Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River with Hanoi, Ha Long Bay & Bangkok 2021 (Northbound)
19 days with Avalon Waterways Rating: Deluxe
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River Cruise Itinerary
NOTE: The following information is from the 2020 tour season and is subject to change once the 2021 tour season information becomes available.
Day 1 HANOI, VIETNAM
Welcome to Vietnam!
Day 2 HANOI
This morning, your Guided Sightseeing takes a look at the life of Ho Chi Minh, the father of modern Vietnam. First, visit the mausoleum and the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next on the agenda: One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Also visit the ancient Temple of Literature, over 900 years old and Hanoi’s first university. Lunch is at Koto, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that teaches local street children restaurant skills for more stable employment opportunities. After lunch, enjoy an electric-cart ride through the fascinating Old Quarter, with 36 ancient streets where merchants trade as they have for centuries. An early dinner this evening is followed by a fascinating performance of Hanoi’s renowned water puppets, a traditional art form dating back to the 11th century. (B,L,D)
Day 3 HANOI—HA LONG BAY
Travel from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Hon Gai, gateway to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, the bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes by the action of the water. Tunnels, caves, and weirdly shaped outcroppings with imaginative names can be found on many of the small islets sprinkled across the bay. Board a Cruise Excursion to explore the caves, and admire the beauty and scale before stopping at one of the many secluded bays. (B,L,D)
Day 4 HA LONG BAY—HANOI—HO CHI MINH CITY
This morning, drive to Hanoi and board your flight for Ho Chi Minh City. (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 several 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 Sun Hats
DISCOVERY 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.
DISCOVERY This afternoon, enjoy scenes of daily life on Cu Lao Gieng Island via sampan and local motor cart. Your Guided Excursion starts at a local workshop, where a skilled family hand-crafts sampan boats. Then, visit the home of a local family that makes Vietnamese conical hats, or “Non la,” from materials available to them such as palm leaves and bamboo. These iconic hats are primarily used as protection from the sun and rain but you may also see them used as a basket to carry home goods from the market. Lastly, stop at one of Vietnam’s oldest Catholic churches.
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 a River 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, a sampan brings you to the village of Long Khanh A for a Cotton-Weaving Demonstration of a well-preserved artisan’s tradition.
Return to the ship to set sail for the Cambodian border.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PHNOM PENH (B,L,D)
Day 10 PHNOM PENH
The Royal Treatment
CLASSIC Take a City Tour by private cyclo to visit 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 yours to enjoy the city at your leisure. 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
A Dark History or Market Dynamics
CLASSIC This morning, a Guided Visit of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields offers a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime, OR:
DISCOVERY Visit the lively Central Market by tuk-tuk to see its unique Art Deco design.
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
A Pilgrimage of Inspirational Beauty
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 to explore the temples. 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
Roots Carved in Stone and Celebrated in Dance
CLASSIC Continue your Guided Sightseeing of 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 local 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 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—BANGKOK, THAILAND
This morning, fly to Bangkok. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. (B)
Day 17 BANGKOK
This morning, your Guided Sightseeing begins with a boat ride on the klongs, Bangkok’s famous canals. Stop at 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 and 151-foot-long massive Reclining Buddha. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B,L)
Day 18 BANGKOK
Enjoy a full day at your leisure. (B)
Day 19 BANGKOK
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
River Cruise Highlights
Day 1 Arrive Hanoi: welcome to Vietnam
Day 2 Hanoi: visit Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Museum, and Temple of Literature; lunch at Koto; take a cyclo ride through the Old Quarter; water puppets performance
Day 3 Hanoi–Ha Long Bay: cruise on Ha Long Bay
Day 4 Ha Long Bay–Ho Chi Minh City: Fly to Ho Chi Minh City
Day 5 Ho Chi Minh City: Walking tour; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class
Day 6 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion
Day 7 Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation): Onboard welcome reception
Day 8 Vinh Long–Cu Lao Gieng: Visit a local workshop to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candy are made in Vinh Long; interact with sampan-making and conical hat making families in Cu Lao Gieng
Day 9 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
Day 10 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
Day 11 Phnom Penh: Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and visit one of the Cambodian Killing Fields, or visit the lively central market
Day 12 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
Day 13 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
Day 14 Phnom Penh (Disembarkation)–Siem Reap: Fly to Siem Reap; visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple
Day 15 Siem Reap: Visit Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, and a noodle-making village; Apsara dance performance
Day 16 Siem Reap–Bangkok, Thailand: Fly to Bangkok
Day 17 Bangkok: Boat ride on klongs; visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Day 18 Bangkok: Day at leisure
Day 19 Bangkok: End of vacation
All This Included
On this inspiring Southeast Asia river cruise through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, you’ll be immersed in the cultures and ancient traditions in the most fascinating places along the mighty Mekong River.
Experience Vietnamese culture with a tour of the captivating capital of Hanoi. Go on a cyclo ride through the ancient streets of the Old Quarter and enjoy a water puppet performance. In Ha Long Bay, you’ll cruise through its breathtaking limestone islands. See the famous landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City and try your hand in the kitchen—Vietnamese-style, with a cooking class. On an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, walk through a section of the immense underground tunnel system used during the Vietnam War.
Embark on your river cruise along the Mekong River and visit a colorful market, the home of a local family making handcrafted sampans, and a workshop to learn how rice wine and traditional candies are made. In the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, tour the National Museum and Royal Palace with its striking Silver Pagoda. On a hilltop at the site of the 8th-century temple of Wat Hanchey, take in the stunning views before walking through the rural village of Angkor Ban to visit with welcoming schoolchildren. In Siem Reap, you’ll see the phenomenal Temples of Angkor with an intricacy and architectural grandeur unmatched in the world.
Your Southeast Asia adventure concludes in enchanting Bangkok, Thailand, where you’ll visit its most renowned temples, including the Temple of the Reclining Buddha—the oldest and largest of its kind. You’ll also have plenty of leisure time to explore the “Venice of the East”—a perfect ending to this remarkable journey!
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
Hanoi: InterContinental Westlake
Ha Long Bay: Wyndham Legend
Ho Chi Minh City: The Reverie Saigon
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Siem Reap or Avalon Saigon
Siem Reap: Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Bangkok: InterContinental Bangkok
Dates and Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation 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 $530. Required intra-vacation air segment: Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City; Phnom Penh/Siem Reap; Siem Reap/Bangkok. Air prices were effective on February 6, 2019 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
2021 prices and itineraries are subject to change.
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.