Linked by the mighty Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia abound with magnificent carved temples, lush landscapes, and cities where rich imperial and colonial legacies mingle. Encounter the incomparable treasures of Angkor, and then set off on a river voyage to Vietnam's Mekong Delta aboard the elegant Jahan. Explore traditional villages and gain insight into the daily lives of farmers, monks, and craftspeople.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Depart the U.S. for Siem Reap, setting clocks ahead a day as we cross the international date line and arrive the next morning. Settle into our stunning Khmer-style hotel, perched on the banks of the Siem Reap River.
Rise early to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat, one of the world’s largest religious monuments. Explore the interiors of this 12th-century Khmer temple, adorned with elaborate bas-reliefs and sculptures. Then ride a tuk-tuk, or motorized rickshaw, to the walled city of Angkor Thom, and gaze at the immense stone faces carved into the Bayon Temple. Continue to Ta Prohm and lose yourself in temples shrouded by tree roots and limbs. Visit a workshop where local youth are trained in age-old Khmer arts. In the evening, enjoy traditional Cambodian music and dance at a beautifully lit private dinner at one of Angkor’s temples.
Drive to the bustling town of Kampong Cham and embark the Jahan, our home for the next seven nights.
At Wat Hanchey, see a variety of temples, including an eighth-century structure from the pre-Angkor Chenla period. Or, we may visit the Mekong island of Koh Dach—home to a lively and active monastery as well as an extensive community of silk weavers—where we may watch artisans at work. Continue to the village of Angkor Ban and stop at its traditional houses to meet with friendly residents.
Anchor at Kampong Chhnang and visit a village known for traditional pottery. Glimpse a unique way of life in the floating villages of Tonle Sap, and in Kampong Tralach, ride oxcarts to a local school.
Explore the Cambodian capital by cyclo, or bicycle taxi, and visit the Royal Palace and the National Museum of Cambodia. Learn about the reign of the Khmer Rouge on a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This evening, enjoy a dance performance.
Take in views of everyday life along the river, attend talks by our experts, and join our chefs to learn how to cook regional dishes. Cross the border into Vietnam.
Meander through the colorful markets of Tan Chau or Chau Doc, each a feast for the senses where piles of exotic fruits and vegetables are juxtaposed with live fish, simmering sauces, and sacs of noodles and rice. Visit nearby floating villages and a fish farm, where fish are fed through trap doors, then continue cruising the Mekong.
Take a local boat up a tributary to experience rural life in the Mekong Delta. See the floating market of Cai Be, step into a rice “factory” to watch rice-based candies being made, and cruise among floating markets and fish farms. In the evening, gather for a gala dinner aboard the Jahan.
Disembark in My Tho to visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda. Journey to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and embark on a tour of the city landmarks, including the Reunification Palace—headquarters for the South Vietnamese government during the Vietnam War. After lunch, check in to our hotel in center of the city. In the early evening, meet with a local expert on Vietnam’s modern history, then enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
In the morning, take a tour of the Cu Chi tunnels, part of a huge network of underground passageways used by the Viet Cong during the war. Choose to visit the War Remnants Museum, offering an in-depth account of the conflict through the eyes of the Vietnamese. After a free afternoon, attend a lively performance of water puppetry—a distinctive Vietnamese folk art practiced for over 300 years. Later, gather for a private cocktail reception at the exquisitely restored home where Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. lived when he was U.S. ambassador to Vietnam during the war. Enjoy dinner on your own. Depart the following morning.
- Vietnam Extension8 days from $5,260
Experience the extraordinary history, traditions, and flavors of Vietnam on this eight-day extension, traveling from elegant cities to the idyllic coast. In the ancient trading port of Hoi An, shop for fresh ingredients at a local market before cruising downriver to take part in a hands-on cooking class. Explore the spectacular imperial city of Hue, seat of the Nguyen dynasty, viewing lavishly decorated temples and elaborate gardens. Cruise among the pinnacles of the newly opened Lan Ha Bay aboard a traditional junk boat, and cap off your journey amid the tree-lined boulevards and monuments of Hanoi.
Fly to Da Nang, then transfer to Hoi An. Once an important trading port for spices and ceramics, Hoi An has remained largely unchanged for over 200 years. The city’s well-preserved historic district—a UNESCO World Heritage site—offers a chance to step back in time along narrow, lantern-lit streets and ancient canals. Check in to our hotel, then set out on a walking tour to visit former merchants’ houses and the 16th-century Japanese Covered Bridge, a symbol of the city. View intricate wood carvings at the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation, then shop for spices and colorful silks at a local market. Continue exploring on your own before gathering for dinner at our hotel.
This morning, delve into a bustling market with our guide and select fresh produce and other ingredients that you will use to cook a Vietnamese meal. Board a traditional boat and travel along the river to a local cooking school for a hands-on class utilizing the ingredients you selected, then sit down to savor the dishes you’ve prepared. This afternoon, explore Hoi An on your own and perhaps sample more of the city’s local delicacies.
Weather permitting, drive through the Hai Van (Sea Clouds) Pass, named for the mists that rise off the ocean into the lush green hills. Enjoy panoramic views of the coastline before descending to the fishing village of Lang Co, located on a sand bar in Lang Co Bay. Continue to Hue, a former imperial capital spread over the banks of the Perfume River. Enjoy a home-cooked lunch in a restored royal residence, then check in to our riverside hotel. This afternoon, explore the legacy of the Nguyen dynasty, which ruled Vietnam from the early 19th to the 20th centuries. Enter the walled citadel which shelters of the Imperial City and its inner sanctum, the Purple Forbidden City. Marvel at bright red and gold temple interiors and intricate landscapes in the gardens.
This morning, continue exploring the city’s imperial history. At the burial compound of Minh Mang, the second emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, pass through three gates and climb three stone terraces to enjoy views of three elegant bridges over a network of lakes. Then drive to the elaborate Tomb of Khai Dinh, built for the 12th Nguyen emperor on the slopes of Chau Chu mountain. Khai Dinh’s close relationship with the French colonial government is evident in the tomb’s opulent blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles. On the banks of the Perfume River, marvel at the seven-story Thien Mu Pagoda, one of Hue’s best-preserved religious monuments. The afternoon is free to explore at your leisure before gathering to savor distinctive Central Vietnamese cuisine for dinner.
Transfer to the airport this morning and fly to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. Check in to our hotel situated in Hanoi’s elegant French colonial district. This afternoon, enjoy a guided cyclo tour through the colorful streets and markets of Hanoi’s old quarter and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Spend the day exploring this charming city of ochre-hued colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards, and scenic lakes. Begin at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument of marble and granite which serves as the final resting place for the Vietnamese leader. Then marvel at the One Pillar Pagoda, an ancient temple constructed on a single pillar rising from the water, intended to resemble a blossoming lotus. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to the Temple of Literature, where Vietnam’s first university was established in the 11th century to educate the children of the elite. Learn about the confluence of Confucian philosophy and architecture in the temple’s design as you stroll between courtyards. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore on your own.
After breakfast, head east to the coastal city of Haiphong to embark on an overnight cruise through tranquil Lan Ha Bay, adjoined to HaLong Bay. Board our ship, built in the style of a traditional Vietnamese junk, and set sail on the bay's turquoise waters. Glide past dramatic limestone towers draped in green, and secluded crescents of sand sheltered by steep cliffs. In the afternoon, choose to disembark for a short drive or bicycle ride to a nearby village to learn about the rhythms of daily life on Vietnam's northeast coast. Later, enjoy dinner onboard and watch the glimmer of ships’ lights reflected in the calm waters of Lan Ha Bay as night falls over this surreal landscape.
Rise early to catch the sunrise over the water and enjoy a late breakfast onboard. Disembark in Haiphong and return to Hanoi. In the afternoon, visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of Vietnam's many unique ethnic groups. Step into traditional-style homes and learn the intricate processes behind styles of art unique to each tribe. The following morning, transfer to the airport to connect with your return flight home.