2018 : The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam - Northbound (WIS) - Siem Reap
18 Day River Cruise from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi
This magical river cruise along the Mekong River will take you through Vietnam and Cambodia, showing you the culture and local traditions of each country and the must-see sites along the way.
Your adventure begins in bustling Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where you'll get a taste of the culture first-hand with a Vietnamese cooking class and go on a fascinating excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an extraordinary network of tunnels used extensively during the war. Immerse yourself in the everyday life of locals with a stroll through a busy market, and visits to a family's home for a cotton-weaving demonstration and a local workshop to see how rice wine and traditional candies are made. Continue your journey into Cambodia where you'll visit the famous sites, such as the temple of Wat Hanchey, providing spectacular views, and take part in a traditional water blessing with local monks. Enjoy an ox cart ride around the Cambodian countryside and meet a local farmer to learn about his daily life. Siem Reap offers the magnificent Temples of Angkor. These ancient ruins are a display of architectural complexity and grandeur unlike anything else in the world. See the most famous temples here, such as Angkor Wat, honoring the Hindu god, Vishnu; and the Bayon temple, which features some 200 mysterious faces carved in its many towers. Enjoy an inspiring Aspara dance performance and other treasures of the city.
Fly to Hanoi and explore the famous sites, such as the Old Quarter, where peddlers have traded goods for centuries on its 36 ancient streets. Next, a remarkable 2-night cruise along Ha Long Bay will show you its beautiful Limestone Islands. You'll visit the Cua Van Floating Village, spectacular caves, and even go for a swim at Titop Island. The perfect ending to an unforgettable river cruise vacation!
It's about you. You are the reason we've used our 85-plus years of travel expertise to design the very best river cruise experience. Inspired by you, we've taken everything special about river cruising and made it even better. Here are some of the features and amenities you'll experience on board our Avalon ships.
*Depending on water levels
Highlights & Sightseeing
Cruise: 7-night cruise in a Panorama SuiteSM with Avalon's exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM. Enjoy an intimate river cruise experience with a maximum of 36 guests on board.
Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City: welcome to Vietnam
Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City: walking tour of the city's landmarks; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class
Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion
Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
Cruise:7-night cruise in a Panorama SuiteSM with Avalon's exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM. Enjoy an intimate river cruise experience with a maximum of 36 guests on board.
Day 5 Vinh Long-Cu Lao Gieng: visit a local workshop and see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candy are made in Vinh Long; visit a sampan-making family and interact with a Catholic priest in Cu Lao Gieng
Day 6 Chau Doc-Long Khong A, Vietnam-Cambodian Border Crossing: visit a local fish farm and the religious sites at Sam Mountain in Chau Doc; walking tour of Long Khong A with cotton weaving demonstration
Day 7 Phnom Penh: sightseeing by private cyclo, including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum; afternoon at leisure; show by children from local orphanage
Day 8 Phnom Penh: visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields
Day 9 Wat Hanchey-Angkor Ban: visit Wat Hanchey and partake in a traditional water blessing by local monks; walking tour through Angkor Ban village with school visit
Day 10 Konpong Louang-Kampong Tralach: visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; ox cart ride through the countryside and visit a local farmer's home in Kampong Tralach
Day 11 Siem Reap (Disembarkation): visit Angkor Wat & Banteay Srei
Day 12 Siem Reap: visit Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm, and Les Artisans d'Angkor; Apsara dance performance
Day 13 Siem Reap-Hanoi: fly to Hanoi
Day 14 Hanoi: visit Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Museum, and Temple of Literature; lunch at Koto; electric cart ride through the Old Quarter; water puppets performance
Day 15 Hanoi-Ha Long Bay (Embarkation): drive to Ha Long Bay; visit Cua Van floating village
Day 16 Ha Long Bay: cruise the bay; visit Titop Island, Luon Cave, and Dark and Bright Cave; opportunity to explore by kayak
Day 17 Ha Long Bay (Disembarkation)-Hanoi: visit Sung Sot Cave; drive to Hanoi
Day 18 Hanoi: end of vacation
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Ho Chi Minh City
This morning, enjoy a WALKING TOUR of the city's famous and historic landmarks as you stroll through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat) past Ho Chi Minh Square, the Municipal Theatre, the Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing DRINK at the popular ROOFTOP BAR where the U.S. Military held the infamous "Five O'Clock Follies" during the war. Next, visit the WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM, followed by BEN THANH MARKET, the largest and oldest in the city. For lunch, participate in a hands-on VIETNAMESE COOKING CLASS. Head into the classroom and learn how to prepare different local dishes and the techniques necessary to recreate them once you return home. Last but not least, sample your delicious creations! The afternoon is at your leisure to explore this lively city. Tonight, enjoy a special welcome dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Ho Chi Minh City. Excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels
This morning, leave the city and drive through vast expanses of rice paddies to visit the CU CHI TUNNELS, an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length that was used by the Viet Cong as a hideout and secret village during the war. Here, you will learn about how the tunnels were constructed and have a chance to walk through a section to experience what life would have been like underground. Return to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. Maybe stop at the famous rooftop bar for a drink at the Caravelle Hotel. (Breakfast)
Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation)
This morning, transfer to the port on the Saigon River and board your river cruise vessel to start your CRUISE up the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Vinh Long-Cu Lao Gieng
This morning, board a sampan for a scenic cruise to Vinh Long. Upon arrival, visit a LOCAL WORKSHOP to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made. Other surprises await for those who are brave! After lunch on the ship, enjoy scenes of daily life along the river near Cu Lao Gieng via sampan. Stop at a LOCAL HOME, where a skilled family works together to hand-craft sampans for a living. Then, ride a specially designed MOTOR CART to one of Vietnam's oldest churches for a special INTERACTION WITH A CATHOLIC PRIEST. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Chau Doc-Long Khong A-Cambodian Border Crossing
After breakfast, walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. Then join a sampan excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong to the religious sites at the base of SAM MOUNTAIN. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, a market selling dried goods, and more. After lunch, a sampan brings you to the village of LONG KHONG A, where cotton weaving is a well-preserved tradition. Spend time at one house for a COTTON-WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and a chance to talk with the family. Return to the ship and head for the Cambodian border. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
The capital city of Phnom Penh retains its French charm to this day. This morning, your sightseeing tour by PRIVATE CYCLO includes visits to the ROYAL PALACE with the spectacular SILVER PAGODA and the NATIONAL MUSEUM, featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Sightseeing this morning provides a glimpse of the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime. Visit the TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM, a former high school that housed over 17,000 prisoners. Of this number, it is believed that fewer than 15 survived the torture and avoided being sent to the Killing Fields. You will also visit one of the KILLING FIELDS, where more than 200,000 people were killed by the Khmer Rouge. After lunch, depart Phnom Penh and enjoy some time at leisure on the ship. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Wat Hanchey-Angkor Ban
This morning, visit WAT HANCHEY, a temple dating back to the 8th century and the Chenla Empire. Located on a hilltop, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a TRADITIONAL WATER BLESSING given by local monks. After lunch, enjoy a WALKING TOUR through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here, you will see traditional Khmer houses and visit a LOCAL SCHOOL. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
The climb to Wat Hanchey features a steep incline. If you feel you are unable to make the climb, you will be driven to the top by car.
Konpong Louang-Kampong Tralach
Today, start your sightseeing at the SILVERSMITH VILLAGE of Konpong Louang. Here, you will see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. Continue on to Kampong Tralach for an OX CART RIDE past rice paddy fields and the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to MEET A LOCAL FARMER and learn about his daily life. Return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap (Great Lake). After the rainy season, this massive body of water can cover around 10,000 square miles and is the perfect breeding ground for fish, which play a vital role in providing food for people living on the lake. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap. Low water conditions vary from year to year so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Siem Reap (Disembarkation)
This morning, arrive in Siem Reap and start your sightseeing of the TEMPLES OF ANGKOR, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth! Constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries, the temples were built around the Khmer interpretations of Indian religious and political beliefs that ultimately evolved from Hinduism to Buddhism. The complex architectural grandeur of the Angkor temples is arguably unmatched among ancient ruins anywhere in the world. First, visit the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: ANGKOR WAT, honoring the Hindu god Vishnu. Featuring five trademark towers and stunning bas reliefs, it has become a symbol of Cambodia. Then, visit BANTEAY SREI, a unique temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Unlike other temples, it is built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. This evening is at leisure to explore charming Siem Reap-or stay to witness sunset at Angkor Wat! (Breakfast, Lunch)
During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise across Tonle Sap to Siem Reap. In these cases, we will fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and sightseeing will begin in the afternoon. No included sightseeing will be missed. Low water conditions vary from year to year, so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Today, continue your sightseeing of the Angkor temples by TUK-TUK. Start at ANGKOR THOM, where you will explore BAYON TEMPLE. One of the few Buddhist temples in Angkor, it features some 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas reliefs. Next stop is TA PROHM, which, unlike the other temples, has been left relatively untouched. Tree roots grow over and through the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as the early explorers who discovered it. Next, stop at LES ARTISANS D'ANGKOR, a development project teaching young adults traditional handicraft techniques. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. This evening, enjoy a PRIVATE APSARA DANCE PERFORMANCE, where the ancient Khmer culture is brought to life by talented dancers, singers, and musicians. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Today, transfer to the airport and fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. (Breakfast)
This morning, take time to look at the life of Ho Chi Minh, the father of modern Vietnam. First, visit the MAUSOLEUM and the humble cottage from which "Uncle Ho" ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next on the agenda: ONE PILLAR PAGODA, the HO CHI MINH MUSEUM, and the Presidential Palace. Stop at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" before continuing to mystical Hoan Kiem Lake, where you will enjoy a brief guided walk. Also visit the ancient TEMPLE OF LITERATURE, over 900 years old and Hanoi's first university. Lunch is at KOTO, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that trains local street children in restaurant skills they can use to find a job and build a stable life. After lunch, enjoy a ELECTRIC CART ride through the fascinating Old Quarter, 36 ancient streets where peddlers trade as they have for centuries. An early dinner this evening is followed by a fascinating performance of Hanoi's renowned WATER PUPPETS, a traditional art form dating back to the 11th century. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Hanoi-Ha Long Bay
Travel from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, the bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes by the action of the water. Board the luxurious Paradise Elegance for a TWO-NIGHT CRUISE on the bay. After lunch, visit the CUA VAN FLOATING VILLAGE, home to more than 700 people. You can visit by bamboo raft with the locals or in a kayak under your own power. Enjoy scenic sailing for the remainder of the day before anchoring for the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Ha Long Bay
Continue exploring the bay. Visit TITOP ISLAND, where you have the chance to swim or climb 400 steps to the top for stunning views. You will also visit LUON CAVE by your choice of boat or kayak. At DARK AND BRIGHT CAVE, you can explore by bamboo raft with the locals or by kayak. After a day of exploring, consider a spa treatment or simply relax for happy hour prior to dinner! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Ha Long Bay-Hanoi
This morning, relax onboard or visit SUNG SOT CAVE, considered one of the most beautiful in the area with its magnificent formations. Afterwards, return to Hanoi and check in to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (Breakfast)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
- Cruise Line
- Avalon Waterways
- Offer valid through 9/30/2017
- 18 Days
- Cruise Ship
- Siem Reap
Click for more information on this ship.
|Day 1||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 2||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 3||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 4||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 5||Cu Lao Gieng|
|Day 6||Cambodian Border Crossing|
|Day 7||Phnom Penh|
|Day 8||Phnom Penh|
|Day 9||Angkor Ban|
|Day 10||Kampong Tralach|
|Day 11||Siem Reap|
|Day 12||Siem Reap|
|Day 15||Ha Long Bay|
|Day 16||Ha Long Bay|
Dates and Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights from Avalon Waterways, not included in pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments; or (2) intra-vacation air segments only, starting at $250. Required intra-vacation air segments: Siem Reap/Hanoi. Air prices were effective on April 5, 2017 and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.
Gratuities to Local Guides & drivers are included.
Price is per person, based on double room occupancy.
Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
Prices shown include cruise in Category B in an Avalon Suite on Mekong Deck.
To upgrade to a Category A on the Tonle Deck, add $400 per person in double occupancy or $800 in single occupancy.
Extra Nights per person in Ho Chi Minh City:
in single room $236; in twin room $123
Extra Nights per person in Hanoi:
in single room $215; in twin room $113
Prices shown are "starting at" prices and do not include airfare.
Travel Terms & Conditions
The purchase of any travel services offered by Avalon Waterways, constitutes a contractual arrangement between you (the Traveler) and Avalon Waterways, and represents your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions. Please ensure that you read carefully and understand the Terms & Conditions prior to booking. These Terms & Conditions cover Deposit & Final Payment information, Air-Inclusive Deposits & Final Payment, Revisions & Revision Fees, Air Arrangements, Participation, Travelers Who Need Special Assistance, Young Travelers, Smoking, Price Policy, Visas and Passports, Hotels & Accommodations, Baggage Allowance, Travel Documents, Not Included in the Land Price, Refunds, Service Inquires After the Vacation, Holidays, Safety, Photos & Pictures, Optional Excursions, and Responsibility.
View full Terms & Conditions
- Vacation departures, itineraries and prices are subject to change.
- A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is required for Avalon Waterways to reserve space for you. View Terms & Conditions for limited exceptions.
- The following charges are not included in the land/cruise vacation price unless otherwise noted: airfare to and from the start of your vacation; intra-vacation air, unless specified in the itinerary; airline baggage fees including checked and/or excess baggage fees; Federal inspection fees for the Federal U.S. Customs and Immigrations; International Air Transportation tax; agricultural tax; other per person taxes imposed by government entities; airport taxes and fees, including the September 11th Security fee up to $11.20 per person, passenger facility charges up to $18 per person, Federal domestic flight segment fees up to $4.10 per segment, and U.S. and international arrival and departure and other government-imposed added by the airline and applicable at time of booking; port taxes; passports; visas and vaccinations; tips to your Cruise Director, Local Host, driver, Local Guides, and/or ship's crew; gratuities on ferries, trains, and cruise ships; laundry; telephone; minibar; alcohol, beverages, and food outside of the contracted Avalon menu as presented at a hotel or restaurant or onboard your vessel (these extra items will be billed to you before leaving the hotel, ship, or restaurant); airport transfers on non-qualifying flights; optional excursions; additional activities and excursions purchased online; porterage at airports and train stations; Travel Protection; and all other items of a personal nature.
- Additional airline-imposed fees for seat assignments may apply and are not included in your total package cost. Please refer to carrier websites for seat assignment policies and applicable pricing.
Booking your Vacation with Air
Our volume buying power saves you money. We may be able to provide you with flight arrangements from your gateway city. Avalon Waterways offers 2 air options: Flex Air and Instant Purchase Air. Early Airfare Price Guarantee locks in a price that is guaranteed not to increase. Air pricing and schedules are available approximately 330 days prior to last travel date in the itinerary. At that time the best air price will be utilized and a new invoice with the air cost and confirmed schedule will be sent. The identity of the carrier, which may include the carrier's codeshare partner, will be assigned and disclosed at this time. If the guaranteed price is the lowest, the schedule with the lowest fare per contracted classes of service will be booked. Any voluntary change to the confirmed flights negates the guaranteed price and is subject to air pricing at the time of the change.
Guaranteed air-inclusive prices - air is only available to passengers traveling from the United States and only available when booked in conjunction with a land vacation. An additional non-refundable air deposit of $300 per person is required for Flex Air booked in conjunction with any land vacation (i.e. air-inclusive vacation). Air can only be booked by Avalon in conjunction with a vacation package. Instant Purchase Air requires air payment in full at time of booking (i.e. air-inclusive vacation) plus a non-refundable per person service fee of $30 (North/Central America), $50 (Europe/Middle East) or $80 (all other international destinations). Once booked, Instant Purchase Air is non-refundable, and non-changeable. Some vacations may only offer one Air type option. However, once your airfare is confirmed and Avalon has received your full air and land deposit, your air-inclusive vacation price is guaranteed.
Air-Inclusive Vacations - Applicable Taxes & Fees
Air-inclusive vacations include government-imposed taxes and fees applicable at the time of booking and will be shown as a Total Amount. Additional airline fees for baggage may apply. At the time of booking your air-inclusive vacation online, carrier Websites will be provided to check baggage fees, or you can visit www.iflybags.com for up-to-date baggage pricing/restrictions. For return travel from some countries, international travelers are required to pay entry and/or exit fees at the airport. These fees will be collected by the local government and are payable by the traveler at time of travel. Your confirmation booking information will contain information about these fees.