A short week to embrace the customs of many ethnic
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The Mekong is legendary ... A link between China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, the backbone and soul of Southeast Asia. This journey will allow you to discover sites, inhabitants and architectural monuments along one of the greatest rivers of the world.
Day 1: Saigon arrival
Day 2: Saigon - Ben Tre
Day 3: Ben Tre - Mo Cay - Can Tho
Day 4: Can Tho – Tra Su - Chau Doc
Day 5: Chau Doc – Phnom Penh
Day 6: Phnom Penh - Battambang
Day 7: Battambang visit
Day 8: Battambang - Siem Reap
Day 9: Siem Reap - Angkor Vat and Angkor Thom
Day 10: Siem Reap - Kbal Spean - Banteay Srei - Siem Reap
Day 11: Siem Reap – Roulos - Kampong Kleang
Day 12: Last moments in Siem Reap
● The coconut jungles in the Mekong Delta
● Endless green rice paddies
● Mangrove forests in Tra Su and Siem Reap
Cultural and architectural wealth
● Saigon’s lively alleys
● The Chinatown of Saigon
● Semi-maritime life in the Mekong Delta
● Life on the water in Can Tho and Tonle Sap Lake
● Ancient temples in Siem Reap and Battambang
Meeting with local people
● Homestay in the Mekong Delta
● Fishermen on the Tonle Sap
Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon or "Pearl of the Far East", you will be welcomed by our guide and brought to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore the largest city of Vietnam and its wide elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings at your own pace. Overnight at the hotel.
Departure from the hotel at 8:00 am to Ben Tre province in the Mekong Delta. Arrive at Hung Vuong Pier, 90km far from Sai Gon, where you’ll cruise along the Ben Tre River and visit an artisanal brick factory and its imposing ovens. Stop for tea time, a sweet break in a coconut candy manufacture, and discover how coconut flesh is used and processed. A short bike ride or a tuk-tuk drive (a motorcycle allowing to transport 6 passengers) will allow you to explore the countryside and to visit a family braiding mats. Lunch in a local restaurant offering typical dishes. Then, board a rowing boat to join the canal through a maze of arroyos and return to the landing stage. Overnight in homestay.
|Car: 120km/2,5h||Sampan: 2h||Biking: 1h||B, L, D||Homestay|
After feasting on a homemade breakfast, you will first cross an arm of the Mekong in a sampan boat. Then take on a bike ride that will allow you to discover the local daily life. The path winds gently through pretty traditional houses. Stop several times along the canal to observe coconuts workers. Leave the sampan crew near the town of Cho Thom and take the road back to Can Tho.
The day will continue with a visit to Binh Thuy's old house, scenery where the movie “L'amant” was shot in 1992, an adaptation of the famous novel of Marguerite Duras. Rest of the afternoon is free so you can explore the shops near the port.
|Car: 120km/2,5h||Sampan: 2h||Biking: 1.5h||B, L||Hotel|
In the early morning, excursion to the floating market of Cai Rang, the largest in the region, where boats full of fruits and vegetables concentrate every day. Then, stretch your legs and take a walk in one of the orchards of Mr. Tu Dung, where you will be able to enjoy fresh tropical fruits and visit a vermicelli factory. Return to the mainland and drive to Chau Doc.
On the way back, stop in the stork sanctuary of Can Tho (Bang Lang). The view from the platform overlooking the forest is breathtaking, with hundreds of storks and herons nesting there. One last stop before Chau Doc to discover the enchanted Tra Su forest. This mangrove is a pure ecosystem (70 bird species, 140 plant species, 20 reptile species...) composed of cajuputs. Experience the magic of the place sailing smoothly on a river covered by water lenses, lotus hearts and water lilies. If you wish to have a spectacular view of the forest and Cambodia, you can climb the 6 floors of the observation tower.
Arrived in Chau Doc, visit the Chua Hang pagoda located on Mount Sam but also dug into it. An exceptional pagoda combining the different cultural and religious influences of the region. The architecture and panorama are worthy of a cinematic setting.
|Car: 180km/4h||Sampan: 2h||B. L||Hotel|
After breakfast at your hotel, you will take a 5 hour cruise on the Mekong to reach Phnom Penh. The afternoon, visit all the Royal Palace monuments: Chan Chhaya Pavilion, the Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, which has the world's finest collection of Khmer sculptures. Discover the monument of Independence, which is shaped according to the central tower of Angkor Wat, and was erected in 1958 to commemorate the country's independence from France in 1953. Proceed with the visit of Wat Phnom Daun Penh - pagoda built by lady Daun Pen, in 1372, on a small hill. Wat Phnom remains today the highest artificial hill in Phnom Penh and the center of many entertainments.
In the morning, transfer to Battambang. Several visits are planned to enhance this day: first, Phnom Oudong, which you will reach climbing a long staircase. A breathtaking panoramic view of surrounding villages, pagodas, plains and lakes is waiting for you. Keep going and head to Kampong Chhnang, along the Tonle Sap and its river port. In Pursat, a beautiful city by the river, visit marble sculpture workshops (Buddhas and souvenirs). Enjoy a motor-powered sampan tour through the floating village of Kampong Loyang. Before arriving in Battambang, learn how pots, vases and other ceramic items are manufactured. Overnight at the hotel.
|Car: 280km/6h||Sampan: 1h||B||Hotel|
By bike or tuk tuk (motorized tricycle, carries up to 4 passengers), ride along the Zhang Khe River in a lush scenery, lined with many pagodas, witnesses of a bygone era. On the way, make a first stop to discover the traditional manufacture of rice cakes in a small typical factory. Then, start the visit of the temple Wat Ek Phnom, built in the 10th century, and keep going with the Angkorian temple of Phnom Banon. At the top of the hill where it’s located, enjoy a breathtaking 360° panoramic view. A short transfer by car then takes you to the station for a great adventure: it's time to experience a typical local transport means, the bamboo train! For about 1h30, ride in a wooden car driven by a locomotive with a 10 horsepower engine on an abandoned rail line. Don’t forget to meet your driver, a friendly villager who will guide you in this unusual activity.
In the morning, take part in a guided tour of the city to admire the French colonial style architecture. Visit the archaeological museum of the province, then you’ll be better equipped to explore the temple of Wat Ek Phnom, built in the 11th century. Head to Siem Reap via Sisophon. On the way, spot hanging bridges in between villages on the riverbanks. Seize the opportunity to stop in a village specialized in weaving cotton scarves. Visit the temple of Banon built in the 12h century, whose five towers dominate the surrounding hill. There, enjoy the panoramic view of the plain, villages and mountains that make up this rocky scenery. Let yourself go and meet the villagers touring family rice cake factories and of an ancient pagoda. Arrival in Siem Reap where you’ll spend the night at the hotel.
Hop on a tuk tuk (motorized tricycle, carry up to three passengers) and follow the river to reach by the west the famous temple of Angkor Wat. Have lunch in a local restaurant then head to the temple of Angkor Thom (Great City). Entering the southern gate, admire the famous Bayon dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, and the 11th century Baphuon, dedicated to Brahmanism (ancient Hinduism). Proceed with the Elephant Terrace or the Leper King Terrace.
This day trip is first focused on the visit of Kbal Spean (River of a Thousand Lingas), at about 30 km (1-hour drive) north of Angkor. Next, head to Phnom Kulen Sacred Mountain (487 meters above sea level). You will reach it after a 45 minutes hike through a dense rainforest. Then, explore Banteay Srei temple (Citadel of Women), dedicated to Shiva, whose architecture and pink sandstone sculptures are a Khmer masterpiece. The temple turns a beautiful shade at sunset, a sight not to be missed.
After breakfast, a short transfer will show you the surroundings of Siem Reap along a beautiful country road. Venture into Roulos, the oldest temple complex in Angkor, called "Roluos Group", located 12km east of Siem Reap. These temples are the remains of Hariharalaya, which was for 70 years (and under four successive kings) the first Khmer capital.
● The Preah Kô is dedicated to Jayavarman II, first king and founder of the kingdom of Angkor
● Bakong is by far the largest temple of the Roluos group and the first "state temple" supposed to mark the center of the capital
● The remains of Lolei, four dilapidated brick towers laid on a two-level basement
Continue your journey to Kampong Khleang, a lakeside village. After lunch at a local’s home, hop on a traditional wooden boat. Cruise gently on the river and the great Tonle Sap Lake, discover the lakeside Khmer life. Return to Siem Reap in the late afternoon.
|Car: 80km/2h||Sampan: 1h||B. L||Hotel|
Depending on your departure flight, transfer to Siem Reap Airport. End of our services.
This trip is privately organized by iLOTUS TOURS. The price of the trip varies according to the size of the group, the level of services, the season and your reservation deadlines. The price published above is applied for a group of 6 participants, based on double/twin rooms in hotels. Click "Personalize this trip" to get the exact price for your group.
THE PRICE INCLUDES:
• Accommodation and breakfasts in hotels on the accommodation list
• Meals clearly mentioned in the program: B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = dinner
• The entrance fee to the sites
• Competent English-speaking guides throughout the trip except the free days when it is mentioned clearly: without a guide
• Private air-conditioned car for all land transport except free days when it is mentioned clearly: without driver
• One litre of drinking water per person per day
• All logistic services necessary of the program.
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
• International flights and airport taxes from/to your country
• Visa fees
• Means of transport not mentioned in the program
• Meals not mentioned in the program
• Tipping for services: local guides, crew member, drivers, porters…
• Drink, telephone, linen or all personal expenses not mentioned in the "price includes" section.
RUN OF MEKONG 12 DAYS
From : 1382 $
A short week to embrace the customs of many ethnic
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An in-depth discovery of a beautiful Tonkin
Four days of strolling in the heart of the Mekong Delta