Culture close-up on a river cruise from Cambodia to Vietnam

On a river cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam, passengers dip into the culture.

At a sprawling monastery complex in Oudong, the former capital of Cambodia, a bald, saffron-robed monk showered me and my fellow travelers with lotus and jasmine petals, part of a blessing ceremony. His accompanying chant — soothing and hypnotic — could have lulled me to sleep if I wasn’t so uncomfortable. I sat on the ground, bare feet to the side, my weight on one hip.

For Buddhists in Southeast Asia, this position is as natural as walking, but for non-Buddhist Westerners, at least those who don’t practice yoga, it can induce squirming.

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