By combining shipboard life, in elegant French colonial luxury, with discreet and fascinating shore excursions, this is the most intimate way to be ‘up close and personal’ with the people and culture of Southern Vietnam.
The ultimate journey of exploration, along the lower Mekong, is to cruise from Saigon Port through the waterways of the famous Mekong Delta and then head north into Cambodian waters.
High Water Season runs from mid-August to November and Low Water Season from December to mid-August. Upriver itineraries differ between seasons, Downriver itineraries remain the same year-round, however please note that all itineraries are dependent on the river water level, weather conditions, and accessibility to locations, so may vary.
UPRIVER: Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh & DOWNSTREAM: Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh*
*Please Note: The DOWNSTREAM Itinerary is the same as the upriver itinerary, only reversed.
SAIGON PORT EMBARKATION
Our guide awaits you at the Meeting Point, Park Hyatt Saigon, then transfer to the RV Mekong Princess docking at Saigon Port. Once aboard, you will be welcomed by your Vietnamese and Cambodian ship’s crew, before embarking on the most extraordinary journey of discovery. We sail at midday through the famed Mekong Delta on our way to the ‘Mighty Mekong River’.
Lunch, with highly attentive oriental hospitality, will be served soon after departure, as we cruise along the Saigon River. Having settled into your luxurious suites, you can relax and enjoy the new scenes and watch the world pass by. Late in the day we anchor in the heart of the Mekong Delta, where cocktails are served as sun sets, and sampans pass by. A traditional Vietnamese dinner is soon ready, embracing a subtle fusion of dishes for the most eclectic tastes.
BEN TRE – CAN THO
This morning, sampans take you through a channel lined with mangroves to visit a local coconut candy maker. After watching the candy-making process, walking through the village to visit an orchard where fruits native to Vietnam can be seen in various stages of maturity on the vine. After a fresh fruit tasting, you continue to a pier where you board small, local boats (two guests per boat) for a trip through the narrow creeks lined with Nipah palm before returning to the ship.
This afternoon, the ship sails through an area of the Mekong Delta barely touched by tourism to Can Tho city, the capital riverside city of Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Guests will take a short and orientated city tour with visiting to the Zihuang Pagoda (Chua Ong) and enjoying the welcome unicorn dances. Explore yourself on own around the charming city before having dinner onboard. The ship docks in Can Tho overnight.
CAN THO – HOA AN
We begin our morning before breakfast aboard the sampans for a cruise through the fascinating Cai Rang floating market near Can Tho. The sampans will weave in and out of the many boats that sail into the market each morning to sell produce and other items the residents of the Mekong Delta need in their daily lives. As they weave through the market, there will be many opportunities for amazing photographs, while enjoying fresh fruit and the Vietnamese “anti-aging drink,” fresh coconut water. Before returning to the ship for breakfast, we stop at a local noodle factory, where we witness the amazing process of how they are
After lunch, continue excursion by boat to Hoa An village, where is untouched and well-known with flower growing and handmade craft. Our first stop at flower gardens where we will see many different kinds of flowers and learn how to grow and take care of them. Then, a short walking to a local house and chat with the host to see how they live and work in their daily life. After a short break, continue our excursion on motor cart to another village. We stop by at the conical hat-making and mat weaving families, have memorable time chatting with local family members and learning how to create products though hands-on experience. Enjoy your walk in the peaceful village with rice fields, fruit trees in between visiting few local families.
The Princess sails and anchors near Gieng Island.
*Onboard activity: Lecture of Vietnam, the Past & Present by your local Vietnamese
GIENG ISLAND – HONG NGU / BORDER CROSSING
This morning we board sampans that will take us into Gieng Island. After a short walk around the local sampan village, where hundreds of sampans are produced daily by local families, we take a canal drive to explore the untouched floating area with duck farms, monkey bridges, and tropical orchards along the riverside. We will try one of most popular local transportation named “xe loi” (motor trishaw) driving through this island to visit a Catholic Church, built around the same time as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon in the 1870s.
This afternoon, we visit the local island village of Hong Ngu, not far from the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Hong Ngu produces a large number of the traditional Khmer scarves exported to Cambodia. Woven in many homes around the village, here we have the opportunity to see the weaving process under several homes. Some villagers are also embroidery artists, displaying their art in and around the homes. The inhabitants of this area had only encountered one western visitor prior to the arrival of the RV Mekong Princess, they are especially friendly and welcoming. Guests will also visit the local temple dedicated to a unique religion founded in this area of Vietnam, Hoa Hoa. This late afternoon, the RV Mekong Princess will cross the border into Cambodia and continue up the Mekong River.
Our Princess arrives Phnom Penh this morning and docks at the center port. After lunch, local cyclo drivers meet you for an exciting city tour of Phnom Penh. You begin your ride along the riverfront to the Royal Palace, where a leisurely walk takes you through the grounds, with opportunities to visit the Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion. Upon crossing into the second section of the complex, you walk amongst normous stupas and spirit houses, on the way to the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and Maitreya Buddha, encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds. Following a short break, your cyclos take you to the National Museum. Housing the largest pre-Angkorian and Angkorian holdings in Cambodia, the National Museum ends the morning tour with a comprehensive look at many of the artifacts excavated around the Angkor Archeological Area in Siem Reap, as well as other areas around the former
The ship docks overnight in Phnom Penh.
*Onboard activity: Fruit Carvings & Tropical Fruits Demonstration; Cooking Class demonstration by our Executive Chef.
This morning, private motor-coach take you on a scenic 45-minute drive from the ship, arriving at Choeung Ek, the killing fields depicted in the movie, and the center of the darkest days of Cambodian history. You may walk through the fields, visit the small museum and Memorial Stupa, and learn more about the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. On the return drive to Phnom Penh, a stop is made at Tuol Sleng (infamously known as S-21), which was converted by the Khmer Rouge from a large school to a prison and torture headquarters.
This afternoon is free at leisure for your own exploration the charming city of Phnom Penh. This evening before dinner, enjoying the entertainment onboard with a cultural performance including Apsara, Cambodia’s national dance, as well as several traditional folk dances.
The ship docks in Phnom Penh overnight.
The Princess leaves Phnom Penh and sails to Angkor Ban. We start the afternoon tour with a visit to the charming and authentic town of Angkor Ban. Here, we witness the daily life of the local people, starting with a visit to the pagoda with a special blessing ceremony for our guests by local monks, then we keep going on visiting to a local family’s home, to meet them and discuss their lifestyle. We continue through the village to the local school where we join the children in their classroom and experience what their typical school day is like. Ship sails to Kampong Cham and docks overnight.
*Onboard activity: Lecture of Cambodia’s Geography and Life along the Mekong River by your local Cambodian host.
KAMPONG CHAM / DISEMBARKATION
After breakfast we disembark the RV Mekong Princess in Kampong Cham. Transfer by motor-coach to Siem Reap. Arrive Meeting Point at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap Hotel at noon.
Please note that all cruise itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in river and tributary water levels) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s discretion.
Passengers should also be aware that animal sightings cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictability of wildlife behavior.