19033
Vietnam/Cambodia

Angkor Wat & the Mekong River: The Wonders of Cambodia & Vietnam

On a riverboat voyage along the legendary Mekong River, meet the people and discover the places that make Cambodia and Vietnam two of the most fascinating countries in Southeast Asia.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19033RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
3,799
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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15 days
14 nights
33 meals
12 B 10 L 11 D
DAY
1
Depart the U.S.
In Flight
DAY
2
En Route
In Flight
DAY
3
Arrival Siem Reap, Orientation
Siem Reap
D
Tara Angkor Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Rest and relax after your long journey to Cambodia. The hotel has many amenities to explore. In the early evening, convene at the hotel with other participants for our Program Orientation. We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances or weather. River conditions and water levels could affect the progress of the ship, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Because of this, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. The operators reserve the right to change the content of field trips and excursions without prior notice. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Welcome Dinner at the hotel featuring a taste of local food with bottled water, coffee/tea included; additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Ta Promh, Landmine Museum, Banteay Srei
Siem Reap
B,L,D
Tara Angkor Hotel

Activity note: 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: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Take a drive to Ta Prohm and begin your introduction to the temples of Angkor, 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.

Lunch: At a local restaruant in Siem Reap.

Afternoon: As a group we will transfer to the Landmine Museum and enjoy a lecture. Later in the afternoon visit the temple Banteay Srei, the Citadel of Women. The Citadel of Women, a pink sandstone temple, was built in the latter half of the 10th century by Rajendravarman II and Jayavaraman V. The carvings of Banteay Srei are among the oldest and most intricate that we will see.

Dinner: At a local restaurant with coffee, tea, and bottled water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Siem Reap Sun Rise at Angkor Wat, Free Time
Siem Reap
B,L
Tara Angkor Hotel

Activity note: Must be able to walk on uneven terrain. Climbing is required on stone steps, some without railing.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Wake up and enjoy coffee/tea and a light snack. Afterwards, 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. After this breathtaking experience, return to our hotel for a proper breakfast. We will then continue our morning with the temple exploration of 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 center of the city is the mesmerizing temple of Bayon.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with coffee, tea, and bottled water included; other beverages available for purchase

Afternoon: Free time this afternoon to explore Siem Reap independently. Refer to the Free Time Suggestions in the First Mailing Packet..

Dinner: On our own to sample the local fare. The Group Leader is happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Free Time, Embark ship at Siem Reap Pier, Floating Village
Tonle Sap
B,D
CF Mekong Toum Teav

Activity note: While cruising upstream over the next few days, we will make stops for shore excursions along the way. Be prepared for getting on and off the boat by ladder or by small boats to go ashore. Water levels vary depending on when you go. During high water level, board the Toum Teav near Siem Reap. In case of low to extremely low water levels (December to June) a coach transfer (5-6 hours) will be provided from/to Siem Reap. Cruise itineraries are subject to change, based on water levels.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a free morning to explore on our own.

Lunch: On our own.

Afternoon: Meet back at the hotel and transfer to the Siem Reap Pier to board your ship, the Toum Tiou. Board the ship in the late afternoon. The Captain and crew will give everyone a safety briefing shortly after boarding. Afterwards sail and stop at a floating village to learn about this unique community on the Tonle Sap.

Dinner: Captain's 'Welcome Drink and Dinner' on board with additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Kampong Chhnang
Kampong Chhnang
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Teav

Activity note: Must be comfortable climbing up and down the barge ladder. Will require that participants get in and out of small wooden boats. Must be able to be active between sitting and standing for at least 4 hours a day.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: A great morning awaits you in Kampong Chhnang village, or Pottery Village, where villagers still produce pottery using traditional methods. Located some 56 miles from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chhnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonlé Sap. Fish farming is also widely practiced in the area. The area is famous for its pottery ware, unchanged in style for centuries, which is produced in sufficient quantities to supply the entire country. Other village products are not to be overlooked, such as the Thnot tree (sugar palm – a real national symbol) that abounds in the area, a mellow tasting, caramel-colored sugar sold in large cakes, and palm wine.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: Enjoy the afternoon sailing on board the Toum Teav.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Kampong Tralach, Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Teav

Activity note: Will be walking and standing on and off for at least 3 to 4 hours minimum. Must be comfortable to get on and off an ox cart, sitting on hay bales for half an hour. Participants might not want to wear shorts while sitting on the hay and bring a pair of socks for the temple later.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: Arrive at Kampong Tralach to visit its wonderful Vihara belonging to Wat Kampong Tralach Leu pagoda. To get to it, we will enjoy a ride on a traditional ox cart, approach Kampong Tralach Krom village along a small road perpendicular to the river, crossing some stretches of emerald rice paddy. The Vihara dates back to early last century. It was probably built on an older site, as indicated by the latérite foundations. The Vihara is home to some outstanding mural paintings; however they are starting to suffer from weathering. They remain some of the last survivors of cultural destruction that continues unabated due to widespread indifference. Standing by itself in the middle of rice fields, it is a modest pagoda that receives very few visitors. Its isolation may well be its undoing, as was the case for Wat Tani Pagoda in the province of Kampot.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: Step back into time, as you arrive to Phnom Penh - renowned for its French influenced architecture. Begin the afternoon by attending an expert lecture on Khmer Culture and Cambodian History, and then take some time to explore Phnom Penh on our own where we can visit one of the local markets, walk the city streets, or just relax.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Phnom Penh, S-21, Killing Fields, Royal Palace
Phnom Penh
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Teav

Activity note: Will need to be able to walk and stand on and off for at least 3 to 4 hours minimum. Heat and humidity needs to be taken into account.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: Explore Choeung Ek Killing Fields, where thousands of Cambodians were executed for unwarrented crimes. Then return to town to visit the the S-21 (Tuol Sleng) Interrogation Center, where Cambodians were tortured and forced to confess to crimes they did not commit. Through these visits, we will hopefully gain a better understanding of the recent tragic period in Cambodian history, the scars it left, and how it affects both social and economic development in the country today.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Discover the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda in the afternoon.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: Enjoy an 'Apsara Dance' performance 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.

DAY
10
Kaam Samnaar, Border Crossing into Vietnam, Chau Doc
Chau Doc
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Teav

Activity note: Participants must get their Vietnam Visa in advance. Once arrived at the Vietnam border the Group Leader will assist with collecting passports and visas to present to Vietnamese officials.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: Navigation towards Kaam Samnaar - the Cambodian Border and arrive mid-morning. The ship undergoes some formalities as it gains clearance to cross into Vietnam. The ship leaves the border and proceeds toward Chau Doc in Vietnam.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: Enjoy a lecture by our study leader on the Economic Development along the Mekong Delta. The Toum Teav drops anchor before the canal of Chau Doc.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Chau Doc, Sa Dec
Sa Dec
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Teav

Activity note: Must be able to comfortably walk anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 miles in the morning.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: Located to the north at the beginning of Mekong's famous delta, Chau Doc straddles both banks of the Mekong which fans out to the dimensions of a river mouth here. Floating fish farms have sprung up everywhere. Bamboo fish drying racks are set up a meter above the water's surface. The bourgeoning downtown area features some charmingly rustic colonial buildings, squeezed in by the marketplace - the colorful, vibrant heart of the city. This is the perfect timing to discover the effervescence of the local market. Back to the pier, departure for the fish raising rafts. Afterwards, enjoy a historical overview of Vietnam and Cambodia on our way to Sa Dec.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: This afternoon, arrive in Sa Dec. Continue to Kien An Cung Pagoda. Stroll around Sa Dec Market along the Sa Dec River bank. Sa Dec is a small city of 30,000 inhabitants is fascinating in its unspoiled authenticity and undisturbed by visitors. It provides a glimpse of the delta where a few colonial houses still remain, including the "Chinaman's house" (from Duras' novel "The Lover", also made into a movie).

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Vinh Long, Cai Be, My Tho
My Tho
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Teav

Activity note: This will be an active day. Though there won't be a lot of walking, participants must be able to easily climb ladders on the side of the barge. Participants must also be comfortable getting in and out small wooden boats at least 3 to 4 times a day.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: Arrive in Vinh Long and explore the brick and pottery factory, the Binh Hoa Phuoc Islet Nursery of fruit trees as well as a typical house and a show room of traditional farming tools. Vinh Long, which translates as "Majestic Dragon", is right in the middle of the delta, between two arms of the Mekong. The soil of Vinh Long is enriched by silt deposits, making it ideal for growing mandarins and other citrus fruits. Life is organized around the water. Houses on stilts, hawkers on boats, hundreds of small crafts crisscross in all directions. Then continue to Cai Be floating market.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: Arrive in My Tho and take a local boat to visit Phoenix island and explore local people's daily life and enjoy locally seasonal fruits. On the banks of a northern arm of the Mekong, My Tho, which translates as "fragrant herb", is where vistors come to discover the beauty of the delta. It's a quiet, prosperous city of about 100,000 inhabitants, famous for its many fruit orchards, gardens and the huge rice fields that surround it. The surrounding countryside is home to one of the most luxuriant gardens of Vietnam, with its coconut palms, banana and mango trees.

Dinner: Captain's 'Farewell Dinner' on board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Cruise arrives Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, City Orientation
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
B,L,D
Grand Hotel Saigon

Activity note: Transfer by private motor coach today approximately 2 miles. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) exploration in the afternoon by bus on busy streets with lots of traffic and noise.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: Arrive at Ho Chi Minh City /Saigon in the morning. This vibrant city is a thriving metropolis reflecting Vietnam's contentious past as well as its fast-forwarding future. Clear port authorities and transfer to hotel.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with bottled water, coffee/tea included; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Check into the hotel and enjoy a presentation on current economic situation in Vietnam. Afterwards, take a motor coach city discovery of Saigon passing by some of the major sites including the Rex Hotel, the People’s Committee Building which was built as the Hotel D’Ville by the French in 1908, Notre Dame Cathedral and the General Post Office.

Dinner: Enjoy a family-hosted dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
B,L,D
Grand Hotel Saigon

Breakfast: Buffet at hotel.

Morning: Explore Chinatown and discover this ethnic group and their influence in Vietnams economy. Then join some students for a cup of tea and learn about their education experience in Vietnam.

Lunch: Enjoy the taste of Vietnam as you sample Pho - a local favorite!

Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Saigon on our own. Refer to the Free Time Suggestions sent out in the First Mailing.

Dinner: 'Farewell Dinner' and program wrap-up at the hotel.

Evening: Say farewell to new Road Scholar friends and pack and prepare for departures home tomorrow.

DAY
15
Program Concludes, Departures Home
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. Program concludes.

Morning: Transfer to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) for return flight home. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. For participants enrolled on the post-extension 14574 "Northern Vietnam Discovery": You will be getting your air tickets from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi from our local coordinator today. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and Instagram Feed to share photos of our program. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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