From the heights of the Himalayas to the southern coasts of the South China Sea, winding over 2,700 miles, the Mekong is much more than just irrigation for Indochina—everywhere it flows, it fascinates men and shapes their lives. Come take an expedition on this grand and plentiful “water snake,” from Ho Chi Minh City, still largely influenced by the French colonial days, to Phnom Penh, Tonle Sap Lake and Siem Reap, following the footsteps of Henri Mouhot. Our meditative trip takes you along the Mekong River on board a ship combining charm and colonial-style comfort.
Please arrive at the Hotel Lotus Blanc at 1 p.m. for the boat RV Indochine and at the Hotel Victoria for the boat RV Indochine II. Transfer to your cruise boat. After comfortably settling into your cabins, we’ll introduce our crew at a welcome cocktail and have dinner on board. We’ll spend the night on board.
TONLE SAP LAKE - KAMPONG CHHANG
Enjoy breakfast as we cruise across the lake. After lunch, we’ll visit Kampong Chhnang, one of the largest fishing ports on Tonle Sap Lake. Fish farming is abundant here. The region is also known for its traditional pottery combining ancient knowledge with modern techniques—Chhnang itself means "pot." We'll enjoy a tasting of regional products before returning on board and beginning to cruise to Kampong Tralach. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
KAMPONG TRALACH - KOH CHEN - PHNOM PENH
We will set out to visit the beautiful Vihara at the Wat Kampong Tralach Leu pagoda. To access the pagoda we need to cross the village of Kampong Tralach in ox carts, moving along a small road that runs perpendicular to the river in the middle of magnificent rice fields. After lunch, we'll arrive in Koh Chen. You can explore this small village where craftspeople specialize in silver and copper work. After returning on board, we'll spend the afternoon cruising towards Phnom Penh, arriving in the early evening. Enjoy a brief tour of the area by "tuk-tuk," the easiest way to get around the city. We’ll return to the ship and enjoy a performance of classical Khmer dancing and music and have dinner.
We’ll enjoy a tour of the fabulous Royal Palace, one of the most impressive examples of Cambodian architecture, and its Silver Pagoda. Onward to visit the National Museum. After lunch in town, you can pay a visit to the Tuol Svay Prey School, a former detention, torture, and execution center run by the Khmer Rouge during the civil war. Afterwards, enjoy some free time at the market. We'll return on board for dinner in the evening and start sailing towards Vietnam.
Located on the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, the prosperous city of Chau Doc has developed around fish and fish farming. We’ll pay a visit to the Ba Chua Xu Temple and the Tay An Pagoda. Lunch. Once we are back on board, we’ll begin to cruise toward Sa Dec. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
SA DEC - VINH LONG - CAI BE
Visit the former house of Huynh Thuy Le, the man who Marguerite Duras based her book The Lover on. After our excursion, enjoy some free time in Sa Dec. We’ll have lunch on board and cruise to Vinh Long. We’ll set out in smaller boats and travel through canals and orchards before arriving in Cai Be. We’ll discover a brick and pottery factory as well as a traditional factory producing puffed riced, rice-paper wrappers used to make nems, and rice alcohol*. We’ll return on board our ship and begin to cruise. We’ll have dinner and spend the night on board.
MY THO - HO CHI MINH CITY (formerly Saigon)
We'll visit a bee farm and enjoy some honey tea and exotic fruit. We'll then take a ride in small sampans along the canal lined with mangrove palms. Lunch will be served on board. We’ll then set out to cross the very narrow Chao Gao Canal, heading for Ho Chi Minh City. We’ll have dinner and remain in port overnight in the downtown area.
HO CHI MINH CITY
Ho Chi Minh City was heavily influenced by French colonialism in the 19th century. We’ll enjoy a tour of the city to see the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Saigon Central Post Office, and visit the Museum of Vietnamese History. Lunch will be served on board. In the afternoon, we’ll leave by coach for the Cu Chi tunnels, an immense network of underground tunnels that were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches. After our excursion, we'll return on board our ship. Tonight we’ll have our farewell cocktail and dinner. We'll remain in port overnight.
HO CHI MINH CITY
Enjoy breakfast on board before disembarking. We’ll spend the morning visiting Cholon, the Chinese-influenced section of the city, including its hectic market. After lunch in town, we’ll bid you farewell at approximately 2:00 p.m. Please do not book your flight before 5:00 p.m.