13 Days Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & The Mekong River

On this unique and inspiring Southeast Asia river cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia, you’ll be immersed in the cultures and ancient traditions as you sightsee and spend time with locals in the most fascinating places along the mighty Mekong River.

Spend time in the bustling Ho Chi Minh City which combines historic architecture with modern skyscrapers. See the famous landmarks and try your hand in the kitchen—Vietnamese-style, with a cooking class. Go back in time with an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels where you’ll have an opportunity to walk through a section of the immense underground tunnel system used extensively during the Vietnam War. Embark on your river cruise along the Mekong River and immerse yourself in the local cultures with a visit to a colorful market, the home of a local family making handcrafted sampans, and a workshop to learn how rice wine and traditional candies are made.

In the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, tour the National Museum and Royal Palace with its striking Silver Pagoda. On a hilltop at the site of the 8th-century temple of Wat Hanchey, take in the stunning views before walking through the rural village of Angkor Ban to visit with welcoming schoolchildren. Go on an ox cart ride amongst rice paddy fields and witness the daily lives of farmers.

The grand finale of this memorable Southeast Asia river cruise vacation is a stay in Siem Reap, home to the phenomenal Temples of Angkor with an intricacy and architectural grandeur unmatched in the world. See the splendor of the Bayon temple featuring some 200 mysterious faces carved in its many towers. Then enjoy an inspiring Aspara dance performance—a perfect ending to this remarkable and cultural journey!

Price:

From US$4.483.-pp, double occupancy.

Price reflects US$1,000 discount per person, booked prior Nov 4, 2019. Please check with us for offers as there are usually an array of them. Also for single supplement surcharge elimination.

Price includes: Accommodation, meals and activities as per package, Category B Stateroom double occupancy on Avalon Waterways Siem Reap trip start March 30, 2020. (other dates available). Airport transfers, flight Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, bottles water on excursions, Wifi on lounges of vessel, minibar and complimentary drinks at lunch at dinner aboard vessel (wine, local beer, soft drinks, coffee/tea), sightseeing with headsets and expert local guides,

Price excludes: International flight to Ho Chi Minh and from Siem Reap at start/end of trip. (inquire for price inclusive of international flights). Optional excursions, visas, tips,

Note: Inquire for dates that do not charge single supplement surcharge.

Vacation Highlights

Day 1 Ho Chi Minh City: Welcome to Vietnam
Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City: Walking tour; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants

Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class
Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion
Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation): Onboard welcome reception

Day 5 Vinh Long–Cu Lao Gieng: Visit a local workshop to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candy are made in Vinh Long; interact with sampan-making and conical hat making families in Cu Lao Gieng

Day 6 Chau Doc–Long Khanh A–Cambodian Border Crossing: Visit a local market and the religious sites at Sam Mountain in Chau Doc; walking tour of Long Khanh A with cotton-weaving demonstration

Day 7 Phnom Penh: Sightseeing by private cyclo, including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum; afternoon at leisure; show by children from a local orphanage

Day 8 Phnom Penh: Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and visit one of the Cambodian Killing Fields, or visit the lively central market

Day 9 Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban: Visit Wat Hanchey and partake in a traditional water blessing by local monks; walking tour in Angkor Ban with school visit

Day 10 Konpong Louang–Kampong Tralach: Visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; ox cart ride through the countryside, and visit a local farmer’s home in Kampong Tralach

Day 11 Phnom Penh (Disembarkation)–Siem Reap: Fly to Siem Reap; visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple

Day 12 Siem Reap: Visit Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, and a noodle-making village; Apsara dance performance

Day 13 Siem Reap: End of vacation

Daily Itinerary:

Day 1 HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM

Vietnam

From the remarkable beauty of Sam Mountain and Halong Bay to the numerous sacred temples and pagodas, Vietnam has a lot to offer. It is a country that features everything from exotic culinary delights to breathtaking scenery. Seemingly endless, tranquil rice paddies stand in stark contrast to bustling cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi which embrace all the technology and conveniences that the modern world has to offer. The well-preserved colonial buildings of Hoi An play host to a slew of charming boutiques and tempting cafes while, further north, the local hill-tribe people of Sapa sell a wide variety of exquisite crafts and handmade trinkets. Beyond the urban areas, this diverse country is characterised by vast, verdant jungles and lush mountainous regions as well as an enticing coastline peppered with golden sand, palm-lined beaches.


Ho Chi Minh City

The perfect complement to the more serene Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has a pulsating energy that is impossible to resist. Attractions include the bustling Ben Thanh Market, where vendors sell everything from food, sweets and spices to tobacco, souvenirs and clothing – including custom-made suits, and Nha Hang Ngon, where you can taste traditional street food served up from food stalls in a leafy garden. Other notable sites and experiences include the Notre-Dame Basilica, the Jade Emperor Pagoda for its statues and woodcarvings, the War Remnants Museum, and the Khanh Van Nam Vien Pagoda, said to be the only pure Taoist temple in Vietnam.

Day Itinerary: Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. Hotel rooms are available for mid- afternoon check-in.

Overnight: InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel        

InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel is the destination of a vibrant lifestyle. Rising 21 stories above cosmopolitan Hai Ba Trung Street, the hotel offers 305 elegantly appointed rooms and a comprehensive Club InterContinental Lounge with panoramic views of the downtown area of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Standing on the Finance & Business District of Ho Chi Minh City, InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel is the premier meeting venue in the city. The Grand Ballroom is perfect for themed dinners, gala events and stylish weddings for up to 600 people in banquet style.

Next door is InterContinental Asiana Saigon Residences offering 260 world class residential suites. The 31-storey tower provides panoramic views of the downtown area, and is nearby many luxury shopping centers.

Day 2 HO CHI MINH CITY
Day Itinerary:
Motorbikes, Monuments, and Mouthwatering Cuisine

CLASSIC Take a Walking Tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic landmarks, including a stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing drink at the rooftop bar where the U.S. Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Then visit the War Remnants Museum and bustling Ben Thanh Market.

DISCOVERY For lunch, participate in a hands-on Vietnamese Cooking Class. Learn to prepare several local dishes and how to recreate them at home. Last, but not least, sample your delicious creations!

Explore the city further during free time this afternoon.
This evening join your traveling companions for a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 3 HO CHI MINH CITY. EXCURSION TO CU CHI TUNNELS

Day Itinerary: Secret Passageways and Underground Hideouts

CLASSIC Drive out of the city for a Guided Visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels—an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length—used as a hideout and secret village by the Viet Cong.

Enjoy free time this afternoon and evening. Consider stopping for a drink at the famous rooftop bar at the Caravelle Hotel.

Breakfast

Day 4 HO CHI MINH CITY (EMBARKATION)

Mekong River Delta

The Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam is comprised of a 60,000km long web of interconnected waterways which spans across three Vietnamese provinces. This lush, tropical delta is dominated by Southeast Asia’s mightiest river, the Mekong. The Mekong splits in Cambodia into two main rivers, the Bassac and the First River, then in Vietnam into a more complex system, creating a maze of small canals, rivers and arroyos. Exploring these rivers and their numerous tributaries by boat is an ideal way explore the Mekong Delta at a leisurely pace and provides an opportunity to experience the truly unique Mekong River lifestyle. The area is brimming with small craft villages, Khmer Pagodas, magnificent mangroves, picturesque orchards and some remarkable floating markets.

Day Itinerary: Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding

Transfer to the port on the Saigon River for embarkation. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening.

AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO VINH LONG Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Siem Reap Vessel, 18 State Rooms

Day 5 VINH LONG–CU LAO GIENG

Day Itinerary: Sweets, Sampans, and Sun Hats

DISCOVERY Board a sampan this morning to Visit a local workshop in Vinh Long where you will see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made.

DISCOVERY This afternoon, enjoy scenes of daily life on Cu Lao Gieng Island via sampan and local motor cart. Your Guided Excursion starts at a local workshop, where a skilled family hand- crafts sampan boats. Then, visit the home of a local family that makes Vietnamese conical hats, or “Non la,” from materials available to them such as palm leaves and bamboo. These iconic hats are primarily used as protection from the sun and rain but you may also see them used as a basket to carry home goods from the market. Lastly, stop at one of Vietnam’s oldest Catholic churches.

AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO CHAU DOC Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 6 CHAU DOC–LONG KHANH A–BORDER CROSSING, CAMBODIA

Day Itinerary: Colorful markets, Charming Locals, and Cotton Weavers

DISCOVERY In Chau Doc take a Guided Walk through the local market and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. Then embark on a River Excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, religious sites, a market selling dried goods, and more.

DISCOVERY After lunch, a sampan brings you to the village of Long Khanh A for a Cotton- Weaving Demonstration of a well-preserved artisan’s tradition.

Return to the ship to set sail for the Cambodian border. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PHNOM PENH

Cambodia

Since Cambodia reopened its borders to tourists in the early 1990s, visitors from around the world have flocked to this intriguing Southeast Asian country to experience its fascinating cultural heritage, to engage with the wonderfully welcoming locals, and to marvel at the numerous spectacular natural wonders Cambodia has to offer. Phnom Penh, the nation’s bustling capital, is home to a slew of excellent restaurants, lively outdoor markets and a boisterous nightlife. However, most of Cambodia’s most popular attractions are located beyond the capital. Tourist favourites include: the sleepy French-influenced town of Kampot with its lovely promenade dotted with gorgeous French villas and charming riverside cafes; the breathtaking waterfalls of the lush jungle-clad Cardamon Mountains; and, of course, the awe-inspiring ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat – the world’s largest and arguably most impressive religious structure. Cambodia serves travellers of all sensitivities, whether they’re seeking adventurous jungle excursions, exquisite golden-sand beaches, luxury resorts or sumptuous exotic cuisine, Cambodia truly does have it all.

Phnom Penh

Located at the meeting of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, Cambodia’s energetic capital, Phnom Penh, is known for its rich history, friendly locals and world-class food scene. The primary drawcard of the city its visible heritage. The National Museum of Cambodia features a millennium’s worth and more of incredible Khmer design. The monumental Royal Palace, the official residence of King Sihamoni, houses the famous Throne Hall, used for coronations and ceremonies. Within the Royal Palace is the spectacular Silver Pagoda, named for its floor covered with five tons of gleaming silver. The Tonle Sap riverfront area provides a charming place to enjoy a meal and some fine French wine (an enduring colonial legacy), while the local nightclubs provide a fun, if somewhat bizarre, time out on the town, complete with karaoke singers and stage dancers.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 7 PHNOM PENH

Silver Pagoda

Day Itinerary: The Royal Treatment

CLASSIC Take a City Tour by private cyclo to visit the Royal Palace with the spectacular Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts.

The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the city at your leisure. Consider a Guided Optional Tour of a local brewery with free-flowing local beer!

Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will perform a show featuring local song and dance.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 8 PHNOM PENH
Day Itinerary:
A Dark History or Market Dynamics

CLASSIC This morning, a Guided Visit of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields offers a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime, OR:

DISCOVERY Visit the lively Central Market by tuk-tuk to see its unique Art Deco design. After lunch, depart Phnom Penh and enjoy some time at leisure on the ship. AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO WAT HANCHEY

Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 9 WAT HANCHEY–ANGKOR BAN
Day Itinerary:
Water Blessings and Back To School Adventures

DISCOVERY Visit Wat Hanchey, a hilltop temple dating back to the 8th century. Climb or be driven to the top where you will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a traditional water blessing given by local monks.

DISCOVERY After lunch, enjoy a Walking Tour through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here, you will visit a traditional Khmer house and interact with children at a local school.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO KONPONG LOUANG Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 10 KONPONG LOUANG–KAMPONG TRALACH

Day Itinerary: Calm in the Cambodian Countryside

DISCOVERY Start your Guided Sightseeing at the silversmith village in Konpong Louang. Here, see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. In Kampong Tralach board an ox cart for a ride through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life.

This afternoon, enjoy scenic cruising on the Tonle River. EVENING CRUISE TO PHNOM PENH

Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Day 11 PHNOM PENH (DISEMBARKATION)–SIEM REAP

Day Itinerary:

Day Itinerary: A Pilgrimage of Inspirational Beauty

Fly to Siem Reap, home to the Temples of Angkor, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth!

CLASSIC After lunch, begin your Sightseeing Tour by tuk-tuk to explore the temples. Start at the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: Angkor Wat. Featuring five trademark

towers, it is the symbol of Cambodia. Then, visit Angkor Thom, where you will explore Bayon Temple with its 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas-relief sculptures, OR:

ACTIVE Visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple by bike.

The evening is yours to explore charming Siem Reap, stay to witness the sunset at Angkor Wat, or consider a Guided Optional Excursion to the Cambodian circus.

Breakfast Lunch

Monks at temple

Day 12 SIEM REAP
Day Itinerary:
Roots Carved in Stone and Celebrated in Dance

CLASSIC Continue your Guided Sightseeing of the Angkor Temples at Ta Prohm. Tree roots cover the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as early explorers. Then visit Banteay Srei, a unique temple built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. En route stop at a local village famous for making Khmer noodles by hand.

Spend the afternoon at your leisure. You may choose a Guided Optional Excursion to further explore Siem Reap or the temple complex by tuk-tuk.

DISCOVERY This evening, a private Apsara Dance Performance brings ancient Khmer culture to life through music, song, and dance.

Breakfast Dinner

Day 13 SIEM REAP
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. Transfer to airport.

E&OE

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