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Avalon Waterways Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River with Luang Prabang & Bangkok – Southbound (WSHU)

19 days from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City 
Immerse yourself in fascinating cultures and ancient traditions as you embark on an inspiring journey through Bangkok, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Along the way, learn more about the history of each country, marvel at spectacular scenery, and interact with the friendly locals. This is a journey that will create memories you won’t soon forget!

Start in Bangkok with a tour of the stunning Grand Palace and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, home to the 49-foot-high and 151-foot-long massive Reclining Buddha. In Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, participate in the almsgiving ceremony, visit several prominent temples and a local village to see a weaving demonstration and learn how sa paper is made from the pulp of mulberry trees. On to Siem Reap, where you will visit the spectacular Angkor temple complex, whose architectural grandeur is arguably unmatched among the world’s ancient ruins. See several of the temples, including spectacular Angkor Wat and the mesmerizing faces of Bayon. Here you will also enjoy a private Apsara dance performance and will visit a development project teaching young adults traditional handicraft techniques. Then, start your cruise on the Mekong River, the thread that connects the people of Southeast Asia. Visit a colorful local market, a sampan builder, and a local establishment to see how rice wine and traditional candy are made. In Phnom Penh, take a tour of the city by private cyclo, with visits to the National Museum and the Royal Palace with the stunning Silver Pagoda. Walking tours through the rural villages of Long Khong A and Angkor Ban and an ox cart ride through the countryside at Kampong Tralach will grant you a memorable inside look at life along the river and interactions with the local people. Finally, in bustling Ho Chi Minh City, your sightseeing includes the Cu Chi Tunnels—a vast network of tunnels used by the Viet Cong. You will also partake in a walking tour of the city’s landmarks and a hands-on Vietnamese cooking class.

All of this and more await you on this fabulous journey.

Ships: Siem Reap

Avalon Highlights & Sightseeing

Cruise: deluxe 7-night cruise from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City in a Panorama SuiteSM with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM. Enjoy an intimate river cruise experience with a maximum of 36 guests on board.

Day 1 Arrive In Bangkok: welcome to Thailand

Day 2 Bangkok: boat ride on klongs; visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Day 3 Bangkok: day at leisure

Day 4 Bangkok–Luang Prabang: fly to Luang Prabang

Day 5 Luang Prabang: participate in morning almsgiving ceremony; visit the morning market, National Museum, Wat Mai, Wat Visoun, Wat Xieng Thong, and Ban Xang Khong; weaving and sa paper-making demonstrations

Day 6 Luang Prabang:
day at leisure to explore on your own

Day 7 Luang Prabank–Siem Reap: fly to Siem Reap

Day 8 Siem Reap: visit Angkor Wat and Banteay Srei; Apsara Dance Performance

Day 9 Siem Reap: visit Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple, and Ta Prohm by tuk-tuk; Les Artisans d’Angkor

Day 10 Siem Reap (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception

Day 11 Kampong Tralach–Konpong Louang–Phnom Penh: ox cart through the countryside and visit a local farmer’s home in Kampong Tralach; visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; sightseeing by private cyclo in Phnom Penh including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum

Day 12 Phnom Penh: visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields; afternoon at leisure; show by children from local orphanage

Day 13 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 14 Vietnam Border Crossing–Chau Doc: visit a local market and the religious sites at Sam Mountain in Chau Doc

Day 15 Long Khong A–Cu Lao Gieng: walking tour of Long Khong A with cotton-weaving demonstration; visit a sampan-making family and interact with a Catholic priest in Cu Lao Gieng

Day 16 Ben Tre: visit a local workship to see how rice wine & traditional candy are made and a local garden

Day 17 Ho Chi Minh City (Disembarkation): 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 18 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion

Day 19 Ho Chi Minh City: end of vacation

Related Avalon Tours

WSHP - Add Ha Long Bay & Hanoi to Your Vacation
WSH - Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River – Southbound

Itinerary (2017)

Day 1Arrive Bangkok, Thailand.
 Welcome to Bangkok! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2Bangkok.
 This morning, your sightseeing begins with a BOAT RIDE through the klongs, Bangkok’s canals, to see the family homes, temples, and the way of life that give this city the nickname “Venice of the East.” Stop at 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 and 151-foot-long massive Reclining Buddha. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B,L)
Day 3Bangkok.
 Enjoy a full day at your leisure. (B)
Day 4Bangkok–Luang Prabang, Laos.
 Today, fly to Luang Prabang. (B)
Day 5Luang Prabang.
 Today, enjoy a full day of sightseeing in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin your morning by witnessing the Tak Bat (almsgiving ceremony), with a visit to a local market. Each morning before dawn, Buddhist monks don their distinctive saffron-colored robes and walk through the streets to collect alms (offerings of food). This is a truly memorable sight you will not soon forget as you personally present alms to the monks and receive their blessings. Afterward, walk through the colorful morning market on the banks of the Mekong River in the center of town. Here you will see locals buy and sell their produce and meats. Then visit the NATIONAL MUSEUM, formerly the Royal Palace. Nearby is WAT MAI, famous for its 5-tiered roof built in the traditional style of Luang Prabang. You will also visit WAT VISOUN and WAT XIENG THONG, often thought to be the most beautiful wat or monastery in the city. This afternoon, visit the village of BAN XANG KHONG. Here you will witness a WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and learn about how sa paper is made by hand from the pulp of mulberry trees. (B,L)
Day 6Luang Prabang.
 Enjoy a full-day at your leisure. (B)
Day 7Luang Prabang–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! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in. (B)
Day 8Siem Reap.
 This morning, start your sightseeing of the TEMPLES OF ANGKOR. 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, enjoy a PRIVATE APSARA DANCE PERFORMANCE, where the ancient Khmer culture is brought to life by talented dancers, singers, and musicians. (B,L,D)
Day 9Siem 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 to explore this charming town. (B)
Day 10Siem Reap (Embarkation).
 This morning, transfer to the port and board your river cruise vessel for your CRUISE down the Mekong through Cambodia and Vietnam. This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as you cruise through Tonle Sap (Great Lake). After the rainy season, this massive body of water can cover around 10,000 square miles and provides the perfect breeding ground for fish, which provide food for people living on the lake. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception. (B,L,D)

NOTE:
During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise on Tonle Sap. In these cases, we will fly from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh for embarkation. 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 11Cruising: Kampong Tralach–Konpong Louang–Phnom Penh.
 Today, visit Kampong Tralach for an OX CART RIDE past rice paddy fields and the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to MEET WITH A LOCAL FARMER and learn more about his daily life. Lastly, visit the SILVERSMITH VILLAGE of Konpong Louang. Here you will see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. Then sail to the capital city of Phnom Penh. After lunch, 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. (B,L,D)
Day 12Cruising: Phnom 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 less than 15 survived the torture and avoided being sent to the Killing Fields. You will also visit one of the KILLING FIELDS, where over 200,000 people were killed by the Khmer Rouge. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (B,L,D)
Day 13Cruising: 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)
Day 14Cruising: Border Crossing–Chau Doc Vietnam.
 Cross the border this morning into Vietnam and sail to Chau Doc. Upon arrival, walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. After lunch, join a sampan excursion down the backwaters of the river 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. (B,L,D)
Day 15Cruising: Long Khong A–Cu Lao Gieng.
 After breakfast, 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. In the afternoon, board a sampan and enjoy scenes of daily life along the river. 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 16Cruising: Ben Tre.
 This morning, board a sampan for a scenic cruise to Ben Tre. Visit a LOCAL WORKSHOP to see how rice wine and traditional coconut candy is made. Then, 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. (B,L,D)
Day 17Ho Chi Minh City (Disembarkation).
 Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. 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. (B,L)
Day 18Ho 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 remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. This evening, join your traveling companions for a special farewell dinner hosted by your Cruise Director. (B,D)
Day 19Ho Chi Minh City.
 Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Included Avalon Meals

American breakfast daily, 11 lunches, 9 dinners, including a farewell dinner in Ho Chi Minh. While on board the ship, enjoy complimentary wine with dinner and complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer, and local spirits throughout the day.

Avalon Pricing Details

Dates and Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights from Avalon Waterways, not included in pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments; or (2) intra-vacation air segments only, starting at $580. Required intra-vacation air segment: Bangkok/Luang Prabang; Luang Prabang/Siem Reap. Air prices were effective on April 6, 2016 and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.

Port charges:
$85

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.

Extra Nights per person in Bangkok:
January-December 18, 2017-January 3, 2018: in single room $267; in twin room $139
December 19, 2017-January 3, 2018: in single room $317; in twin room $165

Extra Nights per person in Ho Chi Minh City:
in single room $267; in twin room $139

Prices shown above 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.

Avalon Notes

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

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