Charms of the Mekong October 31-November 7, 2022
About Western Region
HO CHI MINH CITY TO SIEM REAP
With a special celebrity guest, Guy Phillips!
Cruise along the Mekong through Cambodia and Vietnam as you are transported back in time to another era, where the rhythms of the countryside move at a slower pace and allow for a fascinating glimpse into a traditional way of life. Visit rural villages, colorful markets and a monastery, where you will receive a special Buddhist blessing by monks. Delve into the peaks and valleys of Cambodia’s history in the Royal Palace and National Museums of its beautiful capital, Phnom Penh. Witness skilled artisans who create exquisite handicrafts and delicacies, and be treated to authentic experiences, including rides via oxcart, tut tut and trishaw. On this transformative journey, the Mekong truly reveals a vibrant world along its shores.
CHARMS OF THE MEKONG
DAY 1 HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM. – EMBARKATION
Board the AmaDara at My Tho Port. Settle in and then meet fellow guests at a Welcome Dinner as the ship cruises to Cai Be. (L,D) *We recommend that you fly into Ho Chi Minh at least one day prior to embarkation; please inquire about important arrival arrangements prior to your cruise.
DAY 2 CAI BE – SA DEC
Take a local boat to Cai Be. You will have an opportunity to visit candy and rice paper making workshops, as well as the historic Kiet Old House. Later in the day, journey to Sa Dec, a sprawling town on the Mekong Delta, where French writer Marguerite Duras spent part of her youth. You will visit the colorful market, Cao Dai Temple and the house of Mr.Huynh Thuy Le, Duras’ Chinese paramour, which her prize-winning novel, “The Lover,” is said to be based on. (B,L,D)
DAY 3 TAN CHAU – BORDER CROSSING
Enjoy a visit to Tan Chau, a small Mekong River town unspoiled by tourism. Be treated to an authentic experience on a traditional “xe-loi”(trishaw) ride around the town, with stops at silk-making and rattan mat workshops, followed by a boat ride through the narrow channels of the Mekong River to “Evergreen Island.” Alternatively, take a boat rideto Evergreen Island and return to Tan Chau, where you will visit a rattan mat workshop. Later in the day, cruise from Vietnam to the Cambodian border en route to Phnom Penh. (B,L,D)
DAY 4 PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
This morning’s excursion takes you to Cambodia’s infamous Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng S21 detention center (Genocide Museum). Alternatively, you may wish to shop for unique treasures at the bustling yellow-colored Central Market. After lunch onboard, you will explore the highlights of the city, followed by a visit tothe Royal Palace, the spectacular Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, which has an outstanding collection of Khmer crafts. After returning to the ship, enjoy Khmer folk dancing performed by local children in the Saigon Lounge. (B,L,D)
DAY 5 OUDONG – KAMPONG TRALACH – PHNOM PENH
Visit Oudong, Cambodia’s former royal capital from the early 17thcentury until 1866. Today, Oudong is a place of pilgrimage for Cambodians. While here, be treated to a memorable Buddhist Blessing Ceremony at a monastery. You may walk around Oudong’s monastery or take an active walking tour to see panoramic views of the Oudong plain. In Kampong Tralach, you will have a truly authentic excursion – an ox cart ride through a local village. Later in the day, experience Phnom Penh via a tuk ride and be enchanted by the city's French Colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards set amidst monumental Angkorian (B,L,D)
DAY 6 OKNHATEY - ANGKOR BAN
In the morning, set sail for Oknhatey Village. Oknhatey is the “SilkIsland,” located on the lush banks of the Mekong River and known for its rich tradition of silk weaving. While here, you will visit a local elementary school and observe the traditional silk weaving, an art that has been preserved for centuries. Your cruise continues to sail to Angkor Ban. (B,L,D)
DAY 7 ANGKOR BAN – KAMPONG CHAM
Go on a walking tour of Angkor Ban, one of the few villages in Cambodia that was not destroyed under the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Here people still live in their traditional wooden abodes andkeep their old cultural traditions alive. Hundreds of wooden houses stand intact on stilts, shaded with banana trees, among the hustle and bustle of the daily agricultural on-going of the local villagers. After visiting here, the ship sets sail for Kampong Cham, where you will goon an afternoon excursion via motorcoach to the Twin Mountains, known as Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei (male and female mountains).In the annals of Khmer legend, the twin mountains were formed as the result of a competition between the men and women of an ancient Cambodian kingdom to resolve which gender would be responsible for wedding proposals. Cap the day off with a festive Farewell Dinner onboard. (B,L,D)
*Base on seasonality, the port of Angkor Ban may be inaccessible from August – September. During this time, Wat Hanchey will replace Angkor Ban as the port of call.
DAY 8 KAMPONG CHAM– DISEMBARKATION
Your cruise concludes in Kampong Cham, where you disembark and Motorcoach transfer to Siem Reap.(B)*
Note: For those not staying in Siem Reap, we recommend that you schedule your onward flight to depart Siem Reap after 5:00pm to avoid potential missed connections.
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