Grand Mekong Odyssey
|Operator:||Wendy Wu Tours|
This 26-day odyssey is one of our most immersive and in-depth tours of Indochina, featuring a full seven nights of cruising on the Mekong plus two nights cruising in Halong Bay. With two cruises, a breathtaking coastal rail journey, and even a meeting with a war veteran, this itinerary showcases Vietnam and Cambodia at their most personal and authentic.
Physical Rating: 1
DAYS 1-2: Fly to Hanoi
Fly overnight to Hanoi, Vietnam’s leafy capital city. Meet your guide for your transfer to the hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture ahead of this evening’s welcome dinner and guide briefing.
DAYS 3: Hanoi Through the Ages
Today, enjoy an introduction to Vietnamese history at the Ethnology Museum, for a fascinating window into Vietnam’s many indigenous groups. See tribal antiques and full-scale replicas of Vietnamese longhouses and stilt houses. Continue to the Confucian Temple of Literature before lunch. This afternoon, explore the city’s French Quarter, and enjoy a cyclo tour of the Old Quarter’s narrow historic streets.
DAYS 4: Wartime Hanoi
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Quarter for an insight into the Vietnam War. Visit the Humble House on Stilts, where Ho Chi Minh lived in the grounds of the Presidential Palace, and see his Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square. Stop to see the wreckage of an American bomber plane, still visible in the lake where it was shot down in 1972. Later, visit a 1980s apartment in the Old Quarter and hear about life in the difficult post-war subsidy period.
DAYS 5: Ninh Binh Countryside
Drive two hours into the countryside to Ninh Binh, famously known as ‘Halong Bay on land’ thanks to its dramatic karst mountains. En route, stop to visit Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel, the tenth century capital of Dai Viet. This afternoon, enjoy a boat trip through the paddy fields, stopping to explore prehistoric caves before checking in at your hotel.
DAYS 6: Bear Sanctuary & Cuc Phuong National Park
Begin the day at Four Paws Bear Sanctuary. Learn the stories of these bears, rescued from the illegal pet and bile industries, and hear how they have been given a second chance in life. Enjoy a fresh lunch at the sanctuary, made from ingredients grown on site. This afternoon, head into Cuc Phuong National Park and hear all about the local wildlife on a short stroll through the rainforest. Return to the hotel.
DAYS 7: Ninh Binh – Halong Bay
Drive to Halong Bay and embark on a two-night scenic cruise through this famous UNESCO-listed bay known for its emerald waters and towering limestone islands. Head to a hidden spot and try your hand at kayaking through these mesmerizing seascapes.
DAYS 8: Halong Bay
See the bay through a local’s eyes! The local fishermen will row you through their floating village, where many families have lived for generations. Later, head to one of the bay’s beaches for a chance to sunbathe on the sands.
DAYS 9: Halong Bay – Hue
Rise early for Tai Chi on deck as the sun rises over Halong Bay. Visit one of the bay’s largest caves before cruising back to port after brunch. Disembark and fly to Hue, a charming city and once the seat of the Nguyen emperors.
DAYS 10: Imperial Hue
Discover Hue’s imperial history, beginning at the Imperial Citadel and Forbidden Purple City. Continue to Thien Mu Pagoda. After lunch, visit the Royal Tomb of Minh Mang before a leisurely cruise along the Perfume River.
DAYS 11: Hue – Danang by Rail
The 64-mile railway journey from Hue to Danang is considered one of the best in the world. Three hours of scenic coastline await, with beautiful tropical beaches on one side and dramatic mountain scenery on the other. On arrival in Danang, transfer to the wonderfully traditional town of Hoi An. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the Old Town’s charming shops and boutiques before dinner. With its charming yellow buildings and vivid silk lanterns, a stroll through this traditional town feels like stepping back in time.
DAYS 12: Hoi An
Head out on a walking tour of Hoi An’s Old Town, with visits including Chua Ong Pagoda, a 200-year-old merchant house, and the spectacular Japanese Covered Bridge. Afterwards, continue into Hoi An’s peaceful countryside to visit an organic farming community.
DAYS 13: Hoi An – Saigon
Fly to Saigon, perhaps Vietnam’s most evocative city. Embark on a city tour to explore the city’s heady mix of local culture and colonial influences. See the Notre-Dame Cathedral and visit the Central Post Office, the Reunification Palace, and the poignant War Remnants Museum.
DAYS 14: Cu Chi & War Veteran Meeting
Discover the reality of guerrilla warfare at the Cu Chi Tunnels, which were central to the Viet Cong’s military operations, including the Tet Offensive. For a truly authentic insight into the war, meet a Vietnamese veteran and hear his story. Stop for lunch at an organic farm en route back to Saigon.
DAYS 15: Embark the Victoria Mekong river cruise ship
Transfer to Can Tho and board the Victoria Mekong for your seven-night cruise. Enjoy a welcome cocktail on deck as the ship sets sail.
DAYS 16: Mekong Cruise Long Xuyen & Tiger Island
Take a tender boat through a fascinating floating market to reach Long Xuyen, the region’s main town. Visit the local museum, with displays of ancient crafts. Later, head to Tiger Island. Visit a temple and see local industries such as incense-making. Cruise upstream towards Vam Nao.
DAYS 17: Mekong Cruise Phu Tan & Tan Chau
Head ashore in Phu Tan and visit a craft village famous for its handmade clay stoves. Enjoy lunch on board as you cruise toward Tan Chau, where a local rickshaw will take you to explore a colorful temple and local market. This evening, enjoy a riotous Vietnamese lion dance on the sky deck!
DAYS 18: Mekong Cruise Into Cambodia
Enjoy onboard activities such as a cocktail competition or a mini golf tournament as the ship crosses the border into Cambodia. Arrive in Phnom Penh late this afternoon.
DAYS 19: Mekong Cruise Phnom Penh & The Killing Fields
Hop on a cyclo and head to the elaborate Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and National Museum. Later, drive into the countryside to pay respects at the Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge executed over 1 million victims in the 1970s. Today, it is a memorial site for peaceful reflection. Return to the city and end the afternoon in style with a signature cocktail at Raffles Hotel Le Royal before returning to the ship for a lively Apsara dance performance.
DAYS 20: Mekong Cruise Oudong & Silk Island
Enjoy a walking tour of Koh Chen village, where you’ll meet a local copper and silversmith, before continuing to the country’s former capital, Oudong. Visit Buddhist monks at a local meditation center before taking a tuk-tuk to Silk Island to learn about the process of silk weaving from worm to loom.
DAYS 21: Wat Hanchey & Angkor Ban
Explore the laid-back village of Angkor Ban with its wooden stilt houses. Sail to Wat Hanchey and head up