Road Scholar : Home
The People of the Mekong: Vietnam, Cambodia and Angkor Wat

Program Number: 18681RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/15/2014 - 1/31/2014; 11/5/2014 - 11/21/2014; 1/14/2015 - 1/30/2015; 1/21/2015 - 2/6/2015; 1/28/2015 - 2/13/2015; 2/4/2015 - 2/20/2015; 2/11/2015 - 2/27/2015;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Vietnam/Cambodia
Price starting at: $3,789.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 36; 14 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 12 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Experience the spirit of Southeast Asia as you immerse yourself in the cultures, heritage and natural beauty of Vietnam and Cambodia. In these timeless lands, learn about Cambodia’s mysterious temples and the Vietnamese perspective on the Vietnam War, and experience the simple beauty of daily life in the villages, weaving workshops and kitchens of these two nations.




Highlights

• Spend one night on a Vietnamese junk among the stunning limestone karsts of Halong Bay.
• View the temple restoration in Siem Reap at Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm (the Jungle Temple) and Banteay Srei (the Citadel of Women).
• Encounter the history of the Khmer Rouge regime at the Choeung Ek Killing Fields Memorial and the S-21 Security Prison.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to 1.5 miles and standing for up to 90 minutes on field trips. Sidewalks and roads are often broken or uneven; some stairs without railings. Must be able to embark/disembark small boats.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Hanoi (Vietnam), 3 nights; coach to Halong Bay, 1 nights; flight to Ho Chi Minh City, 3 nights; coach to Chau Doc, 2 nights; speedboat to Phnom Penh (Cambodia), 2 nights; coach to Siem Reap, 3 nights.



Overnight flight from U.S.A. 1 night
Cross International Date Line 1 night
Arrival Hanoi, Vietnam 3 night

Begin your exploration of Hanoi's Old Quarter with a cycle around Hoam Kiem lake and a walk through artisan-filled markets and shops. At a restored “tube house,” learn how residents of the Old Quarter once lived. Learn about traditional life through a water puppet show. Take a hands-on cooking class in the home of a Hanoian and visit a local market for fresh ingredients.



Coach to Halong Bay, Embark Vietnamese Junks 1 night

On board a traditional Vietnamese junk, explore the beauty of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn about the magnificent Surprise Cave during a morning field trip and get a look into local village life during a stop at one of the bay’s inhabited islands.



Disembark ship
Flight to Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) 3 nights
Cruise along Mekong Delta
Coach to Chau Doc 2 nights

Take an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground tunnel system that was used during the Vietnam War. Engage in a discussion with university students and learn about their goals and aspirations. Journey along the Mekong River via small boat, passing villages and fruit farms. Visit temples including An Pagoda, the Temple of Lady Xu and the Tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau.



Boat to Phnom Penh (Cambodia) 2 nights

Cross the border from Vietnam into Cambodia to explore the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda and view Buddhist sculptures and relics at the National Museum. Discuss with a local expert the current economic and political conditions of Cambodia before taking a field trip to S-21 — the interrogation center — and Choeung Ek Killing Fields Memorial to learn about the tragedy of recent Cambodia history.



Coach to Siem Reap
3 nights
Departure

Learn about the cycle of the silk worm, the production of the silks and the weaving process at a local business. Pay a visit to Ta Prohm — the Jungle Temple — and Banteay Srei, the Citadel of Women. Find the breathtaking beauty of Angkor Wat as it silhouettes in the sky during sunrise, and enjoy an opportunity to explore Siem Reap on your own.




Accommodations
Halong Bay: Vietnamese junk (barge) with private bathroom and air-conditioning. Hanoi: Four-star hotel close to the Old Quarter. Ho Chi Minh City: Hotel with French-colonial style. Chau Doc: Four-star hotel on the banks of the Mekong. Phnom Penh: Four-star hotel. Siem Reap: Four-star hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Vietnamese Junks
  Halong Bay, Vietnam 2 nights
   Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel
  Hanoi, Vietnam 3 nights
   Grand Hotel Saigon
  Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam 2 nights
   Victoria Chau Doc Hotel
  Chau Doc, Vietnam 2 nights
   Sunway Hotel
  Phnom Penh, Cambodia 2 nights
   Tara Angkor Hotel
  Siem Reap, Cambodia 3 nights
 Vietnamese Junks
Type: Barge
  Contact info:   Vietnam
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located opposite Hanoi Central Railway Station, Mercure Hanoi La Gare is an inviting oasis in the heart of the bustling city centre. Situated close to the Old Quarter, commercial precinct and ICE Exhibition Center, this Hanoi hotel features modern designand facilities, plus 102 spacious rooms, a French brasserie, internal courtyard and gym. Ideal for business and leisure guests, Mercure Hanoi La Gare offers easy access to Hanoi attractions including the Temple of Literature and Hoan Kiem Lake.
  Contact info: 94 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Dist,
Hanoi,   Vietnam
phone: +84439447766
web: www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-7049-mercure-hanoi-la-gare/index.shtml
  Facility amenities: Restaurant : 1 Bar : 1 WiFi Internet access (paying) Room(s) : 102 Non-smoking rooms : 51 Reduced mobility rooms : 1 Number of free children in parent's room : 2 Fitness centre
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: usual bath configuration
  Elevators available: Yes

 Grand Hotel Saigon
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: One of the oldest hotels in Ho Chi Minh City since 1930 and completely restored in 1997, nestled in Saigon's scenic riverside area, within walking distance to major commercial and entertainment addresses, with a French colonial style, Grand Hotel Saigon provides a perfect base for conducting business or for having completely relaxed vacation. Every guest will enjoy a well-appointed room or luxurious suite with plenty of room to live, to work or just to relax. The warm inviting atmosphere, congenial staff and host of fine services help to make every stay the most enjoyable one.
  Contact info: 8 Dong Khoi Street, District 1
Saigon,   Vietnam
phone: +84838230163
web: grandhotel.vn/index.php
  Facility amenities: The hotel is approximately 25 minutes from Tan Son Nhat International Airport by car. It takes just a short walk to Saigon River and downtown. In the hotel, Belle-Vue Restaurant has a panoramic view of the city and the river, a perfect spot to relax with friends. The coffee lounge serves an extensive list of beverages and cakes. Chez-Nous Restaurant serves an extensive buffet and à-la-carte Asian, Chinese and Western cuisines. Other amenities include a swimming pool, massage, jacuzzi, sauna, steambath, 24-hour room service, business center, transfer from and to the airport, foreign exchange, limousine service, laundry, and gift shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Victoria Chau Doc Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The hotel sits on the banks of the Mekong River, near the center of town and next to the riverfront park.
  Contact info: 32 Le Loi
Chau Doc Town, An Giang Province,   Vietnam
phone: + 84 76 865 010
web: www.victoriahotels-asia.com/eng/hotels-in-vietnam/chau-doc-hotel
  Room amenities: Irons, hair dryer, refrigerator and safety-deposit box.
  Facility amenities: Pool, lounge, restaurant.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Sunway Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located next to Mount Phnom and across the street from the new U.S. Embassy, the hotel is within walking distance of all of Phnom Penh’s attractions and shops.
  Contact info: #1, Street 92, Sangkat Wat Phnom
P.O. Box 633
Phnom Penh,  12202 Cambodia
phone: +855 23 430 333
web: http://phnompenh.sunwayhotels.com/
  Room amenities: Hair dryer, air-conditioning and safety-deposit box.
  Facility amenities: Lounge, restaurant and sundeck.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Tara Angkor Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Tara Angkor is equipped with modern amenities and elegantly furnished to make your stay luxurious and enjoyable. With exceptionally warm hospitality and traditional Cambodian sincerity and kindness your stay will be something not to be forgotten.
  Contact info: Vithei Charles de Gaulle
Siem Reap,   Cambodia
phone: (+855) 63 966 661
web: www.taraangkorhotel.com/facility.php
  Facility amenities: The Tara Angkor Hotel's stylish 4 star property has cemented its status as one of the jewels in Siem Reap’s accommodation sector. Our facilities include 213 magnificent rooms and suites, two restaurants, a lobby bar, and a swimming pool with jacuzzi, fitness center and sauna.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more details.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
This program begins on Day 3 at dinner in Halong Bay, Vietnam. You will be staying at Vietnamese Junks that night.
  End of Program:
This program ends on Day 17 after breakfast at the program hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia. You will be staying at Tara Angkor Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Driving is not recommended in Southeast Asia.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Halong Bay
  Transportation to site: If independent flights do not coincide with the designated group transfer, it will be the responsibility of the participant/s to make arrangements to get to the program site. Your group will meet at Halong Bay at the Bai Tho Pier to board the Vietnamese Junk, Bai Tho. Please note that the transfer from the airport to Halong Bay is 3 hours long. We highly recommend that you meet the group at the airport for the long transfer to Halong Bay since taxis are not readily available. A private transfer from the airport to Halong Bay could cost anywhere between $200-$300 per car (subject to change) that can hold 2-3 participants with luggage. Private arrival and departure transfers -at an additional cost- may be arranged in advance by calling Road Scholar Travel Services.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Siem Reap
  Transportation from site: Taxis from the Tara Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to the airport are available and cost approximately $10 (subject to change). It will take 10 minutes to get from the hotel to the airport. Private arrival and departure transfers -at an additional cost- may be arranged in advance by calling Road Scholar Travel Services.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: US Departure
(Wednesday, January 15)
   
 Depart From: Depart from the US on international flights.

Day 2: En Route
(Thursday, January 16)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight to Vietnam.

Day 3: Arrival Hanoi / Transfer to Halong Bay / Program Orientation
(Friday, January 17)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive to Hanoi International Airport and transfer to Halong Bay. Please note this is a 3 hour transfer.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Halong bay and board your traditional Vietnamese Junk for two nights. "Ha Long" which means "Bay of Descending Dragons," is a stunning a site, famous for its scenic ocean karst topography and peaceful horizon. After checking into your room, join other participants for your program orientation.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner on board the Vietnamese Junk.
   
Accommodations: Vietnamese Junks
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 4: Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
(Saturday, January 18)

Note: Surprise Cave has about 50 stairs that are steep. Must be stable and be able to walk without any aid to go into the cave.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the boat.
 Morning: Begin the morning with a lecture on ecology and environmental issues on Halong Bay. Then take a field trip to Surprise Cave. Discovered in 1901, this very large grotto was used by Viet Cong as a hideout during the war with the United States. A short, steep climb up paved steps leads you to three chambers, the last being the largest.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the boat.
 Afternoon: Enjoy cruising around the bay. Stop at one of the many islands on the bay to learn how locals in the bay live.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the boat.
   
Accommodations: Vietnamese Junks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Transfer to Hanoi / Cyclo Ride / Walking Tour of Old Quarters
(Sunday, January 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the boat.
 Morning: Disembark the Vietnamese boat and transfer to Hanoi. Upon arrival in Hanoi, check into your hotel.
 Lunch: Try the traditional "PHO" lunch.
 Afternoon: Explore Hanoi's vibrant Old Quarter. First begin with a cyclo ride near Hoam Kiem lake and around the Old Quarters. Remnant of a bygone era, The Old Quarter has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century the city consisted of only about 36 streets, most of which are now part of the old quarter. Each street then had merchants and households specialized in a particular trade, such as silk traders, jewellery, etc. The street names nowadays still reflect these specializations, although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce. While here, visit a restored 'tube house' to see how residents in this area once used to live.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Ba Dinh Square / Tea with Monk / Free Afternoon with Optional Activity: Museum of Ethnology
(Monday, January 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Begin the morning with a presentation on the History of Vietnam. Then visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Square where Ho Chi Minh himself read out the Declaration of Independence in 1945. Inside Ba Dinh Square revel at the simplicity of Ho Chi Minh's house. Visit the One Pillar Pagoda, constructed to celebrate the heiress Emperor Ly Thai Tong, who dreamt about receiving a son from the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion seated on a lotus flower. Then continue to Hoe Nhai Pagoda and enjoy tea with a Vietnamese monk and converse with them about their daily lives and the history and beliefs of Mahayana Buddhism.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore on own, or take an optional field trip to the Museum of Ethnology and learn about the life and culture of the 54 ethnic groups that live in Vietnam. This is a self-guided museum visit.
 Dinner: Dinner is on your own.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Cooking Class / Free Afternoon
(Tuesday, January 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning, partake in a hands-on cooking class at Madam Tuyet's. Madame Tuyet became famous both locally and internationally when her Anh Tuyet Restaurant was visited in 2002 by American chef Anthony Bourdain. During class you will visit the local market and learn about Vietnamese ingredients and then proceed to learn how to prepare and cook true northern Vietnamese cuisine.
 Lunch: Savor your Vietnamese creation.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure for you to explore Hanoi on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on own.
   
Accommodations: Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Fly to Saigon / City Orientation / Reunification Hall
(Wednesday, January 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Fly from Hanoi to Saigon. The vibrant city of Saigon is a thriving metropolis reflecting Vietnam's contentious past as well as its fast-forwarding future. Take notice of the past and present as you take a city orientation admist intricate traditional French colonial architecture, Chinese pagodas and sleek skyscrapers. Then continue to the hotel for check in.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: After lunch, take an excursion to Reunification Hall (the former Presidential Palace) built as a modern administrative center. Then continue to the War Remnants Museum, which holds a large collection of weapons, machinery, artifacts and photographs illustrating the War.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Saigon
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: History of Mekong Delta / Orphanage / Free Afternoon
(Thursday, January 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Through a presentation, learn about the history of the Mekong Delta. Then continue to an orphanage that helps house Vietnamese street children.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, experience the Cu Chi Tunnels - an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous guerrilla fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped achieve ultimate military success.
 Dinner: Family hosted dinner.
   
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Saigon
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Cruise the Mekong Delta / Transfer to Chau Doc
(Friday, January 24)

Note: Pariticipants must be comfortable enough to sit and stand and get in and out of small boats.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart for the Mekong Delta and begin your journey along the Mekong River. Along the way, stop in Cai Be and board small boats along the arms of the Mekong River, passing by villages and fruit farms.
 Lunch: Lunch at an ancient house.
 Afternoon: After lunch, learn about industries that are critical to the economy of the Mekong Delta while visiting the Brick and Pottery Factory on your way to Chau Doc. Chau Doc sits at the junction of a tributary linking the Bassac and Mekong Rivers and the Bassac River itself. An incredibly friendly and bustling little city, it has a colour scheme to match its ambience, with bright pastel hues of green, blue and purple adorning many of the newer shopfronts.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Victoria Chau Doc Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Sam Mountain / Presentation on Agriculture and Development Along the Mekong Delta
(Saturday, January 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning, take a field trip to Sam Mountain, the highest elevation on the Mekong provides a spectacular view of the region's Rice Paddies and canal system and the Cambodian border. Stop at a few spots to look at some of the temples such as Tay An Pagoda, the Temple of Lady Xu and the Tomb of Thoai Ngoc Hau.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a lecture on agriculture and development along the Mekong Delta.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Victoria Chau Doc Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Border Crossing / Phnom Penh Discovery
(Sunday, January 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning transfer by speed boat to Cambodia. At the Vietnam Cambodia border, go through immigration, then proceed to Phnom Penh and check into your hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Known once as the “Paris of the East,” discover the charming capital city of Phnom Penh. First visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda and finish the afternoon at the National Museum. The National Museum in Phnom Penh is the most significant public repository of Khmer artifacts in the country, displaying many important Angkorian artifacts and rare pieces from later periods.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Sunway Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: S-21/ Choeung Ek Killing Fields Memorial/ Free Time
(Monday, January 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning participate in a presentation on the current economic and political conditions of Cambodia. Then continue on a field trip to S-21, the interrogation center, and Choeung Ek Killing Fields Memorial. Though not for the weak hearted, seeing these three sites will help you understand the horrors and the legacy left by Pol Pot's regime who ruled Cambodia from1975 to 1979.
 Lunch: Lunch on own.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Phnom Penh. Visit one of the local markets, walk the city streets, or just relax at your hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Sunway Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14: Drive to Siem Reap / Rural Cambodia / Silk Production
(Tuesday, January 28)

Note: Transfer to Siem Reap will take about 5 hours drive with a lunch stop.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Siem Reap making stops along the way.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local silk production and weaving center.
 Afternoon: Learn about the cycle of the silk worm, the production of the silks and the weaving process at this local business operated by an American expat. Then continue to Siem Reap and check into your hotel. Gather for a video presentation on the Angkor Temples.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Tara Angkor Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Ta Prohm / Banteay Srei / Angkor National Museum / Flute Player
(Wednesday, January 29)

Note: Long day. Participants must be able to get in and out of bus and sit and stand nearly the whole day in hot and humid weather.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Begin your introduction to the temples of Angkor with a visit to Ta Prohm, the Jungle Temple. Unlike most of the temples of Angkor, Ta Prohm has been largely left to ruins. With its dynamic interaction between nature and man-made art, this atmospheric temple is a favorite for many - who can't help but feel a little like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft (which was filmed here) as they pick through the rubble. Then continue to Banteay Srei, the Citadel of Women, a pink sandstone temple, built in the latter half of the 10th century by Rajendravarman II and Jayavaraman V.
 Lunch: Lunch at a restaurant.
 Afternoon: Take an optional visit to the Angkor National Museum and gain an overview of the Angkor Temples. Or take this time to explore Siem Reap or the temples on your own. Later in the afternoon, watch "The Flute Player," a film about a Cambodian American who escaped Cambodia and returns to his home country to revive the Khmer traditional performing arts.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy an 'Apsara Dance' preformance danced by a group of local artist that are working to preserve the traditional Cambodian classical arts. As evidenced in part by the innumerable apsaras (celestial dancers) that adorn the walls of Angkorian and pre-Angkorian temples, this dance has been a part of Khmer culture for more than a millennium.
   
Accommodations: Tara Angkor Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Angkor Wat / Angkor Thom / Free Time
(Thursday, January 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at a local cafe.
 Morning: Immerse in the breathtaking beauty of Angkor Wat as it silhouettes in the sky during sunrise. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. As the best-preserved temple at the site, Angkor Wat, is the only temple to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation is Hindu - dedicated to the god Vishnu - then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. Also explore Angkor Thom, the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. Established in the late twelfth century by king Jayavarman VII, at the centre of the city is the mesmerising temple of Bayon.
 Lunch: Lunch on own.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Siem Reap on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Tara Angkor Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 17: Departure
(Friday, January 31)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart for Siem Reap airport for your return flight home.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Phnom Penh Central Market
One of the largest and busiest markets in Phnom Penh, the market was built in 1937 by French architects. This market is a good place to purchase silk scarves, silverware, gems and antiques.
  National Library
Located near Wat Phnom, this graceful building, another example of French colonial architecture, was built in 1924 and set in floral gardens. It was sacked by the Khmer Rouge and turned into a stable.
  Russian Market (Psah Toul Tom Poung)
This popular market has a more varied selection of souvenirs, curios and silks than the Central Market. It also has a good selection of CDs, videos, fabric, electronic goods and the city's best source of objets d'art. Items for sale include wooden and stone carvings, various ritual objects, silverware, and old Indochinese notes and coins, antiquities, Cambodian and Chinese silk and clothing.
  Sisowath Quay
Sisowath Quay is an attractive boulevard running along the banks of the Mekong and Tonle Sap, fronted by a pleasant park. The built-up side of the street houses cafés and shops and the better class of bars, and is extremely popular with tourists and expatriate Westerners. The esplanade along the river is equally popular with Cambodians, who come here in the cool of the evening to enjoy the quasi-carnival atmosphere. It begins at the riverfront park opposite the Palace and is perhaps best experienced in the early evening.
  Siem Reap Akira's Land Mine Museum
During the Khmer Rouge period, Akira's parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge and he was raised by them. Later, he worked for the Vietnamese army and the U.N. force. Now he is removing land mines. The museum houses a huge volume of the land mines removed by him, unexploded bomb shells and photos. Volunteers who lost arms or legs guide you around this museum. TEL: 012-598951. Free.
  Tonle Sap
The Tonle Sap is the largest fresh-water lake in Southeast Asia. Its size changes five-fold from dry season to the end of the rainy season. The lake is home to a number of floating villages; half-day tours can be arranged through the hotel.
  Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Ben Thanh Market
This market sells everything imaginable except automobiles and real estate. If consumerism offers an intimate glimpse of how people live, wandering among the tiny, packed stalls here provides unique insights into modern Vietnamese life. The food court has delicious local specialties. Produce, flowers and meats are sold on the sidewalks surrounding the building.
  Fine Arts Museum
The Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum is housed in a former commercial building dating from the turn of the 20th century. The displays cover three floors of the large structure. The first floor displays changing exhibits of contemporary art by local and international artists. The second floor galleries display contemporary art from the museum's permanent collection. The collection features sketches, paintings and statues, many of which focus on the resistance to the various colonial rulers. Lastly, the third floor displays older works from the first century to the early 20th century. There's a warren of galleries in the basement, accessed through the courtyard in the center of the building. The Fine Arts Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m..(delete) Admission is 10,000 dong. The museum is located on Duc Chinh street just a few blocks from the traffic circle in front of the Ben Thanh Market.
  History Museum
(Vien Bao Tang Lich Su). Although the front door leads directly to a statue of the ubiquitous "Uncle Ho" (as Ho Chi Minh is known), this museum is dedicated to Vietnamese history from the earliest inhabitants to 1930, when the Communist Party was established. Half of the museum covers the history of the nation as a whole; the other half focuses on the art and artifacts of southern Vietnam. The ethnography section is particularly interesting. The neo-Vietnamese structure was built by the French in 1929, and much of the current collection was compiled by the French Far Eastern Institute. Open Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m.–11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Cost is 10,000 dong.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Dragon Apparent, Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam


Author: Norman Lewis


Description: A classic account of travels and adventure during the last years of French Indochina, strong on atmosphere and including wonderfully detailed descriptions of local cultures and archaeological treasures. First published in 1951.



A Traveller's History of Southeast Asia


Author: J.M. Barwise, Nicholas J. White


Description: A compact history of the region, including the Khmer and the various ancient kingdoms that produced Borobudur, Angkor and other architectural marvels.



Arts of Southeast Asia


Author: Fiona Kerlogue


Description: A handsome guide to the art, architecture, textiles and crafts of Southeast Asia.



Birds of Southeast Asia


Author: Craig Robson


Description: This authoritative, masterfully illustrated guide, featuring 140 color plates covering 1,270 species throughout the region, also includes Malaysia, Burma, Borneo and Indonesia.



Cambodia's Curse, The Modern History of a Troubled Land


Author: Joel Brinkley


Description: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Joel Brinkley returns to Cambodia a generation after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime to report on the country's continuing struggle to recover from its past.



Communion, A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam


Author: Kim Fay


Description: Fay recounts in savory detail a five-week journey with two friends from Hanoi to Saigon in search of the traditions, rituals and pleasures of food from local markets and street foods to haute cuisine.



Eyewitness Guide Vietnam and Angkor Wat


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: Featuring innovative site diagrams, local maps and hundreds of color photographs, this handy companion introduces the culture, history and attractions of Vietnam.



Fire in the Lake


Author: Frances FitzGerald


Description: A classic historical, political and cultural portrait of the Vietnam War, seen through the eyes of the Vietnamese. Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, FitzGerald, a staff writer at the New Yorker and a reporter in Vietnam, presents a vivid image of a revolution and a clear-sighted case for why the U.S offensive was doomed from the start.



Lonely Planet Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & the Greater Mekong


Author: Nick Ray


Description: This compact practical guide covers the entire Mekong from the heights of Yunnan to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.



Temples of Cambodia, The Heart of Angkor


Author: Helen Ibbitson Jessup, Barry Brukoff (Photographer)


Description: Jessup (Art and Architecture of Cambodia) provides the accompanying essays to this oversized portfolio of dazzling color images by Barry Brukoff, who has been photographing the monuments of Cambodia since 1963.



The Eaves of Heaven, A Life in Three Wars


Author: Andrew X. Pham


Description: Pham recounts the story of his father's life during the French occupation, Japanese invasion and the American War, weaving such momentous events with anecdotes from his childhood and details of family, friends, food and daily life.



The Gods Drink Whiskey


Author: Stephen T. Asma


Description: Asma writes with verve and wit in this eye-opening account of his yearlong stint teaching at the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh. His account is both an overview of Theravada Buddhism and a down-to-earth portrait of contemporary Cambodia.



The Mekong, Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future


Author: Milton Osborne


Description: A cultural history of the great river from prehistory to European exploration, colonial tensions and modern challenges. It's an engaging introduction to the history of Southeast Asia.



The Quiet American


Author: Graham Greene


Description: A classic, this is the most famous Western work of fiction on Vietnam. Greene writes of a love triangle between a war correspondent, his Vietnamese consort and an optimistic young American during the last days of French rule.



The River's Tale, A Year on the Mekong


Author: Edward Gargan


Description: A personal, probing chronicle of a 3,000 mile journey on the river from its source in China through Tibet, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.



The Road of Lost Innocence


Author: Somaly Mam


Description: Sold into servitude by her grandfather, Mam recounts the experiences of her early life, her awakening as an activist -- and work to rescue thousands of women and children in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.



Vietnam Journeys


Author: Charles Fields


Description: Photographer and traveler Charles Fields portrays the cultures and landscapes of Vietnam from the World Heritage Site of Hue and the Phung Hiep floating market to its forests and coastline in stunning color photographs.



Vietnam, A Traveler's Literary Companion


Author: John Balaban, Nguyen Qui Duc


Description: From rain forest and rural countryside to the cities, these 17 stories from Vietnam's finest writers explore its landscapes, myths and changing traditions.



Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia Map


Author: Nelles


Description: A convenient, double-sided map of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam at a scale of 1:1,500,000, with city maps of Hanoi, Vientiane, Ho Chi Minh City, Luang Prabang, and Phnom Penh. Includes the eastern portion of Thailand and Bangkok.



Vietnam, Rising Dragon


Author: Bill Hayton


Description: The veteran BBC newsman covers the tangled politics, rapidly changing economy, culture, history and people of Vietnam with great insight in this timely portrait of a nation in transition.





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