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Mekong Explorer - 7 days/6 nights

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – Mekong Delta – Chau Doc – Phnom Penh

Explore the mighty Mekong River from the heart of Southern Vietnam to Cambodia. In this cultural and historical journey, you will meet a war time photo-journalist and explore the Mekong Delta up close with a luxury private cruise. Visit rustic countryside villages, home workshops and beautiful French colonial villas. Learn about the culture and cuisine of the Cham people who once ruled an ancient kingdom in Central Vietnam.


Privately-Guided! Whether you are a single person, a couple, or a group, you'll have your own guide and driver for all airport pickups, drop offs, and daily excursions. 
 
Choose Your Own Dates! This is not a fixed-departure-date tour. Just let us know the dates that work best for you and we will arrange everything.
 
Customizable! Need more time? Less time? Want to see or do something that isn't included? Just let us know, and we will arrange it for you and let you know the change in costs.
 
Click here to read what our clients have told us after they return.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels built during the Vietnam War
  • Meet Mr. Hoang Van Cuong, a former United Press International photojournalist
  • Overnight on board your private river cruise boat
  • Bicyle ride in the countryside
  • Speedboat ride to Phnom Penh

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred to your hotel for check in. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City
Optional: make an early morning visit to Tao Dan Park where you can join many local people for morning exercise or Tai chi. After, return to the hotel for a hearty breakfast before visiting the Reunification Palace - the former Presidential Palace of the Southern Vietnamese Government before 1975.

Proceed for photo opportunities at the Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, City Hall and Opera House. Head up to the observation deck at the new Bitexco Financial building for a bird's eye view of Saigon at 627 feet high. Later stop by the iconic Ben Thanh market and interact with local vendors selling an array of handicrafts, household goods, grocery items and typical local snacks. End the day at the roof top bar of the Caravelle hotel, a popular gathering place for journalists during the Vietnam War. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. (Breakfast)

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City
This morning, drive to visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an important base during the American War. The Vietcong built a 200km long network of tunnels connecting command posts, hospitals, shelters and weapon factories. Dug out of hard literate by hand tools without the use of cement, this amazing network was never discovered.

Afternoon, return to Ho Chi Minh City and visit a private museum of war photography by Mr. Hoang Van Cuong, a former United Press International photojournalist during the war. Most American journalists departed with the US Embassy staff when North Vietnamese troops took over Saigon on April 30, 1975. Mr. Cuong was one of the few journalists who stayed behind and documented this momentous period with his photos. Listen to his encounters with combat troops and imprisonment in a re-education camp for seven years. Later, enjoy a Vietnamese coffee break while having your portrait sketched by a professional local artist. A lovely memento from your visit to Vietnam! Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. (Breakfast)

Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City to Ben Tre to Se Dec (Start of your private cruise)
After breakfast, drive about 1.5 hours to Ben Tre where you will board your private boat cruise at 10am. Upon arrival, you will meet your crew from Mango Cruise and board your private “sampan” boat where you will spend 2 nights. Your boat is equipped with comfortable beds and hot shower, and all meals are prepared fresh onboard. Depart from Ben Tre along the Ham Luong River to Sa Dec via An Hoa Canal. Along the way, stop for a visit at the floating fish farm and experience the local river culture. Getting back on the boat and cruise towards the town of Sa Dec where your boat will anchor for the night. This evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration and dinner on board. Overnight on board your private boat. (All Meals)

Day 5: Cruise to Long Xuyen
Breakfast will be served onboard and you will begin the morning with cycling through the village of An Phu Dong. For hundreds of years this village has supplied Saigon with its daily fresh flowers. Return to your boat to freshen up, start cruising to Long Xuyen, another small provincial town. On the way, stop to explore more local villages by bicycles, interacting with the friendly locals.

As your boat continue cruising, you will start to notice more houses on stilts and an increase of flooded fields. This area is prone to severe flooding and as a result, is one of the Delta’s poorest regions. Tonight, enjoy another sumptuous freshly cooked dinner onboard. Overnight on board your private boat. (All Meals)

Day 6: Arrive Chau Doc (End of your cruise)
Start the morning with breakfast on board while cruising to Chau Doc, the last border town in Vietnam before you cross over to Cambodia. Along the way, stop for more visits to local villages. In Chau Doc, switch to a smaller boat to visit the Muslim Cham  village in Chau Giang, one of the biggest Muslim towns in Vietnam where the locals speak both Vietnamese and Cham languages. They read the Quran in Arabic and all the men in the village wish to travel to Mecca once in their lifetime. You will visit the Mubarak Mosque. Return back to your main boat and cruise towards the boat pier of your riverside hotel. From your hotel, you can stroll easily around on your own along the riverside towards a local market. Overnight in Chau Doc. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 7: Chau Doc to Phnom Penh
Rise early for breakfast before taking a 5 hour speed boat ride to the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. You will travel along the Bassac River, the west delta tributary of the Mekong. Enjoy rustic views of bamboo stilt houses on river banks, agricultural farm lands and life along the Mekong. (Breakfast)

Cambodia Extension

While this itinerary ends in Phnom Penh,, we can arrange a tour of Cambodia as an extension to this tour. For tours in Cambodia, see our Cambodia page for recommended itineraries.
 

Inclusions and Exclusions

Our Package Rates Include

  • Private airport transfers
  • Daily accommodation with breakfast
  • Private vehicle transportation for all excursions per itinerary
  • Meals as listed in above itinerary
  • Services of a local, English-speaking guide for all visits and excursions
  • All tours and activities mentioned in the itinerary, including entrance fees
  • Private river cruise in Mekong Delta
  • Speedboat shared-transfer from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh
  • Services of a local English speaking guide for all visits and excursions

Rates Do Not Include

  • International airfare
  • Vietnam and Cambodia visa application fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for driver and guides
  • Expenses of a personal nature
     

To Book This Tour

Please call us toll free at 1-877-362-2793 and let us know that you are interested in this tour. To prepare a proposal, we'll ask questions about how many people are traveling, your preferred travel dates, standard and types of accommodation, and any special interests that we may be able to accommodate.

Once we have finalized a customized price quote for you, your agent will inform you a per-person non-refundable deposit to initiate reservations (typically 20% of tour cost). Final payment is due 75 days prior to departure.

If your reservation is made less than 75 days prior to departure, the non-refundable deposit will allow us to initiate reservations. Full payment will be due immediately upon confirmation of all hotels and transportation services. If the services quoted cannot be confirmed, alternate accommodation or transportation will be arranged and the price will be adjusted accordingly.

Payments can be made by personal check, bank wire transfer, or credit card. Upon receipt of your deposit, we will initiate your reservations and send you a statement showing your payment. Approximately 2 weeks prior to your departure, we will send you a final confirmation containing your itinerary and detailed information on the logistics of your trip.
 
Please review our complete terms and conditions:
Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellation/Refund Policies

- Cancel more than 60 days prior to departure - forfeit your deposit.
- Cancel between 30 and 60 days prior to departure - forfeit 50% of the tour cost.
- Cancel less than 30 days prior to departure - NO REFUND of tour cost.
- Cancellations must be made in writing and sent via mail, fax, or email to Red Lantern Journeys.
- Refunds will be processed within 30 days of receipt of your written request.
- No refunds are available for unused services or tours during your trip.
 


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