19033
Vietnam/Cambodia
Angkor Wat and the Mekong River: Life Along the Mekong in Cambodia and Vietnam
Learn from professors and students as you sail along the Mekong River, discussing traditional ways of life, spiritual landmarks, modern culture and complex historical events.
Rating (4.96)
Program No. 19033RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
3,495
Special Offer
Flights start at
FREE
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15 days
14 nights
33 meals
12 B 11 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
En Route
In Flight
DAY
3
Ho Chi Minh City, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
D
Grand Hotel Saigon

Afternoon: 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. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

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

Evening: At leisure. Rest and relax after you journey to Vietnam.

DAY
4
History of Vietnam, Meet Univ. Students, City Discovery
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
B,L
Grand Hotel Saigon

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

Breakfast: Buffet at hotel.

Morning: After breakfast transfer by motor coach to the National University for a lecture on the History of Vietnam, then enjoy tea with University students. Speak with these students about the cultural climate of today's Vietnam.

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

Afternoon: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is a vibrant and thriving metropolis reflecting Vietnam's contentious past as well as its fast-forwarding future. On a walking tour, take notice of the past and present as you take a city orientation admist intricate traditional French colonial architecture, Chinese pagodas and sleek skyscrapers. Visit such sites as the Rex Hotel, the People's Committee Building, Notre Dame Cathedral and the General Post Office. Continue down Le Duan to the Reunification Palace (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: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Free time, Board Riverboat and embark Mekong cruise
Aboard Mekong River Cruise Ship Toum Tiou
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Tiou

Breakfast: Buffet at Hotel.

Morning: Enjoy free time or attend a lecture about the history of the Mekong Delta and its economic significance to the region given by your Group Leader.

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

Afternoon: Transfer to the Toum Tiou and begin your fascinating journey, through small villages, up the Mekong River. A ship information session will take place on this first day aboard.

Dinner: Join the captain and crew for a 'Welcome drink' followed by the 'Welcome Dinner' on board the boat.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
My Tho, Cai Be, Vinh Long
Aboard Mekong River Cruise Ship Toum Tiou
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Tiou

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 riverboat. 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 at My Tho. 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 climate is warm and pleasant year round. Here, we disembark the riverboat and transfer to a coach to Vihn Trang Pagoda. Then continue to Cai Dai temple and the noodle factory.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: Continue to Vinh Long to visit 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.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Sa Dec, Chau Doc
Aboard Mekong River Cruise Ship Toum Tiou
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Tiou

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

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: In Sa Dec stroll around Sa Dec Market along Sa Dec River bank. This 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). Return to the boat with a stopover at a nursery of flower and bonsai trees. Famous for its horticulture (it has many varieties of fabulously exotic flowers) Sa Dec was known as the "Garden of Cochin Chine" during colonial times.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: 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.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Cross into Cambodia, Cruise the Mekong Delta to Phnom Penh
Aboard Mekong River Cruise Ship Toum Tiou
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Tiou

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: Depart for the Vietnamese Cambodian border. Arrival at Vinh Xuong check-point in Vietnam and obtain your visa. The Toum Tiou undergoes some formalities as it clears through the border. The ship leaves the border and proceeds toward Phnom Penh.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: Relax after lunch while the boat crusies towards Phnom Penh.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Phnom Penh, S-21 Center, Killing Fields, Free afternoon
Aboard Mekong River Cruise Ship Toum Tiou
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Tiou

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: This morning, learn about the recent tragedy of Cambodia. This morning's presentation serves as a precursor to the depredations of the Khmer Rouge followed by a field trip to Choeung Ek Killing Fields, where thousands of Cambodians were executed for unwarranted crimes. Then return to town to visit the S-21 (Tuol Sleng) Interrogation Center, where Cambodians were tortured and forced to confess to crimes they did not commit. Through these visits, you will hopefully gain a better understanding of the recent tragic period in Cambodian History, the scars it left, and how it affects both the social and economic development in the country today.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore Phnom Penh. Visit one of the local markets, walk the city streets, or just relax.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: Enjoy an 'Apsara' dance preformance. 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
Royal Palace, Nat. Museum, Kampong Tralach, Ox cart ride
Aboard Mekong River Cruise Ship Toum Tiou
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Tiou

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 socks for the temple later.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: This morning, step back to ancient time in Phnom Penh renowned for its traditional Khmer and French influenced architecture. Start in the ancient past by exploring the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, finishing 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.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: Arrive at Kampong Tralach to visit its wonderful Vihara belonging to Wat Kampong Tralach Leu pagoda. To get to it, cross Kampong Tralach Krom village along a small road perpendicular to the river, crossing some gorgeous 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 laterite foundations. The Vihara is home to some outstanding mural paintings. 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.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Kampong Chhnang & Floating Village on Tonle Sap Lake
Aboard Mekong River Cruise Ship Toum Tiou
B,L,D
CF Mekong Toum Tiou

Activity note: Must be comfortable climbing up and down the riverboat 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 day 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 Chnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonle 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. The village has other products that 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: This afternoon explore a floating village and learn about this unique community on the Tonle Sap, the biggest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Arrive in Siem Reap, Angkor National Museum
Siem Reap
B,L,D
Tara Angkor Hotel

Activity note: Note: Water levels on Tonle Sap vary greatly depending on the time of year. During high water level, board the Toum Teav at Phnom Krom boat pier. In case of low to extremely low water levels (around late March to June) a coach transfer (5-6 hours) will be provided from/to Siem Reap.

Breakfast: On board.

Morning: Enjoy your last morning on the ship while sailing towards Siem Reap. Arrive at the pier near Siem Reap and transfer to your hotel.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel or in town based on the water levels today.

Afternoon: This afternoon, take a field trip to the Angkor National Museum. This new national museum will provide you with an informative introduction to the temples and their art.

Dinner: Dinner in town or at the hotel or in town based on the water levels today.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Siem Reap, Sunrise 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 railings.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

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 center of the city is the mesmerizing temple of Bayon.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After enjoying some free time, go off the beaten path an elementary school, where you will be introduced to the educational system of Cambodia.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Ta Promh Temple, Angkor Museum, Free Time
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: At the hotel.

Morning: Continue your discovery of the Angkor Temples 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. Later 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 you will see.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon we are going to visit the landmine museum. Afterwards, we will take the coach back to Siem Reap and have some free time to explore on our own.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the Siem Reap airport for onward travels home. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. 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 follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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