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See the essential sights of Southeast Asia, from the iconic Angkor Wat to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels & bustling Saigon on this superb holiday, with hotel stays in Siem Reap & Ho Chi Minh City and a 7-night cruise along the Mekong PLUS excursions and complimentary drinks with lunch and dinner
Day 1: Siem Reap Arrival
Day 2: Angkor Wat & Siem Reap (B/)
Day 3: Angkor & Siem Reap (B/)
Day 4: Siem Reap - Kampong Cham (L/D)/ Cruise Embarkation
Day 5: Kampong Cham - Oknha Tey - Kampong Chhnang (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 6: Kampong Chhnang - Kamp. Tralach - Phnom Penh (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 7: Phnom Penh (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 8: Phnom Penh - border crossing – Tan Chau (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 9: Tan Chau – My An Hung - Sa Dec (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 10: Binh Thanh Island - Cai Be - My Tho (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 11: My Tho - Ho Chi Minh (B/) Cruise Disembarkation
Day 12: Cu Chi Tunnels - Ho Chi Minh City Tour (B)
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh city Departure (B)
You will be pick up at the airport by our guide, then tranfer to the hotel for check in and then free at your leisure.
Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important archeological sites in the world. Begin your day with a visit to one of Angkor’s largest Khmer temples, Angkor Wat, built for King Suryavarman II in the 12th century A.D. With its beautiful proportions and extensive, intricate bas-relief stone carvings, it is one of the most spectacular sights in Southeast Asia. Spend some time exploring the fortified city of Angkor Thom, which houses several of Angkor’s most popular sights such as the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper Kings with their dramatic bas reliefs.Today you also visit the mysterious Bayon Temple, known for its giant, stone carved faces with their enigmatic smiles.
Today, continue your exploration of the temple ruins left behind by the mighty Khmer Empire, which ruled Cambodia from the early 9th century for some 400 years. Its founder, King Jayavarman II, was a contemporary of Charlemagne, and his dreams of empire were equally grandiose. At its zenith, the Khmer Empire covered most of the Indochinese Peninsula. Ride to the spectacular 10th-century Hindu temple Banteay Srey (“Citadel of Women”) to see magnificent carvings of Shiva and Vishnu. Then, journey to Ta Prohm, one of the most popular of the temples of Angkor. Unlike many other buildings, it has been largely left intact as it was when discovered, with trees and large shrubs growing over the ruins.
Return to Siem Reap this afternoon and learn how local crafts are alive and well in the modern-day city. Visit a vocational center that trains 650 young apprentices every year in the traditional crafts of stone sculpture, wood carving and painting; then take a guided tour through Artisans d’Angkor, a network of studios for the newly trained craftspeople. Mingle with the locals at some of Siem Reap’s open air markets.
The Tonle Sap (The Great Lake) is the flowing heart of Cambodia, giving love and life to this nation. The Tonle Sap has more fish than any other lake in the world and is home to an incredible variety of birds, including rare and endangered feathered life.
At 12 pm (noon), we gather at the meeting point followed by a quick transfer to the boutique ship. The ever-smiling crew welcomes us with unbridled warmth. A refreshing welcome drink awaits us followed by a sumptuous lunch on the ship.Then, it is a lazy afternoon as the ship glides along the water. Dinner is at Dining Hall. Enjoy a spectacular experience on the sun-deck as we bathe in the glow of the moon and the radiance of the star.
We gather in the morning at our welcome lounge in Siem Reap. Relax with a drink as our staff collects your details for the boarding. Then, we bid farewell to the iconic sights of Angkor and travel over land south to the town of Kampong Cham where our ship awaits us. The transfer takes about 4.5 hours, snacks and water are provided during the trip. Upon arrival you check in to your well prepared staterooms. A lunch buffet is served in the dining hall. Make yourself familiar with all facilities onboard and take some rest.
In the afternoon we learn more about the education of the young Cambodian generation (NGO project). The children join us on board, always excited to show their skills in music and art. Be sure to be bathed in smiles upon your applause. After the performance, we leave the ship by bus for an afternoon excursion. During low water season, we have the chance to see a bamboo bridge which connects the mainland with an island. Local communities re-build the bridge every year when water levels drop. We continue our land journey to the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey (7th century). This small complex sits on a hill top on the shore with a breath-taking view over the Mekong.
When returning to the ship, you can enjoy some private time until dinner is served in the dining hall. Our lounge cinema features selected classic movies (every night). Overnight on Mekong River Cruise
Every morning, our Tai Chi class on the sun deck will give you energy for the day ahead. Breakfast is served in the dining hall.The ship sails up towards the small Angkor Ban village on the Mekong River. The Angkor Ban village is famous for its unspoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses.
It feels like being transported back a hundred years ago, into an era unaffected by modernity. Villagers are characterized by their unbridled warmth. Back on board a Monks’ blessing ceremony will deliver spirits and wishes for health and prosperity for all. Enjoy your lunch as we set sail downstream the Mekong. In the afternoon a High Tea is offered and our staff is keen to show you the variety of traditional Khmer fashion.
We arrive at the Island of Koh Oknha Tey. This spot in the middle of the Mekong owns its fame for manufacturing high class silk products. By tuk tuk we explore the island with its workshops and learn how silk is processed from its source, provided by little silkworms, to a final top quality product made of original Cambodian silk. After some additional cruising time, passing the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Rivers, the boat achors near Kampong Chhnang. Have a fresh drink before dinner and marvel at the amazing marshlands of this beautiful area. Overnight on Mekong River Cruise
Wake up early to witness this spectacular scenery at the break of dawn. Our morning Tai Chi class offers the perfect scenery today. Breakfast buffet is served in the dining hall. We are now in Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world”, where everything is on sticks balanced on water rich soil.
We take a local boat to the shore. By mini buses we head to a rural village nearby and go on a walking tour. Our guides introduce you to the village specialities – Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. You should definitely bring some home. Before returning to the boat, we explore the floating villages and wetlands of the region.
Back on board lunch is served while the cruise continues with a languid meander along the Tonle River towards Kampong Tralach. Gliding through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape we reach Kampong Tralach. Cacophonous children wave enthusiastically while bringing their livestock for a bath in the meandering river. We will stop at the “Green School” which is partly supported by Heritage Line. See all this river life – which is so different than ours - by a local ox cart ride.
After some additional cruising time the boat arrives at the pier of Phnom Penh. Feel free to have your first exploration by yourself after dinner. Stroll along the river promenade and watch the locals chit-chatting, selling odds and ends or have a drink in one of the numerous bars (kindly inform our crew once you are leaving the ship on your own).
Overnight on Mekong River Cruise
Welcome to Phnom Penh - the once called Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance. It is an amazing town with centuries of incredible history and culture which can still be felt at many street corners.
After breakfast we bid farewell to our passengers of the Serenity Cruise (3-nights).
We start with a full sight-seeing tour right after breakfast. By bus we visit the Killing Fields at the outside of the city and afterwards the centrally located prison “S21”. Both historic sites display the sad and cruel chapter of Khmer history when the Khmer Rouge ruled the cuntry with terror and supression. Those places have not changed much since this horrific time back in the early seventies and it can be quite heartbreaking. Alternatively, you can explore the city in the morning by your own before re-joining the group.
We take lunch at a fine restaurant in town. Our exploration of Phnom Penh continues on the fascinating cultural heritage of Phnom Penh. e golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum are our afternoon highlights. The day trip ends with a “cyclo” ride back to the ship through the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh.
Take some rest in your spacious cabin or join other fellow passengers at the bar for refreshing drinks before our captivating evening activities start. In the early evening a barbecue dinner on the sun deck commences. The dinner is accompanied with an Apsara dance performance. You have to witness the brilliance and richness of this dance along with the soothing sounds of the traditional music.
As the evening unwinds, enjoy your supper with a good glass of wine and marvel at the skyline of Phnom Penh, and the calming flow of the Tonle River. Overnight on Mekong River Cruise
After breakfast we gather at the lounge for a great lecture.
After breakfast we bid farewell to our passengers of the Serenity Cruise (4-nights).
At 8 o’clock we welcome our passengers of the Pearl of the Orient Cruise (3-nights).
The lounge is set up for a captivating lecture about Cambodian mordern history, held by a professor of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Definitely a highlights of this cruise receiving knowledge first hand as our lecturer has studied the subject extensively and personally.
The whole afternoon is at your own arrangements. From now on, even the last passenger will turn on his cruise mode and hopefully experience the therapeutic influence that this mighty river radiates. It is time for massages, relaxation on the sun bed, and private balcony kick-backs - it’s time to merge with the river.
Some may like to visit the bridge as the captain always has a little story to share about “his” river. Float into a state of mild bliss. Before totally drifting away, do not forget lunchtime around noon.
A culinary class is offered in the afternoon to sharpen your knowledge and skills on the local cuisine. Before slumbering in a nap, join our High Tea with coffee and snacks if you like to.
We reach the border and finally arrive in Vietnam. From here it is just a short distance to Tan Chau, a pleasant, slow-paced border town with a sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community. We moor near the city with views on the riverbanks. Dinner will be served soon and you can join our evening cinema with another selected classic movie afterwards.
Overnight on Mekong River Cruise.
Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the dining hall or in the quiet privacy of your balcony. Brace yourself for a tour around Tan Chau, a pleasant, slow-paced town near the Cambodian border with a sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community. Once arrived on-shore we hop on “xelois” to explore Tan Chau. A “xeloi” is a local vehicle which is still used as a taxi in this region. We slowly move around the streets to see all the workshops, houses and domiciles. Get to feel the laid- back vibes of this place. We stop at the colorful, local market near one of the town’s temples. This is the best time to interact with the vendors of this friendly town and make your own bargain experience. We board our local boats and cruise along floating houses until we finally reach a floating fish farm. This region is the source of a fish production that is sold all over the world. We get an exclusive insight in how fish farming works.
Back on board before lunch is served, you may like to pamper yourself with some spa treatments or take a dip into the pool on the sun deck. Our expert guides offer a presentation on the “Life on the Mekong Delta” as the ship continues to My An Hung near the Sa Dec province. Before we arrive mingle with fellow passengers and share some stories.
We will set off for the My An Hung Village. In the village we receive wonderful insights into the private household of a local family. We are allowed to visit their vegetable garden and access the seasonal vegetable fields via crossing a monkey bridge. We are also invited to their house for a Vietnamese tea tasting. Vietnamese tea is often bitter and locals sweeten it with honey. The honey is produced by the family, a true delicacy in this region. We are offered fruits - juicy, fresh, and right from the tree. A local artist group performs a typical traditional dragon dance while we munch on those natural “vitamins bombs”.
As the sun sets and the light bathes everything golden, we settle on a riverbank gathering with cocktails to recap the day. Back on the ship we cruise downstream the Mekong. Refresh yourself and get ready for dinner. The ship moors mid-river near Sa Dec.
Overnight on Mekong River Cruise.
In the morning we arrive at the island of Binh Thanh. We embark on a local boat and head towards Binh Thanh Island. Binh Thanh is one of the larger islands in the vast stream of the Mekong. Some communities have settled here and make their living by growing water hyazinths.
We exclusively visit one of those untouched areas. By wandering through the village we get a deep understanding of the native life. But moreover, we can follow the whole process of their traditional mat making. You can try weaving yourself which is still done manually. We will also meet an old local couple who share their story on this island. They are happy for any chit-chat with you.
Back on board lunch is served and you have some time to leasurely spend onboard while we cruise along the Mekong. In the early afternoon we arrive in Cai Be, a charming town which is famous for its Catholic French church and their manufacturing of traditional crafts and food products. The floating market of Cai Be is getting smaller every year, since trading on the water is shifting more and more to the modern central markets. We can still see some boat to boat trading of local goods, such as fruits and agricultural products.
Our guide will explain all the particulars of this long lasting trading culture. Each boat has a special marker that lets buyers know what goods they are selling. Afterwards we go on-shore to visit a workshop where we learn how rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies and rice wine is manufactured. Cai Be and its surrounding areas are covered by palm trees and hence the region is also famous for the production of coconut candies. The city is criss-crossed by many water canals. By local boat we will explore the lush and green canal network and observe the farmers working in the fields.
As the sun sets, our crew invites you to a farewell event. Before dinner, you can enjoy dances and music together with the crew. The ships moors at My Tho.
Overnight on Mekong River Cruise
Enjoy your last breakfast aboard your floating home. We will disembark the ship after breakfast and take a bus transfer from My Tho to the drop off point in Saigon. It is only around 70 kilometers on the highway. You will arrive in Saigon by mid-morning.
We hope you enjoyed this fascinating river cruise, just as our crew does every single time. Moreover, take the enchanting memories and friendships along with you that will linger on with the stories of this amazing river - the Mighty Mekong. Our driver will come and pick up then take you to hotel in Ho Chi Minh for check in. Free at your lesisure. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh city.
This afternoon, our guide will show you the most interesting sights that Ho Chi Minh City has to offer. Depart for your hotel to the Reunification Palace; this beautifully preserved palace was the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam. On April 30th 1975 the American War officially came to an end here. Enjoy a visiting the War Remnants Museum where you can see countless artifacts, photographs and pictures documenting the second Indochina war. Afterward and the Old Post Office, which was built sometime between 1886 and 1891. It is one of the best examples of classical French colonial architecture. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh
Coming to the end of your journey, enjoy some free time before your flight home. If time permits, shop around for some last minute purchases or simply relax before your onward departure flight.
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