The Lost Civilization
Saigon – Siem Reap (or vice versa)
8 Days / 7 Nights
The classic Mekong river cruise, the lost civilization combines places rarely visited with opulent world heritage sites.
- Day 1: Ho Chi Minh - My Tho - Cai Be
- Day 2: Cai Be – Sa Dec – Tan Chau
- Day 3: Tan Chau – Border crossing – Phnom Penh
- Day 4: Phnom Penh
- Day 5: Phnom Penh – Angkor Ban – Kampong Cham
- Day 6: Kampong Cham – Wat Hanchey
- Day 7: Kampong Cham – Kampong Chhnang
- Day 8: Tonle Sap – Siem Reap
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh - My Tho - Cai Be
Bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon as we travel 70 kilometers south by land to My Tho to embark your boutique Ship. We will be served refreshing drinks and light lunch as the Ship steadily glides along the Mekong. We will bathe in the fading sunset on the balcony followed by a briefing at the lounge. Later, a welcome dinner awaits us.
When approaching Cai Be, the Ship drops anchor midstream. Light lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are included. Overnight in Cai Be.
Day 2: Cai Be – Sa Dec – Tan Chau
Tai Chi lesson on the Sundeck.
Visit Cai Be’s boisterous and colorful floating market on a traditional sampan (a flat bottomed traditional Vietnamese wooden boat).
The cruise will halt intermittently to allow us to observe how rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies, rice pop, rice wine and coconut candies are made, enjoy local life along the canals on the way back to the Ship for lunch.
In the afternoon, we cruise to Sa Dec. Upon arrival, we embark a traditional sampan to tour Binh Thanh Island to visit an untouchable village.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. The Ship will moor midstream overnight near Tan Chau.
Day 3: Tan Chau – Border crossing – Phnom Penh
Brace yourself for a short excursion in Tan Chau, a pleasant town near the Cambodian border with sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community.
Firstly, the journey takes you to the “evergreen” islands where you will be thrilled to learn the life of the locals.
We stop to visit a fish farm located in the Tan Chau canal.
You continue by boat to Tan Chau pier, disembark here and stroll around this colorful local market with lots of regional products.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. Overnight we anchor midstream near Phnom Penh.
Day 4: Phnom Penh
Sightseeing in the morning will include the Killing Field outside town.
Visit the Genocide Museum, see the dazzling white and gold edifice of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, and witness exceptionally beautiful Khmer craft at the National Museum. We go back to the Ship by “cyclo” – traditional vehicle after our museum visit.
The evening starts with a comprehensive lecture on Cambodia’s modern history.
BBQ dinner is served right after the lecture.
Apsara dance performance.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 5: Phnom Penh – Angkor Ban – Kampong Cham
We will depart before the break of dawn from Phnom Penh with a stop at the little known Silk island community. We will then return to the Ship and pass by the Mekong’s tranquil villages, exhilarating river life and sun-hardened fishermen on their shift boats.
We will tour the rural Angkor Ban village where time stand still. We are transported back a hundred years into an era unaffected by modernity. The houses here are truly rustic, made by hand and without any concrete. But most of all, we feel overwhelmed by the unbridled warmth of the villagers.
Travelers can take part in the daily activities of the villagers to experience village life first hand. Then, we are back to the Ship to cruise towards Kampong Cham.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. Overnight in Kampong Cham.
Day 6: Kampong Cham – Wat Hanchey
We will wake up in the early morning, truly energized to embark on a land journey to the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Travelers either take a motor-taxi or climb 303 steps to the top.
We even get to engage in light banter with some of the monks in the area. We will return to the Ship to witness a blessing ceremony performed by orange-clad local monks. Lunch on board.
We will then cruise towards Kampong Cham to visit Wat Nokor, a Wat built within the ruins of an ancient temple which holds a timeless story. Visit OBT project of Heritage Line and organization for Basic Training.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included. Overnight in Kampong Cham.
Day 7: Kampong Cham – Kampong Chhnang
We approach Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “Water World” where everything is on stilts balanced on water rich soil– it’s an awesome sight whilst practicing Tai Chi on the deck.
Here we take a minivan to see the Khmer-styled pottery at the Aundaung Russey village. Then, it is back to the river for 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.
We then return to the Ship for lunch while cruising the narrow and meandering Tonle Sap River.
In the evening, a sumptuous spread will be served. And for the big entertainment - bring along your dance shoes and learn to jiggle the Cambodian way with our staff doubling up as dance instructors
Day 8: Tonle Sap – Siem Reap
The Tonle Sap (The Great Lake) is the flowing heart of Cambodia, giving love and life to this nation.
Enjoy the stillness of the water and the quiet tranquility on the way to Siem Reap. The water level varies a great deal according to the time of the year and the amount of rainfall recorded. Thus, minor changes to the itinerary may occur during different seasons.
Our Heritage Line cruise liner comes to an end as we reach this city of the fabled Angkor temple complex. We bid farewell to the cruise as our journey comes to an end. But the memories and the friendships made on board linger on for a lot longer.
We will cross the Tonle Lake at dawn and at 09:00am, we will disembark at the Siem Reap Port for onward coach transfer to the drop off point in town.
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 Cambodia Immigration policy) 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). 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)