Classic Mekong

  • 8 days / 7 nights
  • Casual
  • 3,510

Mekong’s wonders await

Your adventure begins in vibrant Siem Reap where you can find Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument. Next, follow the river to Vietnam, with its welcoming people and lush, tranquil countryside. Take a peek into the lives of the locals as your continue your cruise down the lifeline of this region, and finally conclude your journey in Saigon.

Classic Mekong

$3,510.00

Mekong’s wonders await

Your adventure begins in vibrant Siem Reap where you can find Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument. Next, follow the river to Vietnam, with its welcoming people and lush, tranquil countryside. Take a peek into the lives of the locals as your continue your cruise down the lifeline of this region, and finally conclude your journey in Saigon.

Daily Overview

Day Destination Activities
1 Siem Reap - Kampong Cham EMBARKATION
2 Kratie and The Dolphin Grounds Visit Koh Trong Island; Dolphin grounds
3 Silk Island Day spent sailing downstream; Visit Koh Okhna Tey or "Silk Island"; lecture on Angkor and Khmer culture
4 Phnom Penh Visit Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda; Optional excurion to Genocide Museum or take a tuk-tuk
5 Vietnam Border Optional tour of working ship and fruit carving class; Visit a Taoist temple
6 Con Phuoc Island Visit 100 year old Church and Gao Giong
7 Ben Tre Cho Lach Island; Travel by sampans through mangroves and bamboo groves
8 My Tho to Saigon DISEMBARKATION; Transfer to Saigon

Additional Information

Days

8 days / 7 nights

Pace

Casual

DAY 1

SIEM REAP

Embark on your Pandaw at Kampong Cham following a road transfer from Siem Reap (Angkor). The vessel will proceed upstream to moor midstream for cocktails and to meet key crew.

DAY 2

KRATIE AND THE DOLPHIN GROUNDS

Morning visit to Koh Trong Island which can be explored by bicycle or ox cart with a real immersion into Khmer rural life and visit a reforestation site where personal trees may be planted. After lunch, moor off Kratie and continue to the dolphin grounds by local boat.

DAY 3

SILK ISLAND

Sailing downstream all morning, with lectures and film presentations, past Phnom Penh and up the Tonle River to board our expedition vessel, the Pandaw Explorer, to visit Koh Okhna Tey, or ‘silk island’ to study the entire silk making process from worms to weavers. There will be a demonstration of the ancient Khmer martial art of Bokator. Return to ship and return down the Tonle River to turn up the Mekong at the confluence. Evening lecture on Angkor and Khmer culture.

DAY 4

PHNOM PENH

Morning orientation of Phnom Penh by cyclo visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda followed by the National Museum with its marvellous collection of Angkorian statuary. Afternoon optional visit to the Killing Fields and Genocide museum or take a tuk-tuk to explore the riverfront and finish with High Tea at Raffles Hotel. Overnight in Phnom Penh city port with its lively bars, restaurants and night life.

DAY 5

VIETNAM BORDER

Early sailing to the Vietnam border for formalities and during this stationary period there is an optional tour of the working ship and fruit carving classes on deck. Afternoon, explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes. Continue through local villages by Xi Loi stopping off to help locals tend their fields before stopping off to visit a fish farm and earn merit by releasing fish back into the Mekong.

DAY 6

CON PHUOC ISLAND

In the morning sail up a small canal to moor off Con Phuoc Island and go ashore to explore the island by tuk-tuk seeing basket production and visiting a 100-year old Catholic Church and local woodworking artisans.

After a short cruise downstream in the afternoon we take a short coach trip where we visit Gao Giong ‘green oasis’ with its bird sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water birds and egrets that gather in the tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Rowing boats traverse the canals to take us to see the principal nesting areas.

DAY 7

BEN TRE

After breakfast the ship moors off Cho Lach island for pot making and further glimpses of Delta life, agriculture and local Viet hospitality including a culinary lesson in making traditional Banh Xeo. Upon return to the boat we take a cruise downstream to Ben Tre. Where we travel by sampans through mangroves and bamboo groves to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. In these local artisans are at work and are invite visitors into their homes for tea, fruit and honey products made from their own honey. This is an area rich in bird life and on our return journey we travel by horse cart through the lush countryside.

DAY 8

MY THO TO SAIGON

Moor at My Tho for road transfer to Saigon.

Note: This program is also available in the opposite direction

Sailing Season Main Deck*
Price per Person
Upper Deck*
Price per Person
November 2018 - April 2019
July - December 2019
January - December 2020
From $3,510 From $4,310

*Port charge of $88 is excluded

* Price per person based on double occupancy. Due to the dynamic nature of availability and pricing, please contact us at 1.866.760.1987 | info@glpworldwide.com directly for sailing schedule and full pricing |

RV Mekong Pandaw

RV Mekong Pandaw

Built Length Decks Cabins Passengers Cabin Size
2003; Refit in 2013 60m 3 24 48 16m² More Details

RV Tonle Pandaw

RV Tonle Pandaw

Built Length Decks Cabins Passengers Cabin Size
2002; Refit in 2013 54.8m 3 28 56 16m² More Details
  1. Passport

    Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to Cambodia and Vietnam. While uncommon for most of our guests, technically you may need to provide evidence of ‘sufficient funds’ for your stay. Some cash and credit cards normally suffice.

    Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

  2. Visas

    Vietnam: A valid tourist visa is required for Canadians. It must be obtained in advance and details for this can be found here.

    Cambodia: A valid tourist visa is required for Canadians. It can be obtained at either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap airports upon arrival or onboard the ship if you are travelling upstream from Ho Chi Minh (in which case it is necessary to take passport photos with you). It is probably more convenient to get it online in advance. Please visit the Kingdom of Cambodia website where you can find the E-Visa application form.

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

The temperature is fairly consistent in the high 20s for most of the year. April and may are the hottest months where daytime highs usually go into the mid to high 30s.

The rainy season extends from May to October where intermittent rain can be expected 2 out of 3 days. It typically does not rain all day long however.

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on where your pickup point is on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from this pickup point (typically a hotel in the centre of Ho Chi Minh / Siem Reap). We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 8-9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account well before this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before. You will then be transferred by coach to the designated point for your onward journey.

Please note that the travel time between Siem Reap and Kampong Cham (embarkation / disembarkation point) is approximately 5 hours.

The currency of Vietnam is the Dong (VND).

The currency of Cambodia is the Riel. (KHR)

Credit cards may be accepted for larger purchases in retail shops, but usually not in restaurants, cafés and certainly not in street markets or small shops along the way. It is recommended to carry some local currency with you for shopping or for a drink along the way.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in the major cities but during the cruise, they will be difficult to find in the smaller towns. It is best to stock up on local currency before you embark.

Gratuities for the ship’s crew are included in your cruise fare. If you feel the desire to reward specific members of staff for extraordinary service, you are at liberty to do so. In this case, please put the funds in a small envelope and hand it to the person discreetly.

Tips for services provided onshore are at your discretion. Typically USD$1 or 2 per service rendered (i.e. Taxis, pedicabs, porters, etc.) would be considered very fair.

A laundry bag is provided in each stateroom for your laundry needs. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned to you by the following day. We regret that dry cleaning services are not available.

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on dirt roads and through stone temples. If you have difficulty walking any distance or up and down a lot of stairs, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

South-East Asians are generally tolerant and easy going. Please try to avoid political discussion and remember that the Vietnamese national hero “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh enjoys near divine stature and any disrespect shown to his name or memory can cause extreme offence. Despite opening the door to capitalism, Vietnam remains a fervently Communist society with a dominant Communist Party.

In Cambodia, any form of disrespect for the national religion, Theravada Buddhism, is inappropriate. Unlike many faiths, Buddhists make their temples open to foreigners, permitting the taking of pictures (not always!) and general invasion of their sacred space. They ask only one thing: that we take our shoes and socks off. In addition please pay particular attention to the following:

  • Do not point with your feet.
  • In the company of monks or elders never cross your legs.
  • Do not touch people on the head or upper body.
  • When beckoning someone to come over do not flap your hand in the standard Western ‘come over here’ motion; instead turn your hand around so that your palm points down towards yourself.
  • Do not attempt to shake hands with monks or nuns. Note that people in general rarely shake hands here but rather smile and nod.
  • Women should never sit down next to a monk.
  • Shorts and skirts must cover the knees for both men and women. Arms can be exposed by shoulders should be covered. (i.e. No tank tops or sleeveless blouses)

Light to Moderate – The ship will often dock on a riverbank with a gangplank. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths. Temples often have many stairs which are mostly not obligatory to climb, but for the full benefit you will need to. Note that the high temperatures and humidity may also make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

We regret that we cannot accommodate those in a wheelchair on this program.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Plenty of complimentary bottled water is provided on board and for your shore excursions. It is not safe to drink water directly from the taps.

If you get the chance, a Vietnamese favourite (available in more and more restaurants here at home) is “Phở” or, basically noodles. “Phở Ga” is essentially the local version of chicken noodle soup but once you’ve tried it, you may never go back.

“Gỏi cuốn” are scrumptious Vietnamese spring rolls with pork, shrimp and vegetables in a rice paper wrap. If you don’t get them aboard the ship, order some along the way.

In Cambodia, a couple of things worth trying are Khmer Red Curry (less spicy than the Thai version) and Lap Khmer which is a beef salad marinated in lime juice and served with lemongrass, garlic, mint, green beans and other veg. If you’re not included for hot spice, ask them to go easy on the chili.

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, the local folk will likely speak little English in Vietnam. In Cambodia, English skills are amazingly good amongst locals, particularly the younger ones.

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

The general situation for tourists visiting these countries is good.

Crime is generally limited due to harsh penalties, particularly when tourists are affected. However, petty theft and pickpocketing is definitely something to be aware of, particularly in the larger cities and around large groups of people.

It is always prudent to be constantly aware of your surroundings and to not take unnecessary valuables with you. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

Please refer to the following information for specifics:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/vietnam

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/cambodia

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