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FASCINATING VIETNAM, CAMBODIA & THE MEKONG RIVER (UPSTREAM) - CATEGORY B - 2018

On this unique and inspiring river cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia, you’ll be immersed in the cultures and ancient traditions as you sightsee and spend time with locals in the most fascinating places along the mighty Mekong River.

Spend time in the bustling Ho Chi Minh City which combines historic architecture with modern skyscrapers. See the famous landmarks and try your hand in the kitchen—Vietnamese-style, with a cooking class. Go back in time with an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels where you’ll have an opportunity to walk through a section of the immense underground tunnel system used extensively during the Vietnam War. Embark on your river cruise along the Mekong River and immerse yourself in the local cultures with a visit to a colorful market, the home of a local family making handcrafted sampans, and a workshop to learn how rice wine and traditional candies are made. In the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, tour the National Museum and Royal Palace with its striking Silver Pagoda. On a hilltop at the site of the 8th-century temple of Wat Hanchey, take in the stunning views before walking through the rural village of Angkor Ban to visit with welcoming schoolchildren. Go on an ox cart ride amongst rice paddy fields and witness the daily lives of farmers.

The grand finale of this memorable river cruise vacation is a stay in Siem Reap, home to the phenomenal Temples of Angkor with an intricacy and architectural grandeur unmatched in the world. See the splendor of the Bayon temple featuring some 200 mysterious faces carved in its many towers. Then enjoy an inspiring Aspara dance performance—a perfect ending to this remarkable and cultural journey!

Inclusions

12 breakfasts
12 lunches
12 dinners
Tour Provider Avalon Waterways
Number of Days
13
Price From
AUD $6,869
Start Location
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Cambodia
End Location
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Age Range
Avg. 40+
Group Size
20 to 44
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Cycling/Trekking, Marine/Cruise
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
24 Sep 201806 Oct 2018OpenAUD $6,869
01 Oct 201813 Oct 2018OpenAUD $7,119
08 Oct 201820 Oct 2018OpenAUD $7,119
15 Oct 201827 Oct 2018On RequestAUD $7,119
22 Oct 201803 Nov 2018OpenAUD $7,119
29 Oct 201810 Nov 2018OpenAUD $7,119
05 Nov 201817 Nov 2018On RequestAUD $7,119
12 Nov 201824 Nov 2018On RequestAUD $7,119
19 Nov 201801 Dec 2018OpenAUD $7,119
26 Nov 201808 Dec 2018OpenAUD $7,119
03 Dec 201815 Dec 2018OpenAUD $6,869
10 Dec 201822 Dec 2018OpenAUD $6,579
17 Dec 201829 Dec 2018OpenAUD $6,579
24 Dec 201805 Jan 2019OpenAUD $6,869
31 Dec 201812 Jan 2019OpenAUD $7,359
ItineraryExpand
Day 1: ARRIVE IN 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.
This morning, enjoy a WALKING TOUR of the city's famous and historic landmarks as you stroll through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat) past Ho Chi Minh Square, the Municipal Theatre, the Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing DRINK at the popular ROOFTOP BAR where the U.S. Military held the infamous "Five O'Clock Follies" during the war. Next, visit the WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM, followed by BEN THANH MARKET, the largest and oldest in the city. For lunch, participate in a hands-on VIETNAMESE COOKING CLASS. Head into the classroom and learn how to prepare different local dishes and the techniques necessary to recreate them once you return home. Last but not least, sample your delicious creations! The afternoon is at your leisure to explore this lively city. Tonight, enjoy a special welcome dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 3: HO CHI MINH CITY. EXCURSION TO CU CHI TUNNELS.
This morning, leave the city and drive through vast expanses of rice paddies to visit the CU CHI TUNNELS, an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 193 kilometres (120 miles) in length that was used by the Viet Cong as a hideout and secret village during the war. Here, you will learn about how the tunnels were constructed and have a chance to walk through a section to experience what life would have been like underground. Return to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. Maybe stop at the famous rooftop bar for a drink at the Caravelle Hotel. (B)
Day 4: HO CHI MINH CITY (EMBARKATION).
This morning, transfer to the port on the Saigon River and board your river cruise vessel to start your CRUISE up the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 5: VINH LONG-CU LAO GIENG.
This morning, board a sampan for a scenic cruise to Vinh Long. Upon arrival, visit a LOCAL WORKSHOP to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made. Other surprises await for those who are brave! After lunch on the ship, enjoy scenes of daily life along the river near Cu Lao Gieng via sampan. Stop at a LOCAL HOME, where a skilled family works together to hand-craft sampans for a living. Then, ride a specially designed MOTOR CART to one of Vietnam's oldest churches for a special INTERACTION WITH A CATHOLIC PRIEST. (B,L,D)
Day 6: CHAU DOC-LONG KHONG A-CAMBODIAN BORDER CROSSING.
After breakfast, walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. Then join a sampan excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong to the religious sites at the base of SAM MOUNTAIN. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, a market selling dried goods, and more. After lunch, a sampan brings you to the village of LONG KHONG A, where cotton weaving is a well-preserved tradition. Spend time at one house for a COTTON-WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and a chance to talk with the family. Return to the ship and head for the Cambodian border. (B,L,D)
Day 7: PHNOM PENH.
The capital city of Phnom Penh retains its French charm to this day. This morning, your sightseeing tour by PRIVATE CYCLO includes 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 at your leisure to enjoy the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (B,L,D)
Day 8: PHNOM PENH.
Sightseeing this morning provides a glimpse of the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime. Visit the TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM, a former high school that housed over 17,000 prisoners. Of this number, it is believed that fewer than 15 survived the torture and avoided being sent to the Killing Fields. You will also visit one of the KILLING FIELDS, where more than 200,000 people were killed by the Khmer Rouge. After lunch, depart Phnom Penh and enjoy some time at leisure on the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 9: WAT HANCHEY-ANGKOR BAN.
This morning, visit WAT HANCHEY, a temple dating back to the 8th century and the Chenla Empire. Located on a hilltop, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a TRADITIONAL WATER BLESSING given by local monks. After lunch, enjoy a WALKING TOUR through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here, you will see traditional Khmer houses and visit a LOCAL SCHOOL. (B,L,D) NOTE: The climb to Wat Hanchey features a steep incline. If you feel you are unable to make the climb, you will be driven to the top by car.
Day 10: KONPONG LOUANG-KAMPONG TRALACH.
Today, start your sightseeing at the SILVERSMITH VILLAGE of Konpong Louang. Here, you will see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. Continue on to Kampong Tralach for an OX CART RIDE past rice paddy fields and the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to MEET A LOCAL FARMER and learn about his daily life. Return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap (Great Lake). After the rainy season, this massive body of water can cover around 16093 square kilometres (10,000 square miles) and is the perfect breeding ground for fish, which play a vital role in providing food for people living on the lake. (B,L,D) NOTE: During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap. Low water conditions vary from year to year so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Day 11: SIEM REAP (DISEMBARKATION).
This morning, arrive in Siem Reap and start your sightseeing of the TEMPLES OF ANGKOR, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth! Constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries, the temples were built around the Khmer interpretations of Indian religious and political beliefs that ultimately evolved from Hinduism to Buddhism. The complex architectural grandeur of the Angkor temples is arguably unmatched among ancient ruins anywhere in the world. First, visit the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: ANGKOR WAT, honouring the Hindu god Vishnu. Featuring five trademark towers and stunning bas reliefs, it has become a symbol of Cambodia. Then, visit BANTEAY SREI, a unique temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Unlike other temples, it is built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. This evening is at leisure to explore charming Siem Reap- or stay to witness sunset at Angkor Wat! (B,L) NOTE: During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise across Tonle Sap to Siem Reap. In these cases, we will fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and sightseeing will begin in the afternoon. No included sightseeing will be missed. Low water conditions vary from year to year, so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Day 12: SIEM REAP.
Today, continue your sightseeing of the Angkor temples by TUK-TUK. Start at ANGKOR THOM, where you will explore BAYON TEMPLE. One of the few Buddhist temples in Angkor, it features some 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas reliefs. Next stop is TA PROHM, which, unlike the other temples, has been left relatively untouched. Tree roots grow over and through the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as the early explorers who discovered it. Next, stop at LES ARTISANS D'ANGKOR, a development project teaching young adults traditional handicraft techniques. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. This evening, enjoy a PRIVATE APSARA DANCE PERFORMANCE, where the ancient Khmer culture is brought to life by talented dancers, singers, and musicians. (B,D)
Day 13: SIEM REAP.
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)