DAY 1 ARRIVE BANGKOK, THAILAND
Arrive in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, and transfer to your luxurious hotel.
DAY 2 BANGKOK | SAILING THE SERENE CHAO PHRAYA RIVER
Discover Wat Pho temple, with its massive reclining Buddha statue, and listen to the musical sound of coins dropping into brass offering bowls, following your welcome briefing. Then, Ride Like a Local on a tuk-tuk around the sprawling Grand Palace. Explore the royal Siamese court, home to Thailand’s most important shrine, the green-jade Emerald Buddha. Next, gather for a light lunch aboard a traditional wooden rice barge. Cruise the Chao Phraya River in a relaxed atmosphere, taking in the wonderful views. Later, fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia, and transfer to your traditional, Khmer-style boutique hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 3 SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA | TEMPLES & TERRACES OF KINGS
Set off to explore the extraordinary temples of Angkor, a breathtaking city lost in the jungle and Cambodia’s most prized national treasure. Enter the monumental gates of Angkor Thom, where 54 gods and 54 demons are represented in an epic tug of war. Visit the Bayon Temple, with its 172 large-scale faces wearing enchanting smiles, as well as the Terraces of the Elephant and Leper Kings. Later, walk to Ta Prohm Temple, an Indiana Jones-worthy fantasy with its crumbling towers and massive tree roots. Stay at Angkor Wat until sunset, marveling as the diminishing, moody light washes over this unforgettable, faraway world. (Breakfast, Lunch)
DAY 4 CRUISING THE MEKONG | BOARD YOUR ALL-SUITE CRUISER
Drive through the lush and scenic Cambodian countryside to Kampong Cham, where you board A&K’s private charter of allsuite ‘Mekong Princess,’ your boutique river cruiser for the next seven nights. Tonight, enjoy a Khmer-inspired dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 5 CRUISING THE MEKONG | LIFE IN A LOCAL VILLAGE
Explore the charming town of Angkor Ban, where you enjoy glimpses into the lives of local people, starting with a visit to a family home. Continue to the village school to observe the classroom experience. Stop briefly at the local monastery complex on your walk back to the ship. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 6 CRUISING THE MEKONG | PHNOM PENH, PEARL OF ASIA
Ride Like a Local through Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s lush and alluring capital city, on an engaging cyclo tour. Discover the ornate Royal Palace and wander past huge stupas, spirit houses and potted flowers en route to the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and the diamond-encrusted Maitreya Buddha. Visit the National Museum this afternoon. Later, learn about Cambodia’s darker days as you walk the notorious killing fields of Choeung Ek, one of history’s most infamous places. Then, leave behind that bleak period in Cambodian history to attend an uplifting, professional performance of Apsara, the country’s national dance, which you enjoy on board your ship. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 7 CRUISING THE MEKONG | CROSSING INTO VIETNAM
Cruise into Vietnam early this morning and continue downstream to little-known Hong Ngu, which nimble ‘Mekong Princess’ can enter with ease. In this place few Westerners have ever been, experience an especially friendly welcome, followed by a visit to a local family home, where you watch the weaving of kromas (traditional Khmer scarves). Later, explore a local temple dedicated to Hòa H?o, a unique Vietnamese religion. In the afternoon, board a sampan (wooden boat) to Gieng Island, where hundreds of the vessels are built each day. Cruise a canal past orchards and rice fields. Continue to Cu Lao Gieng Church, built by the French in 1879. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 8 CRUISING THE MEKONG | SPLENDORS OF A HIDDEN PORT
This morning, disembark at the village of Hoa An, well known for its floral and craft industries. You have the chance to see how locals grow and use flowers and meet a family in their home. Later, re-board the ship and cruise downstream toward Can Tho. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 9 CRUISING THE MEKONG | REMOTE BUDDHIST TEMPLE VISIT
Rise early for a sampan cruise through a fascinating floating market near Can Tho. Weave between the many boats that sell produce and goods, and grab your camera to capture photographs of a dynamic market life. Fresh coconut water, the Vietnamese “anti-aging drink,” refreshes you before a stop at a local factory to see the making of instant noodles. Back on board ‘Mekong Princess,’ sail deeper into regions of the Mekong Delta rarely touched by travellers to see the fourth-century Phuoc Hau Pagoda, where you interact with local monks to learn about their daily life and practices. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 10 CRUISING THE MEKONG | LIFE AMONG THE MANGROVES
Today, board a sampan to wend your way through a channel lined with mangroves, whose tangled roots provide a sheltered habitat for the smallest denizens of the river’s ecosystem. Pause to see an artisan produce coconut candy, a favorite local snack. Next, board an intimate, two-seater boat for a cruise through lush, narrow creeks lined with nipa palms, a native species and the only one of its kind adapted to the mangrove habitat. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 11 HO CHI MINH CITY | IMMERSED IN VIBRANT SAIGON
Unlike other river ships that are forced to dock outside of Saigon, ‘Mekong Princess’ takes you right into the heart of this lively, evocative metropolis, which today goes by the name of Ho Chi Minh City. Recently experiencing a resurgence of art and culture, the city is a hub of activity. Bid farewell to the crew of ‘Mekong Princess’ and set out to discover the city’s colonial legacy, including the Central Post Office. Continue your exploration with a visit to colorful Ben Thanh market. Then, drive past the former U.S. embassy building, from which helicopters carried off the last American personnel remaining on site before the city fell to the Vietcong in April of 1975. Observe as you go, the vibrant, bustling energy of a people on the move, wholeheartedly embracing the trappings of Western culture, as giant images of “Father Ho” gaze out at streets streaming with the latest-model luxury automobiles. Tonight, gather with your fellow guests for a special farewell dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
DAY 12 DEPART HO CHI MINH CITY
After breakfast, begin a Cu Chi and Hanoi post-tour extension or transfer to the airport to depart for home. (Breakfast)
Pre Tour Extension: Luang Prabang
Days: 4 | From: $1,795 / Internal Air From $985
Internal Air Routing: Bangkok/Luang Prabang/Bangkok
Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand.
Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel
Fly to Luang Prabang, Laos. Tour the Royal Palace, Phousi Hill, and the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center. Enjoy a village baci ceremony this evening, followed by dinner.
Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao | Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Join locals making food offerings to local monks. Later, visit a farm and the Kuang Si Waterfall before a sunset cruise. Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
See the monasteries of Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Khili, Wat Sop and Wat Sene. Later, fly to Bangkok.
Post Tour Extension: Cu Chi & Hanoi
Days: 3 | From: $1,895
Internal Air Routing: Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi
Travel outside of Ho Chi Minh City to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. Fly to Hanoi.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi | Meals: Lunch
Embark on a city tour, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s stilted house and the One Pillar Pagoda. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant before proceeding to the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” prison. This evening, enjoy a water puppet show and dinner at a local restaurant.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today, transfer to the airport and depart.