Begin with two nights in Ho Chi Minh City (still known by many as Saigon), a busy and dynamic metropolis that exudes energy and buzzes with activity. Then embark on a seven-night Mekong River cruise aboard the beautiful Mekong Princess, an exclusive riverboat with only 14 suites, elegant French colonial appointments, all the modern comforts, this ship allows us to access the remote nooks and crannies of the river. As you cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, visit magnificent Buddhist and Hindu temples, observe floating markets bursting with colorful produce.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International River Voyages
- Departure Dates
Nov 15, 2021 - Nov 28, 2021
John Meffert, consultant on Heritage Conservation Services, has a long tradition with the National Trust. He has served as the Director for our Southern Office from and was the director of the Preservation Society of Charleston, the oldest nonprofit organization in the United States, responsible for preserving the historic resources of Charleston, S.C. John has delighted many study tour groups with his lectures and insights on preservation, and receives rave reviews as study leader.
Upon payment of the $1,000 per person deposit, all reservations are subject to the cancellation provisions set forth below and by which the passenger agrees to be bound. Cancellations shall not be in effect until they are received in writing and confirmed by Criterion Travel. Payments are 100% refundable if written notice of cancellation is received before August 12, 2021. Cancellations after August 12, 2021: All payments are 100% nonrefundable, regardless of booking date. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended. NOTE: Neither the National Trust for Historic Preservation nor Criterion Travel, the tour operator, accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalties incurred with the purchase of non-refundable tickets.
day Nov 15 & 16
HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival, transfer to the Park Hyatt hotel. The evening is at leisure to rest or explore on your own.
day Nov 17
HO CHI MINH CITY
Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s most economically dynamic city, and the streets are always abuzz with activity. During a motorcoach tour, drive past the city’s best known monuments—Notre Dame Cathedral, City Hall, the Old Saigon Post Office, and the Presidential Palace. After lunch, take an excursion accompanied by a local expert to the Cu Chi tunnels, a vast underground network that hid thousands of Viet Cong guerrillas and Vietnamese villagers during the Vietnam War. This evening enjoy the company of fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.
day Nov 18
Ho Chi Minh City
Visit the Ben Thanh market, where anything and everything is for sale, including handicrafts, traditional clothing and textiles, and local food specialties. Embark the intimate and elegant Mekong Princess, your home for the next seven days, and begin cruising the Mekong River.
day Nov 19
Ben Tre & Can Tho
Today, cruise by sampan (small wooden boat) through a channel lined with mangroves to a coconut candy maker. After walking through a family-owned orchard, travel aboard horse-drawn carts to a local pier and board small boats to explore narrow creeks lined with Nipah palms. This afternoon, cruise through an area barely touched by tourism to Can Tho, the main city of the Mekong Delta and its economic, cultural and transportation center. Take a guided walking tour and enjoy a free evening to visit the night market and souvenir shops.
day Nov 20
Can Tho & Hoa An
Explore by sampan the fascinating Cai Rang market, a feast for the senses and a boon for photographers. Weave in and out among floating watercraft loaded with produce and anything the residents of the Mekong Delta need in their daily lives. Stop at a factory to learn how instant noodles are made, and tour a family-owned orchard to see and savor exotic Asian fruits. Continue to Hoa An, a small village known for its flowers and handicrafts. Meet with local families, including weavers who make hats and mats.
day Nov 21
Gieng Island / Hong Ngu
Visit a village on Gieng Island where local families make sampans. Continue along a canal to a remote riverside area with duck farms, a tropical orchard, and monkey bridges. Then ride on a xe loi (motorized 3-wheel rickshaw) to visit a Catholic church that was built in the 1870s. At several family homes, observe residents weaving and embroidering traditional Khmer scarves. Visit a temple dedicated to a unique form of Buddhism called Hòa Hâo, which focuses on aiding the poor. Cross the border into Cambodia and continue upstream.
day Nov 22
Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, retains vestiges of its French charm, including a riverfront corniche and some examples of French Colonial architecture. Ride along the riverfront aboard cyclos to the Silver Pagoda, home to an “Emerald Buddha” made of Baccarat crystal and a life-size Buddha encrusted with diamonds. Stop by the National Museum for a comprehensive look at its spectacular collection of artifacts excavated in Angkor.
day Nov 23
Travel to the killing fields of Choeung Ek, the center of the darkest days of Cambodian history. Walk through the fields, visit the small museum and Memorial Stupa, and learn more about the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. On the return drive to Phnom Penh, stop at Tuol Sleng (infamously known as S-21), which was converted by the Khmer Rouge from a school to a prison and torture headquarters. Afternoon is at leisure to explore the city of Phnom Penh. Back aboard the Mekong Princess, enjoy a cultural performance including Apsara, Cambodia’s national dance, as well as several traditional folk dances.
day Nov 24
Angkor Ban is a unique village on the banks of the Mekong, one of the few that survived destruction under the Khmer Rouge regime. Centuries-old houses stand on stilts above water while the bustle of local life swirls below. Visit the pagoda for a special blessing ceremony by local Buddhist monks and stop at the local monastery before returning to the ship.
day Nov 25
Kampong Cham / Siem Reap
Disembark in Kampong Cham and transfer to Siem Reap, the gateway to the magnificent Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest religious monument in the world. In the afternoon, enjoy a visit and audio tour of the Ankgor National Museum to learn all about the history of the Khmer civilization. Through the use of interactive exhibits, develop a deeper understanding of the customs, traditions and different beliefs of the ancient empire, giving you a great foundation for the remarkable temples you will see the next day. Enjoy dinner on your own and an evening at leisure.
day Nov 26
Spend an entire morning exploring the grandest of the temples, fabled Angkor Wat, a miniature universe carved in stone. Its central tower represents mythical Mt. Meru, home of the gods. Intricate carvings of deities and demons, graceful Apsaras (female spirits of the clouds and waters), and scenes of everyday life grace its corridors. In the afternoon, travel around Siem Reap by tuk tuk (auto rickshaw) on an art tour, visiting galleries and artisan workshops to view the arts and crafts of the region. Dinner is on your own this evening.
day Nov 27
Early this morning visit Bakheng Temple, the perfect vantage point for a sunrise view over Angkor Wat and the surrounding plain. After a picnic breakfast, relax on a traditional Khmer gondola ride to Angkor Thom, once an enormous walled city, to investigate the temple at its heart. Its 55 large and small towers are topped by carved heads, each one wearing a mysterious smile. In the afternoon, when the light is best, visit Ta Prohm, a silent ruin shrouded in jungle vegetation. This evening bid farewell to your fellow travelers during a festive farewell dinner with live Cambodian music and dance performances.
day Nov 28
Return to U.S.
This morning transfer to the airport for flights home, crossing the International Date Line and arriving the same day.
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