Embarkation My Tho
Depart Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon on a scenic drive to the port of My Tho to embark the luxurious Mekong Navigator. 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. In the evening a ‘Mekong Delta’ themed dinner offers a cultural and innovative introduction to Vietnamese cuisine. Anchor mid-river overnight near Cai Be.
An kiet house
After breakfast, the English-speaking guide will accompany you on the narrow waterways by sampan, past the city’s beautiful French gothic cathedral followed by a tour of the historic An Kiet House set amid beautifully maintained gardens. 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, popped rice and a variety of traditional sweets. 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 to the local brick factory is an interesting stop to observe the ancient process of local brick-making using clay sourced from the Mekong River.
A visit to Sa Dec would not be complete without a visit to the former home of Mr. Hyun Thuy Le, who was the inspiration for Marguerite Duras’ famous novel, L’Amant (The Lover). Guests return to the ship on foot through the town’s central market which is a bustling, extraordinary and colourful experience. The ship remains anchored mid-river at Tan Chau overnight.
Hong Ngu Village
Cao Dai Temple
The day commences with a visit 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 ship guests visit the local temple dedicated to a unique religion founded in the surrounding area Hoa Hao.
Sample a fusion of exotic flavours at the elegant buffet lunch as the ship cruises towards the border. Following clearing formalities and border crossing into Cambodia, guests observe a fascinating transformation in the riverfront architecture. Relax and enjoy an afternoon at leisure on the sundeck, in the lounge, library or wonderful La Vie spa until mooring close to the city of Phnom Penh late evening.
An exciting culinary display is in store as the team demonstrate the traditional art of Vietnamese and Cambodian cooking.
Please note we are unable to dock or access the city until the customs office is open tomorrow morning and the ship moors overnight near Phnom Penh.
Breakfast is taken on board before guests are greeted by their appointed cyclo 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 cyclo 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. In the afternoon, guests are free to further explore Phnom Penh on a variety of optional excursions. Alternatively, guests can opt to go shopping or sample the city’s vibrant restaurants and bars.
Pre-dinner cultural entertainment is provided on the Sun Deck as guests enjoy a performance by local children of Aspara, the Khmer national dance and other traditional folk dances. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
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. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
A regional cooking class is offered in the afternoon and in the evening there is a very entertaining traditional shadow puppet show.
local family visit
A wonderful cruise upstream then excursion to rural and charming 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. Our dedicated guide offers a presentation on Cambodian Geography. Overnight mooring mid-river near Kampong Cham.
Wat Nokor Bachey
Another glimpse of rural life in Cambodia with a visit to a secondary school serving eight surrounding districts. After a tour of the school there will be an interesting Question and Answer session with the principal and his students.
Guests then walk up the hill to the 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, including the ancient stupa of Wat Hanchey and the Chenla-era brick sanctuary.
Following lunch back on board, guests enjoy a drive through the city of Kampong Cham known for its French colonial buildings, up into the hills of Phnom Pros (man hill) and the smaller contrasting Phnom Srei (woman hill), the incredible Stupa, the 10-metre long reclining Buddha, and the 13-metre tall preaching Buddha. This excursion ends with a visit to the 12th century Angkorian-period complex of Wat Nokor Bachey, built at the gateway to Kampong Cham and the largest temple complex of the province. Built of sandstone and laterite, its main features are several original statues of Buddha, lions, dragons and devils as well as sandstone inscriptions.
Before dinner a farewell reception is hosted in Le Marche Salon followed by Royal Cambodian themed cuisine while the ship is docked at the riverbank of Kampong Cham.
Following breakfast guests are invited to disembark for transfer from Kampong Cham to Siem Reap, Cambodia