The Magnificence Of Angkor Wat

Visiting Angkor in the 70's, the Golden Age of Travel


The year 1970, the setting, the departure lounge at Don Meaung International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand, the destination, Siem Reap, Cambodia, site of the ruins at Angkor. The decade of the 70’s was an idyllic time for international travel. It was the dawning of the “jet-setter” age with the advent of the Boeing 707 international carrier recently born and years before the onslaught of the Boeing 747 that funneled hundreds of thousands of tourists upon the global landscape, forever changing what were isolated regions of the world into new destinations that brought scores of travelers. There came an innocence lost as more and more previously isolated regions became new-found destinations.

In Bangkok at earlier times, an airline would place its boarding chart in the lounge area with numbered tags on hooks showing seat assignments within the cabin. A traveler would choose their tag and bring it to the counter for their boarding pass. The savvy traveler would hold back and await the time when all of the economy tags were taken and then approach the counter for a seat allocation. Sent back to the board, the traveler would then bring forth their tag from the business class section and be provided a seat. Seldom did it fail.

Traveling light, without hotel reservations, almost always opened doors of opportunity to mingle with the local populace choosing a very local setting or private residence for accommodation. Arriving into Siem Reap, which was yet to become the magnet for tourism within Southeast Asia as it stands today, one found but a simple airport terminal, one short runway, and the one flight from Bangkok, flown three non-consecutive days per week. Sightseeing the ruins of Angkor Wat, Ta Phrom, Bayon and other of these magnificent ruins was accomplished on bicycle for many, while others chose private vehicle. Seldom were there more than a dozen visitors at any one site, contrasted in today’s world by the innumerable groups that visit each passing day.

There is no doubt that the ruins at Angkor truly remain a must do on the bucket list of travel, and with some heady advice, there are ways to circumvent the large number of visitors that come to visit. One critical factor is not to arrive Friday – Sunday. Junkets arrive on Friday from Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Taiwan and South Korea for the weekend, which simply overwhelm the most popular sites. With a bit of planning, an arrival beginning to mid-week allows one to enjoy this remarkable site with greater pleasure and at a leisurely pace.

Given the restrictions on travel the past 18 months, and when those restrictions finally are removed, the pent-up desire to travel will unleash an overwhelming resurgence, with travelers choosing to take to the skies and visit far off destinations. Confirming flights and accommodations will become a serious challenge and it will be the traveler who makes plans well in advance of departure who will reap the benefits.

Southeast Asia generally, and particularly the countries of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam offer the willing traveler an exceptionally rewarding journey, with remarkably unique and fascinating sites, and with both luxurious or boutique-styled accommodations to choose from.

First Cabin Travel began operations in 1989, and has long created itineraries for single travelers, couples, families and friends, gaining a wealth of experience these many years that began within Southeast Asia in 1963. The majority of bookings at First Cabin are derived from repeat clientele and their ever-so-enthusiastic referrals. A first trip with First Cabin assuredly will not be the last.

Take the opportunity to visit the First Cabin website, and thereafter choose one of the posted itineraries or contact us to create a specialized itinerary for you with private car, private driver and private guide, all at uncommonly reasonable rates.

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