On your arrival to Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon) you will be welcome by our tour guide and driver. Transferred to your hotel at the city centre and then there will be time for your free exploration of the largest city of Vietnam, once known as “Pearl of the Far East”, with its wide elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings. Overnight at the hotel.
This morning we leave the hotel at 8 am and drive to Ben Tre Province in the Mekong delta. Upon arrival at Hung Vuong Pier (90km from Sai Gon), we get on a boat and cruise along the Ben Tre River. The boat stops at an artisanal brick factory for you to explore its imposing ovens. A sweet break is planned at a coconut candies workshop where you will watch how coconut flesh is used and processed. A short tuk-tuk bike ride on the winding small road of the countryside will take you deeper into the village and we will stop at a family braiding mats. The local restaurant prepares typical dishes of the Mekong delta for your lunch. Following, we board on a rowing boat to join the maze of canals and return to the landing stage. Get back on the car and we continue driving to Can Tho. Night spent at the hotel.
Today we will be the early birds taking the morning boat trip to Cai Rang floating market, the largest in the region, where boats bursting with fruit and vegetables gather every day. After joining in at the busy market, you will take a walk in Mr. Ba Cong’s orchard to taste fresh tropical fruits. The following visit is to a workshop where you will see how the local (canna indica) vermicelli is made. Get back to the mainland by boat and then we will drive to Chau Doc.
The visit to Tra Su forest in the afternoon is simply spectacular. This mangrove is composed of cajuput trees and home to 70 species of birds, 140 plant species, and 20 species of reptiles, to name but a few. We will hop on a small boat sailing on a river covered by lenses of freshwater (floating on the denser saltwater below), lotus hearts and water lilies. In order to get a breathtaking view of the forest and neighbouring Cambodia, we will climb the six floors of the observation tower.
Overnight at the hotel in Chau Doc.
After having breakfast at your hotel, you will take a 5-hour-cruise on the Mekong to reach Phnom Penh - the capital of Cambodia. In the afternoon, we visit all the Royal Palace monuments: the Chan Chhaya Pavilion, the Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum, which houses the world's finest collection of Khmer sculptures. We will then explore the monument of Independence, shaped like the central tower of Angkor Wat. It was built in 1958 to commemorate the country's independence from France in 1953. We next visit Wat Phnom Daun Penh - a pagoda built by Lady Daun Penh in 1372 on a small hill. Wat Phnom remains today the highest artificial hill in Phnom Penh and the centre of many recreational activities.
In the morning, we transfer to Battambang. Several visits are planned throughout the day for a fulfilling experience. The first stop is at Phnom Oudong, which was home to several kings when it served as the Cambodian capital between 1618 and 1866. You will reach the top stupa by climbing a long staircase. The reward for your efforts is the breath-taking panoramic view of surrounding villages, pagodas, plains, and lakes. We keep driving to Kampong Chhnang, along the great Tonle Sap Lake and its river port. In Pursat, a beautiful city by the river, we stop to visit marble sculpture workshops (Buddhas and souvenirs). Then you will board a motor-powered sampan to navigate through Kampong Luang, a floating village where the people spend an entire lifetime on floating houses and on boats. Before arriving in Battambang, you will learn how pots, vases and other ceramic items are manufactured. Overnight at the hotel.
By bike or by tuk-tuk (a motorized tricycle which can carry up to 4 passengers), we travel along the Sangkae River through a lush landscape dotted with many pagodas, ancient witnesses of a bygone era. On the way, we make a first stop to discover the traditional craft of rice cake preparation in a typical small factory. Then, we will start our tour of the 11th century Wat Ek Phnom temple. Continuing on to the Angkorian temple of Phnom Banon. At the top of the hill where it’s located, you can enjoy a breath-taking panoramic view. A short transfer by car will take you to the station where we’ll embark on a great adventure. It’s time to experience a quintessential local mode of transport: the bamboo train! You will ride in a wooden car pulled by a locomotive with a 10-horsepower engine, on an abandoned rail line for about an hour and a half. A friendly villager will be your driver and guide for this extraordinary activity.
In the morning, you will join a city tour to admire the French-colonial architecture of Battambang. We then head to Siem Reap via Sisophon. On the way, we will cross suspension bridges connecting villages along the riverbanks. Seize the opportunity to stop in a village specialized in weaving cotton scarves. We will then visit Banon Temple, constructed on top of a hill overlooking the Sangkae River. After conquering the climb to the top, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the planes below, and the villages and mountains that make up this rocky scenery. Wander on your own to meet the villagers making rice cakes and visit an ancient pagoda. Arrival in Siem Reap where you’ll spend the night at the hotel.
Today we will make the visit by tuk tuk (a motorized tricycle which can carry up to 4 passengers) and follow the river to reach the west site of Angkor Wat complex. Among all Cambodia’s temples, Angkor Wat is the most famed, so much so that its picture is featured on the national flag and some riel notes. After having lunch in a local restaurant, we head to the temple of Angkor Thom(Great City). We enter the southern gate, admire the famous Bayon, dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, and the 11th century Baphuon, dedicated to Brahmanism (ancient Hinduism). We then proceed with the Elephant Terrace or the Leper King Terrace.
This day’s first focus is the Kbal Spean (River of a Thousand Lingas), set deep in the jungle at about 30 km (1-hour drive) north of Angkor. The riverbed is carved with linga symbols and images of Hindu deities. We then head to Phnom Kulen Sacred Mountain (at 487m above sea level). After a 45-minute hike through a dense rainforest, you will reach Preah Ang Thom pagoda, the most sacred and worshiped site on Kulen Mountain. We will continue to explore Banteay Srei temple (Citadel of Women), dedicated to Shiva. This 10th-century hindu temple is famous for its beautiful pinkish sandstone and sophisticated wall carvings. It turns into a beautiful shade at sunset, a sight not to be missed.
Free time to discover Siem Reap then transfer to the airport for your departure flight. End of our services.
The Mekong is legendary... It’s the link between China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, the backbone and soul of Southeast Asia. This journey will allow you to discover sites, inhabitants, and architectural monuments along one of the greatest rivers of the world.
• The coconut jungles of the Mekong Delta
• Endless green rice paddies
• Mangrove forests in Tra Su and Siem Reap
• See life lived on water in the Mekong Delta (Can Tho and Tonle Sap Lake)
• Ancient temples in Siem Reap and Battambang
OUR SERVICES INCLUDE:
- Accommodation with breakfast on a Double/Twin Basis in Homestay/Hotels listed or similar
- 2 days/1 night cruise in Halong Bay
- All entrance fees and sightseeing as mentioned in the program
- Experienced English speaking tour guides except on free days (for other language guides supplements will be applied)
- Meals as mentioned in the program (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
- Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles with driver
- Speed boat Chau Doc - Phnom Penh
- Bottled water during the tour day
OUR SERVICES DO NOT INCLUDE:
- Rates and Hotels are subject to availability
- Domestic & International flights when not mentioned
- Drinks and meals other than those mentioned
- Gratuities to guides, drivers, boat crews, wait staff... We recommend you allow USD$3-6 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture.
- Personal expenses of any nature like, laundry, telephone calls, shopping, incidentals at hotels etc.
- Visa Stamping Fee for Vietnam and Cambodia
- Travel Insurance
- Peak season or Public holiday surcharges if any
- Other services not mentioned in the itinerary
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