Summary : Experience the Mekong River in true style on this in-depth voyage from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, up river to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Over 2,000 years of human history flow among these waters, from the high Himalayas of Tibet through provinces of China to the equatorial flood plains of Vietnam and Cambodia. It is even said that the rise and fall of the great Khmer civilization that built Angkor Wat was linked to the Mekong's tides. The cultural diversity along the Mekong is as striking as the surrounding topography. Soaring limestone mountains separate Vietnam from Cambodia, providing a natural boundary that split the two most powerful influences on this region. From India to the west came Hinduism into Cambodia, the state religion of the Khmer Empire at Angkor until the 13th century while Chinese monks from the north brought Buddhism along the ancient trade routes to Vietnam. Explore the timeless floating villages and remote sanctuaries of the this ancient river.
Activities : Child-Friendly, Culture
$6,615 to $9,800
Meet in Ho Chi Minh City and transfer by air-conditioned coach to My Tho dock where you will be welcomed aboard the Aqua Mekong. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall conferring an endlessly captivating panorama. Enjoy these private Mekong moments on your California king bed, terrace or daybed.
Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where you will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras' legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. In the afternoon, visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where you will walk through verdant plantations. you will be invited to a local's home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers followed by a unique unicorn dance. An 11 mile biking option is also available.
Travel by skiff along Bassac Canal to Chau Doc floating market then head off by van to Long Son Pagoda atop Sam Mountain. Ask the monks about their age-old Buddhist practices. Return via the bustling morning market. Optional 18 kilometers bike ride on Long Khanh Island or take a rickshaw ride to visit Tan Chau Market with chef. After lunch, relax by the pool, try traditional Khmer massage or learn to cook Mekong inspired dishes while you cross the border.
On this river of time admire dexterous Khmer artisans dyeing and weaving kroma, the ubiquitous item no Khmer lives without. Explore the riverbank on two wheels if you wish, past Buddhist temples and thatch houses perched on spindly wooden stilts while white oxen wade just offshore. After lunch, board marine-grade aluminum skiffs and head towards the tamarind trees of Preah Prosop, a remote village little changed over several lifetimes.
Discover the Cambodian capital by motorized tuk-tuk. See the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. Bid farewell to passengers departing in Phnom Penh.
When you return to your ship, you will be welcome by the new 3-night passengers over custom sundowners like the Salted Watermelon Crush with Thai basil. Together you will celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.
This morning, visit Koh Chen, a silversmith village known for its fine craftsmanship. Keep an eye out for their famous silver bowls, regularly chosen by Cambodia's king as gifts for visiting dignitaries. Cruise across the glassy water and disembark among the lotuses for an ox-cart ride along the Tonle Sap riverbanks, past lacquered wooden houses where during these dry months residents take refuge in the relative cool of these outdoor impromptu living rooms.
In the cooler hours, head into the lush countryside to visit traditional potters and palm-sugar producers, astride mountain bikes or chauffeured by shaded tuk-tuk. Pedal into the rice paddies to watch wizened masters scale sky-piercing palms towering over us. Come afternoon, cruise past fertile fields of green beans flourishing among the charms of the Tonle Sap channel, relax amidst the air conditioning of the top deck lounge while expert guides lead an insightful discussion of Mekong life.
Discover the Cambodian capital by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. Disembark.
All itineraries are subject to change, due to weather and other conditions. All times indicated are approximate, and are also subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Group transfers to and from the vessel and the meeting points in Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; beverages (non-alcoholic, premium wine, and beer); shore excursions; laundry service; bike use; entrance fees en route; wireless internet. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; passport / visa fees; private transfers; travel insurance; items of a personal nature; boutique purchases; spa treatments; guide and crew gratuities.