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7 NIGHTS MEKONG CRUISE

Vietnam Saigon – Cambodia Siem Reap

SAIGON - SIEM REAP CRUISES

There can be no tapestry of river life as fascinating and varied as the River Mekong. Indeed there can be no more striking a cultural contrast as that between the bustling Vietnam delta and the tranquility of Cambodia. We pass from the vibrant French colonial port of Saigon, through the vast delta so rich in human life and endeavour, to travel along the main channel into the rich countryside of Cambodia. With a full day in charming Phnom Penh we then explore remoter waterways as we progress to the great monuments of Angkor. NEW and EXCLUSIVE upgraded itinerary – now visiting Kratie and the Mekong dolphins. No other river cruise operators go there!

RV MEKONG PANDAW

RV MEKONG PANDAW Built in Rangoon in 2002 she was sailed round to Saigon under her own power and many a drama described in Paul Strachan’s Pandaw Story. This ship was designed specially for the Mekong and unlike our other P class ships does not have a flying bridge. The reason was so she could get under a road bridge. She did actually scrape under on her maiden but it was so scary that Paul Strachan, then standing on the bridge, never dared attempt it again. As a result, we ended up with this incredible 750 square meter teak deck that even has a full size billiard table.

RV TONLE PANDAW

RV TONLE PANDAW. Modelled on Pandaw II and originally called Pandaw III, the Tonle saw a year’s service in Burma in 2002/3 before being sent under tug-tow to the Mekong where she has done continuous service between Saigon and Kampong Cham ever since. With her gorgeous upper deck saloon, observation decks and formal dining room this ship is an old favourite and has a rich ambience. In 2013 she was fully refitted and the number of cabins reduced to just twenty-eight in order to create a professional spa and library on the lower deck. She is not a small ship but despite her size she has a shallow draft and can usually get up river into low water areas when other vessels are stuck well below.
Pandaw expedition map. Mekong river cruises between Saigon and Seam Reap.

SAIGON - SIEM REAP EXPEDITION ITINERARY

DAY 1 SAIGON TO MY THO

Saigon – Siem Reap Cruises: Transfer from the meeting point in Saigon to My Tho Port. After boarding your Pandaw we sail downstream to Ben Tre and anchor midstream. In the afternoon, there is a lecture on Vietnamese life on the Mekong Delta. During cocktail hour passengers are entertained by an indigenous dance group and meet your key crew.

DAY 2 BEN TRE

Travel by sampans through mangroves and bamboo groves to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. In these local artisans are at work and are invite visitors into their homes for tea, fruit and honey products made from their own honey. This is an area rich in bird life and on our return journey we travel by horse cart through the lush countryside. After lunch, the ship moors off Cho Lach island for pot making and further glimpses of Delta life, agriculture and local Viet hospitality including a culinary lesson in making traditional Banh Xeo.

DAY 3 CON PHUOC ISLAND

After breakfast, there is a short coach journey to the Gao Giong ‘green oasis’ with its bird sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water and egrets that gather in the tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Rowing boats traverse the canals to take us to see the principal nesting areas. After returning to the boat we cruise upstream to Con Phuoc Island. We Moor in a small canal off Con Phuoc Island and go ashore to explore the island by Xi Loi seeing basket production and visiting a 100-year old Catholic Church as well as local woodworking artisans.

DAY 4 CAMBODIA BORDER

Afternoon, explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes. Continue through local villages by Xi Loi stopping off to help locals tend their fields before stopping off to visit a fish farm and earn merit by releasing fish back into the Mekong. Border crossing formalities take up much of the afternoon and during this stationary period there is an optional tour of the working ship and fruit carving classes on deck.

DAY 5 PHNOM PENH

Morning orientation of Phnom Penh by cyclo visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda followed by the National Museum with its marvelous collection of Angkorian statuary. Afternoon optional visit to the Killing Fields and Genocide museum or take a tuk-tuk to explore the riverfront and finish with High Tea at Raffles Hotel. Overnight in Phnom Penh city port with its lively bars, restaurants and night life.

DAY 6 SILK ISLAND

Sail up the Tonle River to board our expedition vessel, the Pandaw Explorer, to visit Koh Okhna Tey, or ‘silk island’ to study the entire silk making process from worms to weavers. There will be a demonstration of the ancient Khmer martial art of Bokator. Return to ship and return down the Tonle River to turn up the Mekong at the confluence. Evening lecture on Angkor and Khmer culture.

DAY 7 KRATIE AND THE DOLPHIN GROUNDS

Morning visit to Koh Trong Island a small Mekong River hamlet which can be explored by bicycle or ox cart with a real immersion into Khmer rural life visiting local schools and English classes then visiting a reforestation site where you can leave your mark by planting your own tree. Passengers should feel free to donate items for use in the schools such as books & pens etc. After lunch, moor off Kratie and continue to the dolphin grounds by local boat where we will observe the elusive Irrawaddy Dolphins.

DAY 8 SIEM REAP

Sail downstream to moor at Kampong Cham for disembarkation and road transfer to Siem Reap. Transfer by coach from Kampong Cham to Siem Reap takes approx 5 hours.

  • BEST DEAL
    FROM2599 USD/ 1-PERSON
    • PRICE INCLUDES
    • Entrance fees
    • Guide services (English language)
    • Gratuities to crew
    • Main meals
    • Locally made soft drinks
    • Local beer and local spirits
    • Jugged coffee and selection of teas and tisanes, mineral water
    • Transfers between the meeting point and the ship at the start and end of a voyage.
    • PRICE EXCLUDES
    • International flights, port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs, fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos at bar and tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.

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