Lively Ho Chi Minh City, once known as the “Peal of the Orient,” offers a vibrant mix of old and new and provides the perfect start to your incredible journey through Vietnam and Cambodia. Cruise along the mighty Mekong, discovering a glimpse into another era; one where people still happily honor the timeless traditions passed down through the centuries from their ancestors. Throughout your trip, immerse yourself into the culture and heritage with visits to rural villages, historic pagodas and colorful markets. Be treated to a special blessing by monks in Buddhist monastery, meet elementary students at a local school, and witness skilled artisans who create exquisite handicrafts and delicacies. Experience all this and more on this life-enriching cruise along the Mekong.
HO CHI MINH CITY – EMBARKATION. Board the AmaDara at My Tho Port. Meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner as the ship cruises to Cai Be. (D)
*NOTE: We recommend that you fly into Ho Chi Minh at least one day prior to embarkation; please inquire about important arrival arrangements prior to your cruise.
CAI BE – SA DEC. Take a local boat to Cai Be. You will have an opportunity to visit candy and rice paper-making workshops. Later in the day, journey to Sa Dec, a sprawling town on the Mekong Delta, where French writer Marguerite Duras spent part of her youth. You will visit the local market, Cao Dai Temple and the house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, Duras’ Chinese paramour, whom her prize-winning novel, The Lover, is said to be based on.
TAN CHAU – BORDER CROSSING. Enjoy a visit to Tan Chau, a small Mekong River town unspoiled by tourism. You will have the opportunity to get an authentic experience and take a traditional “xe-loi” (trishaw) ride around the town, with stops at silk-making and rattan mat workshops, followed by a boat ride through the narrow channels of the Mekong River to “Evergreen Island.” Alternatively, simply take the boat ride to Evergreen Island and return to Tan Chau, where you will visit a rattan mat workshop. Later in the day, cruise from Vietnam to the Cambodian border en route to Phnom Penh.
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA. This morning’s excursion takes you to Cambodia’s infamous Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng S21 detention center (Genocide Museum).Alternatively, you may wish to shop for unique treasures at the bustling yellow-colored Central Market . After lunch on board, you will explore the highlights of the city, followed by a visit to the Royal Palace, the spectacular Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, which has an outstanding collection of Khmer crafts. After returning to the ship, enjoy Khmer folk dancing performed by local children in the Saigon Lounge.
OUDONG – KAMPONG TRALACH – PHNOM PENH. Visit Oudong, Cambodia’s former royal capital from the early 17th century until 1866. Today, Oudong is a place of pilgrimage for Cambodians. While here, be treated to a memorable Buddhist Blessing Ceremony at a monastery. In Kampong Tralach, you will have a truly authentic excursion – an oxcart ride through a local village along the river bank. Later in the day, experience Phnom Penh via a tuk tuk ride and be enchanted by the city's French Colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards set amidst monumental Angkorian architecture.
OKNHATEY - ANGKOR BAN. In the morning, set sail for Oknhatey Village. Oknhatey is the “Silk Island,” located on the lush banks of the Mekong River and known for its rich tradition of silk weaving. While here, you will visit a local elementary school and observe the traditional silk weaving of handicrafts. Your cruise continues to sail to Kampong Cham.
ANGKOR BAN – KAMPONG CHAM. Go on a walking tour of Angkor Ban, one of the few villages in Cambodia that was not destroyed under the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Here people still live in their traditional wooden abodes and keep their old cultural traditions alive. Hundreds of wooden houses stand intact on stilts, shaded with banana trees, among the hustle and bustle of the daily agricultural on-going of the local villagers. After visiting here, the ship sets sail for Kampong Cham, where you will go on an afternoon excursion via motorcoach to the Twin Mountains, known as Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei (male and female mountains). In the annals of Khmer legend, the twin mountains were formed as the result of a competition between the men and women of an ancient Cambodian kingdom to resolve which gender would be responsible for wedding proposals. Cap the day off with a festive Farewell Dinner on board.
KAMPONG CHAM– DISEMBARKATION. Your cruise concludes in Kampong Cham, where you disembark and Motorcoach transfer to Sofitel Siem Reap. (B)
*Note: We recommend that you schedule your onward flight to depart Siem Reap after 5:30pm today to avoid potential missed connections.