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Terraced rice fields

Traveling Up the Mekong River

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard RV Indochine II
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Sail from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap aboard the charming and comfortable RV Indochine, an ideal ship to explore the waterways of Asia. During this trip visit floating villages using small local boats, observe magnificent landscapes of rice fields, and explore vibrant and colorful local markets. Make daily stops to discover fascinating destinations including the Thien Hau Pagoda, My Tho islands, the former home of Huynh Thuy Le, the Silver Pagoda, the Royal Palace, the monumental Angkor Thom, among others.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ho Chi Minh | Embark
Day 2 : Ho Chi Minh
Day 3 : My Tho | Vinh Long | Cai Be | Sa Dec
Day 4 : Sa Dec | Chau Doc
Day 5 : Phnom Penh
Day 6 : Phnom Penh
Day 7 : Koh Chen | Kampong Tralach | Kampong Chhnang
Day 8 : Kampong Chhnang | Lake Tonle
Day 9 : Siem Reap | Disembark | Angkor Wat
Day 10 : Siem Reap | Angkor Thom
Day 11 : Siem Reap

Highlights

  • Spend a morning visiting Cholon, a vibrant district bustling with people
  • Visit My Tho islands in small boats and observe the villages among its canals
  • Tour the Phat Thay Tay An Pagoda and the Ba Chua Xu Temple
  • Attend an Apsara dance show by student dancers and musicians

Ship

RV Indochine II

Places Visited

  • Asia
  • Cambodia
  • Mekong River
  • Vietnam
  • Angkor Thom
  • Angkor Wat
  • Cai Be
  • Chau Doc
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Kampong Chhnang
  • Kampong Tralach
  • Koh Chen
  • My Tho
  • Phnom Penh
  • Sa Dec
  • Siem Reap
  • Tonle Sap Lake

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Terraced rice fields City Museum, Ho Chi Minh Floating village in Southeast Asia Royal Palace in Phnom Penh Aerial view of Angkor Wat

Day 1 Ho Chi Minh | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today´s program depends on your arrival time to Hô-Chi-Minh Ville. If arrived from your flight between 6:00 am and 11:00 am, schedules as follows: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. This city was built by the French in 1859, at the beginning of the colonial era. It has retained some of its French atmosphere. After you enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, leave for a tour of the city: Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office.

Visit Cholon, the Chinese-influenced section of the city, including its hectic market. After comfortably settling into your cabins, join the welcome cocktail and dinner on board. Spend the night on board. 

Day 2 Ho Chi Minh

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Leave by coach for the Cu Chi tunnels, an immense network of underground tunnels that were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches. Have your lunch on board then visit the Museum of Vietnamese History. Afterwards, set out to cross the very narrow Chao Gao Canal. Spend the night on board.

Day 3 My Tho | Vinh Long | Cai Be | Sa Dec

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Early in the morning, continue your cruise to My Tho along the magnificent Chao Gao Canal, which passes from the Saigon River to the Mekong Delta. The Delta is made up of four main arms and thousands of canals, both large and small. Have breakfast as you arrive in My Tho. The town is named after the My Tho River which means “beautiful reed”, and it is peaceful and prosperous. It is known for its many vegetable gardens and fruit orchards. The climate here is hot and pleasant all year long. The surrounding countryside includes one of the most luxuriant gardens in Vietnam with coconut, banana, mango and longan trees.  Visit My Tho islands in small boats. Along the maze that makes up the network of small canals, pretty country villages appear and you can see the local craftsmen at work.

Return on board for lunch and continue your cruise to Vinh Long, and then Caï Be. The town is located in the middle of the delta region, between two arms of the Mekong. Set off in small boats through the arroyos and gardens which lead to Caï Be's colonial church. Vinh Long, with its rich delta soils, is the country of mandarins and oranges. Life is organized around the water, and you can observe houses built on stilts and hundreds of small boats that criss-cross in all directions. Depart for Sa Dec, have dinner and stay in port overnight.

Day 4 Sa Dec | Chau Doc

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Early in the morning make a visit to Sa Dec, famous for its horticulture and known as the “Garden of Cochin-China” in colonial times. Then, take a tour of the small town where there are still a few colonial mansions. Discover the local market and visit the former home of Huynh Thuy Le, who was French novelist Marguerite Duras' lover (Duras spent part of her childhood in Sa Dec). Return on board for a hearty breakfast and continue your cruise to Chau Doc, a town at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam which became part of Vietnamese territory some 300 years ago.

Have lunch on board, and arrive in Chau Doc early in the afternoon. Situated in the heart of a gigantic grid of rice fields, the city of Chau Doc embraces both banks of the Mekong, and the floating farms overspill into the waters. It is a very prosperous town that developed around fishing and farming. Inside the town, you can still see a few colonial buildings with their old-fashioned charm. The market surrounding them is the vibrant heart of the city and offers a multitude of colors. Afterwards, transfer by small boat to visit a fish farm. Weather permitting, visit the top of Sam Mountain. Then, return to Chau Doc and visit the Phat Thay Tay An Pagoda and the Ba Chua Xu Temple. Have dinner and stay in port overnight in Chau Doc.

Day 5 Phnom Penh

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Have breakfast, and spend the day afloat, first heading for the Cambodian border, where you must pass through customs during the morning, and continue your journey. Enjoy lunch and dinner on board, and arrive towards the end of the day in Phnom Penh. Late in the afternoon or after dinner, experience a trip in a “tuk tuk”, a motorized tricycle which is the traditional mode of transport in Phnom Penh. Stay in port in Phnom Penh for the night.

Day 6 Phnom Penh

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Founded in 1434, the capital of Cambodia retains much of its colonial charm, thanks to the rehabilitation of part of its architectural heritage. Visit the Silver Pagoda, a wooden construction from 1892, and subsequently rebuilt in 1962, and the Royal Palace, the symbolic heart of the nation and one of the finest examples of Cambodian architecture in classical Khmer style. Then, visit the National Museum built in 1917 by the French in traditional Khmer architectural style.

Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, and this afternoon join a visit of Tuol Svay Prey S21 school, the former detention, torture and execution center used by the Khmer Rouge during the civil war. Have free time in the market, overflowing with all types of businesses. In the evening, attend an Apsara dance show by student dancers and musicians. Return on board for dinner, and stay in port overnight.

Day 7 Koh Chen | Kampong Tralach | Kampong Chhnang

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Depart early in the morning, having breakfast on board before you visit Koh Chen, a small village where the inhabitants are experts in etched and silvered copper work. The ornaments and decorations used during traditional ceremonies in the pagoda or for weddings are made here. Visit the private school of Mr. Thom Umson, a bright mathematics teacher who speaks French. He always seems to need more pencils and notebooks for his students.

Have lunch on board, and arrive in Kampong Tralach to visit the beautiful Vihara of the Wat Kampong Tarlach Leu Pagoda. Get there by crossing through the village of Kampong Tralach by oxcart, to reach the pagoda on a small path running perpendicular to the river amidst a magnificent landscape of rice fields. The Vihara dates back to the beginning of the last century and has many magnificent wall paintings which are starting to suffer the ravages of time. Completely isolated in the middle of the rice fields, the pagoda is quite unassuming and does not receive many visitors. Its isolation makes it a truly magnificent spot. Then, return on board and continue your cruise to Kampong Chhnang. Enjoy dinner on board and remain in port overnight.

Day 8 Kampong Chhnang | Lake Tonle

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Have breakfast on board, and then visit Kampong Chhnang. Located about 56 miles from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chhnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonlé Sap. There are also many fish farms here. The region is best known for its fine traditional pottery, a major source of revenue for the entire country. The region's very name Kampong Chhnang means “the port of pottery” in Khmer. 

Visit a traditional grove of palm trees and taste some palm sugar before you visit a traditional pottery shop. Next, visit a floating village using small local boats. All the buildings here float - the school, the shops and so on, and life develops along the canal network. Return on board for lunch then continue your cruise to Lake Tonlé (Tonlé Sap), the largest freshwater lake in southeast Asia which forms the heart of the hydraulic system of the Mekong. In the evening have a cocktail and gala dinner. Remain in port overnight.

Day 9 Siem Reap | Disembark | Angkor Wat

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend the morning cruising, having breakfast on board. Depending on the water levels, cross Tonlé Sap on board the RV Indochine II. Arrive in the port of Siem Reap and meet your local guide. Then, transfer to your hotel and check-in before lunch. In the afternoon, visit the famous temple of Angkor Wat, a masterpiece of Khmer architecture. This is the most famous and imposing of all the monuments in Angkor, and its five towers have become the emblem on the national flag of Cambodia. Afterwards, return to Siem Reap. Have dinner and stay the night at the Lotus Blanc Hotel (4 stars), or a hotel of similar standing.

Day 10 Siem Reap | Angkor Thom

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast visit the crown jewel of classic Khmer art - the temple at Banteay Srei. The site was cleared from vines and the forest in 1924 by H. Parmentier. Banteay Srei, which means “the citadel of women” or “citadel of beauty”, is known for the intricacy of its fine carvings. At your return, stop in a local village. Afterwards, visit the temple at Ta Prohm, dating back to 1186, and dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman II. Today 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.

Next have lunch, and explore Angkor Thom in the afternoon. It is a huge architectural masterpiece, accessible through five monumental gates with the mountain temple of Bayon at its center. Bayon temple is famous for its towers with 172 faces of Buddha. 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. This evening have dinner with a Khmer royal dance performance (the Apsara dances). Return to the hotel for the night.

Day 11 Siem Reap

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast at the hotel this morning, visit the “Senteurs d'Angkor” (or perfume workshop), where they make candles, soaps and prepare spices. Afterwards, visit the workshops of “Artisans Angkor”, where young Cambodians are trained in the art of traditional wood carving and stonework based on long-standing Khmer artisanal traditions. After lunch in the hotel, have the afternoon free to wander, or perhaps do some last-minute shopping in Siem Reap.

RV Indochine II

Per person starting at
$2,781
Accommodations aboard the RV Indochine II
Select a Date
Main Deck
8 outside-facing cabins on the main deck equipped with two low beds that can be moved together; ample storage space; private bathroom with shower; air-conditioning; safe; hair dryer; and dresser.
Comfortable cabin aboard the RV Indochine II
Select a Date
Upper Deck
22 outside-facing cabins on the upper deck equipped with two low beds that can be moved together; ample storage space; private bathroom with shower; air-conditioning; safe; hair dryer; and dresser.

Notes

20% discount on children between 2-10 years
30% discount for 3rd person in triple cabin

Please Note: The itinerary, ports of call and visits are subject to modification by the boat owner and/or our representatives on location. The excursions may be amended or completed in the reverse order if deemed necessary. For the safety of our passengers, the captain and crew of the boat may decide to modify the navigational itinerary. The banks of the river on which we travel can be very steep and slippery, depending on the water levels.

(1) Crossing the Tonle Sap Lake: when water levels are high, from August to the end of December, the RV Indochine II crosses the lake. When water levels are low, from January to Mid-March, we cross the lake via speed boats to join the RV Indochine II at Koh Chen. Finally, when water levels are very low, around Mid-March, transfer between Siem Reap and Koh Chen would be organized by air-conditioned coach.

This offer includes:
  • Cruise in the cabin category of your choice
  • Double-occupancy accommodations in a first-class hotel in Siem Reap
  • All meals
  • Visits and excursions mentioned in the program
  • English-speaking Vietnamese and Cambodian tour guides for the visits to Ho Chi Minh City and Angkor
  • Local tour guides during the cruise
  • The services of an onboard tour director
  • Drinks at all meals (1 soft drink or 1 beer or 1 mineral water + 1 tea or coffee per person for each meal)
  • Unlimited tea, coffee and mineral water during the cruise
  • Travel assistance and repatriation insurance
  • Tips (for the crew during the cruise, and the guide and the driver in Siem Reap)
This offer does not include:
  • Flights between Paris and Ho Chi Minh CitySiem Reap and Siem Reap and Paris (or inversely)
  • Transfers between the airport and hotel and the ship and airport
  • Airport taxes for economy class travel (currently €460)
  • Drinks other than those mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Cancellation and baggage insurance (4.5% of the cost of the trip; per person)
  • Cambodian visa for European Union citizens (currently €70; add €100 per person for express visa service)
  • Tips for local guides, bus drivers and boat captains during the 9-day cruise (approximately €30 per person)
Formalities
You must have a valid passport to travel. Please note: Your passport must be valid for six months beyond the last day of your travels.
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kevin M

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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