Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you are warmly welcomed by our local guide and transfer to hotel in Saigon for check in. Free at leisure for your own activities. Impressive Welcome Dinner will be served at local restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Morning meet our local guide in the lobby of your hotel and drive to My Tho the heart of the Mekong delta, famous for its coconut production and quiet, peaceful waterways and the most beautiful landscapes, the pristine natural beauty that is Ben Tre Province. Known as “Coconut Island,” many of its people still rely on tradition and centuries old methods of production. Our program focuses on the Giong Trom and Phong Nam districts, areas untouched by commercial tourism.
We showcase the amazing local people, the villages they call home and the peaceful Rivers they use as a part of their daily lives.
Upon arrival, take a Xe Loi ride through the local village of Huu Dinh to enjoy the green fields and gardens. Continue with a short walk to Huu Phuoc Bridge, where you will start your boat trip through small canals with beautiful tropical scenery. On board the boat, enjoy a welcome drink and tropical fruits while cruising.
The cruise will first stop at a Coconut processing family owned business. Here you will learn what Ben Tre is known for and the hundreds of uses of each single coconut. Return to your boat and cruise across the water to a brick making factory, where the locals still use centuries-old traditional methods to make the bricks by hand. Enjoy a casual cycling trip that will take you to visit a local rice noodle factory which produces Hu Tieu noodles, one of the most popular dishes in the region.
After your visit take a short walk to one of our friends, Mrs. Huong, who lives with her 3 children and grandson – they live on fishing, shrimp and fruit orchards. Enjoy fresh fruits and tea and then board a rowing sampan taking you through a lush narrow canal, displaying the tranquil nature of the region.
After our team rows you through the quiet canal, reconnect with your Day Cruiser and enjoy a cruise to a private riverside restaurant. It is time for you to relax and enjoy a 5-course lunch of local specialties. Relax and have a walk around the lush garden setting.
Then continue your cycling trip to My Long to visit Mr. Sau Tuong, a former Vietcong soldier who survived two years fighting the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh. Now he and his wife live on making rice paper which is the most famous specialty of My Long village. Have a chat with him and enjoy the crispy rice paper made by his wife, and see how it is made.
Then visit the nearby house of Mr. Hung, who is a famous sticky rice maker in the village. You can also feed his stock of catfish and walk through his fruit garden.
After the visit, the boat will be waiting for you at the pier nearby to bring you back to Ben Tre city where your car will be ready to take you back to Ho Chi Minh City.
This morning, leave bustling Ho Chi Minh for the 2 hour drive to the delta town of Cai Be.
On arrival board your boat for cruise in the Delta’s waterways. Start your journey by passing by Cai Be’s floating market, once a busy place to trade fruits and vegetables and nowadays a more quiet market.
Then, continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island; along the way admire the scenery and the daily life of the local villagers. Lunch will be local Mekong style serving specialties of the area. Following your cruise drive in the late afternoon continue by vehicle to Can Tho where you will spend the night. Overnight in Can Tho City.
Wake up early for a breakfast cruise to the colorful Cai Rang floating market which bustles with wholesalers on big boats. Here, during the early morning market hours, larger sized boats anchor and create lanes that smaller boats weave in and out of. The main items sold here are fruit and vegetables and every boat has a long upright pole at its bow from which samples of the goods for sale are hung. The waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with mango, bananas, papaya, pineapple, and even floating pho vendors.
Following your visit to Cai Rang and Can Tho depart for the 3-hour drive to Chau Doc. En route you’ll have a chance to stop at the bamboo basket-making hamlet of Long Thanh. The rest of the evening at leisure. Overnight in Chau Doc.
After breakfast visit Chau Doc’s local market which overlooks the confluence of three rivers, and later take a boat to Chau Giang District where a tiny mosque serves the local Cham community. The Cham minority who dominated coastal Vietnam from the 2nd to the 9th centuries were originally Hindu, but became Muslim as a result of contact with Arab seafarers and merchants in the Middle Ages. In Southeast Asia Islam was disseminated primarily by merchants who, following the monsoon winds, lived in various coastal towns for months at a time. The Chams also practice silk weaving and you may have the opportunity to see them at work. The architecture here is rather distinctive.
You’ll visit a beautiful Khmer temple, and later visit the floating houses that double as catfish farms, now a huge industry for the country.
Late this afternoon visit Sam Mountain, an important pilgrimage site that is frequently visited by pilgrims from all over the Mekong Delta. There are dozens of pagodas and temples around Sam Mountain and reaching the peak is the highlight of the visit. The views from the top are spectacular (weather permitting) and you can easily look out over Cambodia. Overnight in Chau Doc.
It’s an early departure for the 4-hour boat ride to Phnom Penh. It’s an hour to the border where you will clear visa formailites (visas must be obtained in advance) before continuing into Cambodia.
Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, you will be welcomed by your local English speaking guide, who will accompany you to your hotel for check in.
Phnom Penh was once considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital is a bustling city, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way.
After a relaxing break, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city.
First, head to Wat Phnom temple, the founding place of the city on a small hilltop. Then continue along the riverfront to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.
Your next stop is the National Museum, built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom's cultural wealth. In addition, the roof space is home to a large bat colony!
Late afternoon, enjoy an atmospheric sunset river cruise and watch how Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront comes to life in the early evening, with a coconut juice degustation on board.
Phnom Penh has an excellent selection of restaurants for all tastes. Though tonight enjoy dinner at the renowned Foreign Correspondents’ Club located on the Riverside. The building is a colonial gem with great views of the confluence of the Upper Mekong, Lower Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers. Dinner is à la carte with a good selection of both Western and Asian dishes. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
This morning, gain insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. Spend the rest of the morning browsing through the colorful markets of Phnom Penh. Visit the Russian Market, the best place in the city for wood and stone carvings, jewellery, clothes and Cambodian silk souvenirs.
You will have lunch at Veayo Tonle located by the Russian market, Veayo Tonle café is one of the new socially and ethically responsible eateries and boutiques popping up in the city. They operate a ‘zero waste policy’ for both their café and clothing, with their restaurant bringing traditional family recipes in a whole new light, using only the freshest local and organic vegetables, top quality meats and unique spices direct from the Cambodian countryside.
This afternoon is free at your leisure. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. On arrival in Siem Reap, your local English speaking guide will greet you and accompany you to the hotel for check in.
This afternoon, start your visits to Angkor by visiting the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, with each side of the city being 4 km long, drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant. On each side of the entrance path a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake.
From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. The particularity of this monument is the 54 towers with four faces representing the 54 provinces of the then Great Khmer Empire. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Siem Reap.
After breakfast this morning, explore the temples of the Small Circuit by ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai ‘tuk tuk’). Start your tour with a visit to Ta Prohm Temple, built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Your visit will also include Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and Srah Srang, also known as the “pool of ablutions”. Return to the hotel for a relaxing break during the midday heat.
After a rest at your hotel, depart on a very special sightseeing tour of the famous Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing the Mount Meru, home of the gods. The divine residence of Vishnu, the King himself was to reside here after his death. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Breakfast at hotel, free at your own leisure until transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for your international flight