Jewels of Vietnam and Cambodia
12 Night Journey through the heart of Vietnam & Cambodia
October 20th, 2017-November 1st, 2017
Visit Ho Chi Minh, <y Tho, Sa Dec, Cai Be, Chau Dec, Phnom Penh, Wat Hanchey, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap,
There can be no more striking cultural contrast than the one between bustling Vietnam and the tranquil Cambodia. From the diverse countryside of Cambodia to the Mekong Delta, so rich in human life and endeavor, you’ll discover two countries, two cultures, and two ways of life linked by one river, the Mekong.
12-night journey through the heart of Vietnam and Cambodia featuring a seven-night cruise charter along the mighty Mekong River. Cruise aboard the all-suite, luxurious Mekong Navigator specially constructed to ply the Mekong River between Ho Chi Minh City and the fabled Siem Reap. Embracing an elegant French-colonial design similar to the many homes that once lined the streets of old Saigon, she boasts spacious suites from 258 square feet up to expansive 584 square feet in size. From here, you will enjoy all the wonders the Mekong has to offer in a sophisticated, yet comfortable style. With never more than 22 guests per expert guide, you will enjoy enriching lectures, a comprehensive series of well-planned excursions, most meals and beverages! Also included is a two-night stay in bustling Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), and a three-night stay in Siem Reap including an in-depth visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat, each featuring five-star, centrally located hotels.
Day 1 - Ho Chi Minh City
Arrive at the Ho Chi Minh City airport, where you will be greeted by a Brand g representative, who will transfer you to the deluxe, centrally located InterContinental Asiana Saigon hotel.
Day 2 - Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast at the hotel this morning, enjoy an afternoon tour of the city’s incredible French Colonial architecture of the Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office, followed by a visit to the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. Following the afternoon’s tour, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at one of Ho Chi Minh’s well known restaurants. Xu Restaurant Saigon fuses traditional Vietnamese flavors with modern culinary techniques to present a perfect dining experience that has made Xu the leading gastronomical experience in Saigon for the past six years. (B/L/D)
Day 3 - Ho Chi Minh City / My Tho (Embarkation)
Enjoy this morning at your leisure to experience Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy lunch at the Ly Club. Taking their name from the Ly Dynasty, which set the benchmarks of Vietnamese culture centuries ago, Ly Club combines traditional Vietnamese, classical French cooking, and exotic touches from around the world. This afternoon guests will enjoy a scenic drive from Ho Chi Minh City to the Cu Chi Tunnels to experience the system of underground passages that stretch to the Cambodian border. Continue on to the port of My Tho, where your upstream journey begins aboard the luxurious Mekong Navigator. Following a welcome reception, safety briefing, and introduction to key members of the crew, a delicious Vietnamese Welcome Dinner is served in Le Marche Dining Room. (B/L/D)
Day 4 - Sa Dec / Cai Be
Following breakfast traditional sampans sail past the city’s beautiful French gothic cathedral before touring the historic An Kiet House and its beautiful surrounding gardens. Your sampans then travel to a traditional rice factory where workers produce rice paper, rice wine, popped rice, and many varieties of traditional candies; then return to the ship for a sumptuous lunch and a scenic cruise upstream to Sa Dec. Upon arrival to Sa Dec, your sampans return for a leisurely, scenic navigation of the narrow canals of the Mekong, where you will observe daily routines of the villagers en route to the historic town of Sa Dec. A stop at a local brick factory reveals the process of brick making by local men and women utilizing clay from the Mekong River.
We continue into the town of Sa Dec, where a short visit will be made to the home of Mr. Hyun Thuy Le, who inspired Marguerite Duras’ novel, L’Amant (The Lover) as well as a fascinating walk through the town’s market experiencing the sights and smells of the colorful fresh produce, meat, live fish and seafood being sold. (B/L/D)
Day 5 - Chau Dec / border crossing
This morning guests 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, guests continue their panoramic tour aboard sampans to visit a local family’s fish farm. Here we will learn about various types of fish being caught and farm-raised 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, guests witness a fascinating change in the architecture along the riverfront as they are now in Cambodia. We will spend the afternoon at leisure as we build anticipation for our late-evening arrival to Phnom Penh.
Day 6 - Phnom Penh
After breakfast on board this morning, cyclo drivers meet you on the pier for an exciting morning tour of Phnom Penh. You are gently transported along the riverfront to the Royal Palace complex, where you enjoy a leisurely walk through the grounds. After viewing Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion, you visit the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and the Maitreya Buddha, which is encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds. Your cyclo is waiting outside to take you on the short ride to the open-air National Museum, housing the largest collection of Angkorian and pre-Angkorian artifacts. After returning to the ship, enjoy a free afternoon in Phnom Penh. Before dinner, local children entertain guests on our Sun Deck with a cultural performance including Apsara. Cambodia’s national dance, as well as traditional folk dances. (B/L/D)
Day 7 - Phnom Penh
This morning, learn more about the darkest days of Cambodian history. After a scenic 45-minute drive from the ship, you arrive at the Choeung Ek killing fields, where you may 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, tour Tuol Sleng (also known as S-21), the former school converted to the main prison and torture headquarters of the Khmer Rouge. Enjoy another afternoon in Phnom Penh on your own or learning to make traditional Khmer dishes through our Independent Pursuit at the La Table Khmer Cooking School before departing Phnom Penh to start our sail up the Tonle Sap River. (B/L/D)
Day 8 - Tonle Sap River Cruise / Kampong Chhnang
The ship sails a full day on the narrow, winding Tonle Sap River, which offers a rare glimpse of rural river life in Cambodia. Upon reaching the floating village of Kampong Chhnang you board a private excursion boat for a scenic cruise, where you observe the locals living, working, and even shopping on the river. Enjoy a beautiful sunset while sailing back to the Mekong, watching local children on the riverbanks bidding us farewell as we continue our journey. (B/L/D)
Day 9 - Wat Hanchey / Kampong Cham
This morning, the children of a local school welcome you to the local village. The school, which serves eight surrounding districts, is the only secondary school in the area, and is supported by the local communities. Following your tour of the school and an interesting Q&A opportunity with the principal, you walk up the hill to the local monastery of Wat Hanchey and receive a traditional Buddhist Water Blessing from the resident monks. After enjoying a walk around the monastery and the amazing views of the Mekong River valley, you descend 303 steps and return to the ship. Following lunch, motor coaches drive you through the city of Kampong Cham to the hills of Phnom Pros (man hill) and Phnom Srei (woman hill), where you visit 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, stone Buddha statues. . 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 and the archaeological wonders of Angkor Wat.
(B/L/Farewell Reception/Theme Dinner)
Day 10 - Kampong Cham / Siem Reap
After breakfast, we disembark and board a private motorcoach for our drive to Siem Reap, enjoy a snack before settling into the elegant Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa hotel. This evening is at your leisure to begin your exploration of Siem Reap. (B/L)
Day 11 - Siem Reap
You’ll begin your day at Angkor Wat, the most recognizable landmark in Cambodia, and the largest religious monument in the world, with the longest continuous bas-relief sculpture in existence, before enjoying lunch at a local Khmer restaurant. Tour the city center of Siem Reap by tuk tuk (motorcycle rickshaw), this afternoon for an introduction to Siem Reap’s many dining and shopping options, and a stop at a traditional artists’ workshop. (B/L)(B/L/Farewell Reception/Theme Dinner)
Day 12 - Siem Reap
This morning, you’ll visit Banteay Srey, considered to be the pinnacle of artistic achievement at Angkor, and Banteay Samré. In the afternoon, you’ll see the temple of Ta Prohm, which has been overtaken by the jungle, with tentacle like tree roots spilling over centuries old walls and roofs, enveloping much of the structure. This evening, guests will enjoy a private dinner with Apsara show at a local venue. (B/D)
Day 12 - Siem Reap
This morning’s excursion encompasses the south gate of Angkor Thom, once the capital of the Khmer empire, and the pyramid temple of Bayon with its iconic carved heads, rumored to be faces of King Jayavarman VII. The morning ends with a walk around Baphuon Temple, the Terrace of the Elephants, and the moss encrusted Terrace of the Leper King. After your tour, return to the hotel to refresh and check out before your flight to home or on to Hanoi, Vietnam for an optional post extension.
What's Included in Your 12 Day River Cruise
Glide in wooden sampans to thehistoric An Kiet House and gardensin Cai Be, Vietnam.
Ride a Vietnamese tuk-tuk, or xe loi, to a family-owned mat weaving workshop.
Take a cyclo tour of Phnom Penh, including the Royal Palace, Throne Hall, Moonlight Pavilion, and the National Museum collection of Angkorian artifacts.
See Phnom Penh’s famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and the diamond-encrusted Maitreya Buddha.
Travel to Choeung Ek and see the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields, the memorial stupa, and Tuol Sleng (S-21 Prison).
Take a private excursion boat to the floating village of Kampong Chhnang.
Tour a local school in the village of Wat Hanchey and receive a traditional Buddhist water blessing from the monks at the local monastery.
See Kampong Cham’s Phnom Pros (Man Hill), Phnom Srei (Woman Hill), the 33-foot long reclining Buddha, and the 42-foot tall preaching Buddha.
Visit the 12th century Angkorian temple complex of Wat Nokor Bachey.
Premium mattresses and pillow menu
Luxurious, 500-thread-count linens and duvet
Flat-screen satellite TV
In-room electronic safe
Generous closet space and under bed storage
Daily housekeeping and turn-down service
Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
Complimentary wireless Internet in all public areas, when available