Immerse yourself in the cultures and ancient traditions of Cambodia and Vietnam as you sightsee and engage with locals, during an exclusive cruise along the mighty Mekong River. Spend time with artisans crafting traditional items, from boats and candies to beautiful silver artwork. Explore bustling marketplaces and historic houses of worship. Enjoy enchanting views of the countryside in these Southeast Asian countries. Tour managers Audrey Voth Petkau and Terry Petkau will take care of logistics and help to create community. Optional post-tour extension in Ho Chi Minh City will be available for those that would like to experience the Vietnamese culture and the fascinating history of the city.
Mekong River Discovery Cruise
Thursday, October 22 Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Arrive in Cambodia, and board your ship in Phnom Penh to meet your fellow travellers. Afternoon/evening cruise to Wat Hanchey.
Friday, October 23 Wat Hanchey / Angkor Ban, Cambodia
Visit Wat Hanchey, a hilltop temple dating back to the 8th century. Climb or be driven to the top where you will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and take part in a traditional water blessing given by local monks. After lunch, take a walking tour through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Visit a traditional Khmer house and interact with children at a local school. Evening/overnight cruise to Konpong Louang.
Saturday, October 24 Kampong Tralach / Konpong Louang / Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Begin the day in Kampong Tralach with an ox-cart ride through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life. At a silversmith village in Konpong Louang, see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. Then board the ship to sail to the capital city of Phnom Pen, once known as the “Pearl of Asia.” After lunch, join an optional guided visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields for a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted by the Khmer Rouge regime during a dark period in Cambodia’s history. Or travel by tuk-tuk to the lively Central Market to see its unique Art Deco design. This evening, spend free time exploring the lovely city of Phnom Penh on your own.
Sunday, October 25 Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Join a guided tour of Phnom Penh by private cyclo—see the Royal Palace with its spectacular Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum, featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts. Spend the rest of the day as you wish. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will perform a show, featuring local song and dance. Evening/overnight cruise is to Vietnam/Cambodia border.
Monday, October 26 Border Crossing / Chau Doc, Vietnam
After crossing the border from Cambodia into Vietnam, take a village walk through the Chau Doc market to watch locals buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. After lunch, embark on a guided trip down the backwaters of the Mekong. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, religious sites, a market selling dried goods, and more. Evening cruise to Long Khanh A.
Tuesday, October 27 Long Khanh A / Cu Lao Gieng, Vietnam
This morning, a sampan boat brings you to the village of Long Khanh A, for a demonstration of the well-preserved tradition of cotton weaving. This afternoon, observe scenes of daily life on Cu Lao Gieng Island via sampan and local motor cart. Your guided tour starts with a stop at one of Vietnam’s oldest Catholic churches. Then, visit the home of a local family that makes traditional Vietnamese conical hats from materials such as palm leaves and bamboo. Lastly, visit a local workshop where a skilled family hand-crafts sampan boats. Evening cruise to Vinh Long.
Wednesday, October 28 Vinh Long, Vietnam
Board a sampan this morning to visit a local workshop in Vinh Long where you will see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made. This afternoon, relax on board the cruise ship as you sail to Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City Optional Extension
Thursday, October 29
Arrive at Saigon port and transfer to the city centre with your English-speaking guide. Start with a visit to the Saigon Central Post Office. This iconic landmark was constructed between 1886 and 1891 when Vietnam was under French rule. Walk along Dong Khoi street, to see the historic Gialong Palace, now the Ho Chi Minh City Museum. Continue to Le Loi Street to meet a local artisan who specializes in traditional engravings. Next, stroll through the old central market before arriving at the city’s oldest colonial-era building, built in 1886. See young creative Vietnamese in funky boutiques and coffee shops as you sit down for a cup of Vietnamese coffee. While you relax, notice the Banque de l’Indochine (Indochina Bank), built during the 1920s, it’s a stunning example of Indochinois east/west fusion-style architecture. Tonight, there is an optional excursion to the Saigon Opera House. Enjoy a vibrant cultural experience featuring local dancers and musicians as they showcase their Vietnamese heritage through traditional music and contemporary dance.
Friday, October 30
On a day trip into the countryside, watch the city skyline recede as rice paddies and villages in the countryside of southern Vietnam come into view. At the Cu Chi tunnels, hear how locals constructed an intricate, underground network of tunnels during the French and American Wars. Go underground to look at the tiny hidden rooms they lived in and imagine what life was like for them during the wars. Listen to incredible stories of perseverance. Above ground, see ingenious items used by the residents to defend themselves such as bamboo traps and camouflaged pits. During the tour, the guide will explain the impact of war on the local community and the country. Return to Ho Chi Minh City for lunch. Head to Cholon, Saigon’s Chinatown district. See one of the largest fabric markets, known far and wide as a crucial distribution hub of fabrics, not only for the city but the entire southern region. At Chau Clan House, the temple of silver, hear stories of Vietnamese traditional silversmithing. Also visit Cha Tam Church built in 1900. Continuing your exploration, see a wholesale tobacco market and a lively local fruit and vegetable market. On your tour bus, drive to one of the most famous Chinese clan houses with exquisite gilded woodwork. Dedicated to Chinese General Quan Cong, devotees gather here to perform daily prayers. End your day with a ride on a cyclo, a traditional form of transportation, to admire the beauty of Old Chinese architecture and historic 19th – 20th century buildings. Savour one last dinner with your travel companions.
Saturday, October 31
Explore on your own before flying back to North America.
For further information, please contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.