Venture off the beaten path during a journey that showcases the wonders of Cambodia and Vietnam. Experience less-travelled towns and hamlets along the Mekong River, one of Asia’s vital waterways. Discover the wonders of Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world. You’ll enjoy stays in in fine hotels in Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Experience the finest in Asian river cruising aboard the elegant all-suite Mekong Navigator.

Starting at: $7,940 * Price includes special offer Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Throwing fishing nets along the river in Vietnam. Credit: Amanda Mack
 Monk at Angkor Wat. Credit: Chris Palmer
 Skyline of Ho Chi Minh City at dusk
 Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City
 M41 Walker Bulldog Tank at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
 Woman working with flowers on the Mekong. Credit: Nhiem Hoang
 Floating market on the river
 Terraced rice fields
 Sunrise over Angkor Wat, Cambodia.  Credit: Florian Christian
 Close up of sculpture at Bayon, Angkor Thom
 Terrace of the Leper King, Angkor Thom
 Elephant Terrace at Angkor Thom
 The iconic site of Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat
 View of Angkor Wat
 View of Angkor Wat

Cruising the Mekong River

A Journey Through Southeast Asia

14 days from $7,940

Venture off the beaten path during a journey that showcases the wonders of Cambodia and Vietnam. Experience less-travelled towns and hamlets along the Mekong River, one of Asia’s vital waterways. Discover the wonders of Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world. You’ll enjoy stays in in fine hotels in Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Experience the finest in Asian river cruising aboard the elegant all-suite Mekong Navigator.

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person when you book by February 10, 2023!

Overview

Become immersed in the enigmatic cultures, history, and verdant landscapes of Southeast Asia on this river and land journey to Cambodia and Vietnam. Step through the doors of temples, tea houses, and arts centers; experience special religious and cultural traditions; and gain insight from meeting local villagers and learning from resident experts. You’ll also ply the waters of the great Mekong River, which serves as the lifeblood for millions of people and binds the region geographically, historically, and culturally.

Highlights Include

  • Temples of Angkor: This World Heritage site is one of the world’s largest and most compelling archaeological discoveries. The City of Temples reflects the deities and iconography of different Hindu and Buddhist beliefs of the 12th-century Khmer Empire. Discover the exquisite treasures of the immense Angkor Wat; the mythological Apsara carvings of Thommanon; and the mysterious temples overtaken by ancient Banyan trees at Ta Prohm.
  • Seven-Night Mekong River Cruise: Journey on the mysterious Mekong, one of Asia’s most vital waterways, and learn about the culture, history, markets, and village life along its banks. In Cambodia, tour the temple complex of Wat Hanchey, meet villagers in Angkor Ban, and explore important sites in Phnom Penh ranging from the National Museum and Royal Palace to the somber Choeung Ek Memorial at the Khymer Rouge Killing Fields. In Vietnam, there are sampan rides into river towns such as Sa Dec, Vin Long, and Tien Loi Island. You’ll meet with artisans at traditional workshops and visit monasteries and temples, villages, and a school as people go about their daily routines. Your journey concludes with a day exploring the highlights of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).
  • Mekong Navigator: Your all-suite ship combines elegant French colonial décor with exotic Asian notes. You’ll find upscale amenities in cabins and public areas and savor regional French-Indochine cuisine plus an array of Western dishes. This cruise will host other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience.

Limited to only 24 Smithsonian Journeys guests.

2023 Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 – Depart U.S. Home Cities for Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cross the International Date Line and lose a day enroute.

Day 3 – Siem Reap

Arrive at Siem Reap International Airport and after clearing brief Immigration and customs formalities, you’ll be met and assisted with transfer to the deluxe Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort. Once at the hotel, each traveler will receive a welcome package with maps and general information about Siem Reap and the Angkor archaeological complex. There is free time time to refresh, relax and settle in. The balance of the day is free of planned activities. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available upon arrival and throughout the program for suggestions regarding city sights, restaurants and independent activities. This evening, meet fellow travelers at a welcome reception at the hotel. (R)

Day 4 – Siem Reap / Angkor Thom

Start the day exploring Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmers. In the company of an expert local guide, explore the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the magnificent Bayon Temple. This architectural marvel is positioned in the center of the World Heritage Center complex and is a wonder of ancient engineering. The exterior gallery walls are adorned with intricate bas-relief carvings, but the most profound features are the 200 plus enigmatic, smiling stone faces that adorn the temple towers. Return to the hotel for an independent lunch at leisure. This afternoon, depart by motorized open-air tuk tuk to visit a dance and art school. Attend a performance of the Cambodian traditional dance from the 6th century called Apsara. In Hindu and Buddist mythology, Apsaras were beautiful female spirits who descended from the clouds to entertain the Gods and the King. Afterwards, see the city sights by tuk tuk. This evening, join fellow travelers and enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 5 – Siem Reap / Angkor Wat

This morning, continue to discover the wonders of Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world, with a volume of stone equaling that of the Cheops Pyramid in Egypt. A local guide will bring the temple complex to life with vivid narration about the intricate bas reliefs that surround Angkor Wat on four sides; each telling its unique story. Afterward, return to the hotel for lunch with fellow travelers. This afternoon, you will continue your exploration of the Angkor Temple at Ta Prohm, the temple that has been left largely in its natural state since its re-discovery by French explorers in the early 20th century. Surrounded by tropical forest, over the centuries its stone structures have become entangeled by the vines and limbs of massive banyan trees which have entangled it like mighty tentacles. It is one of the largest temples at Angkor, dedicated in 1186.  Historians have noted its mystical charm. Continue with a visit to the Hindu temple of Thommanon. Recently restored, this small temple showcases beautiful Apsara carvings as well as the peaceful and quiet 12th century temple of Banteay Kdei. After returning to the hotel, the balance of the day is at leisure. Later, join fellow travelers in the Smithsoniam Journeys Travelers Corner. (B,L)

Day 6 – Siem Reap / Kampong Cham

This morning, enjoy time on your own, then depart for Kampong Cham with lunch en route and embark the 5-star Mekong Navigator. Enjoy a cold welcome drink as you board the ship. Afterward, acquaint yourself with the ship and your stateroom before joining a welcome briefing and dinner on the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – River Cruising / Wat Hanchey / Angkor Ban

This morning, after a short sail, travelers will set-out on foot to the hill-top location of Wat Hanchey. Dating from the 7th century, you’ll enjoy the peaceful environment and remarkable vistas of the Mekong River. Tour the temple complex and receive a traditional Buddhist water blessing from one of the monks. After returning to the ship, lunch will be served. A local speaker will give a talk on the Mekong’s long journey through different countries and the importance of the river to life and culture along its banks. This afternoon, you’ll depart the ship and walk through a rural village and visit a family home to learn more about their life along the river. Continue to the local private “English” school, where you will join the children and experience a part of their typical day. Make a brief stop at Angkor Ban the local monastery complex then walk back to the ship. In late evening, Mekong Navigator will arrive at Phnom Penh and anchor overnight. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Phnom Penh

Your day begins with a cyclo ride through the city center of Phnom Penh to the Royal Palace for a leisurely walk through the grounds. After touring the Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion, visit the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and the awesome Maitreya Buddha, which is encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds. We will then continue via cyclo to the National Museum for a comprehensive tour accompanied by a local guide. The afternoon is free of planned activities so you can follow your own path and explore on your own. A shuttle bus is available from the ship to the Central Market. This evening, before dinner, attend a cultural performance, on the Sun Deck, by a local dance troupe that includes Cambodia’s national dance, as well as other traditional folk dances. The ship overnights in Phnom Penh. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Phnom Penh

Today, we will travel by motor coach approximately 45 minutes to the outskirts of Phnom Penh to the Choueng Ek Memorial at the Killing Fields. Travellers will receive commentary from their local guides about the atrocities committed here by the communist Pol Pot régime. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the memorial to those lost during the political genocide of 1975-1979. Afterwards, return to the city center to visit the S21 Genocide Museum where you will visit a former school, turned detention center, during the bloody Khmer Rouge era. After returning to the ship, a local speaker will offer a presentation about current events in Cambodia, its Buddhist culture and it’s development and future in southeast Asia. Later, enjoy a spring roll-making demonstration on board the ship offered by the chef and his staff. This afternoon, the ship sails to the Cambodian border with Vietnam to prepare for tomorrows early morning crossing. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Cambodia-Vietnam Frontier Crossing / Long Khanh (Hong Ngu)

This morning, the ship will clear Immigration and Customs formalities. After breakfast, the chef will give a talk on the tropical fruit that is indigenous to this region. Afterward, a local speaker will explain the importance of rice cultivation and farm fishing in Vietnam. Lunch will be served aboard ship. Not far from the Cambodian border, you’ll find the island village of Hong Ngu. This hamlet is known for weaving scarves and its fine embroidery. Travelers will continue to the local temple to learn about a unique religion founded in this area of Vietnam. After returning to the ship, there’s leisure time before dinner. Get together in the Travelers Corner this evening and exchange travel experiences. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Cu Lao Gieng / Sa Dec

Board a sampam for a cruise to Gieng Island and a visit to a local village where hundreds of sampans and row boats are built. Continue the cruise to a quitet canal and for a visit of the Gieng Cathedral built in 1879. You may have a chance to interact with a local priest at the cathedral. After lunch, depart the ship for a 45-minute sampan excursion through bustling canals as local people go about their daily lives. Your destination is Sa Dec. It’s here that you’ll visit the private 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. During a walk through town, experience the kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells of the local market. Return to the ship in time for dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Vinh Long / Tien Loi Island

Upon arrival, don your lifejackets before joining an excursion by sampan to Vinh Long to visit a traditional rice processing factory where workers produce rice paper, rice wine, popped rice, and many varieties of traditional candy. Visit the Long Thanh home for its senior citizens. This afternoon, experience the hustle and bustle of life in the Mekong River Delta. lt’s here that local traders sell their products to wider Asian markets. Explore the narrow canals and backwaters of the area. Tien Loi island is an untouched island with only seven families settled peacefully on the river. You will experience how villagers build rooster cages and others practice the fascinating art of tree dwarfing or bonsai. This evening, gather on deck for an al fresco farewell reception with dinner following in the dining room. (B,L,R,D)

Day 13 – My Tho / Ho Chi Minh City

Today after breakfast, you’ll disembark the ship at My Tho and travel to the former Saigon and the deluxe Park Hyatt Hotel. Approximate drive time is 90 minutes. After arrival, set-out to explore the city. Begin at the Reunification Palace, now preserved as a museum but was formerly an underground communications bunker and headquarters for the Saigon Government during the American War. After your visit, walk the short distance to Notre Dame Cathedral. This romantic cathedral dates from the late 19th century. Across the street from the cathedral is the city’s striking French colonial Post Office. See the Hotel de Ville de Saigon, officially Ho Chi Minh City Hall. Next, take a guided tour of the War Remnants Museum which primarily contains exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War. Lunch will be served at a typical restaurant that serves tasty Vietnamese specialties. After lunch, check-in at the upscale Park Hyatt Saigon. A shuttle service will operate between the hotel and Ben Than Market. Dating back to the 17th century when it was just a small gathering of street vendors, this market is now the largest area of commerce in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Gather to discuss Vietnam’s heritage and modern development. Afterward, board the Saigon Princess for a farewell dinner-cruise on the Saigon River. (B,L,D)

Day 14 – Depart for the U.S.

At the appropriate hour, transfer to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport for your transpacific flight to the U.S. Cross the International Dateline. Most flights to the U.S. arrive home the same day. (B)

Please note: Based on international airline schedules and routings, most travelers arrive back home the same day; others may arrive home the next day. This information is based on preliminary 2023 airline schedules.

Day 15 – Arrive in Home Cities

As noted above, some flights arrive back in the U.S. today.

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change due to local operational and river navigation considerations.

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

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