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Vietnam Holidays-Aqua Mekong
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Cambodia Holidays-Royal Palace - Phnom Penh

Siem Reap to Phnom Penh on the Aqua Mekong

October 2014 sees the launch of the latest river expedition ship in Southeast Asia, the Aqua Mekong. The 20 suites are divided over two decks, each with air conditioning, iPod docking station, flat screen TV, dual sink bathroom with walk-in shower and rainforest showerhead. Eight of the suites have a private balcony with exterior day bed for enjoying the views whilst those without a balcony have floor-to-ceiling windows with interior daybed. Families can be accommodated in two inter-connecting suites. For additional space, book two adjoining suites and use one as a living area and the other for sleeping.

Public areas include an indoor bar, a deck bar, dining rooms, river-view gym, plunge pool, two spa treatment rooms and on-deck private cabanas.

FURTHER JOURNEYS IN CAMBODIA  brown-arrow-right.png

Sailings are for three, four or seven nights, either upriver or downriver between Siem Reap (Cambodia), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and My Tho (Vietnam). The following is an example of a four night sailing from the small fishing villages on Tonle Sap Lake near Siem Reap and along the river to the country's lively capital, Phnom Penh. Sailing dates for 2014 and 2015 can be found here

Day 1 - Aqua Mekong, Cambodia
This morning, transfer from Siem Reap to the banks of Tonle Sap Lake where you board the Aqua Mekong and check in to your air-conditioned Design Suite.

Your sailing begins on the Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia's largest expanse of freshwater. Millions of Cambodians rely on these waters for their livelihood and, indeed, many live in boat dwellings on the lake. Birdlife also makes the Tonle Sap its home and you may spot blue-tailed bee-eaters or pied kingfishers as you sail along.

After a gourmet lunch on board, take to a skiff to visit the lakeside village of Kampong Khleang, inaccessible by road for a significant part of the year. The village houses sit on wooden stilts high above the lake in dry months but just skirting its surface in the wet season. Whilst you will see the occasional TV aerial and local people using mobile telephones, the way of life here has actually changed very little for centuries, with people working paddy fields for rice and the waters of the lake for fish.

Overnight: Aqua Mekong

Day 2 - Tonle Sap Lake - Moat Kla
After breakfast, continue from Kampong Khleang to Moat Kla, a secluded fishing village in Tonle Sap's south-eastern reaches, where you will be able to meet and converse with the local residents via a translator. The people who inhabit this area arrived long before the formalities of international boundaries and are mainly Vietnamese of descent. Whilst such communities are very isolated and a world away from where you may call home, you will spot floating 'convenience stores' selling everything from fishing equipment to beer and vegetables.  

This afternoon you will visit the village's Buddhist temple for a special blessing ceremony. The temple is home to just four Buddhist monks.

Overnight: Aqua Mekong

Day 3 - Tonle Sap Lake - Chnok Tru - Tonle Sap River - Koh Chen
This morning, head by skiff to Chnok Tru, a self-sufficient lake village. Your route will take you winding past floating schools and police stations, pagodas, shops and riverside churches. Your visit to Chnok Tru will include an ice factory, where you will learn how ice is produced and kept for fish preservation, a monumental challenge in this humid, hot climate and in villages where electricity supply is virtually non-existent.

Re-joining Aqua Mekong, sail on past Kampong Tralach, the site of ancient Lovek, Cambodia's capital before the Siamese ravaged Angkor in 1431. The site was often visited by travelling missionaries and early traders from Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Continue on to Koh Chen, 'Chinese Island' in the Khmer language. Here skilled artisans craft silver and copper objects used in Buddhist ceremonies. Should the monks be residing during your visit, there will be the opportunity to witness a traditional Buddhist blessing at Koh Chen's pagoda.

Overnight: MV Aqua Mekong

Day 4 -  Tonle Sap River - Phnom Penh
During the cool hours of the morning, sail south-eastwards towards Phnom Penh, stopping en route at the Prek Bongkong Pagoda whose roof appears to be held by upturned angels and naga. This region is known for its silk producing islands and you will visit a village where this craft is practiced today.

This afternoon, sail on south towards Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital.

Overnight: Aqua Mekong

Day 5 - Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is a capital in transition. Art Deco buildings, Buddhist temples, French colonial villas and vintage cyclos recall an older world, whilst the 21st century introduces modern cars, boutique hotels, chic stores and high rise skyscrapers. After disembarking MV Aqua Mekong, join a motorized tuk tuk to explore some of the city's most important sites including the Royal Palace and the National Museum of Cambodia. Your sailing ends at Phnom Penh.

 

See here for pre and post cruise itinerary suggestions or contact our Cambodia holidays specialist, Melissa Mattthews to discuss your own requirements on +44 (0)1242 787804.

 

 

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