Escorted Small Group Tour

This tour is the perfect way to explore the Mekong River and must-see areas nearby. Discover the highlights of Siem Reap including the spectacular temple of Angkor Wat, before enjoying a luxurious seven-night cruise on board the Lotus Mekong Navigator – during your voyage you'll stop to enjoy immersive excursions including visiting a local school, navigating the canals on sampans and browsing colourful markets. After disembarking from your cruise, end your tour in Ho Chi Minh City and see sites including Thien Hau Pagoda and the French Colonial-style Notre Dame Cathedral.

• Siem Reap - 3 nights

• Kampong Cham (Board Mekong Cruise)

• Angkor Ban

• Phnom Penh

• Tan Chau

• Hong Ngu

• Sa Dec

• Cai Be

• My Tho (Disembark Mekong Cruise)

• Ho Chi Minh City - 2 nights

14nights Escorted Small Group Tour
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Siem Reap Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. On arrival, transfer to your hotel for three nights, and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Stay: Tara Angkor, Siem Reap (or similar).

Day 2: Siem Reap Rise early to visit Angkor Thom, the magnificent ruined temple complex and last capital of the Khmer Empire. Discover the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple at the heart of the city, mysterious ruins of the Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas, which literally means ‘celestial temple’ in Khmer. Visit the 350-metre-long Terrace of Elephants which was historically used as a viewing platform, and the Terrace of the Leper King which depicts the Hindu god of death, Yama. After lunch at a traditional wooden house at Srah Srang, visit the temple of Angkor Wat – this is one of Cambodia's most sacred sites. There are also two optional excursions this evening – a one-hour sunset ride on the unique Angkor Gondola boat service, or the famous and energetic Phare Cambodian Circus. Stay: Tara Angkor, Siem Reap (or similar). B, L.

Day 3: Siem Reap Visit Banteay Srei, a 10th-Century temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, and the historic Banteay Samré temple built by Suryavarman II. Stop at a village on the way back to Siem Reap to see a local rice field and enjoy a fresh coconut drink. This afternoon you’ll visit a trio of temples – both Ta Prohm, which appeared in the film Tomb Raider, and Preah Khan are known for the sprawling trees which weave their way around the intricate stone ruins; Neak Pean, literally ‘the entwined serpents’, is an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on it. Enjoy dinner accompanied by a dance show at a local restaurant. Stay: Tara Angkor, Siem Reap (or similar). B, D.

Day 4: Siem Reap to Kampong Cham Transfer to Kampong Cham (approx. 4½ hours) this morning to board the Lotus Mekong Navigator for your seven-night cruise. Enjoy a welcome reception on the sun deck as you begin the journey downstream. You'll have an informative welcome brief before a Cambodian-themed dinner in the Le Marché Dining Room. Stay: Lotus Mekong Navigator. B, L, D.

Day 5: Kampong Cham Visit a local school for a tour and Q&A with staff and students, before walking up to the colourful hilltop pagoda of Wat Hanchey, where you'll receive a traditional Buddhist Water Blessing from resident monks. Wander the monastery and soak up Mekong River valley views before lunch back on the ship. Drive through the city of Kampong Cham to visit the hills of Phnom Pros (Man Hill) and Phnom Srei (Woman Hill), the incredible stupa, the 10-metre-long reclining Buddha and the 13-metre-tall preaching Buddha. End at the 12th-Century Wat Nokor Bachey, home to several original statues of Buddha and stone inscriptions, before returning to the ship and sailing downstream. Stay: Lotus Mekong Navigator. B, L, D.

Day 6: Angkor Ban See the charming town of Angkor Ban and get a glimpse into the locals' lives. Start by visiting a family in their home before continuing through the village to the local school and joining children in their classroom to experience a typical school day. Walk back through the village to the ship, with the chance en route to take photos and briefly stop at the local monastery complex. Stay: Lotus Mekong Navigator. B, L, D.

Day 7: Phnom Penh Meet your cyclo driver for a morning tour of Phnom Penh. Head to the Royal Palace complex and enjoy a leisurely walk through the grounds – discover the Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion. Visit the famous Silver Pagoda which houses Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and see the Maitreya Buddha encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds. Visit the National Museum before an afternoon at leisure – explore independently, go shopping or browse restaurants and bars. Before dinner back on the ship, head to the sun deck for a children's performance including Apsara (Cambodia’s national dance) and local folk dances. Stay: Lotus Mekong Navigator. B, L, D.

Day 8: Phnom Penh Delve into Cambodia's troubled history this morning. Take a scenic 45-minute drive to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, where you'll learn about the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime; then visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school converted into the main prison of the Khmer Rouge. Enjoy a free afternoon in Phnom Penh before setting sail this evening to the Cambodia-Vietnam border. Stay: Lotus Mekong Navigator. B, L, D.

Day 9: Tan Chau and Hong Ngu Once you've crossed the border from Cambodia into Vietnam, continue downstream to Tan Chau – you'll notice a change in architecture along the riverfront. After lunch, visit the local island village of Hong Ngu which produces a large number of the traditional Khmer scarves exported to Cambodia. These are woven in many homes around the village and here you'll have the opportunity to see the process as well as the villagers' artwork. Visit the local temple dedicated to a unique religion founded in this area of Vietnam, Hoa Hao, before joining the culinary team in the evening and watching them demonstrate the art of Vietnamese and Cambodian cooking. Stay: Lotus Mekong Navigator. B, L, D.

Day 10: Sa Dec and Cai Be Board sampans to navigate the Mekong's narrow canals. Stop en route at a local brick factory to see people making bricks with clay from the Mekong River, before continuing to the town of Sa Dec. Here you'll make a short visit to the home of Mr. Hyun Thuy Le, who inspired Marguerite Duras’s novel, L’Amant (The Lover) and stroll through the town market. Return to the ship for lunch before sailing to Cai Be this afternoon. Pass the city’s beautiful French Gothic cathedral, visit the historic An Kiet House with its stunning gardens and then hop back on sampans to a traditional rice factory, where workers produce rice paper, rice wine and popped rice. End the day sailing towards My Tho and enjoy an elegant Vietnamese-themed dinner – the perfect way to bid farewell to the magnificent Mekong. Stay: Lotus Mekong Navigator. B, L, D.

Day 11: My Tho to Ho Chi Minh City Disembark from your ship and transfer to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (approx. 1½ hours). Transfer to your hotel for two nights; the rest of the day is at leisure. Stay: Caravelle Saigon Hotel (or similar). B

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City Today you'll have the chance to visit some of the city's key highlights including Reunification Palace, the Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral – all striking examples of the city's French Colonial architecture. Visit Cholon, the city's Chinese district and Thien Hau Pagoda, the temple dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess, Mazu. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure before transferring to the pier for a dinner cruise on board the Bonsai Legacy boat along the Saigon River, where you'll enjoy a mix of European and Asian food plus traditional music. Stay: Caravelle Saigon Hotel (or similar). B.

Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City to UK Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

Perfect for people who want a slower-paced tour of the Mekong River and surrounding areas, and the opportunity to interact with local communities.

Good to know

• For guests over 16

• Average group size of 10 guests

• A maximum of 14 guests

• Journey times do not take into account stops or local traffic conditions

• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag

• Prices do not include the Cambodian visa fee (approx. $30 on arrival).

What to expect

• A pair of comfortable walking shoes is recommended

• The transfer to Siem Reap on Day 5 is 4½ hours

• Authentic local experiences

• Mosquito repellent is essential, particularly along the Mekong River

• The land-based itinerary will have a maximum of 14 passengers but the cruise can hold up to 68 passengers

• Knees and shoulders need to be covered during temple visits.

Accommodation on tour

You'll start your tour staying in Tara Angkor, Siem Reap – this elegant hotel is a perfect base for exploring the historic city of Siem Reap. During your seven-night cruise along the Mekong River you'll be on board the Lotus Mekong Navigator, a sophisticated ship with just 34 spacious and luxurious cabins. In Ho Chi Minh City at the end of your tour, you'll stay in the heart of the city at the Caravelle Saigon Hotel, just round the corner from the French Colonial opera house.

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

2020 Jan 29; Feb 26; Oct 07; Nov 18

2021 Feb 04; Mar 04; Sep 30; Oct 14

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups

• Porterage and guide tips (on the land-based section)

• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

• All specified flights.

Kuoni highlights

Kuoni highlights

This tour lets you experience the beauty of the Mekong River and two of the most iconic cities in Cambodia and Vietnam – Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City. Discover the magnificent jungle-clad temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom while staying in Siem Reap; hop on sampan excursions to experience local life during your seven-night cruise along the Mekong River; plus visit schools and browse markets along the way.