Charms of the Mekong 2020 & 2021 AmaWaterways River Cruise

As seen on Cruising with Jane McDonald on Channel 5

The lively city of Ho Chi Minh City provides the perfect start to your incredible journey through Vietnam and Cambodia. Cruise along the mighty Mekong, visiting rural villages, historic pagodas, local markets and a Buddhist monastery where you’ll be treated to a special blessing by Monks. Get a glimpse into another era; one where people still happily honor the timeless traditions passed down through the centuries from their ancestors.

Mekong River Cruises
AmaWaterways Mekong River Cruise

Itinerary

Fly overnight from the UK.

Ho Chi Minh City, still affectionately referred to by locals as Saigon, is Vietnam’s former capital. Once known as the “Paris of the Orient,” it is now an industrial, cultural and educational hub.

Always bustling, Ho Chi Minh City is a city of contrasts blending old and new, and east and west. In the morning, explore some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the former Presidential Palace, the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum. In the afternoon, visit Cu Chi, an immense underground network built during the Vietnam War.

In the morning, visit Ben Thanh Market—one of the oldest and most iconic structures in Ho Chi Minh City. Board the AmaDara at My Tho Port. Meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner as the ship cruises to Cai Be.

Take a local boat to Cai Be. You will have an opportunity to visit candy and rice paper making workshops, as well as the historic Kiet Old House. Later in the day, journey to Sa Dec, a sprawling town on the Mekong Delta, where French writer Marguerite Duras spent part of her youth. You will visit the colorful market, Cao Dai Temple and the house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, Duras’ Chinese paramour, which her prize-winning novel, “The Lover,” is said to be based on.

Enjoy a visit to Tan Chau, a small Mekong River town unspoiled by tourism. Be treated to an authentic experience on a traditional “xe-loi” (trishaw) ride around the town, with stops at silk-making and rattan mat workshops, followed by a boat ride through the narrow channels of the Mekong River to “Evergreen Island.” Alternatively, take a boat ride to Evergreen Island and return to Tan Chau, where you will visit a rattan mat workshop. Later in the day, cruise from Vietnam to the Cambodian border en route to Phnom Penh.

This morning’s excursion takes you to Cambodia’s infamous Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng S21 detention centre (Genocide Museum).Alternatively, you may wish to shop for unique treasures at the bustling yellow-coloured Central Market . After lunch on board, you will explore the highlights of the city, followed by a visit to the Royal Palace, the spectacular Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, which has an outstanding collection of Khmer crafts. After returning to the ship, enjoy Khmer folk dancing performed by local children in the Saigon Lounge. (B,L,D)

Visit Oudong, Cambodia’s former royal capital from the early 17th century until 1866. Today, Oudong is a place of pilgrimage for Cambodians. While here, be treated to a memorable Buddhist Blessing Ceremony at a monastery. You may also take a walking tour of Oudong. In Kampong Tralach, you will have a truly authentic excursion – an oxcart ride through a local village. Later in the day, experience Phnom Penh via a tuk tuk ride and be enchanted by the city's French Colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards set amidst monumental Angkorian architecture.

In the morning, set sail for Oknhatey Village. Oknhatey is the “Silk Island,” located on the lush banks of the Mekong River and known for its rich tradition of silk weaving. While here, you will visit a local elementary school and observe the traditional silk weaving, an art that has been preserved for centuries. Your cruise continues to sail to Angkor Ban.

Go on a walking tour of Angkor Ban, one of the few villages in Cambodia that was not destroyed under the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Here people still live in their traditional wooden abodes and keep their old cultural traditions alive. Hundreds of wooden houses stand intact on stilts, shaded with banana trees, among the hustle and bustle of the daily agricultural on-going of the local villagers. After visiting here, the ship sets sail for Kampong Cham, where you will go on an afternoon excursion via motorcoach to the Twin Mountains, known as Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei (male and female mountains). In the annals of Khmer legend, the twin mountains were formed as the result of a competition between the men and women of an ancient Cambodian kingdom to resolve which gender would be responsible for wedding proposals. Cap the day off with a festive Farewell Dinner on board.

Disembark in Kampong Cham and transfer by motorcoach to Siem Reap, gateway to the Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the former capital of the Khmer empire. You’ll visit nearby Ta Prohm, known as the “Kingdom of the Trees,” for the way in which the temple stones have become intertwined with thick forest vegetation.

Begin your morning exploration of the temple complex at Angkor Wat, the most iconic of all Angkorian temples, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century to honor the Hindu god, Vishnu. An afternoon excursion takes you to see the fascinating jewel in the crown of Angkorian art, Banteay Srei, which means “Citadel of Women,” as it has been said that the carving is too fine to have been done by the hand of man. During the evening, be treated to a special “Apsara Dancing Show” at your hotel, featuring local Cambodian/Khmer folk dancers.

Your adventure comes to end today. Transfer to the airport for your overnight flight to the UK.

Extend Your Cruise

We have an incredible post cruise extension you can add to any date of this cruise - see below

ADD 2 NIGHTS HANOI, 1 NIGHT HA LONG BAY & 1 NIGHT HANOI POST-CRUISE FROM £1,029

Price Guide

Date Fares from (pp)
03 January 2020 £4,289
17 January 2020 £4,059
31 January 2020 £4,289
13 March 2020 £4,139
27 March 2020 £3,989
10 April 2020 £4,845
31 July 2020 £3,249
14 August 2020 £3,249
28 August 2020 £3,389
11 September 2020 £3,249
25 September 2020 £3,689
09 October 2020 £3,599
23 October 2020 £3,599
06 November 2020 £3,999
20 November 2020 £3,999
04 December 2020 £4,159
18 December 2020 £3,649
01 January 2021 £3,719
15 January 2021 £4,239
29 January 2021 £4,239
12 February 2021 £3,719
26 February 2021 £3,169
12 March 2021 £2,999
26 March 2021 £2,869
09 April 2021 £2,729

Visa Requirements

Visas are required for travel to Vietnam and Cambodia. Passengers with a 15-night cruise and land itinerary must obtain a multiple entry visa for Vietnam (as there are two different points of entry into the country) and a single entry visa for Cambodia. For itineraries shorter than 15 nights, please consult with your Embassy or Consulate for more information. Please note that when entering Cambodia by ship, E-Visas are not accepted.

If you are unsure regarding how to obtain a visa or would like more information then please give us a call and one of our river cruising experts will be more than happy to assist.

What's Included

  • Savings of up to £800 per stateroom if booked 31st December 2019
  • Return London or Manchester flights & non uk transfers
  • 7 nights deluxe cruise accommodation in an outside stateroom (includes twin balconies)
  • 2 nights pre cruise stay in Ho Chi Minh City at the Sofitel Plaza
  • 2 nights post cruise stay in Siem Reap at the Sofitel Angkor
  • Immersive excursions and authentic local encounters
  • Fine dining with all meals included during your cruise
  • Complimentary unlimited wine with lunch and dinner
  • Complimentary house-brand spirits, local beer and soft drinks during cruise
  • Bottled water in every stateroom replenished daily
  • Welcome and farewell dinner
  • Special highlights on board including folklore dances and music performances, culture discussion forums, theme dinners and music entertainment