(Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City)
(Lower Mekong River Cruise)
Explore Vietnam’s bustling capital, Hanoi with your private guide and driver. The next day, a short flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, brings you to the gateway of the largest ancient city in the world. Explore Angkor Archeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site laden with magnificent temples that once heralded the grandeur of the Khmer empire. Nearby, Tonle Sap Lake provides the launching point for your graceful Mekong River adventure. Cruise from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City (My Tho Port), with calls at Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Tralach, Oudong, Chong Koh, Phnom Penh, Tan Chau, Sa Dec, Xeo Quyt and Cai Be. Experience life on the river from small rural villages to booming capitals, visiting temples floating markets and much more along the way during your unforgettable Mekong River odyssey. Explore Ho Chi Minh City with your private expert guide.
Cruise Departure Dates:
2015: Jun 29, Jul 13,27, Aug 10,17,24,31, Sep 7,14,21,28, Oct 5,12,19,26, Nov 2,9,16,23,30, Dec 7,14,21,28
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
You will be picked up at your hotel by private car with an English speaking guide and taken to visit the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and his former residence, One pillar Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature. For lunch, enjoy a lovely meal at a local restaurant. After lunch, continue your city tour to your choice of one of Hanoi's many museums, including Fine Art, History, Revolutionary, War, and Ethnology, then head to Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple and experience a 1 hour cyclo tour. Finish your day off at the Thang Long Opera Theatre for a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show.
Fly from Hanoi to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Flight time is approximately 1.5 hours.
Today will be spent exploring the major temples of Angkor, an absolute highlight and must-do on any trip to Cambodia. Pace your time according to your personal tastes, as you move about the complex visiting sites that date back to the 12th century. Pass under the towering South Gate of Angkor Thom, known as the "Great City". Head into the Bayon group of ruins, famous for the multitude of ancient faces carved into the stone, now looking out over modern day visitors. Linger a while at photogenic Ta Prohm, a group of temples that have been overtaken by the jungle. Lunch will be served at a local Khmer restaurant. In the afternoon you will visit Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, and a symbol for Cambodia. Finally, watch the sky turn many colors of orange and pink from atop Phnom Bakheng, a hilltop monument with an ideal vantage point for sunset.
After registration this morning, you'll board a motor coach for a transfer to your ship in Kampong Cham. Along the way you'll make stops at the Spean Praptos Bridge and Kampong Tom Village.Upon arrival to the river, you'll board a motorboat transfer to your awaiting cruise ship.Overall transfer time from point of registration to cruise ship is approximately 5 hours.
Meet your driver for a pier transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.
Welcome aboard.Take some time to get settled in to your stateroom, and to explore the length of the ship.Meet your fellow travelers at the Welcome Dinner this evening. Anchor overnight on the Mekong River near Wat Hanchey.
Port charges are included in your multi-day cruise itinerary.
After breakfast, a local boat will take you into the lakeside wetlands that form the mouth of the Tonle Sap River. Enjoy the stunning variety of bird life here and be on the lookout for the traps used to catch fish in this area – some are over a half-mile long. In the afternoon, you'll take a leisurely walk to the Koh Chen village. You will also visit home workshops specializing in silversmithing and coppersmithing.
This morning, transfer to Oudong, the former capital of Cambodia, and tour a monastery where you will receive a special Buddhist blessing. In Kampong Tralach, you will have a truly memorable excursion – an oxcart ride through the rice paddies surrounding a small village. Later, your ship departs for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where an afternoon walking tour will give you a wonderful introduction to the city. Return to the ship for dinner and an onboard Khmer folk performance presented by local children. The vessel moors overnight in Phnom Penh
A morning tour explores the highlights of Cambodia’s capital city, famous for its French colonial architecture, busy cafes, vibrant nightlife and renovated river “corniche.” Visit the Royal Palace and the spectacular Silver Pagoda. The National Museum is another highlight, with outstanding displays of Khmer crafts. After lunch onboard, another excursion leads to the infamous Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng or S21 detention centre (Genocide Museum) situated in the suburbs of the city. An overnight on the waterfront provides an opportunity to dine in one of many nearby restaurants and experience Phnom Penh’s vibrant nightlife, should passengers so choose.
Spend a day cruising the Mekong River and crossing the border into Vietnam. Your vessel moors at the small town of Tan Chau, Vietnam.
Today, you will take a small local boat through narrow channels to several scenic locations, including a small village known as “Evergreen Island.” Later, you will see Tan Chau from the vantage point of a traditional “xe-loi” (trishaw) that will take you around to all the sights, with stops at a silk-making workshop and another that produces rattan mats and slippers. This afternoon, your ship cruises to Sa Dec, where it will moor overnight.
Once ashore in Sa Dec, tour the town where French writer Marguerite Duras spent many years in her youth. Visit a colorful local market, and the house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, Duras' Chinese paramour, now a small museum. Afterwards, board a motor coach for Xeo Quyt, once used as a base during the French and U.S. wars and now an important ecological site. After lunch on board, a local boat will take you to Cai Be’s spectacular floating market. You will also have an opportunity to visit candy and rice paper workshops. This evening, enjoy a festive Farewell Dinner on board.
Your cruise comes to an end as the ship docks at My Tho Port.
You will be picked up from your hotel by private car with an English speaking guide and taken around the city for half day tour. Start the tour with a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral, a neo-Romanesque cathedral constructed between 1877 and 1883 using bricks from Marseilles and stained-glass windows from Chartres. Continue on to the Old Saigon Post Office and Cholon, the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City; and the Emperor Jade Pagoda (Phuoc Hai), one of the most interesting pagodas in Vietnam. It’s filled with smoky incense and fantastic carved figurines. It was built by the Cantonese community around the turn of the 20th century and is still buzzing with worshipers, many lounging in the front gardens.
In the morning, you will be picked up by private car with an English speaking guide and taken to Tay Ninh. Just, 60 miles northwest of Ho Chi Minh City is the Great Temple or Holy See, the center of the intriguing Cao Dai sect. Cao Dai is a syncretistic Vietnamese religious movement that incorporates aspect of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and even Catholicism. The Cao Dai Temple (as it is more commonly known) was built in a unique architectural style that reflects its blended traditions. In the afternoon, you will travel just north of the city to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. The Vietnamese are proud of their resolve in their prolonged history of struggle against invading armies.The residents of Cu Chi took their war underground, literally, developing a network of tunnels that, at its height, stretched as far as Cambodia and included meeting rooms, kitchens, and triage areas. Enjoy a nice lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant.
The Silk Path is located in the heart of the charming old quarter of Hanoi, which has countless tourist attractions, government and diplomatic institutions, as well as proximity to the business district of the city. With the hotel's 106 well-appointed exclusively designed rooms and suites, it is no surprise that Silk Hotel is a preference choice of a traveler. The hotel has a 2 level restaurant with private dining rooms, a unique bar, and a fitness center and sauna. Silk Path Hotel guarantees a comfortable stay with all luxury amenities within reach.
The Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa provides a sense of serenity with the nostalgic comfort and elegant refinement of the French Art de Vivre in the heart of Siem Reap. The building's graceful colonial architecture of the 1930's provides a sense of peaceful tranquility. The hotel is located within close proximity to World Heritage listed Angkor Temples, the quaint old market town of Siem Reap, and the international airport. Featuring a Victorian touch, air conditioned rooms and suites come with dark furnishings, all with private balcony facing the pool, tropical garden or the Royal Park. International, Asian, and local Khmer dishes are served at L'Escale restaurant, while Le Bistrot de Siem Reap presents modern French gastronomy, complemented by the finest wines. L'Explorateur Bar and Le Pool Deck feature light meals, exquisite cocktails, and refreshing beverages. Surrounded by tropical garden, the hotel houses a magnificent outdoor saltwater pool with a spa tub. Relaxing massages, facial and body treatments are available at the Victoria Spa.
Having joined the AMA fleet in 2011, the 124-passenger AmaLotus offers the most luxurious river cruise vacations available on the exotic Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam. With décor that combines Colonial elegance with regional Khmer accents, staterooms include comfortable sitting areas, individually controlled air-conditioning, a mini-bar, safety deposit box, robes and slippers, and some even include a luxurious bathtub. Public areas include a main restaurant serving Asian and Western specialties; Saigon Lounge; Gift Shop; Fitness Center, Spa, plus a swimming pool and bar on the Sun Deck. The ships also feature a fully English-speaking staff.
The Renaissance Riverside is located in the heart of Saigon's business district, the Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon offers first-class hospitality, comfortable rooms and modern amenities. After a long day, relax at the poolside terrace or enjoy a leisurely dinner at Kabin, known as one of the finest Chinese restaurants in the city. Take a dip in the rooftop pool and visit the Health Club for an invigorating workout with the latest gym equipment. Otherwise, simply enjoy the incredible views of the Saigon River and stroll to museums, galleries and other area attractions. You’ll find that the hotel’s central location, panoramic views and impeccable service makes this the ideal place to stay while visiting Ho Chi Minh City.
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