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Phnom Penh Golden Temple

The Lost Civilization - Low Water

Saigon to Siem Reap - Example 8 Day Cruise aboard The Jahan
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On this 8-day river cruise, aboard the luxurious British-Indian colonial-style riverboat, The Jahan, from Saigon to Siem Reap. Cruise along the mighty Mekong River and discover the rich heritage and cultures of the Mekong Delta. During your trip, learn about the culture and heritage with visits to rural villages, historic pagodas, and colorful markets. Engage with locals and witness skilled artisans who create exquisite handicrafts and delicacies. Let your soul float and your eyes wander while the boat makes it's way upstream, passing locals living in the Delta and floating markets selling fish, coconut candy, tropical fruit, vegetables, and flowers. Experience all this and more on this life-enriching cruise along the Mekong. 
Boat House in MekongThe beautiful Vinh Trang temple near My ThoFlower farms in Sa Dec, VietnamExploring Mekong Delta in Ben TreHarvesting rice in VietnamThe Vinh Trang Temple in My ThoKampong TralachFloating Market in Cai BeFloating Villages in MekongPhnom Penh Golden Temple
Highlights
  • Cruise upstream along the Mighty Mekong River aboard a luxurious riverboat
  • Visit the floating market in Cai Be and see local products and delicacies.
  • Learn about the culture and life of the locals along the river with an expert guide
  • Board local boats and head to a floating fish farm in Tan Chau.
  • Discover Phnom Penh, once named "Paris of the East."
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Saigon | My Tho | Embark | Cai Be

  • Ship
  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Upon arrival, you will receive a welcome greeting in the lounge in Saigon. Kick back with a second coffee as the staff collects your details for the boarding. Bid a fond farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon and travel 70 kilometers south over land towards My Tho to embark on our vessel. After checking into your luxurious floating “home” for the next several days, your first inclination may be to step on your balcony to watch the ship set sail on its fascinating Mekong River voyage.

A lunch buffet is served in the restaurant while the vessel steadily glides upstream. Now it is time to get acquainted with one of the largest streams in Asia, which runs an estimated length of 4,909 km (3,050 mi) and discharges 475 cubic km (114 cubic miles) of water annually. Millions of people – from China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam – pay tribute to this mighty river, which provides sustenance and protection for its inhabitants.

Let your soul float and your eyes wander while the boat makes it's way upstream. In the afternoon, you are invited to afternoon tea in the open-air bar. Get to know your fellow travelers while enjoying some tasty treats. While cruising, relax for the rest of the day on your private balcony or be pampered by the therapists at the Apsara Spa.

While you savor your delightful dinner, the ship reaches Cai Be. Cai Be would later become the surrounding region's predominant water-based trading hub. The ship will anchor mid-stream near Cai Be and moors there overnight. If you are in the mood for some evening entertainment, there is a cinema in the lounge showcasing classic movies and interesting documentaries on a nightly basis.

Day 2: Cai Be | Tan Chau

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake up early to witness the spectacular scenery at the break of dawn. To make the experience complete, join the daily morning Tai Chi class. Afterward, a rich breakfast buffet awaits, or if you prefer, breakfast can be served directly to your room.

Cai Be is a charming market town famous for its Catholic-French church and the manufacturing of traditional crafts and food products. The once enormous floating market of Cai Be gets smaller year by year since trading on the water is continually shifting towards modern markets. However, you can still see boat-to-boat trading of local goods, such as fruits and agricultural products, and imagine what this must have looked like on a larger scale. You will also learn from the guide about the long-lasting trading culture and how each boat has a special marker to let buyers know what goods they are selling.

By local boat, sail along the green canal network and watch the farmers working in the fields. A visit ashore to a workshop shows us the manufacturing of rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies, and rice wine. Cai Be’s surrounding areas are covered by palm trees, which is why the region is also famous for the production of coconut candy. While the vessel continues sailing upstream, you can enjoy time to yourself or head to the bar to enjoy an authentic Vietnamese coffee as you watch the life on the riverbanks floating by.

In the afternoon, the vessel reaches the area of Sa Dec and arrives at one of the larger islands in the vast stream of the Mekong, Binh Thanh Island. Several communities have settled here and made their living by growing water hyacinths. Visit one of these untouched areas exclusively. By wandering through the village, you will get a deep understanding of native life. A local artisan will demonstrate the entire process of traditional mat-making and let you try weaving yourself. You will also meet a local elderly couple who will share their story of living on this island. They are always happy to chit-chat with our guests.

Back on board, you may take a dip in the pool on the sun deck. In the evening, the expert guide offers a presentation on life on the Mekong Delta as the ship continues sailing to Tan Chau. This town is a pleasant, slow-paced border town near the Cambodian border with a small Chinese, Kinh, and Khmer community. The ship will moor near the city, with views of the riverbanks.

Day 3: Tan Chau | Phnom Penh

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. Once on shore, see Tan Chau’s vibrant town life. Hop on a xelois, which are local vehicles still used as taxis in this area. Your Xeloi driver will slowly navigate through the streets to observe all the workshops, houses, and shops while feeling the laid-back vibe of this place. Make a stop at the colorful local market near one of the town’s temples, interact with the vendors of this friendly town, and try your hand at bargaining with them.

To see what Tan Chau is famous for, board a local boat and head to a floating fish farm. You are about to get an exclusive look into the world's largest inland aquaculture industry. The specialties of this region are tilapia and the Basa catfish, or Pangasius, which are unique to the Mekong River basin and are rapidly gaining popularity in the international seafood market.

Back on board, sail towards the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. Be ready for a fascinating and leisurely cruise through the deep Cambodian countryside toward Phnom Penh. The whole afternoon is at your disposal. The afternoon is perfect for massages, relaxation on a terrace deck sun bed, or private balcony kickbacks. You also may like to visit the bridge, as the captain always has a little story to share about the river. Or, if you are curious to learn more about Khmer gastronomy, join a culinary workshop to sharpen your knowledge about local cuisine.

After some additional cruising time back aboard, the boat arrives and docks at the pier in Phnom Penh. Feel free to go out and explore by yourself after dinner. Stroll along the river promenade and watch the locals chit-chatting, selling odds and ends, or have a drink in one of the numerous bars.

Day 4: Phnom Penh

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Welcome to Phnom Penh, the city once named Paris of the East. It retains much of its rustic charm and elegance despite its rapid development. This lovely town has a rich history and culture that are still evident on numerous street corners.

Your day will start with a full-day sightseeing tour right after breakfast. Ride a bus to visit the Killing Fields outside the city and, afterward, the centrally located prison called S21. Both historic sites display the sad and cruel chapter of the country’s history when the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia with terror and oppression. Alternatively, you may explore the city on your own in the morning before re-joining the group.

Have lunch at a well-known restaurant in town and experience the elegant air for which Phnom Penh’s top addresses are known. The exploration of Phnom Penh continues with the cultural highlights of the city’s heritage. The golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum top the list of the city’s must-sees. The day trip ends with a cyclo ride along the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh and back to the ship.

Mr. Jean-Michel, a local expert, will give an eye-catching lecture about Cambodia's modern history in the early evening. A professor from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, who has studied the subject extensively and in person, is a highlight of this cruise.

Take some rest or join fellow passengers at the bar for refreshing drinks. Join your fellow passengers for a special open-air gala featuring a barbecue dinner feast in the evening. The dinner is accompanied by a classic Apsara dance performance and other folklore dances.

As the evening unwinds, enjoy your supper with a good glass of wine and marvel at the skyline of Phnom Penh and the calming flow of the Tonle River.

Day 5: Kampong Tralach | Kampong Chhnang (Tonle)

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Before the sun peeks over the horizon, the cruiser sets sail towards Kampong Tralach on the Tonle River. This part of the Tonle River is quite interesting to watch from the terrace, as the river at some points is very narrow. The boat glides through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape.

Upon reaching Kampong Tralach, you can see laughing children waving enthusiastically at your arrival, and traditional ox carts are still a common means of transportation. Your ox-powered vehicle takes you on a journey along the riverside and through back roads lined with rice paddy fields until you arrive at a tiny village.

While sailing upstream, enjoy your lunch, and afterward, the crew will display a variety of traditional Khmer fashions the locals wear on special occasions. Conversely, the Cambodian scarf, the Krama, is worn by people of all ages and walks of life. 

Later in the day, the ship cruises along the narrow Tonle River towards a fascinating cruising spot in Cambodia, Kampong Chhnang, which means “water world," where everything is balanced on sticks in water-rich soil. Take a local boat to the shore and hop on a minibus to reach a nearby, unique rural village to explore local specialties, Khmer-style pottery, and the process of making palm sugar from the Cambodian Skor t’not palm tree.

Drive back to the shore, where the local boat starts an exploration of nearby floating villages. Although you are in the heartland of Cambodia, the residents of these floating villages are actually of Vietnamese descent. Once you are back on board, relax until dinner is served and take in the beautiful countryside and its gentle evening sounds.

Day 6: Koh Oknha Tey | Kampong Cham (Mekong)

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the early morning, sail from the lower Tonle River towards the Mekong, passing their confluence at Phnom Penh. You will arrive at the island of Koh Oknha Tey, which lies in the middle of the Mekong and owes its fame to manufacturing high-class silk products. Go for a sightseeing tour along the island’s roads a bit via tuk-tuk before arriving at the village’s workshops and witnessing the curious process of making silk, starting from a tiny silkworm larva to a cocoon, then dyeing, spinning, and weaving the fibers into high-quality Cambodian silk.

Before lunch, the expert guide holds a presentation about the geography of the Mekong River and Tonle Lake, along with the unique attributes of the area. Afterward, a monk’s blessing ceremony delivers spirits and wishes for health and prosperity for all.

The ship will sail towards the small Angkor Ban village up in the Mekong River. This village is famous for its unspoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses. The sunsets and the light now bathe everything in a golden hue. The surrounding natural beauty is the perfect backdrop for a riverbank gathering with cocktails and dancing with the crew in this remote and secluded location. Continue cruising while dinner is served, and the boat finds an overnight spot on the Kampong Cham riverbank.

Day 7: Kampong Cham

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a sumptuous breakfast, leave the ship for a tour of the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey (7th century). Built to honor the Hindu god Hirahara, the complex is now a Buddhist temple, a testament to the country’s past and present religious beliefs. This small complex sits on a hilltop with breathtaking views over the Mekong. Many young novice monks live on the compound of Wat Hanchey. Have the chance to observe a few of their daily activities, such as eating simple meals, praying, studying, or hanging out and having a conversation while in their saffron-colored robes.

After returning to the ship and partaking in lunch, stop at the tranquil monastery of Wat Nokor. Although not massive like the vast complexes of Angkor Wat, Wat Nokor is the largest temple in Kampong Cham Province and is distinctive from other temples with its black sandstone walls. Here, you can engage in light banter with some of the monks living in the area.

As it is a low-water season, you may be fortunate to visit a nearby spectacle only present during the Mekong’s dry months (December to May). The Koh Paen Bamboo Bridge connects the mainland with Koh Paen Island and is rebuilt by the local community every November when water levels drop.

Continue to cruise further up the Mekong to visit a local school and learn more about the education of the young Cambodian generation. Children from the Organization for Basic Training (OBT) are always excited to show off their skills in music and dance. Shower the young performers with applause, and in return, you are bestowed with the most genuine and happy Cambodian smiles.

Day 8: Kampong Cham | Siem Reap | Disembark | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Enjoy your last breakfast on board this floating sanctuary. You will disembark the ship for a transfer by bus to the drop-off point in Siem Reap.

The transfer takes approximately 4.5 hours, including a rest stop. The expert guides will give you fascinating facts about Cambodia and the area you travel through during the ride to keep you entertained. You will arrive in Siem Reap in the afternoon to catch your flight home.

Ship/Hotel

The Jahan

The Jahan
The Jahan
The Jahan Lobby and Lounge

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$2,132
The Jahan - Superior Stateroom
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Superior Staterooms
Room Size: 30 sqm/323 sqft (8 double beds and 4 twins) Located in the main deck and all have private balconies. It comes with air conditioning, an espresso machine, a minibar, and a hot water kettle. The spacious rooms are designed gracefully with hand-painted wall-to-ceiling decors and a private balcony for relaxing. The in-cabin bathroom has an out-sized shower.
The Jahan - Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
Room Size: 30 sqm/323 sqft (6 double beds and 2 twins) Located in the upper deck, the stateroom features interconnected cabins ideal for families and groups of friends. Each cabin comes with multiple features from a luggage rack, in-room safe, music and cabin system, inhouse phone, a sun hat, and desk and chairs.
The Jahan - Signature Suite
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Signature Suites
Room Size: 36 sqm/388 sqft (2 doubles with 32 sqm and 2 doubles with 36 sqm) Located in the upper deck area, while two more are based at the very front of the main deck.
The Jahan - Taj Noble Suites
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Noble Suite
Room Size: 51 sqm/549 sqft. The majestic suites are individually designed and situated at a prime location at the front part of the upper deck. Guests can enjoy these spacious suites that feature a private balcony with a jacuzzi as they enjoy the beautiful scenery. The room comes with butler service for all the guests' needs. The stylish private bathrooms include bathrobes and a hairdryer.
Included
  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Professional English-speaking guide
  • Internet access (in limited areas)
  • Daily Group Shore-Excursions
  • All entrance fees as per program
  • All transfers as per itinerary by air-conditioned Vehicles
  • Welcome drink, brewed coffee, tea and mineral water
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Spa Treatments
  • Port taxes/fees
  • Passport or Visa fees

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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