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The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam (Southbound)

The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam (Southbound)

18 Day River Cruise Siem Reap to Hanoi

Vacation overview

This magical Southeast Asia river cruise along the Mekong River will take you through Cambodia and Vietnam, showing you the culture and local traditions of each country and the must-see sites along the way.

Your adventure begins in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with the magnificent Temples of Angkor. Constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries, these ancient ruins are a display of architectural complexity and grandeur unlike anything else in the world. Stand in awe at the most famous of these temples, Angkor Wat, which honors the Hindu god, Vishnu; and the Bayon temple, which features some 200 mysterious faces carved in its many towers. Enjoy an inspiring Aspara dance performance and other treasures of the city before embarking on your river cruise. In Kampong Tralach, an ox cart ride will show you the Cambodian countryside and you’ll meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life. The temple of Wat Hanchey, perched on a hilltop, will provide the most stunning views, and then take part in a traditional water blessing with local monks.

Continue your journey into Vietnam and stroll through a local market—a unique opportunity to see locals buying and selling fresh produce. Via sampan, visit the home of a local family for a cotton-weaving demonstration and a local workshop which makes rice wine and traditional candies. In bustling Ho Chi Minh City, try your hand in the kitchen with a Vietnamese cooking class and go on an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels—the extraordinary network of tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the war.

Fly to Hanoi and explore the famous sites, such as the Old Quarter, where peddlers have traded goods for centuries on its 36 ancient streets. Next, a remarkable 2-night cruise along Ha Long Bay will show you its beautiful Limestone Islands. You’ll visit the Cua Van Floating Village, spectacular caves, and even go for a swim at Ti Top Island. The perfect ending to an unforgettable Southeast Asia river cruise vacation!

Budapest
WSII Map

Itinerary

 

Day 1   SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Welcome to Siem Reap, home to the Temples of Angkor, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.

Day 2   SIEM REAP

The Tranquil Temples of Angkor and Joyful Dances

CLASSIC Explore the temples by tuk-tuk. Start at the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: Angkor Wat. Featuring five trademark towers, it is the symbol of Cambodia. Then, continue your Guided Excursion to visit Angkor Thom, where you will explore Bayon Temple with its 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas relief sculptures, OR:

ACTIVE Visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple by bike.

Enjoy some time at your leisure this afternoon to explore Siem Reap’s shops for local artisan crafts.

DISCOVERY This evening, a private Apsara Dance Performance brings ancient Khmer culture to life through music, song, and dance.

Day 3   SIEM REAP

Root-Covered Ruins and Native Noodles

CLASSIC Continue your Sightseeing Tour of the Angkor temples at Ta Prohm. Tree roots cover the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as early explorers. Then visit Banteay Srei, a unique temple built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. En route, stop at a village famous for making Khmer noodles by hand.

Spend the afternoon at your leisure.

Day 4   PHNOM PENH (EMBARKATION)

Your intimate Suite Ship® Awaits!

Fly to Phnom Penh and transfer to the port where your ship’s crew will be waiting to welcome you onboard. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening.

AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO WAT HANCHEY

Day 5   WAT HANCHEY–ANGKOR BAN

Water Blessings and Back-to-School Adventures

DISCOVERY Visit Wat Hanchey, a hilltop temple dating back to the 8th century. Climb or be driven to the top where you will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a traditional water blessing given by local monks.

DISCOVERY After lunch, enjoy a Walking Tour through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here, you will visit a traditional Khmer house and interact with children at a local school.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO KAMPONG TRALACH

Day 6   KAMPONG TRALACH–KONPONG LOUANG

Calm in the Cambodian Countryside

DISCOVERY Your Guided Sightseeing starts in Kampong Tralach with an Ox-Cart Ride through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life. At the silversmith village in Konpong Louang, see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art.

Sail to the capital city of Phnom Penh this afternoon.

PHNOM PENH

A Dark History or Market Dynamics

CLASSIC After lunch, a Visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields for a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime, OR:

DISCOVERY Visit the lively Central Market with its unique Art Deco design by tuk-tuk.

This evening, spend some free time exploring the city on your own. Perhaps follow the riverfront promenade to the historic Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC).

Day 7   PHNOM PENH

The Royal Treatment

CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of the city by private cyclo with visits to the Royal Palace with the spectacular Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts.

The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure. Consider a Guided Optional Tour of a local brewery with free-flowing local beer!

Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will perform a show, featuring local song and dance.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO VIETNAM/CAMBODIA BORDER

Day 8   BORDER CROSSING–CHAU DOC, VIETNAM

Good Morning, Vietnam!

DISCOVERY Take a Village Walk through the Chau Doc market, and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. After lunch, embark on a Guided Excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, religious sites, a market selling dried goods, and more.

EVENING CRUISE TO LONG KHANH A

Day 9   LONG KHANH A–CU LAO GIENG

Cotton Weaving, Conical Hats, and Handcrafted Sampans

DISCOVERY This morning, a sampan brings you to the village of Long Khanh A, for a Cotton-Weaving Demonstration of this well-preserved tradition.

DISCOVERY This afternoon, enjoy scenes of daily life on Cu Lao Gieng Island via sampan and local motor cart. Your Guided Excursion starts with a stop at one of Vietnam’s oldest Catholic churches. Then, visit the home of a local family that makes Vietnamese conical hats, or “Non la,” from materials available to them such as palm leaves and bamboo. These iconic hats are primarily used as protection from the sun and rain but you may also see them used as a basket to carry home goods from the market. Lastly, visit a local workshop where a skilled family hand-crafts sampan boats.

EVENING CRUISE TO VINH LONG

Day 10   VINH LONG

Sweets and Rice Treats

DISCOVERY Board a sampan this morning to Visit a Local Workshop in Vinh Long where you will see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made.

This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as we sail to exciting Ho Chi Minh City.

AFTERNOON CRUISE TO HO CHI MINH CITY

Day 11   HO CHI MINH CITY (DISEMBARKATION)

Motorbikes, Monuments, and Mouthwatering Cuisine

CLASSIC Take a Walking Tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic landmarks, including a stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing drink at the rooftop bar where the U.S. Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Then, visit the War Remnants Museum and bustling Ben Thanh Market.

DISCOVERY For lunch, participate in a hands-on Vietnamese Cooking Class. Learn to prepare several local dishes and how to recreate them at home. Last, but not least, sample your delicious creations!

Enjoy time at your leisure this afternoon and evening for independent exploration. Maybe stop for a drink at the famous rooftop bar at the Caravelle Hotel.

Day 12   HO CHI MINH CITY. EXCURSION TO CU CHI TUNNELS

Secret Passageways and Underground Hideouts

CLASSIC Drive out of the city for a Guided Visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels—an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length—used as a hideout and secret village by the Viet Cong.

Explore the city further during free time this afternoon.

This evening, join your traveling companions for a special dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 13   HO CHI MINH CITY–HANOI

Today, transfer to the airport and fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night.

Day 14   HANOI

Historic Hanoi and Water Puppets

CLASSIC First, join a Guided Visit of the mausoleum and the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next, see iconic sites, including One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Lastly, visit the 900-year-old Temple of Literature, Hanoi’s first university.

Enjoy lunch at Koto, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that teaches local street children restaurant skills for stable employment opportunities.

CLASSIC After lunch, enjoy an Electric Cart Ride through the fascinating Old Quarter—with its 36 ancient streets where peddlers trade as they have for centuries.

DISCOVERY An early dinner this evening is followed by a fascinating Live Performance of Hanoi’s renowned water puppets, a traditional 11th-century art form.

Day 15   HANOI–HA LONG BAY

Island Shapes and a Floating Village

Travel from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes. Board the luxurious Paradise Elegance for a 2-Night Cruise on the bay.

DISCOVERY Visit the Cua Van Floating Village, home to more than 700 people, by bamboo raft, OR:

ACTIVE Take a Kayak Ride to visit Cua Van Village.

Enjoy scenic sailing for the remainder of the day before anchoring for the night.

Day 16   HA LONG BAY

Caves, Kayaks, and Scenic Climbs

DISCOVERY Visit Ti top Island, for a Guided Excursion for a swim, or climb 400 steps to the top of the island for stunning views. You can also visit Luon Cave by boat, and explore Dark & Bright Cave by bamboo raft, OR:

ACTIVE Explore Luon Cave and Dark & Bright Cave by Kayak Ride.

After a day of exploring, consider a spa treatment or simply relax for happy hour prior to dinner!

Day 17   HA LONG BAY–HANOI

Surprising and Amazing Beauty

This morning, relax onboard your ship, or visit Sung Sot Cave, considered one of the most beautiful in the area with its magnificent formations. Afterwards, return to Hanoi and check in to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to spend at your leisure.

Day 18   HANOI

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Vacation Highlights

Day 1 Siem Reap: Welcome to Cambodia

Day 2 Siem Reap: Visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple; Apsara dance performance

Day 3 Siem Reap: Visit Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, and a noodle-making village

Day 4 Siem Reap–Phnom Penh (Embarkation): Fly to Phnom Penh; onboard welcome reception

Day 5 Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban: Visit Wat Hanchey and partake in a traditional water blessing by local monks; walking tour in Angkor Ban with school visit

Day 6 Kampong Tralach–Konpong Louang–Phnom Penh: Ox cart ride through the countryside and visit a local farmer’s home in Kampong Tralach; visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; visit the Tuol Sleng Museum and one of the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh, or visit the lively central market

Day 7 Phnom Penh: Sightseeing by private cyclo, including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum; show by children from local orphanage

Day 8 Border Crossing–Chau Doc: Visit a local market and the religious sites at Sam Mountain in Chau Doc

Day 9 Long Khanh A–Cu Lao Gieng: Walking tour of Long Khanh A with cotton-weaving demonstration; interact with sampan-making and conical hat making families in Cu Lao Gieng

Day 10 Vinh Long: Visit a local garden and a local workshop to see how rice wine and traditional candy are made

Day 11 Ho Chi Minh City (Disembarkation): Walking tour; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class

Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion

Day 13 Ho Chi Minh City–Hanoi: Fly to Hanoi

Day 14 Hanoi: Visit Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, and Temple of Literature; lunch at Koto; electric cart ride through the Old Quarter; water puppets performance

Day 15 Hanoi–Ha Long Bay (Embarkation): Drive to Ha Long Bay; visit Cua Van floating village

Day 16 Ha Long Bay: Cruise the bay; visit Ti Top Island, Luon Cave, and Dark and Bright Cave; opportunity to explore by kayak

Day 17 Ha Long Bay (Disembarkation)–Hanoi: Visit Sung Sot Cave; drive to Hanoi

Day 18 Hanoi: End of vacation

No Excursions are available at this time.


Travel Terms & Conditions
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Important Notes

  • Vacation departures, itineraries and prices are subject to change.
  • A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit of $250 per person per vacation is required for Avalon Waterways to reserve space for you. View full Terms & Conditions for limited exceptions.
  • Charges not included in the land vacation price: airfare to and from the start of your vacation; airline baggage fees including checked and/or excess baggage fees; agricultural tax; other per person taxes imposed by government entities; applicable cruise taxes, fees, fares and port charges; passports; visas and vaccinations; transfers; tips to your Tour or Cruise Director, Local Host, driver, Local Guides, and/or ships' crew; gratuities on ferries, trains, and cruise ships; laundry; telephone; minibar; alcohol, beverages, and food outside of the contracted menu as presented at a hotel or restaurant (these extra items will be billed to you before leaving the hotel, ship, or restaurant); additional excursions and activities not listed as 'included' in the itinerary; porterage at airports or train stations; Travel Insurance premiums; and all other items of a personal nature.


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