A "culture and foodie" adventure, with a 3 day "Mekong" river cruise from Vietnam to Cambodia.
There is something about Cambodia and Vietnam that draws me back time after time, it's hard to put a finger on it, rather its the combination of the friendliness of the people, awe inspiring sights, and the stage of development the countries are at.
The infrastructure has developed to the point where a comfortable trip can be enjoyed, the food is amazing! and this is a real "foodie" trip. I have spent as much time sourcing the restaurants as I have the charming hotels. But make no mistake Cambodia especially, is a poor country with many challenges, and you will find your emotions are all over the place, from the wonder of its glorious history, to the horror of its recent past, the delight of the people, tapered with the obvious poverty and hardships they face on a daily basis.
October is a wonderful month to explore this country, its right at the end of the rainy season but there is still plenty of sunshine, and its before the crowds arrive.
Saigon "Hoi Chi Min" (2 nights)
If there is one thing that comes to my mind when I think of HCM city, it is "vibrant and chaotic" life is everywhere!
We spend our full day here visiting the main sights and getting to know the history of this city, which is seared into everyone's minds through its past, and the movies we have all seen.
We get to sample some truly great food, and stay in a lovely colonial hotel right in the historic centre. (If you have the time, add a couple of days before the trip, as there is a lot to see and Richard will be there to give you some tips)
We have teemed up with "Pandaw Cruises", to add this amazing river trip (3 nights) from Vietnam to Cambodia.
Day 1 Cruise
SAIGON - MY THO - BEN TRE Transfer from Saigon to the river port for embarkation. After lunch, we journey by sampans through mangroves and bamboo forests to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. This is an area rich in birdlife which we will explore via local transport before transferring to a local rowboat. We will journey slowly through the bamboo covered canals before arriving at a village specialising in making local products. In the evening you will be entertained by a Vietnamese dance troupe on deck.
More about Saigon
Day 2 Cruise
GAO GIONG Sailing through the delta offers a real insight into life along this vast waterway. After lunch, a short coach journey through the lush countryside to Gao Giong ‘green oasis’, a 1,000-acre eucalyptus forest and listed wildlife sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water birds and egrets gather in their tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Rowboats traverse the canals to take us to view the principal nesting areas where photo opportunities abound.
Day 3 Cruise
CHAU DOC - SAM MOUNTAIN - VIETNAM/CAMBODIA BORDER We go alongside at the picturesque border town of Chau Doc where we visit the floating markets & fish farms by sampan. We make a stop at a Chham Village and observe the lives of Vietnamese Muslims before taking minivans for a short drive to Sam Mountain, location of Phuoc Dien Tu or the Hang Pagoda. We climb the 400 steps to the top to visit the pagoda. Upon return to ship, we navigate a web of canals before dropping anchor on the Vietnam/Cambodia border to undergo Immigration formalities.
After breakfast, 0n day 4 we disembark our cruise in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh.
More about Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh (2 nights)
There is a real frontier feel in Phnom Penh. It has a vibrant street-life and colonial architecture. We get to sample some truly great restaurants, enjoy a Spa and massage that will have you begging for more, and visit some markets where you will be in bargain heaven. There is time to explore the Royal Palace with its opulence a stark contrast to our visit to the genocide museum and killing fields. For those interested in Khmer cuisine there is an optional morning cooking class which I can highly recommend.
Kampot (2 nights)
We leave the capital driving in our private minivan through endless rice paddies to the delightful river port town of Kampot and its famous pepper and colonial houses. Here we have time to explore the town on foot, it's the perfect, go and explore on your own location.
On day 2 we head to visit the old seaside playground of the French, the town of Kep and its famous crab market.
Kampot to Siem Reap (1 nights)
Midway between Kampot and Siem Reap we break our overland journey through the countryside in Kampong Thom. There is a real local local feel here and we have time to explore the town and markets as well as swim in the pool at our lovely hotel.
Siem Reap (3 nights)
Siem Reap is a really delightful town situated on a lovely river setting, and it will be our base as we explore the wonders of Angkor Wat, a complex of temples that is truly one of the great wonders of the ancient world. We will purchase the 3 day pass for the temples, giving us the time to visit both the lesser known "outer temples" as well as the "inner" temples, visiting them for a few hours each day, showcasing capturing the most interesting time of the day for the lighting and atmosphere.
Along the way I have found some exceptional restaurants, the best places to enjoy an evening beer, and some superb massage spas, to indulge and relax in during the hot afternoons. Both P Penh and S Reap have some fun, quirky Gay bars where we get to meet the locals, watch some shows, and enjoy evening time and each others company.
Accommodation for this tour package is of western standard, all hotels are delightful, and located in the heart of where we want to be. Expect to be able walk out of the hotel and be in the middle of the action. Hotels are 3-4* with an X factor all have aircon, ensuite, a swimming pool (Except Kampot) and WiFi.
As with all our trips let go of the concept you're signing up for a structured tour, you're not, you're joining us on an adventure , yes its a semi structured adventure with all the hard work done, but it is nevertheless an adventure. Things will go wrong some days, and changes will need to be taken in their stride, you will need your wits about you, and to expect to do some exploring on your own occasionally.
Dates 29th September - 11th October 2023
For the solo traveller there is an amazing single room option on this trip!
Arrive in Hoi Chi Min (SGN) anytime on the 29th September 2023 and depart Siem Reap (REP) anytime on the 11th of October.
If you have the the time I recommend extending a couple of days, either before or after the trip as both Saigon and Siem Reap are interesting places to spend a few extra days.
Escorted by Richard OTS founder
Min 6 Max 12.
Cost estimate for 2023
U$ 3350 (Twin share) Cruise = main deck cabin
U$ 3600 (Private room) Cruise = main deck cabin
Upgrades your cabin to the upper deck or suite, price available on request.
Exchange rate movements can play havoc with planning overseas trips but quoting in USD usually means less fluctuations.
Singapore, Bangkok, KL or Hong Kong all good bases to fly into and out of the right airports for this trip.
Due to the nature of Adventure travel and the prices of the resources on which it depends, the published price of any trip is subject to change at any time, before or after booking confirmation, up to 60 days before the departure.