Ultimate Southeast Asia & The Majestic Mekong with Sapa (Southbound)
25 days with Avalon Waterways Rating:
Day 1 BANGKOK, THAILAND
Welcome to Thailand! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2 BANGKOK
Canals, Temples, and the Buddhas of Bangkok
CLASSIC This morning, your Guided Sightseeing begins with a boat ride on the klongs, Bangkok’s famous canals. Visit the stunning Grand Palace featuring the Temple Of The Emerald Buddha. Also, visit the Temple Of The Reclining Buddha, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It houses more than 1,000 Buddha images, including the 49-foot-high by 151-foot-long massive Reclining Buddha.
The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B,L)
Day 3 BANGKOK
Enjoy a full day at your leisure. (B)
Day 4 BANGKOK—SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
Today, fly to Siem Reap, your base during your visit to Angkor, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth! (B)
Day 5 SIEM REAP
The Tranquil Temples of Angkor and Joyful Dances
CLASSIC Explore the temples by tuk-tuk. Start at the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: Angkor Wat. Featuring five trademark towers, it is the symbol of Cambodia. Then, continue your Guided Excursion to visit Angkor Thom, where you will explore Bayon Temple with its 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas relief sculptures, OR
ACTIVE Visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon Temple by bike.
Enjoy some time at your leisure this afternoon to explore Siem Reap’s shops for local artisan crafts.
DISCOVERY This evening, a private Apsara Dance Performance brings ancient Khmer culture to life through music, song, and dance. (B,L,D)
Day 6 SIEM REAP
Root-Covered Ruins and Native Noodles
CLASSIC Continue your Sightseeing Tour to the Angkor temples at Ta Prohm. Tree roots cover the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as early explorers. Then visit Banteay Srei, a unique temple built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. En route, stop at a village famous for making Khmer noodles by hand.
Spend the afternoon at your leisure. (B)
Day 7 PHNOM PENH (EMBARKATION)
Your intimate Suite Ship® Awaits!
Fly to Phnom Penh and transfer to the port where your ship’s crew will be waiting to welcome you onboard. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening.
AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO WAT HANCHEY (B,L,D)
Day 8 WAT HANCHEY—ANGKOR BAN
Water Blessings and Back-to-School Adventures
DISCOVERY Visit Wat Hanchey, a hilltop temple dating back to the 8th century. Climb or be driven to the top where you will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a traditional water blessing given by local monks.
DISCOVERY After lunch, enjoy a Walking Tour through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here, you will visit a traditional Khmer house and interact with children at a local school.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO KAMPONG TRALACH (B,L,D)
Day 9 KAMPONG TRALACH—KONPONG LOUANG
Calm in the Cambodian Countryside
DISCOVERY Your Guided Sightseeing starts in Kampong Tralach with an Ox Cart Ride through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life. At the silversmith village in Konpong Louang, see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art.
Sail to the capital city of Phnom Penh this afternoon.
Shining a Light on a Dark History
CLASSIC After lunch, a Visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields provides a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime.
This evening, spend some free time exploring the city on your own. Perhaps follow the riverfront promenade to the historic Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC). (B,L,D)
Day 10 PHNOM PENH
Bonjour! French Charm in Cambodia
CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of the city by private cyclo with visits to the Royal Palace with the spectacular Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts.
The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure. Consider a Guided Optional Tour of a local brewery with free-flowing local beer!
Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will perform a show, featuring local song and dance.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO VIETNAM/CAMBODIA BORDER (B,L,D)
Day 11 BORDER CROSSING—CHAU DOC, VIETNAM
Good Morning, Vietnam!
DISCOVERY Take a Village Walk through the Chau Doc market, and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. After lunch, embark on a Guided Excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, religious sites, a market selling dried goods, and more.
EVENING CRUISE TO LONG KHANH A (B,L,D)
Day 12 LONG KHANH A—CU LAO GIENG
Cotton Weavers & Sampan Makers
DISCOVERY This morning, a sampan brings you to the village of Long Khanh A, for a Cotton-Weaving Demonstration of this well-preserved tradition.
DISCOVERY This afternoon, enjoy scenes of daily life along the river near Cu Lao Gieng via sampan. Join a Guided Excursion to a local home, where a skilled family hand-crafts sampan boats. Then, ride a motor cart to one of Vietnam’s oldest churches for a special interaction with a catholic priest.
EVENING CRUISE TO BEN TRE (B,L,D)
Day 13 BEN TRE
Sweets and Sampans
DISCOVERY Board a sampan this morning and Visit a Local Workshop in Ben Tre to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made. Continue on to a local garden, where several types of fruit indigenous to the area are grown.
This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as we sail to exciting Ho Chi Minh City.
AFTERNOON CRUISE TO HO CHI MINH CITY (B,L,D)
Day 14 HO CHI MINH CITY (DISEMBARKATION)
Motorbikes, Monuments, and Mouthwatering Cuisine
CLASSIC Take a Walking Tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic landmarks, including a stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing drink at the rooftop bar where the U.S. Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Then, visit the War Remnants Museum and bustling Ben Thanh Market.
DISCOVERY For lunch, participate in a hands-on Vietnamese Cooking Class. Learn to prepare several local dishes and how to recreate them at home. Last, but not least, sample your delicious creations!
Enjoy time at your leisure this afternoon and evening for independent exploration. Maybe stop for a drink at the famous rooftop bar at the Caravelle Hotel. (B,L)
Day 15 HO CHI MINH CITY. EXCURSION TO CU CHI TUNNELS
Secret Passageways and Underground Hideouts
CLASSIC Drive out of the city for a Guided Visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels—an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length—used as a hideout and secret village by the Viet Cong.
Explore the city further during free time this afternoon.
This evening, join your traveling companions for a special dinner in a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 16 HO CHI MINH CITY—HANOI
Today, transfer to the airport and fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. (B)
Day 17 HANOI
Historic Hanoi and Water Puppets
CLASSIC First, join a Guided Visit of the mausoleum and the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next, see iconic sites, including One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Lastly, visit the 900-year-old Temple of Literature, Hanoi’s first university.
Enjoy lunch at Koto, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that trains local street children in restaurant skills they can use to become employed for a more stable life.
CLASSIC After lunch, enjoy an Electric Cart Ride through the fascinating Old Quarter—with its 36 ancient streets where peddlers trade as they have for centuries.
DISCOVERY An early dinner this evening is followed by a fascinating Live Performance of Hanoi’s renowned water puppets, a traditional 11th-century artform. (B,L,D)
Day 18 HANOI—HA LONG BAY
Island Shapes and a Floating Village
Travel from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes. Board the luxurious Paradise Elegance for a Two-Night Cruise on the bay.
DISCOVERY Visit the Cua Van Floating Village, home to more than 700 people, by bamboo raft, OR:
ACTIVE Take a Kayak Ride to visit Cua Van Village.
Enjoy scenic sailing for the remainder of the day before anchoring for the night. (B,L,D)
Day 19 HA LONG BAY
Caves, Kayaks, and Scenic Climbs
DISCOVERY Visit Titop Island, for a Guided Excursion for a swim, or climb 400 steps to the top of the island for stunning views. You can also visit Luon Cave by boat, and explore Dark & Bright Cave by bamboo raft, OR:
ACTIVE Explore Luon Cave and Dark & Bright Cave by Kayak Ride.
After a day of exploring, consider a spa treatment or simply relax for happy hour prior to dinner! (B,L,D)
Day 20 HA LONG BAY—HANOI
Surprising and Amazing Beauty
This morning, relax onboard your ship, or visit Sung Sot Cave, considered one of the most beautiful in the area with its magnificent formations. Afterwards, return to Hanoi and check in to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to spend at your leisure. (B)
Day 21 HANOI—SAPA
Today, transfer to the hill-station town of Sapa known for its mountain scenery, rice fields, and colorful ethnic minorities. This afternoon, join a Walking Tour of this small town and visit the local market. (B)
Day 22 SAPA
Your Guided Sightseeing starts with a visit to Ta Van and Lao Chai villages, to see the traditional way of life of the Zay and Black Hmong ethnic groups. These ethnic groups live together here under the watch of Fansipan Mountain. The Zay live a sedentary lifestyle and choose land near the valley’s bottom for growing wet rice. The Hmong have historically preferred higher elevations for corn farming but recently they’ve started gradually moving to lower land and learning from others like the Zay. After lunch, visit the beautiful Silver Waterfall and ascend the highest road in Vietnam to Heaven Gate for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valley. (B,L)
Day 23 SAPA
This morning, your Guided Tour includes one of the famous Weekly Markets. Here, the local ethnic minority groups wear their most beautiful costumes as they sell and trade their homemade products. The Flower Hmong group is most recognizable with their colorful dress. After a quick photo stop at the China border, visit Taphin village, home of the Red Dao people who migrated from China starting in the 12th century. The Dao women are recognizable by the bright red turban they wear and, in some cases, shaved eyebrows. Tonight, consider exploring Sapa and stop at the famous “Love Market,” where local Hmong and Dao come from their villages for the chance to see one another and perhaps go on a date! (B,L)
Day 24 SAPA—HANOI
Today, transfer back to Hanoi and check in to your hotel for the evening. (B)
Day 25 HANOI
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
All This Included
This inspiring Southeast Asia river cruise vacation begins in vibrant Bangkok, Thailand. A boat ride on the klongs, Bangkok’s famous canals, is the perfect way to start your sightseeing. Continue at the Grand Palace featuring the Temple of the Emerald Buddha followed by the Temple of the Reclining Buddha—the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in the city. Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where you’ll see the magnificent Temples of Angkor. The famous temples here, such as Angkor Wat and the Bayon temple, featuring some 200 mysterious faces carved in its many towers, are a display of intricacy and architectural grandeur unmatched in the world.
Next, board your ship and begin your cruise along the mighty Mekong River. Visit the capital city of Phnom Penh, with the magnificent Royal Palace featuring its striking Silver Pagoda and the National Museum. Take in the stunning views at the 8th-century temple of Wat Hanchey before walking through the rural village of Angkor Ban to visit with welcoming schoolchildren. Continue your cruise into Vietnam and stop in the villages for interactions with locals, such as a visit to the home of a skilled family who make handcrafted sampans for a living. Go on an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, the unbelievable network of tunnels used extensively during the war. In exciting Ho Chi Minh City, enjoy a walking tour of the famous landmarks and try your hand in the kitchen with a Vietnamese cooking class.
Disembark your cruise ship and fly to Hanoi, where you’ll explore the famous Old Quarter with peddlers trading goods among its 36 ancient streets. From here, travel to Ha Long Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin, where you’ll be amazed at the more than 3,000 limestone islands of varying shapes. Enjoy a 2-night cruise along the bay with visits to the Cua Van Floating Village, fascinating caves, and a chance to swim at Titop Island. In Sapa, known for its beautiful mountain scenery and rice fields, you’ll visit one of the famous Weekly Markets where homemade goods are sold and the ethnic minority groups of the area wear their colorful costumes. The beautiful scenery, ornate temples, and interactions with locals make this Southeast Asia river cruise vacation one you won’t soon forget!
Bangkok: InterContinental Bangkok
Siem Reap: Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Siem Reap or Avalon Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City: InterContinental Asiana Saigon
Hanoi: InterContinental Westlake
Ha Long Bay: Paradise Elegance
Sapa: Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra Nights per person in Bangkok:
January to April: in single room $249; in twin room $130
August to October: in single room $300; in twin room $156
November to December: in single room $328; in twin room $169
Extra Nights per person in Hanoi:
in single room $247; in twin room $129
Terms and Conditions
For Avalon Waterways terms and conditions, please click here.
* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.