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Avalon Waterways Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River – Northbound (WHS)

13 days from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap 
On this unique and inspiring 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.

Spend time in the bustling Ho Chi Minh City which combines historic architecture with modern skyscrapers. See the famous landmarks and try your hand in the kitchen—Vietnamese-style, with a cooking class. Go back in time with an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels where you’ll have an opportunity to walk through a section of the immense underground tunnel system used extensively during the Vietnam War. Embark on your river cruise along the Mekong River and immerse yourself in the local cultures with a visit to 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. Go on an ox cart ride amongst rice paddy fields and witness the daily lives of farmers.

The grand finale of this memorable 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. Then enjoy an inspiring Aspara dance performance—a perfect ending to this remarkable and cultural journey!

Ships: Siem Reap - Saigon

Avalon Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City: welcome to Vietnam

Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City: walking tour of the city’s landmarks; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class

Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion

Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception

Day 5 Vinh Long–Cu Lao Gieng: visit a local workshop and see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candy are made in Vinh Long; visit a sampan-making family and interact with a Catholic priest in Cu Lao Gieng

Day 6 Chau Doc–Long Khong A, Vietnam–Cambodian Border Crossing: visit a local fish farm and the religious sites at Sam Mountain in Chau Doc; walking tour of Long Khong A with cotton weaving demonstration

Day 7 Phnom Penh: sightseeing by private cyclo, including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum; afternoon at leisure; show by children from local orphanage

Day 8 Phnom Penh: visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields

Day 9 Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban: visit Wat Hanchey and partake in a traditional water blessing by local monks; walking tour through Angkor Ban village with school visit

Day 10 Konpong Louang–Kampong Tralach: visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; ox cart ride through the countryside and visit a local farmer’s home in Kampong Tralach

Day 11 Siem Reap (Disembarkation): visit Angkor Wat & Banteay Srei

Day 12 Siem Reap: visit Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm, and Les Artisans d’Angkor; Apsara dance performance

Day 13 Siem Reap: end of vacation

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Itinerary (2018)

Day 1Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
 Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2Ho Chi Minh City.
 This morning, enjoy a WALKING TOUR of the city’s famous and historic landmarks as you stroll through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat) past Ho Chi Minh Square, the Municipal Theatre, the Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing DRINK at the popular ROOFTOP BAR where the U.S. Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Next, visit the WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM followed by BEN THANH MARKET, the largest and oldest in the city. For lunch, participate in a hands-on VIETNAMESE COOKING CLASS. Head into the classroom and learn how to prepare different local dishes and the techniques necessary to recreate them once you return home. Last but not least, sample your delicious creations! The afternoon is at your leisure to explore this lively city. Tonight, enjoy a special welcome dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 3Ho Chi Minh City. Excursion To Cu Chi Tunnels.
 This morning, leave the city and drive through vast expanses of rice paddies to visit the CU CHI TUNNELS, an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length that was used by the Viet Cong as a hideout and secret village during the war. Here you will learn about how the tunnels were constructed and have a chance to walk through a section to experience what life would have been like underground. Return to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. Maybe stop at the famous Rex Hotel for a drink and sweeping views of the city. (B)
Day 4Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation).
 This morning, transfer to the port on the Saigon River and board your river cruise vessel to start your CRUISE up the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 5Cruising: Vinh Long–Cu Lao Gieng.
 This morning, board a sampan for a scenic cruise to Vinh Long. Upon arrival, visit a LOCAL WORKSHOP to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made. Other surprises await for those who are brave! After lunch on the ship, enjoy scenes of daily life along the river near Cu Lao Gieng via sampan. Stop at a LOCAL HOME, where a skilled family works together to hand-craft sampans for a living. Then, ride a specially designed MOTOR CART to one of Vietnam’s oldest churches for a special INTERACTION WITH A CATHOLIC PRIEST. (B,L,D)
Day 6Cruising: Chau Doc–Long Khong A–Cambodian Border Crossing.
 After breakfast, walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. Then join a sampan excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong to the religious sites at the base of SAM MOUNTAIN. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, a market selling dried goods, and more. After lunch, a sampan brings you to the village of LONG KHONG A, where cotton weaving is a well-preserved tradition. Spend time at one house for a COTTON-WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and a chance to talk with the family. Return to the ship and head for the Cambodian border. (B,L,D)
Day 7Cruising: Phnom Penh.
 The capital city of Phnom Penh retains its French charm to this day. This morning, your sightseeing tour by private cyclo includes 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 at your leisure to enjoy the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (B,L,D)
Day 8Phnom Penh.
 Sightseeing this morning provides a glimpse of the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime. Visit the TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM, a former high school that housed over 17,000 prisoners. Of this number, it is believed that fewer than 15 survived the torture and avoided being sent to the Killing Fields. You will also visit one of the KILLING FIELDS, where more than 200,000 people were killed by the Khmer Rouge. After lunch, depart Phnom Penh and enjoy some time at leisure on the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 9Cruising: Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban.
 This morning, visit WAT HANCHEY, a temple dating back to the 8th century and the Chenla Empire. Located on a hilltop, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a TRADITIONAL WATER BLESSING given by local monks. After lunch, enjoy a WALKING TOUR through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here you will see traditional Khmer houses and visit a LOCAL SCHOOL. (B,L,D)

NOTE:
The climb to Wat Hanchey features a steep incline. If you feel you are unable to make the climb, you will be driven to the top by car.
Day 10Cruising: Konpong Louang–Kampong Tralach.
 Today, start your sightseeing at the SILVERMITH VILLAGE of Konpong Louang. Here you will see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. Continue on to Kampong Tralach for an OX CART RIDE past rice paddy fields and the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to MEET A LOCAL FARMER and learn about his daily life. Return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap (Great Lake). After the rainy season, this massive body of water can cover around 10,000 square miles and is the perfect breeding ground for fish, which play a vital role in providing food for people living on the lake. (B,L,D)

NOTE:
During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap. Low water conditions vary from year to year so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Day 11Cruising: Siem Reap (Disembarkation).
 This morning, arrive in Siem Reap and start your sightseeing of the TEMPLES OF ANGKOR, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth! Constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries, the temples were built around the Khmer interpretations of Indian religious and political beliefs that ultimately evolved from Hinduism to Buddhism. The complex architectural grandeur of the Angkor temples is arguably unmatched among ancient ruins anywhere in the world. First, visit the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: ANGKOR WAT, honoring the Hindu god Vishnu. Featuring five trademark towers and stunning bas reliefs, it has become a symbol of Cambodia. Then, visit BANTEAY SREI, a unique temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Unlike other temples, it is built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. This evening is at leisure to explore charming Siem Reap—or stay to witness sunset at Angkor Wat! (B,L)

NOTE:
During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise across Tonle Sap to Siem Reap. In these cases, we will fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and sightseeing will begin in the afternoon. No included sightseeing will be missed. Low water conditions vary from year to year so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Day 12Siem Reap.
 Today, continue your sightseeing of the Angkor temples by tuk-tuk. Start at ANGKOR THOM where you will explore BAYON TEMPLE. One of the few Buddhist temples in Angkor, it features some 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas reliefs. Next stop is TA PROHM, which, unlike the other temples, has been left relatively untouched. Tree roots grow over and through the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as the early explorers who discovered it. Lastly, stop at LES ARTISANS D’ANGKOR, a development project teaching young adults traditional handicraft techniques. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. This evening, enjoy a PRIVATE APSARA DANCE PERFORMANCE, where the ancient Khmer culture is brought to life by talented dancers, singers, and musicians. (B,D)
Day 13Siem Reap.
 Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Included Avalon Meals

American breakfast daily, 9 lunches, 9 dinners, including a welcome dinner in Ho Chi Minh City. While on board the ship, enjoy complimentary wine with lunch & dinner and complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer, and local spirits throughout the day.

Avalon Pricing Details

Gratuities to Local Guides & drivers are included.

Price is per person, based on double room occupancy.

Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.

Prices shown include cruise in Category B in a Panorama Suite on Mekong Deck.

To upgrade to a Category A on the Tonle Deck, add $400 per person in double occupancy or $800 in single occupancy.

Extra Nights per person in Ho Chi Minh City:
in single room $236; in twin room $123

Extra Nights per person in Siem Reap:
January-April and September-December: in single room $265; in twin room $138
July-August: in single room $232; in twin room $121

Avalon Notes

  • During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to sail across Tonle Sap and will fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. No sightseeing will be missed. Low water conditions vary from year to year, so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.

Avalon Waterways Fleet

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Avalon Tour Dates

Tour Land StartAvalon RetailRequest Quote
*02/26/2018 $5,389.00
*03/12/2018 $5,389.00
*03/26/2018 $5,199.00
*07/02/2018 $4,359.00
*07/16/2018 $4,359.00
*07/30/2018 $4,359.00
*08/13/2018 $4,359.00
*08/27/2018 $4,979.00
*09/10/2018 $4,979.00
*09/17/2018 $5,199.00
*09/24/2018 $5,199.00
*10/01/2018 $5,389.00
*10/08/2018 $5,389.00
*10/22/2018 $5,389.00
*10/29/2018 $5,389.00
*11/05/2018 $5,389.00
*11/19/2018 $5,389.00
*11/26/2018 $5,389.00
*12/03/2018 $5,199.00
*12/10/2018 $4,979.00
*12/17/2018 $4,979.00
*12/24/2018 $5,199.00
*12/31/2018 $5,569.00
*01/07/2019 $5,569.00
*01/14/2019 $5,569.00
*01/21/2019 $5,569.00
*01/28/2019 $5,569.00
*02/04/2019 $5,569.00
*02/11/2019 $5,569.00
*02/18/2019 $5,569.00
*02/25/2019 $5,569.00
*03/04/2019 $5,569.00
*03/11/2019 $5,569.00
*03/18/2019 $5,569.00
*03/25/2019 $5,369.00
*04/01/2019 $5,369.00
*04/08/2019 $5,369.00
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