slide 01 slide 02 slide 03 slide 04 slide 05 slide 06 slide 07 slide 08 slide 09 slide 10 slide 11

Signature Mekong: Vietnam & Cambodia

 (11 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels, My Tho, Cai Be, Chau Doc, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

 

Explore the mystique, heritage and history of the Mekong River on this journey of exploration. From the busy bustle of Ho Chi Minh City to the serene stillness of the jungle-entwined temples of Ta Prohm, this is a land of both energy and enigma. Next, discover Cambodia’s culture, visiting the temples, palaces and pagodas of Phnom Penh. Then, spend four days experiencing life on the Mekong River explore floating markets and local villages, and meet the fascinating people who call the river home. Their simple life stands in stark contrast with the grand temples of Angkor the most beautiful and expansive display of ornate Khmer art and architecture in the world.

 

** All our tours are Exclusive Private Tours, so you will not be put together with other guests **

 

 

Day 1: Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City

Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, VIETNAM                                                

 

Welcome to Vietnam. Upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh Airport, obtain your Vietnam visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Formerly known as Saigon, today’s Ho Chi Minh City is the bustling and vibrating economic centre of the South. Over the past few centuries, Saigon was called the “Pearl of the Far East” and was an important trading centre for Chinese, Japanese and Western merchants who travelled along the Saigon River.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights in Ho Chi Minh City

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Grand Hotel, Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel, Villa Song Saigon

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Park Hyatt Saigon, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, The Reverie Saigon

 

Day 2: Discover Ho Chi Minh City & Cu Chi Tunnels

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

This morning, enjoy scenic drive through the countryside as people work on their rice paddies and thatched hut villages scattered along the way. Visit a local village making rice paper, a well-known product used to make the delicious spring rolls. Arriving at the Cu Chi Tunnels to explore part of the 151-mile underground network that zigzagged from the southern tip of the Ho Chi Minh Trail near Cambodia to the Saigon River. Cu Chi is a must for anyone interested in understanding a vital aspect of guerrilla warfare fought by the Vietnamese against both the French and the Americans. These criss-crossing tunnels were begun in the late 1940s by local resistance fighters looking for a place to hide their weapons from the French. Discover secret trapdoors, field hospitals, command posts, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms.

 

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to discover Saigon's historic landmarks including the former Presidential Palace which was once headquarters for the Saigon Government during the "American War", and the War Remnants Museum, established in September 1975 in Ho Chi Minh City. It contains countless artifacts, photographs and pictures documenting some of the less heroic activities carried out by the US army in Vietnam. Planes, tanks, bombs and helicopters are also on display. Next visit the 1880's General Post Office and the late 19th century Notre Dame cathedral, located in a peaceful part of the city.

 

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City / My Tho / Setting Sail

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Private transfer to your cruise boat: After breakfast you will be transfer to My Tho and board the luxurious Mekong River cruise boat for the cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.

 

Cruising the Mekong: Upon arrival in My Tho you will embark the luxurious cruise boat and settle in to your cabin. My Tho is the hub of the Delta but not of great cultural interest, so once on board you set sail at 13.00 and have lunch. In the afternoon you will moor near Cai Be and make a fascinating trip by traditional junk to explore evergreen islands and the former Imperial residence - An Kiet House. Surviving members of the Kiet family will welcome you with tea and you can wander in the fruit orchards around the house. On the way back stop at Dong Hoa Hiep Island to see boat yards, brick works and traditional roofers. Moor overnight mid-stream Cai Be. 

 

Accommodation: Spend 3 nights on board the RV Pandaw, Aqua Mekong, The Jahan

 

Day 4: Cai Be / Chau Doc

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Cruising the Mekong: Today you will take a morning junk trip around Cai Be to see the floating market and go ashore to visit the French Gothic Cathedral and colorful port area, with its colonial buildings, delightful flower gardens and local coconut candy and rice paper manufacturers.

 

Return to the ship and cruise over to Vinh Long to visit a Bonsai Garden and fruit farm, followed by a visit to a brick and pottery factory. Return to the ship and cruise past Vinh Long City and evergreen islands. The remainder of the day is spent cruising through the Mekong Delta.

 

Day 5: Border crossing into Cambodia

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Cruising the Mekong: From the main Mekong channel at Tan Chau you travel down the canals and backwaters by local ferry boat. At Chau Doc you will transfer to small boats to visit a Cham tribal village. You will also visit a cat fish farm. Later take a trishaw ride round this fascinating town with its fine French colonial buildings and its bustling market. Return to the boat, for lunch, and then cast off for the Cambodian border for the necessary formalities, which in this part of the world can take time. In the evening cruise up the broad Mekong channel, which is an international shipping route. Moor overnight just downstream from Phnom Penh. 

 

Day 6: Arrive in Phnom Penh

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Cruising the Mekong: Early this morning the ship glides in to the centre of Cambodia's capital which retains much of its French charm. After breakfast bid farewell to the crew and your fellow passengers and disembark. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh's central port you will be met by your guide and driver and transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. This city was once considered one of the most beautiful in Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history it still retains a colonial charm.

 

After getting settled, you'll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon visit the Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom. See the different structures of this pagoda-style compound and stroll in its beautiful garden. Visit the Silver Pagoda so named because of its floor that is comprised of 5,000 silver tiles. A gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha are also housed here. Next, visit the National Museum. Built in 1917 it is an exceptional example of traditional architecture and is exclusively devoted to preserving and displaying Khmer art and sculptures. Hundreds of pieces are housed here including both pre-and post-Angkorian pieces. Continue to visit to the city's namesake, Wat Phnom. Founded in 1373, the pagoda was built to house Buddhist relics washed ashore by the river.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights in Phnom Penh

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: La Rose Suites, The Pavillon, Arunreas Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra

 

Day 7: Phnom Penh

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

Today, meet your personal guide and driver and drive to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek (16 km south of Phnom Penh). Between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women, children and infants (including nine westerners) detained and tortured at S-21 prison were transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek. They were often bludgeoned to death to avoid wasting precious bullets. Fragments of human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. Over 8,000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988. You'll then continue to visit the notorious Tuol Sleng Museum. In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot's security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). It soon became the largest such center of detention and torture in the country. More than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek to be executed; detainees who died during torture were buried in mass graves in the prison ground. Room after room the museum displays photographs of men, women and children covering the walls from floor to ceiling; virtually all the people pictured were later killed. Next, you’ll continue visit the Russian Market (Psah Tuol Thom Pong), a lively outdoor market where you will find antiquities, silver and gold jewelry, gems, silk, kramas, stone and wood carvings, as well as T-Shirts, CDs and other souvenirs.

 

This afternoon is at leisure to relax at your hotel, or explore the town of Phnom Penh.

 

Day 8: Phnom Penh / Siem Reap / Discovering the Ancient Capital

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

After leisurely morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Siem Reap.

 

Fly Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on Cambodia Angkor Air K6 103, departing 10:30, arriving 11:15

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Siem Reap. Upon arrival at Siem Reap Airport. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.

 

After settling in and enjoying a bit of free time, you'll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, visit Bayon temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), Baphuon (recently re-opened after years of restoration), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, and the Terrace of the Leper King.

 

This evening, walk up Phnom Bakheng for a sunset view of Angkor Wat and the surrounding areas. This view provides a wonderful overview of the entire area. (Please note that this site becomes very crowded at sunset, so you may choose to walk up to Pre Rep instead.)

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Siem Reap

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Shinta Mani Resort, Viroth’s Boutique Hotel, Pavillon d’Orient Boutique

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Park Hyatt Siem Reap, Belmond La Residence d’Angkor, Victoria Angkor Resort

 

Day 9: Siem Reap

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Today, meet your personal guide and driver. Rise early to travel to Ta Phrom. Built in 1186, Ta Phrom was dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. Its atmospheric dark gray sandstone towers and courtyards exude an aura of reverence and mystery. Unlike most of the other inner temples of Angkor, Ta Phrom has been left to the elements and looks very much as it must have when "discovered" by Henri Mouhot in the 1860s. Navigating through its narrow passages, immense kapok trees and jungle-covered ruins is an unparalleled experience and one of the highlights of Angkor. Next, you’ll visit Preah Khan or 'Sacred Sword', built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. Sister temple to Ta Prohm, the cruciform corridors here are impressive and there are some wonderful carvings adorning the walls, including the spectacular hall of dancers. Look out for the curious two-storey structure that is almost Grecian in inspiration. This is one of the few temples originally dedicated to Buddhism and Hinduism. The original eastern entrance was for Mahayana Buddhists, while the other cardinal points represented the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Next, to Banteay Kdei This temple was the first great Buddhist monastery in Cambodia, constructed by Jayavarman VII during the 12th and 13th centuries. Its system of galleries and vestibules that were added after the construction of the main towers makes it look like a cloister. It was built in sandstone, which has deteriorated quite badly. However, there remain some very beautiful lintels and pediments. Although it is in a ruinous state. You’ll then visit Ta Keo King Suryavarman I commissioned this temple in the 10th Century, but it was never completed so has no elaborate decoration like its contemporaries. It is a pyramid on 5 levels and is dedicated to Shiva. Some scholars contend this was due to an inauspicious lightning strike during construction. Others have suggested the high quality sandstone was simply too hard to carve in detail.

 

In the late afternoon and sunset hours, explore the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolize Meru’s five peaks – the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. Sunset at Angkor Wat.

 

After dusk, you'll be returned to your hotel with the evening free to relax or explore independently.

 

Day 10: Siem Reap

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

This morning you will be met at your hotel at 8.00am and travel to the lost temple of Beng Mealea, the titanic of temples, a slumbering giant lost for centuries in the forests of Cambodia. It is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of Angkor Wat, but utterly consumed by the voracious appetite of nature. Constructed by Suryavarman II (1113-1150), the builder of Angkor Wat, the forest has run riot here and it is hard to get a sense of the monument’s shape amid the daunting ruins. Here it is possible to enjoy an Indiana Jones experience clambering about the vast ruin. For those who want a more gentle adventure, there is also a sturdy wooden walkway running right into the heart of the temple. It is also possible to visit a nearby Angkor-era quarry from where stone was cut to build these massive monuments.

 

Later this afternoon, journey north to visit Banteay Srei. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor-era sculpture. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia and the name translates as ‘Fortress of the Women', thanks to the intricate detail here, considered too fine for the hands of a man. Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested that the inscriptions may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high-water mark in Khmer sculpture. Stop at a local village to visit families who are producing palm sugar. Make a short stop at the Land Mine Museum, a rather humble look at the land mine problem, past and present, in Cambodia.

 

Day 11: Siem Reap

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

For a further glimpse into local life, this morning, depart Siem Reap for a tour of the surrounding countryside and take an ox-cart ride through the villages and the rice fields. At the end of your ride, have a fresh coconut drink with the family and do not hesitate to talk with the local people to get to know more about their lives. Then driver to boat pier and board a wooden boat for a ride on Tonle Sap often called the Great Lake. We will float by schools, markets and police stations all built within the lake and observe the typical local activities. We’ll visit a floating house to interact with a local family before returning to town. Next, visit Les Artisans dAngkor - Chantiers Ecoles, this centre is working with young artisans; the team creates, produce and market a unique collection of ornamental sculpture, lacquer ware, silk weaving and silk painting. The company promotes fair, sustainable development in order to provide benefits to the rural communities.

 

You will have free time in the afternoon until transfer to the airport in time for your flight to the next destination. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

 

 

Price guideline:

 

The above tour costs from $1,635*per person, based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room.

 

*Please note this price is subject to change at the time of booking, and depends on the date of travel and the availability of accommodation.

 

Our price includes (Private tour): 

• Accommodation base in a shared double or twin room throughout

Daily buffet breakfast at hotel and all hotels taxes and service charges.

Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary.

Travel by private, air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced, safe driver.

Private sightseeing with local, English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary.

Meals included as indicated as in program: B: breakfast, L: lunch & D: dinner.

Domestic flight tickets: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap on Economy Class.

Boat cruise as specified in the programmed.

Entrance fees according the above program.

Local bottled water while sightseeing and transfers.

VAT and all taxes and service charge.

 

The price does not include

International flight tickets and Visas

Any items of purely personal nature such as laundry and telephone calls

Personal, travel and health insurance

Early check in and late check out

Drinks during meals

Meals that are not specified

Gratuities/tipping to tour guide, driver and hotel staff and restaurant’s staff

 

 

All of our itineraries can customized as you wish, add extra days, change a hotel, and see different sights. For information on this or our other tours please email us at: info@globaltravel-asia.com