Mekong River Cruises - The Lost Civilisation

The Mekong Delta is at the heart of Vietnamese life, as the people depend on it to irrigate their glistening rice paddies, fruit orchards and floating fish farms. Criss-crossed by a myriad of waterways, the best way to observe river life is by a boat! The Jayavarman, a boutique river cruiser, marries the art deco charm of 1930's France with the romance of Indochina, all with modern comforts.
 

On this 8 day cruise through Vietnam's rural heartland, you'll observe places rarely visited as well as opulent world heritage sites as you journey to Cambodia's temple-strewn capital Phnom Penh. Enjoy excursions such as a bicycle ride through rice fields, sip homemade fruit liqueur in a pomello orchard and see quiet riverside temples. With so much to see, learn and ways to relax, you will feel pampered and invigorated!

 

Low Water Upstream Itinerary

Day 1: Saigon > My Tho > Cai Be (D) Bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon as we travel 70 kilometers south by land to My Tho to embark your boutique Ship. You will be served a refreshing welcome drink as the Ship steadily glides along the Mekong. Bathe in the fading sunset on the balcony followed by a briefing at the lounge. Later, a welcome dinner awaits us. When approaching Cai Be, the Ship drops anchor to moor midstream where the river is several kilometers wide. Overnight in Cai Be

Day 2: Cai Be > Sa Dec > Tan Chau (B,L,D) Each morning, we offer our guests an invigorating Tai Chi class on the sun deck. Start your day like many local people do around Asia just as the sun begins its gentle glow. A sumptuous buffet breakfast is the perfect start of your first exploration day in the Mekong Delta.

The morning tour takes you to Cai Be. We can still see some boat to boat trading of local goods such as fruits and agricultural products. Our guide explains the particularities of this long lasting dealing cutlture. Each boat has a special marker to let buyers know what goods they are selling.

Cai Be is a rustic town criss-crossed by many water canals. We go on-shore to visit a workshop where we learn about and observe how rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies and rice wine is manufactured. Cai Be and its surrounding areas are covered by palmtrees and hence the region is also famous for the production of coconut candies. With our local boat we continue to cruise through the lush and green canal network and can observe farmers working in the fields.

Back on board lunch is served and you have some time for yourself afterwards to either enjoy a true Vietnamese coffee at the bar or simply watch the life on the riverbanks floating by.

In the afternoon, we reach the area of Sa Dec. We embark a traditional local boat and head towards Binh Thanh Island. This island is one of the larger ones in the vast stream of the Mekong. Some communities have settled here and make their living by growing water hyazinths. We visit exclusively, one of those untouched areas. By wandering through the village we get a deep understanding of the native life. But moreover we can follow the whole process of mat making. You can even try the weaving yourself, which is still done manually. We will meet also an elderly local couple who shares with us their story on this island and they are happy to engage in conversation with you.

Back on board you may like to pamper yourself with a spa treatment or take a dip in our pool on the sun deck. Our expert guide offers a presentation on the "Life on the Mekong Delta" as the ship continues sailing to Tan Chau - the boarder town to Cambodia. We moor mid-stream near Tan Chau. Dinner is served and afterwards you can join our evening cinema session (offered every night) featuring selected classic movies.

Day 3: Tan Chau > Border Crossing > Phnom Penh (B,L,D) Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the dining hall or in the quiet sanctuary of your balcony.

Brace yourself for an excursion around Tan Chau, a pleasant, slow-paced town near the Cambodian border with a sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community. Once on-shore we hop on "xelois" to explore Tan Chau. A xeloi is a local vehicle which is still used as a taxi in this region. We slowly move around the streets to see all the workshops, houses and domiciles. Get to feel the laid-back vibes of this place. We stop at the colorful local market near one of the ancient temples. This is the best time to interact with the vendors of this friendly town to practice your bargaining skills. We board our local boat and cruise past floating houses to finally reach a floating fish farm. This region is the source of fish production to be sold all over the world and we can see closely how fish farmings works.

Back on board our "home" we sail towards the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. Get ready for a fascinating and leisurely cruise through the deep Cambodia countryside towards Phnom Penh. The whole afternoon is at your own arrangements. This is the part of the cruise when even the last passenger will turn into cruise mode and hopefully experience the therapeutic influence this mighty river radiates. It is time for massages, time for sun bed relaxation, time for private balcony kick-backs - it's the time to merge with the river.

A culinary class is offered during the afternoon to sharpen your knowledge and skills on the local cuisine. Some may like to visit the bridge - the captain always has a story to share about "his" river. you may float into a state of mild bliss but before you totally drift away join our afternoon high tea for some treats.

Dinner is served before we arrive in the capital of Cambodia around seven o'clock. The boat docks at the pier of Phnom Penh. You are free to go for your first exploration by yourself. Stroll along the river promenade and watch the locals chit-chatting, selling odds and ends or have a drink in one of the numerous bars (kindly inform our crew once you are leaving the ship on your own).

Day 4: Phnom Penh (B,L,D) Phnom Penh was once the Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance. After breakfast, we will be captivated by a comprehensive lecture on Cambodia's modern history. This will be followed by a city tour of this dynamic, historical capital city of Cambodia which has managed to preserve huge slices of its French colonial allure. Sightseeing in the morning will include visiting the dazzling white and gold edifice of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, and witnessing exceptionally beautiful Khmer craft at the National Museum.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit the Genocide Museum and the Killing Field in town. Be prepared to be heart wrenched by this stark reminder of the genocide that transpired during Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime. We go back to the Ship after our museum visit. Take a rest on your cabin balcony or the lounge and get prepared for an exciting evening event. The evening starts with a variety of cocktail served on the sun deck. Take a seat and enjoy the following Apsara dance performance. Experience the brilliance and richness of this culture, the soothing sounds of traditional music, the calming scent of incense sticks and a barbeque on the sun deck. It is indeed a truly marvelous experience, dining in the open with the stars and the moon as our companions. Overnight in Phnom Penh

Day 5: Phnom Penh > Kampong Chhnang (B,L,D) Before the sun peeks over the horizon, the cruiser sets sail towards Kampong Tralach on the Tonle River - an amazingly narrow river. Gently gliding through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape we reach Kampong Tralach. Breakfast is served before we moor and get ready for our first Tonle discovery.

We reach the shore by local boat and cacophonous children wave enthusiastically while bringing their livestock for a bath in the meandering river. We will stop at the "Green School" which is supported in part by Heritage Line. Travel to see all this life, which is so much different than ours - by a local ox cart ride. Back on board our staff is keen to show you a variety of traditional Khmer fashion. Lunch is served after this performance.

The ship cruises along the narrow and meandering Tonle River towards Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia's "water world", where everything is on sticks balanced on water-rich soil. This is perhaps the most fascinating cruise locale in Cambodia.

Back on land in Kampong Chhnang we take mini buses heading to a rural village nearby and go on a walking tour. Our guides introduce the village specialities - Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. Before returning to the boat we explore the local floating villages and wetlands of the region.

Relax back on board until dinner is served. The boat moors mid-river in the Tonle area.

Day 6: Tonle River > Kampong Cham (B,L,D) In the early morning during breakfast we sail from the lower Tonle River towards the Mekong passing their confluence at Phnom Penh. We arrive at the island of Koh Oknha Tey. This spot in the middle of the Mekong owns its fame for the manufacturing of high class silk products.

By tuk tuk we explore the island with its workshops and learn how silk is processed from its source, provided by little silkworms, to a final top quality product made of original Cambodian silk.

Before lunch our expert guides offer a presentation about "Geography of the Mekong and Tonle Sap". Afterwards a Monks' blessing ceremony on board delivers spirits and wishes for our health and prosperity for all. The ship sails towards the small Angkor Ban village up in the Mekong River. The Angkor Ban village is famous for its unspoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses. It feels like being transported back a hundred years into an era unaffected by modernity. Villagers characterize an unbridled warmth.

Afterwards it is the time for some fun during a cocktail party on a flat riverbank. We continue cruising for a while until dinner is served. The boat finds its overnight spot at the riverbank of Kampong Cham.

Day 7: Kampong Cham (B,L,D) After breakfast we are going by bus to visit the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey, built in the 7th century. This small complex sits on a hill top right on the shore with breath taking views of the Mekong. We return to the ship for lunch and some relaxation.

In the afternoon we head for another outing and drive to the the tiny, colorful monastery of Wat Nokor. Here we might get the chance to engage in light banter with some of the monks living in the area. As it is low water season we can see a bamboo bridge which connects the mainland with the island. Local communities re-build the bridge every year when water levels drop.

We continue our journey and visit a local school to understand more about the education of the young Cambodian generation (NGO project). The children here are always excited to show their skills in music and art and will bathe you in smiles upon your applause.

As the sun sets, our crew invites for a farewell event. Before dinner enjoy some dancing and music together with the crew. The boat moors at the riverbank of Kampong Cham.

Day 8: Tonle Sap > Siem Reap (B) Enjor your last breakfast on board our floating sanctuary. We disembark the ship after you have checked out for a transfer by bus to the drop off point in Siem Reap. The transfer takes about 4.5 hours. Snacks are provided during the trip. You arrive in Siem Reap in the early afternoon. We hope that you enjoyed this fascinating river just as our crew does every single time. Moreover we wish that you will take plenty of memories and friendships along with you that will linger with your stories of this amazing river - the Mighty Mekong.

Pricing (per person) $NZD

Type TWIN SINGLE

2018

The Jayavarman

Superior

1 Jan - 30 Mar

1 Apr - 30 Apr

1 Jun - 30 Sep

1 Oct - 17 Dec

Deluxe

1 Jan - 30 Mar

1 Apr - 30 Apr

1 Jun - 30 Sep

1 Oct - 17 Dec

Signature

1 Jan - 30 Mar

1 Apr - 30 Apr

1 Jun - 30 Sep

1 Oct - 17 Dec

 

-

-

-

$4,126

$3,268

$2,670

$4,126

-

$4,899

$3,881

$3,081

$4,899

-

$5,597

$4,212

$3,376

$5,597

 

-

-

-

$5,984

$4,738

$3,872

$5,984

-

$7,105

$5,628

$4,467

$7,105

-

$7,708

$6,109

$4,896

$7,708

Superior stateroom

Please note: Gratuities are not included. Suggested amount is USD$5 per person per day

Travel Dates:
Specific travel dates apply

*per person share twin

7 nights from

$2,670*

Includes

  • 7 nights' aboard the 'Jayavarman'
  • All meals whilst on board
  • All shore excursions with English speaking guide
  • Entrance fees and transport
  • Drinking water all day
  • Coffee & Tea with breakfast
  • Taxes and Fuel
  • Transfers in Saigon & Siem Reap
Enquire Now Terms & Conditions