Siem Reap – Phnom Penh (or vice versa), 5 Days – 4 Nights
The best of rural Cambodia is offered with this cruise program. See the unseen, discover ancient per-Angkorian temples, relish the cordial smiles of the inhabitants of this region and feel emerges with the water landscape of the Tonle River. The Tonle is magical River and one important lifeline of the Mighty Mekong during the low water period.
The displayed program below is a sample of a 4-night downstream cruise between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh for high water cruises. The downstream Serenity Cruise is also available as 3-night option. Please visit our download page to review all programs for upstream and low water cruises.
Day 1: Phnom Penh
Welome to Phnom Penh the once called Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance. It is an amazing town to bespeak centuries of incredible history and culture which can still be felt at many street corners.
We start with a full sight seeing tour right after breakfast. By bus we visit the Killing Fields at the outskirts of the city and after the centrally located prison “S21”. Both historic sites display the sad and cruel chapter of Khmer history when once the Khmer Rouge ruled the country with terror and supression. Those places have merely changed much since the horrific time back in the early seventies and so it can be heart wrenching. There is the alternative to explore the city during the morning by your own pace individually before re-joining the group.
Lunch we take in a nice restaurant in town. Our exploration of Phnom Penh focuses afterwards on the fascinating cultural heritage of Phnom Penh. The golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum are the afternoon highlights. The day trip ends with a “cyclo” ride back to the ship through the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh.
Take some rest in your spacious cabin or join other fellow passengers at the bar for some refreshing drinks before our capturing evening activities start:
It begins with a variety of cocktails served on the sun deck or at the open bar. We move to the lounge which is set up for a captivating lecture about Cambodian mordern history, held by a professor of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Definitely among the highlights of this cruise to receive knowledge out of first hand as our lecturer had a private relation to the former King of Cambodia and many other high ranking politician.
After the lecture a feast of barbecue dinner on the sun deck commences. The dinner is accompanied by an Apsara dance performance. You have to witness the brilliance and richness of this dance along with the soothing sounds of traditional music.
As the evening unwinds enjoy your supper with a good glass of wine and marvel at the skyline of Phnom Penh and the calming flow of the Tonle River.
Day 2: Phnom Penh – Kampong Cham ( Mekong)
We depart before the break of dawn from Phnom Penh towards the small Angkor Ban village up the Mekong River. Wake up to the gentle cruise motion and get ready for breakfast in the dining room.
The Angkor Ban village is famous for it´s unspoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses. It feels like being transported back a hundred years into an era unaffected by modernity. Villagers characterize an unbridled warmth.
Back on board our staff is keen to show you the variety of traditional Khmer fashion. Lunch is served after this performance.
We cruise further up the Mekong to visit a local school to understand more about the education of the young Cambodian generation (the project is funded by an NGO). Those children here are always excited to show their skills in music and art and will bath you in smiles upon your applause. We continue the travel by road to the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey (7th century). This small complex sits on a hill top right on the shore with breath-taking views on the Mekong.
Another temple on the way is the tiny, colorful monastery of Wat Nokor. Here we might get the chance to engage in a light banter with some of the monks living in the area.
Relax back on board until dinner is served. The boat moors mid-river near Kampong Cham.
Day 3: Kampong Cham (Mekong) – Kampong Chhnang (Tonle)
We sail downstream the Mekong during breakfast time and stop at the Island of Koh Oknha Tey. This spot in the middle of the Mekong owns its fame for the manufacturing of high class silk products.
By tuk tuk we explore the island with its workshops and learn how silk is processed from its source, provided by little silkworms, to a final top quality product made of original Cambodian silk.
Before lunch our expert guides offer a presentation about “Geography of the Mekong and Tonle Sap”.
After lunch a Monks’ blessing ceremony on board will deliver spirits and wishes for our health and prosperity for all.
The cruiser continues its journey, passing the confluence of Mekong and Tonle River towards Kampong Tralach. Gliding through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape we reach Kampong Tralach. Cacophonous children waive enthusiastically while bringing their livestock for a bath in the meandering river. Live to see all this life - which is so much different than ours - by a local ox cart ride.
The boat find its anchor spot later in the Tonle River near Kampong Chhnang allowing you to observe the interesting and close-by life on shore until dinner is served in the restaurant.
Day 4: Kampong Chhnang - Tonle Lake
Wake up early to witness this spectacular water-world in the break of down. Our moring Tai Chi class has the perfect backdrop today.
We are now at Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world”, where everything is on sticks balanced on water rich soil. This is the most fascinating cruise part in Cambodia.
We take a local boat to the shore. With mini buses we head to a rural village nearby and go on a walking tour. Our guides introduce the village specialities – Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. Definitely you should bring home some. Before returning to the boat we explore the local floating villages and wetlands of the region.
Back on board lunch is served as your floating sanctuary cruises gently along the narrow and meandering Tonle, towards the Great Tonle Lake. The river opens up to a vast “sea” - known as the biggest fresh water lake in Asia. This lake can only be crossed during high water season (approx. from End-July to Mid-November). Let your soul float and your eyes wander while the boat makes its way towards Siem Reap.
In the afternoon we serve a high tea at the bar and as the sun sets, our crew invites for a farewell event. Enjoy your dinner and some dance and music afterwards together with the crew.
The boat moors mid-like near Siem Reap.
Day 5: Tonle Lake - Siem Reap
The Tonle Sap (The Great Lake) is the flowing heart of Cambodia, giving love and life to millions of people. It has more fishes than any other lake in the world and is home to an incredible variety of birds, including rare – and endangered – feathered life.
Our Heritage Line cruise comes to an end. We get ready to disembar and tak a local boat to the shore passing a vast floating community.
Around 09:00 o’clock, we disembark at the Siem Reap pier and bring you with a short transfer to the drop off point in the city center of Siem Reap.
We hope that you enjoyed this fascinating river same as our crew does every single time. Moreover we wish that you will take plenty of memories and friendships along with you that will linger with your stories of this amazing river - the Mighty Mekong.
What is the difference between Upstream and Downstream?
Upstream and Downstream indicate the direction, the Ships will travel. Downstream means from Siem Reap to Saigon. Upstream is the opposite direction from Saigon to Siem Reap.
What is the difference between Low Water and High Water season?
Low water season: The water level goes down and very low in Tonle Sap, so the Ships have to dock in Kampong Cham, where the embarkation and disembarkation will take place. It takes 4.5 hours for our coaches to transfer to the meeting point in Siem Reap (Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa).
For downstream (REP-SGN) we will meet at 08:00am for the check-in formality.
For upstream (SGN-REP) the coaches will drop you off around 13:30pm at Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa.
Low water season is approximate from January to middle of September.
High water season: The Ship could cruise along in Tonle Sap and dock near Siem Reap pier. It just takes 45 minutes for our coaches to transfer to the meeting point (Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa). The embarkation and disembarkation of the Ship will take place near Siem Reap pier.
For downstream (REP-SGN) we will meet at noon (12:00pm) at the meeting point for check in formality.
For upstream (SGN-REP) the coaches will drop you off around 10:00am at Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa.
High water season is approximate from middle of September to the end of December.
High water and low water season just make itinerary timing schedule changeable in Siem Reap, there will be no changes at other destinations.
Do I need to arrange visa before arriving in Saigon or Siem Reap?
For most foreigners visa are needed for both countries. Please check with the Vietnamese and Cambodian embassies in your country.
During the upstream cruises (SGN-REP), Heritage Line could support to arrange Cambodia visa at the border. The visa fee of USD 37 per person (subject to change during public holidays and others terms) will be added to their onboard account.
For downstream cruises (REP-SGN), Heritage Line could support to arrange Vietnam visa as well. But as the visa has to be issued in Phnom Penh, the processes is difficult and expensive (visa fee will be advised at the time you request for). We strongly recommend arranging Vietnam visa before arrival in Vietnam or Cambodia.
Is an E-Visa accepted in Vietnam and Cambodia?
Please note that both Vietnamese and Cambodian E-Visas are not accepted for waterway entry to either country.
Passengers who wish to obtain their own Visas before the trip must apply directly at a Cambodian or Vietnamese Consulate or Embassy, or by other methods, that will allow them to receive a normal Tourist Visa-for the country they will enter into on the water.
- For upstream journeys (Vietnam to Cambodia) a Vietnamese E-Visa is acceptable for entry by air to Vietnam-but for the water way entry to Cambodia, a Cambodian E-Visa is not acceptable.
- For downstream journeys (Cambodia to Vietnam) a Cambodian E-Visa is acceptable for entry by air to Cambodia-but for the water way entry to Vietnam, a Vietnamese E-Visa is not acceptable.
Passengers who have obtained E-Visas-for the country that will be entered by water-will be required to apply for new onboard and pay all visa fees.
What does the tour include?
a. General Inclusions
All cruises include group shore-excursions, entrance fees, transportation, tour guide services (English speaking), taxes, fuel, river pilots, port dues, transfers in Saigon and Siem Reap from/to the meeting point to/from embarkation/disembarkation point or vice versa. Meals are included full board. Drinking water, coffee/tea (from jug) is included all day. Fruit juices are included in addition during breakfast.
Port tax per passenger of 65 USD (levied by Port authorities and port taxes appear on our invoice). Crew gratuities (8 USD – 10 USD per passenger per day are recommended). Cambodian Visa (available on Upstream cruise only/37 USD)