Summary : Experience the resilience and romance of Vietnam and Cambodia. Two of the most beautiful, historic, and friendly places in all of Asia, dynamic Vietnam and pastoral Cambodia are intriguing studies in contrast. Each possesses its own unique charm and social traditions, its own tragic history and complex past. In many ways, a visit here is less about the sights you see and more about the experiences you have and the people you meet along the way. It all makes for a fascinating, rewarding, and multi-layered travel experience.
Your journey starts in Ho Chi Minh City—once known as Saigon and the “Paris of the Orient”—now a bustling economic boom-town that offers a heady mixture of old and new. Delve into the Vietnam War’s infamous Cu Chi tunnels before boarding your comfortable ship. Visit artisan workshops and a lively floating market via a traditional wooden sampan, as well as a tribal village and local fish farm. After crossing the border into Cambodia, enjoy an exhilarating cyclo tour of the capital city, Phnom Penh, and stop at the city’s Genocide Museum to learn more about the dark events of the 20th century. Take a scenic cruise to see a “floating village” on the Tonle Sap River, and visit a hilltop monastery where local monks will bestow a special Buddhist blessing upon you.
One of the many highlights of your journey will be two full days at Cambodia’s spectacular UNESCO-designated Angkor Wat temple complex, one of the world’s largest and most important archaeological sites and the former epicenter of the Khmer empire. Explore Ta Prohm, with its massive stones smothered under the roots of giant banyan trees, and Bayon Temple, famous for its immense and enigmatic stone faces. Your journey concludes in historic Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, where your city tour features the former prison known as the “Hanoi Hilton” by American POWs, a cyclo tour of the colonial district, and a traditional water puppet show.
Activities : Child-Friendly, Culture
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Arrive at the airport, where you will be greeted by a shipping company representative who will transfer you to the tranquil Park Hyatt Saigon hotel.
Start the day off with a tour of the city’s incredible French Colonial architecture, followed by a visit to the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. A welcome dinner with complimentary wine at a beautifully decorated local restaurant, complete with live traditional entertainment, caps off your day.
Enter the astonishing system of underground passages that stretches to the Cambodian border, then head to My Tho to embark on your memorable Mekong River journey. Enjoy a welcome reception and a Vietnamese-themed dinner on board.
Board a sampan for a tour of the historic An Kiet House, then visit a small family-run factory in Cai Be that makes candies, rice paper, and popped rice. Later, visit a factory in Sa Dec where bricks and tiles are made with Mekong Delta clay and fired with rice husks. Cruise through bustling floating markets to the one-time home of Huynh Thuy Le, made famous by Marguerite Duras’s novel The Lover.
Join the locals in lively Chau Doc harbor as your sampan cruises among the traditional floating markets. Visit a Cham tribal village and a local fish farm, then relax onboard as the ship heads for the Cambodian border.
The ship will dock in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, where you’ll enjoy a tour via remork (motorcycle rickshaw). Visit the Royal Palace’s Throne Hall and Silver Pagoda, which contains thousands of artifacts, including jewel-encrusted Buddhas, and features a floor tiled with pure silver. Then it’s on to the National Museum to see Angkor artifacts. Following lunch on board, explore the city at your leisure.
Wide boulevards, saffron-robed monks, French Colonial architecture and traditional Khmer pagodas—Phnom Penh is a feast for the eyes, as you’ll see on a cyclo tour. You'll also visit the Royal Palace’s Throne Hall and Silver Pagoda—which contains jewel-encrusted Buddhas and a floor completely tiled with pure silver—and the National Museum, where priceless artifacts from Angkor Wat are displayed.
Six thousand photographs of the dead line the walls of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a moving and revealing tribute to the nation’s grievous experience under the Khmer Rouge. Cambodians don’t live in the past, however, as a visit to the silk weavers on a Mekong island demonstrates.
Visit a local school and villagers in their homes before strolling through an eighth-century temple where monks will bestow an unforgettable water blessing upon you.
Disembark and transfer to Siem Reap, gateway to Angkor Wat. Have lunch at a local restaurant before checking into the elegant Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort, then hop on a remork for a tour of the city. French Colonial and Chinese-style buildings line shady streets, and visitors from all over the world throng colorful open-air markets.
Begin your day at Angkor Wat, the most recognizable landmark in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world. The temple boasts the longest continuous bas-relief sculpture in existence. Today’s expedition encompasses the south gate of Angkor Thom, once the capital of the Khmer empire, and the pyramid temple of Bayon with its iconic (and enormous) carved heads. Conclude with a walk around Baphuon Temple, the Terrace of the Elephants, and the moss-encrusted Terrace of the Leper King. Enjoy a traditional Apsara dance performance during dinner.
Note: Order of sightseeing may change on days 11 and 12. Temple visits are subject to change due to factors beyond our control.
Today you’ll visit Banteay Srey—considered to be the pinnacle of artistic achievement at Angkor—and Banteay Samré. You'll also see the temple of Ta Prohm, which has been overtaken by the jungle; tentacle-like tree roots spill over millennium-old roofs, enveloping the entire structure.
Enjoy free time in Siem Reap before your flight to Hanoi, then check into the elegant and serene InterContinental Hanoi Westlake hotel.
Visit the famous One Pillar Pagoda during your tour of the city, and see the “Hanoi Hilton.” After lunch, step into an electric cart for an exciting tour of the colonial district and attend a water puppet show. This evening, you'll be treated to a Farewell Dinner with complimentary wine at one of Hanoi’s most charming establishments.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue your tour with a Ha Long Bay optional extension.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions.
Itineraries, hotels, and vessels may change, and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water level fluctuations and other uncontrollable factors. The order of sightseeing and docking ports are subject to change according to port authority assignments.
Reverse Itineraries (Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City):
2017: 9/12/2017, 10/24/2017, 11/7/2017, 12/5/2017, 12/19/2017
2018: 1/16/2018, 1/30/2018, 2/27/2018, 3/27/2018, 9/11/2018, 10/23/2018, 11/6/2018, 12/4/2018, 12/18/2018
7-night Mekong river cruise cabin accommodations in a riverview stateroom; 7 nights in deluxe hotels, including buffet breakfast and service charges; transportation throughout trip including internal airfare between Hanoi and Siem Reap; tips for local experts and drivers; transfers on arrival and departure days; 14 buffet breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners; welcome and farewell dinners with wine and live entertainment onshore; complimentary house wine, local beer, spirits, and soft drinks throughout the cruise; onboard and onshore dinners include complimentary house wine, local beer, or soft drinks; 12 days of captivating, fully-escorted excursions with English-speaking local experts; services of an experienced cruise/tour manager throughout the trip; state-of-the-art portable audio headset system on select excursions throughout your trip; flowers and fruit plate upon arrival; private group check-in with a welcome drink at each hotel; onshore cultural highlights; Apsara dance performance with dinner and Thang Long water puppet show; entry to Angkor Archaeological Park. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare other than internal transfer flight between Hanoi and Siam Reap; Cambodian airport departure tax ($35 per person); excess baggage charges; laundry; phone calls; all items of a personal nature; items not included on regular menus; expenses for additional sightseeing not specified in the itinerary; wine or liquor, unless indicated; meals not detailed in the itinerary; port charges ($140 per person); gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.