Vietnam, Cambodia & the Riches of the Mekong

Vietnam, Cambodia & riches of the Mekong

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16 Days – Travel to Hanoi & return from Ho Chi Minh City

Spend 2 nights Hanoi, overnight in Ha Long Bay, then travel to Siem Reap for 3 nights before embarking on your Mekong river cruise, ending your journey with a 2-night stay in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – ARRIVE IN HANOI, VIETNAM
Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, known for its graceful colonial architecture, frenetic streets, and verdant parks and temples. After checking into your hotel mid-afternoon, the remainder of the day is yours to explore on your own.

Day 2 – HANOI
A morning sightseeing tour will take you to some of Hanoi’s most famous historical and cultural sites, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, One-pillar Pagoda and The Temple of Literature. You will also visit the infamous prison that American POWs sarcastically dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton” during the Vietnam War. In the afternoon, experience an authentic rickshaw ride (known as “cyclo”) in the Old Quarter, followed by a traditional water puppet show. (B)

Day 3 – HANOI – HA LONG BAY OVERNIGHT JUNK
After breakfast, leave Hanoi behind and take a scenic ride to one of Vietnam’s most renowned locations, Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Board a traditional wooden Junk, where you will spend the night – an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience and an AmaWaterways exclusive. After visiting a floating village, enjoy an onboard dinner set against the Bay’s magnificent scenery and dramatic limestone cliffs and rock formations. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – HA LONG BAY – HANOI – SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
This morning, your Ha Long Bay Junk continues its scenic cruising during breakfast onboard. Late morning, disembark the ship and transfer to Hanoi Airport, stopping for lunch en route. A short flight will take you to Siem Reap in Cambodia, the gateway to Angkor, the former capital of the Khmer empire and one of the most renowned archeological sites in all of Southeast Asia. (B,L)

Day 5 – SIEM REAP – ANGKOR
After breakfast, you will have a guided sightseeing tour of the Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include Angkor Thom, the newly restored Baphuon Temple, Terrace of the Elephants, and the Terrace of the Leper King. You will also see the Bayon Temple, best known for its gigantic smiling stone faces. Visit nearby, Ta Prohm, known as the “Kingdom of Trees” for the way in which the temple stones have become intertwined with thick forest vegetation over the centuries. This afternoon, travel through the rural countryside to visit the pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srei, the “jewel of Khmer art.” Afterwards, you will visit an English-language school sponsored by AmaWaterways in the village of Ta Toum. Tonight, you will enjoy a special “Apsara Dancing Show” at your hotel, featuring local Cambodian/Khmer folk dancers. (B,D)

Day 6 – SIEM REAP – ANGKOR
This morning you will visit the most iconic of all Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat. This intricate and massive temple complex was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century to honor the Hindu god, Vishnu. The temple stands as a masterpiece of Khmer architecture. The afternoon is yours to spend as you wish. (B,D)

Day 7 – SIEM REAP – PREK KDAM – EMBARKATION – KAMPONG CHHNANG
Today you will board your river cruise ship at Prek Kdam, a small village on the Tonle River. Meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner as the ship cruises to Kampong Chhnang. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – KAMPONG CHHNANG – KOH CHEN
After breakfast, a local boat will take you into the lakeside wetlands that form the mouth of the Tonle Sap River. Enjoy the stunning variety of bird life here, and be on the lookout for the traps used to catch fish in this area – some are over a half-mile long! In the afternoon, take a leisurely walk to the Koh Chen village. You will also visit home workshops specializing in silversmithing and copper-smithing. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – OUDONG-KAMPONG TRALACH-PHNOM PENH
This morning you will be transferred to Oudong, the former capital of Cambodia, and tour a monastery where you will receive a special Buddhist blessing. In Kampong Tralach, you will have a truly memorable excursion – an oxcart ride through the rice paddies surrounding a small village. Later, your ship will depart for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where an afternoon walking tour will give you a wonderful introduction to the city. Your tour includes a stop at Wat Phnom. Return to the ship for dinner and an onboard Khmer folk performance presented by local children. The vessel moors overnight in Phnom Penh. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – PHNOM PENH
This morning you will take an excursion to Cambodia’s infamous Killing Fields and also visit the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng S21 detention center (Genocide Museum) just outside the city. After lunch on board, your afternoon tour explores the highlights of the city, famous for its French colonial architecture, busy cafés and colorful nightlife. Visit the Royal Palace, the spectacular Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, which has an outstanding collection of Khmer crafts. An overnight on the waterfront provides an opportunity to dine on your own in one of many nearby restaurants, if you so choose. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – PHNOM PENH – BORDER CROSSING – TAN CHAU, VIETNAM
Spend the day cruising the Mekong River and crossing the border into Vietnam. Your vessel moors at the small town of Tan Chau, Vietnam. (B,L,D)

Day 12 – TAN CHAU – SA DEC
This morning, you’ll visit Tan Chau, a small Mekong River town unspoiled by tourism. You will have the opportunity to take one of two tours this morning. Your first option to is take a traditional “xe-loi” (trishaw) ride around the town, with stops at a silk-making workshop and another that produces rattan mats and slippers. Alternatively, you will take a boat ride through the narrow channels of the Mekong River to several scenic locations, including a small village known as “Evergreen Island.” Return to Tan Chau, where you will visit workshops that make silk and rattan mats in the village. This afternoon, your ship cruises to Sa Dec, where it will moor overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 13 – SA DEC – XEO QUYT – CAI BE
In the morning, board a local boat for Sa Dec. Once ashore, you will tour the town where French writer Marguerite Duras spent many years in her youth. Visit a colorful local market, and the house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, Duras’ Chinese paramour, now a small museum. Afterwards, board a motor coach for Xeo Quyt, once used as a base during the French and U.S. wars and now an important ecological site. After lunch on board, a local boat will take you to Cai Be’s spectacular floating market. You will also have an opportunity to visit candy and rice paper workshops. This evening, enjoy a festive Farewell Dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – HO CHI MINH CITY – DISEMBARKATION
Your cruise comes to an end as the ship docks at My Tho Port followed by a transfer to nearby Ho Chi Minh City, still affectionately referred to by locals as Saigon. This former capital of Indochina was once known as “Paris of the Orient.” Today, Vietnam’s largest city is an industrial, cultural and educational hub, but still retains vestiges of its colonial past. Explore such famous landmarks as the former Presidential Palace, a photo stop at the Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral. You will also visit the War Remnants Museum, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, known for its vast collection of artifacts from the Vietnam War. Finish with a visit to the Ben Thanh Market – one of the oldest and most iconic structures in Ho Chi Minh City, where you can search for local handicrafts, colorful textiles, as well as other unique souvenirs and gifts. You will spend the night at a fine hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. (B,L)

Day 15 – HO CHI MINH CITY
Today is free to explore Ho Chi Minh City on your own, perhaps venturing to nearby shops and markets for mementos of your Southeast Asia adventure. You may also participate in an optional hands-on cooking class with a chance to taste your culinary creation. (B)

Day 16 – DEPART HO CHI MINH CITY
Bid farewell to Ho Chi Minh City and prepare for your homeward flight. (B)


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