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OVERVIEW

Phnom Penh / Siem Reap / Chau Doc / Sa Dec / My Tho / Cu Chi / Ho Chi Minh City

From Saigon to Siem Reap via a Mekong River cruise, visit the iconic cities with an added touch of comfort. With historical sites, art shows, nightlife tours and visits to villages, there’s nothing short of arts, culture and activities for a truly local experience.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
THE LUXE DIFFERENCE

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Tour Highlights for Cruising Vietnam - Cambodia
Iconic sites of Saigon city

Iconic sites of Saigon city

Go on a walking tour to visit sites like the historical post office, old French streets while stopping to meet the locals.

Cruise through the Mekong Delta

Cruise through the Mekong Delta

Hop on the luxurious Aqua Mekong Cruise for a floating retreat with endless and captivating panoramic views of the mighty Mekong.

Discover ancient temples of Angkor Wat

Discover ancient temples of Angkor Wat

Escape the typical crowds and explore the mesmerising ancient temples of Angkor Wat by local remork.

Exo Travel

ITINERARY

Cruising Vietnam - Cambodia - 12 Days / 11 Nights

DAY 1 - Saigon Arrival

Exo TravelTan Son Nhat Airport to Park Hyatt Hotel (7km): 30mins

Arrive in Saigon and be welcomed by the guide and transferred to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure and recover from the long flight.

Overnight at Park Hyatt Hotel.

DAY 2 - SaigonMealsMEALS [B|D]

This tour begins at 08:30. Start with a visit to the iconic Saigon Central Post Office built between 1886 and 1891. Based on the design of French architect Foulhoux, it is the creation of a unique vaulted ceiling with wrought iron beams and columns reminiscent of industrial architecture, which is now considered a symbol of Saigon and one of its most famous landmarks.

(Please note: Look out for Mr. Duong, and stop for a chat with him if he’s available. He enjoys local notoriety for his professional love-letter writing skills.)

Walk along Dong Khoi street, formerly La Rue Catinat and pay a visit to Gialong Palace – Ho Chi Minh City Museum for its beautiful architecture and listen to its history through times. Continue to Le Loi Street to meet a local artisan who specialises in traditional engravings.

Next, stroll through the old central market before arriving at the city’s oldest colonial-era apartment.  Built in 1886, see what the young creative Vietnamese are up to with new funky boutiques and coffee shops. Sit down at one of the stylish coffee shops and interact with a local resident who moved here in 1975.

Leave the compound and have a look at the building on the other side, which used to be Banque de l’Indochine (Indochina Bank) during the 1920s. It’s a stunning example of the Indochinois east/west fusion style of architecture that this area is known for. After this last stop, head back to the hotel.

 (Please note: This is a city walking tour but a vehicle will be available for a transfer if need be).

This evening begins at 18:00. Delve into Vietnam’s nightlife and culinary culture with a fun Ho Chi Minh City Vespa tour. Climb aboard the back of this classic motorbike and zip off through the city’s buzzing streets. See the city come to life as the sun sets and offices close down for the day.

The first stop of the evening is at a rooftop bar. Take in the views of the streets below while enjoying some snacks and refreshments.

Kick-off the mobile aspect of the evening and visit a series of local restaurants and street stalls. The food-loving host will explain each of the items on offer and purchase a selection of sweet and savoury dishes to sample. During the tour, sample a range of dishes from simple satays to more exotic, yet highly popular treats. Raise a glass and toast the night out alongside local diners.

Time to relax at a hidden and quiet café and enjoy a musical performance that will transport one back in time. Enjoy the performance with a drink and ice cream before returning to the hotel.

Overnight at Park Hyatt Hotel.

DAY 3 - SaigonMealsMEALS [B]

Morning: Cu Chi Tunnel Tour

This tour begins at 08:30. Depart early this morning to avoid the crowds at Cu Chi. Drive away from Ho Chi Minh City, watching the city skyline fade into the distance as the road winds through rice paddies, villages and other scenes typical to southern Vietnam.

Spend a couple of hours walking around Cu Chi’s rugged grounds with a local guide. Hear how the residents constructed an intricate, underground network of tunnels during the French and American Wars. Crawl underground and have a look at the tiny chambers and imagine what life was like for those who lived there. Hear incredible tales of perseverance – from the unusual foods the residents ate to survive, to the story of a baby being born in the tunnels. Once above ground, see other ingenious items used by the residents to defend themselves such as bamboo traps and camouflaged pits.

Throughout the tour, the guide will explain the impact of war on the local community and the country as a whole. Following this insightful visit, journey back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Overnight at Park Hyatt Hotel

Note : Evening: A night at Opera House (Optional) Please attached with the file

DAY 4 - Mekong River – My Tho – Ho Chi Minh MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

After breakfast, be picked up at the hotel and transferred to My Tho Dock for an Aqua Mekong Cruise. Settle into the floating retreat, with endless and captivating panoramic views of the mighty Mekong.

Enjoy these private Mekong River moments on a California king bed, terrace or daybed.

Overnight on board.

DAY 5 - Mekong River – Binh Thanh/ Sa Dec – My An HungMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec to see the vibrant market and the famous house of Marguerite Duras' legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le.  In the afternoon, visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung and stroll through verdant plantations.

Then, visit a local's home to taste local fruits while listening to traditional folk songs performed by villagers followed by a unique unicorn dance. A 17-kilometre biking option is also available on request.

Overnight on board.

DAY 6 - Mekong River – Chau Doc – Vinh Xuong – Ka’om Samnor BorderMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Travel by skiff along Bassac Canal to Chau Doc floating market then head off by van to Long Son Pagoda atop Sam Mountain. Ask the monks about their age-old Buddhist practices. Return via the bustling morning market.

An optional 18 kilometers bike ride on Long Khanh Island or a rickshaw ride to visit Tan Chau Market with a chef is available on request.

After lunch, relax by the pool, try a traditional Khmer massage or learn to cook Mekong inspired dishes while crossing the border.

Overnight on board.

DAY 7 - Mekong River – Koh Oknha Tey – Preah ProsopMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

On this river of time, admire dexterous Khmer artisans dyeing and weaving kroma, the ubiquitous item no Khmer lives without. Explore the riverbank on two wheels, past Buddhist temples and thatch houses perched on spindly wooden stilts while white oxen wade just offshore.

After lunch, board marine-grade aluminum skiffs and head towards the tamarind trees of Preah Prosop, a remote village that has changed little over several generations.

Overnight on board.

DAY 8 - Phnom Penh - CambodiaMealsMEALS [B|L]

Disembark from the Aqua Mekong and be welcomed by a local English speaking guide and be accompanied to the hotel for check in.

Phnom Penh was once considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way.

Today, explore the capital of Cambodia by tuk-tuk. Whizz pass the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art.

Visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide or choose to shop at the Russian Market.

Overnight at Raffles Le Royal.

DAY 9 - Phnom Penh – Flight to Siem SeapMealsMEALS [B]

Breakfast at hotel.

Be transferred to the airport for a flight to Siem Reap.

Arrive at Siem Reap airport by K6 xxx at xx:xx and be welcomed by a personal English-speaking guide and be transferred to the hotel for check-in.

This afternoon, start the half-day tour to one of the major highlights of Southeast Asia – the magnificent Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolising the Mount Meru, home of the gods.

The divine residence of Vishnu, the King himself was to reside here after his death. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign.

Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labour. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolises the soul of the Khmer people.

Overnight in Shinta Mani Angkor- Bensley Collection.

DAY 10 - Siem ReapMealsMEALS [B]

This morning at 07:00 take an early start to explore the temples of the Small Circuit by local remork that is similar to the Thai tuk tuk. Be taken on a journey to witness sunrise over the legendary Ta Prohm temple, built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Here, experience the jungle atmosphere at the mysterious temple, while beating the usual tourist crowds. This is a truly magical experience.

Following the early morning visit, escape the crowds as the tour continues to the picturesque Srah Srong Baray. Originally constructed by the same architect that built Pre Rup before being remodelled in the 12th century as part of Jayavarman VII's massive building campaign. A multi-tiered landing platform on the west edge of the baray is adorned with naga balustrades and guardian lions, and the sparse remains of an island temple can be seen emerging from the middle of the lake at low water, during the dry season. Here, enjoy a beautiful champagne breakfast overlooking the lake on a luxurious cushion and table set up, providing an incredible and serene start to any Angkorian exploration.

Continue to the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8m high wall, drawing a perfect square. From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire.

Spend this afternoon at leisure for personal shopping at the markets, or simply return to the hotel to relax. There are  also optional tours available below:

Option 1: Quad-Bike Adventure

Ride a quad bike designed for off-road terrain for an unforgettable experience through the beautiful countryside of Siem Reap Province. The guided tour will ride through local villages for a chance to learn about the way of life in rural Cambodia and meet and chat with the wonderful and friendly people. The highlight of the tour is watching sunset in the rice fields.

Option 2: Angkor National Museum

The modern museum showcases artefacts from the Golden Era of the Khmer Empire by use of multimedia technology to portray this interesting historical period. Experience Angkor at its best on a guided visit to the Museum.

Option: After dark Foodie tour by remork

This evening, go on a luxurious Khmer dining and drinking experience. Visit four amazing and intimate eateries and bars and get to taste some of the most amazing and unique cuisine that Cambodia has to offer.

Overnight in Shinta Mani Angkor- Bensley Collection.

DAY 11 - Siem ReapMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Breakfast at hotel.

This morning, take an authentic rural Cambodia tour to learn about life in Ta Brak Village. Meet friendly locals and discover traditional village customs and cultures.

Like most villages in Asia, Ta Brak is busiest in the morning hours. Sit down with a local family while observing the activities of the village.

Take an ox cart ride, a traditional countryside method of transporting people and goods. The 30 minute journey passes through the village on the way to the local market. Explore the colourful displays of vegetables, herbs and other locally-grown produce, and mingle with the shoppers who come every morning to buy the fresh ingredients.

Continue on foot through the village, providing ample opportunities to stop and chat with locals and to observe their activities. Depending on the time of year, they may be planting rice, weaving thatch coverings for their roofs, harvesting vegetables, or other similar tasks. For a truly immersive experience, lend a hand and join the locals in these activities!

Before leaving the village, partake in a special Buddhist tradition. Local monks will impart wishes of good luck and success in a solemn, age-old ceremony.

After that, embark on an interesting boat trip on Tonlé Sap Lake, and have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonle Sap is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season. The lake swells to about 4 times its size during the wet season.

Board a local boat and visit Kampong Phluck, a village with houses on stilts that are submerged during wet season as the lake swells. On the way, pass floating houses and impressive flooded forests, portraying life on the water. Enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the local houses. (Please note: Due to low water levels during the dry season, the boat trip is only possible from June to March. However an alternative floating village at Chong Kneas can be arranged in place during dry season.

From there, travel by private vehicle to the countryside of Siem Reap Province. First stop to visit the Golden Silk Pheach Farm, a local Ngo which helps to revive the ancient Khmer know-how in silk activities and provides job opportunities to more than 100 local staff. The farm area, mulberry trees and weaving ateliers can be seen as part of the guided tour. Golden Silk products are ecologically produced from the yellow silkworm which is unique to Cambodia. Some of the silk products are months, or even years, in the making and each one is unique. This is one for the connoisseurs of high quality craftwork.

After, continue to see the ‘gem’ of the Angkor area, the pretty temple, Banteay Srei, which is best viewed in the warm afternoon light. The so-called ‘Citadel of the Women’ remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

On this last evening in Cambodia, enjoy dinner at the incredible Embassy Restaurant, an exclusive fine dining experience unparalleled in Siem Reap and headed by executive chefs Pol & Sok, known as the ‘Kimsan Twins’. Their experience has taken them to different continents and under the mentoring of Michelin starred chefs they have created one of the most unique five-star quality cuisines that can be experienced in Siem Reap. With a constantly changing menu based around seasonality, savour the skilfully prepared masterpieces from multiple-course set menus, paired with a selection of fine wines.

Overnight in Shinta Mani Angkor- Bensley Collection.

DAY 12 - Siem Reap - DepartureMealsMEALS [B]

Breakfast at hotel.

If time allows, spend the morning exploring Siem Reap’s colourful markets with the chance to shop for souvenirs or simply observe the vibrant local scenes as people go about their everyday lives.

Visit the workshop of Eric Raisina, located a few minutes’ drive out of town. After growing up in Madagascar and studying in Paris, Eric moved to Cambodia in the late 90’s where he was struck by the startling similarities with Madagascar and inspired to help revive the up market handicraft sector. He has devoted himself to developing new Cambodian silk weaving and dyeing techniques. Eric’s signature products have become a much sought after fabric in Parisian fashion houses. Tour his workshop and see the new designs being created by the skilled team.

Just around the corner is another artist studio, Theam’s House. Lim Muy Theam is a Cambodian artist and designer who draws on inspiration from both Khmer and contemporary international design. For more than 10 years Theam has trained a team of artisan apprentices who work either at the studio or in their home villages. Explore the art studio and observe various works being created such as lacquerware, painting and fine sculptures.

Transfer to the airport for the onward flight.

Exo Travel

HOTELS & Details

OUR SERVICES INCLUDE:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English or French speaking guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Boat trips as mentioned in the itinerary

OUR SERVICES DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance
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