Vietnam and Cambodia: Along the Mekong River
2017 prices are guaranteed for all 2018 departures if booked by June 1, 2017. After June 1, 2017, call.
At a glance
Duration: 14 Days, 12 Nights
Coverage: Siem Reap, Cambodia to Saigon, Vietnam
Activities: Birding, Culture, History, Wildlife
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Comprehensive, in-depth Vietnam & Cambodia exploration
Exploring Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong River offers access to traditional villages as well as bustling cities, for a panoramic and immersive experience of these two very different countries. You’ll spend seven nights aboard the 48-guest Jahan, an extraordinary new riverboat that offers a level of luxury previously unavailable on the Mekong. On this expedition you’ll:
- Spend two days exploring the legendary religious sites of Angkor, in the company of our experts and local guides
- Visit communities and learn the ways of life along the river, including subsistence fishing and small industries
- Explore Phnom Penh and Saigon, touring sites important to the cities’ 20th-century histories
- Travel in extraordinary comfort and see many of the countries’ cultural highpoints.
Meet proud, welcoming people in lands whose history has touched us all
This expedition is crafted to offer a rare and personal look into the ways of life along the Mekong River and the histories of the people of these two very different countries. Discover a blend of tradition and innovation in these rapidly changing countries—now is a wonderful time to explore them.
Explore soul-stirring sites of antiquity
The expansive and visionary 12th-century Cambodian temple of Angkor Wat is sure to be a highlight of your expedition. With its five crowned towers, excellent bas-reliefs, scores of statues and monks going about their daily routines, it’s the crown jewel of a vast complex of temples and monuments in the region. You’ll spend two days exploring the Angkor area, seeing some of the most sublime works ever created. Visit pagodas in Vietnam and impressive temples in Cambodia.
Travel in excellent company
Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, historian, and naturalist. Get more from local guides who join us aboard ship and in Angkor, Phnom Penh, and Saigon. Learn a bit about navigation while sharing the bridge with our captain. Your team’s knowledge and passion for Vietnam and Cambodia is the key to your once-in-a-lifetime experience.
A powerful, eclectic experience
A journey through Cambodia and Vietnam makes for a hugely interesting and varied experience. These beautiful countries with centuries of history and culture, which experienced so much war and dislocation, are now developing swiftly — their welcoming people working hard to secure a better future.
Among the greatest sites of antiquity in the world
Walk in the sublime temples at Angkor, a World Heritage Site built by the Khmer people over a 400-year period that ended in the 13th century. With one never-to-be-forgotten monument, vista and carving after another, and with magnificent Angkor Wat the centerpiece, the Angkor area stands out as a place that absolutely must be experienced.
Explore Saigon and Phnom Penh
At the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh you’ll bear witness to the devastating effects of the rule of the Khmer Rouge, and also experience the dynamic, positive spirit of these people as they rapidly rebuild their lives and country. We’ll also stay in the great Vietnamese city of Saigon (officially called Ho Chi Minh City), a burgeoning metropolis with an interesting colonial legacy.
- Day 1 - Depart U.S.
Take connecting flights to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
- Day 2 - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Arrive in Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor, in the evening. We spend the next three nights at outstanding La Résidence d’Angkor, built along the Siem Reap River in traditional Khmer style, with spacious rooms with teak furniture and bamboo screens.
- Day 3 - Angkor / Siem Reap
In the morning we venture out for an introduction to the area at the fine small temple of Banteay Srei, known for its exceptional carvings. After lunch, we stop at Les Artisans d’Angkor, where we see how local artisans preserve age-old Khmer arts. Then we visit the evocative temple Ta Prohm. The jungle has been allowed to continue growing here, framing the structures with the twisted roots and branches of ceiba and fig trees, giving you an idea of what archaeologists encountered when they began their work in the area. This evening we gather for welcome drinks and dinner at our hotel. (B,L,D)
- Day 4 — Angkor / Siem Reap
We begin early in order to get to Angkor Wat in time for sunrise. This visionary 12th-century temple, the world’s largest religious monument, represents the apogee of Khmer art and architecture. Crowned by five towers, with elaborate bas-reliefs and a profusion of statues that dramatically depict complex religious tales, along with some 2,000 carved apsaras (beautiful female spirits), Angkor Wat is enthralling. We return to our hotel for a late breakfast. In the afternoon we take tuk-tuks (motorized taxis) to the great remains of Angkor Thom, seeing the Bayon Temple, known for its dozens of serene stone faces of King Jayavarman VII, and the Terrace of the Elephants. Tonight we have a very special treat: a private dinner, just for us, by candlelight at one of Angkor's temples, complete with Cambodian music and dance. The effect of seeing the temple gently illuminated and taking in the age-old performing arts is magical, and is bound to stand out as a highlight of your travels. (B,D)
- Day 5 — Kampong Cham / Embark Jahan
This morning we drive eastward, with a box lunch, to the Mekong River. We embark Jahan, our home for the next seven nights, at the town of Kampong Cham. In the late afternoon we begin sailing along the Mekong, with welcome drinks and dinner aboard our ship. (B,L,D)
- Day 6 — Wat Hanchey or Koh Dach / Angkor Ban
Wat Hanchey, which we visit in the morning, is a large temple complex atop a hill overlooking an exceptionally pretty stretch of the Mekong, offering outstanding views. There is a lot to see here: an 8th-century temple from the pre-Angkor Chenla period, an Angkor-era temple, some fine contemporary temples, and a school. Or we may visit the Mekong island of Koh Dach, which has a lively and active monastery and also an extensive community of silk weavers, where we may watch artisans at work. In the afternoon we visit the community of Angkor Ban, with many old-style houses that are built on stilts—some of them very tall. There’s a chance to walk through town and meet the friendly local residents. There is a fine pagoda along the riverside, and views of the fields across the river that runs into the Mekong. (B,L,D)
- Day 7 — Kampong Tralach / Kampong Chhnang
This morning, we visit Kampong Tralach, on the banks of the Tonle Sap River. Kampong Tralach is a small village that relies on subsistence fishing and working the rice paddies. We’ll take local oxcarts through the rice paddies, seeing the age-old rhythms of life in the Cambodian countryside. Later we cruise up the fascinating Tonle Sap River. In the afternoon we visit the town of Kampong Chhnang. We drive a short way to a village where pottery is still made for sale to local residents by traditional methods. We’ll see how the pots are made and learn about the uses of the palm tree, complete with a taste of palm sugar if you’re so inclined. Then local boats will take us along the Tonle Sap for a glimpse into a unique way of life: seeing the floating houses and shops that line the riverbanks here. (B,L,D)
- Day 8 — Phnom Penh
Today will be a full, rewarding day exploring the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, situated at the confluence of the Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap Rivers. We begin with a cyclo (bicycle taxi) ride to the magnificent Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, home and place of worship to Cambodia’s kings. The architecture, displays and furnishings are remarkable. We continue to the excellent National Museum, which has sculpture and many other artifacts from Khmer temples and other aspects of Cambodia’s history. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former prison where exhibits show the determination of Cambodians that this should never happen again. If you’re so inclined, venture to the countryside to the Choeung Ek “killing fields,” where thousands of Cambodians were murdered and buried in mass graves. Back aboard ship, an evening “Apsara” dance performance shows how well the arts have been able to reestablish themselves. (B,L,D)
- Day 9 — Sailing the Mekong
As we sail along the Mekong, there’s a chance to see life along the river, with traditional ships, barges and freighters plying the waterway. There will be a chance to enjoy Jahan’s many amenities, to hear talks by our staff and for our chefs to show you how to prepare some of Cambodia and Vietnam’s signature dishes. We cross the border into Vietnam, where we will spend the rest of our journey. (B,L,D)
- Day 10 — Tan Chau or Chau Doc, Vietnam
Friendly Tan Chau has one of Vietnam’s most interesting markets, with an astonishing variety of tropical fruits, vegetables and other goods. We continue to a small floating market on the river and a floating fish farm, where we see fish being fed through trap doors in the floating platforms. Alternatively, we may visit the village of Chau Doc, also with an outstanding market and fish farms. In the afternoon, we continue sailing the Mekong. (B,L,D)
- Day 11 — Sadec / Cai Be
From the hamlet of Sadec, we’ll take a local boat along a channel off the main river, with much activity to be seen along the way. We’ll visit a small community where the villagers grow, process and fashion water hyacinths into floor mats and rattan baskets—a real slice of life in the Mekong Delta. At the town of Cai Be, we see the floating market, where people in boats sell their wares. Each boat has an object attached to a pole that shows what is being sold. We then visit a rice “factory,” where varieties of rice-based candies are made. Rice husks are reused as fuel for the cooking process, and ash is sold to famers for use as fertilizer. On board Jahan, we have a gala farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
- Day 12 — My Tho / Saigon
We disembark Jahan in the morning in My Tho, and visit the great Vinh Trang pagoda, originally built in 1850. We then transfer to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam’s greatest commercial center, where we’ll have panoramic views from a tower in the heart of town. We’ll see the grand exteriors of the 1911 Opera House, the former city hall dating from 1908 and the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red-brick edifice with twin spires; and visit the General Post Office, designed by Gustave Eiffel. Then check in to the outstanding Park Hyatt Saigon, located in the heart of the city. In the late afternoon, we meet with a local expert on Vietnam’s modern history. This evening, a special treat: a private catered dinner at the exquisitely restored home where Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. lived when he was U.S. ambassador to Vietnam during the war years. This residence is a small piece of American and Vietnamese history. (B,L,D)
- Day 13 — Saigon / Depart
In the morning we see some of Saigon’s historic landmarks, which include a rich selection of fine colonial buildings. We continue to the Reunification Palace, headquarters of the South Vietnamese Government during the Vietnam War. The breaching of the gates by North Vietnamese tanks symbolically marked the war’s end. If you wish, end at the War Remnants Museum, which gives a strong view of the war through the eyes of the Vietnamese. The afternoon is free, or if you wish you can visit, with our compliments, the Cu Chi tunnels, part of a huge network of tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the war. Rooms are reserved until departure (or until the following morning, if you wish), and in the evening (or the next morning) we transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)
- Day 14 — Arrive U.S.
Arrive in the U.S.
Dates & Rates
2017 prices are guaranteed for all 2018 departures if booked by June 1, 2017. After June 1, 2017, call.
|Jan 30, 2018||Jahan||$10,980||$11,790||$13,850||$16,580||$16,470|
|Feb 7, 2018||Jahan||$10,980||$11,790||$13,850||$16,580||$16,470|
|Feb 13, 2018||Jahan||$10,980||$11,790||$13,850||$16,580||$16,470|
|Feb 27, 2018||Jahan||$10,980||$11,790||$13,850||$16,580||$16,470|
|Mar 7, 2018||Jahan||$10,980||$11,790||$13,850||$16,580||$16,470|
Prices are per person, double occupancy unless indicated as solo. Deposit amount: $850 per person.
Included in Cruise Fare
- All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar
- All meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated
- Air transportation where indicated as included
- Shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits
- Transfers to and from group flights
- Use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available)
- Gratuities (except to Egyptologists and ship’s crew)
- Taxes and service charges
- Services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of our expedition staff
Not Included in Cruise Fare
- Air transportation (except where shown as included)
- Extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees
- Scuba diving (where available)
- Meals not indicated
- Baggage/accident/travel protection plan
- Items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, e-mail, and laundry
- Gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion
The new 48-guest river ship Jahan affords us access to places that would otherwise be difficult to reach. Her cabins are spacious, each with a private balcony, and she offers a standard of accommodation and service that has until now been unknown in this part of the world. View ship details...