River Cruise Itinerary for Saigon, Siem Reap, Halong Bay and Hanoi | Pandaw.com
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SAIGON, SIEM REAP, HALONG BAY & HANOI

18 NIGHTS

Combine the fascinating and varied Mekong River, with its striking cultural contrast between the bustling Vietnam delta and the tranquility of Cambodia, with exploring the key sites of Northern Vietnam by traversing the Red River delta and its main tributaries, connecting the wonders of Halong Bay with the excitements of down town Hanoi, and then on into the interior, well off the beaten track. Inbetween cruises spend a day at leisure to explore Hanoi or Siem Reap.

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The situation in Burma has deteriorated rapidly to the point where we are now looking at long-term impacts on the country and the local people. After much deliberation and discussion with our team on the ground, we have come to the difficult decision to cancel all of our scheduled departures in Burma for the foreseeable future, returning only once the situation is settled.

To register your interest for this expedition once we return to Burma please click the button below and complete your details, we will contact you to discuss your arrangements when travel to Burma is possible again.

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IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

EXTENSIONS

PRE CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Saigon & Surroundings (InterContinental Asiana)

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Vietnam's Heritage Road, Hue - Hoi An - Saigon 5 nights Pre Tour

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POST CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Post Tour Hanoi 1 Night

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Post Tour Sapa & Hanoi 4 Nights

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Hue & Hoi An 4 Nights Post Tour

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OPTIONAL PACKAGE ADDONS

Private Dining

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Pre-Bookable House Wine Package

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Free Flow Drinks

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Free Flow Drinks & Wine Package

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ITINERARY

Upstream      Downstream

DAY 1 SAIGON - MY THO - BEN TRE

Pick up from your city hotel or airport for the road trip from Saigon to My Tho City on the mighty Mekong River to embark your Pandaw Vessel and the commencement of your adventure. After lunch, we travel by sampans through mangroves and bamboo forests to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. This is an area rich in birdlife which we will explore via local transport before transferring to a local rowboat. We will journey slowly through the bamboo covered canals before arriving at a village specialising in coconut candy & rice wine. Here you can view the process of manufacturing these specialities and try them for yourself including the local "Moonshine." In the evening you will be entertained by a Vietnamese Cultural Group highlighting “Life on the Mekong Delta”.

More about Saigon

DAY 2 GAO GIONG

A morning of sailing through the delta provides an insight into life along this mighty waterway. After lunch, a short coach journey through the lush countryside to Gao Giong ‘green oasis’, a 1,000-acre eucalyptus forest and listed wildlife sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water birds and egrets gather in their tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Rowboats traverse the canals to take us to view the principal nesting areas where photo opportunities abound.

DAY 3 CHAU DOC - SAM MOUNTAIN - VIETNAM/CAMBODIA BORDER

Our boat docks alongside the picturesque border town of Chau Doc where we visit the famous floating markets & fish farms by Sampan. We make a stop at a local Chham Village and observe the lives of these local Vietnamese Muslims before boarding minivans for a short drive to Sam Mountain, location of Phuoc Dien Tu or the Hang Pagoda. We climb the 400 steps to the top to visit the pagoda, proclaimed an 'official historic monument' on 10th July 1980 by the Ministry of Culture and Information of Vietnam. Upon return to our boat, we cruise the local canals before dropping anchor on the Vietnam/Cambodia Border to undergo Immigration Formalities.

DAY 4 PHNOM PENH

We dock in the Cambodian Capital of Phnom Penh where we will partake in a morning orientation of the city by cyclo, visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda followed by the National Museum with its marvellous collection of Angkorian statuary. In the afternoon, we visit the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to learn about the tragic history of the area and local people. Optional half-day and full-day tours are available during our stay in Phnom Penh at extra cost. Please contact us in advance or see your in-cabin information manual for further details. Overnight in Phnom Penh city port with its lively bars, restaurants and nightlife.

DAY 5 SILK ISLAND

We start the day by cruising upstream from Phnom Penh along the Mekong River before returning in the afternoon to visit Koh Nghe Tei (Silk Island) to study the entire silk-making process from worms to weavers. You will have the chance to visit local silk purveyors and purchase the locally made products before we enjoy a demonstration of the ancient martial art of L’bokator. L'bokator, which roughly translates as 'pounding a lion' includes weapons techniques and is one of the oldest existing fighting systems in Cambodia. Oral tradition indicates that L’bokator, or an earlier form thereof, was the close quarter combat system used by the armies before Angkor 1,700 years ago.

More about Phnom Penh

DAY 6 TONLE SAP RIVER - PREK KDAM - OUDONG

After a short morning cruise along the Tonle Sap River we will disembark at Prek Kdam and travel by coach to the Ancient Capital of Cambodia, Oudong. We visit the Vipassana Dhura Meditation Centre for a morning of relaxation & meditation before taking a drive around the old capital. We re-join our boat in Kompong Trollach for lunch. After lunch, we board our local limousines (Ox-Carts) for a meander along the Tonle Sap River visiting the local villages, markets and temples. Tonight, we will host our Cocktail Hour around a fire pit in one of the local Khmer Villages where we will join the villagers dancing and learning about the local culture.

DAY 7 KAMPONG CHHNANG - TONLE SAP FLOATING VILLAGES & MARKETS

Experience one of the highlights of our trip as we navigate the very narrow canals of the Tonle Sap River where we get up close & personal with the local riverside villagers. After lunch, we arrive in our final stop of Kampong Chhnang and board our Tender Boat “Pandaw Explorer” to visit the famous Tonle Sap Floating Villages & Markets, observing locals fishing and tending their floating vegetable gardens. We then cruise back to Kampong Chhnang City and disembark our Tender for a walk along the newly constructed River Walkway.

DAY 8 KAMPONG CHHNANG - SIEM REAP - HANOI

We disembark our Pandaw Boat and travel by coach from Kampong Chhnang through the countryside to Siem Reap airport for your flight to Hanoi and your hotel.

More about Siem Reap

DAY 9 HALONG BAY

Transfer from Hanoi International Airport or meeting point to Halong Bay to embark your Pandaw ship followed by lunch on board. Cast off in the afternoon with a welcome cocktail for an evening sail, dropping anchor in a sheltered bay amidst the beautiful island scenery.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 10 HALONG BAY

Morning sail around Halong Bay and beyond with its 1,500 dramatic limestone islands and extraordinary rock formations, dating back 20 million years.

Stop at Viet Hai Village and explore on mountain bike or electric buggy, visiting the village’s vegetable farm and typical village houses. It is a breath-taking trip along a small road winding its way through the limestone rocks.

In the afternoon continue cruising towards Lan Ha Bay for a visit to a floating fishing house.

Weather dependent, end the day with cocktails at a beautiful beach in Halong Bay - bring your swimwear!

More about Lan Ha Bay

DAY 11 HALONG BAY

Exploration of Halong Bay continues with a visit to the so called “Dark and Bright Cave”. Take a kayak or a local basket boat rowed by fishermen and enter this remarkable cave into an enclosed area similar to a crater. Bats can be heard in the cave and massive stalagmites hang from the ceiling.

Depart Halong Bay and enter the river to drop anchor near Hai Phong.

In the afternoon, our chef will share his skills in fruit carving and demonstrate how to create Vietnamese spring rolls.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 12 THE KINH THAY RIVER

Observe the lively and interesting life of the KinhThay river, a key commercial waterway.

Meet your guide in the dining room for a lecture on Vietnam, its history, geography and the boat people.

Afternoon excursion to Thanh Ha Commune with village walk and a private water puppet show set under the shade by a beautiful pond of lotus and lilies.

Return to ship and continue cruising until late evening, dropping anchor midstream.

More about Thanh Ha and Water Puppets

DAY 13 BAT TRANG VILLAGE

The day is spent cruising towards Hanoi. Enroute, stop at Bat Trang in the afternoon, a ceramic village. On the way back to the ship watch a traditional unicorn and lion dance at the jetty.

This dance originated in China and spread over Southeast Asia.

More about Bat Trang

DAY 14 HANOI

Drop anchor in the capital and bustling city of Hanoi to visit some highlights of this Asian metropolis. Must-sees include the notorious Vietnam War prison known as the Hanoi Hilton, temple of literature where Confucius did his thinking, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Afternoon walking tour of Hanoi’s old quarter,including a visit to a coffee shop to learn about Vietnam’s famous coffee-making industry.

More about Hanoi

DAY 15 THE LOWER RED RIVER

Morning sail through the day from Hanoi up the Red River to Viet Tri - not the most picturesque of towns, but an excellent base for going deeper into Highland Vietnam.

Go ashore to visit a timeless Arcadian Vietnam with emerald green rice paddies punctuated by limestone rock formations. Of particular interest are the Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas.

Afternoon excursion to a carpenter village famous for exquisite carvings and wood work techniques.

Evening arrival in Viet Tri.

More about Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas

DAY 16 LO RIVER

In the morning cruising to Tien Du ferry station to the village of Gia Thanh, makers of the conical hats (known as ‘non la’). Take in the sights and sounds of the bustling river with all kinds of craft and activity.

The ‘non la’ are handmade with palm leaves and bamboo. There is no machinery available to create this work of art. Their origin dates approximately 3,000 years back.

By bus continue to Hung Lo Temple.

More about Lo River

DAY 17 THE DA RIVER

Day sailing downstream while admiring the unspoilt beauty of the Da River. Pass through the Ba Vi National Park with its rich and diverse tropical and sub-tropical flora and fauna before arriving at Hoa Binh then visit the UNESCO-praised village of Duong Lam.

In the afternoon, take a tour of the ship including the galley, crew area and engine room.

More about Duong Lam

DAY 18 HOA BINH

Hoa Binh was the site of a major battle with the French in 1951 & 1952 and is home to the Muong ethnic group.

The Hoa Binh Dam at the Black River is the largest hydroelectric dam in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Take a morning boat ride on the reservoir of Hoa Binh power station and visit a local village. A traditional performance by local hill tribe people is given in the evening.

More about Hoa Binh

DAY 19 HOA BINH

Disembark after breakfast (08.30am) and visit a museum and local village where villagers still wear traditional dress.

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, followed by a transfer to Hanoi airport or drop off point Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi.

More about Hoa Binh

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WHATS INCLUDED

TRANSFERS & JOINING

DAY 1 SAIGON - MY THO - BEN TRE

Transfer from airport or hotel in Saigon on the day of embarkation will be provided to arrive at My Tho International Port at 12.00 midday. Pickup time is between 09.00 and 10.00.

Please provide details of your flight or hotel at least 61 days prior to departure for transfer arrangements.

Please note: We are not able to accept early arrivals before 11.30am.

DAY 8 KAMPONG CHHNANG - SIEM REAP - HANOI

Early morning coach transfer to Siem Reap airport for your flight to Hanoi and your hotel.

Transfer by coach from Kampong Chhnang to Siem Reap takes approx 5 hours.

DAY 9 HALONG BAY

TRANSFER FROM HANOI AIRPORT
We pick you up at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport – Seat in coach. The coach will leave the airport no later than 10:30 (Unless there are any delays with your flight). A Pandaw representative will be waiting for you with a Pandaw Sign at column No12. On the right hand sided of the international arrival exit. Arrival in Halong Bay at 14.00.

Please note: Guides and drivers are not allowed inside the terminal building. We will be waiting for you outside with a Pandaw sign. Hanoi Airport has two exits; if you don’t see us, please try the other exit on the same level (30 meters).

TRANSFER FROM HANOI CITY
For passenger already in Hanoi the night before, please meet us at the Pan Pacific Hotel lobby at 09:30

PAN PACIFIC HOTEL HANOI
1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District
10000 HANOI
VIETNAM
Tel +84 4 382 38888

Registration at hotel lobby 09:30. Coach departs from Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi at 10.00. Arrival in Halong Bay at 13:30.

PRIVATE ARRIVAL AT HA LONG BAY
For passengers already in Ha Long Bay on the night before, please come to Tuan Chau International Jetty. Embarkation time will be between 12:00 to 14:00.

DAY 19 HOA BINH

DEPARTURE TRANSFER
After lunch at local restaurant departure for Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport. Estimated arrival at Hanoi Airport at 15:15 and continuing to Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi, arriving 16:00.

Your flight out of Hanoi airport must be after 16:30 (domestic) or 17:30 (international).

TESTIMONIALS

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MEDIA MENTIONS

The 30 best river cruises for 2021 and beyond

16 Mar 2021 - article by Sara Macefield for The Telegraph

 

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