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HO CHI MINH CITY / MEKONG RIVER CRUISE / SIEM REAP / HANOI / HALONG BAY CRUISE
Museums, markets, motorbikes and more- this insightful tour takes in the best of Ho Chi Minh City. Be immersed in riverine scenery and local ways of life in Mekong Delta. Take a journey through lands rich in history and brimming with culture. Take an in-depth tour of the temples of Angkor, marvelling at the grandeur of historic thousand-year old temples.
Experience the metropolitan pulse of Ho Chi Minh and and visit its highlights.
Enjoy the slow rhythm of life on the waterways of the Mekong Delta.
Take in increadible sights of Hanoi, from the ancient buildings and temples to the bustling streets.
Take an overnight cruise through the UNESCO – heritage site of Halong, admiring the scenery and dining on fresh seafood.
The morning panoramic city tour will take you to the former Presidential Place (Reunification Place), Dong Khoi Street, Opera House, City Hall or Cathedral. Send your postcards from the pretty French colonial-style post office built by Gustave Eiffel in 1891 and visit the Ben Thanh market, an 11,000 m covered market, which offers the visitor an assortment of local products.
Drive 1.5 hours to explore the underground tunnels in Cu Chi. The intricate underground network of tunnels and chambers were first dug in 1948 to assist the Viet Minh against Colonial France and were continually expanded in the following 25 years. At its peak the de - facto underground city housed up to 10,000 people with living areas, kitchens, storage, weapons factories, field hospitals and command centers.
During the American War the entire area of Cu Chi was designated a free fire zone and was heavily bombarded. From 1988, two sections of tunnels have been open for visitors. Now you have a chance to crawl through the tunnels yourself!
Night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be
Bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon while settling into your cabin. The ship will begin by meandering along busy ports and waterways. Soon after, the change is abrupt and you'll find yourself in the UNESCO listed Mangrove Biosphere Reserve of Can Gio which had been destroyed during the Vietnam War by toxic chemicals. Amazingly, the 75 hectares of forest has come back to life through a reforestation. Enjoy a cocktail reception at the Funnel Bar and Lounge followed by a Welcome Dinner on the Sun Deck. Drop anchor just outside of Cai Be for the night.
Cai Be – Chau Doc
Today's tour starts with the visit of Cai Be's colorful floating market. Cruise among local sampans coming from all provinces of the delta full of fruits and vegetables. Proceed to Dong Hoa Hiep island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be. During a 40 minute cruise, discover beautiful landscapes along the river and observe the typical Mekong Delta rural life. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people.
Back on the sampans, we will lead to you to observe the activity of the biggest rice stock market in Cai Be.
Further stops will allow you to see traditional brick and tile factories and how locals use palm leaves for houses. Cruise 20 minutes further to Phu An hamlet passing by Cai Be's beautiful cathedral. Visit some interesting home factories to see how rice paste, rice cookies and coco candies, are made, along with the Long An fruit drying process. Lunch will await you at Le Longanier, a superb Indochinese villa located in a lush tropical garden by the river, surrounded by fruit orchards.
After lunch, group 1 takes a stroll along the canals to experience the local environment first hand while group 2 explores the edges of the canals on bicycle. After touring the canals, head to the Anh Kiet ancient house to have tea with the descendants of the former imperial residents. Board The Jayavarman for a relaxing evening cruise towards Chau Doc.
Moor midstream overnight.
Chau Doc – Border crossing
Welcome to the circus of fish. The early birds will be treated to Thai Chi lessons on the Sun Deck. Brace yourself for a boat excursion to the exciting floating villages and catfish farms witnessing masses of bassa fish being fed, hand in hand with a shore excursion to the village of the local Muslim Cham community. Take a ride through this fascinating town of rich French colonial architecture and see its bustling market flooded with tropical fruits in full display by women in cone shaped palm leaf hats. Observe beautiful textiles being woven on old wooden looms; a tradition that has been passed from generation to generation. By mid-afternoon, The Jayavarman casts off for the border towards Phnom Penh.
Off we go early in the morning to witness a truly indescribable scene while approaching Phnom Penh's river promenade. After breakfast, embark on a city tour in this dynamic, historical capital of Cambodia which has retained its French colonial charm. Sightseeing in the morning will include the dazzling white and gold architecture of the Royal Palace, outstanding displays of Khmer crafts at the National Museum and the temple on a hill - Wat Phnom. After lunch in a local restaurant, examine the painful, heart wrenching reminders of Cambodia's ugly past under the Khmer Rouge regime with an excursion to the Genocide museum to learn more about the Cambodian civil war. Introduction and onsite lecture by a local history professor.
Thereafter, to ease the nerves a variety of cocktails will be at your disposal, followed by Cambodia's traditional Apsara dance performance. Experience the brilliance and richness of the culture, the soothing sounds of traditional music, the calming scent of incense sticks and a delicious Khmer food buffet.
Phnom Penh – Kampong Cham
Depart before the break of dawn from Phnom Penh with a stop at the little known Chong Koh silk weaving village for a leisure walk. We cruise past the Mekong's tranquil villages and mind blowing river life with scores of fishermen on duty.
Visit Wat Nokor, a wat built within the ruins of an ancient temple that holds a timeless story. Then, travel to the Cheung Kok Ecotourism Village, a small village developed with support from Assistance Mediation Internationale (AMICA). Travelers can visit the village and take part in activities to experience village life. Profits from tourism go towards re - investment into long - term projects.
Kampong Cham – Wat Hanchey
Wake up in the wee hours of the morning, truly energized to embark on a journey upriver to the pre - Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Located at the top of a hill overlooking the river, it offers some of the best views in Cambodia. Dating from the 8th century, these ancient structures do justice to the architecture of the Chenla Empire which predated the glories of the mighty Angkor. Enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding well organized rice paddy plains, as well as a travelers blessing performed by the local monks.
Kampong Cham – Kampong Chhnang – Tonle Sap
Before the sun rises, The Jayavarman sets sail to Kampong Chhnang via Prek K'dam along the meandering Tonle Sap River, which narrows through leafy swaths of the South East Asian jungle. Take a walk through Kampong Louang, one of the last silversmith villages, to see the entire community involved in making various silver items to sell. Get back aboard The Jayavarman to eat lunch while cruising towards Kampong Chhnang.
After lunch, take a motorboat excursion from Kampong Chhnang to see the wetlands, floating houses and fish farms in the region. Make a stop at a Heritage Line sponsored floating school to interact with the children.
This is the day to truly experience rural Khmer life. In the evening, a farewell dinner will be served on the Sun Deck.
Tonle Sap – Siem Reap
Cruise early morning to Prek K'dam where you will disembark Jayavarman after breakfast. Board a coach which will take you to see a pre-Angorian temple on your way to Siem Reap. A packed lunch and refreshments will be available along the way.
Arrival in Siem Reap in the early afternoon.
Angkor Thom, meaning “Great City” in Khmer, was the last capital city of the Angkorian Empire. Your exploration begins at the South Gate, one of the four gates into the city, which lead to the Bayon. The former state temple best recognized by the hundreds of serenely smiling faces, each over 4 meters tall, sculpted onto some 50 remaining towers. You will walk through narrow maze-like hallways and corridors, stairs and towers to discover the bas-relief decorations that adorn the wall of the monument.
Moving north of Bayon, you will discover the Baphuon, a magnificent 11th Hindu temple converted to the worship of Buddha in the 15th century before entering the Royal Palace grounds. While the Palace itself can no longer be found, the remaining sites are marvels to behold. The Terrace of the Elephants is an impressive two and a half meter tall, 300 meter long terrace wall with carved elephant heads protruding out at several sections, their trunks forming pillars. Phimeanakas - impressive rite and sandstone pyramid. Terrace of the Leper King is at the north end of the Terrace of the Elephants, a double terrace wall with deeply carved nag as, demons and other mythological beings. Be sure to visit the mythical ruins of the Ta Prohm temple where human architectural genius has been overpowered, then complemented by nature over the centuries, as massive trees stand and cast shadows over equally stupendous towers while determinedly grasping them with their roots.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Just south of Angkor Thom lies the highlight of the UNESCO Heritage Site is Angkor Wat, the pride of Cambodia. The temple complex was built in the 12th century under King Suryavarman II and epitomizes the accomplishment and splendor of Khmer architecture, culture and religion. The five towers that form the temple’s mountain are flanked by galleries with ornate carvings in rose and grey sandstone. As you enter the causeway to cross the moat surrounding the temple, you can begin the visual feast. Try not to miss sunset over Angkor Wat, best viewed from the steps of Pre Rup Temple!
Night in Siem Reap.
Embark on a journey by car to Ha Long Bay - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the way, beautiful panoramic views of the rural villages and paddy fields of the Red River Delta.
Ha Long Bay is located 165 km east of Ha Noi, in Quang Ninh Province. The site covers an area of 434 square km and comprises 775 limestone islets. Each islet has been marvelously carved by wind and water and through time, stand as sculptures which decorate the vast expanses. Together they are a testament to the forces of nature and live up to the aptly named Bay of the Descending Dragon.
Midday arrival in Ha Long City, check-in on the cruise ship. Seafood lunch-on-the-bay.
Spend the afternoon cruising around Halong Bay’s thousands of limestone islets and caves and see the sun setting over the calm waters. Visit a natural grotto with spectacular formations en-route.
Dinner and night on board the junk amidst the marvels of the bay. In ideal weather conditions, a squid fishing session will be organized.
Night on cruise in Ha Long.
Hanoi – the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Large areas of present-day Hanoi were built during the French occupation, reflected in its French-inspired architecture, which come together to give the city a very distinctive charm.
Explore Hanoi by a city tour. This morning segment of the city tour begins with visits to Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House and Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda, and Hanoi’s oldest place of worship: the thousand year-old Tran Quoc Pagoda.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
The afternoon begins with an extensive Cyclo tour around Hoan Kiem Lake and through the lively streets and alleys of the Old Quarter.
Depart to Noi Bai International Airport for your return flight in the evening.
The starting price mentioned is per person and based on two travellers.
International and domestic flight not included.
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