This Lost Civilization itinerary travels between Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia’s Siem Reap taking in places rarely visited and world heritage sites.
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City for 2 nights at the Park Hyatt Saigon (Park Deluxe Room), with the rest of the day at leisure. With a population of nearly 8 million inhabitants and an almost equal number of scooters, mopeds and motorcycles all competing for space on the ultra-busy streets, bustling and noisy Ho Chi Minh City is quite literally a metropolis on the move. With so much to see and do, an international dining scene and some of the most luxurious hotels in the country, Ho Chi Minh City is a truly remarkable destination waiting to be explored.
After breakfast head out of the city to the underground network passages at Cu Chi. Preserved as a memorial park, two sections of this remarkable network are open to the public. Visiting the area at Ben Dinh, there is the option to go below the surface and visit sections of the tunnels first hand. After lunch visit the Reunification Palace or Presidential Palace to see the period meeting areas, war rooms and a basement communication centre. Walk to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the city's striking French colonial-era post office, the Hotel de Ville de Saigon, officially Ho Chi Minh City Hall and the Museum of Vietnamese History. Finally stop at the unforgettable Jade Emperor Pagoda, this Taoist temple is one of the most atmospheric.
After breakfast depart to the meeting hotel and then on to board your Heritage Line 'Lost Civilization' cruise onboard either the Jayavarman or Jahan Cruise (date dependent). Upon boarding the cruise, you will receive a drink and light lunch as the ship departs. (B/L/D)
Morning Tai Chi lesson followed by a visit to Cai Be's boisterous and colorful floating market on a traditional sampan (a flat bottomed traditional Vietnamese wooden boat). You will be able to observe how rice paste, paper, cookies, pop, wine and coconut candies are made as you cruise along the canals. Afternoon cruise to Sa Dec where you embark for a traditional sampan tour to Binh Thanh Island. (B/L/D)
Brace yourself for a short excursion in Tan Chau, a pleasant town near the Cambodian border Visit the "evergreen" islands of Tan Chau where you will be thrilled to learn the life of the sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer communities. We stop to visit a fish farm located in the Tan Chau canal before continuing by boat to Tan Chau pier to see the colorful local market. (B/L/D)
Morning visit to the Killing Fields followed by the Genocide Museum, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the exceptionally beautiful Khmer craft at the National Museum. Take a "cyclo" ride back to the ship for an evening lecture on Cambodia's modern history followed by a BBQ dinner and Apsara dance performance. (B/L/D)
Depart early from Phnom Penh with a short excursion to the little known Silk island community. Tour the rural Angkor Ban village, be transported back a hundred years into an era unaffected by modernity with rustic houses, made by hand and without any concrete and feel the unbridled warmth of the villagers. (B/L/D)
Morning journey to the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey where you can take a motor-taxi or climb 303 steps to the top and even get to engage in light banter with some of the monks in the area. Return to the ship to witness a blessing ceremony performed by orange-clad local monks. After lunch cruise to Kampong Cham to visit Wat Nokor, built within the ruins of an ancient temple. Visit to the Organisation for Basic Training community project. (B/L/D)
We approach Kampong Chhnang whilst practicing Tai Chi on deck. This 'water world' has everything on stilts balanced on water rich soil with a visit to the Khmer-styled pottery at the Aundaung Russey village followed by an adventurous motorboat excursion to the wetlands, floating houses and fish farms in the region. The village has no electricity and has around 600 inhabitants. Lunch on the ship whilst cruising the narrow Tonle Sap River. Enjoy dinner and dancing the Cambodian way. (B/L/D)
Cruise the Tonle Sap Lake, the flowing heart of Cambodia, to Siem Reap where we disembark the cruise for the Park Hyatt Siem Reap (Park Room) for 2 nights. (B)
This morning, tour the monumental magnificence of Angkor Thom - last capital of the Khmers we begin our visit at the Terrace of the Leper King. Continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, once of the most beautiful temples at Angkor then our climax, the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. This afternoon, visit Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world, it took an estimated 30 years to build. Enjoy sunset over this magnificent building, an unforgettable experience! (B)
Transfer to Siem Reap airport for your onward flight. (B)
Please note: Itinerary also operates in reverse.
The Jahan: 14, 28 Jan; 11, 25 Feb; 11, 25 Mar; 08 Apr; 03, 17 Jun; 01, 15, 29 Jul; 12, 26 Aug; 09, 23 Sep; 07, 21 Oct; 04, 18 Nov; 02, 16, 30 Dec
Jayavarman: 07, 21 Jan; 04, 18 Feb; 04, 18 Mar; 01, 15 Apr; 08, 22 Jul; 05, 19 Aug; 02, 16, 30 Sep; 14, 28 Oct; 11, 25 Nov; 09, 23 Dec
The Jahan: 07, 21 Jan; 04, 18 Feb; 04, 18 Mar; 01, 15 Apr; 10, 24 Jun; 08, 22 Jul; 05, 19 Aug; 02, 16, 30 Sep; 14, 28 Oct; 11, 25 Nov; 09, 23 Dec
Jayavarman: 14, 28 Jan; 11, 25 Feb; 11, 25 Mar; 08, 22 Apr; 15, 29 Jul; 12, 26 Aug; 09, 23 Sep; 07, 21 Oct; 04, 18 Nov; 02, 16, 30 Dec
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This tour includes a pre and post stay, however we recommend you extend at one of our many beach destinations.
GMT +7 hours (summer) +8 hours (winter)
11 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners.
Occasionally we may need to substitute one or more of the hotels with that of a similar standard.
Vietnam is a vast country and journey times between destinations can sometimes be long.
Vietnamese is the official language and it may help to learn a couple of phrases before you travel. There is a keen interest in English so you may find people keen to practice with you but it is more widely spoken in the cities.
British nationals do not need a visa for Vietnam if travelling before 30th June ’17 for up to 15 days stay. If travelling longer than 15 days then holders of UK Passports will require a visa to visit Vietnam. If you would like to obtain your visas prior to travel we recommend processing your visa directly with ‘CIBT’ who will obtain all visas and return your passport to you by registered post. Contact them on www.uk.cibt.com/virginholidaysjourneys or 0844 800 4650. Cambodia Visa can be bought on arrival, the current fee is US$30 (cash only) and one photo passport is required. Alternatively you can obtain your visas prior to travel at: https://www.evisa.gov.kh/.