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SAIGON | Journey Along the Mekong with Pandaw (8 days)
Overview Programme Inclusion Gallery Request
An extraordinary journey full of sights, colors, and sounds awaits as we voyage along the fabled Mekong River, for thousands of years a lifeline to people residing along its banks. In the comfort of the elegant Pandaw, intimate vessels reflecting the captivating charm of the region, we explore the Mekong’s myriad cultures, storied history, and enduring traditions. We call at rural villages, colorful floating markets, and ancient palaces, hike to hilltop shrines, and absorb the intriguing rhythms of riverside life. We also enjoy Cambodia’s charming capital, Phnom Penh. Our journey ends with a cruise across vast Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Asia. Extensions to Saigon and the astonishing World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat are available.
Name Journey along the Mekong with Pandaw Cruise
Duration 8 days / 7 nights
Price from 1850 USD / pax (based on cabin sharing)
Itinerary in short Day 1 : Saigon transfer to My Tho
Day 2 : Cai Be and Mekong Delta
Day 3 : Cross border from Vietnam to Cambodia
Day 4 : In Phnom Penh
Day 5 : Phnom Penh / Kampong Cham
Day 6 : Kampong Cham and surrounds
Day 7 : Sail Tonle Sap
Day 8 : Siem Reap



• Depart weekly on Saturday between June and March
• This itinerary is subject to change in Community regulations as well as governmental changes and natural circumstances beyond our control
• By its very nature adventure travel involves an element of the unexpected. In remote and developing countries do not expect standards you are used to at home. Remote areas are sometimes unpredictable and itineraries may be altered. To get the most out of your adventure it is important that you are flexible, positive and eager to take on all the challenges that arise.
• There are six beautifully crafted Pandaw ships in operation. Each ship, hand finished in brass and teak by traditional craftsmen are in themselves objects of great beauty. Whilst luxury and comfort are discreetly present, it is the colonial character and friendly atmosphere that predominate. All Pandaw ships have ultra shallow drafts and can travel to remote areas unreachable by other vessels, let alone overland.

Registration is at 08:30 at the Renaissance Riverside Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City (8-15 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1) and transfer at 09:00 to the Delta Port of My Tho by coach arriving at 1100 for check in followed by port and immigration formalities. My Tho is the hub of the Delta, but not of great cultural interest, so once on board we set sail at 13:00 and have lunch. In the afternoon we
moor near Cai Be and make a fascinating trip by traditional junk to explore evergreen islands and at the former Imperial residence, the An Kiet House. Surviving members of the Kiet family will welcome us with tea and we can wander in the fruit orchards around the house. Overnight moor mid-stream Cai Be.

We take a morning junk trip around Cai Be to see a floating market, and go ashore to visit the French Gothic Cathedral and colourful port area, with its colonial buildings, delightful flower gardens and local rice paper manufacturers. We return to the ship and cruise over to Vinh Long to visit a Bonsai Garden and fruit farm, followed by visit to a brick and pottery factory. We return to the ship and cruise past Vinh Long City and evergreen islands. The remainder of the day is spent cruising through the Mekong Delta.

From the main Mekong channel at Tan Chau we travel down the canals and backwaters by local ferry boat. At Chau Doc we transfer to small boats to visit a Cham tribal village. We also visit a cat fish farm. We take a trishaw ride round this fascinating town of fine French-colonial buildings and see its bustling market. Return to the ship by boat for lunch and cast off for the Cambodian border for the usual formalities, which in this part of the world, take time. Evening cruise up the broad Mekong channel, which is an international shipping route. Moor overnight just downstream from Phnom Penh.

The capital of Cambodia retains its French charm. The old colonial architecture makes an attractive backdrop to busy cafes, and the renovated river “corniche” is full of life. The city has several impressive wats, including Wat Ounalom, Wat Phnom and the newly-painted Wat Lang Ka. Pride of place goes to the spectacular Silver Pagoda, one of the few places in Cambodia where artefacts embodying the brilliance and richness of Khmer culture were preserved by the Khmer Rouge. The National Museum is another highlight, with outstanding displays of Khmer crafts. An afternoon excursion is arranged to the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng or S21 detention centre situated in the suburbs of the city. Phnom Penh has a lively night life, and some passengers choose to dine ashore or try one of the capital’s many watering holes; a favourite being the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

Early morning departure from Phnom Penh and a stop at the little-known Chong Koh silk weaving village for a morning walk at leisure. We cruise past the Mekong’s timeless villages and river life with extensive fishing activities. The scenery is very lovely here, and in the distance, forested hills rise. On the river above Phnom Penh there is little shipping, just real Cambodian life. In the
afternoon we stop at Peam Chi Kang village to visit the wat or monastery and school. Passengers are at leisure to explore this peaceful and friendly community. In the wat the splendid village racing boats are stored.

Morning journey upriver to the hilltop pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Dating from the 8th century, these ancient brick structures characterise the architecture of the Chenla Empire which predated the glories of Angkor. Sail back downstream over lunch for an exploration of the Kampong Cham Area. We travel by bus to the 12th century Angkorian temple of Wat Nokor. This colourful temple is unique in Cambodia, as a modern wat is set within the ruins of an ancient temple. We continue to the eco village of Cheungkok supported by the French-Cambodian NGO AMICA and the Kampong Cham orphanage, supported by the Pandaw Trust programme. Legends abound about the origins of these hills, and there are many pagodas and shrines on the hilltops.

We glance by the capital Phnom Penh in the early morning to change pilots, and then sail the Tonle River which connects Tonle Lake with the Mekong and Bassac Rivers that merge at Phnom Penh. This river journey is a highlight of the trip. We wind our way through jungle, and as the river narrows we feel we can almost reach out and touch the houses and people who come out to cheer our ship on. Temples abound along the river banks at Kampong Chhnang, and we see the rich tapestry of Cambodian rural life. This is a busy rural port town with bustling markets. Mooring mid-stream, we make a truly wonderful motor boat excursion into the lakeside wetlands that form the mouth of the river. Here a stunning variety of birdlife may be seen and of considerable interest are the great fish traps, some half a kilometre long, which net a huge tonnage of fish after each monsoon as the fish migrate from the falling lake into the Tonle River.

The great lake dominates Cambodia and is over 150 Km in length. Here bird life is profuse, and from the middle of the lake one cannot even see the shores. There is a great stillness and tranquility as we pass floating fishing villages. On arrival in Siem Reap our trip concludes. Because the water levels of the lake and river vary a great deal according to the time of year and rainfall, we will then either:

1. High water, approximately August - November. Cross the Tonle Lake at dawn and 10:00
disembark at Siem Reap Port for onward coach transfer to the KULEN II RESTAURANT (1 Street
Sivatha Svay Dangkum Commune) in Siem Reap by 11:00.
2. Low water, approximately November - August. Coach transfer at 07:00 from Prek Dom on the
Tonle River to the KULEN II RESTAURANT (1 Street Sivatha Svay Dangkum Commune) in Siem Reap
stopping at Kampong Thom. Packed lunch and refreshments provided. Arrive by 12:00.


Whilst Pandaw is a great cruise company, it has a quirky policy of changing their cruise costs without notice (normally lower pricing). Their seasonality changes from cruise to cruise - hence it proves impossible to show the exact cost for every cruise departure. Last minute booking & earlybird discounts (normally 10 mths in advance) are offered but change weekly.

• 07 nights on board Pandaw Cruise, based on double/twin cabin sharing
• Transfer in Saigon and Siem Reap to/from the meeting point to boat
• All meals on board, including mineral water, coffee/tea (B=Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
• Group shore excursions as listed in the programme
• Local English speaking guide on board
• 24/24h assistance from our company
• Service charges and government tax

• Travel insurance
• Visa and passport fees to Vietnam and Cambodia
• International flights to Saigon and from Siem Reap
• Port taxes in Phnom Penh and Saigon
• Single supplement applied to single accommodation
• Pre-arrangements in Saigon and post-arrangements in Siem Reap
• Meals and beverage that are not served on board of Pandaw Cruise
• Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry charges, bar expenses, (alcoholic beverages are not included)
• Hairdressing and massage treatments
• Telephone and internet charges
• Tipping for staff on board (5usd/person/day is recommended)
• Surcharge in peak season (Christmas, New Year, local public holidays)
• Any additional expenses caused by reasons beyond our control such as natural calamities (typhoon, floods), flight delays, rescheduling or cancellations, any accidents, medical evacuations, riots, strikes etc.






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