The Lost Civilisation Vietnam to Cambodia Mekong River cruise

There are not many rivers on this planet that are as diverse as the mighty Mekong. The Lost Civilization Cruise is a life-long memorable experience which combines wonderful places with a mix of world heritage sites, local life, cultures, personal encounters and on board activities. This is a fabulous way to visit remote locations whilst still having access to superb facilities.

 Your adventure begins in Saigon, where you will be transferred the 70 kilometres to My Tho to board your floating luxury abode.  Life on board is full of luxuries, and the crew on board will make you feel immediately at home.  Your bright and airy room has a spacious private balcony will may become one of your favourite spots to watch the fascinating Mekong life all around you.

Duration
8 days
Start your journey
Old Post Office

Leave the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City behind as you board the luxurious Jayavarman for your eight day cruise along the Mekong. 

The warm greeting from the Heritage Line staff at the welcome lounge in Ho Chi Minh will just be the start of the world class service you will enjoy on board. 

Enjoy a buffet lunch in the restaurant as while the vessel steadily glides upstream or make yourself familiar with all the ship facilities. 

The afternoon allows you to leisurely pass time on your private balcony or join tea time at the open air bar as the twilight bathes the Mekong Delta in a golden haze.

You will anchor mid-stream near Cai Be for dinner, a charming town, famous for its Catholic French church and the manufacturing of traditional crafts and food products,  and moor there overnight.

The floating market of Cai Be is getting smaller every year, since trading on the water is shifting more and more to the modern central markets.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman

Start your morning with an invigorating Tai Chi class on the sun deck as the sun begins its gentle glow.

A sumptuous buffet breakfast is served for the perfect first exploration day in the Mekong Delta.

Your morning tour takes you to Cai Be where you can still see some boat to boat trading of local goods such as fruits and agricultural products. Your guide will explain the particularities of this long-lasting trading culture. Cai Be is a rustic town crisscrossed by many water canals. Head on-shore to visit a workshop and learn how rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies and rice wine is manufactured. Cai Be and its surrounding areas are covered with palm trees and hence the region is also famous for the production of coconut candies.

With your local boat continue to explore the lush and green canal network and observe the farmers working in the fields.

After lunch onboard,  enjoy time for yourself then to either enjoy a true Vietnamese coffee at the bar or simply watch the life on the riverbanks floating by.

In the afternoon, you will reach the area of Sa Dec. Embark on 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 hyacinths. 

You will exclusively visit one of those untouched areas. By wandering through the village, we get a deep understanding of the native life. Moreover, we see the whole process of mat making. You can try weaving yourself, which is still done manually. You will meet also an elderly local couple who shares their story on this island. They are happy to engage in a conversation with you. 

Back on board you may like to pamper yourself with a spa treatment or take a dip into the pool on the sun deck. Your expert guide offers a presentation on the “Life on the Mekong Delta” as the ship continues sailing to Tan Chau – near the border to Cambodia.

After dinner, you can join our evening cinema session (offered every night) featuring selected classic movies.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman

Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam.

Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the dining hall or in the quiet privacy of your balcony.

Brace yourself for a tour around Tan Chau, a pleasant, slow-paced town with a sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community.

Once on-shore you will hop on “xelois” to explore Tan Chau.

A “xeloi” is a local vehicle which is still used as a taxi in this region. You will slowly move around the streets to see all the workshops, houses and domiciles. Get to feel the laid-back vibes of this place. Stop at the colourful local market near one of the town’s temples. This is the best time to interact with the vendors of this friendly town to practice your bargaining skills.

Board your local boat and cruise past floating houses and finally reach a floating fish farm. This region is the source of a fish production that is sold all over the world. 

Back  “home”  you will sail towards the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. Get ready for a fascinating and leisurely cruise through the deep Cambodian countryside towards Phnom Penh.

The whole afternoon is at your own arrangements. Now is the time when even the last passenger will switch into cruise mode and experience the therapeutic influence that this mighty river radiates. It is time for massages, for relaxation on the sun beds, for private balcony kick-backs - it’s the time to merge with the river.

A culinary class is offered in the afternoon to sharpen your knowledge and skills on the local cuisine. Some may like to visit the bridge - the captain always has a little story to share about “his” river. Float into a state of mild bliss and join afternoon High Tea for sweet treats before you totally drift away in relaxation.

Dinner is served before you arrive at 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).

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman

Welcome to Phnom Penh - once called the Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance. It is an amazing town with centuries of incredible history and culture which can still be felt at many street corners.

Start with a full sight-seeing tour right after breakfast.

By bus you will visit the Killing Fields at outside of the city and after, the centrally located prison “S21”. Both historic sites display the sad and cruel chapter of Khmer history when the Khmer Rouge ruled the country with terror and suppression. Those places have not changed much since this horrific time back in the early seventies and it can be heartbreaking.

Alternatively, explore the city in the morning on your own before re-joining the group. 

After enjoying lunch at a fine restaurant in town, your exploration of Phnom Penh continues on the fascinating cultural heritage of Phnom Penh.

The golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum are the afternoon highlights. The day trip ends with a cyclo ride back to the ship through the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh. 

Take some rest in your spacious cabin or join other fellow passengers at the bar for some refreshing drinks before our captivating evening activities start:

The lounge will be set up for a lecture about Cambodian modern history, held by a professor of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Definitely among the highlights of this cruise receiving knowledge first hand as our lecturer has studied the subject extensively and personally.

After the lecture a barbecue dinner feast on the sun deck commences. The dinner is accompanied with an Apsara dance performance. You have to witness the brilliance and richness of this dance along with the soothing sounds of traditional music.

As the evening unwinds, enjoy your supper with a glass of wine and marvel at the skyline of Phnom Penh, and the calming flow of the Tonle River.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman

High Water itinerary:

Depart before the break of dawn from Phnom Penh towards the Angkor Ban village on the Mekong River. Wake up to the gentle cruise motion and get ready for breakfast in the dining hall.
The Angkor Ban village is famous for its unspoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses. It feels like being transported back a hundred years ago into an era unaffected by modernity. 
Back on board our staff is keen on showing you a variety of traditional Khmer fashion. Lunch is served afterwards. Cruise further up the Mekong to visit a local school and 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.
Continue by road to the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey (7th century). This small complex sits on a hill top right on the shore with breath-taking views over the Mekong. Another temple on the way is the tiny, colourful monastery of Wat Nokor. Here, we might get the chance to engage in light banter with some of the monks living in the area. Back on board you are free to relax until dinner is served. The boat moors mid-river near Kampong Cham. 

Low water itinerary:

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 anchor and get ready for our first Tonle discovery.

Reach the shore by local boat and cacophonous children wave enthusiastically while bringing their livestock for a bath in the meandering river. Stop at the “Green School” which is partly supported by Heritage Line. See all the river life, which is so different than ours - by a local ox cart ride. Back on board the cruise staff is keen on showing you a variety of traditional Khmer fashion. Lunch is served afterwards. The ship cruises along the narrow Tonle River towards Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world”, where everything is on sticks and balanced on water-rich soil. Perhaps it’s the most fascinating cruising spot in Cambodia. 

Back on land in Kampong Chhnang, we take mini buses to a rural village nearby for a walking tour. Your guides introduce you to the village specialties – Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. Before returning to the boat explore the floating villages and wetlands of the region. Relax back on board until dinner is served. The boat moors mid-river in the Tonle area.

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman

High water itinerary:

Sail downstream on the Mekong and stop 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 your 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 your health and prosperity for all.

The ship continues its journey, passing by the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Rivers towards Kampong Tralach. Gliding through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape to reach Kampong Tralach.

Cacophonous children waive enthusiastically while bringing their livestock for a bath in the meandering river. Stop at the “Green School” which is partly supported by Heritage Line. See all this life, which is so different than ours - by a local ox cart ride.  The boat finds its anchor spot in the Tonle River near Kampong Chhnang allowing you to observe the close-by river life until dinner is served in the dining hall. 

Low water itinerary:

In the early morning during breakfast sail from the lower Tonle River towards the Mekong passing their confluence at Phnom Penh. 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 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 your 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 your 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 ago into an era unaffected by modernity. Villagers are characterised by their unbridled warmth.

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

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman

High water itinerary:

Wake up early to witness the spectacular surroundings at the break of dawn at Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world”, where everything is on sticks balanced on water-rich soil. This is perhaps the most fascinating cruising spot in Cambodia.

Take a local boat to the shore. With mini buses head to a rural village nearby for a walking tour.

Your guides introduce you to the village specialities – Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. Definitely you should bring some home. Before returning to the boat explore the local floating villages and wetlands of the region.

Back on board lunch is served as your floating sanctuary cruises gently along the narrow Tonle River, towards the Great Tonle Sap Lake. The river opens up to a vast “sea”, the biggest fresh water lake in Asia. This lake can only be crossed during high water season (approx. from end-July to mid-November). Let your soul float and your eyes wander while the boat makes its way towards Siem Reap. 

In the afternoon we serve a High Tea at the bar and as the sun sets, the crew invites you to their farewell event.

Enjoy some dancing and music together with the crew before dinner is served. The boat moors mid-lake near Siem Reap.

Low water itinerary:

After breakfast by bus 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 over the Mekong.

Return to the ship for lunch and some relaxation.

In the afternoon head to the tiny, colourful 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 are able to see a bamboo bridge which connects the mainland with the island. Local communities re-build the bridge every year when the water levels drop. 
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, the crew invites for a farewell event. Enjoy some dancing and music together with the crew before dinner is served. The boat moors at the riverbank of Kampong Cham. 

Suggested Accommodation

  • RV Jayavarman

High water itinerary:

The Tonle Sap (The Great Lake) is the flowing heart of Cambodia, giving love and life to millions of people. It has more fish than any other lake in the world and is home to an incredible variety of birds, including rare and endangered feathered life.

Your Heritage Line cruise comes to an end. Prepare to disembark the ship and take a local boat to the shore, passing a vast floating community.

Around nine o’clock, arrive at the Siem Reap pier and bring you to the drop off point in the city centre.

Low water itinerary:

Enjoy your last breakfast on board your floating sanctuary. Disembark the ship 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 will arrive in Siem Reap in the early afternoon.

Included

  • Group shore excursions
  • Entrance fees
  • Transportation
  • Tour guide services (English speaking)
  • Accommodation taxes, fuel, river pilots, port dues,
  • Transfers in Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap from/to the meeting point to/from embarkation/disembarkation point or vice versa
  • Full board meals, soft drink, local beer, house wine by the glass, fruit juices, tea/coffee and water at all times

Not included

  • Port taxes of $65 USD (levied by Port Authority - subject to change without notice)
  • Gratuities (recommended $8-10 USD per passenger per day)
  • Cambodian/Vietnamese Visa