The Mekong Delta Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 198

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Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 1: Saigon

Xin Chao! Welcome to Vietnam. We are met at Tan Son Nhat airport by our local guide and learn a bit about this fascinating country on the way to our hotel. We have time to relax at our hotel and adjust to the pace of Ho Chi Minh City, or normally called Saigon. This beautiful city is bustling with energy and will soon dispel even the slightest feeling of jetlag. Overnight Saigon - Caravelle Hotel - Deluxe Room

A street trader in Saigon

Day 2: Saigon

Our tour of the city we’ll visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post office, teh Reunification Palace and the sombering War Remnants Museum. Later today we visit Giac Lam Pagoda – Saigon’s oldest pagoda dated back to 1744 of which the architecture, layout, and ornamentation remain almost unaltered and finish the day at the Ben Thank Markets.

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 3: Saigon

This morning we visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a sprawling underground network of tunnels and living quarters used by the Viet Cong during the war. Driving back to Saigon to spend the afternoon at leisure. In the evening, Enter the replica of the emperors’ dragon boat “Bonsai I” for a magnificent and memorable dining and entertainment spectacle on the Saigon River.

A street trader in Saigon by William Cho

Days 4-5: Saigon

Day at leisure in Saigon.

Day 6: Saigon - The Mekong Delta

Today, transfer to Cai Be in the very heart of the Mekong Delta. On arrival, embark on board L’AMANT and enjoy a delectable lunch and get acquainted with the crew, while the vessel starts its way to Vinh Long. In the early afternoon, embark on a small boat for a journey towards An Binh islands. On arrival, continue the tour by bicycle to visit Tien Chau ancient pagoda and discover the everyday life in the Mekong Delta. Continue to visit a traditional house and enjoy some mouth-watering tropical fruits. Then tour on a small boat along the canals and stop at a fruit garden. Anchorage near Sa Dec. Overnight on board L'AMANT Cruises - Main Deck

Day 7: The Mekong Delta

We visit Sa Dec, where the French Writer Marguerite Duras spent her childhood. Stop to visit the ancient house of Huynh Thuy Le, the “house of the Chinese” described in Marguerite Duras’novel L’Amant, before heading to a Chinese temple and stopping at the tomb of l’amant. Finally, pass-by the school where Margerite’s mother was taught as well as the house where she used to live with her children. On the way back, stroll through the lively market streets of this fascinating town. In the early afternoon, arrive in Cai Be and embark on a local sampan boat for a journey through the numerous arroyos and be captivated by the serenity of the Mekong Delta. Upon return, enjoy a cooking demonstration on board. Overnight on board L'AMANT Cruises - Main Deck

Day 8: The Mekong Delta - Phu Quoc

Early breakfast on board before checking-out and embarking on a local sampan boat sailing through small arroyos to explore the vibrant Cai Be’s floating market. Later, we transfer to airport for the flight to Phu Quoc. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight Phu Quoc - Chenla Resort - Sea View Villa

Days 9-12: Phu Quoc

Day at leisure.

Day 13: Phu Quoc - Siem Reap

Spend last minutes at the beach before going to airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh. On arrival at Tan Son Nhat airport, you will get the connect flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival at the airport, our guide and driver transfer you to your hotel to store luggage and then set out for a cruise on beautiful Tonle Sap Lake, passing a floating village and seeing the daily life of local people there before heading back to your hotel. Overnight Siem Reap - Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa - Superior Room

Day 14: Siem Reap

We enter the South Gate of Angkor Thom Temple and marvel the wonders of the eerie Bayon, the terrace of Elephants and terrace of Leper King. Ta Prohm Temple: Unlike most of the other Angkor temples, Ta Prohm has been left just it was founded: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors. In afternoon, we visit the famous Angkor Wat, built for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. In the evening, enjoy the superb view of sunset from Phnom Bakheng hill.

Day 15: Siem Reap

Today, we visit Banteay Srey, one of the most unusual temples of Angkor, Cambodia. It lies 20 km due north of the main group. It is built largely of red sandstone, which is covered with elaborate and deeply carved decoration. Banteay Samre: The style of the towers and balustrades bear strong resemblance to the towers of Angkor Wat and even more so to Khmer temple of Phimai in Thailand. Many of the carvings are in excellent condition. This afternoon, we will visit The Roluos Group is a collection of monuments representing the remains of Hariharalaya, the first major capital of the Angkorian-era Khmer Empire. It has become known as the ‘Roluos Group’ due to its proximity to the modern town of Roluos.

Day 16: Siem Reap - Luang Prabang

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The tranquility and charm of this town with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos. Today is free at your leisure to explore the city. Overnight Luang Prabang - La Residence Phou Vao - Garden View Room

Day 17: Luang Prabang

We enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. During our time here, we visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai; we then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic view of the city at sunset and the Mekong River. From there, we explore the Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textile made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.

Day 18: Luang Prabang

Today, we then embark on a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside as well as explore the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make the local rice wine. On return, we disembark traditional villages, visiting Ban Xienglek and Ban Xangkong, the villages of handmade jute paper making and continue taking a short drive to Ban Phanom, a village well known for its hand weaving.

Day 19: Luang Prabang

An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. From there you will visit the morning Phosi Market. Laos is also known for its traditional crafts, and today we visit local villages of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, Hmong Village, Ban Ou, Laoloum Village and Ban Thapene, Khmu Village, then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall. After returning to Luang Prabang, we continue to Ban Xangkhong, a village well known for its silk weavings and for its Saa (jute) Papermaking. We return to the city by late evening to observe the sunset at Wat Phabath.

Day 20: Luang Prabang

After breakfast we visit The National Museum (close Tuesday) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of the artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign, Also the Central Market is not to be missed. After visiting these sites in the morning, you have free time to explore the town and stroll around the shopping area. The tour ends after your transfer to the airport for departure.