Experience highlights of Cambodia and Vietnam and marvel at one of the world’s most iconic landmarks: inimitable Angkor Wat. As you travel through these two former French colonies, you’ll enjoy nine included tours, a visit to one of the world’s great UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Angkor), and an in-depth cruise along one of Asia’s most legendary waterways: the Mekong River.
Your ship will be the RV Tonle Pandaw. Modeled on versatile river steamers that once carried people and goods on the Mekong, this deluxe ship is an ideal way to travel through this region. And oh, the wonders that await you. Explore Cambodia’s deep jungles and golden-roofed temples. Discover Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling capital. 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.
Whatever intrigues you about this region — the culture, the people, or the temples — you’ll find it on this wonderful Mekong River cruise itinerary. For solo travelers, we offer free and low-cost Single Supplements (limited availability). Join us and immerse yourself in the best this region has to offer on a journey you won’t soon forget.
Board an overnight flight to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Cross the International Date Line
You’ll cross the International Date Line today, meaning that you’ll arrive in Vietnam on Day 3. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Halong Bay.
Arrive in Hanoi
Upon your arrival in Hanoi, you'll transfer to the hotel, check into your hotel upon arrival, and gather for a Welcome Briefing by your Adventure Leader this afternoon.
Hanoi highlights, lunch at a local monastery, and a Welcome Dinner
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.
Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia, site of the astounding Angkor Wat complex
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.
Tour the Angkor Wat complex, and delve into local life with visits to a dance school and silk farm
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.
If you like, you may join an optional (and captivating) Angkor Gondola Tour, which includes dinner.
We'll travel by coach to the 12th century Angkor Thom Complex, a grand remnant of the original Khmer Empire. Here, we'll take a canoe through a man-made moat, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. Admire the impressive architecture of the enclosing laterite walls here, and soak up the tranquil scenery. You will also have a chance to savor a glass of local wine or a cocktail during sunset in this singular location. Then, we make our way to town where we'll enjoy dinner in a local restaurant, the ideal coda to a wonderful experience.
Get a last glimpse of Angkor with an early exploration; evening is at leisure
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.
Embark the deluxe RV Tonle Pandaw and begin your river cruise
You’ll transfer to Kampong Cham today, where you’ll embark the deluxe RV Tonle 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. Feel free to book a mountain bike on board — your crew can advise of the best bike routes.
Please note: Conditions can vary based on the season, so your itinerary may change to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Exploring the colonial town of Kratie, capped with a Cambodian cooking class and search for the Mekong dolphin
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.
Touring the Monkey Temple and mingling with locals at Angkor Ban village
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.
Take a rickshaw through Phnom Penh and stop by the Royal Palace and National Museum
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. In the afternoon, you’ll venture to the sobering Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge regime killed and buried more than one million people, and then tour the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, once a high school that became the site of Pol Pot’s notorious prison. Later, enjoy a traditional Cambodian shadow play and Apsara dance performance; then, join your Adventure Leader on a trip to the local bar on the banks of the river in the Cambodian capital.
More Tonle Sap sailing, with a stop at a local village renowned for its silver
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.
Re-enter Vietnam and hear a lecture on “Vietnam Past & Today”
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.
Dock at Chau Doc for a backwater sampan ride topped with a market and village visit
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.
Panoramic Saigon tour, then delight to a water puppetry show
Arrive in My Tho today and disembark the RV Tonle 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.
Saigon on your own, and dinner at a former US Ambassador’s home
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.
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.
Fly home, or begin your optional extension
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.
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.