2017 : Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River with Luang Prabang & Bangkok - Northbound (WHSU) - Siem Reap
19 Day River Cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok
Immerse yourself in fascinating cultures and ancient traditions as you embark on an inspiring journey through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Along the way, learn more about the history of each country, marvel at spectacular scenery, and interact with the friendly locals. This is a journey that will create memories you won't soon forget!
Begin in bustling Ho Chi Minh City, with sightseeing including the Cu Chi Tunnels-a vast network of tunnels used by the Viet Cong. You will also partake in a walking tour of the city's landmarks and a hands-on Vietnamese cooking class. Then, start your cruise on the Mekong River, the thread that connects the people of Southeast Asia. Visit a colorful local market, a sampan builder, and a local establishment to see how rice wine and traditional candy are made. In Phnom Penh, take a tour of the city by private cyclo, with visits to the National Museum and the Royal Palace with the stunning Silver Pagoda. Walking tours through the rural villages of Prek Bang Kong and Angkor Ban and an ox cart ride through the countryside at Kampong Tralach will grant you a memorable inside look at life along the river and interactions with the local people. In Siem Reap, visit the spectacular Angkor temple complex, whose architectural grandeur is arguably unmatched among the world's ancient ruins. See several of the temples, including spectacular Angkor Wat and the mesmerizing faces of Bayon. Here you will also enjoy a private Apsara dance performance and will visit a development project teaching young adults traditional handicraft techniques. Finally, in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, participate in the almsgiving ceremony, visit several prominent temples and stop at a local village to see a weaving demonstration and learn how sa paper is made from the pulp of mulberry trees.
All of this and more await you on this fabulous journey.
It's about you. You are the reason we've used our 85-plus years of travel expertise to design the very best river cruise experience. Inspired by you, we've taken everything special about river cruising and made it even better. Here are some of the features and amenities you'll experience on board our Avalon ships. Intimate cruise experience with maximum capacity of 36 peopleSelection of Local FavoritesSM offering unique cultural activities & interactions with localsMore cruising! Avalon has eliminated hours of motorcoach travel time* Superior hotels selected by our regional expertsCertified Local Guide with all excursions Headsets for all guided shore excursions Bottled water on all excursions Fresh fruit & tea after all ship excursions Panorama Suite with 245 sq. ft of living space and huge wall-to-wall window measuring 14 feetComfort Collection BedsSM, featuring premium mattress covers Large private bathrooms featuring full shower with glass door, hairdryer, and premium bath amenitiesSpacious closets with shelves for ample storage Easy under-bed luggage storageBathrobes & slippers Complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and local beer/spirits throughout the day at the bar Bar serving premium spirits Daily early riser coffee & tea Delectable regional & Western cuisine with all mealsFull buffet breakfast & lunch with live cooking stationFour course a la carte dinner with choice of salads, soups, entrees, and dessert Complimentary local beer/spirits, soft drinks and coffee & tea with all onboard meals Complimentary wine with all onboard dinners Friendly, English-speaking crew Non-smoking interior And, much more
*Depending on water levels
Highlights & Sightseeing
Cruise: deluxe 7-night cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap in a Panorama SuiteSM with Avalon's exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM. Enjoy an intimate river cruise experience with a maximum of 36 guests on board
Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City: welcome to Vietnam
Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City: walking tour of the city's landmarks; visit the famous Rex Hotel for a drink, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class
Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels excursion
Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
Day 5 Cai Be-Cu Lao Gieng: visit a cathedral and see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candy are made in Cai Be; visit a sampan-making family and interact with a Catholic priest in Cu Lao Gieng
Day 6 Chau Doc-Cambodian Border Crossing: visit a local market and the religious sites at Sam Mountain
Day 7 Phnom Penh: sightseeing by private cyclo including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum; afternoon at leisure; show by children from a local orphanage
Day 8 Phnom Penh-Prek Bang Kong: visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh; walking tour through Prek Bang Kong village with silk-weaving demonstration
Day 9 Wat Hanchey-Angkor Ban: visit Wat Hanchey and partake in a traditional water blessing by local monks; walking tour through Angkor Ban village with school visit
Day 10 Konpong Louang-Kampong Tralach: visit the silversmith village of Konpong Louang; ox cart ride through the countryside and visit a local farmer's home in Kampong Tralach
Day 11 Siem Reap (Disembarkation): visit Angkor Wat & Banteay Srei
Day 12 Siem Reap: visit Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm, and Les Artisans d'Angkor; Apsara dance performance
Day 13 Siem Reap-Luang Prabang: fly to Luang Prabang; time at leisure
Day 14 Luang Prabang: participate in morning almsgiving ceremony; visit the morning market, National Museum, Wat Mai, Wat Visoun, Wat Xieng Thong, and Ban Xang Khong; weaving and sa paper-making demonstrations
Day 15 Luang Prabang: full day at leisure
Day 16 Luang Prabang-Bangkok: fly to Bangkok; time at leisure
Day 17 Bangkok: boat ride on klongs; visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Day 18 Bangkok: day at leisure
Day 19 Bangkok: end of vacation
Special experiences by local entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.Vietnamese cooking classDance show by children from a local orphanageTraditional water blessing by monkVisit a local farmer's home and learn about his daily lifePrivate Apsara dance performance
American breakfast daily, 11 lunches, 9 dinners, including a welcome dinner in Ho Chi Minh City. While on board the ship, enjoy complimentary wine with dinner and complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, local beer, and local spirits throughout the day.
NOTE:During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to sail across Tonle Sap and will fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. No sightseeing will be missed. Low water conditions vary from year to year, so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Day 1 Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City
This morning, enjoy a WALKING TOUR of the city's famous and historic landmarks as you stroll through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat) past Ho Chi Minh Square, the Municipal Theatre, the Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing DRINK at the popular ROOFTOP BAR where the U.S. Military held the infamous "Five O'Clock Follies" during the war. Next, visit the WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM followed by BEN THANH MARKET, the largest and oldest in the city. For lunch, participate in a hands-on VIETNAMESE COOKING CLASS. Head into the classroom and learn how to prepare different local dishes and the techniques necessary to recreate them once you return home. Last but not least, sample your delicious creations! The afternoon is at your leisure to explore this lively city. Tonight, enjoy a special welcome dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City. Excursion To Cu Chi Tunnels
This morning, leave the city and drive through vast expanses of rice paddies to visit the CU CHI TUNNELS, an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length that was used by the Viet Cong as a hideout and secret village during the war. Here you will learn about how the tunnels were constructed and have a chance to walk through a section to experience what life would have been like underground. Return to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. Maybe stop at the famous Rex Hotel for a drink and sweeping views of the city. (Breakfast)
Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation)
This morning, transfer to the port on the Saigon River and board your river cruise vessel to start your CRUISE up the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia. Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your welcome reception this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Cruising: Cai Be-Cu Lao Gieng
This morning, board a sampan for a scenic cruise through Cai Be Harbor. Visit a LOCAL WORKSHOP to see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made. Then, take a WALKING TOUR through town to see the local homes and manicured gardens. After lunch on the ship, enjoy scenes of daily life along the river near Cu Lao Gieng via sampan. Stop at a LOCAL HOME, where a skilled family works together to hand-craft sampans for a living. Then, ride a specially designed MOTOR CART to one of Vietnam's oldest churches for a special INTERACTION WITH A CATHOLIC PRIEST. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Cruising: Chau Doc-Cambodian Border Crossing
After breakfast, walk through the LOCAL MARKET and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. Then join a sampan excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong to the religious sites at the base of SAM MOUNTAIN. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants, a market selling dried goods, and more. Return to the ship for lunch and head for the Cambodian border. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Cruising: Phnom Penh
The capital city of Phnom Penh retains its French charm to this day. This morning, your sightseeing tour by private cyclo includes visits to the ROYAL PALACE with the spectacular SILVER PAGODA and the NATIONAL MUSEUM, featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the city. Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Cruising: Phnom Penh-Prek Bang Kong
Sightseeing this morning provides a glimpse of the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime. Visit the TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM, a former high school that housed over 17,000 prisoners. Of this number, it is believed that fewer than 15 survived the torture and avoided being sent to the Killing Fields. You will also visit one of the KILLING FIELDS, where over 200,000 people were killed by the Khmer Rouge. After lunch, visit the village of PREK BANG KONG, where silk weaving is a well-preserved tradition. Spend time at one house for a SILK WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and to learn more about how silk is produced. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 Cruising: Wat Hanchey-Angkor Ban
This morning, visit WAT HANCHEY, a temple dating back to the 8th century and the Chenla Empire. Located on a hilltop, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a TRADITIONAL WATER BLESSING given by local monks. After lunch, enjoy a WALKING TOUR through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here you will see traditional Khmer houses and visit a LOCAL SCHOOL. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
The climb to Wat Hanchey features a steep incline. If you feel you are unable to make the climb, you will be driven to the top by car.
Day 10 Cruising: Konpong Louang-Kampong Tralach
Today, start your sightseeing at the SILVERMITH VILLAGE of Konpong Louang. Here you will see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. Continue on to Kampong Tralach for an OX CART RIDE past rice paddy fields and the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to MEET A LOCAL FARMER and learn about his daily life. Return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap (Great Lake). After the rainy season, this massive body of water can cover around 10,000 square miles and is the perfect breeding ground for fish, which play a vital role in providing food for people living on the lake. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise up the Tonle River to Tonle Sap. Low water conditions vary from year to year so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Day 11 Cruising: Siem Reap (Disembarkation)
This morning, arrive in Siem Reap and start your sightseeing of the TEMPLES OF ANGKOR, considered by many to be the most spectacular architectural ruins on Earth! Constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries, the temples were built around the Khmer interpretations of Indian religious and political beliefs that ultimately evolved from Hinduism to Buddhism. The complex architectural grandeur of the Angkor temples is arguably unmatched among ancient ruins anywhere in the world. First, visit the best preserved and most famous of all the temples: ANGKOR WAT, honoring the Hindu god Vishnu. Featuring five trademark towers and stunning bas reliefs, it has become a symbol of Cambodia. Then, visit BANTEAY SREI, a unique temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Unlike other temples, it is built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. This evening is at leisure to explore charming Siem Reap-or stay to witness sunset at Angkor Wat! (Breakfast, Lunch)
During low water conditions, generally mid-December to August, we will not be able to cruise across Tonle Sap to Siem Reap. In these cases, we will fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and sightseeing will begin in the afternoon. No included sightseeing will be missed. Low water conditions vary from year to year so this will be evaluated on a cruise-by-cruise basis.
Day 12 Siem Reap
Today, continue your sightseeing of the Angkor temples by tuk-tuk. Start at ANGKOR THOM where you will explore BAYON TEMPLE. One of the few Buddhist temples in Angkor, it features some 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas reliefs. Next stop is TA PROHM, which, unlike the other temples, has been left relatively untouched. Tree roots grow over and through the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as the early explorers who discovered it. Lastly, stop at LES ARTISANS D'ANGKOR, a development project teaching young adults traditional handicraft techniques. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. This evening, enjoy a PRIVATE APSARA DANCE PERFORMANCE, where the ancient Khmer culture is brought to life by talented dancers, singers, and musicians. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 13 Siem Reap-Luang Prabang, Laos
Today, fly to Luang Prabang. (Breakfast)
Day 14 Luang Prabang
Today, enjoy a full day of sightseeing in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin your morning by witnessing the Tak Bat (almsgiving ceremony), with a visit to a local market. Each morning before dawn, Buddhist monks don their distinctive saffron-colored robes and walk through the streets to collect alms (offerings of food). This is a truly memorable sight you will not soon forget as you personally present alms to the monks and receive their blessings. Afterward, walk through the colorful morning market on the banks of the Mekong River in the center of town and watch as locals buy and sell their produce and meats. Then visit the NATIONAL MUSEUM, formerly the Royal Palace. Nearby is WAT MAI, famous for its 5-tiered roof built in the traditional style of Luang Prabang. You will also visit WAT VISOUN and WAT XIENG THONG, often thought to be the most beautiful wat, or monastery, in the city. This afternoon, visit the village of BAN XANG KHONG. Here you will witness a WEAVING DEMONSTRATION and learn about how sa paper is made by hand from the pulp of mulberry trees. (B, L)
Day 15 Luang Prabang
Enjoy a full-day at your leisure. (Breakfast)
Day 16 Luang Prabang-Bangkok, Thailand
Today, transfer to the airport and fly to Bangkok. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. (Breakfast)
Day 17 Bangkok
This morning, your sightseeing begins with a BOAT RIDE through the klongs, Bangkok's canals, to see the family homes, temples, and the way of life that give this city the nickname "Venice of the East." Stop at the stunning GRAND PALACE, featuring the TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA. Also visit the TEMPLE OF THE RECLINING BUDDHA, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It houses more than 1,000 Buddha images, including the 49-foot-high and 151-foot-long massive Reclining Buddha. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.(Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 18 Bangkok
Enjoy a full-day at your leisure. (Breakfast)
Day 19 Bangkok
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
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Dates and Prices do not include air travel.
Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights from Avalon Waterways, not included in pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments; or (2) intra-vacation air segments only, starting at $588. Required intra-vacation air segment: Siem Reap/Luang Prabang; Luang Prabang/Bangkok. Air prices were effective on April 6, 2016 and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.
Gratuities to Local Guides & drivers are included.
Price is per person, based on double room occupancy.
Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
Extra Nights per person in Ho Chi Minh City:
in single room $267; in twin room $139
Extra Nights per person in Bangkok:
January-December 18, 2017-January 3, 2018: in single room $267; in twin room $139
December 19, 2017-January 3, 2018: in single room $317; in twin room $165
Prices shown above include cruise in Category B in a Panorama Suite on Mekong Deck.
To upgrade to a Category A on the Tonle Deck, add $400 per person in double occupancy or $800 in single occupancy.
Travel Terms & Conditions
The purchase of any travel services offered by Avalon Waterways, constitutes a contractual arrangement between you (the Traveler) and Avalon Waterways, and represents your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions. Please ensure that you read carefully and understand the Terms & Conditions prior to booking. These Terms & Conditions cover Deposit & Final Payment information, Air-Inclusive Deposits & Final Payment, Revisions & Revision Fees, Air Arrangements, Participation, Travelers Who Need Special Assistance, Young Travelers, Smoking, Price Policy, Visas and Passports, Hotels & Accommodations, Baggage Allowance, Travel Documents, Not Included in the Land Price, Refunds, Service Inquires After the Vacation, Holidays, Safety, Photos & Pictures, Optional Excursions, and Responsibility.
Important NotesVacation departures, itineraries and prices are subject to change.A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is required for Avalon Waterways to reserve space for you. The following charges are not included in the land/cruise vacation price unless otherwise noted: airfare to and from the start of your vacation; intra-vacation air, unless specified in the itinerary; airline baggage fees including checked and/or excess baggage fees; Federal inspection fees for the Federal U.S. Customs and Immigrations; International Air Transportation tax; agricultural tax; other per person taxes imposed by government entities; airport taxes and fees, including the September 11th Security fee up to $11.20 per person, passenger facility charges up to $18 per person, Federal domestic flight segment fees up to $4.00 per segment, and U.S. and international arrival and departure and other government-imposed added by the airline and applicable at time of booking; port taxes; passports; visas and vaccinations; tips to your Cruise Director, Local Host, driver, Local Guides, and/or ship's crew; gratuities on ferries, trains, and cruise ships; laundry; telephone; minibar; alcohol, beverages, and food outside of the contracted Avalon menu as presented at a hotel or restaurant or onboard your vessel (these extra items will be billed to you before leaving the hotel, ship, or restaurant); airport transfers on non-qualifying flights; optional excursions; additional activities and excursions purchased online; porterage at airports and train stations; Travel Protection; and all other items of a personal nature.
Booking your Vacation with Air
Our volume buying power saves you money. We may be able to provide you with flight arrangements from your gateway city. Avalon Waterways offers 2 air options: Flex Air and Instant Purchase Air. For Europe vacations with return air outside of 331 days, Flex air is available under the Early Airfare Price Guarantee. Early Airfare Price Guarantee locks in a price that is guaranteed not to increase. Flight schedules are unavailable with Early Airfare. Schedules will be confirmed when your air departure date is within 331 days to departure. At that time the best air price will be utilized and a new invoice with the air cost and confirmed schedule will be sent. The identity of the carrier, which may include the carrier's codeshare partner, will be assigned and disclosed at this time. If the guaranteed price is the lowest, the schedule with the lowest fare per contract classes of service will be booked. Any voluntary change to the confirmed flights negates the guaranteed price and is subject to air pricing at the time of the change.
For air departure dates within 331 days, you'll be offered a choice of carriers and flight schedules as well as price points to choose from when selecting your flights. Your schedule will be provided to you at the time of booking (schedules are subject to change by carriers). Flex Air allows flexibility if you want to make changes to your vacation schedule. Instant Purchase Air may offer additional airline options but has more restrictions. Some vacations may only offer one Air type option. Guaranteed air-inclusive prices: air is only available to passengers traveling from the United States and only available when booked in conjunction with a land vacation. An additional $300 per person non-refundable air deposit is required for Flex Air booked in conjunction with any land vacation (i.e. air-inclusive vacation). Air can only be booked by Avalon Waterways in conjunction with a vacation package. Instant Purchase Air requires air payment in full at time of booking (i.e. air-inclusive vacation) plus non-refundable service fee ($30 per person for North America, $50 per person for International air). Once booked, Instant Purchase Air is non-refundable, and non-changeable. Some vacations may only offer one Air type option. Early Airfare Price Guarantee is not available with Instant Purchase Air. However, once your airfare is confirmed and Avalon Waterways has received your full land and air deposit or full air payment as noted above, your air-inclusive vacation price is guaranteed.
Air-Inclusive Vacations - Applicable Taxes & Fees
Air-inclusive vacations include government-imposed taxes and fees applicable at the time of booking and will be shown as a Total Amount. Additional airline fees for baggage may apply. At the time of booking your air-inclusive vacation online, carrier Websites will be provided to check baggage fees, or you can visit www.iflybags.com for up-to-date baggage pricing/restrictions. For return travel from some countries, international travelers are required to pay entry and/or exit fees at the airport. These fees will be collected by the local government and are payable by the traveler at time of travel. Your confirmation booking information will contain information about these fees.