Extension river cruise aboard the R.V. Tonle Pandaw
The perfect addition to our Classic Indo-China tour. Cruise in comfort down the might Mekong River, enjoy daily excursions ashore and watch the passing panorama of river life from the observation deck. Exploratory shore excursions are led by expert local guides.
Siem Reap - Tonle Sap
Arrive at 12:00 to register at Koulen II Restaurant in Siem Reap in preparation to transfer by coach to Prek Dom on the Tonle River, enjoying a snack and cold drinks on the way with a stop at Kampong Thom. Arrive by 17:00 and cruise to Kampong Chhnang for overnight mooring.
Kampong Channang – Phnom Penh
Kampong Channang is a busy rural port town with bustling markets. Mooring mid-stream, we make a truly wonderful motorboat excursion into the lakeside wetlands that form the mouth of the river. Here a stunning variety of birdlife may be seen and of considerable interest are the great fish traps. We touch the capital Phnom Penh in the afternoon to change pilots and enter the Upper Mekong bound for Kampong Cham and stop for an afternoon walk at a rural village.
This morning we journey upriver to the hilltop pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Dating from the 8th century, these ancient brick structures characterise the architecture of the Chenla Empire which predates the glories of Angkor. During lunch we sail downstream and enjoy an exploration of the Kampong Cham area. Then by bus to the 12th century Angkorian temple of Wat Nokor, followed by a visit to the eco village of Cheungkok proudly supported by the French-Cambodian NGO AMICA and the Kampong Cham orphanage, which enjoys support by the Pandaw ProBono programme. We depart late afternoon from Kampong Cham en-route to Phnom Penh. Overnight mid-stream.
The capital of Cambodia retains much of its French Charm. The city has several impressive wats, including Wat Ounalom, Wat Phnom and the newly-painted Wat Lang Ka. Pride of place goes to the Royal Palace and to the spectacular Silver Pagoda, one of the few places in Cambodia where artifacts embodying the brilliance and richness of Khmer culture, were preserved by the Khmer Rouge. The National Museum is another highlight, with outstanding displays of Khmer crafts. An afternoon excursion is arranged to the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng or S21 detention centre situated in the suburbs of the city. Then we have time for a little shopping at the Russian or Central market. More happily, Phnom Penh has a lively night life, and some passengers may choose to dine ashore or try one of the capital’s many watering holes; a favorites being the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
Mekong - Border Crossing
We cast off for a day cruising in the main Mekong channel, an international shipping route. Today we stop at Prek Touch, a jungle village, to visit fruit orchards, and then set off for the Vietnamese border for the usual formalities.
We travel from the main Mekong channel at Tan Chau down the canals and backwaters by local ferryboat. At Chau Doc we visit a Cham tribal village and a cat fish farm. We have time to enjoy a trishaw ride around this fascinating town of fine French-colonial buildings before returning to the ship for lunch and in time to cast off for Cai Bei.
This morning we transfer to a junk and sail to Dong Hoa Hie Island to visit a floating market and go ashore to visit the French Gothic Cathedral and colourful port area, with its colonial buildings, delightful flower gardens and local rice paper manufacturers. We explore evergreen islands and visit the former Imperial residence, the An Kiet House. In the afternoon we continue our sightseeing by boat to Vinh Long to visit the Bonsai Gardens.
Mytho - Ho Chi Minh City
Early morning sail from Cai Bei for My Tho, where we disembark at 0830 for our coach transfer to the Renaissance Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City arriving approximately at 10:30. Later this afternoon transfer to the airport for the flight back to Australia.
Arrive home early this morning.