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The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam (Northbound)

The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam (Northbound)

18 Day River Cruise Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi

Vacation overview

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

Your adventure begins in bustling Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where you’ll get a taste of the culture first-hand with a Vietnamese cooking class and go on a fascinating excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an extraordinary network of tunnels used extensively during the war. Immerse yourself in the everyday life of locals with a stroll through a busy market, and visits to a family’s home for a cotton-weaving demonstration and a local workshop to see how rice wine and traditional candies are made.

Continue your journey into Cambodia where you’ll visit the famous sites, such as the temple of Wat Hanchey, providing spectacular views, and take part in a traditional water blessing with local monks. Enjoy an ox cart ride around the Cambodian countryside and meet a local farmer to learn about his daily life. Siem Reap offers the magnificent Temples of Angkor. These ancient ruins are a display of architectural complexity and grandeur unlike anything else in the world. See the most famous temples here, such as Angkor Wat, honoring 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.

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
WISI Map

Itinerary

 

Day 1   HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM

Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.

Day 2   HO CHI MINH CITY

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!

Explore the city further during free time this afternoon.

This evening join your traveling companions for a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 3   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.

Enjoy free time this afternoon and evening. Consider stopping for a drink at the famous rooftop bar at the Caravelle Hotel.

Day 4   HO CHI MINH CITY (EMBARKATION)

Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding

Transfer to the port on the Saigon River for embarkation. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening.

AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO VINH LONG

Day 5   VINH LONG–CU LAO GIENG

Sweets, Sampans, and Sun Hats

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.

DISCOVERY This afternoon, enjoy scenes of daily life on Cu Lao Gieng Island via sampan and local motor cart. Your Guided Excursion starts at a local workshop, where a skilled family hand-crafts sampan boats. Then, visit the home of a local family that makes Vietnamese conical hats, or “Non la,” from materials 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, stop at one of Vietnam’s oldest Catholic churches.

AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO CHAU DOC

Day 6   CHAU DOC–LONG KHANH A–BORDER CROSSING, CAMBODIA

Colorful markets, Charming Locals, and Cotton Weavers

DISCOVERY In Chau Doc take a Guided Walk through the local market and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. Then embark on a River 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.

DISCOVERY After lunch, a sampan brings you to the village of Long Khanh A for a Cotton-Weaving Demonstration of a well-preserved artisan’s tradition.

Return to the ship to set sail for the Cambodian border.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PHNOM PENH

Day 7   PHNOM PENH

The Royal Treatment

CLASSIC Take a City Tour by private cyclo to visit 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 the city 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.

Day 8   PHNOM PENH

A Dark History or Market Dynamics

CLASSIC This morning, a Guided Visit of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields offers a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime, OR:

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

After lunch, depart Phnom Penh and enjoy some time at leisure on the ship.

AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO WAT HANCHEY

Day 9   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 KONPONG LOUANG

Day 10   KONPONG LOUANG–KAMPONG TRALACH

Calm in the Cambodian Countryside

DISCOVERY Start your Guided Sightseeing at the silversmith village in Konpong Louang. Here, see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. In Kampong Tralach board an ox cart for a ride through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life.

This afternoon, enjoy scenic cruising on the Tonle River.

EVENING CRUISE TO PHNOM PENH

Day 11   PHNOM PENH (DISEMBARKATION)–SIEM REAP

A Pilgrimage of Inspirational Beauty

Fly to Siem Reap, home to the Temples of Angkor, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth!

CLASSIC After lunch, begin your Sightseeing Tour by tuk-tuk to explore the temples. 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, 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.

The evening is yours to explore charming Siem Reap, stay to witness the sunset at Angkor Wat, or consider a Guided Optional Excursion to the Cambodian circus

Day 12   SIEM REAP

Roots Carved in Stone and Celebrated in Dance

CLASSIC Continue your Guided Sightseeing 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 local village famous for making Khmer noodles by hand.

Spend the afternoon at your leisure. You may choose a Guided Optional Excursion to further explore Siem Reap or the temple complex by tuk-tuk.

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

Day 13   SIEM REAP–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 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 merchants 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 Ho Chi Minh City: Welcome to Vietnam

Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City: Walking tour; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class

Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion

Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation): Onboard welcome reception

Day 5 Vinh Long-Cu Lao Gieng: Visit a local workshop to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candy are made in Vinh Long; interact with sampan-making and conical hat making families in Cu Lao Gieng

Day 6 Chau Doc-Long Khanh A-Cambodian Border Crossing: Visit a local market and the religious sites at Sam Mountain in Chau Doc; walking tour of Long Khanh A with cotton-weaving demonstration

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

Day 8 Phnom Penh: Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and visit one of the Cambodian Killing Fields, or visit the lively central market

Day 9 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 10 Konpong Louang-Kampong Tralach: Visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; ox cart ride through the countryside, and visit a local farmer's home in Kampong Tralach

Day 11 Phnom Penh (Disembarkation)-Siem Reap: Fly to Siem Reap; visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple

Day 12 Siem Reap: Visit Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, and a noodle-making village; Apsara dance performance

Day 13 Siem Reap-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
The purchase of any travel services offered by Avalon Waterways, constitutes a contractual arrangement between you and Avalon Waterways, and represents your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions. Please ensure that you read carefully and understand the Terms & Conditions prior to booking. These Terms & Conditions cover Deposit & Final Payment information, Air-Inclusive Deposits & Final Payment, Revisions & Revision Fees, Air Arrangements, Participation, Travellers Who Need Special Assistance, Young Travellers, Smoking, Price Policy, Visas and Passports, Hotels & Accommodations, Baggage Allowance, Travel Documents, Not Included in the Land Price, Refunds, Service Inquires After the Vacation, Holidays, Safety, Photos & Pictures, Optional Excursions, and Responsibility.
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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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