Explore trade routes of the Mekong River as you cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam.

Starting at: $5,795 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Woman working with flowers on the Mekong. Credit: Nhiem Hoang  Women in a boat along the Perfume River  Apsara dancer relief in Angkor Wat, Cambodia  Angkor Thom, Cambodia  Two monks gaze out a window overlooking Angkor  An air of mystery pervades overgrown Ta Prohm, one of the many temples of the Angkor complex, the largest religious monument in the world.  Sunrise over Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Taken by Florian Christian.

Cruising the Mekong River

Featuring Cambodia and Vietnam

16 days from $5,795

Explore trade routes of the Mekong River as you cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.

Venture off the beaten path on our new cruise of the Mekong River, one of Asia’s vital waterways. Following three nights in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, embark our elegant all-suite riverboat for a thought- provoking seven-night cruise along the Mekong River. A three-night stay in Siem Reap allows for an in-depth exploration of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, a World Heritage site. 

Highlights Include

  • Ho Chi Minh City: Explore the many faces of the former Saigon. Important wartime sites include the Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, and the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels. Observe stunning French architecture during visits to Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, and the Hotel de Ville, Saigon’s City Hall. You’ll also visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda, a Taoist temple. 
  • Mekong River Cruise: During your seven-night cruise, experience lush landscapes; ride sampans into river towns such as Cai Be, Sa Dec, and Tan Chau; and visit hilltop Wat Hanchey and the city of Kampong Cham. You’ll meet with artisans at family workshops and visit monasteries, temple complexes, villages, and a school as people go about their daily routines. 
  • Phnom Penh: Take a guided rickshaw ride through the city center, tour the Royal Palace and National Museum, and attend an Apsara dance performance. You’ll also make a somber visit to the Choeung Ek Memorial at the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
  • Temples of Angkor: Delve into the City of Temples, one of the largest religious sites worldwide, which reflects the deities and iconography of different Hindu and Buddhist beliefs of the 12th-century Khmer Empire. Here you’ll explore the exquisite treasures of Angkor Wat, with its intricate bas relief carvings; the remarkable Angkor Thom with its Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King, and the stunning Bayon Temple featuring more than 200 enigmatic, smiling stone faces; and Ta Prohm, where roots and branches of ancient Banyan trees have overwhelmed the stone structures. Explore in depth and take home the memory of seeing the site at sunset.

Space reserved for 26 Smithsonian Journeys guests. The March departure will run in reverse and feature a slightly different itinerary. 

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

February 6-21, 2018 Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. / Cross the International Dateline

Smithsonian Journeys travelers will depart the U.S. on transpacific flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Day 3 — Ho Chi Minh City

Flight arrival into Tan Son Nhat International Airport. After brief arrival formalities, transfer to your award-winning, deluxe hotel. The remainder of the day is free of planned activities.

Day 4 — Ho Chi Minh City

Start exploring Ho Chi Minh City with a tour of the Reunification Palace, former headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American War. After a short walk with your guide, you’ll see Notre Dame Cathedral, the stunning French colonial Post Office and the Hotel de Ville, the City Hall. A visit to the War Remnants Museum reveals past history with fascinating exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War. Continue to the Jade Emperor Pagoda, a Taoist temple decorated with intricate carvings and intimidating statues. Relax over lunch with fellow travelers at a select restaurant that features local specialties. The afternoon will be at leisure so that you can explore on your own. Gather this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner at a popular restaurant. (B,L,R,D)

Day 5 — Ho Chi Minh City

This morning, travel beyond the city to visit the enigmatic Cu Chi Tunnels, originally begun in the 1940s during the colonial war with the French. A quarter-century later, the tunnels were improved and expanded to create a virtual underground city that allowed the Viet Cong to control strategic areas and carry on a guerilla war against South Vietnam. At Ben Dinh, you’ll have the opportunity to go below ground and explore the tunnels first hand. After returning to Ho Chi Minh City, a stop will be made for those who wish to visit the Ben Thanh Market, the largest area of commerce in the city. Inside the market building, an enormous variety of goods are for sale including fresh flowers, exotic fruit, locally woven fabrics, and handicrafts. Later, meet in the Smithsonian Journeys travelers corner for some lively conversation. (B)

Day 6 — Ho Chi Minh City, My Tho and Embarkation

This morning, the Smithsonian Journeys Expert will offer an initial presentation. The balance of the morning is at leisure. Later, drive to the port of My Tho and board the five-star Mekong Navigator and begin your Mekong River cruise. At boarding, enjoy spirits and attend a cruise briefing and orientation talk. This evening, join fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner. (B,R,D)

Day 7 — Cai Be and Sa Dec

Begin your exploration of the Mekong River by taking a sampan cruise through Cai Be Harbor passing Cai Be’s beautiful French Gothic Cathedral. In the town of Cai Be, travelers will visit the traditional Kiet House built in the early 19th century complete with period furnishings and décor. Stroll through the surrounding gardens brimming with exotic flowers and plants indigenous to the region. Watch as local people produce rice paper and rice wine, popped rice and traditional sweets. After lunch aboard ship, travelers depart for a 45-minute sampan ride to Sa Dec through bustling canals as people go through their normal daily routines. Disembark at a Brick Factory where you’ll see local workers forming the clay and molding bricks along with an explanation of the kilns that fill the local landscape. Continue to the town center where you’ll experience the sights, sounds and smells of the local market. Visit the home of Mr. Hyun Thuy Le. The famous French novelist, Marguerite Duras was inspired by Le's life story and wrote the romantic novel L'Amant. Before dinner, get together in the Smithsonian Journeys travelers corner. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Tan Chau to the Cambodian Border

Experience the diversity of life and customs in the Mekong Delta on a cruise by local sampan. Sail to a temple of the Cao Dai sect. The sect is an interesting amalgam of various faiths formed in an effort to mitigate local religious conflict. Take a local tuk-tuk or xe-loi to visit a family mat weaving workshop and then continue by sampan to visit a family-owned floating fish farm to learn about this practice. Continue to Evergreen Island where you’ll walk through a village and see local people and how they live their daily lives. During the afternoon, join the ship’s chef for an interactive cooking demonstration. The ship will continue sailing to the Cambodian border. Later, join fellow travelers for an educational presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, then meet in the Smithsonian travelers corner for conversation. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Phnom Penh

After breakfast, attend an engaging talk on the geography and life on the Mekong River. Later, depart the ship and begin a day of discovery with a cyclo ride through the center of the city. Visit the Royal Palace and see the silver floors and the remarkable gold and jeweled statues of Buddha. Continue by cyclo to visit the National Museum of Cambodia, a fascinating showcase brimming with cultural and archaeological treasures. Before dinner, attend an Apsara dance performance performed by local children. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Phnom Penh

Set off on a drive that will take you to the outskirts of Phnom Penh. There, you’ll visit the Choueng Ek Memorial at the Killing Fields where expert guides will offer emotional commentary on the atrocities committed by the brutal Pol Pot regime in the late 1970s. Visit the Memorial Stupa and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum a former school turned Khmer Rouge detention center. Back in Phnom Penh, follow your own path this afternoon and explore on your own. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Angkor Ban

Join the Smithsonian Journeys Expert of an engaging educational presentation. Then enjoy time at leisure as your ship sails farther up the Mekong River. After lunch, go ashore at Angkor Ban where you’ll explore and discover more about life on the river. Visit a local monastery then a school where you have the chance to talk with the principal and his students. Gather for lively conversation in the Smithsonian travelers corner. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Wat Hanchey and Kampong Cham

Following breakfast, and a short sail, travelers will depart the ship and set off on foot to visit the hilltop, Wat Hanchey. Dating from the 7th century, the temple offers a peaceful setting and remarkable views overlooking the Mekong River. After touring the temple complex, travelers will receive a Water Blessing from one of the monks. Continue to the city of Kampong Cham to visit the monastery of Phnom Pros and Phnom Sre. See the magnificent stupa as well as the statues of the Dying Buddha and the Preaching Buddha. Travelers will also visit the Angkorian-period Wat Nokor Bachey that features several fascinating statues of Buddha. This evening, gather for a shipboard farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 13 — Siem Reap

Disembark the ship in Kampong Cham and transfer to your hotel where accommodations have been reserved. After some leisure time, depart on an excursion to Angkor Wat, known as the world’s largest temple. Intricate bas relief carvings surround the Angkor Wat and each tells a tale from the past. Marvel at the sunset before returning to the hotel. (B,L)

Day 14 — Siem Reap

Join the Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an educational presentation in the morning. Then, depart the hotel for a day of discovery at the remarkable Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmers which was built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. An expert local guide will bring the site to life with fascinating narrative as you explore the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the stunning Bayon Temple. The iconic architectural marvel of the Bayon Temple is positioned in the center of the complex and is an iconic archaeological wonder. Its exterior gallery walls are adorned with intricate bas-relief carvings, but the most profound feature comprises the 200 plus enigmatic, smiling stone faces that adorn the temple towers. Return to the hotel, where lunch will be served. Later in the afternoon, gather in the Smithsonian Journeys travelers corner at the hotel. (B,L)

Day 15 — Siem Reap

Continue to explore the Angkor temple site today with a visit to Ta Prohm, a temple that has, for the most part, been left in its natural state since its discovery by French explorers in the late 19th century. Here, the roots and branches of ancient Banyan trees have overwhelmed the stone structures like monstrous tentacles. One of the largest temples at Angkor and a favorite for many people, Ta Prom was also built in the late 12th century. Continue to the small temple of Thommanon, which has been recently restored and offers wonderful examples of Hindu and Buddhist mythological Apsara carvings. On the return to the hotel, a stop will be made to see the 12th-century temple of Banteay Kdei. This evening, gather with fellow travelers for a farewell dinner. (B,D)

Day 15 — Siem Reap / Depart for U.S.

Depart the hotel for Siem Reap International Airport and homeward flights. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

March 13-28, 2018 Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. / Cross the International Dateline

Smithsonian Journeys travelers will depart the U.S. on transpacific flights to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Day 3 — Siem Reap

Flight arrival into Siem Reap’s International Airport. After brief arrival formalities, transfer to your deluxe accommodations. The balance of the day will be at leisure.

Day 4 — Siem Reap

After breakfast at the hotel, depart on an excursion to Angkor Wat, known as the world’s largest temple. Intricate bas-relief carvings surround Angkor Wat and each tells a tale from the past. Return to the hotel for lunch and an afternoon free of planned activities. This evening gather for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. (B,L,R,D)

Day 5 — Siem Reap

Continue to explore the Angkor temple site today with a visit to Ta Prohm, a temple that has, for the most part, been left in its natural state since its discovery by French explorers in the late 19th century. Here, the roots and branches of ancient Banyan trees have overwhelmed the stone structures like monstrous tentacles. One of the largest temples at Angkor and a favorite for many people, Ta Prom was also built in the late 12th century. Continue to the small temple of Thommanon, which has been recently restored and offers wonderful examples of Hindu and Buddhist mythological Apsara carvings. On the return to the hotel, a stop will be made to see the 12th-century temple of Banteay Kdei. The afternoon will be at leisure. (B)

Day 6 — Siem Reap and Kampong Cham

Join the Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an educational presentation in the morning. Then, depart the hotel for a day of discovery at the remarkable Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmers which was built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. An expert local guide will bring the site to life with fascinating narrative as you explore the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the stunning Bayon Temple. This architectural marvel is positioned in the center of the complex and is an iconic archaeological wonder. Its exterior gallery walls are adorned with intricate bas-relief carvings, but the most profound feature comprises the 200 plus enigmatic, smiling stone faces that adorn the temple towers. Later depart for Kampong Cham by motor coach with a boxed lunch en route and embark the five-star Mekong Navigator. Enjoy a welcome drink as you board and attend a welcome briefing and orientation talk. Then, get yourself acquainted with the ship and your stateroom before enjoying a welcome reception and dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Wat Hanchey and Kampong Cham

Following breakfast, and a short sail, travelers will depart the ship and set off on foot to visit the hilltop, Wat Hanchey. Dating from the 7th century, the temple offers a peaceful setting and remarkable views overlooking the Mekong River. After touring the temple complex, travelers will receive a Water Blessing from one of the monks. Continue to the city of Kampong Cham to visit the monastery of Phnom Pros and Phnom Sre. See the magnificent stupa as well as the statues of the Dying Buddha and the Preaching Buddha. Travelers will also visit the Angkorian-period Wat Nokor Bachey that features several fascinating statues of Buddha. Before dinner get together in the Smithsonian Journeys travelers corner. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Angkor Ban

Join the Smithsonian Journeys Expert of an engaging educational presentation. Then enjoy time at leisure as your ship sails farther down the Mekong River.  After lunch, go ashore at Angkor Ban where you’ll explore and discover more about life on the river. Visit a local monastery then a school where you have the chance to talk with the principal and his students. Gather for lively conversation in the Smithsonian travelers corner. The ship will overnight at anchor in the river near Phnom Penh. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Phnom Penh

After breakfast, attend an engaging talk on the geography and life on the Mekong River. Later, depart the ship and begin a day of discovery with a cyclo ride through the center of the city. Visit the Royal Palace and see the silver floors and the remarkable gold and jeweled statues of Buddha. Continue by cyclo to visit the National Museum of Cambodia, a fascinating showcase brimming with cultural and archaeological treasures. Before dinner, attend an Apsara dance performance performed by local children. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Phnom Penh

Set off on a drive that will take you to the outskirts of Phnom Penh. There, you’ll visit the Choueng Ek Memorial at the Killing Fields where expert guides will offer emotional commentary on the atrocities committed by the brutal Pol Pot regime in the late 1970s. Visit the Memorial Stupa and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school turned Khmer Rouge detention center. Back in Phnom Penh, follow your own path this afternoon and explore on your own. Later this afternoon, meet in the Smithsonian travelers corner. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Vietnam Border Crossing and Tan Chau

Early this morning, the ship will cross the border into Vietnam. After breakfast, join the Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an engaging presentation. During the morning, join the ship’s chef for an interactive cooking demonstration. Experience the diversity of life and customs in the Mekong Delta on a cruise by local sampan. Sail to a temple of the Cao Dai sect. The sect is an interesting amalgam of various faiths formed in an effort to mitigate local religious conflict. Take a local tuk-tuk or xe-loi to visit a family mat weaving workshop and then continue by sampan to visit a family-owned floating fish farm to learn about this practice. Continue to Evergreen Island where you’ll walk through a village and see local people and how they live their daily lives. Later, join fellow travelers for an educational presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert, then meet in the Smithsonian travelers corner for conversation. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Sa Dec and Cai Be

Begin your exploration of the Mekong River by taking a sampan cruise to Sa Dec through bustling canals as people go through their normal daily routines. Disembark at a brick factory where you’ll see local workers forming the clay and molding bricks along with an explanation of the kilns that fill the local landscape. Continue to the town center where you’ll experience the sights, sounds and smells of the local market. Visit the home of Mr. Hyun Thuy Le. The famous French novelist, Marguerite Duras was inspired by Le's life story and wrote the romantic novel L'Amant. After lunch aboard ship, cruise through Cai Be Harbor passing Cai Be’s beautiful French Gothic Cathedral. In the town of Cai Be, travelers will visit the traditional Kiet House built in the early 19th century complete which still features period furnishings and décor. Stroll through the surrounding gardens brimming with exotic flowers and plants indigenous to the region. Watch as local people produce rice paper and rice wine, popped rice and traditional sweets. Before dinner, get together in the Smithsonian Journeys travelers corner. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — My Tho and My Tho and Ho Chi Minh City

Disembark the ship and travel by motor coach to Ho Chi Minh City and your award-winning, deluxe accommodations. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant and for those who wish, a visit will be made to the Ben Thanh Market, the largest area of commerce in the city. Inside the market building, an enormous variety of goods are for sale including fresh flowers, exotic fruit, locally woven fabrics, and handicrafts. (B,L)

Day 14 — Ho Chi Minh City

Start exploring Ho Chi Minh City with a tour of the Reunification Palace, former headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American War. After a short walk with your guide, you’ll see Notre Dame Cathedral, the stunning French colonial Post Office and the Hotel de Ville, Saigon’s City Hall. A visit to the War Remnants Museum reveals past history with fascinating exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War. Continue to the Jade Emperor Pagoda, a Taoist temple decorated with intricate carvings and intimidating statues. Relax over lunch with fellow travelers at a select restaurant that features local specialties. The afternoon will be at leisure so that you can explore on your own. (B)

Day 15 — Ho Chi Minh City

This morning, travel beyond the city to visit the enigmatic Cu Chi Tunnels, originally begun in the 1940s during the colonial war with the French. A quarter-century later, the tunnels were improved and expanded to create a virtual underground city that allowed the Viet Cong to control strategic areas and carry on a guerilla war against South Vietnam. At Ben Dinh, you’ll have the opportunity to go below ground and explore the tunnels first hand. Return to Ho Chi Minh City for an afternoon at leisure. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 16 — Ho Chi Minh City / Depart for U.S.

Travelers depart the hotel for Tan Son Nhat International Airport and homeward flights. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)