AIA Tours: cruise

Vietnam and Cambodia: Cruising the Mekong River

Tour Dates: October 2-15, 2023 (14 days)

Tour Leader(s): Joyce C. White ,

This October, join Archaeological Institute of America lecturer and host Joyce C. White and explore the wonders of tropical Indochina on our luxurious tour through Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong River.
Begin with two nights in Ho Chi Minh City (still known by many as Saigon), a busy and dynamic metropolis that exudes energy and buzzes with activity. Then embark on a seven-night Mekong River cruise aboard the beautiful Mekong Princess, an exclusive river boat with only 14 suites, elegant French colonial appointments, all the modern comforts, and an ultra-shallow draft that allows us to access the remote nooks and crannies of the river. As you cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, visit magnificent Buddhist and Hindu temples, observe floating markets bursting with colorful produce, and delve into the everyday lives of those who call the Mekong River home.
Enjoy an enriching series of presentations and discussions by accompanying AIA lecturer and host Joyce White, who has worked in Southeast Asian archaeology since the mid-1970s and currently directs a field-based archaeological research program that focuses on the history and prehistory of the Mekong Basin. Conclude with three nights based in Siem Reap to explore Angkor’s world-famous Khmer temples. This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, such as the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. If you would like to start your experience a little earlier, we offer an optional pre-tour extension to Hanoi and exquisitely beautiful Ha Long Bay.
Don’t miss this opportunity to cruise aboard a modern, elegant riverboat as you explore two remarkable Southeast Asian countries and the mighty river that connects them. We are sharing this adventure with another organization and, with a total guest capacity of only 24, I encourage you to reserve your suite today by contacting AIA Tours at (800) 748-6262 or

Prices per person

Aboard the all-suite, 14-cabin Mekong Princess

Junior Suite $7,995 (double) $13,495 (single)
-216 sq ft., with French balcony

Saigon Suite $8,995 (double) $15,495 (single)
-235 sq ft. , with French balcony

Apsara Suite $9,995 (double)
-235 sq ft, with French balcony

Tonle Suite $11,495 (double)
-305 sq ft., with French balcony

Angkor Suite $12,995 (double)
-495 sq ft., with French balcony, private veranda, complimentary laundry service, and evening canapés

Mekong River, fishing - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia

Cai Rang Floating Market - Mekong River, fishing - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia

Phnom Penh - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia

Gateway to Angkor Thom - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia

Royal Palace complex at Phnom Penh - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia

Ben Thanh Market - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia

Ha Long Bay, part of the pre-tour optional extension - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia

Dawn at the Temple of Angkor Wat Vietnam - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia

Gateway of Angkor Wat - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia

Ta Prohm temple ruins, Angkor - AIA Tours, Cruising the Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia


October 4 – HO CHI MINH CITY
October 6 – BEN TRE | CAN THO
October 7 – CAN THO | HOA AN
October 10 – PHNOM PENH
October 11 – ANGKOR BAN
October 13 – ANGKOR | SIEM REAP
October 14 – ANGKOR | SIEM REAP
October 15 – SIEM REAP | HOME

View Detailed Itinerary

Monday–Tuesday, October 2–3 : HOME/HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON), VIETNAM
Depart home on an overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival on the 3rd, transfer to the Park Hyatt hotel. The evening is at leisure to rest or explore on your own. PARK HYATT SAIGON

Wednesday, October 4: HO CHI MINH CITY
Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s most economically dynamic city, and the streets are always abuzz with activity. During a motorcoach tour, drive past the city’s best-known monuments—Notre Dame Cathedral, City Hall, the Old Saigon Post Office, and the Presidential Palace. After lunch, take an excursion accompanied by a local expert to the Cu Chi tunnels, a vast underground network that hid thousands of Viet Cong guerrillas and Vietnamese villagers during the Vietnam War. This evening enjoy the company of fellow travelers at a welcome dinner. PARK HYATT SAIGON (B,L,D)

Thursday, October 5: HO CHI MINH CITY (EMBARK)
Visit the Ben Thanh market, where anything and everything is for sale, including handicrafts, traditional clothing and textiles, and local food specialties. Embark the intimate and elegant Mekong Princess, your home for the next seven nights, and begin cruising the Mekong River. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

Friday, October 6: BEN TRE/CAN THO
Today, cruise by sampan (small wooden boat) through a channel lined with mangroves to a coconut candy maker. After walking through a small village, travel aboard horsedrawn carts to a local pier and board small boats to explore narrow creeks lined with Nipah palms. This afternoon, cruise through an area barely touched by tourism to Can Tho, the main city of the Mekong Delta and its economic, cultural and transportation center. Take a guided walking tour and enjoy a free evening to visit the night market and souvenir shops. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

Saturday, October 7: CAN THO/HOA AN
Explore by sampan the fascinating Cai Rang market, a feast for the senses and a boon for photographers. Weave in and out among floating watercraft loaded with produce and anything the residents of the Mekong Delta need in their daily lives. Stop at a factory to learn how instant noodles are made, and tour a family-owned orchard to see and savor exotic Asian fruits. Continue to Hoa An, a small village known for its flowers and handicrafts. Meet with local families, including weavers who make hats and mats. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

Sunday, October 8: GIENG ISLAND/HONG NGU
Visit a village on Gieng Island where local families make sampans. Continue along a canal to a remote riverside area with duck farms, a tropical orchard, and monkey bridges. Then ride on a xe lam (motorized trishaw) to visit Phanxico monastery, a historic Christian monastery built by the French in 1879. At several family homes, observe residents weaving and embroidering traditional Khmer scarves. Visit a temple dedicated to a unique form of Buddhism called Hòa Hâo, which focuses on aiding the poor. Cross the border into Cambodia and continue upstream. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

Monday, October 9: PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, retains vestiges of its French charm, including a riverfront corniche and some examples of French Colonial architecture. Ride along the riverfront aboard cyclos to the Silver Pagoda, home to an “Emerald Buddha” made of Baccarat crystal and a lifesize Buddha encrusted with diamonds. Stop at the National Museum for a comprehensive look at its spectacular collection of artifacts excavated in Angkor. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

Tuesday, October 10: PHNOM PENH
Travel to the killing fields of Choeung Ek, the center of the darkest days of Cambodian history. Walk through the fields, visit the small museum and Memorial Stupa, and learn more about the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. On the return drive to Phnom Penh, stop at Tuol Sleng (infamously known as S-21), which was converted by the Khmer Rouge from a school to a prison and torture headquarters. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city of Phnom Penh. Back aboard the Mekong Princess, enjoy a cultural performance including Apsara, Cambodia’s national dance, as well as several traditional folk dances. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

Wednesday, October 11: ANGKOR BAN
Angkor Ban is a unique village on the banks of the Mekong, one of the few that survived destruction under the Khmer Rouge regime. Centuries-old houses stand on stilts above water while the bustle of local life swirls below. Visit the pagoda for a special blessing ceremony by local Buddhist monks and stop at the local monastery before returning to the ship. MEKONG PRINCESS (B,L,D)

Thursday, October 12: KAMPONG CHAM/SIEM REAP
Disembark in Kampong Cham and transfer to Siem Reap, the gateway to magnificent Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising the remains of the capitals of the Khmer Empire. In the afternoon, enjoy a visit and audio tour of the Ankgor National Museum to learn all about the history of the Khmer civilization. Through the use of interactive exhibits, develop a deeper understanding of the customs, traditions and different beliefs of the ancient empire, giving you a great foundation for the remarkable temples you will see the next day. Enjoy dinner on your own and an evening at leisure. RAFFLES GRAND D’ANGKOR (B,L)

Friday, October 13: ANGKOR/SIEM REAP
Spend an entire morning exploring the grandest of the temples, fabled Angkor Wat, a miniature universe carved in stone. Its central tower represents mythical Mt. Meru, home of the gods. Intricate carvings of deities and demons, graceful Apsaras (female spirits of the clouds and waters), and scenes of everyday life grace its corridors. In the afternoon, travel around Siem Reap by tuk tuk (auto rickshaw) on an art tour, visiting galleries and artisan workshops to view the arts and crafts of the region. Dinner is on your own this evening. RAFFLES GRAND D’ANGKOR (B,L)

Saturday, October 14: ANGKOR/SIEM REAP
Early this morning visit Bakheng Temple, the perfect vantage point for a sunrise view over Angkor Wat and the surrounding plain. After a picnic breakfast, relax on a traditional Khmer gondola ride to Angkor Thom, once an enormous walled city, to investigate the temple at its heart. Its 55 large and small towers are topped by carved heads, each one wearing a mysterious smile. In the afternoon, when the light is best, visit Ta Prohm, a silent ruin shrouded in jungle vegetation. This evening bid farewell to your fellow travelers during a festive farewell dinner with live Cambodian music and dance performances. RAFFLES GRAND D’ANGKOR (B,L,D)

Sunday, October 15: SIEM REAP/HOME
This morning transfer to the airport for flights home, crossing the International Date Line and arriving the same day. (B)

For reservations or questions, please email us at (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884). To reserve your space using the online form, click here.

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