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Uniquely Mekong River Voyage experiences are made on board with very fascinating tour excursions, stunning dining, incredible art performances, lectures about the golden age of Cambodia during the Angkor period. Local customs, beliefs and traditions are also unearthed, adding valuable commentary to the places you’ll visit...
This afternoon guests will enjoy a scenic drive from Ho Chi Minh City to the port of My Tho. From here we will begin our journey upstream aboard the luxurious Mekong Navigator. Following a welcome reception and warm greeting form our crew on-board we’ll enjoy a delicious Vietnamese “Mekong Delta” Theme Dinner while sailing to Cai Be.
(Welcome Reception/Theme Dinner)
Following breakfast, we board traditional sampans and sail through Cai Be's floating market, and past the city’s beautiful French gothic cathedral. We tour the historic Anh Kiet House with its beautiful surrounding gardens, then visit a traditional rice factory where workers produce rice paper, rice wine, popped rice, and many varieties of traditional candies. Afterwards we return to the ship for a sumptuous lunch and enjoy a scenic cruise upstream. We reboard our sampans to navigate the narrow canals of the Mekong, where we can observe daily routines of the villagers en route to the historic town of Sa Dec. Along the way, we stop at a local brick factory where guests can view the complete process of brick-making by local men and women utilizing clay from the Mekong. Upon arrival to Sa Dec, we visit the home of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, who inspired Marguerite Duras' novel, L'Amant (The Lover), and take a fascinating walk through the town's market, experiencing the sights and sounds of the local commerce.
This morning we board beautiful sampans for a panoramic cruise of Chau Doc harbor with its traditional Vietnamese floating market. After visiting the main town of Chau Doc and the colorful Tay An Pagoda, we continue our panoramic tour aboard sampans to visit a local family’s fish farm, learning about various types of fish in this region and the importance of this industry to Vietnam’s economy. We then return to the ship for lunch and cruise toward the border. Following clearing formalities and crossing the border, we witness a fascinating change in the architecture along the riverfront as we sail into Cambodia. We enjoy the afternoon at leisure, building anticipation for our late-evening arrival to Phnom Penh harbor
(Please note we are unable to dock or proceed into the city until the customs office is opening the morning of Day 4).
During unusually high water, it may not be possible to dock at Chau Doc harbor, and a visit to the village of Hong Ngu may be substituted.
After breakfast on board this morning, we meet our cyclo drivers for an exciting morning city tour of Phnom Penh. We are gently transported along the riverfront to the Royal Palace complex, where we enjoy a leisurely walk through the grounds, viewing Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion before visiting the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and Maitreya Buddha, encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds. The cyclos then transport us to the National Museum, ending the morning with a comprehensive tour of the many Angkorian and pre-Angkorian artifacts discovered in the Angkor Archeological Area in Siem Reap. The afternoon is at leisure, and you may choose from a variety of optional excursions, or enjoy your time independently exploring Phnom Penh, shopping at the local markets or quaint boutiques, or simply relaxing at one of the many wonderful restaurants and pubs the city offers. Before dinner, children entertain guests on our Sun Deck with a cultural performance including Apsara, Cambodia’s national dance as well as local traditional folk dances.
This morning, we learn more about the darkest days of Cambodian history. After a scenic 45-minute drive from the ship is the Choeung Ek killing fields, we have the opportunity to walk through the fields, visit the small museum and Memorial Stupa, and learn more about the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. Before returning to the ship, we also tour Tuol Sleng (also known as S-21), the former school that was converted to the main prison and torture headquarters of the Khmer Rouge. Our afternoon is, again, at leisure, with many wonderful options. A short, traditional shadow puppet show will be performed before dinner this evening, and the manager will tell us about the artistic process of creating the beautiful, leather puppets, as well as explain the performance art.
Today we enjoy a full day of sailing up the scenic Tonle Sap River. This very narrow, winding river provides a rare, up-close glimpse of rural river life in Cambodia. After lunch, we board a private excursion boat and experience a panoramic cruise of the floating villages at Kampong Chhnang, with the chance to observe the very friendly locals living, working, and even shopping on the river. We then return to the ship and set sail while enjoying the beautiful sunset and local children on the riverbanks bidding us farewell as we continue our journey up the Mekong. (During exceptionally high water, it may not be possible to sail up the Tonle Sap River. In this case, a visit to the ancient Khmer capital of Oudong may be substituted)
This morning, we walk up the hill to Wat Hanchey and receive a traditional Buddhist Water Blessing from the monastery’s resident monks. After enjoying a walk around the monastery and the amazing views of the Mekong River valley, we descend the enormous stairway, surrounded by the incredible view of the Mekong below. (Please note that the walk is up a steep hill, with little shade, and is recommended for our more active guests.) Following lunch, we drive through the city of Kampong Cham to visit the hills of Phnom Pros (man hill) and Phnom Srei (woman hill), the incredible Stupa, the 10-meter long reclining Buddha, and the 13-meter tall preaching Buddha. Today’s final visit is to the 12th century, Angkorian-period complex of Wat Nokor Bachey, which features several original statues of Buddha and stone inscriptions. We then return to the ship and gather in the Le Marche Salon for a farewell reception and Royal Cambodian Theme Dinner as we prepare for our journey to Siem Reap, home of the archaeological wonders of Angkor Wat.
(Breakfast/Lunch/Farewell Reception/Theme Dinner)
Following breakfast, we say good-bye to the Mekong Navigator and her crew, and transfer from Kampong Cham to Siem Reap, Cambodia
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