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Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam’s vibrant capital city, known for its graceful colonial architecture, frenetic streets, verdant parks and ancient temples. After your airport greeting, transfer to the hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to explore the city on your own, or perhaps, visit the fabled Old Quarter.
A morning sightseeing tour will take you to Hanoi’s most famous historical and cultural sites: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, One-pillar Pagoda and The Temple of Literature. In the afternoon, experience an authentic rickshaw ride (known as “cyclo”) in the Old Quarter, followed by a traditional water puppet show.
After breakfast, depart Hanoi for a scenic motor coach ride to one of Vietnam’s most renowned locations, Ha Long Bay. Board a traditional wooden Junk that combines classic beauty with modern conveniences, plus luxurious overnight accommodations. Set sail to discover the Bay’s magnificent scenery set amidst stunning limestone cliffs. That evening, you’ll enjoy dinner on board and overnight on the Junk.
This morning, your Ha Long Bay Junk continues its scenic cruising while a delightful breakfast is served in the dining lounge. Late morning, disembark for a motor coach transfer to Hanoi Airport. After a short flight, arrive in Siem Reap, Cambodia, gateway to Angkor, the former capital of the Khmer empire and one of the most renowned archeological sites in all of South East Asia.
After breakfast, begin a guided sightseeing tour of the Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include Angkor Thom, the newly restored Baphuon Temple, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King and the Bayon. This afternoon, travel through the rural countryside to visit the pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srei, known as the shrine of the women. Afterwards we will visit the English-language school sponsored by AmaWaterways in the village of Ta Toum.
This morning we will visit the most iconic of all Angkorian temples – Angkor Wat. The world’s largest religious temple complex was built in the early 12th century by the Khmer King Suryavarman II and dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. We will also visit Ta Prohm, the temple famous for its intertwined trees (showcased in the film Tomb Raider)
Welcome aboard your luxurious vessel, moored at Tonle Sap Lake. The great lake dominates Cambodia and is known for its profuse bird life and tranquil fishing villages. Meet your fellow travelers at the Welcome Dinner as you cruise to Kampong Chhnang. The ship moors overnight.
After breakfast, a motor boat excursion takes you into the lakeside wetlands that form the mouth of the Tonle Sap River. Enjoy a stunning variety of bird life and see numerous great fish traps some over a half-mile long. After your excursion, return to your vessel and cast off towards Kampong Tralach. An afternoon tour includes an oxcart ride from the river bank through the countryside to the beautiful Wat Kampong Tralach Pleu. Tour the pagodas, and then board a motor coach to Oudong, the former capital of Cambodia, where you will tour the Buddhist monastery. After the visit, you motor coach will take you to your vessel, which will cruise towards the village of Chong Koh.
This morning, visit the Chong Koh silk weaving village for a leisurely walk. Your vessel then departs for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. An afternoon walking tour provides an orientation to this spectacular city. Return to the vessel for dinner followed by a special Khmer folk performance on board. 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.
After breakfast, transfer to small boats, which will navigate through narrow channels to visit an evergreen island. You will also visit a catfish farm and a rattan mat and slipper-making workshop. Back ashore, a traditional “xe-loi” (trishaw) awaits to transport you around Tan Chau. In the afternoon, your vessel cruises downstream to Sa Dec, where it will moor overnight.
In the morning board a local boat for Sa Dec. Once ashore, you will tour the town noteworthy as the place where the French writer Marguerite Duras spent many years in her youth. Visit a local market, Fujian Temple and the house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, Duras’ Chinese paramour, which is now a small museum. Afterwards board a motor coach for Xeo Quyt, used as a base during the French and U.S. wars and now an important ecological site, with its jungle overgrowth. After lunch on board, a local boat will take you to Cai Be’s spectacular floating market; then you will go ashore to see candy and rice paper workshops. This evening, enjoy a gourmet Farewell Dinner on board.
Your cruise comes to an end as the ship docks at My Tho Port, followed by a transfer to Ho Chi Minh City. As the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina, Saigon was known as “Paris of the Orient.” Today, Vietnam’s largest city is an industrial, cultural and educational hub, but still retains vestiges of its colonial past. Upon arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, you will enjoy a city tour that explores famous landmarks, such as the former Presidential Palace, Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral; Cho Lon (China Town) and its famous Binh Tay market and Thien Hau pagoda. Overnight at a luxurious hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Today is free to explore Ho Chi Minh City on your own, perhaps venturing to nearby shops and markets for mementos of your Southeast Asian odyssey.
Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight.