29 Dec 2019
Depart Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon on a scenic drive to the port of My Tho to embark the luxurious Mekong Navigator and settle into your elegant suite. As your upstream journey commences towards Cai Be, experience our cordial hospitality on the Sun Deck at a welcome reception and introduction to our friendly and professional crew who will present a safety briefing. In the evening a “Mekong Delta” themed dinner offers a cultural and innovative introduction to Vietnamese cuisine.
30 Dec 2019
After a short sail to Cai Be, the English-speaking guide will accompany you on the tapestry of waterways by sampan, passing a colourful collection of local boats from the delta provinces, larger boats selling their goods and the characterful stilted houses of Cai Be. Continuing into the narrower canals of Cai Be, a stop is made to visit Ba Duc House, a traditional Vietnamese home and garden. Back onboard the sampans, it’s a short paddle through the canals to reach a traditional rice 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. On return to the ship an elegant buffet lunch is served while sailing upstream through tranquil riverine scenery towards Sa Dec.
On arrival at Sa Dec port the traditional sampan is again used to navigate the tapestry of Mekong canals, giving guests the opportunity to observe traditional village life before arriving at the historic town of Sa Dec. A visit here would not be complete without a visit to the former home of Mr. Hyunh Thuy Le, who was the inspiration for Marguerite Duras’ famous novel, L’Amant (The Lover), as well as the Chinese Temple called Kien An Cung,built in honor of the Huynh Thuy Le Family, where you will be warmly welcomed by traditional Chinese Lion Dances. Guests return to the ship on foot through the town's market which is a bustling, extraordinary and colourful experience, providing many wonderful photo opportunities of the fresh and unusual produce of meat, live fish and seafood for sale.
Enjoy a sunset cruise up to Tan Chau area near the border of Vietnam and Cambodia.
31 Dec 2019
CU LAO GIENG
LONG KHANH A ISLAND
In the morning your sampans take you to the local island village of Hong Ngu in the Mekong Delta, close to the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Here, a large number of traditional Khmer scarves are woven in many village homes and exported to Cambodia. Guests have the opportunity to observe the weaving process passed down many generations. Some villagers are also embroidery artists and display their art for visitors to enjoy. The inhabitants of this rural area have only recently become familiar with western travellers and always offer a friendly welcome. Before returning to the sampans guests can enjoy a walk around the beautiful evergreen island, stopping for a visit at the home of a local war veteran.
After returning to the Mekong Navigator and sailing to the Vietnam-Cambodia border, enjoy relaxation time on board whilst the crew takes care of all border formalities and continue cruising upstream towards Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We anchor mid river near Phnom Penh.
After a gourmet New Year’s Eve Dinner, gather on the sundeck to enjoy musical entertainment and dancing with the crew, ending the year with a fantastic firework display over Phnom Penh capital.
01 Jan 2020
Breakfast is taken on board before guests are greeted at the pier by their appointed Tuk Tuk driver for an enchanting tour of the best sites in Phnom Penh. Guests are expertly pedalled along the riverfront to the Royal Palace which is the official residence of the King of Cambodia. Comprising several buildings, the main palace is an important symbol of the Kingdom set in beautifully manicured gardens. Guests stroll through the grounds to see the Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion, the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and Maitreya Buddha encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds.
The city tour continues by Tuk Tuk to the 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 artifacts, excavated at the Angkor Temple complex in Siem Reap and further afield in Cambodia. In the afternoon, guests are free to further explore Phnom Penh on a variety of optional excursions at a small cost. Alternatively, guests can opt to go shopping or sample the city’s vibrant restaurants and bars.
02 Jan 2020
Guests will today learn more about the darkest days of Cambodian history and the harrowing loss and sadness that haunts its people. A 45-minute drive through countryside are the Choeung Ek killing fields where more than one million people were killed and buried in mass grave sites by the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. Walk through the fields, visit the small museum and Buddhist memorial stupa and learn more about the atrocities committed during the Pol Pot’s regime. Before returning to the ship there is a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as S-21), a former school that was converted to the main prison and torture headquarters of the Khmer Rouge.
After lunch on Mekong Navigator, guests can opt to go shopping or explore the city of Phnom Penh at their leisure.
In the evening, we bid farewell to Phnom Penh and cruise upstream to Angkor Ban.
03 Jan 2020
The morning begins with a visit to the rural and charming village of Angkor Ban, with its stilted houses and grazing Brahim cows seeking the shade of a banana tree. Guests feel a sense of timelessness here, witnessing the rhythm of rural life. A visit is made to the home of a local family who discuss their lifestyle, then onto the local school to join children in their classroom and glimpse a typical school day. A leisurely stroll through the village back to the ship offers an opportunity to take photos of this place that time forgot. This walking route includes a brief stop at the local monastery before returning to the ship to sail further upstream to Wat Hanchey.
Guests begin the afternoon with a walk up the hill to Wat Hanchey a thriving religious complex of both Hindu and Buddhist temples with breath-taking panoramic views over the Mekong. There is the option to receive a traditional Buddhist Water Blessing from the monastery’s resident monks. There are many outstanding stupas, temples, pagodas and statues worth exploring before descending all 303 steps when returning to the ship. For gentle walkers, there is a small coach provided for ascent and descent of the hill.
04 Jan 2020
After breakfast, guests enjoy a drive by coach through the city of Kampong Cham known for its French colonial buildings, up into the hills of Phnom Pros (man hill) and Phnom Srei (woman hill), to visit the incredible Stupa, a 10-meter long reclining Buddha, and the 13-meter tall preaching Buddha. The excursion ends with a visit to the 12th century Angkorian-period complex of Wat Nokor Bachey, which features several original, stone Buddha statues, lions, dragons and devils.
Following lunch on board, make an educational visit to OBT Chiro village with an oxcart ride given by a local village farmer. There’s also a full tour around the village and fields in a cart pulled by two cows. OBT is a Cambodian-run non-governmental organization (NGO) that is dedicated to the education and empowerment of the children living in Chiro Village.
Refresh with a cold drink at Bamboo restaurant, built as part of the pre-hospitality program of the OBT project. This restaurant provides trainees with access to hands-on training in kitchen management, cooking, and hospitality services. Return to the Mekong Navigator.
Before dinner, guests gather on the Sun Deck for a farewell reception with all the crew followed by a Cambodian Farewell Dinner in Le Marche Dining Room.
05 Jan 2020
Following breakfast the crew bid farewell as guests are invited to disembark for transfer from Kampong Cham to Siem Reap with a lunch stop, arriving early afternoon at the hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia.