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Mekong River Cruise Classic Cambodia to Vietnam Tour

All aboard! Let your adventure on the mighty Mekong River begin. Your Mekong River Cruise tour is an eight day voyage where you will discover the delights of the Mekong Delta region. Your journey, which begins in Cambodia and ends in Vietnam, stops at fascinating rural riverside villages along the way. These local communities have a remarkable ability to harness nature to meet their needs, from houses built on stilts to floating fish farms.

This tour will invoke all your senses and your days will be filled to the brim with unique experiences from exploring a remote village on an ox-pulled cart or whizzing through Cambodia’s capital on a cyclo-ride tour. You’ll get to try your hand at weaving a traditional mat, observe a traditional Vietnamese dragon dance, and discover one of Cambodia’s silk-making villages.

Your Mekong River Cruise is an immersive experience with the Khmer and Vietnemese people at its heart. You’ll learn about the Cambodia’s tragic modern history when the Khmer Rouge ruled the country, and how the people’s courageous, resilient and kind attitudes has helped rebuild the country. You’ll sip Vietnamese tea with a local family and watch the locals bathe their livestock at the riverside in Kampong Tralach. This adventure is a kaleidoscope of experiences that together promise to give you a truly unforgettable holiday.

Duration
8 days
Best time to go
November to April
Options
Private basis, Escorted
Start your journey
a person standing in front of a stone building with Angkor Wat in the background

Trip highlights

  • Whizz through Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, on a cyclo-ride tour, visiting its most important and beautiful sites
  • Cruise to the island of Koh Oknha Tei and discover how Cambodia’s beautiful silks are made
  • Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese tea with a local family in My An Hung village
  • Discover the artisanal way of making rice paper, rice wine and rice cookies when visiting the small town of Cai Be in Vietnam
Mekong River
Temple

Your day begins with being welcomed and briefed at the Heritage Line’s welcome lounge in Siem Reap. For the first three days of your tour, the itinerary will vary depending on the river’s water level.

High Water Cruise: Siem Reap - Tonlé Sap River

After your briefing, you’ll take a short boat trip from the Tonlé Sap Lake Pier to the Heritage Line ship, where you will be staying for the next few days. Once you’ve checked-in to your stateroom cabin, your cruise will set sail, marking the beginning of your fascinating journey on the mighty Mekong. Gliding across the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonlé Sap Lake, you can sit back and relax. Lunch will be served onboard, as well as a High Tea later in the afternoon. Your day can be spent relaxing and enjoying the lake views from your balcony. You can even indulge in a spa treatment if you fancy a little bit of pampering.

In the evening, your local guide will give a talk about the geography of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Lake. The boat will moor on the Tonlé Sap River, which connects Tonlé Sap Lake to the Mekong River. After dinner, there’s the opportunity to watch a film in the Heritage Line’s onboard cinema.

Low Water Cruise: Siem Reap - Kampong Cham

After your briefing in Siem Reap, you will journey to the town of Kampong Cham. After a four and a half hour drive, you will arrive in Kampong Cham where your ship awaits. After boarding the Heritage Line and settling into your stateroom cabin, your lunch will be served in the dining hall.
Your voyage on the mighty Mekong begins with a fascinating talk about a Cambodian NGO project. Some of the children that have benefited from the project will showcase their art and musical skills. Starting the trip with such a unique experience of meeting Cambodia’s next generation is the perfect beginning to your Mekong River Cruise tour.

For the afternoon’s excursion, you will have the chance to see a bamboo bridge that connects the mainland to one of its surrounding islands and is only visible during low water season. Incredibly, the local communities have to rebuild this bridge every year when the water levels drop.

Next stop is Wat Hanchey, a complex of ancient Hindu temples that date back to the 7th century and are today inhabited by predominantly monks of Buddhist faith. The views overlooking the Mekong here are simply spell-bounding.

After an interesting first day, you will return to the ship for a delicious dinner. The rest of your evening is free to enjoy at leisure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman
Sunset in Vietnam
Sunrise at Angkor

High Water Cruise: Kampong Chhnang - Kamp. Tralach - Kampong Cham

For a serene start to the day, wake up as the sun rises to take part in a Tai Chi class on the sundeck. Afterwards, a breakfast buffet will be served in the dining hall. Today, you will explore the floating villages in Kampong Chhnang Province. It is perhaps one of Cambodia’s most fascinating cruising spots with its villages built on stilts above the river.

Your first excursion of the day is on dry land. After taking a local boat to the shore, a mini bus will drive you to visit one of the province’s rural villages. Accompanied by your local guide, you will enjoy a walking tour to discover the village’s specialities - its Khmer style pottery and palm sugar. You will then stop and explore the floating villages and the wetlands of the region.

Back onboard, tuck into lunch before your cruise continues to Kampong Tralach. As the ship meanders along the Tonle River, a Buddhist monk will conduct a blessing ceremony, in which wishes of good health and prosperity will be given to you and all your fellow Mekong River Cruise passengers.

You will glide through jungle-fringed waters before you reach Kampong Tralach. Look out for the local children bathing their livestock at the riverside. In Kampong Tralach, you will head to a local charitable school, Kampong Tralach Green School, before taking an ox cart ride to explore this fascinating river community.

Returning to your Heritage Line ship, you will sail downstream, passing the point where Tonle River meets the Mekong River. Dinner will be served, and, as you settle down for the night, your cruise will continue an overnight journey onto Kampong Cham.

Low Water Cruise: Kampong Cham - Koh Oknha Tei - Kampong Chhnang

Today, leaving Kampong Cham, your ship sails to the small village of Angkor Ban. Arriving in Angkor Ban feels like stepping back in time. This hidden gem nestled on the banks of the Mekong is one of the few villages that wasn’t destroyed by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Discover the village’s square wooden houses that stand on stilts among the banana trees. This quaint agricultural community continues to follow traditional customs and its way of life seems unaffected by the modern era.

Back onboard, you can take part in a Buddhist monk’s blessing ceremony, in which wishes of good health and prosperity will be bestowed upon you and your fellow Mekong River Cruise passengers. Lunch is served on aboard, along with a High Tea in the afternoon.

Your afternoon excursion takes you to the island of Koh Oknha Tei, which is known for its beautiful silks. Exploring the island by tuk-tuk, you can learn about the entire process of manufacturing this precious fabric - starting with the silkworms and finishing with a final high-quality Cambodian silk that is then exported across the world.

After this fascinating visit, return to the boat and continue your cruise along the Mekong and Tonlé River. Your boat will anchor near to Kampong Chhnang for the evening and you can enjoy an aperitif onboard while admiring the views over the surrounding marshland. Dinner will be served and the rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy at your own leisure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman
Silk Weaver
Mat Weaving

High Water Cruise: Kampong Cham - Okhna Tey - Phnom Penh

After a tasty breakfast, you’ll learn about a local NGO project that helps to educate Cambodia’s next generation. Some of the children involved in the project will join us onboard The Heritage Line, and they will showcase just how this project positively impacts the local community here in Cambodia.

Today’s excursion takes you to visit the enchanting temples of Wat Hanchey, where the oldest temple dates back to the 7th century. Look out for the well-preserved Sanskrit inscriptions on the lintels of this ancient temple. This small temple complex sits perched on top of a hill, and the views across the Mekong River are simply breath-taking.

Lunch will be served back onboard the ship, followed by High Tea in the afternoon.
Your afternoon stop takes you to the island of Koh Oknha Tei, which is known for its beautiful silk. You’ll whiz along enjoying a tuk-tuk tour of the island, visiting silk workshops and learning about the origins and traditions of Cambodian silk production.

Returning back to The Heritage Line ship, we will sail to our next stop, Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. The evening will be free for you to enjoy exploring this delightful city at your own leisure.

Low Water Cruise: Kampong Chhnang- Kamp. Tralach - Phnom Penh

Start your day with an early morning Tai Chi class on the sundeck. After a delicious breakfast, your morning will take you to Kampong Chhnang, where you will discover Cambodia’s ‘water world’.

After hopping on a local boat that takes you ashore, a mini bus will drive you to Kampong Chhnang. Enjoy a walking tour of this rural region with your local guide. You’ll discover different cottage industries here, such as Khmer-style pottery and palm sugar. You will also get to visit the floating villages and its wetlands.

Back onboard, your cruise continues downstream, gliding through the jungle-fringed Tonlé River. As you reach Kampong Tralach, look out for children, who are often seen at the river banks bathing their livestock. Upon arrival, you’ll get to observe the community of Kampong Tralach using an authentic and local mode of transport - a ride in an ox cart.

After a fascinating day of discovering the different village river communities, it’s time to return to your boat. Following a short journey, you will moor up for the night at the pier of Phnom Penh. The rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy at your own leisure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman
Royal Palace
Phnom Penh Trip

Today you will enjoy a full day’s sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh. Your morning tour begins with a visit to the Killing Fields in the suburbs of the city, followed by a tour of S21 prison. These important sites mark a painful chapter in Cambodia’s history when the Khmer Rouge ruled the country with terror and cruelty.

If you think you might find visiting these poignant sites too upsetting, there is also the option to take the morning to explore the city by yourself. You can then rejoin the group after these visits have finished just in time for lunch, which will be served at a local restaurant.

After lunch, it’s time to take in the splendour of the city’s ornate Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. With its classic Khmer roof and an exterior bathed in opulent gilding, this is an attraction not to miss.

After a fun cyclo ride through the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh, your afternoon will draw to a close and it’s time to head back onboard.

For dinner, tuck into a tasty traditional Khmer barbecue on the sun deck as you look out onto Phnom Penh’s mesmerising skyline. There will also be some evening entertainment with a special Apsara dance performance.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman
a large clock tower towering over a city
boats in Vietnam

Enjoy a day of sumptuous relaxation onboard, as you journey across water to Vietnam. Begin the morning with a fascinating talk about Cambodia’s history by an esteemed professor from the Royal University of Phnom. What better way to reflect on Cambodia’s important sights and culture than by discovering its captivating past?

Your afternoon is free to enjoy at your own leisure. Whether you fancy a soothing massage, taking a culinary class, or simply relaxing on the sun lounger until it’s time for High Tea, there are plenty of on-board activities for you to while away the hours.

Your ship will cross the border into Vietnam, and it’s just a short distance to Tan Chau where The Heritage Line will moor for the evening. After your dinner onboard, you have the option of watching a movie in the onboard cinema before retiring for the night.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman
Mekong Sundowner
Hoi An Lanterns

After a hearty breakfast, you will head ashore to explore the small border town Tan Chau, in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. Tan Chau is influenced by its Chinese, Kinh and Khmer communities, but you will be immediately struck at Tan Chau’s laid-back vibe and peaceful atmosphere. Brace yourself for a fun-packed tour of Tan Chau on a ‘xeloi’ - a local vehicle which usually consists of a motorbike and an open trailer. Your tour makes a stop at a colourful market where you’ll have the opportunity to meet and chat with the friendly locals and perhaps buy a souvenir for your holiday. Next, you’ll take a local boat and cruise along the river, gliding past floating houses, before arriving at a floating fish market. Discover this unique community that live and farm on the river.

Back onboard, lunch will be served and then your local guide will give an interesting talk about ‘Life on the Mekong Delta’. Your ship will continue its cruise, stopping in My An Hung Village, where you will disembark and enjoy Vietnamese tea with a local family. After visiting the families’ vegetable gardens and tasting fresh fruit straight from the tree, a local arts group will perform a traditional dragon dance.

As the sun sets over the Mekong, cocktails will be served on the riverbank. Back onboard, your ship will head downstream before mooring at Sa Dec for the night.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman
a group of people riding bikes down a street
Mekong River

This morning’s excursion takes you to one of the largest islands of the Mekong - Binh Thanh. Wander through the village and discover the community here that makes a living by farming water hyacinths, before harvesting, cutting and drying the plant to then weave them into traditional mats. To learn about life in Binh Thanh you need to get familiar with the painstaking weaving work - you will get to try your hand at weaving a traditional mat for yourself. After meeting with a local couple who share their tales of the island, you will return to the ship for lunch.

In the afternoon, it’s time to head to Cai Be, which is known for its Catholic church and traditional crafts and fresh produce. Canals criss-cross the city and so the best way round tis on a local boat. As you glide along the palm-fringed canals, it’s not unusual to see farmers hard at work in the surrounding fields. A highlight of your tour of Cai Be is a stop at a rice production workshop where you will learn how rice paper, rice wine and rice cookies are made. And finally, a trip to Cai Be is incomplete until you’ve tasted the scrumptious local coconut sweets made here.

As the final night of your holiday, your Heritage Line crew invites you and your fellow passengers to a farewell party with dancing and music. This is a wonderful way to celebrate and share highlights of your cruise along the Mekong Delta with one another.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman

After enjoying your final breakfast aboard your floating holiday home, you will disembark at My Tho. Taking a bus from My Tho, you will arrive in Saigon by mid-morning. As your holiday on the mighty Mekong comes to an end, you’ll bid farewell to Vietnam, taking with you the unforgettable memories of an amazing holiday. 

Included

  • International flights
  • Board basis is Full Board: breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • All meals, soft beverages, house brands of wines, beer and spirits, complimentary tea, coffee, and mineral water onboard, butler service, transport, and guide services for sightseeing
  • Cost of accommodation (in a Heritage Line stateroom cabin, based on two people sharing) for a total of 7 nights
  • Private/small group (air-conditioned) transport / transfers
  • Assistance and porterage: meeting and assistance on arrival/departure on the Heritage Line ship
  • English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees (excluding video camera fee) for monuments, palaces and entertainment for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary

Not included

  • Visa arrangements and fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel unless specified
  • Video and professional still camera fees during excursions
  • Gratuities for drivers, tour directors, local guides, naturalists and crew
  • Optional attractions and excursions (unless specified)