1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Today is yours at leisure to explore the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. Perhaps head to nearby Ben Thanh Market in search of some local trinkets or choose to relax in the sanctuary of your hotel garden. Take a moment to settle in to your hotel before meeting your Tour Director and enjoying a delicious dinner. Stay Two Nights: Ho Chi Minh City, Park Hyatt Saigon (D)
2 Ho Chi Minh City, Long Tan OR Cu Chi Tunnel
Today choose from two Signature Experiences before a delicious Signature Experience dinner at Luke Nguyen’s exclusive restaurant, Vietnam House. (B/L/D) Signature Experiences:
- You may journey to Ba Ria and learn about the Battle of Long Tan. Afterwards, attend a memorial service at Long Tan Cross - a memorial erected by the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment which is set in a rubber plantation and marks the site of the Battle of Long Tan. On the second alternative, visit the impressive Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the war. These tunnels served as Viet Cong hiding spots, supply and communication routes, hospitals and weapon caches, and make for a fascinating visit.
- This evening, head to Vietnam House for a tantalising and exclusive dinner - a menu created personally by APT Ambassador Luke Nguyen.
3 Ho Chi Minh City, My Tho, Embark Ship
After a Freedom of Choice sightseeing experience this morning, transfer to My Tho and embark your ship. Stay:
Seven Nights, Mekong River, APT’s RV AmaLotus
(B/L/D) Freedom of Choice:
- Perhaps enjoy a walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City, visiting the Reunification Palace and the Central Post Office. Or jump on the back of a motorbike for an exciting city tour. Alternatively, tour the Ky Long Art Villa where you’ll learn about Vietnamese lacquer art and see artist workshops. You may like to try out your culinary skills with a fun cooking class at GRAIN by Luke Nguyen cooking studio or delight in an exciting shopping tour.
4 Cai Be, Sa Dec
A local boat will take you to the beautiful river-land town of Cai Be today. Once here, step ashore to visit the French Gothic cathedral as well as the colourful port area, which is filled with crumbling colonial buildings and delightful flowering gardens. The morning then takes you onwards to a rice paper manufacturer where you’ll see how Vietnamese rice paper is made. Lunch will be served back on board later as your ship cruises past scenes of charming rural life towards the quaint town of Sa Dec. This delightfully sleepy locale is where iconic French writer Marguerite Duras met her Vietnamese-Chinese lover, Huynh Thuy Le. On arrival, tour Huynh Thuy Le’s old house and learn the story behind Marguerite Duras’ best-selling novel, The Lover. Later, pay a visit to a traditional Cao Dai temple. (B/L/D)
5 Tan Chau, Evergreen Island, Border Crossing, Phnom Penh
Transfer to a small boat for a journey along the tiny tributaries that snake around the riverside town of Tan Chau. Cruise right past a floating fish farm, then step ashore for a rickshaw tour of Tan Chau. Ride past shops, rice wine rooms and friendly locals eager to say hello. Disembarking your rickshaw, you’ll pay a visit to a local silk and rattan weaving workshop, and watch as the materials are carefully strung together. Later, step back in time during a visit to an evergreen island where you’ll experience authentic rural Mekong life. The remainder of today is left free for you to relax on board as you cross the border into Cambodia and cruise towards Phnom Penh. (B/L/D)
6 Phnom Penh
Spend the day embarking on a Freedom of Choice Sightseeing excursion. (B/L/D) Freedom of Choice:
- After breakfast, perhaps enjoy a guided tour of the dazzling white and gold Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, which houses many national treasures. Alternatively, you may wish to discover some of Cambodia’s sobering history with a moving excursion to the infamous Killing Fields before visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which is located on the site of the Khmer Rouge’s notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21). Here, you’ll learn of the atrocities inflicted upon Cambodians during Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in the mid-to-late 1970s. Your other options are a visit to the National Museum of Cambodia or a guided city tour in a tuk tuk taking in city sights, including the Independence Monument and Wat Phnom, a sacred Buddhist pagoda.
7 Phnom Penh, Koh Chen
With a free morning in Phnom Penh, you may like to enjoy a restful start to the day and stay aboard your ship. Or, make use of your time in this beautiful city and head out on your own to discover the sights and attractions. Your APT Cruise Director can provide inspiration should you need it. Later in the day, your ship will cruise to remote Koh Chen, a small village specialising in copperware. Here you’ll visit some of the delicate home-workshops that manufacture beautiful handmade copper souvenirs. Watch the clever artisans at work and perhaps purchase a memento to take home for family or friends. After an exploration, you will return to your river ship for a delicious dinner with your fellow travellers. Perhaps take a moment to relay the day’s events over a drink. (B/L/D)
8 Oudong, Kampong Tralach
Today brings you an authentic glimpse into religious and lifestyle traditions of locals. Disembarking this morning, you’ll take a coach to Oudong, the fascinating royal capital of Cambodia from 1618 until 1866. Set in the foothills of Phnom Udong Mountain, the town is surrounded by beautiful nature. Calling in on a local monastery, you are met by Buddhist monks before receiving a special blessing from them - an unforgettable experience. Afterwards, continue to the village of Kampong Tralach for a visit to the Wat Kampong Tralach Pleu pagoda. Then, take an exciting ox cart ride through the countryside, passing lush rice fields and smiling locals on your way back to your luxury river ship. Once back on board, take a moment to unwind before joining fellow guests for a delicious dinner. (B/L/D)
9 Kampong Chhnang
Board a small boat and head to the wetlands near Kampong Chhnang. Known as the ‘Clay Pot Port’, the local people craft pottery under their stilt homes on the river. Afterwards, you’ll return to your ship and cast off towards Prek K’dam, enjoying a Farewell Dinner. (B/L/D)
10 Prek K’dam, Disembark Ship, Siem Reap
Disembark at Prek K’dam and transfer to your hotel. Then, head to World Heritage-listed Angkor Archaeological Park to visit Angkor Thom and the 12th-century temple, Bayon. Stay Three Nights:
Siem Reap, Hotel Sofitel Angkor (B/D) Freedom of Choice:
- Tonight in Siem Reap, choose where to enjoy dinner from seven unique and delicious restaurants.
11 Siem Reap
After soaking up the majesty of Angkor Wat in the early morning sun, enjoy a guided tour of this impressive temple, the best-preserved temple of Angkor and said to be the world’s largest single religious monument. Return to your hotel for breakfast and some time at leisure. This afternoon, you’ll explore the intriguing temple of Ta Prohm, a World Heritage-listed site famous for its bewildering intertwined trees. Later, visit ‘Opportunities of Development thru Art’ (ODA), a Siem Reap organisation that provides education opportunities for disadvantaged children. (B) Signature Experiences:
- Rise early this morning and travel back to Angkor Archaeological Park to enjoy a special sunrise experience at Angkor Wat with drink in hand. As the sun rises over the spectacular World Heritage-listed monument, raise a bubbling glass.
12 Siem Reap
Embark on your selected sightseeing activity. With the afternoon at leisure, you might like to step out and explore the city independently. Tonight, enjoy a traditional Apsara dance performance before a memorable Farewell Dinner. (B/D) Freedom of Choice:
- Perhaps visit the temple of Wat Preah Prom Rath and participate in a Buddhist blessing; enjoy a tuk tuk ride to the Senteurs d’Angkor workshop, where you can shop for local handmade crafts; participate in a fun Apsara dance class; take off on a thrilling quad bike adventure; enjoy a leisurely bicycle tour across the Cambodian countryside; take a horse and cart ride; partake in a traditional Khmer cooking class; go on a shopping adventure; or perhaps indulge in a relaxing spa treatment.
13 Depart Siem Reap
Enjoy breakfast this morning in Siem Reap. You might like to take the time to converse with fellow travellers about all the special moments you have shared. Afterwards, say farewell to your Tour Director and other travellers, and transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)