UPSTREAM: Saigon - Phnom Penh
Day 1: Saigon - My Tho - Cai Be
We gather before noontime at our welcome lounge in Saigon. Lean back with a drink as our staff welcomes you and collects your details for the boarding.
We bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon and travel 70 kilometers south overland to My Tho to embark your luxury floating home for your coming journey along the Might Mekong.
Upon boarding our crew warmly welcomes you and you check in to your prepared staterooms. The ship set sail and your fasctinating journey of exploring the Mekong can begin. Lunch buffet is served in the restaurant while the vessel steadily glides upstream to reach the overnight spot. Make yourself familiar with all the ship facilities. Now it is time to become one with one of the largest streams in Asia.
The afternoon allows you pastime at your private balcony or join our tea time at the open air bar as the twilight bathes the land of Mekong Delta into a golden haze.
During the time you savor your dinner the ship reaches Cai Be. Cai Be is a charming small town, famous for its Catholic French church and manufacturing of traditional crafts and food products. The floating market of Cai Be is getting smaller every year, since trading on the water is shifting more and more into modern central markets.
We drop anchor mid-stream and overnight near Cai Be.
Day 2: Cai Be - Sa Dec - Tan Chau
Everyday, we offer to our guests an invigorating Tai Chi class on the sun deck. Set in your day like many local people do around Asia just as the sun begins its gentle glow.
A sumptuous buffet breakfast is the perfect start in your first exploration day in the Mekong Delta.
The morning tour takes you Cai Be. Cai Be still hosts a small floating market for boat to boat trading of local goods such as fruits and agricultural products. Our guide explains the particularities of this long lasting dealing cutlture. Each boat has a special marker to let buyers know what goods they are selling.
Cai Be is a rustic town criss-crossed by and many water canals. We go on-shore to visit a workshop where we learn about and observe how rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies or rice wine is manufactured. Cai Be and its surrounding areas are covered by palmtrees and hence the region is also famous for the production of coconut candies. With our local boat we continue to cruise through the lush and green canel network and can observe farmers working in the fields.
Back on board lunch is served and you have some time for yourself afterwards to either enjoy a true Vietnamese coffee at the bar or simply watch the life on the riverbanks floating by.
In the afternoon, we reach the area of Sa Dec. We embark a traditional sampan and tour towards Binh Thanh Island. This island is one of the larger ones in the vast stream of the Mekong. Some communities have settled here and make their living by growing water hyazinths. We visit exclusively one of those untouched areas. By wandering through the village we get a deep understanding of the native life. But moreover we can follow the whole process of ratt making. You can even try yourself the weaving which is still done manually. We will meet also an old local people who shares with us their story on this island and they are happy for any chit-chat with you.
Back on board you may like to pamper yourself with a spa treatment or take a dip in our pool on the sun deck. Our expert guides offer a presentation on the “Life on the Mekong Delta” as the ship continues sailing to Tan Chau - the boarder town to Cambodia. We moor mid-stream near Tan Chau.
Dinner is served and afterwards you can join our evening cinema session (offered every night) featuring selected classic movies.
Day 3: Tan Chau - Border crossing - Phnom Penh
Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the dining hall or in the quiet sanctuary of your balcony.
Brace yourself for an excursion around Tan Chau, a pleasant, slow-paced town near the Cambodian border with a sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community. Once arrived on-shore we hop on “xelois” to explore Tan Chau. A xelaoi is a local vehicle which is still used as taxi in this region. We slowly move around the streets to see all the workshops, houses and domiciles. Get to feel the laid back vibes of this place. We stop at the colorful local market near one of the ancient temples. This is the best time you can interact with the vendors of this friendly town to make your own bargain experience. We board our local boats and cruise along floating houses to finally reach a floating fish farm. This region is the source of fish production to be sold all over the world and we can see closely how fish farmings works.
Back on board our “home” we sail towards the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. Get ready for a fascinating and leisurely cruise through the deep Cambodia countryside towards Phnom Penh.
The whole afternoon is at your own arrangements. This is the cruise part when even the last passenger will turn into cruise mode and hopefully experience the therapeutical influence this mighty river radiates. It is time for massages, time for sun bed relaxations, time for private balcony kick-backs - forsooth the time to merge with the river.
A culinary class if offered during the afternoon to sharpen your knowledge and skills on the local cuisine. Some may like to do a flying visit at the bridge - the captain always has a story to share about “his” river. “The Highway Blues” beckons as we float into a state of mild bliss and before you totally drift away join our afternoon high tea for some treats.
Dinner is served before we arrive in the capital of Cambodia around 8 o’clock. The boat docks at the pier of Phnom Penh. You are free to go for your first exploration by yourself. Stroll along the river promenade and watch the locals chit-chating, selling odds and ends or have a drink in one of the numerous bars (kindly inform our crew once you are leaving the ship on your own).
Day 4: Phnom Penh
Welcome to Phnom Penh - once called the Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance. It is an amazing town with centuries of incredible history and culture which can still be felt at many street corners.
We start with a full sight-seeing tour right after breakfast. By bus we visit the Killing Fields at the outskirts of the city and after, the centrally located prison “S21”. Both historic sites display the sad and cruel chapter of Khmer history when once the Khmer Rouge ruled the country with terror and supression. Those places have not changed much since the horrific time back in the early seventies and so it can be heart wrenching. There is the alternative to explore the city during the morning by your own pace individually before re-joining the group. Lunch will be taken at a nice restaurant in town. Our exploration of Phnom Penh focuses afterwards on the fascinating cultural heritage of Phnom Penh. The golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum are the afternoon highlights. The day trip ends with a “cyclo” ride back to the ship through the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh. Take some rest in your spacious cabin or join other fellow passengers at the bar for some refreshing drinks before our captivating evening activities start: We move to the lounge which is set up for a captivating lecture about Cambodian mordern history, held by a professor of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Definitely among the highlights of this cruise is to receive knowledge first hand as our lecturer has studied the subject extensively and personally. After the lecture a barbecue dinner feast on the sun deck commences. The dinner is accompanied by an Apsara dance performance. You have to witness the brilliance and richness of this dance along with the soothing sounds of traditional music. As the evening unwinds enjoy your supper with a glass of wine and marvel at the skyline of Phnom Penh and the calming flow of the Tonle River.
Day 5 :
|High Water Cruise
Phnom Penh – Kampong Cham (Mekong)
|Low Water Cruise
Phnom Penh – Kampong Chhnang (Tonle)
|We depart before the break of dawn from Phnom Penh towards the Angkor Ban village on the Mekong River. Wake up to the gentle cruise motion and get ready for breakfast in the dining hall. The Angkor Ban village is famous for its unspoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses. It feels like being transported back a hundred years ago into an era unaffected by modernity. Back on board our staff is keen on showing you a variety of traditional Khmer fashion. Lunch is served afterwards.We cruise further up the Mekong to visit a local school and understand more about the education of the young Cambodian generation (NGO project). The children here are always excited to show their skills in music and art and will bathe you in smiles upon your applause. We continue by road to the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey (7th century). This small complex sits on a hill top right on the shore with breath-taking views over the Me-kong. Another temple on the way is the tiny, colorful monastery of Wat Nokor. Here, we might get the chance to engage in light banter with some of the monks living in the area. Back on board you are free to relax until dinner is served. The boat moors mid-river near Kampong Cham.
||Before the sun peeks over the horizon, the cruiser sets sail to-wards Kampong Tralach on the Tonle River – an amazingly nar-row river. Gently gliding through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape we reach Kampong Tralach. Breakfast is served before we anchor and get ready for our first Tonle discovery.We reach the shore by local boat and cacophonous children wave enthusiastically while bringing their livestock for a bath in the meandering river. We will stop at the “Green School” which is partly supported by Heritage Line. See all the river life, which is so different than ours - by a local ox cart ride. Back on board our staff is keen on showing you a variety of traditional Khmer fashion. Lunch is served afterwards.The ship cruises along the narrow Tonle River towards Kam-pong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world”, where everything is on sticks and balanced on water-rich soil. Perhaps it’s the most fascinating cruising spot in Cambodia. Back on land in Kampong Chhnang, we take mini buses to a rural village nearby for a walking tour. Our guides introduce you to the village specialties – Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. Before returning to the boat we explore the float-ing villages and wetlands of the region.Relax back on board until dinner is served. The boat moors mid-river in the Tonle area
Day 6 :
|High Water Cruise
Kampong Cham (Mekong) - Kampong Chhnang (Tonle)
|Low Water Cruise
Tonle River - Kampong Cham (Mekong)
|We sail downstream on the Mekong and stop at the Island of Koh Oknha Tey. This spot in the middle of the Mekong owns its fame for the manufacturing of high class silk products. By tuk tuk we explore the island with its workshops and learn how silk is processed from its source, provided by little silk-worms, to a final top quality product made of original Cambo-dian silk. Before lunch our expert guides offer a presentation about “Ge-ography of the Mekong and Tonle Sap”. Afterwards a Monks’ blessing ceremony on board delivers spirits and wishes for our health and prosperity for all.The ship continues its journey, passing by the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Rivers towards Kampong Tralach. Gliding through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape we reach Kampong Tralach. Cacophonous children waive enthusiastically while bringing their livestock for a bath in the meandering river. We will stop at the “Green School” which is partly supported by Heritage Line. See all this life, which is so different than ours - by a local ox cart ride.The boat finds its anchor spot in the Tonle River near Kampong Chhnang allowing you to observe the close-by river life until dinner is served in the dining hall
||In the early morning during breakfast we sail from the lower Tonle River towards the Mekong passing their confluence at Phnom Penh. We arrive at the island of Koh Oknha Tey. This spot in the middle of the Mekong owns its fame for the manu-facturing of high class silk products. By tuk tuk we explore the island with its workshops and learn how silk is processed from its source, provided by little silk-worms, to a final top quality product made of original Cambo-dian silk. Before lunch our expert guides offer a presentation about “Ge-ography of the Mekong and Tonle Sap”. Afterwards a Monks’ blessing ceremony on board delivers spirits and wishes for our health and prosperity for all.The ship sails towards the small Angkor Ban village up in the Mekong River. The Angkor Ban village is famous for its un-spoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses. It feels like being transported back a hundred years ago into an era unaffected by modernity. Villagers are characterized by their unbridled warmth. Afterwards it’s time for some fun at a cocktail party on the riverbank. We continue cruising for a while until dinner is served. The boat finds its overnight spot at the riverbank of Kampong Cham
Day 7 :
|High Water Cruise
Kampong Chhnang - Tonle Lake
|Low Water Cruise
Kampong Cham (Mekong)
|Wake up early to witness the spectacular surroundings at the break of dawn. Our morning Tai Chi class has the perfect scen-ery today. Breakfast is served in the dining hall. We are now at Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world”, where everything is on sticks balanced on water-rich soil. This is perhaps the most fascinating cruising spot in Cambodia. We take a local boat to the shore. With mini buses we head to a rural village nearby for a walking tour. Our guides introduce you to the village specialities – Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. Definitely you should bring some home. Before returning to the boat we explore the local floating villages and wetlands of the region.Back on board lunch is served as your floating sanctuary cruises gently along the narrow Tonle River, towards the Great Tonle Sap Lake. The river opens up to a vast “sea”, the biggest fresh water lake in Asia. This lake can only be crossed during high water season (approx. from end-July to mid-November). Let your soul float and your eyes wander while the boat makes its way towards Siem Reap. In the afternoon we serve a High Tea at the bar and as the sun sets, our crew invites you to their farewell event. Enjoy some dancing and music together with the crew before dinner is served.The boat moors mid-lake near Siem Reap.
After breakfast by bus we visit the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey, built in the 7th century. This small com-plex sits on a hill top right on the shore with breath taking views over the Mekong. We return to the ship for lunch and some relaxation. In the afternoon we head to the tiny, colorful monastery of Wat Nokor. Here we might get the chance to engage in light banter with some of the monks living in the area. As it is low water season we are able to see a bamboo bridge which connects the mainland with the island. Local communities re-build the bridge every year when the water levels drop. We continue our journey and visit a local school to understand more about the education of the young Cambodian generation (NGO project). The children here are always excited to show their skills in music and art and will bathe you in smiles upon your applause. As the sun sets, our crew invites for a farewell event. Enjoy some dancing and music together with the crew before dinner is served.The boat moors at the riverbank of Kampong Cham.
Day 8 :
|High Water Cruise
Tonle Lake - Siem Reap
|Low Water Cruise
Kampong Cham (Mekong) - Siem Reap
|The Tonle Sap (The Great Lake) is the flowing heart of Cambo-dia, giving love and life to millions of people. It has more fish than any other lake in the world and is home to an incredible variety of birds, including rare and endangered feathered life. Our Heritage Line cruise comes to an end. We prepare to disembark the ship and take a local boat to the shore, passing a vast floating community. Around nine o’clock, we arrive at the Siem Reap pier and bring you to the drop off point in the city center.We hope that you enjoyed this fascinating river just as our crew does every single time. Moreover, take plenty of memories and friendships along with you that will linger on with your stories of this amazing river - the Mighty Mekong
||Enjoy your last breakfast on board our floating sanctuary. We disembark the ship for a transfer by bus to the drop off point in Siem Reap. The transfer takes about 4.5 hours. Snacks are provided during the trip. You will arrive in Siem Reap in the early afternoon. We hope that you enjoyed this fascinating river just as our crew does every single time. Moreover, take plenty of memories and friendships along with you that will linger on with your stories of this amazing river - the Mighty Mekong.