Aqua Mekong River Small Ship Expedition
Spacious and indulgent, yet intimate enough to feel entirely exclusive, the Aqua Mekong incorporates relaxed yet refined lounging and dining areas, and can accommodate a maximum of 40 guests plus crew...
Spacious and indulgent, yet intimate enough to feel entirely exclusive, the Aqua Mekong incorporates relaxed yet refined lounging and dining areas, and can accommodate a maximum of 40 guests plus crew. Modern navigation technologies and the highest cruise ship standards as well as our experienced river pilot and crew ensure smooth travel and safety on the water.
DAY 1: TONLE SAP LAKE – SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
Gather at our Siem Reap meeting point then board our air-conditioned bus for the scenic 45-minute countryside ride to the dock on the Tonle Sap Lake for check-in to your 3-story, five star Mekong abode. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall conferring an endlessly captivating panorama. Enjoy these private Mekong moments on your California king bed, terrace or daybed.
DAY 2: TONLE SAP LAKE – PREK TOAL – MOAT KHLA, CAMBODIA
Set off by skiff into the 22,000-hectare Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve, one of the largest freshwater bodies in Asia and the last refuge in Southeast Asia for large waterbirds like the spot-billed pelicans, milky stork, black-headed ibis and the elusive masked finfoot. After lunch, we visit the floating village of Moat Khla, accessible only by water, and attend a Buddhist blessing ceremony in this isolated community.
DAY 3: TONLE SAP LAKE – CHHNOK TRU – KAMPONG CHHNANG, CAMBODIA
Explore remote villages around the Tonle Sap Lake, designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997. In Chhnok Tru, we “slide” into an ice factory and learn from locals what it’s like to live in a town where schools, churches, pagodas, and even the karaoke bar and police station all float. We continue learning about Khmer riverside life in Kampong Chhnang, the ‘Port of Pottery’ so called because archaeological findings here date to the 6th century.
DAY 4: TONLE SAP AND MEKONG RIVER – KOH CHEN – KOH OKNHA TEY, CAMBODIA
This morning, we visit Koh Chen, a silversmith village known for its fine craftsmanship. Keep an eye out for their famous silver bowls, regularly chosen by Cambodia’s king as gifts for visiting dignitaries. In the afternoon, we set off for the Mekong’s ‘silk islands’ where renowned weavers allow us to wander freely, admiring their intricate craftsmanship. Biking is optional for those who wish to explore deeper into the island.
DAY 5: MEKONG RIVER – PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
We show off the Cambodian capital to our passengers by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. We bid farewell to 4-night guests who are disembarking in Phnom Penh. Return to welcome our 3-night passengers over custom sundowners like the Salted Watermelon Crush with Thai basil. Together we celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.
DAY 6: MEKONG RIVER – VINH XUONG BORDER CROSSING – MY AN HUNG, VIETNAM
Say “Good Morning, Vietnam” while we cross the border and sail towards Tan Chau, a vibrant border town where we take the local rickshaw called xe loi for a trip around town or pedal 18 kilometers on the peaceful island of Long Khanh. In the afternoon, we visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where we will walk through verdant plantations. We will be invited to a local’s home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers, followed by a unique Unicorn dance. Biking option is also available for those who wish to explore on wheels.
DAY 7: BINH THANH/SA DEC – CAI BE – MEKONG RIVER, VIETNAM
Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where we will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras’ legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. We continue downstream for Cai Be, zigzagging in our sampan past lone fishermen on their long tail boats. Later, our skiffs moor at a wooden pier. Here in Cai Be, walk or bike ride among high-roofed open courtyard houses, some dating back more than 100 years, and currently inhabited by gracious locals who will invite us to glimpse their property.
DAY 8: MEKONG RIVER – MY THO – SAIGON, VIETNAM
Disembarkation. En route to Saigon, we stop at Vinh Trang Pagoda, one of the largest Mahayana Buddhist temple in the region. You will notice the mixed architectural style and see three large buddha statues plus an impressive collection of bonsai trees.
Please Note: This itinerary is based on the High Water Season (From July to November), it varies slightly for the Low Water Season (From December to June). All itineraries are subject to change, due to weather and other conditions.