• River Cruise Experiences

    River Cruise Experiences

    River Boats give a totally different perspective of a country to the traveller….life slows down as days laze into one another….but all is not relaxation! Excursions include exciting mini voyages of discovery - including tiger spotting, bird watching, local sightseeing and cultural highlights. All the boats are luxuriously outfitted - many rekindling the days of colonial splendour. Discover the Mekong River - the lifeblood of the land and visit incredible Angkor Wat. Cruise the Irrawaddy, to see magnificent teak Monasteries and solid gold pagodas. In India travel the mighty Brahmaputra; sail down the Hugli River between Calcutta and the Ganges, or relax aboard 'kettuvallam' - traditional rice barges in Kerala.
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The Mekong Voyage of Discovery

  • Itinerary
  • Cost
  • Experiences
  • Highlights
Bangkok Ho Chi Minh City Cao Dai and Cu Chi Tunnels Tay Ninh 7 nights The Jayavarman Cruise Cai Be Cham Village Phnom Penh Wat Nokor Wat Henchey Kampong Chhnang Siem Reap Banteay Srei and Ta Prohm Angkor Wa Bangkok

Day 1. To Ho Chi Minh City via Bangkok

Morning depart from London Heathrow on direct Thai Airways flight to Bangkok and onwards to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 2. Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City
Arrive Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to the Majestic Hotel for two nights. Afternoon tour exploring the heart of the city: Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), past the Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh Square, Municipal Theatre and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Later tour the Reunification Palace (formerly the Presidential Palace) and War Remnants Museum. Drive to Cholon, the Chinatown district of the city. Visit the enormous Binh Tay Wholesale market with its countless stores hawking everything under the sun. Visit the ornate Thien Hau Temple: dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea.

Day 3. Day excursion to Cao Dai and Cu Chi Tunnels
Drive to Tay Ninh, the birthplace of the unique Cao Dai religion: a fusion of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam and native Vietnamese spiritual beliefs. (Note: during the TET festival, ceremonies are often cancelled without warning). After lunch visit the Cu Chi tunnel network; established as a means of waging guerrilla war against superior French and later American forces.

Day 4. 7 night Mekong Cruise – Saigon to Siem Reap
Morning transfer to The Jayavarman cruise. Cruise along the Mekong from Saigon (Vietnam) to Siem Reap (Cambodia). The ship meanders past busy ports and waterways, then, after an abrupt change of scenery the ship enters the UNESCO Mangrove Biosphere Reserve of Can Gio. Evening cocktail reception at the Funnel Bar and Lounge followed by a welcome dinner on the sun deck. Drop anchor just outside of Cai Be for the night. 7 nights on The Jayavarman.

Day 5. Mekong Cruise – Cai Be
This morning visit the Cai Be floating market full of colour, noise and vivacity!

Day 6. Mekong Cruise – Floating markets and Cham village excursion
Early morning Thai Chi lessons on the sun deck. (optional) Boat excursion to the fascinating floating villages and catfish farms. Watch Bassa fish being fed. Shore excursion to the local Muslim Cham Community. Mid afternoon cruise continues towards Phnom Penh.

Day 7. Mekong Cruise – Phnom Penh City Tour including the ‘Killing Fields’
After breakfast, city tour of this dynamic, historical capital of Cambodia, with its delightful French Colonial charm. Sightseeing in the morning will include the dazzling white and gold architecture of the Royal Palace and the outstanding displays of Khmer crafts at the National Museum. After lunch in a local restaurant, explore Cambodia’s heartbreaking past under the Khmer Rouge regime, with an excursion to the infamous ‘Killing Fields’: the former detention, torture and execution centres during the Cambodia civil war. Introduction and lecture by a local history professor. Return to the ship and relax watching a Cambodian traditional Apsara dance performance.

Day 8. Mekong Cruise – Chong Koh and Wat Nokor
Depart at dawn from Phnom Penh with a stop at the little known Chong Koh: a silk weaving village. Later visit Wat Nokor, a Wat built within the ruins of an ancient Temple.

Day 9. Mekong Cruise – Wat Hanchey
Early morning embark on a journey upriver to the pre Angkorian Temple of Wat Hanchey. Located at the top of a hill overlooking the river, it offers some of the best views in Cambodia. Dating from the 8th C. these ancient structures do more than justice to the architecture of the Chenla Empire, predating the glories of the mighty Angkor.

Day 10. Mekong Cruise – Kampong Chhnang & Kampong Louang Villages
Before sunrise, the cruise sets sail to Kampong Chhnang via Prek K dam along the meandering Tonle Sap River. Take a walk through one of the last surviving silversmith villages, and watch the entire community’s involvement producing various silver items to sell. After lunch, motorboat excursion to see the wetlands, floating houses and fish farms in the region. (Note: the cruise does not operate to Tonle Sap during Apr, May and June, as the water level is too low.)

Day 11. Siem Reap
Morning disembark the cruise, and transfer by courtesy coach to Siem Reap. Four nights La Residence d’ Angkor.

Day 12. Siem Reap – Tour of Banteay Srei and Ta Prohm
Morning guided tour of Banteay Srei -The Citadel of the Women- was built by Rajendravaman II in the mid 10th C. and is dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. It has some of the most intricate sandstone reliefs in Angkor. Slowly being reclaimed by the jungle with huge trees growing out from its ruins the charismatic Buddhist Temple - Ta Prohm was constructed around 1186AD - known originally as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King). The Temple's central sculpture represents Prajnaparamita, the personification of wisdom.

Day 13. Full day sightseeing of Angkor
Feel the magic of an Angkor Wat sunrise. The crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat is the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. Without doubt, the Temples are magnificent, with breathtaking artistry and brilliance of design. The sheer enormity of the complex is amazing. The tour will cover the highlights of this World Heritage complex including Angkor Thom: Bayon, Baphuon and Elephant and Leper King Terrace.

Day 14. Siem Reap
Day at leisure or further visits to outlying Temples can be organised.

Day 15. To London via Bangkok
Morning transfer to the airport to board Bangkok flight with connection to Thai Airways flight to London.

The Cost From

Per Person on a Double/ Twin share basis                      £3,020.00

Single room supplement                                                  £1,125.00

 

Cost Includes:

  • International & internal flights in economy class.

  • Accommodation with en-suite facilities.

  • Daily breakfast throughout. Full board meals whilst on the Jayawarman Cruise.

  • Services of English speaking guide during sightseeing.

  • Transfers as per the itinerary by air-conditioned vehicles.

  • Excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary.

  • Full ATOL Bonding.

 

Cost does not include:

  • Visa Fee.

  • Any optional Excursions.

  • Any expenses of a personal nature.

  • Travel Insurance.

 

Wine and Dine in Memorable Places
Dine by flickering candle light in the shadow of ancient Temples; listen to the sound of the corks popping as you sip champagne in the glow of evening!

 

  • Cruise on one of the world great rivers – The Mekong on board the boutique-style small ship
  • Receive a water blessing from a Buddhist monk at the beautiful Tep Pranamm pagoda inside Angkor Thom.
  • Cruise past the magnificent floating villages lit by the warm glow of the evening sun on Tonle Sap Lake and explore the myriad of waterways and villages that make up the Mekong delta.
  • Be daring and try the Cambodian local delicacy - fried spiders!
  • Take the opportunity to understand Vietnam's unique Tam Giao or triple religion and how it influences society and affects lifestyle in the country. Learn about Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

Meet our Scholars and Trip Leaders

Leaders Banners

 

SarahShawS A R A H   S H A W

Tour lecturer Sarah Shaw is a Faculty Member at the Oriental Institute at Oxford University, and an Honorary Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. One of her key research interests is Indian and Asian influences on British nineteenthcentury writers, of whom Kipling is surely the most famous. Throughout the tour she will give a series of short lectures about Kipling and his work, as well as carefully chosen poetry and short story readings.

 

VibhaJoshiParkinD R . V I B H A   J O S H I   P A R K I N

Dr Vibha Joshi Parkin is  professorial Research Fellow at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Tuebingen University and Research Associate at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford from where she also obtained her doctorate. Working with the Nagas since 1 985, Dr Vibha Joshi Parkin has conducted extensive fieldwork on their religion and material cultures and will impart her intimate knowledge of the tribes. Her research interests focus on two inter-related themes, traditional religion, conversion to Christianity, healers and  healing practices and ethnographic museum collections, history of colonial collecting (especially textiles), cultural history of the Naga peoples and their self-presentation. She is the author of research monograph, A Matter of Belief: Christian Conversion and Healing in North East India (Berghahn, 2012), co-author of, The Land of the Nagas (Mapin, 2004), co-curator of the international exhibition on the Naga at the Basel Museum of World Cultures  and co-editor of the book, Naga: A Forgotten Mountain Region Rediscovered (2008).She has authored several articles based on her research among Naga in edited books and journals.

 

david tolleyportrait AD A V I D   T O L L E Y - VISITING ARTIST AND TUTOR IN FINE ART AT THE RUSKIN SCHOOL OF ART

David Tolley is a Visiting Artist at The Ruskin School of Art where he specialises in Photography and Film. He has exhibited in Germany, Australia, Greece (Athens), USA (New York), and the U.K. (London and Oxford), and will be showing work in Poland (Warsaw) and Germany (Berlin) in 2016. He studied English Language & Literature at the University of Oxford (1997).

 

 

Heather Kelly

H E A T H E R   K E L L Y

I am a botanist by training, with a PhD in plant physiology and a broader interest in plant ecology. In recent years my focus has been on teaching rather than research and I have taught interdisciplinary science with the UK's Open University, as well as whole organism biology at Durham University. Teaching at both universities has included running field trips on which students learned about assessing biodiversity, the impact of environmental factors on plant growth and processes such as succession. I am really keen to encourage people to look at how organisms interact with their environment, particularly at a time when we can see that environment changing. I would like to do this in Kasmir and Ladakh by looking at how the vegetation changes with factors such as altitude and rainfall and also at how primary succession allows the colonisation of bare ground. The Himalayas, with their natural beauty and the fact that so many British garden plants have their origins here, make an ideal location for this. 

Read my blog

John Macgillivray1

J O H N    M A C G I L L I V R A Y

Currently I am a part time science tutor at the Open University with over 20 years experience of teaching undergraduate, general science modules. This has including a senior tutor role at OU Residential Schools, leading geology/ecology field trips and similar independently led field trips. I have previously worked in the UK Meteorological Office and National Engineering Laboratory (UK). I hold a first class honours degree in Earth science and a degree equivalent in Physics. Recently I have carried out published research work with Professor Ray MacDonald (Lancaster University/ University of Warsaw) and Professor B. Bagiński (University of Warsaw) on the Tertiary dyke systems of Southern Scotland and NE England, adding to previous jointly published research work I have carried out.

 

 Bobs PictureR O B E R T (BOB)   C O O K

Retired as a Warrant Officer from the British Army after 34 years. His family has a long almost unbroken line of military service dating back alhmost 170 years.

Since retirement from the army Bob has operated a busy Bed & Breakfast in York, U.K. together with his wife. Amongst other interests, Bob is the volunteer curator of the 2nd Infantry Division Kohima Museum Trust also located in York. It was in this role that Bob first visited the battlefields of Kohima in 2008 and has since been back another 8 times leading military and civilian groups to explain and explore the many different aspects of what is probably the most important unknown battle of WW2. During his visits to Kohima, Bob’s knowledge and understanding of the Battle has steadily increased as has his liking for the friendly Naga Hill people of Nagaland in North East India.

In addition to being the curator, Bob is also a Trustee of the Kohima Educational Trust which aims to repay the debt of gratitude owed by the British veterans to the Naga Hill people for their unstinting aid and assistance against the Japanese Imperial Army. One of the ways of repaying this debt of gratitude is by sponsoring the education of the Naga children aged 14 – 16.

Bob is also the deputy chairman of the Burma Campaign Society which aims to improve and enhance the reconciliation between Japan and the U.K. In this role he has also visited Japan in company with a British army veteran of the battle to visit and pay respects to Japanese veterans of the Burma campaign and to visit the grave of Lieutenant General Kotoku Sato who commanded the 31st Japanese Division at Kohima.

Click here to view Bob Cook’s interview with Kohima Museum, York’s Curator

 

Dannys Picture

D R    D A N N Y    C L A R K-L O W E S

Is a geologist, educated at Cambridge and London universities, who has given industry training courses on geology at locations throughout the world, as well as publishing scientific papers and books. He is also a mountaineer who has climbed in the Swiss Alps and in the Himalaya. He will lead this tour to Nepal which will look at aspects of the geology and geography of the spectacular Himalaya, and will help participants achieve an understanding of how mountain belts and their associated rock types are created through plate movements.

 

joan

J O A N   P O L L O C K

I am a botanist by training, with a PhD in plant physiology and a broader interest in plant ecology. In recent years my focus has been on teaching rather than research and I have taught interdisciplinary science with the UK's Open University, as well as whole organism biology at Durham University. Teaching at both universities has included running field trips on which students learned about assessing biodiversity, the impact of environmental factors on plant growth and processes such as succession. I am really keen to encourage people to look at how organisms interact with their environment, particularly at a time when we can see that environment changing. I would like to do this in Kasmir and Ladakh by looking at how the vegetation changes with factors such as altitude and rainfall and also at how primary succession allows the colonisation of bare ground. The Himalayas, with their natural beauty and the fact that so many British garden plants have their origins here, make an ideal location for this.

 

NaturePhotography TourLeaders Baines R I C H A R D    B A I N E S – ORNITHOLOGIST / ECOLOGIST

Richard is an experienced ornithologist/ecologist who has been studying and working as a Nature Guide and in Wildlife Conservation for 30 years. From recording UK migrant birds as a volunteer for Flamborough Bird Observatory to monitoring Siberian migrants in China; he has become highly experienced in bird identification and ecology. He was born in North Yorkshire and lived here for most of his life. He has worked extensively with the North York Moors National Park (NYMNP) including a project in 2014 surveying a large area of open moorland for breeding waders such as Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria). He has travelled extensively especially in Asia, recently spending 3 months birding in Thailand. He returned from Gujarat in December 2015 with a great passion for Indian birds and of course the food! He is currently studying part time for his MSc in Environmental Conservation. Richard is very keen on always increasing his knowledge on the ecology of birds and other wildlife. His greatest asset is his knowledge and enthusiasm, he loves passing on his experience of wildlife to a wide range of ages and abilities.

 

NaturePhotography TourLeaders Race

S T E V E    R A C E – WILDLIFE  PHOTOGRAPHER

Steve is an award-winning wildlife photographer based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. He has been a keen naturalist and birder for over 30 years, lived on the Yorkshire Coast all of his life and believes there is no better place for variety of habitats and amazing wildlife. Inspired by the natural world around him Steve captures incredible wildlife images. In 2013 he was “Commended” in the “Wildlife Photographe¬¬r of the Year Awards” and “British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards” in which in 2015 he was “Highly Commended”. His work has been published in national and regional media and magazines, leaflets, websites and publications. Steve has also been featured on BBC Countryfile, Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and regional television programmes. He also runs regular exhibitions, workshops, and delivers talks and lectures. Steve has worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as Education Officer at Bempton Cliffs, East Yorkshire and taken part in numerous projects for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, National Trust and other conservation organisations.

 

Pravin DangeraP R A V I N    D A N G E R A

Born in the textile cradle of India, Gujarat, Pravin has been an expert guide to travellers in India since 1996. A speaker of several languages and trained by Gujarat Tourism, his expertise lies in textile and village tours. His long standing experience as a textile tours escort has enabled him to develop close relations with local craft and village communities in Gujarat. He has led textile lovers from the UK, USA, Australia and several other countries across textile hubs in India.

 

Mike scott

M I K E   S C O T T

I grew up in a Royal Navy family, first in the Far East, and then near Portsmouth. Having considered, and rejected, following my parents into the Navy I took a degree at Brunel University where I developed my love of History. I also learned that I loved teaching and great passion in education – outdoor learning. I have long believed that it is important to bring History to life in the original environment. My career in education finally led me to a school where I was responsible for co–ordination of all co-curricular activities. However, life in that environment means you miss out on many things. Hence, I chose to leave and did so at just the right time. A range of opportunities presented themselves. I very proudly received my Guild of Battlefield Guides badge in February 2009. I am happy to be one of a grand company of brothers, with a wealth of experience. Being a Badged Guide amongst this group of men and women is a unique honor and a privilege.

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