Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River with Hanoi & Ha Long Bay 2021
16 days with Avalon Waterways Rating:
Day 1 HANOI, VIETNAM
Welcome to Vietnam!
Day 2 HANOI
This morning, your Guided Sightseeing takes a look at the life of Ho Chi Minh, the father of modern Vietnam. First, visit the mausoleum and the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next on the agenda: One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Also visit the ancient Temple of Literature, over 900 years old and Hanoi’s first university. Lunch is at Koto, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that teaches local street children restaurant skills for more stable employment opportunities. After lunch, enjoy an electric-cart ride through the fascinating Old Quarter, with 36 ancient streets where merchants trade as they have for centuries. An early dinner this evening is followed by a fascinating performance of Hanoi’s renowned water puppets, a traditional art form dating back to the 11th century. (B,L,D)
Day 3 HANOI—HA LONG BAY
Travel from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Hon Gai, gateway to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, the bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes by the action of the water. Tunnels, caves, and weirdly shaped outcroppings with imaginative names can be found on many of the small islets sprinkled across the bay. Board a Cruise Excursion to explore the caves, and admire the beauty and scale before stopping at one of the many secluded bays. (B,L,D)
Day 4 HA LONG BAY—HANOI—HO CHI MINH CITY
This morning, drive to Hanoi and board your flight for Ho Chi Minh City. (B)
Day 5 HO CHI MINH CITY
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!
Explore the city further during free time this afternoon.
This evening join your traveling companions for a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
Day 6 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.
Enjoy free time this afternoon and evening. Consider stopping for a drink at the famous rooftop bar at the Caravelle Hotel. (B)
Day 7 HO CHI MINH CITY (EMBARKATION)
Your Suite Ship® is Ready for Boarding
Transfer to the port on the Saigon River for embarkation. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening.
AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO VINH LONG (B,L,D)
Day 8 VINH LONG—CU LAO GIENG
Sweets, Sampans, and Sun Hats
DISCOVERY Board a sampan this morning to Visit a local workshop in Vinh Long where you will see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made.
DISCOVERY This afternoon, enjoy scenes of daily life on Cu Lao Gieng Island via sampan and local motor cart. Your Guided Excursion starts at a local workshop, where a skilled family hand-crafts sampan boats. Then, visit the home of a local family that makes Vietnamese conical hats, or “Non la,” from materials available to them such as palm leaves and bamboo. These iconic hats are primarily used as protection from the sun and rain but you may also see them used as a basket to carry home goods from the market. Lastly, stop at one of Vietnam’s oldest Catholic churches.
AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO CHAU DOC (B,L,D)
Day 9 CHAU DOC—LONG KHANH A—BORDER CROSSING, CAMBODIA
Colorful markets, Charming Locals, and Cotton Weavers
DISCOVERY In Chau Doc take a Guided Walk through the local market and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. Then embark on a River 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.
DISCOVERY After lunch, a sampan brings you to the village of Long Khanh A for a Cotton-Weaving Demonstration of a well-preserved artisan’s tradition.
Return to the ship to set sail for the Cambodian border.
EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO PHNOM PENH (B,L,D)
Day 10 PHNOM PENH
The Royal Treatment
CLASSIC Take a City Tour by private cyclo to visit 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 the city 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. (B,L,D)
Day 11 PHNOM PENH
A Dark History or Market Dynamics
CLASSIC This morning, a Guided Visit of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields offers a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime, OR:
DISCOVERY Visit the lively Central Market by tuk-tuk to see its unique Art Deco design.
After lunch, depart Phnom Penh and enjoy some time at leisure on the ship.
AFTERNOON/EVENING CRUISE TO WAT HANCHEY (B,L,D)
Day 12 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 KONPONG LOUANG (B,L,D)
Day 13 KONPONG LOUANG—KAMPONG TRALACH
Calm in the Cambodian Countryside
DISCOVERY Start your Guided Sightseeing at the silversmith village in Konpong Louang. Here, see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. In Kampong Tralach board an ox cart for a ride through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life.
This afternoon, enjoy scenic cruising on the Tonle River.
EVENING CRUISE TO PHNOM PENH (B,L,D)
Day 14 PHNOM PENH (DISEMBARKATION)—SIEM REAP
A Pilgrimage of Inspirational Beauty
Fly to Siem Reap, home to the Temples of Angkor, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth!
CLASSIC After lunch, begin your Sightseeing Tour by tuk-tuk to explore the temples. 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, 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.
The evening is yours to explore charming Siem Reap, stay to witness the sunset at Angkor Wat, or consider a Guided Optional Excursion to the Cambodian circus. (B,L)
Day 15 SIEM REAP
Roots Carved in Stone and Celebrated in Dance
CLASSIC Continue your Guided Sightseeing of 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 local village famous for making Khmer noodles by hand.
Spend the afternoon at your leisure. You may choose a Guided Optional Excursion to further explore Siem Reap or the temple complex by tuk-tuk.
DISCOVERY This evening, a private Apsara Dance Performance brings ancient Khmer culture to life through music, song, and dance. (B,D)
Day 16 SIEM REAP
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
All This Included
On this inspiring Southeast Asia river cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia, you’ll be immersed in the cultures and ancient traditions as you sightsee and spend time with locals in the most fascinating places along the mighty Mekong River.
The best way to experience Vietnamese culture is with a tour of its fascinating capital of Hanoi. Go on a cyclo ride through the ancient streets of the Old Quarter and enjoy a water puppet performance. Travel through the peaceful countryside to Ha Long Bay where you’ll cruise by its breathtaking limestone islands.
In Ho Chi Minh City, see the famous landmarks and try your hand in the kitchen—Vietnamese-style, with a cooking class. On an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, walk through a section of the immense underground tunnel system used during the Vietnam War. Embark on your river cruise along the Mekong River and visit a colorful market, the home of a local family making handcrafted sampans, and a workshop to learn how rice wine and traditional candies are made. In the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, tour the National Museum and Royal Palace with its striking Silver Pagoda. On a hilltop at the site of the 8th-century temple of Wat Hanchey, take in the stunning views before walking through the rural village of Angkor Ban to visit with welcoming schoolchildren.
The grand finale of this memorable Southeast Asia river cruise vacation is a stay in Siem Reap, home to the phenomenal Temples of Angkor with an intricacy and architectural grandeur unmatched in the world. See the splendor of the Bayon temple featuring some 200 mysterious faces carved in its many towers.
Hanoi: InterContinental Westlake
Ha Long Bay: Wyndham Legend
Ho Chi Minh City: The Reverie Saigon
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Siem Reap or Avalon Saigon
Siem Reap: Park Hyatt Siem Reap
Terms and Conditions
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* 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.