Aqua Mekong Cruise
4 Days » Downstream Cruising from Phnom Penh to Sai Gon
- Wonderful chance to climb up Sam Mountain, the highest point in the Mekong Delta and visit pagodas
- Take the most captivating views of the surrounding countryside’s rice fields
- Discover a number of pagodas and temples such as Long Son Tu Temple, Lady Xu Temple, Ba Chua Xu statue
- Explore authentic Vietnamese wet market with diverse kinds of food
- Visit Cu Lao Gieng Church, Catholic Church and admire the indigenous pagodas and wooden houses
- Travel through Cai Be floating market and explore the daily life of the locals
- Exciting chance to visit the Dong Tam crocodile and snake farm where you can learn about various types of snakes
|Day 1||Phnom Penh||Arrive in Phnom Penh, embark on the Aqua Mekong and enjoy a performance||Dinner|
|Day 2||Mekong River – Vinh Xuong border crossing - Vietnam||Cruise to Vinh Xuong boder and Chau Doc village, take a boat to Sam mountain, to visit the Temple of Lady Xu and explore an authentic Vietnamese wet market||Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner|
|Day 3||Bassac River – Chau Doc – Sadec – Mekong River – Cai Be||Board the skiffs to Gieng Islet, visit Cu Lao Gieng Church, admire the indigenous pagodas and wooden houses in the Province Order and Catholic Church, visit markets in Sa Dec town||Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner|
|Day 4||Mekong River – Cai Be – My Tho - Saigon||Travel through Cai Be floating market and explore the daily life, cruise to My Tho, visit the Dong Tam crocodile and snake farm, go to Saigon||Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner|
Activities: Arrive in Phnom Penh, embark on the Aqua Mekong and enjoy a performance
Your guides greet you and our porters collect your luggage for delivery to your suite. Board our air-conditioned bus for the short ride to the pier where we meet the Aqua Mekong. Welcome to the laid back luxury of the Aqua Mekong. Settle into your elegantly appointed, river facing suite as the vessel begins to cruise and thus begins one of life's most memorable and photogenic adventures. Ascend to the Observation Deck if you wish, to sip sundowners with our 7-Night guests against the backdrop of Phnom Penh's skyline. Join us in the evening for a performance by renowned Cambodian apsara dancers who continue an ancient tradition venerated on the intricately carved walls at Angkor Wat.
Mekong River – Vinh Xuong border crossing - Vietnam
Activities: Cruise to Vinh Xuong boder and Chau Doc village, take a boat to Sam mountain, to visit the Temple of Lady Xu and explore an authentic Vietnamese wet market
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Say ‘Good morning, Vietnam’ as we cruise to the Vinh Xuong border and onward to Chau Doc village, which sits along the Hâu River, a tributary of the Mekong. After breakfast on board, perhaps a steamy pho soup in honor of our arrival, we head to the shore by skiff then by road for a change, about six kilometers, to the 230 meter (755 feet) high Sam Mountain, the highest point in the Mekong Delta, and home to dozens of pagodas that dot the mountainside, some even set in caves. We make the easy climb to the mountaintop for the most captivating views of the surrounding countryside’s rice fields, and into Cambodia. If you ask, they will likely pose for your photos, assuming you have a few cigarettes handy as payment for their impromptu modeling duties. Still at the top of Sam Mountain, Aqua Expeditions guests have the unique privilege to sit with the venerable Mahayana Buddhist monks at Long Son Tu Temple for a private audience.
Enlightened, we head back down at the foot of Sam Mountain, stopping to visit the Temple of Lady Xu, one of the major religious sites of the Mekong Delta. In 1820 they completed this temple, originally built of bamboo and leaves, to honor her and in hopes that she would bring them better crops, thus improve their lives. Our chef heads into the local market here, along with any gourmet minded guests interested to explore an authentic Vietnamese wet market, its copious baskets of the day’s catch from the river, crisp vegetables and luscious tropical fruit.
Bassac River – Chau Doc – Sadec – Mekong River – Cai Be
Activities: Board the skiffs to Gieng Islet, visit Cu Lao Gieng Church, admire the indigenous pagodas and wooden houses in the Province Order and Catholic Church, visit markets in Sa Dec town
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Though we are in the heart of Vietnam, French colonial architecture stands all around us today as we board the skiffs along the Tien River to a 40 square kilometer riverine island called Gieng Islet. Walk or cycle around this peaceful religious enclave on the Mekong Delta.
Together we visit Cu Lao Gieng Church, built in 1875 with materials imported from France. It is impossible not to admire its imposing bell tower that appears to pierce the sky high above its low-rise neighbors. At the Convent of the Providence Order and Catholic Church, interact with Sisters or Father to learn of the religious influences on the surrounding communities, which we may visit to admire the indigenous pagodas and wooden houses built in the early twentieth century in traditional Vietnamese design and shaded by bonsai trees, as was the local custom.
After lunch on board the Aqua Mekong, we continue our time travels back on shore with a tour on foot around the town of Sa Dec. We roam around the fresh produce and exotic spices on sale at the local market and make our way to the colonial house once occupied by French writer Marguerite Duras. The house, built in late 19th century, is interesting in itself as a harmonious combination of Western and traditional Vietnamese architectural styles.
Perhaps no one has done more to associate themselves with the Mekong Delta than Duras. Born in Gia-Dinh, as Saigon was formerly known, because her parents had responded to a campaign by the French government encouraging people to work in the colony, Duras’ early life here in Sac Dec was one of extreme hardship. It was here in Sa Dec that the teenaged Duras and Huynh Thuy Le, a rich Sa Dec merchant began their affair that Duras wrote about in her most famous work The Lover.
Mekong River – Cai Be – My Tho - Saigon
Activities: Travel through Cai Be floating market and explore the daily life, cruise to My Tho, visit the Dong Tam crocodile and snake farm, go to Saigon
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Here in the Mekong Delta, people rely on flat-bottom wooden boats called sampan to get around and transport goods to market. On our last morning together, we climb aboard to paddle through Cai Be floating market. Each boat has one bamboo stick on the front to display that vendor’s product, be it Vietnamese fish sauce, rice paper for dumplings, or colorful sweet confectionery.
We continue our exploration of this area on foot or by bicycle for more up close glimpses of daily life of Mekong Delta dwellers. We return to the Aqua Mekong and continue cruising towards My Tho. Here, we pack up and bid farewell to the crew to take the van transfer to Saigon, stopping en route to visit the Dong Tam crocodile and snake farm about nine kilometers west of My Tho. Officially known as the Medicinal Plants Cultivation and Research Centre of Military Zone 9, the largest center for snake rearing and snakebite treatment in the Cuu Long River Delta. Since then, the 12 hectare farm has been engaged in scientific research that involves rearing and conserving precious species of snakes, medicinal plants and animals, as well as producing traditional medicines and providing first aids and treatment for people who are bitten by poisonous snakes. Learn about the various types of snakes slithering around the Mekong Delta, watch the production of cobra venom for medical purposes and from a safe distance, admire the center’s efforts to preserve endangered King cobras.
We continue onward by air conditioned bus through the Vietnamese countryside and into the bustling metropolis of Saigon.
- All meals while onboard
- Beverages (non-alcoholic, selected wines and beer)
- All shore excursions
- Bike use
- Group transfers