Jeep meets Mekong Princess River Cruise Boat:
An adventurous luxury tour across Vietnam and Cambodia with the Mekong River and Angkor Wat as its highlights.
This is one of the most unique and special trips we organise. Especially designed for adventure-minded travellers who also love a little luxury after a hard day’s adventuring. Vietnam meets Cambodia and Cambodiajeep meets the Mekong Princess Cruise boat. We will take you on a 15-day trip that few travellers will ever have the opportunity to undertake which is what makes this trip so special. You will be able to explore the bustling colonial city of Ho Chi Minh in a vintage jeep and stay in a specially selected hotel.
Next you will Then embark on the beautiful 5-star Mekong Princess Boat and you will sail through the gorgeous Mekong Delta visiting truly unique and special places. You will have the chance to get to know the wonderful locals and enjoy delicious food on board, expertly prepared by a professional chef. As you cruise upstream you will cross the border into Cambodia. Not long after crossing, you will realize that life on the banks of the Mekong in Cambodia is quite different from Vietnam.
Once you arrive in the bustling capital. you will have a wonderful experience on a cyclo, (the cyclo is a traditional three-wheel bicycle taxi). You will be cycled through the lively streets of Phnom Penh where you can sit back and let the traffic pass you by. You will then continue our boat cruise and can be spoiled by taking a well-deserved massage on board.
From Kampong Cham you will be taken to the beautiful colonial town of Siem Reap where we have specially selected your overnight stay to be in the stunning Jaya River House Park. Here you can indulge yourself with award-winning hotel service, lush grounds, spacious gardens, and charming Khmer art-deco inspired design. Nothing beats a great sunrise, that is except seeing the sunrise over the most iconic temple in the world coupled with a unique vintage jeep tour! You will be driven directly to the magnificent Angkor Wat temple. Here you will watch the sun rise over the majestic ruins as it gradually illuminates the temple’s stunning five towers. The vintage jeep is of course an excellent way to explore the Siem Reap countryside. You’ll drive along small roads and through picturesque villages, where palm trees line the rice paddies. Walk through the forest with an elephant and visit the legendary Phare the Circus. This is a trip you’ll be talking about with your friends and family for many years to come.
Day 1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City ( Saigon ) is the business and financial hub of Vietnam, with a prominent history going back hundreds of years. Today, Ho Chi Minh City is a popular tourist destination due to its fascinating culture, classic French architecture and sleek skyscrapers as well as ornate temples and pagodas. The city is also filled with rooftop bars that overlook Saigon and beyond, while fantastic restaurants offer a combination of French, Chinese, and, of course, local Vietnamese cuisine.
Today you will be picked up at Tan Son Nhat Airport and transferred to your 5 star hotel. During the drive through the city you will be amazed by the number of motorbikes you’ll see.
At 5.30pm your driver will pick you up from your hotel to bring you to the Saigon pier. Here you will board the Saigon Princess for a sublime 4 course dinner.
After boarding you can enjoy the sunset with a glass of wine while the city lights start coloring the skyline. After cruising for a little bit you a 4 course dinner will be served.
At around 9.30PM your will disembark and your driver will bring you back to your hotel.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Highlights Tour
Today you will visit all the highlights this city has to offer. From the turbulent past during wartime Saigon to well preserved temples and pagodas.
The morning program
The Reunification Palace: This is one of the most important buildings in the city. Here on April 30th 1975 the ‘American War’ officially ended when tank number 843 of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of what was, at the time the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam.
War Remnants Museum: Formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, this is a poignant display of the futility of war. Some of the black and white photography in the ‘Requiem’ exhibit is particularly touching, dedicated to both foreign and Vietnamese journalists and photographers who perished during the conflict.
Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office: Built between 1877 and 1883 this is one of the best examples of classical French colonial architecture. Remarkably every stone used in its creation was shipped from France to Vietnam.
By this time you must be getting hungry so we will make a stop at a nice local restaurant for you to experience the tasty local cuisine.
Giac Lam Pagoda: This is Saigon’s oldest pagoda, dating back to 1744 and one of the finest in Vietnam. Inside 98 pillars and 113 statues and a myriad of mini-Buddha vie for your attention.
Cholon & Thien Hau Pagoda: Cholon actually means Big Market – a claim that is well justified as Vietnam’s largest market, the Binh Tay is situated here. The district is home to the city’s 400,000 Chinese and has many beautiful temples and pagodas.
Tonight you can explore Saigon on your own.
Day 3: Cu Chi Tunnels Tour and a foodie tour by jeep
In order to combat better-supplied American and South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War, Communist guerrilla troops known as Viet Cong (VC) dug tens of thousands of miles of tunnels, including an extensive network running underneath the Cu Chi district northwest of Saigon.
Soldiers used these underground routes to house troops, transport communications and supplies, lay booby traps and mount surprise attacks, after which they could disappear underground to safety. To combat these guerrilla tactics, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces trained soldiers known as “tunnel rats” to navigate the tunnels in order to detect booby traps and enemy troop presence.
Now part of a Vietnam War memorial park in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), the Cu Chi tunnels have become a popular tourist attraction.
You will learn how the tunnels worked, you’ll visit a command center and discover all the boobytraps the guerrillas used to surprise their enemies.
You will see how people lived in an underground town and if you are brave enough you can crawl through the tunnels by yourself.
Saigon by night – Jeep tour
5.30PM: Pick up at the hotel, you will be transferred by Jeep to a local restaurant, which is located in a small hidden alley. This restaurant only serves one dish but it is really worth trying.
Bánh Xèo or “sizzling cake”, named for the loud sizzling sound it makes when the rice batter is poured into the hot skillet.
Watching the chef preparing Bánh Xèo and then enjoying it could be an interesting experience. Leaving the restaurant after the “starter”, you will continue discovering how the locals are eating out in the evening,
The next stop is the 5KU restaurant, where you will have “the main course”. This is a new trendy restaurant, where they serve foods and beers in a very lively open atmosphere. The regular clients of this restaurant are officers, young people, they all come over after work to meet each other and enjoy a fun time. Order some foods, beers, you then immerse yourself into the local crowd.
Day 4: Jeep meets Mekong Princess River boat
After breakfast your driver will pick you up and bring you to the port where you will board the luxury Mekong Delta cruise. Our guide awaits you at the RV Mekong Princess docking at Saigon Port – 05 Nguyen Tat Thanh St, Ward 13, District 4, HCMC. Once aboard, you will be welcomed by your Vietnamese and Cambodian ship’s crew, before embarking on the most extraordinary journey of discovery. We sail at midday through the famed Mekong Delta on our way to the ‘Mighty Mekong River’.
Lunch, with highly attentive oriental hospitality, will be served soon after departure, as we cruise along the Saigon River. Having settled into your luxurious suites, you can relax and enjoy the new scenes and watch the world pass by.
Late in the day we anchor in the heart of the Mekong Delta, where cocktails are served as sun sets, and sampans pass by. A traditional Vietnamese dinner is soon ready, embracing a subtle fusion of dishes for the most eclectic tastes.
Day 5: Explore the creeks in a sampan
This morning, sampans take you through a channel lined with mangroves to visit a local coconut candy maker. After watching the candy-making process, walking through the village to visit an orchard where fruits native to Vietnam can be seen in various stages of maturity on the vine. After a fresh fruit tasting, you continue to a pier where you board small, local boats (two guests per boat) for a trip through the narrow creeks lined with Nipah palm before returning to the ship.
This afternoon, the ship sails through an area of the Mekong Delta barely touched by tourism to Can Tho city, the capital riverside city of Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Guests will take a short and orientated city tour with visiting to the Zihuang Pagoda (Chua Ong) and enjoying the welcome unicorn dances. Explore yourself on own around the charming city before having dinner onboard. The ship docks in Can Tho overnight.
Day 6: The largest floating market in Vietnam
We begin our morning before breakfast aboard the sampans for a cruise through the fascinating Cai Rang floating market near Can Tho. The sampans will weave in and out of the many boats that sail into the market each morning to sell produce and other items the residents of the Mekong Delta need in their daily lives. As they weave through the market, there will be many opportunities for amazing photographs, while enjoying fresh fruit and the Vietnamese “anti-aging drink,” fresh coconut water. Before returning to the ship for breakfast, we stop at a local noodle factory, where we witness the amazing process of how they are made.
After lunch, continue excursion by boat to Hoa An village, where is untouched and well-known with flower growing and handmade craft. Our first stop at flower gardens where we will see many different kinds of flowers and learn how to grow and take care of them. Then, a short walking to a local house and chat with the host to see how they live and work in their daily life.
After a short break, continue our excursion on motor cart to another village. We stop by at the conical hat-making and mat weaving families, have memorable time chatting with local family members and learning how to create products though hands-on experience. Enjoy your walk in the peaceful village with rice fields, fruit trees in between visiting few local families.
The Mekong Princess sails and anchors near Gieng Island.
Day 7: Crossing border
This morning we board sampans that will take us into Gieng Island. After a short walk around the local sampan village, where hundreds of sampans are produced daily by local families, we take a canal drive to explore the untouched floating area with duck farms, monkey bridges, and tropical orchards along the riverside. We will try one of most popular local transportation named “xe loi” (motor trishaw) driving through this island to visit a Catholic Church, built around the same time as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon in the 1870s.
This afternoon, we visit the local island village of Hong Ngu, not far from the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Hong Ngu produces a large number of the traditional, Khmer scarves exported to Cambodia. Woven in many homes around the village, here we have the opportunity to see the weaving process under several homes. Some villagers are also embroidery artists, displaying their art in and around the homes. The inhabitants of this area had only encountered one western visitor prior to the arrival of the Mekong Princess, they are especially friendly and welcoming. Guests will also visit the local temple dedicated to a unique religion founded in this area of Vietnam, Hoa Hoa. This late afternoon, the RV Mekong Princess will cross the border into Cambodia and continue up the Mekong River.
Day 8: Welcome in Cambodia
Our Mekong Princess arrives Phnom Penh this morning and docks at the center port.
After lunch, local cyclo drivers meet you for an exciting city tour of Phnom Penh. You begin your ride along the riverfront to the Royal Palace, where a leisurely walk takes you through the grounds, with opportunities to visit the Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion. Upon crossing into the second section of the complex, you walk amongst enormous stupas and spirit houses, on the way to the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and Maitreya Buddha, encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds. Following a short break, your cyclos take you to the National Museum. Housing the largest pre-Angkorian and Angkorian holdings in Cambodia, the National Museum ends the morning tour with a comprehensive look at many of the artifacts excavated around the Angkor Archeological Area in Siem Reap, as well as other areas around the former Khmer Empire.
The ship docks overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 9: Phnom Penh half day city tour
This morning, private motor-coach take you on a scenic 45-minute drive from the ship, arriving at Choeung Ek, the killing fields depicted in the movie, and the center of the darkest days of Cambodian history. You may 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, a stop is made at Tuol Sleng (infamously known as S-21), which was converted by the Khmer Rouge from a large school to a prison and torture headquarters.
This afternoon is free at leisure for your own exploration the charming city of Phnom Penh.
This evening before dinner, enjoying the entertainment onboard with a cultural performance including Apsara, Cambodia’s national dance, as well as several traditional folk dances.
The ship docks in Phnom Penh overnight.
Day 10: Teach the children
The Princess leaves Phnom Penh and sails to Angkor Ban. We start the afternoon tour with a visit to the charming and authentic town of Angkor Ban. Here, we witness the daily life of the local people, starting with a visit to the pagoda with a special blessing ceremony for our guests by local monks, then we keep going on visiting to a local family’s home, to meet them and discuss their lifestyle.
We continue through the village to the local school where we join the children in their classroom and experience what their typical school day is like.
Ship sails to Kampong Cham and docks overnight.
Day 11: On the way to Siem Reap
After breakfast we disembark the Mekong Princess in Kampong Cham. Transfer by motor-coach to Siem Reap. Arrive Meeting Point at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap Hotel at noon. From here we will transfer you to Jaya River Park. This is an environmentally-conscious, award-winning luxury hotel, peacefully located alongside the Siem Reap River, surrounded by fully grown trees,
Tonight you will get an exclusive fine dining experience unparalleled in Siem Reap and headed by our own local legends, Executive Chefs Pol & Sok, the “Kimsan Twins”. Their experience has taken them to different continents and under the mentoring of a Michelin starred Chef. They bring with them to Embassy Restaurant a five-star quality, “Active” seasonal Khmer gastronomy menu that’s regularly changed.
Day 12: The ultimate sunrise at Angkor
You will have an early start when you are picked up from your hotel in a vintage open top jeep. You will be driven directly to the magnificent Angkor Wat temple. Here you will watch the sun rise over the majestic ruins as it gradually illuminates the temple’s stunning five towers. After this beautiful experience, you will enjoy a magical walk through the temple in the soft morning light and cool temperatures. After you have fully taken in all this UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer, a delicious breakfast awaits a short jeep ride away so you can regain your energy and reflect on the morning so far. We drive back to your hotel for breakfast and a rest. After breakfast, you will ride around the hidden trails of the Angkor complex in the jeep. Our years of experience here in Cambodia have allowed us to research and discover the paths less travelled, allowing you to experience this beautiful tour away from the crowds. You will travel along dirt roads and through the jungle to visit some of the park’s best-kept secrets as well as the iconic temples. The giant, magical faces of the Bayon Temple, the mystical temple of Ta Prom where nature has sought to reclaim the ruins, as well as the intricate and stunning Elephant Terrace are just some of the highlights you will experience. After this awe-inspiring tour, we will return you back to your hotel . Tonight you will have a free evening and you can discover Siem Reap by your own.
Day 13: Kulen Elephant forest, magical experience.
In the foothills of beautiful Kulen Mountain lies the Bos Thom Community Forest, 1100 acres of pristine, protected forest inhabited by the 14 elephants of Angkor. For 22 years, these elephants were used as tourist attractions, giving rides to visitors in the temples of the world heritage site. Today, thankfully, they roam free in their natural habitat and are a living testimony of a changing world. The name of it: Kulen Elephant Forest.
The journey to the Kulen Elephant Forest is almost as spectacular as seeing the majestic elephants themselves. Travelling in one of our restored vintage jeeps makes this trip more adventurous, allowing you to travel on small dirt roads through the forest, giving you a truly unique view of nature at its best.
In the morning, you will have a magical experience of helping feed the elephants their breakfast, and watch them get ready for their day before heading into the forest together. Experiencing the elephants’ mornings is a fantastic way to gain a better understanding of how to care for these majestic creatures. At noon, you will retire to base camp and enjoy a delicious traditional meal at the same time as our large residents, before bidding them adieu and heading out for your afternoon activity.
Not too far from the Elephant Kulen Forest there is a small pagoda at the foot of a hill. You will take the stairs uphill and once at the pagoda you will be able to experience a truly beautiful view over the surrounding countryside. It is also possible to cool yourself down by taking a dip in the “pool” of the pagoda.
On the way back you will get back into your trusted vintage jeep and explore the country roads and small villages as you wind your way through beautiful vistas back to Siem Reap.
Day 14: Four unique experiences in one day
First, you will visit Theams’s Gallery. This is the home, studio and gallery of Cambodian master artist Lim Muy Theam. As you step from one breathtaking pavilion to another, you will experience a sanctuary of serenity and a true viewing pleasure. This lavish space invites you to explore Khmer culture at its best and immerse yourself in Theam’s impressive private collection of local artefacts.
Second, you will visit Apopo. Here you will experience the reality of humanitarian mine clearing and how they train rats to save lives. Take the opportunity to learn more about landmines, Cambodia, APOPO and African-born HeroRATs. See a HeroRAT in action! This is truly a unique experience.
The third experience for today is quite lordly. Prepare your meal together with a Cambodian family. It is not a cooking class but together with your hosts you can prepare 3 different dishes together. But you can also just watch how the food is made by a local family. Of course you sit down and enjoy this Cambodian lunch together with the family.
The rest of the afternoon is for leisure. You can do some shopping at the many markets or relax at the beautiful pool of your hotel.
We end the day with another very special experience.
At 7pm you will be picked up and taken to Phare. Phare tells unique Cambodian stories using modern circus arts and music, with themes from Cambodian tradition, ethos and spirit. The performances are a mix of theater, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and an explosion of virtuosity and energy. During the one-hour shows, the Phare performers share their emotions and excitement and blow the audience away with a dazzling show. A “must see” in Siem Reap.
Day 15: Farewell
The final journey of your trip in Cambodia will be a private transfer to the airport in Siem Reap to catch your flight. We hope that you have enjoyed a wonderful trip through this truly 2 beautiful countries, and that you are leaving with happy memories which will last a lifetime.
Were these 14 days not enough and you want to see more of Siem Rep’s temples and surroundings? Or would you like to spend a few more days on a tropical island with white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees? Let us know and we can put together a tailor-made tour for you to end your vacation in style.
Jeep meets Mekong Princess River boat cruise
The price for this unique tour depends in which season you want to start this tour and what cabin you want to stay in. Mekong Princess boat has different types of cabins. It is also possible to arrive the tour earlier in Hoh Chi Minh and spend 1 or 2 days to recover from the long journey. We can also add an extension and spend a few days in one of Cambodia’s tropical islands. Also it is possible to do this tour in the opposite direction. We do depend on the departure days of the Mekong Princess boat and besides this we can do everything according to your wishes.
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