Day 1 | Highlights:
Xin Chao and welcome to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam! With large boulevards, tree lined lakes and French inspired architecture Hanoi is blessed with a charming atmosphere. You will be met by an Emerald Waterways representative and be transferred to your hotel. This evening have a tour briefing and welcome dinner.
Two Night Stay: Hanoi
Day 2 | Hanoi Highlights:
This morning visit historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (view from outside), see Ho Chi Minh’s former home, then the iconic One Pillar Pagoda. Continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, then take a walking tour through Hanoi’s historic Old Quarter. EmeraldPLUS: Stop for lunch at KOTO restaurant, a unique restaurant that trains disadvantaged street children. EmeraldPLUS: Attend a traditional Water Puppet performance and after the show go backstage to meet the puppeteers.
Day 3 | Hanoi – Halong Bay Highlights:
Opportunity to view this spectacular landscape from the air with a 45 minute seaplane flight from Hanoi over Halong Bay (additional cost must be pre booked).
Travel to Halong Bay and board your luxurious traditional style junk for a two night cruise. Halong Bay is known for its stunning scenery where thousands of limestone pillars rise dramatically out of the emerald water. Cruise through the bays and islets of this magnificent region. Board row boats and visit Dark and Bright Lagoon, a spectacular lagoon accessed by passing under a natural tunnel.
Two Night Stay: Bhaya Classic Junk or similar
Day 4 | Halong Bay cruise Highlights:
After breakfast discover the unspoiled beauty of the Ho Ba Ham islet before returning back to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon, explore one Halong Bay’s biggest caves, Surprise Cave which is known for its impressive stalagmite and stalactite formations.
Day 5 | Halong Bay – Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City Highlights:
Cruise to Titov Island with its attractive beach, perfect for relaxing and swimming. Sail back to the mainland and transfer to Hanoi for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. More commonly known as Saigon, it is a city with a turbulent and colourful past, although today it is the country’s commercial centre.
Two Night Stay: Ho Chi Minh City
Day 6 | Cu Chi Tunnels Highlights:
EmeraldPLUS: Travel from the city, through the countryside to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels. An ingenious network of over 200km of underground tunnels, they were built by the Viet Cong guerrillas as a means of protection, communication and deception against both the French and American forces. At its peak, the network included sleeping quarters, kitchens, meeting rooms and hospitals serving more than 18,000 fighters. Join a Vietnamese Veteran and learn of the wars, strategies, atrocities and the resourcefulness of the Vietnamese which eventually led to the defeat of their enemies. See traps, bombs, weapons, tanks and if you dare, you can even go underground and experience what it was like to be a guerrilla. Hear fascinating stories from first-hand experience to allow a real insight into one of the most famous wars of our time. Return to Saigon and spend the afternoon exploring the city.
Discover More: Evening street food walking tour introducing you to some hidden culinary delights of Ho Chi Minh City, or Discover Saigon old and new with a tour of modern, traditional and historical sights (additional cost)
Day 7 | Ho Chi Minh City – My Tho – 7 night Mekong River Cruise Highlights:
Be guided on a city tour seeing Reunification Palace, the Old Saigon Post Office, bustling Dong Khoi Street, Opera House, City Hall and the War Remnants Museum. Transfer to My Tho in the Mekong Delta. From here we will begin our journey upstream aboard the luxurious RV Mekong Navigator. Meet your Cruise Director and crew followed by a welcome reception. This evening enjoy a Vietnamese “Mekong Delta” Theme Dinner.
Seven Night Stay: RV Mekong Navigator
Day 8 | Cai Be – Sa Dec Highlights:
Board sampans and sail through Cai Be’s floating market, a fascinating and iconic scene of the Mekong Delta. Pass the city’s French gothic cathedral, tour Anh Kiet House, then visit a traditional rice factory. Observe daily routines of the villagers before stopping at a local brick factory. Upon arrival to Sa Dec, visit the home of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, who inspired Marguerite Duras’ novel, L’Amant (The Lover), and take a walk through the town’s market.
Day 9 | Tan Chau – Vietnam/Cambodia border crossing Highlights:
Sail to a Cao Dai temple, then ride a Vietnamese tuk-tuk to a mat weaving workshop. Cruise to a floating fish farm, and visit Evergreen Island for a walk through a local village. Reboard the ship and cruise to the border and Phnom Penh. Sous Sdei and welcome to Cambodia! Please note we are unable to dock until the customs office is open tomorrow.
Day 10 | Phnom Penh Highlights:
Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh was once known as the “Pearl of Asia”, but it was almost entirely evacuated by the Khmer Rouge in 1975. EmeraldPLUS: Meet our cyclo drivers for a city tour of Phnom Penh. Journey to the Royal Palace complex and the National Museum housing Angkorian and pre-Angkorian artifacts. EmeraldPLUS: Enjoy a performance by the Cambodian Children’s Group which includes Cambodia’s national dance as well as local traditional folk dances.
Discover More: Backstreets, temples and communities tour, or street food tour (additional cost)
Day 11 | Phnom Penh Highlights:
Visit the Killing Fields, which is a disconcerting reminder of the recent atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime. Continue to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school that was converted to the main prison and torture headquarters of the Khmer Rouge.
Day 12 | Angkor Ban Highlights:
Visit the charming town of Angkor Ban. Here, you will get a glimpse into the lives of the local people, starting with a visit to a family’s home where you will have the opportunity to meet the family and discuss their lifestyle. Continue through the village to the local school and join the children in their classroom to experience a typical school day.
Day 13 | Wat Hanchey – Kampong Cham Highlights:
Visit Wat Hanchey which offers views of the Mekong River. EmeraldPLUS: Receive a traditional Buddhist Water Blessing from the monastery’s resident monks. See Phnom Pros (man hill) and Phnom Srei (woman hill), the reclining Buddha, and the preaching Buddha. Our final visit is to the Angkorian-period complex of Wat Nokor Bachey. Return to the ship and gather for a farewell reception and Royal Cambodian Theme Dinner.
Day 14 | Kampong Cham – Siem Reap Highlights:
Disembark and bid farewell to the RV Mekong Navigator and her crew. Transfer to Siem Reap, the gateway to the magnificent Temples of Angkor. EmeraldPLUS: This evening witness the incredible Phare Cambodian Circus, a spectacle of acrobatics, theatre and music. Phare is an NGO founded by Cambodian refugees to assist disadvantaged young people by teaching them performing arts.
Two Night Stay: Siem Reap
Discover More: Uncover either Bantey Srei or Beng Mealea temples, take a Cambodian cooking class, or Explore the Roluos temple group (additional cost)
Day 15 | Angkor Temples Highlights:
Start at the famous Angkor Wat, known for its elaborate decorations and intricate carvings throughout. Continue to the unique Ta Prohm temple which is overgrown by jungle trees. Visit the impressive Bayon Temple, and finish at the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King known for their intricate bas-reliefs. This evening enjoy a farewell banquet.
Day 16 | Depart Siem Reap Highlights:
Transfer to Siem Reap airport for your onward flight. We hope you enjoyed your tour of South East Asia and hope to see you again soon!
Please Note: The Mekong River is subject to extreme variations in water levels. Every effort is made to provide the routing and inclusions stated however depending on water levels prevalent at the time of sailing, this itinerary may be amended.