Cruise on the Mekong River

The Mekong River is one the longest and most biodiverse rivers in Asia. Translating to “Mother of Water,” the Mekong River is the route from which you’ll experience the rich food, people, culture, and history of both Vietnam and Cambodia located in the Indochina Peninsula of Southeast Asia. The people of Vietnam and Cambodia are passionate and happy people with a very close social and economic tie to their nearby rivers and sea. Fishing and farming rice paddy fields are their main industries that make up the main ingredients of their cuisine. They also have a profound history influenced by Chinese rule, French colonialism, and devastating war that you will learn about on your excursions.

During the start of your trip, you’ll be based in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, staying at a beautiful and centrally located hotel. Enjoy a tour of the city’s famous landmarks, museums, and market followed by a special trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, the famous war tactic used by the North Vietnamese to win the Vietnam War. You will also try your hand in the kitchen, learning traditional Vietnamese recipes from a local chef.

Your river cruise begins on the fourth day, when you board the gorgeous and intimate cruise ship for a 9 day journey north up the Mekong River. The ship provides a unique, once in a lifetime perspective as few tour boats are allowed on the river due to its narrowness and active trading route among all six countries connected to it: China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Each day aboard the ship, you will be given the opportunity to disembark to visit local markets, artisans, farmers, stunning palaces, and ancient temples. When not on land learning about the passionate people, food, and history of Vietnam and Cambodia, the cruise ship is the perfect oasis to sit back and relax and watch the beautiful landscape pass by, especially with the panoramic lounge. Each cabin opens to the outside and the ship includes a fitness center, spa treatment room, library, free Wi-Fi access (when signal is available), and complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer and spirits when on board the ship. All meals will also be provided aboard the ship.

The river cruise ends in Siem Reap, where you’ll see the famous temples from the great Khmer Empire. The Khmer Empire was one of the largest ruling empires in Southeast Asia from 800 AD to 1400 AD. They developed Hinduism and then Buddhism, which are represented in the beautiful temples. Your accommodations in Siem Reap for the last two days of your program offer a sense of tranquility and elegance with the colonial French inspired architecture of the early 20th century.


Trip Details

Enjoy 2 culinary experiences during your trip:

  • A hands-on cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City featuring traditional Vietnamese cuisine
  • A rice paper, rice wine, and candy workshop


We Can Help Plan It All

Flights, additional nights and tours, Transportation, and Much More

We might not be able to pack for you, but there are tons of things we can help with to make your vacation that much better.

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Itinerary

Day OneA dish of Pho on a culinary tour of Vietnam

  • Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, and check in to your beautiful and centrally located hotel.
  • Once you are checked in to your room, feel free to explore the surrounding area on your own or relax and take advantage of your hotel’s amenities, including an outdoor pool, fitness center, and a full service spa (for an additional cost).
  • Dinner on your own and overnight in a Ho Chi Minh City hotel.

Day TwoExploring the sites of Saigon on a culinary tour of Vietnam

  • Breakfast.
  • Depart on a walking tour of the city’s historic center and most popular attractions, including the Municipal Theatre, Ho Chi Minh Square, the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, and more.
  • Continue your tour to the Ben Thanh Market, the largest and oldest market in the city. The market provides you a unique opportunity to see where all the locals shop and what they shop for. It carries everything they could ever want or need too.
  • Now that you have explored Ho Chi Minh’s main attractions, food, and culture, head to the kitchen for your first lesson on Vietnamese cuisine. You will learn how to make traditional dishes using local techniques and once you are done creating the meal you will feast on it for lunch.
  • The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. Perhaps continue to explore the vivacious city or relax at your hotel’s pool.
  • In the evening, meet for a special welcome dinner.
  • Overnight.

Day ThreeDining out during a cooking vacation in Southeast Asia

  • After breakfast, go back in time and explore the remarkable tunnel system known as the Cu Chi Tunnels which were used immensely during the Vietnam War. Stretching 120 miles, the discreet tunnel system was a vital tactic used by the North Vietnamese fighters for communication, protection, moving supplies, and medical attention. Although the tunnels were extremely difficult for the fighters due to limited visuals, air, food, water, and contained illnesses, the tunnels are what lead to the Viet Cong’s victory. Learn how the tunnels were made and get the chance to walk through a part of one to get a better understanding of what it was like down there.
  • Return to Ho Chi Minh City. The rest of the day and evening is at your leisure. Perhaps go to the Rex Hotel for a drink and panoramic views of the city before departing the city the following day.
  • Lunch and dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day FourYour suite during your culinary river cruise of Vietnam and Cambodia

  • Breakfast.
  • Check out of your hotel and group transfer to the port on the Saigon River where you will board your river cruise.
  • Once aboard and once your voyage is underway, take time to explore all that the intimate but luxurious ship has to offer.
  • Lunch will be provided onboard the ship.
  • In the afternoon, take time to relax on the observation deck or take advantage of the onboard spa treatment room, fitness center, library, or complimentary wi-fi access and bar services.
  • A welcome reception will take place in the evening followed by a delicious onboard dinner.
  • Overnight.

Day FiveLocal woman as seen on a culinary tour of Southeast Asia

  • Following breakfast, board sampans, tradition wooden boats, for side trips to Vinh Long.
  • Once you are on land, your first visit will include a workshop on how rice paper, rice wine, and other traditional candies are made. (For those who are brave, there might be a special treat for you too!)
  • Return to the ship for lunch.
  • Reboard the sampans and enjoy the scenes of daily life while heading to Cu Lao Gieng for a visit to local home, where you’ll get a chance to see how hand-craft sampans are made.
  • Following your visit, board a special motor cart to visit one of Vietnam’s oldest churches.
  • Return to the ship for dinner and overnight.

Day SixCulinary delights during a Vietnam and Cambodia river cruise

  • Breakfast.
  • Today is your last day in Vietnam before crossing the border into Cambodia. Take in the last of it with a stop at the local market, where you’ll see locals buying and selling meat and fish, as well as produce.
  • Board a sampan for a trip down the Mekong’s backwaters to the base of Sam Mountain, where there are a number of religious sites. During this trip, you’ll pass by a variety of traditional floating homes, as well as markets selling dried goods and speedboat merchants. Stop for a cotton-weaving demonstration at a local village.
  • Return to the ship for lunch and leisure time as the ship heads towards Cambodia.
  • Dinner onboard the ship and overnight.

Day SevenCruising the Mekong River on a culinary tour of Southeast Asia

  • After breakfast, arrive in the capital city of Phnom Penh and tour the large city by private cyclos. You will visit the Royal Palace with its beautiful Silver Pagoda. Built in 1866 by His Majesty Preah Bat Norodom, the palace continues to house the current Cambodian king and his family. The Silver Pagoda is well known for housing an enormous 17th century emerald Buddha statue that is adorned with 9,584 diamonds among other highly treasured and beloved sculptures and frescoes of Phnom Penh.
  • Continue your city tour to the city’s National Museum, known for its spectacular collection of Khmer artifacts and other cultural treasures.
  • Lunch included today on board the ship.
  • In the afternoon, take your time to explore the city on your own.
  • Before dinner on board, come together to watch a group of children from a local orphanage put on a very special show for you.
  • Return to the ship and overnight.

Day EightIngredients for a cooking class on Southeast Asian cuisine

  • Breakfast.
  • Today, take some time to learn about the painful history of the Cambodian people by visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The museum was once a high school that was transformed into a prison holding over 17,000 prisoners during Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. According to the records, fewer than 15 prisoners survived the torture and killings when the Vietnamese Army finally stormed the camp in 1979. Overall, more than 200,000 Cambodians were killed by the Khmer Rough in just 4 years.
  • After lunch, depart Phnom Penh and enjoy leisure time and dinner on the ship.
  • Overnight.

Day NineDining during your culinary river cruise of the Mekong River

  • Breakfast.
  • Visit Wat Hanchey, an 8th century temple of the Chenla Empire. (Please note that it is a steep hike to Wat Hanchey and a car and driver can take you to the top if you cannot make the climb.) Once at the temple, take in the breathtaking views and take part in a traditional water blessing lead by local monks.
  • After lunch, visit Angkor Ban, a rural village, for a walking tour. Meet the people, see traditional Khmer houses and visit a local school.
  • Return to the ship for dinner and overnight.

Day TenDetail of a bas relief of a temple on a Cambodia culinary tour

  • Breakfast.
  • Enjoy the day exploring the beautiful Cambodian countryside.
  • By motorcoach travel to the floating village of Kongpong Louang to meet skilled local silversmiths who use centuries-old techniques to make popular art out of pure silver.
  • Continue your day in Kampong Tralach for a scenic ox cart ride past local rice paddy fields and to meet a local farmer.
  • Return to the ship for lunch before departing for Tonle Sap (Great Lake), a 10,000 square mile lake that is the center of life for the nearby people. The lake provides the best breeding grounds for the fish, leading to a main food source and jobs. (During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, the ship will not be able to go up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap.)
  • Return to Phnom Penh. Enjoy your last dinner and night aboard the ship.

Day ElevenAngkor Thom ruins seen during your culinary tour of Cambodia

  • Breakfast and prepare for disembarkation in Siem Reap. (Please note that in 2019 instead of the overnight cruise the tour will include a morning flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.)
  • Arrive in Siem Reap, famous for its remarkable temples of Angkor and a popular tourist destination in Cambodia. The temples were built between the 9th and the 13th centuries as the Khmer religion transformed from Hinduism to Buddhism and therefore they display unique architectural designs of the time period. Visit Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat.
  • For the remainder of your day, choose to stay at the temples for a beautiful sunset or explore the rest of Siem Reap on your own.
  • Dinner is also on your own.
  • Overnight in your Siem Reap hotel.

Day TwelveVisit of Ta Prohm on a culinary vacation in Cambodia

  • Breakfast.
  • For your last day, take in all that Siem Reap has to offer. Visit Ta Prohm, a unique Angkor temple that is relatively untouched compared to the other temples seen the previous day with tree roots growing around and through it.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • In the afternoon, visit Les Artisan D’Angkor, an artisan workshop for young adults who desire to learn traditional craftsmanship techniques of their heritage.
  • Tonight enjoy dinner and a private Apsara dance performed by local, talented dancers, singers, and musicians.
  • Overnight in Siem Reap hotel.

Day Thirteen

  • Breakfast and check out.

Trip Details

Included in the 12-Night Trip

Accommodations

12 nights luxury accommodation (3 nights in Ho Chi Mihn City, 7 on board, and 2 in Siem Reap) (Please note the cruise is dependent on water levels and if/when necessary alternate luxury accommodations will be substituted.)

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 9 lunches
  • 9 dinners
  • Wine with included meals
  • Complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer, and local spirits while on board ship

Classes & Instructors

Enjoy 2 culinary experiences during your trip:

  • A hands-on cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City featuring traditional Vietnamese cuisine
  • A rice paper, rice wine, and candy workshop

Excursions

  • Walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City
  • Cu Chi Tunnels excursion
  • Visit of sampan-maker and one of Vietnam’s oldest churches
  • Visit to local fish farm and Chau Doc
  • Walking tour of Long Khong A and cotton-weaving demonstration
  • Cyclo tour of Phnom Penh
  • Visit of the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields
  • Visit of Wat Hanchy with water blessing, walking tour of Angkor Ban village
  • Silversmith visit, and countryside excursion on day 10
  • Visit of Angkor Wat & Banteay Srei
  • Visit of Angkor Thom, Bayon Templ, Ta Prohm, and Les Artisans d’Angkor

Transfer Details

  • Transfers are not included but can be arranged for an additional cost.

Miscellaneous

  • Private performance by Cambodian children
  • Apsara dance performance
  • Note also that in 2019 all weeks will include flights from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap instead of cruising this last part of the tour.

Accommodation Information

Situated in the center of Ho Chi Minh City near famous landmarks, the Intercontinental Asiana Saigon boasts more than 300 rooms with modern amenities including satellite TV, desk, phone, Internet, mini bar, and hair dryer. All rooms have ensuite marble bathrooms, and all offer wonderful views of the city. The property also has three restaurants, spa, fitness center, and access to Long Thanh Golf Club. You’ll stay at this hotel for the first three nights of your trip, prior to boarding the cruise ship.

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Your beautiful cruise ship was built in 2014 and accommodates just 36 guests, making your cruise down the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia an intimate and unforgettable experience. All of the room cabins open to the outside, and public spaces include a restaurant and large indoor lounge that offers stunning panoramic views of your always-changing surroundings. The ship amenities include an English-speaking crew, cruise director, spa treatment room, fitness center, and free Wi-Fi in the lounges (as long as there’s a signal), among so much more.
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The Park Hyatt Siem Reap is located in the heart of the city and blends contemporary and traditional design elements. The result is a a stylish and warm luxury hotel. There are numerous restaurants and lounges, 2 pools, a fitness center, and a spa.
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Pricing & Tour Dates

Looking for tour date information?


2019 Peak Season Pricing:
January through March, September through November

(see tour dates for specific weeks)

12-night Program
US$5820 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$3270 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)
  • Add US$400 per person to upgrade to Tonle deck cabin

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

Price includes internal flight Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
Please note availability changes quickly. Inquire for available dates.
Inquire about promotions – especially in low season!
Please inquire for upgrade cost to Tonle deck single occupancy.

2019 High Season Pricing:
April, September, December

(see tour dates for specific weeks)

12-night Program
US$5610 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$2995 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)
  • Add US$400 per person to upgrade to Tonle deck cabin

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

Price includes internal flight Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
Please note availability changes quickly. Inquire for available dates.
Inquire about promotions – especially in low season!
Please inquire for upgrade cost to Tonle deck single occupancy.

2019 Mid Season Pricing:
September, December

(see tour dates for specific weeks)

12-night Program
US$5380 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$2785 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)
  • Add US$400 per person to upgrade to Tonle deck cabin

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

Price includes internal flight Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
Please note availability changes quickly. Inquire for available dates.
Inquire about promotions – especially in low season!
Please inquire for upgrade cost to Tonle deck single occupancy.

2019 Low Season Pricing:
July, August

(see tour dates for specific weeks)

12-night Program
US$4700 per person based on double occupancy
  • Add US$2140 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)
  • Add US$400 per person to upgrade to Tonle deck cabin

30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

Price includes internal flight Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
Please note availability changes quickly. Inquire for available dates.
Inquire about promotions – especially in low season!
Please inquire for upgrade cost to Tonle deck single occupancy.


Tour Dates

Please note availability changes quickly. Inquire for available dates.

2019
Jan. 7-19 (peak)
Jan. 14-26 (peak)
Jan. 21-Feb. 2 (peak)
Jan. 29-Feb. 8 (peak)
Feb. 4-16 (peak)
Feb. 11-23 (peak)
Feb. 18-March 2 (peak)
Feb. 25-March 9 (peak)
March 4-16 (peak)
March 11-23 (peak)
March 18-30 (peak)
March 25-April 6 (high)
April 1-13 (high)
April 8-20 (high)
July 8-20 (low)
July 22-Aug. 3 (low)
July 29-Aug. 10 (low)
Aug. 12-24 (low)
Aug. 19-31 (low)
Aug. 26-Sept. 7 (mid)
Sept. 2-14 (mid)
Sept. 9-21 (mid)
Sept. 16-28 (high)
Sept. 25-Oct. 5 (high)
Sept. 30-Oct. 12 (peak)
Oct. 7-19 (peak)
Oct. 14-26 (peak)
Oct. 21-Nov. 2 (peak)
Oct. 28-Nov. 9 (peak)
Nov. 4-16 (peak)
Nov. 11-23 (peak)
Nov. 18-30 (peak)
Nov. 25-Dec. 7 (peak)
Dec. 2-14 (high)
Dec. 9-21 (mid)
Dec. 16-28 (mid)
Dec. 23-Jan 4 (high)

Pricing & Dates

Class Pricing

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