What better way to experience the lush countryside, slow pace and friendly welcome of Cambodia and Vietnam than floating down the mighty Mekong River? We’ll take you on an 8 day cruise from Saigon to Siem Reap (or vice versa), home to the world-famous ruined temples of Angkor, recreating the great journeys of the past aboard a colonial style, 20-passenger river boat. Along the way you will visit riverside farming communities, a remote Buddhist pagoda and a floating village, immersing yourself in the watery way of life along this great river.
This cruise runs from Saigon to Siem Reap and vice versa. Additional activities in Cambodia or Vietnam can be added.
14 Days: Saigon – My Tho – Cai Be – Vinh Long – Sa Dec – Chau Doc – Phnom Penh – Kampong Tralach – Chnok Tru – Siem Reap
Activities: River cruising, river life and livelihoods, sightseeing, local temples, floating villages and markets
Day 2: First stop is My Tho, a quiet, prosperous city famous for its many fruit orchards, gardens and huge rice fields and a great introduction to the beauty of the delta. Continue to Cai Be, where you take a small boat around the floating market and see handicrafts being produced using traditional methods. Across the river is Vinh Long, a fertile farming town full of houses on stilts and hawkers in boats, where life is organised around the water. Visit a pottery factory, fruit nursery and typical delta house before sailing on to Sa Dec for the night. (B/L/D)
Day 3: Short tour of Sa Dec, a small town of 30,000 people fascinating in its unspoiled authenticity and largely undisturbed by tourists. Cruise for most of the day to Chau Doc, where you explore the fish farms in a local boat, explore a small temple and watch sunset across a mosaic of glistening rice paddies from a mountain viewpoint. (B/L/D)
Day 4: A full day cruising up river to the immigration check point at Vinh Xuong and on to Phnom Penh at around 17:00. Evening free to explore the city and dinner on board. (B/L/D)
Day 5: Half day city sightseeing tour including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and National Museum and Wat Phnom. After lunch, visit Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school located in a quiet Phnom Penh suburb, which was an infamous Khmer Rouge prison and torture centre. The visit to this place is essential to understand the recent turbulent history of Cambodia. Return to the boat, where you will be entertained by a local group performing a traditional Apsara dance show. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Arrive at Kampong Chhnang, one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonlé Sap and famous for its pottery and sugar palm products. After a short visit, head on to Chnok Tru, where small local boats will take you on a tour of the floating village almost totally overlooked by tourists because of its remoteness and difficult access. Everything the village needs is built on bamboo stilts from a school to factories, pigsty and a police station – quite a sight! Enjoy a farewell cocktail tonight with the crew. (B/L/D)
Price: From £1469 per person
Services included: cruise on a shared cabin basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: flights, transfers to/from cruise piers, drinks, tips and personal expenses
Note: this cruise runs from Saigon to Siem Reap and vice versa
Best Time To Travel
Best time to visit: November – March
Cambodia is warm year-round. Dry season is cooler and busier from Nov – Feb and hot from Mar – May.
Expect intermittent rains during the wet season May – Sep, but it’s good for avoiding the crowds at Angkor and the countryside is more lush and attractive.