Saigon to Siem Reap River Cruise
Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Phnom Penh – Kampong Cham
– Kamphong Chnang – Siem Reap
12 Days/11 Nights
– Kamphong Chnang – Siem Reap
12 Days/11 Nights
This classic Mekong river cruise combines places rarely visited with opulent world heritage sites. Many interesting activities and visits are arranged in an 8 day/7 night cruise. You can start from Saigon upstream to Siem Reap, or start from Siem Reap downstream to Saigon. In the arrival and departure cities (before and after the cruise), we also arrange some local sightseeing for you.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City - Arrival
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, be welcomed by our guide and transferred to your hotel in the city center to check in. Relax after a long-haul flight. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City – Half-day sightseeing (B)
After breakfast, you will have a half day of sightseeing in the bustling Saigon metropolis including the moving War Remnants Museum which presents a partial, but riveting, view of the American War, as it is known in Vietnam, the Reunification Palace, former residence of the Indochina Governor General and later President of the Republic of Southern Vietnam until the fall of Saigon in April 30, 1975. Continue to Notre Dame Cathedral and the buzzing Ben Thanh Market.
In the evening, we enjoy an amazing show at the Saigon Opera House. Subject to the show availability, you can choose either A O Show – A vivid portrait of Vietnam in urbanization time, painted with unique stage visuals and touch of humor, or My Village – the poetic beauty of Vietnamese village life, recreated using iconic bamboo, breathtaking cirque and exotic live music, or The Mist – the essence of Southern farmer’s life expressed in sensual contemporary dance language. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be (B/L/D)
After breakfast, you will be free in Ho Chi Minh City until transferring to the meeting point of your cruise for check-in.
Bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon as we travel 70 kilometers south by land to My Tho to embark your boutique ship. We will be served refreshing drinks and light lunch as the Ship steadily glides along the Mekong. We will bathe in the fading sunset on the balcony followed by a briefing at the lounge. Later, a welcome dinner awaits us.
When approaching Cai Be, the ship drops anchor midstream. Free time for massage, or relaxing with the cool breeze on the sundeck or drinks at the bar, or watching an interesting film about Indochina at the movie area. Light lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are included. Overnight in Cai Be.
Day 4: Cai Be – Sa Dec – Tan Chau (B/L/D)
Good morning! Tai Chi lessons on the Sundeck. Then visit Cai Be’s boisterous and colorful floating market on a traditional sampan (a flat bottomed traditional Vietnamese wooden boat). The cruise will halt intermittently to allow us to observe how rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies, rice pop, rice wine and coconut candies are made, and to enjoy local life along the canals on the way back to the Ship for lunch.
In the afternoon, we cruise to Sa Dec. Upon arrival, we embark a traditional sampan to tour Binh Thanh Island to visit an untouched village where villagers earn for their living by weaving sleeping mats from sedges planted along river banks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. The Ship will moor midstream overnight near Tan Chau.
Day 5: Tan Chau – Border Crossing – Phnom Penh (B/L/D)
Brace yourself for a short excursion in Tan Chau, a pleasant town near the Cambodian border with sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community. First, the journey takes you to the “evergreen” islands where you will be thrilled to learn the life of the locals. We stop to visit a fish farm located in the Tan Chau canal. You continue by boat to Tan Chau pier, disembark here and stroll around this colorful local market with lots of regional products. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. Overnight we anchor midstream near Phnom Penh.
Day 6: Phnom Penh (B/L/D)
Sightseeing in the morning will include the Killing Fields outside town. Visit the Genocide Museum, see the dazzling white and gold edifice of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, and witness exceptionally beautiful Khmer craft at the National Museum. We go back to the Ship by “cyclo” – a traditional vehicle - after our museum visit.
The evening starts with a comprehensive lecture on Cambodia’s modern history. BBQ dinner is served right after the lecture. Apsara dance performance. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 7: Phnom Penh – Angkor Ban – Kamphong Cham (B/L/D)
We will depart before the break of dawn from Phnom Penh with a stop at the little known Silk island community. We will then return to the Ship and pass by the Mekong’s tranquil villages, watching the exhilarating river life and sun-hardened fishermen on their shift boats.
We will tour the rural Angkor Ban village where time stands still. We are transported back a hundred years into an era unaffected by modernity. The houses here are truly rustic, made by hand and without any concrete. But most of all, we feel overwhelmed by the unbridled warmth of the villagers. Travelers can take part in the daily activities of the villagers to experience village life first hand. Then, we are back to the Ship to cruise towards Kampong Cham. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. Overnight in Kampong Cham.
Day 8: Kamphong Cham – Wat Hanchey (B/L/D)
We will wake up in the early morning, energized to embark on a land journey to the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Travelers either take a motor-taxi or climb 303 steps to the top. We even get to engage in light banter with some of the monks in the area. We will return to the ship to witness a blessing ceremony performed by orange-clad local monks. Lunch on board.
Then we cruise towards Kampong Cham to visit Wat Nokor, a Wat built within the ruins of an ancient temple which holds a timeless story. We’ll also visit the Organization for Basic Training project of Heritage Line– supporting poor children at Chiro village in Kampong Cham. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. Overnight in Kampong Cham.
DAY 9: Kampong Cham – Kamphong Chnang (B/L/D)
We approach Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “Water World” where everything is on stilts balanced on water rich soil – it’s an awesome sight while practicing Tai Chi on the deck. Here we take a minivan to see the Khmer-styled pottery at the Aundaung Russey village. Then, it is back to the river for an adventurous motorboat excursion to the wetlands, floating houses and fish farms in the region. The village has no electricity and around 600 inhabitants.
We then return to the Ship for lunch while cruising the narrow and meandering Tonle Sap River.
In the evening, a sumptuous spread will be served. And for the big entertainment - bring along your dance shoes and learn to jiggle the Cambodian way with our staff doubling as dance instructors!
Day 10: Tonle Sap – Siem Reap (B)
The Tonle Sap (The Great Lake) is the flowing heart of Cambodia, giving love and life to this nation.
Enjoy the stillness of the water and the quiet tranquility on the way to Siem Reap. The water level varies a great deal according to the time of the year and the amount of rainfall recorded. Thus, minor changes to the itinerary may occur during different seasons.
Our Heritage Line cruise liner comes to an end as we reach this city of the fabled Angkor temple complex. We bid farewell to the cruise as our journey comes to an end. But the memories and the friendships made on board linger on for a lot longer.
We will cross the Tonle Lake at dawn and at 9:00am, we disembark at the Siem Reap port for onward coach transfer to the drop off point in town.
Upon arrival in Siem Reap town, you’re greeted by our guide and transferred to your hotel in Siem Reap for overnight.
Day 11: Siem Reap – Angkor Temples (B)
After breakfast, we start a very special and busy day as you will explore some of Angkor’s most beautiful temples. You will visit Angkor Thom from its West Gate – less discovered by mass tourism:
- The ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century), see the South Gate
- Bayon Temple- unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara
- Baphuon Temple: lying just to the north of Bayon, a pyramidal representation of mythical Mont Meru, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.
The touring day ends with the fabulous Ta Prohm embraced by the roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers. Ta Prohm was built in the 12th century. It’s a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of King Jayavarman VII. Return to your hotel after the visits and have your evening free for leisure! Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 12: Siem Reap – Departure (B)
After breakfast, you will be free at your hotel until be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
:>> Our prices include:
> Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room
> Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver
> The services of an experienced English-speaking guide throughout the tour (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination)
> Where necessary, entry fees and permission to enter border areas for all visits mentioned in the program
> Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available
> En-suite cabin on Jayavarman or Jahan river cruise, local guide on boat
> VAT and other taxes
Cruise General Inclusions
All cruises include group shore-excursions, entrance fees, transportation, tour guide services (English speaking), taxes, fuel, river pilots, port dues, transfers in Saigon and Siem Reap from/to the meeting point to/from embarkation/disembarkation point or vice versa. Meals are included full board. Drinking water, coffee/tea (from jug) is included all day. Fruit juices are included in addition during breakfast.
Port tax per passenger of 65 USD (levied by Port authorities and port taxes appear on our invoice). Crew gratuities (8 USD – 10 USD per passenger per day are recommended). Cambodian Visa (available on Upstream cruise only/37 USD)
:>> Our prices do not include:
> International flight tickets and airport tax
> Vietnamese Visa handling and stamp fee
> Dinners, except as specified above
> Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses
> Camera fees (if any)