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The Mekong "dream river" Cruise
Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City

                                                                                                           
 

SIEM REAP - ANGKOR - TONLE SAP - KAMPONG CHHNANG - KAMPONG TRALACH - KOH CHEN - PHNOM PENH - CHAU DOC - SA DEC - CAI BE - MY THO - HO-CHI-MINH CITY

     

 

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. From the Delta and Saigon, a town still filled with souvenirs of the French colonial presence, right to the great lake of Tonle Sap and Siem Reap, a city at the foot of the Angkor Sites, the Mekong today has to work hard to maintain suitable water levels, with many dams along its course, and subjected to a regime of more and more extraordinary monsoons.

 

Days
11 days
Departure
Siem Reap to Ho-Chi-Minh city
Curise Boat
MV Indochine
                                       
Itinerary  
                             
 
Day 1 SIEM REAP - ANGKOR

Arrive at Siem Reap Airport and are welcomed by our local guide before transferring to the Hotel Prince of Angkor 4* NL or similar. Lunch is at the hotel. In the afternoon, we 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.
Dinner in a local restaurant and overnight in the hotel Prince of Angkor 4* NL or similar.

   
Day 2

ANGKOR

 

After breakfast we set off early to visit Banteay Srei, the jewel in the crown of classic Khmer art, the Temple at Ta Prohm dating back to 1186 and dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman II. The site at Banteay Srei 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, and the detail of the sculptures on every corner of this small temple built in pink sandstone and laterite is a joy to behold. Next we visit Ta Prohm. 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. 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. After 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). After dinner, there is free time to stroll through the "Angkor Night Market" and perhaps do some shopping. It's a very pleasant place for a wander in the cool night-time temperatures (open from 4pm until midnight), with over a hundred shops and stalls selling souvenirs, handicrafts, clothes, books etc.
Overnight in the hotel Prince of Angkor 4* NL or similar.

   
Day 3 SIEM REAP - TONLE SAP
 

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, 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. After lunch in the hotel, we transfer in the early afternoon from the hotel to the mooring point at Phnom Krom where we board small local boats to take us to the RV INDOCHINE. Welcome on board and cocktail. Introduction to the crew.
Gala Dinner and settle into our cabins. We drop anchor and moor for the night close to the flooded forest.

   
Day 4 TONLE SAP - KAMPONG CHHNANG - KAMPONG TRALACH
 

We have breakfast on board and spend the morning cruising to take advantage of the lake crossing (1). After lunch on board, we arrive in the early afternoon in 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 have a tasting of some palm sugar from the Thnot sugar palm (a real national symbol) before visiting a floating village using small local boats. We return on board and continue our cruise to Kampong Tralach.
Dinner on board. We drop anchor and moor for the night near Kampong Tralach.

   
Day 5 KAMPONG TRALACH - KOH CHEN - PHNOM PENH
 


We have breakfast on board this morning before we 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 for lunch and cast off. We arrive in Koh Chen during the afternoon and visit this 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 return on board and cruise to Phnom Penh where we arrive at the end of the afternoon. We have a "tuk tuk" trip, a motorised tricycle which is the traditional mode of transport in Phnom Penh.
We return on board and enjoy an Aspara Dance Show and dinner on board. We moor for the night in the port of Phnom Penh.

   
Day 6 PHNOM PENH

Founded in 1434, the capital of Cambodia has retained much of its French 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.
We return on board and have dinner as we continue our cruise through the night to Vietnam.

   
Day 7 CHAU DOC - SA DEC
 

We have breakfast on board and spend the morning afloat. We cross into Vietnam and complete customs formalities at the border. We have lunch on board. We arrive in the early afternoon in Chau Doc, a town at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam which became part of Vietnamese territory some 300 years ago. 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.
We return on board and continue our cruise towards Sa Dec. Dinner and overnight stop on the river bank.

   
Day 8
SA DEC - VINH LONG - CAI BE
  Breakfast on board and continue our journey to Sa Dec. 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. Famous for its horticulture, Sa Dec was known as the "Garden of the Cochin Chine" in colonial times. We return on board for lunch and continue our cruise towards Vinh Long, located in the middle of the delta region, between two arms of the Mekong and where all of life is organised around the water. Hundreds of small boats criss-cross in all directions between houses built on stilts. We set off in small boats along the canals and through the orchards that lead to the floating market of Cai Be. Here we discover the local workers and craftsmen making bricks, pottery and chinaware, we see the fruit trees nursery on the island of Binh Hoa Phuoc and the local traditional craft of rice popcorn. We return on board and continue our cruise to My Tho.
Dinner and overnight on board at our overnight mooring point near My Tho.

   
Day 9
MY THO - HO CHI MINH SITY (SAIGON)
  An early breakfast on board before we visit My Tho in small local boats. 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. 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, taking the Chao Gao canal and heading for Ho Chi Minh City.
Dinner and overnight on board in the port of Ho Chi Minh City. After dinner the evening is at leisure.
   
Day 10
HO CHI MINH CITY
 

We have breakfast this morning before our Visit of Ho Chi Minh City, originally named Saigon and built by the French in 1850 at the beginning of French colonial times and the principal port of Vietnam. We have a Tour of the city: Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. We have lunch in town and in the afternoon, we visit the National History Museum then a traditional lacquer-ware factory. We return on board for our farewell cocktail and Gala dinner.
We moor for the night in the port of Ho Chi Minh City. After dinner the evening is at leisure.

   
Day 11
HO CHI MINH CITY
 

After breakfast, disembark the ship and devote the morning to visiting Cholon, the major centre of Chinese trade in the capital city. After lunch the afternoon is free. End of our journey

   
   
  Return to Vietnam Cruises

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