Discover Vietnam and Cambodia, including a 7 day cruise along the famous Mekong River and sights such as Angkor Wat, Cai Be floating market and the Cu Chi Tunnels. Experience the charm and every day life of locals who live and work along this mighty river.
Depart the UK with international economy flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. We can also arrange departures from your local airport at no extra cost.
Upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh International Airport, you’ll be cordially welcomed and transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day will be free to rest and acclimatise.
This morning we will leave the city to visit the amazing tunnel network of Cu Chi. This incredible system, covering almost 250 km in length, was shelter to over 16,000 Vietcong guerrillas during the wars. Initially started in 1948 to provide shelter against the French air and ground sweeps, the network went on to serve as communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals and living quarters for Vietnamese fighters throughout the wartime. You can even descend into the tunnels to learn more about the tunnel life. In the afternoon, we’ll be on a city tour of Ho Chi Minh City, once the capital of French Indochina, taking in the historic landmarks such as the Reunification Palace, the Old Saigon Post Office, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Opera House and Ben Thanh Market.
This morning you’ll be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the Sofitel Plaza hotel for the cruise registration at 9:00 AM. Join other passengers on the drive to My Tho, located 70 kilometres away. En route, visit Binh Tay Market in Cho Lon, the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City, and a lacquer factory. Upon arrival at the pier in My Tho, we’ll receive cordial welcome from RV Mekong Prestige, followed by lunch on board. This afternoon we start cruising upstream the mighty Mekong River. In the evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner & traditional Music Show.
We arrive in Cai Be in the morning and take a sampan trip to visit a floating market. We also go ashore to visit a French Gothic Cathedral and stroll along the river bank to a factory producing rice paper and coconut candies. Return to the ship for lunch and cruise past Vinh Long Province to the sprawling busy town of Sadec where the French writer of “The Lover”, Marguerite Duras, spent parts of her childhood. Both the school where Duras’ mother taught and the small house behind it where the family lived still stand. We’ll see the house of Marguerite’s Chinese Lover, now a small museum of ‘The Lover’ in Sadec. Continue to a Caodaist Temple and wander through the colourful market. At night we’ll be navigating through the Delta toward the border with Cambodia.
This morning we arrive in Tan Chau, a remote town on the main Mekong River. After breakfast, we get on small boats to a floating farm to learn about an industry once regarded as more lucrative than gambling. We then go ashore to visit a local workshop producing woven mats, and a silk weaving workshop. Enjoy a rickshaw ride around this fascinating town before returning to the ship. Enjoy lunch while cruising to the Cambodian border. Clear immigration formalities then cruise into Cambodia.
We arrive in Phnom Penh early in the morning. The capital city of Cambodia still retains its old French colonial architecture in riverside streets. Disembark and visit the opulent Royal Palace specially noted for the Silver Pagoda. Delve deeper into Khmer history at the National Museum with its outstanding displays of Khmer crafts. Return to the ship for lunch. Afternoon, we confront the tragic history of Cambodia on a visit to the former High School <<S21>>, converted to a detention centre under the Khmer Rouge’s rule between 1975 and 1979. Towards the end of the day, we’ll visit Wat Phnom after which the city was named. Enjoy dinner and traditional Khmer Apsara Dancing Show on board.
Early this morning we sail from Phnom Penh to Koh Chong. Upon arrival, we take a leisurely walk through this silk weaving village and visit a local workshop, a pagoda, and a primary school where we can chat with pupils. Return to the ship for lunch whilst cruising past the Mekong’s timeless villages and river life with extensive fishing activities. We’ll be back in Phnom Penh and the afternoon will be independent time. You can opt to relax aboard or further explore the city on your own. Shopping at the Russian Market is recommendable.
We continue cruising upriver towards Oudong, 40 kilometres from Phnom Penh. Between 1618 and 1866, Oudong was the capital city of Cambodia. Erected on a hilltop this place houses numerous Stupas dating of the last Khmer Kings. We’ll visit the Vipassana Dhura Pagoda, a meditation centre for Buddhist monks. After that, we travel by bus to Kampong Tralach to visit the very charming Wat Kampong Leu Vihara dating back to the last century to see the beautiful wall paintings. We then return to the ship by ox-drawn carriage.
This morning we’ll be sailing on the Tonle Sap River, which connects the Mekong River to the Tonle Lake. Approximately 90 km from Phnom Penh, we’ll board local boats to visit the authentic floating village in Kampong Chhnang, a rural port town with bustling markets. Local life is dependent on the river which branches out into criss-crossing canals throughout the town. We take a walk through the scenic market then return to the ship.
We cross Tonle Sap Lake early in the morning. The great lake dominates Cambodia and is over 150 km in length, with interesting and varied bird life resulting from the varied water levels in the lake and river depending on the time of year and rainfall. Disembark after breakfast and transfer to Siem Reap. Meet up with your private guide at the meeting point and transfer to the hotel. The remainder of the day will be at your own leisure. A walk to see the lively Pub Street and the lucky Night Market is highly recommended.
*Important notice: It may not be possible to cross Lake Tonle if the water is low. Alternative arrangements will be made to cross the lake either by speed boat or bus. Passengers will be informed of details before departure. The cruise schedule and program timing are indicative and subject to modifications.
Meet your guide this morning and head off to the marvellous temple of Angkor Wat, a world heritage site featuring the most extraordinary towers and bas-reliefs. Angkor Wat is one of the most astonishing monuments ever conceived by mankind, and was erected in the 12th century in honour of Vishnu. Enjoy lunch and a soothing foot massage. This afternoon, visit the ancient monastery of Ta Prohm where the jungle has set roots in the stones.
After breakfast, we leave for Banteay Srei to admire one of the most impressive jewels of Khmer art. Erected in the 10th century, this small pink sandstone temple is known as the Citadel of Women. Later, we travel further south to visit the two very beautiful temples – Thommanon and Chau Say Tevoda – built during the reign of Suryavarman II in the 12th century. They stand out because of their very beautiful sculptured images honouring Shiva and Vishnu. In the afternoon, we visit Angkor Thom, the Great City in Khmer language, from the South Gate to the Bayon. Built up in the 12th and 13th centuries, this Buddhist monument consists of 54 gigantic towers featuring 216 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara. Round off the day with a boat trip at the South Gate of Angkor Thom, sipping fresh juice and watching the sunset.
Free before transferring to the airport for the departure flight.
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We used Emperor for a group trip to India. they were fantastic with their choice of hotels (some truly incredible) their tour guide, the whole programme and their choice of airlines for the trip. We made things quite tough for them with different members of the group travelling for different periods and arriving in and out of different airports. We specifically had some issues with one of the airlines on the return leg of our trip, through no fault of Emperor, but they did their utmost to put things right and made the journey home as pleasant as possible by meeting the cost of a lounge at the airport for us do to the shortcomings of one of the airlines checking in procedures. The pre holiday package of information was very comprehensive and we were presented with very durable luggage tags. We would have no hesitation in recommending Richard and his team in tailoring a package for a trip to India. We had an amazing culturally stimulating trip and will certainly go back to India in the future.