Incredible Mekong

  • November 14 - 27, 2019 | 14 days / 12 nights
  • 7,450

From Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap

There can be no tapestry of river life as fascinating and varied as the River Mekong. Indeed there can be no more striking a cultural contrast as that between the bustling Vietnam delta and the tranquility of Cambodia. We pass from the vibrant French colonial port of Saigon, through the vast delta so rich in human life and endeavour, to travel along the main channel into the rich countryside of Cambodia. With a full day in charming Phnom Penh we then explore remoter waterways as we progress to the great monuments of Angkor.

Incredible Mekong

$7,450.00

From Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap

There can be no tapestry of river life as fascinating and varied as the River Mekong. Indeed there can be no more striking a cultural contrast as that between the bustling Vietnam delta and the tranquility of Cambodia. We pass from the vibrant French colonial port of Saigon, through the vast delta so rich in human life and endeavour, to travel along the main channel into the rich countryside of Cambodia. With a full day in charming Phnom Penh we then explore remoter waterways as we progress to the great monuments of Angkor.

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Daily Overview

Day Destination Activities
1 | Nov 14 Toronto
Ho Chi Minh City
Board on overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City
2 | Nov 15 Ho Chi Minh City Visit Cu Chi Tunnels
Explore Cho Lon and its landmarks
3 |Nov 16 Ho Chi Minh City
My Tho
DISEMBARKATION
Sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh City
4 | Nov 17 Chau Doc Visit a traditional Cham village and catfish farm
Travel to Sa Dec
5 | Nov 18 Vietnam Border Sail towards the Vietnam border
6 | Nov 19 Tonle River See Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s largest freshwater lake
7 | Nov 20 Phnom Penh Experience Cambodia’s charming capital
Optional excursion to Genocide Museum
8 | Nov 21 Prek Kdam See Monkey Temple, Wat Hanchey, Angkor Ban
9 | Nov 22 Kratie Spot the Irrawaddy dolphins
10 | Nov 23 Siem Reap DISEMBARKATION
11 | Nov 24 Siem Reap Tour Siem Reap’s oldest market
Visit temple of Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre
12 | Nov 25 Angkor Experience the splendour of Angkor Thom
Explore breathtaking Angkor Wat
13 | Nov 26 Siem Reap Explore the city of Siem Reap
14 | Nov 27 Siem Reap
Toronto
Check out at hotel
Transfer to airport for your return flight

Additional Information

Days

November 14 – 27, 2019, 14 days / 12 nights

Pace

Casual

DAY 1 | NOV 14

TORONTO | HO CHI MINH CITY

Board an overnight flight from Toronto to Ho Chi Minh City.

DAY 2 | NOV 15

HO CHI MINH CITY

Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, where a local guide will accompany you to your hotel. The afternoon is yours to explore this thriving traveler’s hub.

Accommodation: InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel or similar (2 nights)

DAY 3 | NOV 16

HO CHI MINH CITY

In the morning, visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, an impressive 200-km-long underground network that served as an important base during the American War. Visitors can explore the area’s tunnels, hidden entrances, and booby traps. In the afternoon, explore Cho Lon, home of Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinese community as well as Chinese-influenced landmarks such as Cha Tam Church and Thien Hau Temple. En route back to the hotel, we’ll stop at the one-of-a-kind Cao Dai temple.

DAY 4 | NOV 17

HO CHI MINH CITY | MY THO | EMBARKATION

After breakfast, transfer to My Tho port for embarkation. Enjoy welcome drinks and your first lunch on board. Sail downstream to Ben Tre and anchor midstream.

DAY 5 | NOV 18

CHAU DOC

Chau Doc is home to Chinese, Cham, and Khmer ethnic communities. Visit a Moslem Cham tribal village and a catfish farm in Chau Doc with our guide or do your own thing and take one of our mountain bikes and explore the local market or the Catholic Church.

DAY 6 | NOV 19

CAMBODIA BORDER

Explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes. The ship then sails for the Cambodia Border.

DAY 7 | NOV 20

PHNOM PENH

Morning orientation of Phnom Penh by cyclo visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda followed by the National Museum with its marvelous 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 nightlife.

DAY 8 | NOV 21

TONLE RIVER

Witness the picturesque landscapes and vibrant rural life on the banks of the Tonle river, stopping to tour two little-known artisan villages. At the mouth of the Tonle river is Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s largest freshwater lake and a UNESCO biosphere reserve whose flow changes direction with the monsoon.

DAY 9 | NOV 22

PREK KDAM

Explore the rural village of Angkor Ban, where the wooden houses on stilts were among the only traditional structures to survive the Khmer Rouge’s destructive regime. Sail upstream, stopping at Wat Hanchey, a colourful hilltop pagoda that offers panoramic views of the Mekong which are among the best in the country.

DAY 10 | NOV 23

KRATIE

Morning visit to Koh Trong Island a small Mekong River hamlet which can be explored by bicycle or ox cart with a real immersion into Khmer rural life then visiting a reforestation site where you can leave your mark by planting your own tree. After lunch, moor off Kratie and continue to the dolphin grounds by local boat where the best place to spot the Mekong river’s ever-disappearing Irrawaddy dolphins.

DAY 11 | NOV 24

DISEMBARKATION | SIEM REAP

Sail downstream to moor at Kampong Cham for disembarkation and road transfer to Siem Reap.

Accommodation: Victoria Angkor Hotel or similar (3 nights)

DAY 12 | NOV 25

SIEM REAP

This morning, tour Siem Reap’s oldest market and learn the ins and outs of traditional Khmer cuisine during a private cooking class with a local executive chef. In the afternoon, explore the small but enchanting temple of Banteay Srei, one of the area’s most sacred sites. Banteay Samre, which you’ll visit next, dates back to the early 12th century. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

DAY 13 | NOV 26

ANGKOR

This morning, experience the splendour of Angkor Thom, a longstanding stronghold of the Khmer empire and the site of the renowned Bayon Temple. You’ll also see Ta Prohm, where the encroaching jungle adds to the temple’s mystical allure. After lunch, explore breathtaking Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument and the pinnacle of Khmer culture. Meet young artisans learning traditional art forms before a dinner of local fare.

DAY 14 | NOV 27

SIEM REAP | TORONTO

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, check out and transfer to the airport to prepare for your onward journey.

PACKAGE PRICE (AIR, CRUISE & LAND) PER PERSON

Cabin Category Double Occupancy Single Occupancy
Main Deck CAD $7,450 CAD $9,750
Upper Deck CAD $8,150 CAD $10,790

*Pricing is available for departures from other Canadian cities. Please contact us for details.

RV Tonle Pandaw

RV Tonle Pandaw

Year Built Length Number of decks Number of Cabins Passengers Capacity
2002; refit in 2013 54.8m 3 28 56 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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