Expat Holidays Thailand

Along the Mighty Mekong

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  • CAMBODGE ANGKOR ANCIENNE CAPITALE KHMER. LE TEMPLE D' ANGKOR VAT (TEMPLE MONTAGNE SYMBOLISANT LE MONT MERU) REPRESENTE LE PLUS GRAND EDIFICE RELIGIEUX AU MONDE . IL FUT D'ABORD DEDIE A VISHNOU AVANT DE DEVENIR BOUDDHISTE.

Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City/ Departure from Siem Reap

Highlights: Saigon, My Tho, Cai Be, Sa Dec, Chau Doc, Ko Dek Chau, Phnom Penh, Kompong Tralach, Kompong Luang, Siem Reap.

An unforgettable trip cruising on Mekong River on the nice boat Toum Tiou from Vietnam to Cambodia: start from Saigon and finish at Angkor sites of Siem Reap

Route: Saigon – My Tho – Cai Be – Sa Dec – Chau Doc – Ko Dek Chau – Phnom Penh – Kompong Tralach – Kompong Luang – Siem Reap.
Holiday highlights
  • Chu Chi Tunnels
  • Saigon at night on the back of a classic Vespa
  • Cruising through the Mekong Delta
  • Royal Palace of Phom Penh
  • Traditional Apsara dinner show
  • Angkor Ruins of Siem Reap
  • ATV Sunset tour
Brief itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Saigon

Day 2: Chu Chi Tunnels and Saigon sightseeing

Day 3: Start cruise program

Day 4: Cruising through Mekong Delta

Day 5: Cruising through Mekong Delta

Day 6: Cruising through Mekong Delta and arrive in Phnom Penh

Day 7: Phnom Penh

Day 8: Continue cruising

Day 9: Cruising

Day 10: Arrive in Siem Reap

Day 11: Explore the Angkor Ruins

Day 12: Visit Angkor Wat

Day 13: Departure

Recommended for

Couples, solo travelers.

 

DAY 1 / SAIGON ARRIVAL

Upon arrival in the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh, also known as “Saigon”  your guide welcome you at the airport and transfer to your hotel for check in. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.

Meals this day: none

DAY 2 / CHU CHI TUNNELS – SAIGON SIGHTSEEING

We depart to Cu Chi this morning, where you will visit the amazing tunnel network built by Vietnamese fighters during the American War. Cu Chi was once known as the ‘Iron Triangle’ during the Vietnam War. Return to Saigon late in the late morning. After lunch break, set out to tour the highlights of the former capital of French Indochina. Historic landmarks include the Old Saigon post office, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Opera House and the War Remnants Museum. If time permits, visit to the Ben Thanh market, in the center of the city with everything from tourist souvenirs and t-shirts to fresh produce and stalls selling local snacks. The evening is free at your leisure.

OPTIONAL: Saigon at night on a classic Vespa tour.

Meals this day: breakfast

DAY 3 / HO CHI MINH CITY – TOUM TIOU CRUISE

Spend the morning free at your leisure. Lunch on your own. Then transfer to the pier for boarding on the Toum Tiou boat. The Toum Tiou is all revved up, spruced up, and ready for you. The Toum Tiou departs for My Tho. Enjoy a refreshing welcome drink and a briefing on the cruise. Then welcome dinner will be served. Overnight on board.

Meals this day: breakfast, dinner

DAY 4 / MY THO – CAI BE – VINH LONG – SA DEC

Enjoy your breakfast while the boat is navigating on the marvelous canal of Cho Gao. On arrival at My Tho, the Toum Toiu boat drops anchor on river in the proximity of Thoi Son Island. Local boats come alongside the boat to pick you up and transfer to the mainland. Departure for visiting Vinh Trang Pagoda by car – Short panoramic tour of My Tho town and a local market on the way. After embarking on Toum Tiou boat again, continue cruising to Cai Be. Enjoy lunch and relax on board. Upon arrival at Cai Be, take a local boats to visit the floating market and surrounding arroyos. Continuing for Vinh Long – a brick and pottery factory, the Binh Hoa Phuoc Islet Nursery of Fruit Trees as well a typical house and a show room of traditional farming tools. Vinh Long, which translates as “Majestic Dragon”, is right in the middle of the delta, between two arms of the Mekong. Re-embarking the boat that leaves Cai Be for Sa Dec. Dinner and overnight on board.

Meals this day: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 5 / SA DEC – CHAU DOC

After enjoying breakfast on board, take a short panoramic tour and transfer to Trung Vuong primary school. Continuing to Kien An Cung Pagoda. Stroll around Sa Dec market along Sa Dec River bank. This small city of 30,000 inhabitants is fascinating in its unspoiled authenticity and undisturbed by tourists. It provides a glimpse of the delta where a few colonial houses still remain, including the “Chinaman’s house” (from Duras’ novel “The Lover”, also made into a movie). After visiting, re-embark on Toum Tiou and leave Sa Dec for Chau Doc, lunch and leisure on board. Upon arrival at Chau Doc, departure for fish raising rafts and Cham minority village by local boat.  If the timing is allowing it, watch of the sunset on the Sam Mountain which peaks at 237 meters. Visit on the way of the Lady Chua Xu temple and Tay An Pagoda. Return to the boat for  dinner and overnight.

Meals this day: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 6 / CHAU DOC – KOH DEK CHAU – PHNOM PENH

Toum Tiou leaves early in the morning for Vinh Xuong (Vietnamese border). Breakfast during navigation. Arrival at Vinh Xuong check-point – Formalities clearance for Toum Tiou to cross the border. Toum Tiou leaves Vinh Xuong check point for Phnom Penh. Lunch during the navigation. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh, you are free to enjoy evening in Cambodian capital. Dinner and overnight on board.

Meals this day: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 7 / PHNOM PENH

After breakfast, Visit Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Russian Market. After the visit, return to the boat, lunch onboard.

The balance of the day free exploration on own. (Suggestions can be made up on the interest of passengers. Toul Sleng old center of detention, of torture and execution between 1975 and 1979. The visit of this place is essential to understand what could be the fatal madness perpetrated by the Khmer Rouges.) Around 19:00, return to the boat. Local group performs on board traditional “APSARA” show for 45 minutes. Dinner and overnight on board.

Meals this day: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 8 / PHNOM PENH – KAMPONG TRALACH

After Breakfast. Navigate to Koh Chen. Upon arrival in Koh Chen, visit a village of handicraftsmen that specialise in silvers. At around 11:30, return to the boat. Afterward, The Toum Tiou leaves Koh Chen for Kompong Tralach. Lunch during navigation. Arrival at Kampong Tralach, visit its wonderful Vihara belonging to Wat Kampong Tralach Leu pagoda. To get to it, we cross Kampong Tralach Krom village along a small road perpendicular to the river, crossing some gorgeous stretches of emerald rice paddy as we leave the river behind. The Vihara dates back to early last century. It was probably built on an older site, as indicated by the latérite foundations, and is home to some outstanding mural paintings. These, however, are starting to suffer from weathering and remain one of the last survivors of cultural destruction that continues unabated due to widespread indifference. Its isolation may well be its undoing, as was the case for Wat Tani Pagoda in the province of Kampot. You will re-embark at around 18:00. The Toum Tiou drops anchor few miles away. Diner and overnight on board.

Meals this day: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 9 / KAMPONG CHANG – CHNOK TRU

~ HIGH WATER PROGRAM – FROM JULY TO DECEMBER ~
Departure early in the morning. Sail to Kampong Chnang. Breakfast during navigation. Located some 56 miles from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonlé Sap.The area is famous for its pottery ware, unchanged in style for centuries, which is produced in sufficient quantities to supply the entire country. And not to be overlooked are the products of the Thnot tree (sugar palm – a real national symbol) that abounds in the area: a mellow tasting, caramel-colored sugar sold in large cakes and palm wine.Re-embark the Toum Tiou. Lunch on board on the way to Chnok Tru. Upon arrival at Chnok Tru, local boats are coming along the Toum Tiou and picking you for the visit. Almost totally overlooked by tourists because of its remoteness and difficult access, the village is completely self-sufficient. A floating school, factories to make ice for fish preservation, church, pagoda, service stations, pigsty, stores, boat or television repair shops, video club, karaoke bar, police station… everything is on the water. Re-embark on the boat. The Toum Tiou stays overnight in the proximity of Chnok Tru. Enjoy Farewell cocktail (1 glass of local liquor or juice) with Master of Ship & Cruise Manager as well as Captain’s farewell dinner (Enriched menu + 1 glass of wine). Overnight on board.

~ LOW WATER PROGRAM – FROM JANUARY TO JUNE ~
Departure early in the morning. Sail to Kampong Chnang. Breakfast during navigation. Located some 56 miles from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonlé Sap. And not to be overlooked are the products of the Thnot tree (sugar palm – a real national symbol) that abounds in the area: a mellow tasting, caramel-colored sugar sold in large cakes and palm wine.Re-embark the Toum Tiou. Lunch on board on the way to Ko Chau. The Toum Tiou stays overnight in close proximity to Ko Chau. Enjoy Farewell cocktail (1 glass of local liquor or juice) with Master of Ship & Cruise Manager as well as Captain’s farewell dinner (Enriched menu + 1 glass of wine). Overnight on board.

Meals this day: breakfast, lunch, dinner

DAY 10 / CHNOK TRU – SIEM REAP

~ HIGH WATER PROGRAM – FROM JULY TO DECEMBER ~
Departure early in the morning. Time to pack and relax a half a day by crossing the Tonlé Sap Lake. Arrival at Phnom Krom pier (5 miles from Siem Reap).  Welcome by your local guide and transfer to your hotel for check in. In the evening, enjoy dinner with a performance of Apsara dance show. Overnight at the hotel.

~ LOW WATER PROGRAM – FROM JANUARY TO JUNE ~
After breakfast, chartered speedboat is coming along the boat and picks up passengers for crossing the Lake. Visit Chnok Tru, floating village.. Arrival at Phnom Krom pier (5 miles from Siem Reap).Welcome by your local guide and transfer to your hotel for check in. In the evening, enjoy dinner with a performance of Apsara dance show. Overnight at the hotel.

Meals this day: breakfast, dinner

DAY 11: ANGKOR WAT – BANTEAY SREI – TA PROHM

Meet your guide this morning to discover the marvellous temple of Angkor Wat, the world heritage site whose soaring towers and extraordinary bas relief are not to be missed. It is considered one of the most amazing man made monuments in the world and was erected in the 12th century (1112-1152) in honor of Vishnu. In the afternoon, travel to Banteay Srei where one of Khmer art’s most impressive jewels exists. Erected in the 10th century, this small pink sandstone temple whose name means “The Citadel of Women” contains some remarkable carved lintels in very good condition. On the way home, visit the ancient Ta Prohm Monastery (nicknamed the Jungle Temple) where immense roots have taken hold of the stones. Here you’ll find some splendid sculptured Devatas. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Meals this day: breakfast

DAY 12: NEAK PEAN, PREAK KHAN, THOMMANON, CHAUSAY TEVODA, ANGKOR THOM

In the morning, leave by tuk-tuk for the northern end of Angkor to begin the day by visiting Preah Khan Temple, built by Jayavarman VII in 1191 in honour of his father who is represented as the saving god of Mayahan Buddhism. Of the same era, Neak Pean, the only island temple of Angkor, is also referred to as Nagas Entwined. The large central basin is linked with four smaller ones representing the four great rivers emerging from the earth’s four cardinal points, of particular interest is the superb statue of Balaha, which represents the legendary savior of shipwrecked boats. Continuing your exploration of Angkor, we move further south to encounter Thommanon Temple and Chau Say Tevoda Temple which both date from the 12th century and were constructed under the reign of Suryavarman II. They feature beautiful sculptured images honouring Shiva and Vishnu. In the afternoon, visit the Great City of Angkor Thom, beginning at the southern gate’s famous Bayon temple built in the 12th and 13th centuries and dedicated to Buddhism. Bayon comprises 54 gigantic towers featuring 216 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara. Then visit the 350m long Elephant Terrace used as a giant reviewing stand for public ceremonies and a base for the King’s grand audience hall, and the raised terrace of the Leper King, built in the 12th century and presenting many of the city’s most admired Apsara sculptures. Meals on your own. Evening at the hotel.

Meals this day: breakfast

DAY 13: DEPARTURE

Spend the balance of your day free at leisure until you are transferred to airport for departure flight. Room is at disposal until noon time only.

Meals this day: breakfast

Best time to go

Southern Vietnam

The best time to visit the South of the country is normally from November to April: nice weather, sunshine, temperatures between 30°C and 34°C.

However, even though, the rainy season is normally from May to October, it is not always the case in all Southern provinces. For example, Nha Trang has a rainy season that starts in September and ends in January. The best time to go there is from February to August whereas in Con Dao, the rainy season is from May to October. During the rainy season, the weather is unstable with often brutally heavy rain.

Cambodia

Cambodia is influenced by a tropical climate with 2 seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.

The dry season begins in December and ends in April while the rainy season starts in May and ends in November.  The first seasons is almost completely without rain (with a temperature of between 25 and 30°C); the second season is extremely hot (up to 35 °C) and most of all, very humid with heavy rain for short periods of time at the end of the day resulting in many floods. April and May are the 2 months most people find particularly suffocating.

You can travel to Cambodia throughout the year. Even summer is favorable for visiting if the clients do not mind the very hot weather. The landscapes are much greener due to a lot of rains. The main problem is the impracticability of some roads and trails during the summer in mountainous areas. Tracks may suffer from erosion or landslides in the mountainous regions or in the earthen/clay areas.

Visa visa information

We can help you arrange Vietnam visa on arrival for a cost of $75 per person (including the immigration stamping fee) or you may arrange the visa at your local embassy.  Please note that your passport needs to be at least 6 months valid at the time of your arrival in Vietnam.

Extension options

Extend this trip with a short flight to Thailand to relax at one of its’ many beaches.  Prior to starting this trip, you may want to explore Northern Vietnam – Hanoi and Halong Bay.

Tailor – made

All of our suggested itineraries are based on holidays that have been very popular with our clients. However we strongly believe that each holiday should be unique to the traveler. Absolutely anything in our itineraries can be tailored to suit your requirements, travel style and budget. Simply contact us and let us design your custom holiday!

Private

We never mix groups during holidays. All the holidays are arranged for your group only so you can travel at your own pace.

Independent travel

The most consistent feedback from our clients is how amazing our guides are! We strongly believe that having a guide can add some much value to your travel experience. With that said, we totally understand that some travelers prefer to explore independently. If this is your travel style – we can still help you! We can arrange your holiday without guides, suggest activities that you will enjoy, advise the best way to get around, how much to pay for things, etc. We simply help you plan a logical itinerary, book accommodation and necessary transfers along the way.

Planning process

We work together with you until you are 100% satisfied with your itinerary.

  • Initial contact by phone or email to ask you some questions to help us fully understand your travel style, requirements, budget etc.
  • We send you a detailed itinerary proposal with prices
  • You review, and if needed, reply with requested changes.
  • We send you updated proposal.
  • Continue this process until you are 100% happy with and accept the proposal.

Prices often vary due to travel period, best accommodation rates during that period, number of persons traveling, etc. Please send us your holiday requirements and and approximate budget (if you have one in mind) and we will get back to you with a detailed quotation right away.

Free planning. No booking fees.

Our philosophy is simple: our tours will not cost clients more than if they arrange the same tour themselves. We do not charge any ‘fees’ whatsoever. How do we make profit? Our profit comes from suppliers we use – hotels, transport, tour companies, etc. Rates we get as a travel agency are much lower than direct booking (or booking website) rates. This allows us to offer tours to our clients at lower prices, or at worst the same, as they would be if booking all the services directly. To simplify – you save money, time and receive our expert advice for free.

Please provide as much information as possible. We respond to most requests right away during work hours and always within 12 hours.

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Hotel options for this holiday

These are popular hotels that we have used for this holiday.  If you have other hotels in mind, or would like more options let us know.

Location Economy hotels (room type) Premium hotels (room type) Luxury hotels (room type)
Ho Chi Minh Nhat Ha 3  (Superior) Grand (Premium Deluxe (Luxury Wing)) Rex Hotel  (Premium)
Mekong Cruise Toum Tiou I – 10 Cabins;8D7N – Sai Gon-Siem Reap Main cabin Toum Tiou I – 10 Cabins;8D7N – Sai Gon-Siem Reap Main cabin Toum Tiou I – 10 Cabins;8D7N – Sai Gon-Siem Reap Main cabin
Siem Reap Siddharta Boutique Hotel (Deluxe) Tara Angkor (Superior) Heritage Suites (Bungalow Suite)

Holiday includes

  • Accommodation in the category chosen or similar (subject to availability).
  • Meals as mentioned in the program. B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner.
  • All local boat rentals and cycling as mentioned in the program. Cruise on non-private board of Toum Tiou from My Tho to Siem Reap
  • Transfer from and to the airports by private vehicle with A/C. Transportation by private vehicle with A/C.
  • Local English speaking guides in Vietnam and Cambodia and English speaking guide on board the Toum Tiou.

Holiday does not include

  • Meals and drinks are not mentioned in the program.
  • International flight tickets and airport taxes.
  • Visa fee upon arrival in Vietnam. Vietnam visa authorization. Visa fee upon arrival in Cambodia.
  • Tips & personal expenses. Personal insurance. Any service not clearly mentioned in the program.

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Testimonials

  • My husband and I have been living in SE Asia for 3.5 years and have used Lenny’s services on many occasions! From a night in Bangkok, to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, to arranging everything for a trip for my in-laws, he’s been able to manage it all quickly and efficiently! He is very thorough and provides clear details that ensure you have a magnificent experience. I tell everyone I know about Lenny and his services! I highly recommend getting in touch with him to plan your next SE Asia trip!

    Laurie Ranz, expats based in Bangladesh
  • Thank you Lenny and team for making our trip to Thailand so memorable! All the transfers and tours were exactly as described and we felt at ease the whole trip knowing your team were working away making sure we enjoyed it. Thanks for all the recommendations and especially the elephant tour, definite highlight! We’ve already passed your details to others because we know our friends and family will be in good hands when booking their trips through you. Thank you again for taking such good care of us!

    Reena Mandora from UK – Bangkok and North Thailand tour
  • Lenny, I just wanted to pass along some words of thanks. You have done a fantastic job assisting us with our retirement vacation that you tailored to our needs. 6 weeks in Asia was was ambitious but was made stress free through your help. Our hotels were gems, in great locations, with a staff that were more than helpful. Transfers to and from the airport were perfect. It was nice to see a smiling face there for us in each new location that we visited. I would highly recommend this service to anyone looking to book. Your communication to us was amazing (I couldn’t imagine how it could be any better). We always knew what was happening in the next few days. It was nice to have the safety net of being able to get in touch with the owner of Expat Holidays knowing that we would have a response to our inquiry in a short period of time. Our guides were knowledgeable and were easily able to communicate with us. Special thanks to our guide, Mr. Sophy, from Siem Reap. He went above and beyond. Finally, even though we made a few last minute changes, they always went off without a hitch from your end.
    We will be recommending Expat to our friends and family (our daughter is already talking about coming back to this part of the world) when we get home.

    Rob Kruse from Canada – Thailand & Indochina tour in 2016
  • We were a group of 8 touring from South Africa. We contacted Lenny and from day 1 everything he advised us on turned out perfectly. He accommodated our every need and structured our trip according to what we wanted. Lenny even made the effort to meet us at our hotel in Bangkok, for a meet and greet. It is always good meeting the person behind all the arrangements. Everything was well arranged and on time, from our day trips to our transfers to either hotel, airport or train station. The accommodation was also top class. I would highly recommend Lenny and Expat Holidays Thailand, to anyone considering traveling to this beautiful country and its very friendly people. We certainly will be back in the future and will make use of Lenny’s services again. Thank you Lenny, for a great experience.

    Ingrid Bailey from South Africa – Thailand family tour in 2016
  • This company is absolutely amazing. Our tour was organized perfectly from the first minute to the last. The itinerary, the varieties of sightseeing, the service deserve the top prize. Our guide Peter and our driver were very attentive. Peter is knowledgeable, with a sense of humor, and very cheerful. Our accommodation was excellent. I am dreaming now about going back to Thailand and explore more with Expat Holidays Thailand. They are the best!

    Elena Yzgur from USA – 2 day tour of Bangkok and Ayutthaya from a cruise ship