Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River with Hanoi & Ha Long Bay – Southbound 2018

16 Day River Cruise from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

2018 Information. Switch to 2017 »

On this inspiring 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.

The best way to experience Vietnamese culture is with a tour of its fascinating capital of Hanoi. Go on a cyclo ride through the ancient streets of the Old Quarter and enjoy a water puppet performance. Travel through the peaceful countryside to Ha Long Bay, where you’ll cruise by its breathtaking limestone islands. Next, in Siem Reap, Cambodia, see the phenomenal Temples of Angkor with an intricacy and architectural grandeur unmatched in the world. Enjoy an inspiring Aspara dance performance before embarking on your river cruise. Go on an ox cart ride amongst rice paddy fields and witness the daily lives of farmers. 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. Continue your cruise into Vietnam and visit 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.

This memorable river cruise vacation ends in Ho Chi Minh City, where you’ll see the famous landmarks and try your hand in the kitchen—Vietnamese-style, with a cooking class. On an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, walk through a section of the immense underground tunnel system used during the Vietnam War.


Dates & Prices Get A Quote Book Online

Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1 Arrive Hanoi: welcome to Vietnam

Day 2 Hanoi: visit Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Museum, and Temple of Literature; lunch at Koto; take a cyclo ride through the Old Quarter; water puppets performance

Day 3 Hanoi–Ha Long Bay: cruise on Ha Long Bay

Day 4 Ha Long Bay–Ho Chi Minh City: fly to Siem Reap

Day 5 Siem Reap: visit Angkor Wat and Banteay Srei; Apsara Dance Performance

Day 6 Siem Reap: visit Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple, and Ta Prohm by tuk-tuk; Les Artisans d’Angkor

Day 7 Siem Reap (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception

Day 8 Kampong Tralach–Konpong Louang–Phnom Penh: ox cart through the countryside and visit a local farmer’s home in Kampong Tralach; visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; sightseeing by private cyclo in Phnom Penh including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum

Day 9 Phnom Penh: visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields; afternoon at leisure; show by children from local orphanage

Day 10 Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban: visit Wat Hanchey and partake in a traditional water blessing by local monks; walking tour through Angkor Ban village with school visit

Day 11 Vietnam Border Crossing–Chau Doc: visit a local market and the religious sites at Sam Mountain in Chau Doc

Day 12 Long Khong A–Cu Lao Gieng: walking tour of Long Khong A with cotton-weaving demonstration; visit a sampan-making family and interact with a Catholic priest in Cu Lao Gieng

Day 13 Ben Tre: visit a local workship to see how rice wine & traditional candy are made and a local garden

Day 14 Ho Chi Minh City (Disembarkation): walking tour of the city’s landmarks; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class

Day 15 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion

Day 16 Ho Chi Minh City: end of vacation

Meals

American breakfast daily, 11 lunches, 11 dinners. While on board the ship, enjoy complimentary wine with lunch & dinner and complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer, and local spirits throughout the day.

Notes

  • During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to sail across Tonle Sap and will fly from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. No sightseeing will be missed. Low water conditions vary from year to year, so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1Arrive Hanoi, Vietnam

Welcome to Vietnam! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.

Day 2Hanoi

This morning, take time to look at the life of Ho Chi Minh, the father of modern Vietnam. First, visit the MAUSOLEUM and the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next on the agenda: ONE PILLAR PAGODA, the HO CHI MINH MUSEUM, and the Presidential Palace. Stop at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” before continuing to mystical Hoan Kiem Lake, where you will enjoy a brief guided walk. Also visit the ancient TEMPLE OF LITERATURE, over 900 years old and Hanoi’s first university. Lunch is at KOTO, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that trains local street children in restaurant skills they can use to find a job and build a stable life. After lunch, enjoy a CYCLO ride through the fascinating Old Quarter, 36 ancient streets where peddlers trade as they have for centuries. An early dinner this evening is followed by a fascinating performance of Hanoi’s renowned WATER PUPPETS, a traditional art form dating back to the 11th century. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3Hanoi–Ha Long Bay

Travel from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Hon Gai, gateway to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, the Bay is dotted with over 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes by the action of the water. Tunnels, caves, and weirdly shaped outcroppings with imaginative names can be found on many of the small islets sprinkled across the bay. Board a CRUISE that explores the caves, and admire the beauty and scale before stopping at one of the many secluded bays. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4Ha Long Bay-Hanoi-Siem Reap, Cambodia

This morning, drive to Hanoi and board your flight for Siem Reap. (Breakfast)

Day 5Siem Reap

This morning, start your sightseeing of the TEMPLES OF ANGKOR. Constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries, the temples were built around the Khmer interpretations of Indian religious and political beliefs that ultimately evolved from Hinduism to Buddhism. The complex architectural grandeur of the Angkor temples is arguably unmatched among ancient ruins anywhere in the world. First, visit the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: ANGKOR WAT, honoring the Hindu god Vishnu. Featuring five trademark towers and stunning bas reliefs, it has become a symbol of Cambodia. Then, visit BANTEAY SREI, a unique temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Unlike other temples, it is built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. This evening, enjoy a PRIVATE APSARA DANCE PERFORMANCE, where the ancient Khmer culture is brought to life by talented dancers, singers, and musicians. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6Siem Reap

Today, continue your sightseeing of the Angkor temples by tuk-tuk. Start at ANGKOR THOM where you will explore BAYON TEMPLE. One of the few Buddhist temples in Angkor, it features some 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas reliefs. Next stop is TA PROHM, which, unlike the other temples, has been left relatively untouched. Tree roots grow over and through the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as the early explorers who discovered it. Lastly, stop at LES ARTISANS D’ANGKOR, a development project teaching young adults traditional handicraft techniques. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore this charming town. (Breakfast)

Day 7Siem 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

NOTE:
During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise on Tonle Sap. In these cases, we will fly from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh for embarkation. No included sightseeing will be missed. Low water conditions vary from year to year, so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.

Day 8Cruising: 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 9Cruising: 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 10Cruising: 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 11Cruising: Border Crossing–Chau Doc, Vietnam

Cross the border this morning into Vietnam and sail to Chau Doc. Upon arrival, walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. After lunch, join a sampan excursion down the backwaters of the river to the religious sites at the base of SAM MOUNTAIN. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, a market selling dried goods, and more. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12Cruising: Long Khong A–Cu Lao Gieng

After breakfast, a sampan brings you to the village of LONG KHONG A, where cotton weaving is a well-preserved tradition. Spend time at one house for a COTTON-WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and a chance to talk with the family. In the afternoon, board a sampan and enjoy scenes of daily life along the river. Stop at a LOCAL HOME, where a skilled family works together to hand-craft sampans for a living. Then, ride a specially designed MOTOR CART to one of Vietnam’s oldest churches for a special INTERACTION WITH A CATHOLIC PRIEST. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13Cruising: Ben Tre

This morning, board a sampan for a scenic cruise to Ben Tre. Visit a LOCAL WORKSHOP to see how rice wine and traditional coconut candy is made. Then, continue on to a LOCAL GARDEN where several types of fruit indigenous to the area are grown. This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as we sail to exciting Ho Chi Minh City. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 14Ho Chi Minh City (Disembarkation)

Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. This morning, enjoy a WALKING TOUR of the city’s famous and historic landmarks as you stroll through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat) past Ho Chi Minh Square, the Municipal Theatre, the Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing DRINK at the popular ROOFTOP BAR where the U.S. Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Next, visit the WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM followed by BEN THANH MARKET, the largest and oldest in the city. For lunch, participate in a hands-on VIETNAMESE COOKING CLASS. Head into the classroom and learn how to prepare different local dishes and the techniques necessary to recreate them once you return home. Last but not least, sample your delicious creations! The afternoon is at your leisure to explore this lively city. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 15Ho Chi Minh City. Excursion To Cu Chi Tunnels

This morning, leave the city and drive through vast expanses of rice paddies to visit the CU CHI TUNNELS, an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length that was used by the Viet Cong as a hideout and secret village during the war. Here you will learn about how the tunnels were constructed and have a chance to walk through a section to experience what life would have been like underground. Return to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. This evening, join your traveling companions for a special farewell dinner hosted by your Cruise Director. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 16Ho Chi Minh City

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Ship Details

Siem Reap
Saigon

Siem Reap

The all-suite Avalon Siem Reap, one of our incredible new Suite Ships®, was specifically designed to offer the best river cruise experience on the Mekong River. She is the only ship in the industry cruising from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap* (or vice versa) eliminating hours of motorcoach travel time, which means you enjoy more cruising along the Mekong River!

The ship has been meticulously crafted to offer all the modern features you expect, yet it retains the colonial charm fitting to Vietnam and Cambodia. While the number of guests on the ship may be small, the ship isn't. Built as long and wide as other ships that carry twice as many guests, the public spaces never feel congested. From the air-conditioned Panorama Lounge to the open-air observation lounge, there is plenty of seating and spots to relax. Plus, our lounges are located at the front of the ship, not the back, so no matter where you sit you'll always have a great view.

Our crew embodies the spirit of you first, no matter what. From the reception staff and bartender to wait staff and room attendant, we always deliver exquisite service that's comfortable and friendly, never stuffy! With Avalon, our ship becomes your home away from home.

*Cruising to Siem Reap is dependent on water levels.

Included Amenities

  • Air-conditioned Panorama Lounge
  • Spacious, open-seating dining room
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access in the lounges (where signal is available)
  • Fitness Room
  • Non-smoking interior and staterooms
  • Open-air observation lounge with shade system & premium lounge chairs
  • Bar serving premium spirits, wine & complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and local beer/spirits throughout the day
  • Spa treatment room
  • Library and games

Staterooms & Suites

Category A & B - 245 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM, featuring premium mattress covers
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • 14' Wall-to-Wall Panoramic window measuring that opens to create a large Open-Air Balcony®
  • Spacious closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • In-room safe
  • In-house telephone
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens, blankets & European-style duvets
  • Choice of bed configuration (two twins or one king)
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • Large private bathroom featuring full shower with glass door, hairdryer, and premium bath amenities
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Writing desk/vanity with mirror & comfortable chair
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
DECK PLANS

Saigon

The all-suite Avalon SaigonSM, our newest Suite Ship® in Asia, was specifically designed to offer the best cruise experience on the Mekong River. She is one of only two ships in the industry, along with her sister ship the Avalon Siem ReapSM, cruising from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap* (or vice versa) eliminating hours of motorcoach travel time, which means you enjoy more cruising! The ship has been meticulously crafted to offer all the modern features you expect, yet it retains the colonial charm fitting to Vietnam and Cambodia. While the number of guests on the ship may be small, the ship isn¿t. Built as long and wide as other ships that carry twice as many guests, the public spaces never feel congested. From the air-conditioned Panorama Lounge to the open-air observation lounge, there is plenty of seating and spots to relax. Plus, our lounges are located at the front of the ship, not the back, so no matter where you sit you¿ll always have a great view. Our crew embodies the spirit¿you first, no matter what. From the reception staff and bartender to wait staff and room attendant, we always deliver exquisite service that¿s comfortable and friendly¿never stuffy! With Avalon, our ship becomes your home away from home. *Cruising to Siem Reap is dependent on water levels.

Included Amenities

  • Air-conditioned Panorama Lounge
  • Spacious, open-seating dining room
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access in the lounges (where signal is available)
  • Fitness Room
  • Non-smoking interior and staterooms
  • Open-air observation lounge with shade system & premium lounge chairs
  • Bar serving premium spirits, wine & complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and local beer/spirits throughout the day
  • Spa treatment room
  • Library and games

Staterooms & Suites

Category A & B - 245 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • 14' Wall-to-Wall Panoramic window measuring that opens to create a large Open-Air Balcony®
  • Spacious closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • In-room safe
  • In-house telephone
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • Large private bathroom featuring full shower with glass door, hairdryer, and premium bath amenities
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Writing desk/vanity with mirror & comfortable chair
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
DECK PLANS

Hotels

Hanoi
Ha Long Bay
Siem Reap

Hanoi

InterContinental Westlake

InterContinental Westlake 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Hanoi,  Vietnam 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho
Hanoi, Vietnam

Hotel as shown or similar
Deluxe

Conveniently located just 10 minutes from the central business district and numerous shopping areas. Built entirely over the serene waters of historic West Lake and adjacent to the famous 800-year-old Golden Lotus Pagoda, the hotel features contemporary Vietnamese design and exceptional service for an unforgettable visit to the City of Peace.

Hotel Amenities

Hot Tub
ATM
Concierge desk
Spa Services
Pool
Restaurant On-Site
Business Center
Gift Shop
Fitness Room
Dry Cleaning
Elevator
Bar/Lounge
Luggage Storage
Parking/Valet
Currency Exchange
Room Amenities

Climate Control
Phone
Disabled Access / Rooms
Complimentary Toiletries
Wake-Up Calls
Hair Dryer
Complimentary Newspaper
Alarm Clock
Iron/Ironing Board
Smoking Rooms
Television
Cable/Satellite
Room Service
Air Conditioning
Mini-bar
In-Room Safe
Desk
Window Opens
Non-smoking Rooms
Coffee Maker
Pay Movies
Internet Access
Voicemail

Ha Long Bay

Novotel Ha Long Bay

Novotel Ha Long Bay Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward, Ha Long Bay,  Vietnam Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Free WifiFree Wifi

Hotel as shown or similar
First-Class

Set amidst a mystical landscape overlooking the stunning bay, Novotel Ha Long Bay offers a glimpse into contemporary Vietnam, while resounding a story of the country's intricate past through its elegant interior decor. A vision set in polished stone, glass and marble against delicate Asian textures - silk, wickerwork and carved wood - accentuated by splashes of bright colors and elaborate design centerpieces. With sweeping windows and oversized mirrors, the hotel captures panoramic views of Ha Long Bay and its spectacular seascapes at every turn.

Hotel Amenities

Currency Exchange
Free WiFi
Gift Shop
Elevator
Parking/Valet
Luggage Storage
Restaurant On-Site
Bar/Lounge
Pool
Dry Cleaning
Business Center
Concierge desk
Spa Services
Room Amenities

Mini-bar
In-Room Safe
Complimentary Newspaper
Non-smoking Rooms
Internet Access
Climate Control
Disabled Access / Rooms
Hair Dryer
Air Conditioning
Coffee Maker
Desk
Window Opens
Cable/Satellite
Complimentary Toiletries
Phone
Room Service
Wake-Up Calls
Television

Siem Reap

Park Hyatt Siem Reap

Park Hyatt Siem Reap Sivutha Blvd, Siem Reap,  Cambodia Sivutha Blvd
Siem Reap, Cambodia

Free WifiFree Wifi

Hotel as shown or similar
Deluxe

The Park Hyatt, Siem Reap is the city¿s most prestigious address and perfect base to explore the Temples of Angkor. Located in the heart of the city, this award winning hotel blends an elegant and contemporary design to create an enlivening resort and residential feel. From the second you arrive you will be welcomed by true Cambodian hospitality and superb service. The stylish guestrooms offer a refined home away from home with all the amenities one would expect from a deluxe hotel. The luxurious collection of accommodation is matched by stylish dining venues that offer fresh, flavorful, well-presented dishes of French and Indochine inspirations. Lighter fare is also offered at The Glass House, the onsite deli-patisserie. Discerning travelers will appreciate the other amenities on offer. Relax by one of the two pools or in the inviting Living Room lounge and bar, get in a work out in the fitness center, or visit The Spa for holistic therapies and treatments using only locally harvested floral and aromatic ingredients.

Hotel Amenities

Fitness Room
Restaurant On-Site
Spa Services
Bar/Lounge
Dry Cleaning
Luggage Storage
Hot Tub
Business Center
Currency Exchange
Concierge desk
Pool
Elevator
Free WiFi
Room Amenities

Non-smoking Rooms
Cable/Satellite
Mini-bar
Iron/Ironing Board
Complimentary Newspaper
Disabled Access / Rooms
Room Service
Complimentary Toiletries
Air Conditioning
Pay Movies
Hair Dryer
Coffee Maker
Phone
In-Room Safe
Climate Control
Television
Internet Access

 Optional Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased).

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)

No Excursions are available at this time.

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per person without air*

Cruise Details