Day 1: Saigon - Cai Be “The Sea of Mangroves” (D)
Bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon as we travel 70 kilometers south by land to My Tho to embark boutique ship. We will be served a refreshing welcome drink 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 to moor midstream where the river is several kilometers wide..
Day 2: Cai Be - Chau Doc “Vietnamese inventiveness” (B, L, D)
The day - in fact everyday - starts with an invigorating tai-chi lesson on the sundeck, just as the sun begins its gentle glow. Coffee and tea awaits the early bird. The day’s tour starts with a visit to Cai Be’s boisterous and colorful floating market on board a traditional sampan*. During the languid ride, discover breathtaking landscapes along the river and quaff the rustic life on the Mekong Delta. The cruise will halt intermittenly to allow us to observe how rice paste, rice cookies and coconut candies are made, along with the Long An fruit drying process. After touring the canals, we head to an ancient house surrounded by fruit orchards before heading 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 and its man-made canals. Here, every villager is involved in the process of growing and processing water hyacinths into natural fibre floor mats and rattan baskets. We then board the Ship for a tranquil evening cruise towards Chau Doc. The Ship will moor midstream overnight.
*sampan - a flat bottomed traditional Vietnamese wooden boat.
Day 3: Chau Doc- border crossing "Taste of aqua cultural life” (B, L, D)
Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the Indochine Dining Hall or in the quiet sanctuary of your balcony. Brace yourself for a short excursion in Chau Doc, a pleasant town near the Cambodian border with sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer communities. We will also visit the colorful local market near an ancient temple. This is followed by a trip to the quay, where we will be feted to a boat excursion to the floating villages and rustic catfish farms. We will certainly enjoy watching schools of basa fish being fed by hand followed by a shore excursion to the local Cham Muslim community village. Then, it is back to the ship for a mouth-watering lunch. By mid-afternoon, the cruise liner will make its way to the border for Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. It is an opportune time to relax on-board, sharpen your culinary skills with our hands-on cooking classes or tour the ship with our impeccable Cruise Director. Or, better yet, do all three. “The Highway Blues” beckon as we float into a state of mild bliss caused by the hypnotic murmur of the ship’s engine. After hours of cruising, we will feel the rush of entering into a new country and to embrace new adventures.
Day 4: Phnom Penh “Pearl of the East” (B)
Off we go early in the morning to witness a truly indescribable scene while approaching Phnom Penh’s river promenade. Sadly, after breakfast, it is time to disembark the cruise and transfer to the hotel at 10:00.