Arrive Hanoi, Vietnam
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam’s vibrant capital city, known for its graceful colonial architecture, frenetic streets, verdant parks and ancient temples. After your airport greeting, you will be transferred to your hotel - Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel (or similar). The remainder of the day is yours to explore the city on your own, or perhaps rest up for your big day tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
A morning sightseeing tour will take you to some of Hanoi’s most famous sites, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, One-pillar Pagoda and The Temple of Literature. You will also visit the infamous prison that American POWs sarcastically dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton” during the Vietnam War. In the afternoon, experience an authentic rickshaw ride (known as “cyclo”) in the Old Quarter, followed by a traditional water puppet show.
Hanoi – Ha Long Bay (Overnight Junk)
Thursday, September 6, 2018
After breakfast, leave Hanoi behind and take a scenic ride to one of Vietnam’s most renowned locations, Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Board a contemporary junk with traditional accents, where you will spend the night – an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience and an OLIVIA exclusive. Enjoy an onboard dinner set against the bay’s magnificent scenery and dramatic limestone cliffs and rock formations.
Ha Long Bay – Siem Reap, Cambodia
Friday, September 7, 2018
This morning, your Ha Long Bay Junk continues its scenic cruising during breakfast onboard. Late morning, disembark and transfer to Hanoi Airport. A short flight will take you to Siem Reap in Cambodia, the gateway to Angkor, the former capital of the Khmer empire and one of the most renowned archeological sites in all of Southeast Asia. Tonight, you will enjoy a special “Apsara Dancing Show” at your hotel. Overnight in Siem Reap at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort (or similar).
Siem Reap – Angkor
Saturday, September 8, 2018
After breakfast, you will have a guided sightseeing tour of the Angkor Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include Angkor Thom, the newly restored Baphuon Temple, Terrace of the Elephants, and the Terrace of the Leper King. You will also see the Bayon Temple, best known for its gigantic smiling stone faces. Visit nearby Ta Prohm, known as the “Kingdom of Trees” for the way in which the temple stones have become intertwined with thick forest vegetation over the centuries (showcased in the film Tomb Raider).
This afternoon, travel through the rural countryside to visit the pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srei, the "jewel of Khmer art." Afterwards, you will visit an English-language school sponsored by AmaWaterways in the village of Ta Toum. Tonight, you will enjoy a special “Apsara Dancing Show” at your hotel.
Siem Reap – Angkor
Sunday, September 9, 2018
This morning you will visit the most iconic of all Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat. This intricate and massive temple complex was built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century to honor the Hindu god, Vishnu. The temple stands as a masterpiece of Khmer architecture. The afternoon is yours to spend as you wish. You may choose to enjoy the local town, restaurants or seek out $5 foot massages, enjoy the beautiful hotel pool and facilities, or perhaps go back to Angkor Wat in the late afternoon for a different lighting opportunity for photographs.
Siem Reap – Prek Kdam – Embarkation – Kampong Chhnang
Monday, September 10, 2018
Today you will be transferred by motorcoach to board your river cruise ship at Prek Kdam, a small village on the Tonle River. Meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner as the ship cruises to Kampong Chhnang.
Kampong Chhnang – Koh Chen
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
After breakfast, a local boat will take you into the lakeside wetlands that form the mouth of the Tonle Sap River. Enjoy the stunning variety of bird life here and be on the lookout for the traps used to catch fish in this area – some are over a halfmile long. In the afternoon, take a leisurely walk to the Koh Chen village. You will also visit home workshops specializing in silversmithing and coppersmithing.
Kampong Chhnang – Phnom Penh
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
This morning, transfer to Oudong, the former capital of Cambodia, and tour a monastery where you will receive a special Buddhist blessing. In Kampong Tralach, you will have a truly memorable excursion – an oxcart ride through the rice paddies surrounding a small village. Later, your ship departs for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where an afternoon tour will give you a wonderful introduction to the city. Return to the ship for dinner and a Khmer folk performance by local children. The vessel moors overnight in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Thursday, September 13, 2018
This morning you will take an excursion to Cambodia’s infamous Killing Fields and visit the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng S21 detention center (Genocide Museum). After lunch on board, your afternoon tour explores the city famous for its French colonial architecture, busy cafés and colorful nightlife. Visit the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, with an outstanding collection of Khmer crafts. An overnight on the waterfront provides an opportunity to dine on your own in one of many nearby restaurants.
Phnom Penh – Border Crossing – Tan Chau, Vietnam
Friday, September 14, 2018
Spend the day cruising the Mekong River as your ship crosses the border into Vietnam. Your vessel moors midstream at the small town of Tan Chau, Vietnam.
Tan Chau – Sa Dec, Vietnam
Saturday, September 15, 2018
This morning, you’ll visit Tan Chau, a small Mekong River town unspoiled by tourism. You will have the opportunity to take one of two tours this morning. Your first option is a traditional “xe-loi” (trishaw) ride with stops at a silk-making workshop and another that produces rattan mats and slippers. Or you can take a boat ride through the narrow channels of the Mekong River to several scenic locations, including a small village known as “Evergreen Island.” Return to Tan Chau, where you will visit workshops that make silk and rattan mats. This afternoon, your ship cruises to Sa Dec, where it will moor overnight.
Sa Dec – Xeo Quyt – Cai Be, Vietnam
Sunday, September 16, 2018
Once ashore in Sa Dec, tour the town where French writer Marguerite Duras spent many years in her youth. Visit a colorful local market, and the house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, Duras' Chinese paramour. Later, board a motor coach for Xeo Quyt, once used as a base during the French and U.S. wars and now an important ecological site. After lunch on board, a local boat will take you to Cai Be’s spectacular floating market. You will also have an opportunity to visit candy and rice paper workshops. This evening, enjoy a festive Farewell Dinner on board.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Disembark
Monday, September 17, 2018
Your cruise comes to an end as the ship docks at My Tho Port followed by a transfer to nearby Ho Chi Minh City, still affectionately referred to by locals as Saigon. This former capital of Indochina was once known as the “Paris of the Orient.” Today, Vietnam’s largest city is an industrial, cultural and educational hub, but still retains vestiges of its colonial past.
Explore famous landmarks as the former Presidential Palace, a photo stop at the Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral. You will also visit the War Remnants Museum, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, known for its vast collection of artifacts from the Vietnam War. Finish with a visit to the Ben Thanh Market – one of the oldest and most iconic structures in Ho Chi Minh City, where you can search for local handicrafts, colorful textiles, as well as other unique souvenirs and gifts before your journey home. Top the evening off with dinner on your own in a local recommended restaurant. You will overnight at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza Hotel (or comparable hotel) in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or purchase an additional hotel night to extend your vacation. If your flight departs in the evening, this will give you another day to explore the city, shop or take an optional tour.