What better way to discover these two beautiful countries than by water? On The Majestic Mekong river cruise with specialist operator Emperor Tours you’ll travel from sensational Saigon through to neighboring captivating Cambodia.
Your first day in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) will start with a trip to the intriguing tunnel network at Cu Chi, used by the Vietnamese warfighters as communication routes, storage, hospitals and living quarters during wartime. In the afternoon your guide will show you some of the many historic landmarks in the former capital of French Indochina.
From here you start your cruise by boarding the ship at My Tho. As well as discovering the many towns and villages along the mighty Mekong, the itinerary includes Cai Be with its colourful, floating market; Sa Dec – an exciting maze of canals and backwaters; and Chau Doc and the Cham tribal village.
After crossing the Vietnamese/Cambodian border you disembark in Phnom Penh, transfer to your 5* hotel and then spend a day with your local guide sightseeing this fascinating capital of Cambodia, including visits to the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Russian market.
From Phnom Penh you’ll fly to your final destination Siem Reap and explore the ancient temples including the magnificent Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Angkor Thom.
We begin our private adventure today by departing London Heathrow for international economy flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
We can also arrange departures from your local airport at no extra cost.
On arrival at Ho Chi Minh International Airport, our tour guide will be there to greet us and transfer you by private car through the city to your hotel, located in the heart of this amazing city.
After check-in the rest of the day is free at leisure.
This morning we will leave the city by private vehicle 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. If you are interested (and game) you can even descend into the tunnels to learn more about the harsh conditions faced by Vietcong guerrillas who lived there.
In the afternoon set out on a tour of the former capital of French Indochina. We visit historic landmarks including the Old Saigon post office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House. Continue your tour by visiting the Reunification Palace which was used as the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American war in the 60’s. Afterwards visit the ethnic Chinese district of Cholon with Binh Tay market.
Today we begin our Mekong Cruise. We join other cruise travellers for coach transfer from the Inter Continental Asiana Saigon Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City to the port of My Tho to embark the cruise.
Rest of day for settling into our cabin and relaxing on board.
In the morning we will visit Cai Be and its colourful floating market.
In the afternoon take an exciting Sampan boat excursion to Sa Dec via Vinh Long, along canals and backwaters and see the local market and the ancient house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, the “lover” of Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist.
Today we visit a Cham tribal village, a cat fish farm, and enjoy a trishaw ride around Chau Doc, a little town bordering Cambodia with Chinese, Cham and Khmer communities.
We return to the ship by boat for lunch and cast off for the Cambodian border. After the usual formalities we continue upstream towards Phnom Penh and the start of our Cambodian tour.
You will arrive in the early morning and disembark at the pier. Our guide will be waiting to transfer you to the hotel for check in.
Rest of day free at leisure to explore or relax. Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s busy capital and was the hub for both the Khmer Empire and French colonialists. There are many parks, restaurants, bars and interesting things to see and do.
Today is our chance to discover Phnom Penh City, capital of Cambodia located at the conjunction of four branches of the Mekong River. Our first visit is Wat Phnom, an ancient pagoda up on the hill, built by a wealthy Khmer woman named Penh 1372 to house the sacred relics. Continue to the Royal Palace built in 1866 and the Silver Pagoda located within the Royal Palace compound. The majority of treasures on display have been supplied by the King of Cambodia such as gift from various other countries. Among the treasures are a solid gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds and weighing 90 kilos and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha.
In the afternoon we visit the tragic side of Cambodian history, Toul Sleng, an ancient school which was used as a prison under the Khmer Rouge. Finally today we walk around the Russian market built in 1937 of a splendid architecture of colonial style.
After breakfast our driver will collect us for private transfer to Phnom Penh Airport for the flight to Siem Reap.
We will be greeted on arrival in Siem Reap by our guide and take our private transfer to the hotel to check in. Siem Reap is the gateway to the ruins of Angkor and seat of the Khmer kingdom. Rest of day to relax or explore on your own.
Meet your guide this morning to head off to the world-famouse temple of Angkor Wat, a world heritage site featuring the most extraordinary towers and bas-reliefs. This is one of the most astonishing monuments ever conceived by mankind, and was erected in the 12th century (1112-1152) in honour of Vishnu.
From the temple we are transferred by private vehicle (or if you prefer by cow carts!) to a secret place where a surprise picnic lunch is set up and waiting for you! After a delicious lunch, relax under the trees with a soothing foot massage before starting your afternoon activities.
In the afternoon, visit the ancient Ta Prohm monastery where immense branches have taken root in the stones. Here you will find splendid sculptured devatas (guardian angels) and experience an atmosphere entirely suited to this temple and all those built under the reign of Jayavarman VII generally.
After breakfast we leave for Banteay Srei, where one of the most impressive jewels of Khmer art exists. Erected in the 10th century, this small pink sandstone temple is known as the Citadel of Women. Continue your exploration of Angkor by heading further south to visit the two very beautiful temples – Thommanon and Chau Say Tevoda – dating from the 12th century and built during the reign of Suryavarman II. They stand out because of their very beautiful sculptured images honouring Shiva and Vishnu.
In the afternoon we visit Angkor Thom (the Great City) beginning by the south gate and the famous Bayon of the 12th and 13th centuries, dedicated to Buddhism and composed of 54 gigantic towers featuring 216 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara. Then, visit the Elephant Terrace, which was used as a giant reviewing stand for public ceremonies and served as a base for the king’s grand audience hall; and the raised Leper King Terrace, built in the 12th century and which features many beautifully sculptured Apsaras.
Late afternoon, round off your last day by enjoying a unique experience of watching the sunset on a Gondola boat at the South Gate of Angkor Thom, accompanied with a cold fresh drink. A truly wonderful way to end our holiday!
Today it is time to say goodbye to Cambodia and transfer to the airport for your departure flight home.
Tour Prices include:
Tour Prices exclude:
FLIGHT TIMES: 12.35 hours direct from London Heathrow to Saigon (Vietnam Airlines Sat-Mon-Wed only). Other airlines fly indirect every day of the week. There are no direct flights from Siem Reap to the UK.