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.
Per Person on a Double/ Twin share basis £3,020.00
Single room supplement £1,125.00
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.
Any optional Excursions.
Any expenses of a personal nature.
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!