Day 1Siem Reap (Embarkation)
This morning, transfer to the port and board your river cruise vessel for your CRUISE down the Mekong through Cambodia and Vietnam. This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as you cruise through Tonle Sap (Great Lake). After the rainy season, this massive body of water can cover around 10,000 square miles and provides the perfect breeding ground for fish, which provide food for people living on the lake. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception. (Lunch, Dinner) NOTE: You must meet your Cruise Director in the lobby of our hotel no later than 10:30 am. 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 Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. During this time of year you must meet your Cruise Director at our hotel no later than 8 am. Times are subject to change.
Day 2Cruising: Kampong Tralach–Konpong Louang–Phnom Penh
Today, visit Kampong Tralach for an OX CART RIDE past rice paddy fields and the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to MEET WITH A LOCAL FARMER and learn more about his daily life. Lastly, visit the SILVERSMITH VILLAGE of Konpong Louang. Here you will see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. Then sail to the capital city of Phnom Penh. After lunch, 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3Cruising: Phnom Penh
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 less 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. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4Cruising: 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)
Day 5Cruising: Border Crossing–Long Khong A, Vietnam–Chau Doc
Cross the border this morning into Vietnam. A sampan brings you to the village of LONG KHONG A, 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. After lunch, 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 river to the religious sites at the base of SAM MOUNTAIN. You will also stop to see a LOCAL MARKET, where shop owners are selling dried goods. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6Cruising: Sa Dec
This morning, enjoy time at leisure on board the ship as we sail to Sa Dec. In the afternoon, board a sampan and enjoy scenes of daily life along the river. 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, take a walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7Cruising: Cai Be
This morning, board a sampan for a scenic cruise through 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. Lastly, take a walk through town to visit the beautiful CATHEDRAL. This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as we sail to exciting Ho Chi Minh City. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8Ho Chi Minh City (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends this morning with a transfer to our hotel. (Breakfast)NOTE:Arrival time at our hotel is approximately 8:30 am. Do not book homebound flights prior to 12:30 pm.