Vietnam and Cambodia – Along The Mekong River, Including Angkor and Saigon (12 Days)

Cruise Line: Lindblad Expeditions - AUS/NZ
Ship: Jahan
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tour Segment  Cruise Segment
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Arrive in Saigon, Vietnam's greatest commercial center, and check into the Park Hyatt Saigon, located in the heart of the city. For guests arriving in time, there will be an afternoon visit to the Bến Thành market, which offers lively glimpses into the lives of Saigon residents.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

In the morning we tour Saigon's historic landmarks, which include a rich selection of fine colonial buildings. We'll see the grand exteriors of the Opera House from 1911, the former city hall dating from 1908, and Notre Dame Cathedral, a red-brick edifice with twin spires; and we visit the General Post Office, designed by Gustave Eiffel. We then get a spectacular view of the city from the Sky Deck of the Bitexco Financial Tower. 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. Lunch is on your own. 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. 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 Vietnamese history. (B,D)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
My Tho, Vietnam

In the morning, we meet with a local expert on Vietnam's modern history. If you wish, tour the War Remnants Museum, which gives a strong view of the war through the eyes of the Vietnamese. After lunch we drive to Mỹ Tho, and stop at the great Vĩnh Tràng pagoda, originally built in 1850. We continue to the Mekong River, embark Jahan for the start of our seven-night sail on the Mekong. We have welcome drinks and dinner aboard ship. (B,L,D)

Cái Bè, Vietnam
Sa Déc, Vietnam

At the town of Cái Bè, 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. From the hamlet of Sa Đéc, 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. We cruise the Mekong at sunset. (B,L,D)

Tân Châu, Vietnam

Friendly Tân Châu 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 Châu Đốc, also with an outstanding market and fish farms. In the afternoon, we continue sailing the Mekong as Jahan crosses the border into Cambodia. 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. (B,L,D)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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 sculptures 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 the ship, an evening "Apsara" dance performance shows how well the arts have been able to reestablish themselves. (B,L,D)

Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia

This morning we cruise the Tonle Sap River. In the afternoon we drive a short way from the town of Kampong Chhnang 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)

Kampong Tralach, Cambodia
Koh Dach Island, Cambodia

This morning we visit Kampong Tralach on the banks of the Tonle Sap—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. Also visit the Mekong island of Koh Dach, which has a lively and actively monastery and an extensive community of silk weavers, where we may watch artisans at work. (B,L,D)

Ângkôr Ban, Cambodia
Kompong Cham, Cambodia
Wat Nokor, Cambodia
Kompong Cham, Cambodia

We explore the community of Angkor Ban, with many old-style houses 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. We also stop at the bustling town of Kampong Cham and visit remarkable Wat Nokor, where a well-preserved 11th-century temple forms the heart of a contemporary pagoda that remains in active use. The reliefs on the old temple are exceptional, as are the decorations of the more modern one. (B,L,D))

DAY 10
Kompong Cham, Cambodia
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Ta Prohm, Cambodia

Disembark Jahan at Kampong Cham for the drive to Siem Reap. 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. Siem Reap is the gateway to the great temple complex of Angkor, and this afternoon 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. Dinner this evening is at our hotel. (B,L,D)

DAY 11
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Banteay Srey, Cambodia
Siem Reap, Cambodia

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 visit Les Artisans d'Angkor to see how local artisans preserve age-old Khmer arts. We then venture out some distance from the central sites to the fine temple of Banteay Srei, known for its exceptional carvings. 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 12
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor Thom, Cambodia
Siem Reap, Cambodia

This morning, 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. The afternoon is free to explore further, shop or just relax. This evening, we transfer to the airport for our flights home. Note that if you wish to depart Siem Reap the following day, your room is reserved until 11:00 AM free of additional charge. (B)

Vietnam and Cambodia – Along The Mekong River, Including Angkor and Saigon map

About the Ship


The riverboat Jahan is appointed in grand style, with large, gracious staterooms and luxurious touches. Built in 2011 from the ground up, it is without question the finest ship on the river. Every cabin has a private balcony and the ship’s public spaces offer a relaxed elegance.

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