Cruise the trade routes of the Mekong River in Vietnam then explore Cambodia's Angkor Wat during a three-night stay in Siem Reap.

Starting at: $5,795 Make a Reservation 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 Wat  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

Featuring Cambodia and Vietnam Aboard the 68-guest Mekong Navigator

16 days from $5,795

Cruise the trade routes of the Mekong River in Vietnam then explore Cambodia's Angkor Wat during a three-night stay in Siem Reap.

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.

Please note: The March departure will run in reverse and features 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. and Cross the International Dateline

Smithsonian Journeys travelers 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. A visit to the War Remnants Museum reveals past history with fascinating exhibits relating to the American phase of theVietnam War. After lunch at leisure, you may join the shuttle bus for those who wish to visit the Ben Thanh Market, the largest area of commerce in the city. Inside the market building, an enormous array of goods are for sale including fresh flowers, exotic fruit, locally woven fabrics and handicrafts.  Later this afternoon, attend a presentation on Contemporary Vietnam. Gather this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner at a popular restaurant. (B,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 lunch at a popular restaurant, explore the Cholon district, locus of the Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh City. See Cha Tam Church, as well as the Thien Hau temple dedicated to a goddess that is said to protect fishermen and mariners. Later, meet in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for lively conversation. (B,L)

Day 6 — Ho Chi Minh City and My Tho

This morning, attend a presentation on contemporary Vietnam. 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. After boarding, 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 Vinh Long

Begin your exploration of the Mekong River in Cai Be with a row boat ride through a natural canal shaded by water coconut trees. Next, join a walking tour to visit a handicraft village where locals make rice paper and Vietnamese pancakes. You’ll see how baskets and bags are made from the ubiquitous water hyacinth. Return to the ship for lunch. The ship will cruise to Vinh Long. In Vinh Long, watch as local people produce rice paper and rice wine, popped rice and traditional sweets. Continue to the Long Thanh senior home where many of the local seniors live peacefully on the river. Before dinner, get together in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. After dinner, enjoy a movie on board ship. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Sa Dec and Cu Lao Gieng

In Sa Dec, board a sampan for a fascinating cruise through bustling canals as people go through their normal daily routines. 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. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the local market on a walk through the town. After lunch aboard ship, travel by sampan to Gieng Island to visit a local village where you’ll see how sampans are built. Take a sampan ride through a quiet canal and visit the Gieng Cathedral built in 1879. Later, join fellow travelers for an educational presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (B,LD)

Day 9 — Tan Chau

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. Continue by sampan to visit a family-owned floating fish farm to learn about this interesting practice. Continue to Evergreen Island where you’ll walk through a village and see local people and how they live their daily lives. After the excursion, return to the ship and sail to Cambodia. Border crossing procedures take place this afternoon. After lunch on board, attend a cooking demonstration by the ship’s chef. A local speaker will explain the importance of agriculture, rice cultivation and fisheries in Vietnam. Get together in the Smithsonian Travelers Corner for friendly conversation. (B, L, D)

Day 10 — Phnom Penh

After breakfast, depart the ship and begin a day of discovery with a cyclo ride through the center of Phnom Penh. Visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Continue by cyclo to visit the National Museum of Cambodia, a fascinating museum brimming with cultural and archaeological treasures. Later this afternoon, gather for lively conversation in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. Before dinner, gather on the Sun Deck for an Apsara dance performed by local children. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — 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, attend a talk on Cambodia today. A local speaker will provide a lecture on the geography and life on the Mekong. Your Smithsonian Journeys Expert will offer an educational presentation. (B, L, D)

Day 12 — Angkor Ban and Wat Hanchey

This morning, visit the rural village of Angkor Ban and visit a family home to learn more about life on the Mekong. Continue to visit an “English” school where you’ll experience a part of the typical school day. Make a brief stop at the local monastery before returning to the ship. After lunch, take a short sail, then set off on foot to visit the hilltop of Wat Hanchey. Dating from the 7th century, this 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. 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 the deluxe Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort where accommodations have been reserved. After some leisure time, take a tuk-tuk tour of Siem Reap ending at the Arts and Crafts Center. (B,L)

Day 14 — Siem Reap and Angkor Wat

Start the day with a visit to a local home and learn how rice noodles are made. Later, 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. Gather in the Smithsonian Journeys travelers corner. (B,L)

Day 15 — Siem Reap and Angkor Thom

Depart the hotel for a day of discovery at the remarkable Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmers. 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 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. Continue exploring at 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 Prohm 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 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,R,D)

Day 16 — Siem Reap, Depart for U.S.

Depart the hotel for Siem Reap International Airport and return flights to the U.S. (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. and Cross the International Dateline

Smithsonian Journeys travelers 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, depart on a day of discovery starting at the remarkable Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmers. 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 magnificent 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. In mid-afternoon, a tuk-tuk tour of Siem Reap is planned, ending at a dance school. This evening, gather for a welcome reception and dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 5 — Siem Reap

This morning, depart on an excursion to Angkor Wat, known as the world’s largest temple. Intricate bas-relief carvings surround the Angkor Wat, each telling a tale from the past. Visit a local home where you’ll learn the art of noodle-making. After lunch, 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 Prohm was built in the 12th century. After lunch, continue to the temple of Thommanon, which has been recently restored and offers wonderful 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, attend a talk by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Afterward get together in Smithsonian Traveler’s Corner. (B,L)

Day 6 — Siem Reap and Kampong Cham

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 acquainted with your stateroom before joining fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Wat Hanchey and Angkor Ban

Following breakfast, and a short sail, travelers will depart the ship and set off on foot to visit the hilltop of 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. Attend a talk focusing on the geography and life on the Mekong. After lunch, go ashore at Angkor Ban where you’ll explore and discover more about life on the river. Visit a family home, then visit an “English” school where you’ll experience a part of the typical school day. The ship will overnight at anchor in the river near Phnom Penh. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Phnom Penh

Depart the ship and begin a day of discovery with a cyclo ride through the center of the city. Visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Continue by cyclo to visit the National Museum of Cambodia, a fascinating showcase brimming with cultural and archaeological treasures. The afternoon is free of planned activities so that you can explore on your own. Later this afternoon, attend an engaging talk by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Before dinner, attend an Apsara dance performance on the Sun Deck performed by local children. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — 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 “S21” Genocide Museum, a former school turned Khmer Rouge detention center. After lunch, attend a talk by a local speaker on Cambodia Today. Afterward, enjoy a spring roll demonstration offered by the ship’s chef. The ship will sail for the border with Vietnam. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — 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. Join the chef on board for a demonstration on tropical fruit and a decorative carving demonstration. Later, a local speaker will talk on the subject of agriculture, rice cultivation and fisheries in Vietnam. 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. Meet in the Smithsonian Traveler's Corner to exchange experiences. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Cu Lao Gieng and Sa Dec

Travel by sampan to Gieng Island to visit a local village where you’ll see how sampans are built. Take a sampan ride through a quiet canal and visit the Gieng Cathedral built in 1879. After lunch, take a sampan cruise to Sa Dec through bustling canals as people go through their normal daily routines. 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 the town, experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the local market. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Vinh Long and Cai Be

On arrival in Vinh Long, watch as local people produce rice paper and rice wine, popped rice and traditional sweets. Continue to the Long Thanh senior home where many of the local seniors live peacefully on the river. Begin your exploration of Cai Be with a row boat ride through a natural canal shaded by water coconut trees. Next, join a walking tour to visit a handicraft village where locals make rice paper and Vietnamese pancakes. You’ll see how baskets and bags are made from the ubiquitous water hyacinth. Return to the ship for lunch and sail downstream to My Tho. This evening, gather on deck for a farewell reception followed by dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — My Tho and Ho Chi Minh City

Disembark the ship and travel by motor coach to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. After a mid-morning arrival in the city, visit the Cholon District center of the city’s Chinese community.  See Cha Tam Church where former president Diem sought refuge shortly before his assassination in 1963, and the impressive Thien Hau Temple dedicated to the goddess of the seas. Here huge coils of incense hang from the ornate ceiling and these can burn for up to three months at a time. After lunch at a local restaurant, check-in at the award-winning, deluxe Park Hyatt Saigon. In the late afternoon, attend a fascinating talk about Contemporary Vietnam by a local speaker. Afterward, attend a presentation by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (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. A visit to the War Remnants Museum reveals past history with fascinating exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War. Later this afternoon a shuttle bus will operate from the hotel to the Ben Thanh Market. Dating back to the 1600’s this small market of street vendors has grown into the largest area of commerce in Ho Chi Minh City. This evening get-together with fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. (B)

Day 15 — Ho Chi Minh City

Travel beyond the city this morning 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 firsthand. 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 return flights to the U.S. (B)

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