Linked by the mighty Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia abound with magnificent carved temples, lush landscapes, and cities where rich imperial and colonial legacies mingle. An expedition cruise between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap allows you to see more of the region in less time than on self-powered journeys.
The 8 day river journey from Saigon to Siem Reap or in the opposite direction will enlighten and delight you with an unforgettable experience of the Mekong and Tonle Rivers and the Vietnamese and Cambodian populations that inhabit this part of the world.
Relaxing on Sundeck
During the journey, you will have many opportunities to experience not only the major tourist attractions but also the life of the people of Vietnam and Cambodia as you travel along the river. You will be led on the vibrant cities of Phnom Penh and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), and experience rural life on visits to floating homes, farms, and traditional villages...
There can be no more striking cultural contrast between bustling Vietnam and the tranquility of Cambodia. Excursion highlights in southern Vietnam including bustling Ho Chi Minh City and the tranquil Mekong Delta. Visit My Tho Town, see the floating market of Cai Be, step into a rice “factory” to watch rice-based candies being made, take an exciting Sampan boat excursion to Sa Dec. Continue exploring the colorful markets of Chau Doc, and stop at a floating farm to watch traditional fish farming methods. Cruise through the narrow Tan Chau Canal that connects the lower and upper Mekong River branches.
After crossing the border to Cambodia, cruise on towards the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh which has managed to preserve huge slices of its French colonial allure. This will be followed by a cyclo city tour to explore the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda and National Museum, and delve into the country’s profoundly sobering history at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and notorious Tuol Sleng (S21) detention center. Cruise towards Kampong Cham, then Kampong Chhnang, and the Tonle Sap Lake before reaching Siem Reap, city of the fabled 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.
Perhaps, most rewarding for travelers looking to get off the tourist path is the stretch we sailed along the rice paddy-fringed banks of the Mekong's agrarian heartland, which afforded a colorful patchwork of views of local life. You can observe the passing Mekong landscapes from your cabin or the sundeck.
Life along the river
Generally, an expedition in Vietnam and Cambodia is a discovery of the histories, cultures, and religions of the countries and their extraordinary differences. You’ll find the charms and character of each through intimate village visits and curated urban experiences. From Ho Chi Minh City, through the Mekong Delta so rich in human life and endeavor, to the diverse countryside of Cambodia, these experiences and more offer you a chance to discover the sights, the sounds, and the tastes of two countries joined by one river.