What to Expect
You'll visit 2 countries with 3 cities in 14 nights, spending 2 nights in Hanoi, 3 nights in Siem Reap, 2 nights in Ho Chi Minh City, and 7 nights cruising the Mekong River aboard a ship. One domestic flight is included in the program (flight time is less than 2 hours). There is also 1 long bus ride from Siem Reap to the pier on embarkation day (5 hours). This is a comprehensive itinerary, but well balanced between heavy walking to light activities.
Sightseeing is done via air-conditioned coaches with regional experts. Your Mekong River cruise and Angkor Wat tour require climbing up and down uneven stairs. Your Angkor Wat tour will require heavy walking, but your regional expert will make stops for rests. Porterage services are not available inside the airport area and passengers will need to carry their carry-on bags, and sometimes checked bags, from the bus to group check-in counter (luggage carts are available). Embarking and disembarking the boat requires climbing based on the water level. The ship is not handicap accessible, while river banks can be very steep and slippery.
The region you'll pass through on your Southeast Asia river cruise is much less developed — in terms of both tourism and infrastructure — than the United States or Europe. Traveling on the river, the primary means of transportation in many of the places you will visit, provides many opportunities for cultural interaction, including visits to village markets and temples, as well as other experiences of daily life among people of ancient traditions known for their hospitality.
During the Mekong River cruise portion of your journey, please be aware that you may, at times, need to climb a few rough steps up the river bank and walking on paths which may be muddy or dusty. Rest assured that the ship's staff will be at hand to assist you throuhgout your Southeast Asia river cruise. Do pack comfortable walking shoes that provide good footing.
The different customs, friendly people, and rich history make this tour unique. Vietnam's economy is developing rapidly, while Cambodia recently finished a civil war and is on its way recovery and redevelopment, so you will see a lot of buildings and roads under construction while on your tour. Indochinese countries practice Buddhism and uphold traditions of hospitality and optimism, so you will encounter good service wherever you travel. Few people speak English on the street, so you will need a good map and your hotel card when leaving the hotel on your own. While traveling in Indochina, you may encounter areas of poverty.
WHAT TO WEAR:
Shorts, short skirts or revealing clothing are not appropriate, especially when visiting temples or any religious site. Your regional expert will tell you ahead of time which days require a dress code. We recommend you bring sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, rain coat, and a toothbrush and toothpaste to use on board the ship. Also bring sensible walking shoes which can be easily removed when required. Sandals are ideal when visiting a temple because you can easily take them on and off.
The best time to travel is January through February and November through December when there is seldom rain and temperatures are pleasant. The temperatures in Cambodia are very warm all year round. During monsoon season, which lasts from June through early October, expect short periods of heavy rain in the afternoon. This precipitation helps to alleviate humidity, but the weather could still be hot and humid. Bringing rain gear is highly recommended. All hotels feature modern facilities, and are air conditioned to meet the best International standards. Breakfasts are buffet with Asian and Western food choices, while lunches and dinners are either local foods from different regions or Western style. Do not hand out small gifts or donation, as this will cause some locals to follow the tour group. A Vantage Adventure Leader will make a donation or buy a gift on behalf of the group when visiting school, village pagoda, or whenever else it's appropriate. However if you wish to make a greater donation, please speak to your Adventure Leader directly for guidance.