The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam with Sapa and Luang Prabang – Southbound 2020

24 Day River Cruise Siem Reap to Luang Prabang

2020 Information. Switch to 2019 »

This magical Southeast Asia river cruise along the Mekong River will take you to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, showing you the culture and local traditions of each country and the must-see sites along the way.

Your adventure begins in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with the magnificent Temples of Angkor—ancient ruins that are a display of architectural complexity and grandeur unlike anything else in the world. Stand in awe at the most famous of these temples, Angkor Wat, which honors the Hindu god, Vishnu; and the Bayon temple, which features some 200 mysterious faces carved in its many towers. Enjoy an inspiring Aspara dance performance and other treasures of the city before embarking on your river cruise. In Kampong Tralach, an ox cart ride will show you the Cambodian countryside and you’ll meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life. The temple of Wat Hanchey will provide you the most stunning views, and then take part in a traditional water blessing with local monks.

In Vietnam, stroll through a local market—a unique opportunity to see locals buying and selling fresh produce. Via sampan, visit the home of a local family for a cotton-weaving demonstration and a local workshop which makes rice wine and traditional candies. In bustling Ho Chi Minh City, try your hand in the kitchen with a Vietnamese cooking class and go on an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels—the extraordinary network of tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the war.

Fly to Hanoi and explore the famous sites, such as the Old Quarter, where peddlers have traded goods for centuries on its 36 ancient streets. Next, a remarkable 2-night cruise along Ha Long Bay will show you its beautiful Limestone Islands. You’ll visit the Cua Van Floating Village, spectacular caves, and even go for a swim at Titop Island. In Sapa, visit one of the famous Weekly Markets where homemade goods are sold and the ethnic minority groups of the area wear their colorful costumes.

Luang Prabang lies at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers. Your sightseeing in this well-preserved ancient town representing the heart of Laotian culture shows you the famous sites, such as Wat Xieng Thong, considered the most beautiful monastery in the city. The perfect ending to an unforgettable Southeast Asia river cruise vacation!


Dates & Prices Get a Quote Book Online

Cruise at-a-Glance

Day 1 Siem Reap:Welcome to CambodiaDay 2 Siem Reap:Visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple; Apsara dance performanceDay 3 Siem Reap:Visit Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, and a noodle-making villageDay 4 Siem Reap–Phnom Penh (Embarkation):Fly to Phnom Penh; onboard welcome receptionDay 5 Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban:Visit Wat Hanchey and partake in a traditional water blessing by local monks; walking tour in Angkor Ban with school visitDay 6 Kampong Tralach–Konpong Louang–Phnom Penh:Ox cart ride through the countryside and visit a local farmer’s home in Kampong Tralach; visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; visit the Tuol Sleng Museum and one of the Killing Fields in Phnom PenhDay 7 Phnom Penh:Sightseeing by private cyclo, including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum; show by children from local orphanageDay 8 Border Crossing–Chau Doc:Visit a local market and the religious sites at Sam Mountain in Chau DocDay 9 Long Khanh A–Cu Lao Gieng:Walking tour of Long Khanh A with cotton-weaving demonstration; visit a Catholic church, a local home to see how Vietnamese conical hats are made, and a sampan-making workshop in Cu Lao GiengDay 10 Ben Tre:Visit a local garden and a local workshop to see how rice wine and traditional candy are madeDay 11 Ho Chi Minh City (Disembarkation):Walking tour; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking classDay 12 Ho Chi Minh City:Cu Chi Tunnels excursionDay 13 Ho Chi Minh City–Hanoi:Fly to HanoiDay 14 Hanoi:Visit Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, and Temple of Literature; lunch at Koto; electric cart ride through the Old Quarter; water puppets performanceDay 15 Hanoi–Ha Long Bay (Embarkation):Drive to Ha Long Bay; visit Cua Van floating villageDay 16 Ha Long Bay:Cruise the bay; visit Ti Top Island, Luon Cave, and Dark and Bright Cave; opportunity to explore by kayakDay 17 Ha Long Bay (Disembarkation)–Hanoi:Visit Sung Sot Cave; drive to HanoiDay 18 Hanoi–Sapa:Drive to Sapa; visit a local marketDay 19 Sapa:Visit Ta Van village, Lao Chai village, Silver Waterfall, and Heaven GateDay 20 Sapa:Visit a weekly market and a Red Dao villageDay 21 Sapa–Hanoi–Luang Prabang:Drive to Hanoi; fly to Luang PrabangDay 22 Luang Prabang:Visit Mount Phousi, Wat Mai, the National Museum, and Wat Xieng Thong Day 23 Luang Prabang:Day at leisure Day 24 Luang Prabang:End of vacation

Cruise YourWay

Avalon makes it easy to experience vacation your way with seamless extension options before and after your cruise. Your Way offers added nights in a selection of locales. From Budapest to Barcelona, you can spend a little or a lot more time getting to know more on shore with Your Way custom itineraries.

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Day-By-Day Itinerary

(B) = Breakfast   (L) = Lunch   (D) = Dinner

Day 1

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Welcome to Siem Reap, home to the Temples of Angkor, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.

Day 2

(B, L, D)

SIEM REAP

The Tranquil Temples of Angkor and Joyful Dances

Classic
CLASSIC Explore the temples by tuk-tuk. Start at the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: Angkor Wat. Featuring five trademark towers, it is the symbol of Cambodia. Then, continue your Guided Excursion to visit Angkor Thom, where you will explore Bayon Temple with its 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas relief sculptures, OR:
Active
ACTIVE Visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple by bike.

Enjoy some time at your leisure this afternoon to explore Siem Reap’s shops for local artisan crafts.

Discovery
DISCOVERY This evening, a private Apsara Dance Performance brings ancient Khmer culture to life through music, song, and dance.

Day 3

(B)

SIEM REAP

Root-Covered Ruins and Native Noodles

Classic
CLASSIC Continue your Sightseeing Tour of the Angkor temples at Ta Prohm. Tree roots cover the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as early explorers. Then visit Banteay Srei, a unique temple built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. En route, stop at a village famous for making Khmer noodles by hand.

Spend the afternoon at your leisure.

Day 4

(B, L, D)

PHNOM PENH (EMBARKATION)

Your intimate Suite Ship® Awaits!

Fly to Phnom Penh and transfer to the port where your ship’s crew will be waiting to welcome you onboard. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening.

AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO WAT HANCHEY

Day 5

(B, L, D)

WAT HANCHEY–ANGKOR BAN

Water Blessings and Back-to-School Adventures

Discovery
DISCOVERY Visit Wat Hanchey, a hilltop temple dating back to the 8th century. Climb or be driven to the top where you will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a traditional water blessing given by local monks.
Discovery
DISCOVERY After lunch, enjoy a Walking Tour through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here, you will visit a traditional Khmer house and interact with children at a local school.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO KAMPONG TRALACH

Day 6

(B, L, D)

KAMPONG TRALACH–KONPONG LOUANG

Calm in the Cambodian Countryside

Discovery
DISCOVERY Your Guided Sightseeing starts in Kampong Tralach with an Ox-Cart Ride through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life. At the silversmith village in Konpong Louang, see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art.

Sail to the capital city of Phnom Penh this afternoon.

PHNOM PENH

Shining a Light on a Dark History

Classic
CLASSIC After lunch, a Visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields provides a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime.

This evening, spend some free time exploring the city on your own. Perhaps follow the riverfront promenade to the historic Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC).

Day 7

(B, L, D)

PHNOM PENH

Bonjour! French Charm in Cambodia

Classic
CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of the city by private cyclo with 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 yours to enjoy at your leisure. Consider a Guided Optional Tour of a local brewery with free-flowing local beer!

Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will perform a show, featuring local song and dance.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO VIETNAM/CAMBODIA BORDER

Day 8

(B, L, D)

BORDER CROSSING–CHAU DOC, VIETNAM

Good Morning, Vietnam!

Discovery
DISCOVERY Take a Village Walk through the Chau Doc market, and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. After lunch, embark on a Guided Excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, religious sites, a market selling dried goods, and more.
EVENING CRUISE TO LONG KHANH A

Day 9

(B, L, D)

LONG KHANH A–CU LAO GIENG

Cotton Weavers & Sampan Makers

Discovery
DISCOVERY This morning, a sampan brings you to the village of Long Khanh A, for a Cotton-Weaving Demonstration of this well-preserved tradition.
Discovery
DISCOVERY This afternoon, enjoy scenes of daily life on Cu Lao Gieng Island via sampan and local motor cart. Your Guided Excursion starts with a stop at one of Vietnam’s oldest Catholic churches. Then, visit the home of a local family that makes Vietnamese conical hats, or “Non la,” from materials available to them such as palm leaves and bamboo. These iconic hats are primarily used as protection from the sun and rain but you may also see them used as a basket to carry home goods from the market. Lastly, visit a local workshop where a skilled family hand-crafts sampan boats.
EVENING CRUISE TO BEN TRE

Day 10

(B, L, D)

BEN TRE

Sweets and Sampans

Discovery
DISCOVERY Board a sampan this morning and Visit a Local Workshop in Ben Tre to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made. 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.

AFTERNOON CRUISE TO HO CHI MINH CITY

Day 11

(B, L)

HO CHI MINH CITY (DISEMBARKATION)

Motorbikes, Monuments, and Mouthwatering Cuisine

Classic
CLASSIC Take a Walking Tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic landmarks, including a stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing drink at the rooftop bar where the U.S. Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Then, visit the War Remnants Museum and bustling Ben Thanh Market.
Discovery
DISCOVERY For lunch, participate in a hands-on Vietnamese Cooking Class. Learn to prepare several local dishes and how to recreate them at home. Last, but not least, sample your delicious creations!

Enjoy time at your leisure this afternoon and evening for independent exploration. Maybe stop for a drink at the famous rooftop bar at the Caravelle Hotel.

Day 12

(B, D)

HO CHI MINH CITY. EXCURSION TO CU CHI TUNNELS

Secret Passageways and Underground Hideouts

Classic
CLASSIC Drive out of the city for a Guided Visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels—an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length—used as a hideout and secret village by the Viet Cong.

Explore the city further during free time this afternoon.

This evening, join your traveling companions for a special dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 13

(B)

HO CHI MINH CITY–HANOI

Today, transfer to the airport and fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night.

Day 14

(B, L, D)

HANOI

Historic Hanoi and Water Puppets

Classic
CLASSIC First, join a Guided Visit of the mausoleum and the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next, see iconic sites, including One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Lastly, visit the 900-year-old Temple of Literature, Hanoi’s first university.

Enjoy lunch at Koto, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that trains local street children in restaurant skills they can use to become employed for a more stable life.

Classic
CLASSIC After lunch, enjoy an Electric Cart Ride through the fascinating Old Quarter—with its 36 ancient streets where peddlers trade as they have for centuries.
Discovery
DISCOVERY An early dinner this evening is followed by a fascinating Live Performance of Hanoi’s renowned water puppets, a traditional 11th-century artform.

Day 15

(B, L, D)

HANOI–HA LONG BAY

Island Shapes and a Floating Village

Travel from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes. Board the luxurious Paradise Elegance for a Two-Night Cruise on the bay.

Discovery
DISCOVERY Visit the Cua Van Floating Village, home to more than 700 people, by bamboo raft, OR:
Active
ACTIVE Take a Kayak Ride to visit Cua Van Village.

Enjoy scenic sailing for the remainder of the day before anchoring for the night.

Day 16

(B, L, D)

HA LONG BAY

Caves, Kayaks, and Scenic Climbs

Discovery
DISCOVERY Visit Titop Island, for a Guided Excursion for a swim, or climb 400 steps to the top of the island for stunning views. You can also visit Luon Cave by boat, and explore Dark & Bright Cave by bamboo raft, OR:
Active
ACTIVE Explore Luon Cave and Dark & Bright Cave by Kayak Ride.

After a day of exploring, consider a spa treatment or simply relax for happy hour prior to dinner!

Day 17

(B)

HA LONG BAY–HANOI

Surprising and Amazing Beauty

This morning, relax onboard your ship, or visit Sung Sot Cave, considered one of the most beautiful in the area with its magnificent formations. Afterwards, return to Hanoi and check in to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to spend at your leisure.

Day 18

(B)

HANOI–SAPA

Today, transfer to the hill-station town of Sapa known for its mountain scenery, rice fields, and colorful ethnic minorities. This afternoon, join a Walking Tour of this small town and visit the local market.

Day 19

(B, L)

SAPA

Your Guided Sightseeing starts with a visit to Ta Van and Lao Chai villages, to see the traditional way of life of the Zay and Black Hmong ethnic groups. These ethnic groups live together here under the watch of Fansipan Mountain. The Zay live a sedentary lifestyle and choose land near the valley’s bottom for growing wet rice. The Hmong have historically preferred higher elevations for corn farming but recently they’ve started gradually moving to lower land and learning from others like the Zay. After lunch, visit the beautiful Silver Waterfall and ascend the highest road in Vietnam to Heaven Gate for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valley.

Day 20

(B, L)

SAPA

This morning, your Guided Tour includes one of the famous Weekly Markets. Here, the local ethnic minority groups wear their most beautiful costumes as they sell and trade their homemade products. The Flower Hmong group is most recognizable with their colorful dress. After a quick photo stop at the China border, visit Taphin village, home of the Red Dao people who migrated from China starting in the 12th century. The Dao women are recognizable by the bright red turban they wear and, in some cases, shaved eyebrows. Tonight, consider exploring Sapa and stop at the famous “Love Market,” where local Hmong and Dao come from their villages for the chance to see one another and perhaps go on a date!

Day 21

(B)

SAPA–HANOI–LUANG PRABANG, LAOS

This morning, drive to Hanoi and board your flight for Luang Prabang. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.

Day 22

(B, L)

LUANG PRABANG

Today, enjoy a full day of Guided Sightseeing in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin your morning by ascending Mount Phousi for beautiful views over the city and Mekong River. Then walk through the historic town center stopping at Wat Mai, famous for its 5-tiered roof built in the traditional style of Luang Prabang. You will also visit the National Museum and Wat Xieng Thong, often thought to be the most beautiful wat, or monastery, in the city. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore further. Perhaps consider a sunset cruise on the Mekong!

Day 23

(B)

LUANG PRABANG

Enjoy a full day at your leisure.

Day 24

(B)

LUANG PRABANG

Your extension ends with breakfast this morning.


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Tour Code 2020

Start Sooner, Stay Longer

Start your vacation earlier or stay longer with destination options before or after your Avalon cruise.

Ship Details

Saigon
Siem Reap

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 Phnom Penh (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 is not. 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 will 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.

Included Amenities


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

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 Phnom Penh (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.

Included Amenities


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

 Optional Excursions

No matter what you’re into: food, wine, history, art, music or anything else, we give you the freedom to personalize your vacation with optional excursions that speak to your interests.

When you book your excursions with us, you can be assured that every optional excursion that we offer coordinates with the free time that you'll have in your destination, so you'll never have conflicts between included and optional activities. Our team of travel experts carefully selects each optional excursion that we offer to ensure that you receive the highest quality at a great value. Our tried-and-true partners have a finger on the pulse of the city in which they operate so they deliver the very best experiences. We offer experiences you cannot create on your own and because you’re booking with us, we coordinate all your transportation and timing needs.

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). Optional excursions are available for purchase on our MyAvalon site 90 days prior to the tour start date.

Price Ranges

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