Ultimate Southeast Asia & The Majestic Mekong with Sapa, Hue & Danang (Northbound)
29 days with Avalon Waterways Rating: Deluxe
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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 BANGKOK, THAILAND
Welcome to Thailand! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2 BANGKOK
Canals, Temples, and the Buddhas of Bangkok
CLASSIC This morning, your Guided Sightseeing begins with a boat ride on the klongs, Bangkok’s famous canals. Visit the stunning Grand Palace featuring the Temple Of The Emerald Buddha. Also, visit the Temple Of The Reclining Buddha, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It houses more than 1,000 Buddha images, including the 49-foot-high by 151-foot-long massive Reclining Buddha.
The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B,L)
Day 3 BANGKOK
Enjoy a full day at your leisure. (B)
Day 4 BANGKOK–HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
Today, fly to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B)
Day 5 HO CHI MINH CITY
Motorbikes, Monuments, and Mouthwatering Cuisine
CLASSIC Take a Walking Tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic landmarks including a stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing drink at the rooftop bar where the U.S. Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Then visit the War Remnants Museum and bustling Ben Thanh Market.
DISCOVERY For lunch, participate in a hands-on Vietnamese Cooking Class. Learn to prepare local dishes and how to recreate them at home. Last, but not least, sample your delicious creations!
Explore the city further during free time this afternoon.
This evening join your traveling companions for a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
Day 6 HO CHI MINH CITY. EXCURSION TO CU CHI TUNNELS
Secret Passageways and Underground Hideouts
CLASSIC Drive out of the city for a Guided Visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels—an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length—used as a hideout and secret village by the Viet Cong.
Enjoy free time this afternoon and evening. Consider stopping for a drink at the famous rooftop bar at the Caravelle Hotel. (B)
Day 7 HO CHI MINH CITY (EMBARKATION)
Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding
Transfer to the port on the Saigon River for embarkation. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening.
AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO VINH LONG (B,L,D)
Day 8 VINH LONG–CU LAO GIENG
Sweets, Sampans, and Spires
DISCOVERY Board a sampan this morning for a Local Visit to a workshop in Vinh Long to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made.
DISCOVERY This afternoon, enjoy scenes of daily life along the river near Cu Lao Gieng via Sampan. Visit a Local Home, where a skilled family hand-crafts sampan boats. Then, ride a motor cart to one of Vietnam’s oldest churches for a special interaction with a Catholic priest.
AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO CHAU DOC (B,L,D)
Day 9 CHAU DOC–LONG KHANH A–BORDER CROSSING, CAMBODIA
Colorful markets, Charming Locals, and Cotton Weavers
DISCOVERY In Chau Doc, take a Guided Walk through the local market and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. Then embark on an excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, religious sites, a market selling dried goods, and more.
DISCOVERY After lunch, take a Sampan Ride to the village of Long Khanh A for a Cotton-Weaving Demonstration of this well-preserved tradition.
Return to the ship and head for the Cambodian border.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PHNOM PENH (B,L,D)
Day 10 PHNOM PENH
Bonjour! French Charm in Cambodia
CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of the city by private cyclo with visits to the Royal Palace with the spectacular Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum, featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts.
The remainder of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the city, Consider a Guided Optional Tour of a local brewery with free flowing local beer!
Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will perform a show, featuring local song and dance. (B,L,D)
Day 11 PHNOM PENH
Shining a Light on a Dark History
CLASSIC A Guided Visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields provides a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime.
After lunch, depart Phnom Penh and enjoy some time at leisure on the ship.
AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO WAT HANCHEY (B,L,D)
Day 12 WAT HANCHEY–ANGKOR BAN
Water Blessings and Back-to-School Adventures
DISCOVERY 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 partake in a traditional water blessing given by local monks.
DISCOVERY After lunch, enjoy a Walking Tour through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here, you will visit a traditional Khmer house and interact with children at a local school.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO KONPONG LOUANG (B,L,D)
Day 13 KONPONG LOUANG–KAMPONG TRALACH
Calm in the Cambodian Countryside
DISCOVERY Start your Guided Sightseeing at the silversmith village in Konpong Louang. Here, see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. In Kampong Tralach, board an ox cart for a ride through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life.
This afternoon, enjoy scenic cruising on the Tonle River.
EVENING CRUISE TO PHNOM PENH (B,L,D)
Day 14 PHNOM PENH (DISEMBARKATION)–SIEM REAP
Fly to Siem Reap, home to the Temples of Angkor, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth!
CLASSIC After lunch, begin your Sightseeing Tour by tuk-tuk. Start at the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: Angkor Wat. Featuring five trademark towers, it is the symbol of Cambodia. Then, visit Angkor Thom, where you will explore Bayon Temple with its 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas relief sculptures, or:
ACTIVE Visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple by bike.
The evening is yours to explore charming Siem Reap, stay to witness the sunset at Angkor Wat, or consider a Guided Optional Excursion to the Cambodian circus. (B,L)
Day 15 SIEM REAP
Root-Covered Ruins and Native Noodles
CLASSIC Join a Sightseeing Excursion to the Angkor temples at Ta Prohm. Tree roots cover the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as early explorers. Then, visit Banteay Srei, a unique temple built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. En route, stop at a village famous for making Khmer noodles by hand.
Spend the afternoon at your leisure. You may choose a Guided Optional Excursion to further explore Siem Reap, or visit the temple complex by tuk-tuk.
DISCOVERY This evening, a private Apsara Dance Performance brings ancient Khmer culture to life through music, song, and dance. (B,D)
Day 16 SIEM REAP–HANOI
Today, transfer to the airport and fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. (B)
Day 17 HANOI
Historic Hanoi and Water Puppets
CLASSIC First, join a Guided Visit of the mausoleum and the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next, see iconic sites, including One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Lastly, visit the 900-year-old Temple of Literature, Hanoi’s first university.
Enjoy lunch at Koto, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that trains local street children in restaurant skills they can use to become employed for a more stable life.
CLASSIC Enjoy an Electric Cart Ride through the fascinating Old Quarter—with its 36 ancient streets.
DISCOVERY An early dinner this evening is followed by a fascinating Live Performance of Hanoi’s renowned water puppets, a traditional 11th-century artform. (B,L,D)
Day 18 HA LONG BAY
Island Shapes and a Floating Village
Travel from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes. Board the luxurious Paradise Elegance for a Two-Night Cruise on the bay.
DISCOVERY Visit the Cua Van Floating Village, home to more than 700 people—by bamboo raft, OR:
ACTIVE Take a Kayak Ride to visit Cua Van Village.
Enjoy scenic sailing for the remainder of the day before anchoring for the night. (B,L,D)
Day 19 HA LONG BAY
Caves, Kayaks, and Scenic Climbs
DISCOVERY Visit Titop Island for a Guided Excursion to take a swim, or climb 400 steps to the top for stunning views. You can also visit Luon Cave by boat, and explore Dark & Bright Cave by bamboo raft, OR:
ACTIVE Explore Luon Cave and Dark & Bright Cave by Kayak Ride.
After a day of exploring, consider a spa treatment or simply relax for happy hour prior to dinner! (B,L,D)
Day 20 HA LONG BAY–HANOI
Surprising and Amazing Beauty
This morning, relax onboard your ship, or visit Sung Sot Cave, considered one of the most beautiful in the area with its magnificent formations. Afterwards, return to Hanoi and check in to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to spend at your leisure. (B)
Day 21 HANOI–SAPA
Today, transfer to the hill-station town of Sapa known for its mountain scenery, rice fields, and colorful ethnic minorities. This afternoon, join a Walking Tour of this small town and visit the local market. (B)
Day 22 SAPA
Your Guided Sightseeing starts with a visit to Ta Van and Lao Chai villages, to see the traditional way of life of the Zay and Black Hmong ethnic groups. These ethnic groups live together here under the watch of Fansipan Mountain. The Zay live a sedentary lifestyle and choose land near the valley’s bottom for growing wet rice. The Hmong have historically preferred higher elevations for corn farming but recently they’ve started gradually moving to lower land and learning from others like the Zay. After lunch, visit the beautiful Silver Waterfall and ascend the highest road in Vietnam to Heaven Gate for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valley. (B,L)
Day 23 SAPA
This morning, your Guided Tour includes one of the famous Weekly Markets. Here, the local ethnic minority groups wear their most beautiful costumes as they sell and trade their homemade products. The Flower Hmong group is most recognizable with their colorful dress. After a quick photo stop at the China border, visit Taphin village, home of the Red Dao people who migrated from China starting in the 12th century. The Dao women are recognizable by the bright red turban they wear and, in some cases, shaved eyebrows. Tonight, consider exploring Sapa and stop at the famous “Love Market,” where local Hmong and Dao come from their villages for the chance to see one another and perhaps go on a date! (B,L)
Day 24 SAPA–HANOI–HUE
This morning, drive to Hanoi and board your flight for Hue. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. (B)
Day 25 HUE
One of Vietnam’s former capitals, Hue is a beautiful, welcoming city that remains a cultural and religious center. Start your Guided Sightseeing with a visit to the Imperial Citadel and the Thien Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of the city. In the afternoon, your excursion provides a unique window into Vietnam and its dynastic past. Visit the tombs of the Nguyen Emperors: the Khai Dinh Mausoleum and the Royal Tomb of Tu Duc. (B,L)
Day 26 HUE–DANANG
Today, drive south over spectacular Hai Van Pass (weather permitting), considered to be one of the most scenic in all of Vietnam. In Danang, stop to Visit the Cham Museum and ascend Monkey Mountain to see the Lady Buddha and for panoramic views. Continue on to your resort for the evening. (B,L)
Day 27 DANANG. EXCURSION TO HOI AN
Hoi An is Vietnam’s active trading center and a town that has been largely preserved, with architecture that reflects the influence of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French, and British traders. Hoi An is also where French missionary Alexandre de Rhodes introduced Catholicism and Roman script to Vietnam. Start with a Cruise on the Thu Bon River, where you will meet a local fisherman to see how to throw and retrieve a traditional round fishing net called a ro. Next, enjoy a Walking Tour of Hoi An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the way, visit an old merchant house, the Hoi An Museum, a Chinese assembly hall, and the Japanese Covered Bridge. Then, enjoy some time at your leisure. (B)
Day 28 DANANG
A full day at leisure to further explore the area or relax at your beach resort! (B)
Day 29 DANANG
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
River Cruise Highlights
Bangkok: Boat ride on klongs; visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Bangkok–Ho Chi Minh City: fly to Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City: Walking tour; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class
Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion
Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation): Onboard welcome reception
Vinh Long–Cu Lao Gieng: Visit a local workshop to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candy are made in Vinh Long; visit a sampan-making family and interact with a Catholic priest in Cu Lao Gieng
Chau Doc–Long Khanh A–Cambodian Border Crossing: Visit a local market and the religious sites at Sam Mountain in Chau Doc; walking tour of Long Khanh A with cotton-weaving demonstration
Phnom Penh: Sightseeing by private cyclo, including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum; afternoon at leisure; show by children from a local orphanage
Phnom Penh: Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and visit one of the Cambodian Killing Fields
Wat Hanchey –Angkor Ban: Visit Wat Hanchey and partake in a traditional water blessing by local monks; walking tour in Angkor Ban with school visit
Konpong Louang–Kampong Tralach: Visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; ox cart ride through the countryside, and visit a local farmer’s home in Kampong Tralach
Phnom Penh (Disembarkation)–Siem Reap: Fly to Siem Reap; visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple
Siem Reap: Visit Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, and a noodle-making village; Apsara dance performance
Siem Reap–Hanoi: Fly to Hanoi
Hanoi: Visit Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, and Temple of Literature; lunch at Koto; electric cart ride through the Old Quarter; water puppets performance
Hanoi–Ha Long Bay (Embarkation): Drive to Ha Long Bay; visit Cua Van floating village
Ha Long Bay: Cruise the bay; visit Ti Top Island, Luon Cave, and Dark and Bright Cave; opportunity to explore by kayak
Ha Long Bay (Disembarkation)–Hanoi: Visit Sung Sot Cave; drive to Hanoi
Hanoi–Sapa: Drive to Sapa; Visit a local market
Sapa: Visit Ta Van village, Lao Chai village, Silver Waterfall, and Heaven Gate
Sapa: Visit a weekly market and a Red Dao village
Sapa–Hanoi–Hue: Drive to Hanoi; fly to Hue
Hue: Visit the Imperial Citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda, and the tombs of the Nguyen Emperors
Hue–Danang: Drive to Danang; visit the Cham Museum and Monkey Mountain
Danang: Excursion to Hoi An including a cruise on the Thu Bon River and a walking tour of the Ancient Town
All This Included
This inspiring Southeast Asia river cruise vacation begins in vibrant Bangkok, Thailand. A boat ride on the klongs, Bangkok’s famous canals, is the perfect way to start your sightseeing. Continue at the Grand Palace featuring the Temple of the Emerald Buddha followed by the Temple of the Reclining Buddha—the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in the city. Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and enjoy a walking tour of the famous landmarks of the city and try your hand in the kitchen with a Vietnamese cooking class. Go on an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, the unbelievable network of tunnels used extensively during the war.
Next, board your ship and begin your cruise along the mighty Mekong River. As you cruise through Vietnam, you’ll stop in the villages for interactions with locals, such as a visit to the home of a skilled family who make handcrafted sampans for a living. In Cambodia, visit the capital city of Phnom Penh, with the magnificent Royal Palace featuring its striking Silver Pagoda and the National Museum. Take in the stunning views at the 8th-century temple of Wat Hanchey before walking through the rural village of Angkor Ban to visit with welcoming schoolchildren. Continue your river cruise adventure to Siem Reap, where you’ll see the magnificent Temples of Angkor, the most famous being Angkor Wat and the Bayon temple. Disembark your cruise ship and fly to Hanoi, where you’ll explore the famous Old Quarter with peddlers trading goods among its 36 ancient streets. From here, travel to Ha Long Bay, where you’ll be amazed at the more than 3,000 limestone islands of varying shapes.
Enjoy a 2-night cruise along the bay, and then head to Sapa, which provides the most beautiful scenery. Here, you’ll visit one of the famous Weekly Markets where homemade goods are sold and the ethnic minority groups of the area wear their colorful costumes. Hue, a former capital of Vietnam, remains an important cultural mecca. Sightseeing will show you the imposing Imperial Citadel; Thien Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of the city; and the Royal tombs of past emperors. Arrive in Danang, where you’ll visit the Cham Museum and explore Hoi An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where architecture influenced by traders from around the world has been largely preserved. The beautiful scenery, ornate temples, and interactions with locals make this Southeast Asia river cruise vacation one you won’t soon forget!
Ship Amenities - Avalon Saigon:
Air-conditioned Panorama Lounge
Open-air observation lounge with shade system & premium lounge chairs
Spacious, open-seating Panorama Dining Room
Bar serving premium spirits, wine & complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and local beer/spirits throughout the day
Complimentary Wi-Fi access in the lounges (where signal is available)
Spa treatment room
Library and games
Non-smoking staterooms & ship interior
Ship Dining - Avalon Saigon:
Spacious, open-seating Panorama Dining Room
Chef-prepared onboard meals with regional cuisine and familiar favorites
Seasonal recipes featuring the freshest local ingredients
Vegetarian options available with all meals
Complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer/spirits with all onboard meals
Daily early-riser coffee & tea
Full breakfast buffet with live cooking station
Complimentary juices with breakfast
Lunch buffet with live cooking station showcasing local specialties served by our Head Chef
Four-course à la carte dinners with choice of salads, soups, entrées, dessert or cheese
Complimentary wine with all onboard lunches & dinners
Accommodations on this Tour
Bangkok: InterContinental Bangkok
Ho Chi Minh City: The Reverie Saigon
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Siem Reap or Avalon Saigon
Siem Reap: Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Hanoi: InterContinental Westlake
Ha Long Bay: Paradise Elegance
Sapa: Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa
Hue: La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa
Danang: Naman Retreat & Residences
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra Nights per person in Bangkok:
January to April: in single room $249; in twin room $130
August to October: in single room $300; in twin room $156
November to December: in single room $328; in twin room $169
Extra Nights per person in Danang:
in single room $438; in twin room $224
Dates and Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation requires requires purchase of the following flights from Avalon Waterways, not included in pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments; or (2) intra-vacation air segments only, starting at $765. Required intra-vacation air segments are Bangkok/Ho Chi Minh City; Phnom Penh/Siem Reap; Siem Reap/Hanoi; Hanoi/Hue. Air prices were effective on February 7, 2018, and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.
Gratuities for Local Guides & drivers are included (excludes extensions which are to be paid locally).
Avalon offers the opportunity for solo travelers to sail with no single supplement (subject to availability). Please call for single accommodation details and prices. Triples not available.
All prices are per person based on double room occupancy. Cruise price based on Category B in an Panorama Suite on Mekong Deck. To upgrade to a Category A on Tonle Deck, add $400 per person or $800 in single occupancy.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.
Open Mon-Fri 7am to 10pm, Sat 8am-8pm, Sun 9am to 8pm, CST