Day 1Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation)
This morning, transfer to the port on the Saigon River and board your river cruise vessel to start your CRUISE up the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening. (Lunch, Dinner)NOTE: You must meet your Cruise Director in the lobby of the hotel by 9:30 am as your passports must be processed prior to departure from the port. Departure time from the hotel to the ship is 11:30 am.
Day 2Cruising: Cai Be–Sa Dec
This morning, board a sampan for a scenic cruise though Cai Be Harbor, passing the city’s beautiful French Gothic cathedral. First stop is a local establishment to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made. Then, take a walk through town to visit the beautiful CATHEDRAL. After lunch on the ship, reboard sampans and enjoy scenes of daily life along the river near Sa Dec. Stop at a BRICK FACTORY to see workers forming the clay bricks that fill the local landscape. Here, you will also learn about the importance of the rice husk in fueling the brick kilns. Next, visit the ancient HOUSE OF MR. HUYNH THUY LE, the lover of French novelist Marguerite Duras and inspiration for the film L’Amant (The Lover), directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Afterward, walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3Cruising: Chau Doc–Cambodian Border Crossing
Board a sampan for sightseeing around Chau Doc. Along the way you will see scenes of local life, including traditional Vietnamese floating markets and villages. Learn about some of the different species of fish living in the Mekong and see how traditional fishing nets are thrown at a LOCAL FISH FARM. Then, continue down the backwaters of the Mekong to the religious sites at the base of SAM MOUNTAIN. You will also stop to see a LOCAL MARKET where shop owners sell a variety of dried goods. Return to the ship for lunch and head for the Cambodian border. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4Cruising: Phnom Penh
The capital city of Phnom Penh retains its French charm to this day. This morning, your sightseeing tour by private cyclo includes visits to 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 at your leisure to enjoy the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5Cruising: Phnom Penh–Prek Bang Kong
Sightseeing this morning provides a glimpse of the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime. Visit the TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM, a former high school that housed over 17,000 prisoners. Of this number, it is believed that fewer than 15 survived the torture and avoided being sent to the Killing Fields. You will also visit one of the KILLING FIELDS, where over 200,000 people were killed by the Khmer Rouge. After lunch, visit the village of PREK BANG KONG, where silk weaving is a well-preserved tradition. Spend time at one house for a SILK WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and to learn more about how silk is produced. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6Cruising: Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban
This morning, visit WAT HANCHEY, a temple dating back to the 8th century and the Chenla Empire. Located on a hilltop, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a TRADITIONAL WATER BLESSING given by local monks. After lunch, enjoy a WALKING TOUR through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here you will see traditional Khmer houses and visit a LOCAL SCHOOL. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)NOTE: The climb to Wat Hanchey features a steep incline. If you feel you are unable to make the climb, you will be driven to the top by car.
Day 7Cruising: Konpong Louang–Kampong Tralach
Today, start your sightseeing at the SILVERMITH VILLAGE of Konpong Louang. Here you will see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. Continue on to Kampong Tralach for an OX CART RIDE past rice paddy fields and the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to MEET A LOCAL FARMER and learn about his daily life. Return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap (Great Lake). After the rainy season, this massive body of water can cover around 10,000 square miles and is the perfect breeding ground for fish, which play a vital role in providing food for people living on the lake. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)NOTE: During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap. Low water conditions vary from year to year, depending on rainfall so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Day 8Cruising: Siem Reap (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends this morning with a transfer to our hotel. (Breakfast)NOTE: Arrival time at our hotel is approximately 9:30 am. Do not book homebound flights prior to 12 pm. During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise across Tonle Sap to Siem Reap. In these cases, we will fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and will arrive at approximately 12:00 pm. Do not book homebound flights prior to 4 pm. Times are subject to change.