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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 4500 km 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 (2018)
11 days
Departure
Siem Reap to Ho-Chi-Minh city
Cruise Boat
RV INDOCHINE (4 star ship) or RV Indochine (5 star ship)
                                       
Itinerary  
Day 1 SIEM REAP - ANGKOR

Arrive at Siem Reap Airport and are welcomed by our local guide before transferring to your hotel.

If you arrive between 6 - 11 am join the hotel for lunch.  In the afternoon, we visit the "Senteurs d'Angkor" (or Perfume workshop), where candles and soaps are made. Afterwards, 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 a hotel.

   
Day 2
SIEM REAP - ANGKOR
 

After breakfast 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 was cleared from creepers and the forest in 1924. 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. Continue to 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. After lunch in town continue to 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. Wander through 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 Aspara dances). After dinner, in the cool of the evening there is free time to stroll through the "Angkor Night Market" and perhaps do some shopping from the hundreds of  shops and stalls selling souvenirs, handicrafts, clothes, books etc.  Overnight in a hotel.

   
Day 3 SIEM REAP - EMBARK ON CRUISE - TONLE SAP
 

After your hotel breakfast depart on a visit to the famous temple of Angkor Wat, masterpiece of Khmer architecture. This is the most famous and 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, transfer early afternoon to the pier and join your shop. Welcome cocktail will be followed by time to settle into your cabin, crew introduction and dinner.  Night at anchor.

   
Day 4 TONLE SAP - KAMPONG CHHNANG - KAMPONG TRALACH
 

Start the day with a morning lake crossing.  After lunch arrive in Kampong Chhnang in the early afternoon.  Located 90 km from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chhnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonle Sap, known for its many fish farms. The region is 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.   Taste some local products before going around the village in small local boats.  Once back onboard the cruise continues to Kampong Tralach.  Night at anchor and dinner on board.

   
Day 5 KAMPONG TRALACH - KOH CHEN - PHNOM PENH
  After breakfast set off to the beautiful Vihara of the Wat Kampong Tralach Leu temple.  Cross the village by ox-cart to reach the pagoda on a path that runs adjacent the river amidst rice fields.  The Vihara dates from the beginning of the last century and has many once magnificent wall paintings.  Completely isolated amidst the rice fields, the pagoda is unassuming and not well visited - a bonus for us!  After lunch on board continue cruising, arriving into Koh Chen - a small village where the inhabitants are experts on silver and copper work, making ornaments and decorations used during traditional ceremonies at the pagoda, or for weddings.  Visit the local village school before returning to the boat. On arrival in Phnom Penh late afternoon a visit by "tuk tuk' has been arranged, allowing you to discover the Royal Palace and other well known monuments.  Tonight enjoy an Aspara Dance Show and dinner on board.
   
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. Visit the Silver Pagoda, constructed in wood in 1892 then rebuilt in 1962 and paved with over 5000 silver tiles, and the Royal Palace, symbolic heart of the nation and a fine  example of Cambodian architecture in classical Khmer style. Continue to the National Museum housing the Fine Arts Museum, built in 1917 by the French in traditional Khmer architectural style. Lunch in a local restaurant and in the  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 local market before returning onboard for dinner and cruising overnight towards Vietnam.

   
Day 7 CHAU DOC - SA DEC
 

Spend the morning afloat - crossing into Vietnam and completing customs formalities at the border - before arriving in Chau Doc early afternoon. This border town 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 farming. Inside the town a few colonial buildings with their old fashioned charm still remain. The market which surrounds them is the vibrant heart of the city.  Set off by minibus to the top of Sam Hill where you can admire the Phat Thay Tay pagoda and the Ba Chua Xu temple - an important place of pilgrimage for the Vietnamese overlooking the vast Delta and its rice fields.  Navigate by local boat through the floating-village before returning on board for dinner and cruising to Sa Dec.

   
Day 8
SA DEC - VINH LONG - CAI BE
  Breakfast on board whilst sailing to Sa Dec where a few colonial mansions are still in existence. 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. Return board for lunch and continue cruising 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. Set off in small boats through the orchards that lead to the floating market of Cai Be. Discover the local workers and craftsmen making bricks, pottery and chinaware, we the fruit trees nursery on the island of Binh Hoa Phuoc and also the local traditional craft of rice popcorn. Dinner and overnight on board at anchor near My Tho.
   
Day 9
MY THO - HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON)
  After an early breakfast depart for the nearby islands 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.  On the largest of the islands (Thoi San) visit a bee keeping farm with a honey & fruit tasting included. Along the maze that makes up the network of small canals, pretty country villages appear and we see the local craftsmen at work.  Continue cruising towards Ho chi Minh city whilst lunching and enjoying the scenery. 
   
Day 10
HO CHI MINH CITY
 

After breakfast set off on a 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. Your tour included: Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office and National History museum.  After lunch on board join a coach to Cu Chi Tunnels, a former hiding spot for Viet Cong soldier that today serves as a reminder of everyday life during the Vietnam War for both soldiers and civilians.  Learn about their clever survival techniques.  Tonight is the farewell cocktail and gala dinner while moored for the night in the port of Ho Chi Minh City.

   
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. Visit the market, Thien Han pagoda and a traditional lacquer-ware factory.  Lunch in town.  End of Croisi services around 2 pm. 
NOTE: If flying out today do not book a flight before 5 pm

   
POST CRUISE
EXTENSIONS

* 4 day Hanoi and Halong Bay option (IR6)
* 7 day Imperial Towns and Halong Bay option (IR9)
   
  Return to Vietnam Cruises

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