Travelling the mighty Mekong, the longest river in southeast Asia, is a superb way to see Vietnam and Cambodia. Begin in Siem Reap in the temples of Angkor, before boarding an all-inclusive 7 night river cruise. Once docking in Vietnam, visit Saigon before hitting the beach in Mui Ne. This tour can be done in reverse - tailored to your needs!
DAY 1 - WELCOME TO SIEM REAP!
Your private guide and driver will meet you at the airport in Siem Reap and take you to your hotel, where you can check in and freshen up. This afternoon you will cycle to see the sunset on the top of Bakheng Hill, where you can look over the temple of Angkor Wat and the whole site of Angkor Heritage. Return to the Navutu Dreams, a gorgeous boutique resort in the countryside, which is the ultimate relaxation spot. (Explorer Room, B&B).
DAY 2 - EXPLORE THE MIGHTY ANGKOR WAT
This morning you have the opportunity to rise early to see sunrise over the largest temple in the whole complex; Angkor Wat. After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, you will visit the fortified city of Angkor Thom as well as Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, and the Terraces of the Elephants. Lunch is included at Viroth’s restaurant. Finish your day tour with the sunset at Pre Rup Temple, The beautiful rusty-red bricks are accentuated during sunset and stands in brilliant contrast to the lush green of the jungle in the distance.
DAY 3 - GET OFF THE BEATEN TRACK AT ANGKOR
Head to the lesser-visited Banteay Srei temple this morning, which for many years was off limits due to its remote location and Khmer Rouge activity. On the way back to Siem Reap you can visit the Roluos Group of temples, (built in the 9th century), that served as the capital of the Khmer empire under King Indravarman, as well as the temple of Ta Prohm, which boasts atmospheric dark towers and courtyards, and is best known at the Tomb Raider film set.
DAY 4 - BOARD YOUR 7-NIGHT MEKONG RIVER CRUISE
This morning you will be transferred by coach to Kampong Cham, with your fellow cruise companions. A packed lunch will be provided on the coach and you will stop at Kampong Thom along the way. After lunch you will board the lovely Pandaw Cruise, which will be taking you down the Mekong and into Vietnam slowly for the next seven nights. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and select drinks are included every day. (Main Deck Cabin).
DAY 5 - VISIT KAMPONG CHAM
Today you will disembark the boat and visit Kampong Cham, an important provincial capital with French colonial buildings, busting markets and an attractive setting overlooking the Mekong. Travelling by minivan you will have the opportunity to visit the 12th century Angkor period temple of Wat Nokor, the hilltop temple of Wat Hanchey and the Twin Holy mountains of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srey (Man and Woman Hill). Later you will return to your boat for dinner, where you can enjoy your evening at leisure.
DAY 6 - EXPLORE THE WETLANDS OF TONLE RIVER
Today you will explore the wetlands around the Tonle River. You will travel either by coach or boat depending on water levels before boarding a smaller boat to discover the vast wetlands around the mouth of the river. The Tonle River connects the Mekong main channel at Phnom Penh with the great Tonle Sap Lake. This section is the prettiest part of your river journey as you pass through villages, woodland and hills. Return to Pandaw Cruise tonight.
DAY 7 - VISIT PHNOM PENH
Today you will reach Phnom Penh and after leaving the boat can enjoy a private cyclo tour of the city and choose what you would like to see. In the afternoon, there is an optional excursion (by coach) to the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng or S21 detention centre, which is included in the cruise price. Sailing into Phnom Penh past the Royal Palace and bustling corniche is highlight to any Mekong voyage. Pandaw moors right in the city centre and you can walk virtually anywhere.
DAY 8 - CRUISING DOWN THE MEKONG
Today you can relax on board as you cruise towards Vietnam in the main Mekong channel, an international shipping route. The ship has a lovely upper deck with chairs and sun beds as well as a games room, bar and restaurant so you can enjoy a relaxing day at your own leisure and make the most of the last passing river sights in Cambodia before entering Vietnam.
DAY 9 - EXPLORE THE MEKONG DELTA IN VIETNAM
Welcome to Vietnam! This morning you will board a smaller sampan trip to visit the Cham villages. You will also have the opportunity to explore the town of Chau Doc, which retains a ‘French’ style charm with many old colonial buildings. The market at Chau Doc is excellent and well worth a wander through. The town is easy to walk around or you can choose to enjoy a cyclo ride.
DAY 10 - EXPLORE THE BACKWATERS OF THE MEKONG DELTA
Take a lovely Sampan boat excursion to Sa Dec via Vinh Long this morning along canals and backwaters. You will visit Sa Dec and see the local market and the ancient house of Mr, Huynh Thuy Le, the ‘lover’ of Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist. At Cai Be, you will cruise through its colourful floating market which takes place daily in front of the Catholic Church.
DAY 11 - FINISH THE CRUISE AND TRAVEL TO SAIGON
Bid farewell to your fellow cruise companions this morning as the ship docks in My Tho, where you will be disembarking. From here your private driver and guide will drive you to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, which is the beating heart of south Vietnam. Here you will check into the historic Majestic hotel, which is quirky and ornate – and has a super rooftop bar! (Colonial Pool View Room, B&B).
DAY 12 - HIGHLIGHTS OF SAIGON BEFORE HEADING TO THE BEACH
This morning you will take a private tour of Saigon to see the highlights of the city including the War Remnant Museum, the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral and French era General Post office. You can take a peek down Dong Khoi Street, the former Rue Catinat, where famous author Graham Greene once rented an apartment. After you will be taken to Mui Ne (approximately 4 hours) by private chauffeur and check into the Mia Resort on the beach. (Superior Garden View Room, B&B).
DAYS 13 - 15 - RELAX ON THE BEACH
Enjoy three full days at the beach relaxing and soaking up the sand, surf and sea. Mia has a fantastic restaurant so you may not wish to stray too far but there are plenty of other lovely dining options and bars around. You may also wish to take an excursion to the impressive red and white sand dunes of Mui Ne, where you can even attempt sand sledding. Mui Ne is also renowned for its kite-surfing.
DAY 16 - BON VOYAGE!
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and kiss goodbye to the pretty sands of Mui Ne. Your private driver and guide will then take you back to Ho Chi Minh City, which will take about five hours in an air conditioned vehicle, so you can catch your international flight home. Safe travels!