Siem ReapThe program on day 1 depends on your time of arrival. If your flight lands between 6AM and 11AM, the program is as follows:
Arrive in Siem Reap and enjoy lunch at the Prince of Angkor hotel. In the afternoon, visit the 'Senteurs d'Angkor' (perfume workshop), to learn about making candles, soaps, and spices. Afterwards, visit the workshops of the 'Artisans d’Angkor,' where young Cambodians are trained in the art of traditional wood carving and stonework based on long-standing Khmer craftwork. Enjoy dinner at the Prince of Angkor Hotel and overnight.
Siem Reap / AngkorAfter breakfast at the hotel, set off to visit Banteay Srei, the jewel in the crown of classic Khmer art, and the temple at Ta Prohm, which dates back to 1186. Banteay Srei, which means 'the citadel of women' or 'citadel of beauty,' is known for the intricacy of its fine carvings and the detail of the sculptures on every corner of the temple. Next, visit Ta Prohm. Nature has taken over the site and the result is stunning: trees spring out from the temple buildings and thick roots now cover the temple. After lunch, explore Angkor Thom, a huge architectural masterpiece accessible through five monumental gates with the Mountain temple of Bayon at its center. Wander in the heart of the ancient Royal Palace where the sanctuary of Phimeanakas is located, then visit the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. In the evening, enjoy dinner with a show of Khmer royal dancing (the Apsara dances), then spend the evening at your leisure exploring the area. Overnight at the Prince of Angkor Hotel.
Siem Reap / Tonle SapAfter breakfast at the hotel, visit the Angkor Wat temple: the most famous and most important of all monuments in Angkor. The 5 towers became a symbol of the country, as they are emblazoned with the national flag. After lunch, transfer from the hotel to the mooring point at Phnom Krom to board small local boats to the RV Indochine. Attend a welcome cocktail, then settle in to your cabin before dinner on board.
Tonle Sap / Kampong ChhnangSpend the morning cruising and enjoy breakfast and lunch on board. Arrive in the early afternoon in Kampong Chhnang, one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonle Sap. The region is best known for its traditional pottery, which is a major source of revenue for the entire country. The region's very name, Kampong Chhnang, means 'the port of the pottery' in Khmer. Taste some palm sugar from the Thnot sugar palm before going around the village afloat small local boats. Return to the ship and continue cruising to Kampong Tralach.
Kampong Tralach / Koh ChenCross through the village of Kampong Tralach on an ox cart to reach the Vihara of the Wat Kampong Tralach Leu pagoda. The Vihara dates back to the beginning of the last century and features many magnificent wall paintings. Completely isolated in the middle of the rice fields, the pagoda is quite unassuming and does not receive many visitors, so its isolation makes it a truly magnificent spot. Return on board for lunch and arrive in Koh Chen during the afternoon. Visit a private school and meet the children, then return to the ship and cruise to Phnom Penh.
Phnom PenhFounded in 1434, the capital of Cambodia retains much of its French colonial charm thanks to the rehabilitation of part of its architectural heritage. Visit the Silver Pagoda, paved over with 5000 silver tiles to which it owes its name. Constructed in wood in 1892, it was then rebuilt in 1962. Visit the National Museum which houses the Fine Arts Museum, built in 1917 by the French in traditional Khmer architectural style. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, then spend some free time in the 'Russian market.'
Chau DocSpend the morning afloat, crossing into Vietnam before lunch. In the early afternoon, arrive in Chau Doc. Situated in the heart of a gigantic grid of rice fields, the city embraces both banks of the Mekong and the floating farms overspill into the waters. Chau Doc is a very prosperous town which developed around fishing and farming. Inside the town, a few colonial buildings with their old fashioned charm still remain. Transfer by small boat to visit a Cham village of silk weavers and fish farms. Set off by minibus and visit the top of the Sam hill, an important place of pilgrimage for the Vietnamese where it overlooks the vastness of the Delta and its rice fields.
Sa Dec / Vinh LongContinue to Sa Dec and discover the local market. Visit the former dwelling place of Huynh Thuy Le, lover of the French novelist Marguerite Duras, who spent part of her childhood in Sa Dec. Famous for its horticulture, Sa Dec was known as the 'garden of the Cochin Chine' in colonial times. Continue to cruise towards Vinh Long, located in the middle of the delta region, between two arms of the Mekong and where all of life is organized around the water. Hundreds of boats criss-cross in all directions between houses built on stilts. Set off in boats through the orchards which lead to Caï Be. In the evening, return to the ship.
My Tho / Ho Chi Minh CityVisit the islands of My Tho in small local boats, renowned for their vegetable gardens and fruit orchards. The surrounding countryside includes one of the most luxuriant gardens in Vietnam, growing coconut, banana, mango, and logan trees. On the largest of the islands, Thoi Son, visit a beekeeping farm to taste the honey tea and exotic fruits. Return on board for lunch, then cruise the narrow Chao Gao canal and head for Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh City, originally named Saigon, was built by the French in 1850 at the beginning of French colonial times. Tour the city and visit the following: Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Central Post Office. Enjoy lunch in town and, in the afternoon, visit the National History Museum and a traditional lacquer-ware factory. Spend some free time at your leisure to stroll around the Ben Thanh markets, then return to the ship for a gala dinner and farewell cocktail.
Ho Chi Minh CityEnjoy one last breakfast on board before disembarking the ship. Devote your morning to visiting Cholon, the major center of Chinese trade in the capital city. In the afternoon, continue independently for your onward travels.