In the afternoon, enjoy a scenic drive from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho port, South Vietnam. From there, you will begin your journey aboard the luxurious Mekong Navigator cruise ship. After settling into your well-appointed suite/cabin, that evening, following a welcome reception, safety briefing, and introduction to key members of our crew, a delicious Vietnamese ‘Mekong Delta’ Welcome Dinner is served in Le Marche Dining Room.
In Cai Be, board the rowing boat with rower in conical hats for an enjoyable excursion along the lovely canals of the Mekong Delta with beautiful scenes. After finishing the rowing, the sampan will cruise on a tapestry of waterways bringing us to a cottage factory where industrious artisans produce rice paper, rice wine and popped rice. There’s a selection of postcards, souvenirs, and beautiful oil paintings on sale. Continue into the long and narrow canals of Cai Be towards Cau Xeo with many photo opportunities of rice barges, rice husking mills, water palm thatching cottages, temples, etc. along the cruise. On return to the ship, an elegant buffet lunch is served while sailing upstream through tranquil riverine scenery towards Sa Dec.
This afternoon, your sampans return for a leisurely, scenic navigation of the narrow canals of the Mekong, where you will observe daily routines of the villagers en route to the historic town of Sa Dec. In the town of Sa Dec you visit the home of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, the inspiration of Marguerite Duras’ novel, L’Amant (The Lover), as well as the Chinese Temple – Kien An Cung which was built in honor of the Huynh Thuy Le Family. From there, you will begin a walk through the town’s market, where you experience the sights, sounds, smells and provides you wonderful photo opportunities of the colorful fresh produce, meat, live fish and seafood for sale.
This morning, we make a short journey from ship to shore by traditional sampan, visiting a typical evergreen farming village on the Mekong Delta, the My An Hung village. We walk through the verdant village, interact with villagers, enjoy fresh coconut in the garden… A local family would invite us for some honey tea and fruit while we enjoy the “don ca tai tu” folk music, followed by an impressive VOVINAM Vietnam Martial Arts performed by the teenagers of the village.
In the afternoon, your sampans will bring you to the local island village of Long Khanh A (Hong Ngu district), not far from the Vietnam – Cambodia border. Hong Ngu produces a large number of the traditional, Khmer scarves exported to Cambodia. Woven in many homes around the village, you will have the opportunity to see the weaving process at several homes. Some villagers are also embroidery artists, displaying their art in and around the homes. The inhabitants of this area had only encountered one western visitor prior to the arrival of the Mekong Navigator, and are especially friendly and welcoming. Before returning to the sampans, we will walk around this evergreen island and visit the home of a local War Veteran.
This morning we sail upstream to enjoy a leisurely cruise and taking in the sights along the Mekong River reaching Phnom Penh in late afternoon. Some cultural activities are planned on board (introduction of tropical fruits and fruit tasting, demonstration of Vietnamese spring roll making, introduction of traditional Cambodian costumes).
In the evening, before dinner, there is a cocktail and sabering time hosted by our Captain.
In the morning, learn more about the darkest days of Cambodian history. After a scenic 45-minute drive from the ship, you arrive at the Choeung Ek killing fields, where you may walk through the fields, visit the small museum and Buddhist memorial stupa, and learn more about the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. Before returning to the ship, there is a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as S-21), the former school converted to the main prison and torture headquarters of the Khmer Rouge.
After returning to the ship from the S-21, enjoy a free afternoon in Phnom Penh – shopping, dining at one of the many wonderful restaurants, or exploring the city independently.
(There is a scheduled shuttle coach with your local guide provided from the Port to the Central Market for your shopping time).
Pre-dinner cultural entertainment is provided on the Sun Deck as guests enjoy a performance by local children of Apsara, the Khmer national dance and other traditional folk dances.
After breakfast on board this morning, Tuk Tuk drivers meet you on the pier for an exciting morning tour of the best sites in Phnom Penh. You are gently transported along the riverfront to the Royal Palace complex which is the official residence of the King of Cambodia, where you enjoy a leisure walk through the grounds. After viewing the Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion, you visit the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and the Maitreya Buddha, which is encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds.
Your Tuk Tuk is waiting outside to take you on the short ride to the open-air National Museum, Cambodia’s largest museum of cultural history with one of the world’s largest collections of Khmer art and ceramics as well as Angkorian and pre-Angkorian artefacts, excavated at the Angkor Temple complex at Siem Reap, as well as other areas around Cambodia.
After returning to the ship, enjoy a free afternoon in Phnom Penh.
This morning we will visit Wat Roka Kaong. Based on archaeologists’ statements this Temple complex was built in 1840. Some parts of the building were made by wood and have been renovated 1998. An emerald statue was found during the renovation believed to be over 180 years old and given this Wat its second name Wat KeoMoni Chort (Emerald). In front of the two Golden Buddhist Columns (53meter tall), where two temples, the north temple called Preah Keo Preah Kor and the south temple called BakSei Chamkrong. Unfortunately, Baksei Chamkrong temple was destroyed by a landslide in 2020. Enjoy wandering around this temple complex and then proceed to the Main Pagoda. Upon entering the beautiful and colourful Main Pagoda, we receive a traditional water blessing from the local monks.
This afternoon we have a visit to the rural and charming village of Opopel, with its stilted houses and grazing Brahim cows seeking the shade of banana trees. You feel a sense of timelessness here, witnessing the rhythm of rural life. A visit is made to the home of a local family who discusses their lifestyle, then onto the local school to join children in their classroom giving you a glimpse a typical Cambodian school day. A leisurely stroll through the village offers an opportunity to take photos of this place that time has forgotten. On your way back we make a brief stop at the local monastery.
In the evening, you gather in the Sun Deck in front of the Le Salon Lounge for a Farewell Reception with the entire crew, before enjoying a Cambodian Farewell Dinner in Le Marche Dining Room.
Following breakfast, you say goodbye to the crew as you disembark the cruise and transfer from Kampong Cham to Siem Reap, Cambodia, with a lunch stop, arriving in Siem Reap in the afternoon.