Mysteries of Angkor Wat & the Mekong River - 2018

Hanoi • Siem Reap • 7-Night Mekong River Cruise • Saigon

  • Angkor Wat | Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • The Huc Bridge spanning Hoan Kiem Lake | Hanoi, Vietnam
  • RV Tonle Pandaw | Mekong River
  • Bayon Temple | Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  • Monks in a Buddhist temple | Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Embark on a fantastic itinerary that combines an in-depth Angkor Wat tour with a fascinating Mekong River cruise. The Mekong — the great river that flows through the former French colonies of Cambodia and Vietnam — becomes your highway of discovery as you board the RV Tonle Pandaw. Modeled on the colonial steamers that once plied these waters, this 5-star Vietnam river cruise ship features stateroom accommodations and a shallow draft that enables you to call at tiny villages and observe local life along the river. Vantage is one of the first American tour operators to bring luxury cruising to the Mekong, so you can explore Cambodia’s deep jungles and golden-roofed temples, and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in complete comfort. For your Angkor Wat tour, you’ll spend three nights in Siem Reap, home of the magnificent Buddhist temple complex, which rivals the Pyramids in mystery and grandeur. You’ll also spend two nights in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and two nights in Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling capital.

Whatever intrigues you about this region — the culture, the people, or the temples — you’ll find it on this wonderful Mekong river cruise itinerary. Combining a luxury river cruise, spectacular Angkor Wat tour, and visits to both Hanoi and Saigon, you won't want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Come join us, and experience the best Mekong river cruise on the American travel market at the best value — guaranteed.

Itinerary at a glance

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DAYS 1-3:

Depart home / Cross International Dateline on overnight flight / Hanoi, Vietnam

You'll cross the International Dateline during your overnight transpacific flight, meaning that you'll arrive in Hanoi on Day 3. Check into your hotel upon arrival, gather for a Welcome Briefing by your Adventure Leader this afternoon. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Halong Bay.

DAY 4:

Hanoi

Today, you'll explore this timeless yet modern city during a tour, including visits to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Square for a photo stop, as well as the Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda. Cultural Discovery: A vegetarian lunch is included at a local monastery, followed by a visit to the Temple of Literature, home of the Confucian Imperial Academy, university for the country's elite from 1076 until 1779. Join your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner tonight.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5:

Hanoi, Vietnam / Siem Reap, Cambodia

Following breakfast on Day 5, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, site of your Angkor Wat tour — where you’ll check into your hotel just steps away from the remarkable Angkor Wat complex. This remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest religious monument in the world, and we'll explore it in depth while we're here. Dinner is included at a local restaurant this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 6:

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Embark on a tour of the Angkor complex today, spending half a day meandering through the centuries-old terraces, pathways, and temples of this sprawling complex. Lunch is included in a local restaurant. Cultural Discovery: In the afternoon, get a glimpse into local life during visits to a Cambodian dance school and silk farm.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7:

Siem Reap, Cambodia

In the morning, set off on another exploration of the Angkor complex, including a tour of Angkor Wat and Prasat Kravan. Lunch is included at a restaurant in Siem Reap, followed by an afternoon and evening at leisure. If you like, you may join an optional Angkor Gondola Tour, which includes dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch
Optional Tour: Angkor Gondola Tour with Dinner

Angkor Gondola Tour with Dinner

  • Approximate Cost: $79 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • When: Evening tour

We'll take a quick trip from the hotel to Wat Thmey, a local pagoda that recalls the Khmer Rouge regime. Besides being a beautiful piece of local architecture, this complex includes a small shrine where travelers can learn more about Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.  After this short visit, continue to 12th-century Angkor Thom Complex. 

Just before the impressive South Gate, make a left turn and drive into the forest. A pleasant surprise awaits along the moat of Angkor Thom where you will be served a glass of Champagne. Board a gondola and cruise along the canal, enjoying the beautiful tranquil scenery along the banks, bringing yourself back to the 12th century when the glory of the Khmer Empire was at its peak, listening to traditional Khmer songs sung by the Cambodian oarsmen who slowly & gently drive your boat towards the canal confluence -- a perfect vantage point to watch the sunset ( if weather permits ) and where Prasat Chhrung (the Corner Temple) is clearly visible. 

Wine and canapes are served while watching sunset over the West Baray in the distance. Return to the pier and transfer back to town where you will enjoy dinner at the local restaurant before returning to the hotel. This tour is a perfect way to enhance your Angkor Wat visit.


DAY 8:

Siem Reap / Kampong Cham / Embark the Tonle Pandaw

You’ll transfer to Kampong Cham today, where you’ll embark the deluxe RV Indochina Pandaw and set sail on your 7-night Mekong River cruise. Begin to fall under the spell of this storied river as you cruise past beautiful scenery and charming villages. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Kratie

There are a number of activities today to showcase the many splendors of this region. Cultural Discoveries: You'll enjoy a cooking demonstration, which will introduce you to the flavors of the local cuisine, as well as a lecture on life on the Mekong. You'll then venture out to explore the charming French colonial town of Kratie, as well as getting a chance to see the local wildlife: specifically, the distinctive Mekong dolphin. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Sailing / Prek Kdam

Our discovery of this exotic destination continues as we visit the Monkey Temple today. This is a chance to delve even deeper into the culture and history of this land, and to learn about the culture and spiritual heritage of Cambodia. Visit the village of Angkor Ban, and get to know more about the locals here. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 11:

Phnom Penh

Fascinating Phnom Penh comes alive in the best way possible on Day 11 of your Southeast Asian tour. Cultural Discoveries: You'll you hop aboard a cyclo — a Cambodian rickshaw — to travel like the locals as you visit the Royal Palace and National Museum. Later, join your Adventure Leader on a trip to the local bar on the banks of the river in the Cambodian capital. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 12:

Tonle Sap River

On Day 12, we'll sail on the Tonle Sap and come ashore to interact with local villagers. One village is renowned for its silver making, so we'll get a firsthand look at this age-old process as we chat with the artisans who create it. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 13:

Crossing the Border into Vietnam / Tan Chau

We re-enter Vietnam today, and begin discovering another side of this nation.  We'll have some time to settle in to our new surroundings, admiring the scenery and enjoying a lecture entitled Vietnam Past & Today.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 14:

Cruising Chau Doc / Cai Be

Your next stop on your Southeast Asian tour is the town of Chau Doc. Cruise aboard a sampan through canals and backwaters, with a visit to a local market to experience the pulse of everyday life here. Cultural Discovery: We'll also visit the Cham tribal village — yet another opportunity to interact with locals -- as well as a fish farm to pick up some insights on the local economy. The afternoon takes you to Cai Be; we will visit the ancient house featured in the movie The Lover, which based on the book by novelist Marguerite Duras.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 15:

My Tho / Disembark ship / Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

Arrive in My Tho today and disembark the RV Indochina Pandaw, leaving river life behind to visit Vietnam’s most vibrant city — Ho Chi Minh City. A panoramic city tour of Saigon (as the locals call it) takes you to the Opera House, the Old Saigon Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral followed by lunch. Then, get acquainted with an ancient art form during a water puppetry show.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 16:

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Day 16 of your Southeast Asia tour begins with a visit to the Reunification Palace, a former presidential residence that was of great importance during the Vietnam War. It is now a museum. The rest of the day is yours at leisure to enjoy more of Saigon — the ancient pagodas, bustling markets, and gourmet restaurants — at your own pace. If you like, you may join an optional tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels used by the Viet Cong, with lunch included. Unforgettable Moment: Savor a home-hosted Farewell Dinner at a former US Ambassador’s Residence. You’ll enjoy a cocktail reception followed by delicious, authentic Vietnamese dinner, all while listening to live music.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: The Tunnels of Cu Chi

The Tunnels of Cu Chi

  • Approximate Cost: $59 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 6 hours
  • Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon
  • When: Half-day tour including lunch

The Cu Chi Tunnels were part of a vast underground network that enabled the Viet Cong to control a large rural area near Saigon. Began during the French/Vietnamese War (1946-1954), the tunnels were vital to the success of the Viet Cong military effort, and were used as a base of operations for the 1968 Tet offensive. The Cu Chi network ultimately included 75 miles of tunnels, with connections to other tunnel great networks that underlay much of the country. Parts of the Cu Chi Tunnels were several levels deep and included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers, and kitchens. On this fascinating tour, learn about the tunnels and other aspects of the war and, if you choose, get a taste of subterranean life. While most of the tour takes place above ground, travelers also have the option of entering a 30-meter-long enlarged tunnel to experience what life was like underground. A lunch will be served on your way back to the city.



DAY 17:

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) / Return Home

After breakfast this morning, you'll transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or, continue your Southeast Asian tour journey with an optional extension to Luang Prabang, Laos, and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Tour Director or regional expert.

Please Note: During your Mekong River cruise, should there be an extreme change in the water levels or defects to the vessel that prevent the ship’s passage or docking, an alternative itinerary will be offered.

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