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Travelling up the Mekong River
Ho Chi Minh City - Angkor




From the heights of the Himalayas to the coast of the China Sea, over the course of its 4500km journey, the River Mekong irrigates much more than Indochina. Wherever it flows, it captivates man and shapes their lives. We invite you to travel up this great noble "water snake" from Ho Chi Minh City, a town still filled with souvenirs of the French colonial presence, right to the great lake of Tonle in the footsteps of Henri Mouhot and the ancient sites at Angkor.  This is an ideal journey to relax and meditate, spending 7 days following the rhythm of the River Mekong on board a charming and comfortable vessel. 

11 days
Cruise Boat
MV Indochine
Ho Chi Minh City - Seim Reap
  We arrive in Ho Chi Minh City in the morning and are welcomed as a group at the airport. Built by the French in 1859, at the beginning of the colonial era, the town has retained some of its French atmosphere which characterises it. After lunch in a local restaurant, in the afternoon we have a tour of the city: Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. We board our ship and then have a welcome cocktail and dinner. Overnight on board in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 2
  After breakfast, we devote our morning to visiting Cholon, whose name means "Great Market", a district crawling with people, where almost half the population of the city lives and where trade reigns supreme. We visit the market and the Thien Hau Pagoda, dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. We have lunch in town before our afternoon visit of the National History Museum then a visit to a lacquer-ware factory. We return on board and set sail for the navigation channel of Chao Gao. Dinner and overnight on board and we drop anchor and moor for the night at Nha Be.

  Very early this morning, we continue our cruise to My Tho along the Chao Gao Canal. The Mekong Delta is made up of four main arms and thousands of canals, both large and small. We have breakfast as we arrive in My Tho.  The town is named after the River My Tho which means "Beautiful Reed", and it is peaceful and prosperous. Renowned for its many vegetable gardens, fruit orchards and huge rice fields, the climate here is hot and pleasant all year long. The surrounding countryside includes one of the most luxuriant gardens in Vietnam with coconut, banana and mango trees. We visit My Tho in small local boats. Along the maze that makes up the network of small canals, pretty country villages appear and we see the local craftsmen at work. We return on board for lunch and continue our cruise to Vinh Long (the "Majestic Dragon"and Cai Be. The town is located in the middle of the delta region, between two arms of the Mekong. We set off in small boats through the arroyos and gardens which lead to Cai Be's floating market. Vinh Long, a land made rich by alluvium, is the country of mandarins and oranges. All of life is organised around the water and we see houses built on stilts and hundreds of small boats that criss-cross in all directions. We then set sail for Sac Dec. Dinner and overnight stop at our mooring point. This evening is at leisure.
Day 4 SA DEC
  Very early this morning we visit Sa Dec, famous for its horticulture and known as the "Garden of the Cochin Chine" in colonial times. We have a panoramic tour of the small town where a few colonial mansions are still in existence. We visit the Trug Vuong primary school, the Kien An Cung Pagoda, discover the local market and visit the former dwelling place of Huynh Thuy Le, former lover of the French novelist Marguerite Duras who spent part of her childhood in Sa Dec.  We return on board for a hearty breakfast and continue our cruise to Chau Doc, a town at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam which became part of Vietnamese territory some 300 years ago. We have lunch on board and arrive in Chau Doc in the early afternoon. Situated in the heart of a gigantic grid of rice fields, the city of Chau Doc embraces both banks of the Mekong and the floating farms overspill into the waters. Chau Doc is a very prosperous town which developed around fishing and animal farming. Inside the overpopulated town, a few colonial buildings with their old fashioned charm still remain. The market which surrounds them is the vibrant heart of the city and a multitude of colours. We have a panoramic tour of the town and transfer by small boat to visit a Cham village, a village of silk weavers and fish farms.  Dinner and overnight stop in Chau Doc.
  We spend the day afloat today, first heading for the Cambodian border, where we complete customs formalities during the morning and continue our journey. Lunch and dinner are taken on board as we arrive towards the end of the day in Phnom Penh. After dinner we have a "tuk tuk" trip, a motorised tricycle which is the traditional mode of transport in Phnom Penh. We moor for the night in the port of Phnom Penh.
  Founded in 1434, the capital of Cambodia has retained much of its colonial charm, thanks to the rehabilitation of part of its architectural heritage. We visit the Silver Pagoda, constructed in wood in 1892 then rebuilt in 1962, and the Royal Palace, symbolic heart of the nation and one of the finest examples of Cambodian architecture in classical Khmer style. Then we visit the National Museum housing the Fine Arts Museum, built in 1917 by the French in traditional Khmer architectural style. We have lunch in a local restaurant and this afternoon we have the option to visit the Tuol Svay Prey School, former centre of detention, torture and execution used by the Khmer Rouge S21 during the Cambodian War. There is free time in the "Russian Market" – crammed full with all types of Oriental businesses. This evening we have a Apsara Dance Show on board. Dinner and overnight on board, in the port of Phnom Penh.
  We have breakfast on board before we visit Koh Chen, a small village where the inhabitants are experts in silverwork and copper work. Here are made the ornaments and decorations used during traditional ceremonies in the pagoda or for weddings. We have lunch on board and arrive in Kompong Tralach to visit the beautiful Vihara of the Wat Kompong Trlach Leu Pagoda. We cross through the village of Kompong Tralach to reach the pagoda on a small path running perpendicular to the river amidst a magnificent landscape of rice fields. The Vihara dates back to the beginning of last century and has many magnificent wall paintings which are starting to suffer from the effects of time. Completely isolated in the middle of the rice fields, the pagoda is quite unassuming and does not receive many visitors, so its isolation makes it a truly magnificent spot. We return on board and continue our cruise to Kampong Chnang. Dinner and overnight stop.
Day 8
  Breakfast on board followed by a visit to Kampong Chhnang. Located some 90km from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chhnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonle Sap. Here they also have many fish farms. The region is best known for its fine traditional pottery which is a major source of revenue for the entire country, and the region's very name Kampong Chhnang means "the port of the pottery" in Khmer. We visit a traditional grove of palm trees and taste some palm sugar before a visit to a traditional pottery. Next we visit a floating village using small local boats. All the buildings here are afloat – the school, the shops and so on, and life develops along the canal network. We return on board for lunch then continue our cruise to Lake Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in southeast Asia which forms the heart of the hydraulic system of the Mekong. Farewell cocktail and dinner tonight. Overnight stop.
Day 9
  Spend the morning cruising, taking breakfast on board. Depending on the water levels, we cross the Tonle Sap Lake on board the RV INDOCHINE (3). We arrive in the port of Siem Reap and are welcomed by our local guide. We transfer to our hotel and check-in before taking lunch. In the afternoon, we visit the famous temple of Angkor Wat, masterpiece of Khmer architecture. This is the most famous and most imposing of all the monuments in Angkor and its five towers have become the emblem on the national flag of Cambodia. We return to Siem Reap. Dinner in a local restaurant and overnight in the hotel Prince of Angkor 4* NL or similar.
Day 10
  After breakfast we set off early to visit the jewel in the crown of classic Khmer art – the temple at Banteay Srei. The site was cleared from creepers and the forest in 1924 by H Parmentier. Banteay Srei, which means "the citadel of women" or "citadel of beauty", is known for the intricacy of its fine carvings. On our return, we stop in a village for a demonstration of how to extract sugar from the palm, visit a pagoda and taste some fresh coconut milk. We visit a silk workshop before visiting the Temple at Ta Prohm, dating back to 1186 and dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman II. Today nature has taken over the site and the result is stunning: trees spring out from the temple buildings and thick roots now cover the temple. We return to our hotel for a quick lunch. This afternoon we explore Angkor Thom, a huge architectural masterpiece accessible through five monumental gates with the Mountain Temple of Bayon at its centre. Bayon Temple is famous for its towers with 172 faces of Buddha. We have a wander in the heart of the ancient Royal Palace where the sanctuary of Phimeanakas is located, then we visit the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. This evening we have dinner with a show of Khmer royal dancing (the Apsara dances). Overnight in the hotel Prince of Angkor 4* NL or similar.
Day 11
  After breakfast at the hotel this morning, visit the "Senteurs d'Angkor" (or Perfume workshop), where they make candles, soaps and prepare spices. Afterwards, we visit the workshops of the "Artisans d'Angkor", where young Cambodians are trained in the art of traditional wood carving and stonework based on long-standing Khmer craftwork traditions. After lunch in the hotel, the afternoon is free to wander, or perhaps do some last-minute shopping in Siem Reap. Transfer to Siem Reap Airport for your flight.
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