delta was a great day trip out from Ho Chi Minh. We went to Unicorn Island and tried some different fruits, including pineapple dipped in chilli salt (yum!). Hand a small boat trip through the smaller parts of the Delta.

5. Biggest history lesson from your trip?
There was so much history to take away from this trip. Before I went to Cambodia I really didn’t know a lot about the history but the bare basics. The day we headed to S21 and learnt about all the atrocities that took place there, it was amazing to meet two of the survivors. I can only imagine what it must take for them to come back every to the place where they were tortured, but it’s obviously so important to them that their story is told and the world is educated.

Learning about Cambodia's  troubled history

6. Best local characters you met?
Our guide Keasar! Best guide I’ve had on an organized trip in sometime. He had an amazing passion for his country and his people and wanted us to see and experience everything it had to offer.

7. Favourite mode of transport during the trip?
Tuk Tuk – need to say more! Open air taxi is the best way to see the sights. But very closely followed by the Cyclos in Phnom Penh, beats a walking tour any day.

sampling local culture

8. Most awe‐inspiring site or landscape you came across?
The temples around Siem Reap were something else. My favourite was Angkor Thom, it was amazing to walk across this bridge and come across this huge structure and all the Buddha’s faces looking around.

9. What’s one thing you learnt on your travels?
Travel always has a way of restoring my faith in humankind, but also realise just how amazingly lucky we are to live the lives we live.

When the weather is warm and the beers are cheap...

10. One tip for someone going to Vietnam or Cambodia for the first time?
Get on a tour so you can get out of the standard tourist spots and enjoy the real experience. It’s great to get in with the locals.

Up for a big South East Asia adventure? We've got 15% off selected Geckos and Intrepid tours! Offer ends 30 November 2015.

Vietnam Discovery, 15 days from $1,016* (save $179*)

Vietnam Traveller, 11 days from $855* (save $150*)

Cycle Vietnam, 15 days from $2,266* (save $399*)

Rachel Surgeoner

A self-confessed 'food-tourist', I take hunting for the world's greatest sandwich very seriously, my quest has taken me from Berlin to Hoboken. Stopping off only for vintage shopping, craft beers and Mediterranean sunsets.