Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mekong River Cruise Itinerary


INTERCONTINENTAL BANGKOK


973 Ploenchit Road
Bangkok, Thailand
The InterContinental Bangkok located within the core of the city's business and commercial districts. Within walking distance there is a wide range of shopping and other facilities are within easy walking distance. Access to the rest of the city is easy with the adjacent BTS skytrain station.



We opted for an additional day before the tour. We are coming from Singapore so it is a short flight. For people arriving from Canada or the US they arrive on February 6.

February 5 Arrive Bangkok, Thailand

Welcome to Bangkok!

Day 1 February 6 Bangkok

On our own

Day 2 February 7 Bangkok

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. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 3 February 8 Bangkok

Enjoy a full day at your leisure. (Breakfast)

Day 4 February 9 Bangkok To 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! 

VICTORIA ANGKOR RESORT SPA


Superior First-Class

The Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa provides a sense of serenity with the nostalgic comfort and elegant refinement of the French Art de Vivre in the heart of Siem Reap. The building's graceful colonial architecture of the 1930's provides a sense of peaceful tranquility.

Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in. (Breakfast)





Day 5 February 10 Siem 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 ANGKOR THOM to see the 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 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. This evening, enjoy a PRIVATE APSARA DANCE PERFORMANCE, where the ancient Khmer culture is brought to life by talented dancers, singers, and musicians. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6 February 11 Siem Reap

Today, continue your sightseeing of the Angkor temples. Unlike the other temples, TA PROHM 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. 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. Next, 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. (Breakfast)


Day 7 February 12 Siem Reap (Embarkation)

Siem Reap

The new Avalon ship cruising on the Mekong is specifically designed to offer an intimate experience with a maximum of 36 guests, so you can truly immerse yourself in the culture, people, and sights along the Mekong River. Built by traditional craftsmen, the ship mixes modern comforts with the colonial charm associated with Vietnam and Cambodia. Time on board delivers a refreshing experience, as all cabins open to the outside and the large indoor lounge and open-air observation lounge offer great panoramic views. The design also allows her to be the only ship sailing all the way from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap (or vice versa). This eliminates over 7 hours* of motorcoach travel time to and from your ship, which means you get to enjoy more cruising! *Depending on water levels

Included Amenities

Open-air observation lounge with shade system & premium lounge chairs
Non-smoking interior
English-speaking crew
Cruise Director
Fitness Center
Spa treatment room
Complimentary Wi-Fi access in the lounges (when signal available)

Bar serving premium spirits
Headsets for all guided shore excursions
Sightseeing with Certified Local Guides
Library and games
Indoor Lounge
Onboard movie nights
DECK PLANS

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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

NOTE:
During low water conditions, generally late December to June, 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 8 February 13 Cruising: Kampong Tralach–Konpong Louang–Prek Bang Kong

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 SILVERMITH VILLAGE of Konpong Louang. Here you will see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. After lunch, visit the village of PREK BANG KONG, where silk weaving is a well-preserved tradition. Spend time at one house for a SILK-WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and to learn more about how silk is produced. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9 February 14 Cruising: Wat Hanchey–Angkor Ban VALENTINE'S DAY

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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10 February 15 Cruising: 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 explore the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11 February 16 Cruising: 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. This afternoon, enjoy time on board the ship as we sail for the border, where we will anchor for the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)


Day 12 February 17 Cruising: Border Crossing–Chau Doc, Vietnam

Enjoy the morning at leisure as you cross the border into Vietnam. After lunch, board a sampan for sightseeing around Chau Doc. Along the way you will see scenes of local life, including traditional Vietnamese floating markets and villages. Learn about some of the different species of fish living in the Mekong at a LOCAL FISH FARM. Then, continue down the backwaters of the river to the religious sites at the base of SAM MOUNTAIN. You will also stop to see a LOCAL MARKET, where shop owners are selling dried goods. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)


Day 13 February 18 Cruising: Sa Dec–Cai Be

This morning, board a sampan and enjoy scenes of daily life along the river around Sa Dec. Stop at a BRICK FACTORY to see workers forming the clay bricks that fill the local landscape. Here you will also learn about the importance of the rice husk in fueling the brick kilns. Next, visit the ancient HOUSE OF MR. HUYNH THUY LE, the lover of French novelist Marguerite Duras and inspiration for the film L’Amant (The Lover), directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Afterward, take a walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. After lunch, board a sampan for a scenic cruise though Cai Be Harbor, passing the city’s beautiful French Gothic cathedral. First stop is a local establishment to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made. Lastly, take a walk through town to visit the beautiful CATHEDRAL. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)


Day 14 February 19 Ho Chi Minh City (Disembarkation)
INTERCONTINENTAL ASIANA SAIGON
Corner Ha Ba Trung St and Le Duan Blvd
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam



Deluxe

InterContinental Asiana Saigon is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. The hotel features spacious rooms with separate bath and shower, a full service spa, outdoor pool, and a fitness center. Other amenties include three restaurants, a lounge, and a bar.

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 the Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh Square, the Municipal Theatre, the Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Next, visit the REUNIFICATION PALACE (formerly the Presidential Palace) and 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. (Breakfast, Lunch)


Day 15  February 20 Ho 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. (Breakfast, Dinner)


Day 16 February 21 Ho Chi Minh City

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

We fly to Sydney Australia at 8:55 PM


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