MEKONG RIVER CRUISE 2020The Journey Land Tours Included In Your All-Inclusive River Cruise Holiday!
Featuring Special Guest Historian Dr. Jean-Michel Filippi, PhD:
Dr. Jean-Michel Filippi is a professor of Khmer linguistics in the royal university of Phnom Penh. He is the author of numerous books about Kammerer language and Cambodian ethnic minorities and is recognized as an authority on the flow of languages, history and cultural traditions of Indochina. He is also written several book about Cambodia, Vietnam and the surrounding regions.
*Onboard programming throughout the cruise includes daily lecture from special guest historian Dr. Jean Michel Fillipe, cooking classes, movie showings, and traditional fashion, music and dance performances.
Day 1 Monday – Phnom Penh – Cambodia
Arrive & Check-in, welcome dinner and orientation
NOTE: Every morning before breakfast passengers are invited to join the Tai Chi class on the sundeck – a superb way to start the day for the new adventures to come.
Day 2 Tuesday: Phnom Penh – Kampong Tralach – Kampong Chhnang – Cambodia
Before the sun peeks over the horizon, we set sail towards Kampong Tralach and the Tonle River – an amazingly narrow river – which glides through leafy swaths of the Southeast Asian jungle. We are greeted by cacophonous sounds of children who wave enthusiastically early in the morning when they bring their livestock for a bath in the meandering Tonle River. Our morning excursion begins with a visit to the local schoolhouse and talk with the kids, they are very eager to practice their English. On return to the boat experience something we are quite sure you have never done – riding ox carts.
Back on-board cruise the narrow and meandering Tonle River. We approach Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world” where everything is on stilts balanced on water rich soil. Here we take a van along the paddy fields to discover Khmer-styled pottery making and sugar palm processing at the Aundaung Russey village. Then, it is back to the riverbank for an adventurous excursion to the wetlands, floating houses and fish farms in the region.
Day 3 Wednesday – Tan Chau – My An Hung – Vietnam
Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. When reaching the shore, via local boat, for our first excursion of the day brace yourself for a ride on local vehicles called “xeloi” to explore Tan Chau, a pleasant town near the Cambodian border. We will also visit the colorful local market near an ancient temple. Back to the pier and before returning to the boat for lunch we will explore floating villages and rustic catfish farms.
Afternoon we will go on shore at My An Hung for a walking tour of the village and then meet a local couple who will welcome us to their home and perform Mekong traditional music. An exciting dragon dance show will follow and exotic fruits tasting.
Day 4 Thursday – Binh Thanh – Vietnam
On our morning excursion, we embark on a local boat to reach shore of Binh Thanh Island. Here, every villager is involved in the process of making rattan mats. Spend time with the local community with a Q&A session with the village elders – be ready with any questions you may have about Vietnamese history and culture.
Day 5 Friday – Phnom Penh – Cambodia
Phnom Penh was once known as the Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance. Sightseeing in the morning will include the Killing Fields and the S21 Prison. Be prepared to be heart wrenched by this stark reminder of the genocide that transpired during Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime.
Afternoon excursion, we will first visit with the local Jewish community of Phnom Penh, synagogue, and Mikveh, then continue with a visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. We complete our day of touring return to the ship through the busy street of Phnom Penh by “cyclo”– a traditional vehicle
Friday evening prepare for a magical Shabbat on-board docked in Phnom Penh
Day 6 Shabbat – Phnom Penh – Cambodia
Guests are free to disembark at leisure to explore the city at leisure throughout the day, local markets are in close walking proximity to our dock. Motze Shabbos: Enjoy a special Cambodian dance performance – Apsara.
Day 7 Sunday – Oknha Tey – Angkok Ban – Cambodia
Morning Excursion we 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 (great stop for shopping for handmade, original silk products).
In the afternoon, we will tour the rural Angkor Ban village where time stands still. We are transported back a hundred years into an era unsullied 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.
Day 8 Monday – Kampong Cham – Wathanchey – Cambodia
Morning excursion at Kampong Cham where children from the local OBT Project will perform for us in Chiro village. Organization for Basic Training (OBT) is a Cambodian NGO, which provides free-of-charge English, mathematics, traditional music and dance classes to the children from Chiro village to improve their chances of going on to higher education, increase their employment prospects and provide them with a safe environment to play and grow.
Afternoon we travel by road to the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey (7th century). This small complex sits on a hilltop 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.
Day 9 Tuesday – Kampong Cham – Disembarkation
Depart by bus to Siem Reap for tour extension or flight home
SIEM REAP POST – TOUR
Siem Reap is the most prosperous region of contemporary Cambodia. Its close proximity to the Angkor Wat temple complex has turned the city into one of the world’s premier travel destinations. Explore more than a thousand years of Khmer heritage built near Tonle Sap Lake, the foundation of the economic power of the ancient Cambodian empire. The primary attraction for visitors to Siem Reap is the Angkor Wat and the Angkor Temple Region, which blankets more than 300km of northwestern Cambodia. The Angkor Temple Complex has been designated a UN Heritage Site and consists of hundreds of structures from the 9th to the 14th century that tell the story of the rise and fall of the Khmer empire.
These vast collections of historical structures are decorated with intricately carved, priceless Khmer artwork that provide an archaeological and pictorial history of an empire that ruled much of southeast Asia for five centuries. Structures range from partially renovated temples, pagodas and imperial residences to recently discovered ruins that have been virtually untouched for the last 500 years.
No photo can do justice to the Khmer temples of the Angkor complex. Lists of adjectives can’t either: Stunning, humbling, awe inspiring, spiritual and magical. All of these words are inadequate in describing the succession of unforgettable experiences awaiting you.
Optional guided evening walk of the famous Siem Reap night markets.
Day 9 Tuesday – Siem Reap – Cambodia
Arrive Siem Reap and the Raffels Hotel for check-in
Afternoon tour the famous Angor Wat complex, one of the modern wonders of the world. Be amazed by the sheer size of the temple and learn how the Khmer Empire prospered between the 9th and 13th centuries, around the time when Angkor Wat was built. Stroll through the intricately carved hallways that show hundreds of fine carvings. At sunset experience the “Famous Sunset Over Angor Wat”, face the temple complex with the sun behind you as light reflects off the lake for the perfect mirror image of Angor Wat.
Day 10 Wednesday – Siem Reap: Explore Ancient Angkor Thom & Ta Prohm
Today, explore the ancient walled city of Angkor Thom, the former great capital of the Khmer Empire from late 12th century until its ultimate decline in the 15th century. Inside the compound, you will be able to visit some of the most mysterious and fascinating structures of the Angkor complex. Start this morning entering the city by the impressive 23-meter-high South Gate and head to Bayon temple. With its 37 towers and enigmatic smiling faces, it is one of the most emblematic temples. Next continue to Baphuon and learn more about the gigantic project of conservation it has undergone to get back to its monumental appearance. Then explore the Terrace of Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King via Phimeanakas, a small yet wonderful temple hidden in a multi-century old forest behind the terraces.
Afternoon tour the world-famous masterpieces that are Ta Prohm. Enter Ta Prohm by the west gate and be amazed by its detailed and refined bas-reliefs along with the presence of giant trees and roots that are slowly taking over the stones.
For our last evening experience famous Phare Circus show an amazing blend of traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion beautifully choreographed and performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society.
Day 11 (Thursday): Depart Siem Reap – Cambodia
Depart Siem Reap, hotel check-out by 12:00. You will be transferred by private transport to the airport for your departing flight approximately 3 hours prior to flight departure time. Late check-out or day room extension stays may be requested and paid directly to the hotel for those with later flights. Space based on availability and at the discretion of the hotel. (box lunches / dinners provided)
*Although it is our intention to operate the itinerary as detailed proposal, we cannot be held responsible for any last-minute changes that might occur. It may be necessary to make some changes because of climatic conditions, alterations to cruise schedules or other operational factors.
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