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Fascinating Mekong River

March 2 - March 21

Immerse yourself in fascinating cultures and ancient traditions as you embark on an inspiring 18-day journey through Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangkok. Along the way, learn more about the history of each country, marvel at spectacular scenery, and interact with the friendly locals. This is a journey that will create memories you won’t soon forget!

March 2-3: Fly Minneapolis to Hanoi, Vietnam on your overnight flight

Welcome to Vietnam! You’ll be transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the day is on your own.

March 4: Hanoi                                                                                  BLD

This morning, your guided sightseeing takes a look at the life of Ho Chi Minh, the father of modern Vietnam. First, visit the mausoleum and the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next on the agenda: One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Also visit the ancient Temple of Literature, over 900 years old and Hanoi’s first university. Lunch is at Koto, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that teaches local street children restaurant skills for more stable employment opportunities. After lunch, enjoy an electric-cart ride through the fascinating Old Quarter, with 36

ancient streets where merchants trade as they have for centuries. An early dinner this evening is followed by a fascinating performance of Hanoi’s renowned water puppets, a traditional art form dating back to the 11th century.

March 5: Hanoi-Ha Long Bay                                                       BLD

Travel from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Hon Gai, gateway to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, the bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes by the action of the water. Tunnels, caves, and weirdly shaped outcroppings with imaginative names can be found on many of the small islets sprinkled across the bay. Board a cruise excursion to explore the caves, and admire the beauty and scale before stopping at one of the many secluded bays .

March 6: Ha Long Bay-Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam                       B

This morning, drive to Hanoi and board your flight for Ho Chi Minh City.  The afternoon and evening are free to explore on your own.

March 7:  Ho Chi Minh City                                                          BLD                

Take a walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic landmarks, including a stop at the Rex Hotel for a refreshing drink at the rooftop bar where the U.S. Military held the infamous “Five O’Clock Follies” during the war. Then visit the War Remnants Museum and bustling Ben Thanh Market.  Learn to prepare several local dishes and how to recreate them at home. Last, but not least, sample your delicious creations.  This evening join your traveling companions for a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

 

March 8: Ho Chi Minh City Cu Chi Tunnels                            B                

Drive out of the city for a guided visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length, used as a hideout and secret village by the Viet Cong.  The evening is free to explore on your own.  Maybe enjoy a drink at the top of the Caravelle Hotel.

March 9:  Ho Chi Minh City (Embarkation)                            BLD

Transfer to the port on the Saigon River for embarkation.  Get acquainted with the ship and relax before your Welcome Reception and cruise to Vinh Long.

 

March 10: Vinh Long-Co Lao Gieng                                           BLD                     

Board a sampan this morning to visit a local workshop in Vinh Long where you will see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candies are made.  This afternoon, enjoy scenes of daily life on Cu Lao Gieng Island via sampan and local motor cart. Your local excursion starts at a local workshop, where a skilled family hand-crafts sampan boats. Then, visit the home of a local family that makes Vietnamese conical hats, or “Non la,” from materials available to them such as palm leaves and bamboo. These iconic hats are primarily used as protection from the sun and rain but you may also see them used as a basket to carry home goods from the market. Lastly, stop at one of Vietnam’s oldest Catholic churches.

March 11: Chau Doc – Long Khanh – Border Crossing         BLD

In Chau Doc take a guided walk through the local market and absorb the atmosphere as locals are busy buying and selling fish, meat, and produce. Then embark on a river excursion down the backwaters of the Mekong. Along the way, see traditional floating homes, speedboat merchants,      religious sites, a market selling dried goods, and more. After lunch, a     sampan brings you to the village of Long Khanh A for a Cotton-Weaving Demonstration of a well-preserved artisan’s tradition

 

March 12: Phnom Penh                                                                  BLD

Take a city tour by private cyclo to visit the Royal Palace with the spectacular Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts.  The afternoon is yours to explore the city at your leisure.  Tonight’s entertainment features a show from the local orphanage.

March 13: Phnom Pehn                                                                   BLD

This morning, a guided visit of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields offers a glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on the Cambodian people by the Khmer Rouge regime, OR: Visit the lively Central Market by tuk-tuk to see its unique Art Deco design.

 

March 14:  Wat Hanchley-Angkor Ban                                      BLD

Visit Wat Hanchey, a hilltop temple dating back to the 8th century. Climb or be driven to the top where you will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area and partake in a traditional water blessing given by local monks.  After lunch, enjoy a walking tour through the rural village of Angkor Ban. Here, you will visit a traditional Khmer house and interact with children at a local school.

 

March 15: Konpong Louang-Kampong Tralach                     BLD

Start your guided sightseeing at the silversmith village in Konpong Louang. Here, see talented craftsmen use age-old techniques to turn pure silver into works of art. In Kampong Tralach board an ox cart for a ride through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. Along the way, stop to meet a local farmer and learn about his daily life.

March 16:  Phnom Pehn(Disembark)-Siem Riep                     BL

Fly to Siem Riep.  After lunch, explore the temples by tuk-tuk or bike with your local guide. Start at the best preserved and most famous of all the   temples: Angkor Wat.  Featuring five trademark towers, it is the symbol of Cambodia. Then, visit Angkor Thom, where you will explore Bayon Temple with its 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers and impressive bas-relief sculptures.  This evening witness the sunset at Ankor Wat or visit a Cambodian Circus.

March 17: Siem Riep                                                                        BD

Continue your guided sightseeing of the Angkor Temples at Ta Prohm. Tree roots cover the ruin walls, allowing you to experience the temple with the same wonder as early explorers. Then visit Banteay Srei, a unique temple built on a small scale from red sandstone, which can be carved like wood. En route stop at a local village famous for making Khmer noodles by hand.  This afternoon is a leisure to further explore the temples or Siem Riep on your own.  This evening a private Apsara Dance Performance brings Ancient Khmer culture to life.

March 18 Siem Reap-Bangkok                                                      B

Fly to Bangkok where the rest of your day is at your leisure.

March 19: Bangkok                                                                          BL

This morning, your sightseeing begins with a boat ride through the klongs, Bangkok’s canals, to see homes, temples and way of life that gives this city the nickname, “Venice of the East.” Stop at the stunning Grand Palace featuring The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Also, visit the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the oldest and    largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It houses more than 1,000  Buddha images including the 49-foot high and 151-footlong massive Reclining Buddha. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.

March 20:  Bangkok                                                                         BD

Enjoy a full-day at your leisure to shop in the local market before gathering together for a farewell dinner.  An optional sightseeing excursion may be offered.

March 21:  Bangkok                                                                         B

After breakfast this morning you’ll be transferred to the airport for your journey home.

 

                B= Breakfast       L=Lunch               D=Dinner

Details

Start:
March 2
End:
March 21