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Enjoy a two-night stay in Ho Chi Minh City where you can explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, before joining your luxurious ship for a 7-night Mekong River cruise, before enjoying a three-night hotel stay in Siem Reap where you can explore the iconic temple of Angkor Wat, a World Heritage Site and relic of the Khmer empire.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh arrival
Day 2: Cu Chi Tunnels – Ho Chi Minh City tour (B)
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh – My Tho – Cai Be (B, L, D)/ Cruise Embarkation
Day 4: Cai Be – Sa Dec – Tan Chau (B, L, D)
Day 5: Tan Chau – Border Crosing – Phnom Penh (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 6: Phnom Penh (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 7: Phnom Penh – Kampong Chhnang (Tonle) (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 8: Tonle River - Kampong Cham (Mekong) (B/L/D)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 9: Kampong Cham (Mekong)/ Mekong River Cruise
Day 10: Kampong Cham (Mekong) - Siem Reap (B/L/D)/ Cruise Disembarkation
Day 11: Siem Reap – Angkor Complex (B)
Day 12: Siem Reap – Angkor Complex (B)
Day 13: Siem Reap 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.
We gather before noontime at our welcome lounge in Saigon. Lean back with a drink as our staff welcomes you and collects your details for boarding. We bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon and travel 70 kilometers south overland to My Tho to embark on your luxury floating home for the upcoming journey along the Mighty Mekong.
After our crew warmly welcomes you, you check in to your well prepared staterooms. The ship sets sail and a fascinating voyage along the Mekong begins. Lunch buffet is served in the restaurant while the vessel steadily glides upstream to reach the overnight spot. Make yourself familiar with all the ship facilities. Now it is time to become one with one of the largest streams in Asia. The afternoon allows you to leisurely pass time on your private balcony or join our tea time at the open air bar as the twilight bathes the Mekong Delta in a golden haze.
During the time you savor your dinner, the ship reaches Cai Be. It is a charming town, famous for its Catholic French church and the 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 anchor mid-stream near Cai Be for dinner and moor there overnight. After dinner our lounge cinema features selected classic movies (every night).
Each morning, we offer our guests an invigorating Tai Chi class on the sun deck. Start your day, just as many local people do in Asia, as the sun begins its gentle glow. A sumptuous buffet breakfast is served for the perfect first exploration day in the Mekong Delta. Our morning tour takes you to Cai Be. We can still see some boat to boat trading of local goods such as fruits and agricultural products
Our guide will explain the particularities of this long lasting trading culture. Each boat has a special marker that lets buyers know what goods it is selling. Cai Be is a rustic town crisscrossed by many water canals. We go on-shore to visit a workshop and learn how rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies and rice wine is manufactured. Cai Be and its surrounding areas are covered with palm trees and hence the region is also famous for the production of coconut candies. With our local boat we continue to explore the lush and green canal network and observe the farmers working in the fields.
Back on board lunch is served. You can enjoy time for yourself then to either enjoy a true Vietnamese coffee at the bar or simply watch the life on the riverbanks floating by.
In the afternoon, we reach the area of Sa Dec. We embark on a traditional local boat and head towards Binh Thanh Island. This island is one of the larger ones in the vast stream of the Mekong. Some communities have settled here and make their living by growing water hyacinths. We exclulsively visit one of those untouched areas. By wandering through the village, we get a deep understanding of the native life. Moreover, we see the whole process of mat making. You can try weaving yourself, which is still done manually. We will meet also an elderly local couple who shares their story on this island. They are happy to engage in a conversation with you.
Back on board you may like to pamper yourself with a spa treatment or take a dip into the pool on the sun deck. Our expert guide offers a presentation on the “Life on the Mekong Delta” as the ship continues sailing to Tan Chau – near the border to Cambodia. We moor midstream.
Dinner is served and afterwards you can join our evening cinema session (offered every night) featuring selected classic movies.
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 with a sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community. Once 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 to practice your bargaining skills. We board our local boat and cruise past floating houses and finally reach a floating fish farm. This region is the source of a fish production that is sold all over the world. Here we get a deep insight on how fish farming works.
Back on board our “home” we sail towards the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. Get ready for a fascinating and leisurely cruise through the deep Cambodian countryside towards Phnom Penh. The whole afternoon is at your own arrangements. Now is the time when even the last passenger will switch into cruise mode and experience the therapeutic influence that this mighty river radiates. It is time for massages, for relaxation on the sun beds, for private balcony kick-backs - it’s the time to merge with the river. A culinary class is offered in the afternoon to sharpen your knowledge and skills on the local cuisine. Some may like to visit the bridge - the captain always has a little story to share about “his” river. Float into a state of mild bliss and join our afternoon High Tea for sweet treats before you totally drift away in relaxation. Dinner is served before we arrive at the capital of Cambodia. Around seven o’clock the boat docks at the pier of Phnom Penh. You are free to go for your first exploration by yourself. 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).
Welcome to Phnom Penh - once called the 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 Pearl of the Orient Cruise (3-nights).
At the same time we welcome our passengers of the Serenity Cruise (4-nights).
We start with a full sight-seeing tour right after breakfast. By bus we visit the Killing Fields at outside of the city and after, the centrally located prison “S21”. Both historic sites display the sad and cruel chapter of Khmer history when the Khmer Rouge ruled the country with terror and suppression. Those places have not changed much since this horrific time back in the early seventies and it can be heartbreaking. Alternatively, explore the city in the morning on your own before re-joining the group. We will have lunch at a fine restaurant in town. Our exploration of Phnom Penh continues on the fascinating cultural heritage of Phnom Penh. The golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum are the 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 some refreshing drinks before our captivating evening activities start: We move to the lounge which is set up for a lecture about Cambodian modern history, held by a professor of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Definitely among the highlights of this cruise receiving knowledge first hand as our lecturer has studied the subject extensively and personally. After the lecture a barbecue dinner feast 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 traditional music. As the evening unwinds, enjoy your supper with a glass of wine and marvel at the skyline of Phnom Penh, and the calming flow of the Tonle River.
Before the sun peeks over the horizon, the cruiser sets sail towards Kampong Tralach on the Tonle River – an amazingly narrow river. Gently gliding through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape we reach Kampong Tralach. Breakfast is served before we anchor and get ready for our first Tonle discovery. We reach the shore by local boat and 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 the river life, which is so different than ours - by a local ox cart ride. Back on board our staff is keen on showing you a variety of traditional Khmer fashion. Lunch is served afterwards.
The ship cruises along the narrow Tonle River towards Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world”, where everything is on sticks and balanced on water-rich soil. Perhaps it’s the most fascinating cruising spot in Cambodia. Back on land in Kampong Chhnang, we take mini buses to a rural village nearby for a walking tour. Our guides introduce you to the village specialties – Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. Before returning to the boat we explore the floating villages and wetlands of the region. Relax back on board until dinner is served. The boat moors mid-river in the Tonle area.
In the early morning during breakfast we sail from the lower Tonle River towards the Mekong passing their confluence at Phnom Penh. We arrive at the island of Koh Oknha Tey. This spot in the middle of the Mekong owns its fame for the manufacturing of 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.
Before lunch our expert guides offer a presentation about “Geography of the Mekong and Tonle Sap”. Afterwards a Monks’ blessing ceremony on board delivers spirits and wishes for our health and prosperity for all. The ship sails towards the small Angkor Ban village up in 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. Afterwards it’s time for some fun at a cocktail party on the riverbank. We continue cruising for a while until dinner is served. The boat finds its overnight spot at the riverbank of Kampong Cham.
After breakfast by bus we visit the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey, built in the 7th century. This small complex sits on a hill top right on the shore with breath taking views over the Mekong. We return to the ship for lunch and some relaxation. In the afternoon we head to the tiny, colorful monastery of Wat Nokor. Here we might get the chance to engage in light banter with some of the monks living in the area. As it is low water season we are able to see a bamboo bridge which connects the mainland with the island. Local communities re-build the bridge every year when the water levels drop.
We continue our journey and visit a local school to understand more about the education of the young Cambodian generation (NGO project). The children here are always excited to show their skills in music and art and will bathe you in smiles upon your applause. As the sun sets, our crew invites for a farewell event. Enjoy some dancing and music together with the crew before dinner is served. The boat moors at the riverbank of Kampong Cham
Enjoy your last breakfast on board our floating sanctuary. We disembark the ship for a transfer by bus to the drop off point in Siem Reap. The transfer takes about 4.5 hours. Snacks are provided during the trip. You will arrive in Siem Reap in the early afternoon. We hope that you enjoyed this fascinating river just as our crew does every single time. Moreover, take plenty of memories and friendships along with you that will linger on with your stories of this amazing river – the Mighty Mekong
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. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.
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.
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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