River Cruise

Mekong Cruise Downstream Phnom Penh to Saigon5 Days, 4 Nights

The Mekong Delta Unveils a Tapestry of River Life




Cruise and Reminisce About a Bygone Colonial Era

The Royal Palace and bustling Corniche are favourite highlights. For over 12 years, the RV Mekong river vessel has been cruising this unimaginable journey. The ship and its crew are experienced at navigating the powerful Mekong allowing you to sit back and relax in your deck chair and enjoy watching the endless variety of river life as it outstretches before your eyes. 

Cabin Staterooms

The RV Mekong and RV Tonle have Upper Deck cabins and Main Deck cabins for you to choose from. All cabins are finished in brass and teak and all cabins are 168 sq ft. You won't find mini bars or TV's in  your room. 

Dining

Dining rooms are covered but open so that passengers can enjoy the ambient fresh air.  A tasteful choice of local cuisine and exotic foods is served daily. Breakfast is buffet style. Lunch is usually served with a soup and  salad first and the main course served at your table.  We know you will enjoy the candle light dinners with table service in the evening. Passengers who do not like hot or spicy foods are offered European alternatives and vegetarians are well catered for.

Activities

Your adventure is more akin to being a guest on a large private motor yacht than a large cruise ship. What you see and what you do is intrepid in extreme. What you enjoy is a floating base of elegance, discreet comfort and personal service. The Mekong ships have a spa on board. Activities and excursions ashore are a daily occurrence giving you a chance to visit markets and small villages. Hikes in the countryside or explore by speed boat going deeper into jungle or up river; or cyclos in Cambodia. 

Taking in the scenery is the most enjoyable past time on board. Other occasional activities can include: cooking, fruit carving and exploring local markets with chefs; talks from on board guides.

During the expedition there will be at least one cultural performance on board and one social gathering of guests. 

It's time to sit back, relax, start exploring and let YOUR adventure begin! Check out the itinerary and what is included! 

Images

Tour Itinerary & Map (below)


Route


Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Embark the ship by lunchtime. Afternoon and evening at leisure to discover the city on your own. We moor right in the city centre and you can walk virtually anwhere. We suggest you go to The Cyclo Centre' who give training, language instruction and welfare assistance to often homeless cyclo drivers, a fun and very enthusiastic group of guides. You will have your own cyclo, a map (with ship contact numbers) and you go off and do your own thing! There is much to choose from in this attractive former French city: the Royal Palace, the National Museum with its excellent Khmer collections, the Russian and Central markets, various temples and monasteries, a drink at the Foreign Correspondents club, or if feeling or better still the Raffles Le Royale Elephant Bar.
 
Tranquility seems to be a natural feeling that overcomes passengers. Many people just prefer to read, write or paint or take pictures. Other occasional activities can include: cooking, fruit carving and exploring local markets with chefs; talks from on board guides; film presentations, with documentaries on local history and culture as well as movies; tours of the working ship. 
 
During the expedition there will be at least one cultural performance on board and one social gathering of guests. 
 
It's time to sit back, relax, start exploring and let YOUR adventure begin!

Route


Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
We spend the day cruising in the main Mekong channel, an International shipping route for the Vietnamese border for the usual formalities

Route


Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Visit a Cham tribal village, a cat fish farm, and enjoy a trishaw ride round Chau Doc. The main jetty is in the town center next to the Victoria Hotel. A sampan trip to visit the Cham villages is a must to view the cat fish farms contained in great bamboo vats suspended beneath the floors of the Cham houseboats. The town itself retains a 'French' style charm with many old colonial buildings now housing offices of the Vietnam Communist Party and its many branches. The market at Chau Doc is excellent and well worth a wander through. The town is easy to walk around or you can choose to enjoy a cyclo ride. There is a rather groovy Catholic church with Jesus, the Virgin Mary and various saints happily transmorgified with Vietnamese physiognomies. The Victoria Hotel is a pleasant place for a drink in its river view bar which not only has a good billiard table but also wifi

Route


Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
In the morning we will take an exciting Sampan boat excursion to Sa Dec via Vinh Long along canals and backwaters. We will visit Sa Dec and see the local market and the ancient house of Mr, Huyn Thuy Le, the 'lover' of Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist. At Cai Be, we will cruise through its colourful floating market which takes place daily in front of the catholic church.

Route


Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Early morning sail from Cai Be for My Tho, where we disembark in the early morning for a coach transfer to Renaissance Riverside Hotel. Arrive at the hotel late morning. Once you are in Saigon a whole new experience opens up. Saigon or Ho Chi Minh is the capital of southern Vietnam and after Hanoi the country's second city. Remarkably despite the boom of the past ten years much of old Saigon has survived and there is still a real L'Indochine feel to the place. It is easy to walk around the central district exploring the broad leafy boulevards and splendid French colonial architecture - the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post Office and Opera. The Town Hall, scene of the 'fall of Saigon' on April 30th 1975 is worth a peek as is the war museum (interestingly the French seem to come off far worse than the Americans!). A half day excursion to the Chu Chi tunnel complex is also well worth it - here the Viet Cong held out against successive carpet bombing in an underground city. Saigon is a great place to eat with some excellent French or Vietnamese restaurants.

Good to Know

2015 & 2016 Departure Dates

  • Aug 18, Sep 15, Oct 13, Oct 27, Nov 24, Dec 8, Dec 22
  • Jan 5, Feb 2, Feb 16, Mar 1, Mar 15, Mar 29

Cabin Stateroom Includes:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Blankets for sitting on the deck at night
  • Mini Safes, European made
  • Hairdryers are installed in all cabins
  • Slippers and bathroom or kimono
  • Laundry bag & list. 
  • Life Jackets stored in each cabin
  • Comfortable beds, closets, writing desk, wardrobe, storage for suitcases
  • All upper and main deck cabins have own deck space with own rattan chairs and table outside the room.
  • Wi-Fi in designated public areas now. A reasonably strong signal all along the cruise. 

Registration:

The check-in time should be no later than 1:30 hrs. as we need your passport to process the immigration formalities for the border crossing. The ship is moored at the tourist jetty at Sisowath Quay, walking distance from the Royal Palac in Phnom Pehn. The drop off point in Saigon is the InterContinental Asiana Hotel in Saigon located on the corner of Hai Ba Trung Street and La Duan Blvd in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 

Guides:

All guides services are in the English language. Guides in other languages may be supplied by special arrangement at additional cost. 

Daily Excursions: 

When moored you are welcome to come and go from the ship. Sailing times will be advised on the Daily Schedule.  Group excursions are organised by the Purser are accompanied by a member of the ship's company. A detailed Daily Schedule containing interesting and exciting  expeditions about the sites for your visit on the following day is always available.

Meals on board: 

Breakfast is a buffet, lunch and dinner served at the tables. A choice of Asian and Western cuisine are offered and there are always vegetarian dishes.  Special diets may be catered for with advance notice. Locally purchased produce and fruit are featured. Bottled water is used for cooking and food preparation onboard. 

Electricity:

230 volts two round pin type as found in Continental Europe - we carry adapters for other types of plug you might bring (i.e. UK ones). 

Emergency Procedures:

The ship is fitted with modern smoke detectors, and fire alarms, extinguishers and hoses.  Smoking is not permitted in your cabin or any internal areas. Smoking is permitted in outside areas only, the Observation Deck and Promenade Deck.

Mobile Phones:

Mobile phones work on all the rivers, except Myanmar, where there is a local mobile network that is not connected to the international roaming networks. 

Money: 

The currency on board in Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia is US$. All passengers will have their own ship account, which allows you to sign a bill for all purchases and services throughout your cruise. Traveller cheques are NOT accepted on board. 

Muster Stations:

On the MAIN DECK mid ships (where the main gang plank is) there will be an Emergency Drill during your voyage. In the event of an emergency the ship's whistle will blast repeatedly and the alarm bells be rung. 

Terms & Conditions

Early Bird Discounts: 

  • Please note that *EARLY BIRD  DISCOUNTS CAN APPLY* Be sure to ask us about this when you book. 
  • PRICES CAN CHANGE WEEKLY FOR THIS CRUISE. YOU MUST INQUIRE TO RECEIVE AN ACCURATE ROOM RATE.
  • SAME DAY BOOKING CONFIRMATIONS!

Payment Terms:

  • We accept secure payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal
  • TourChoice does not receive any customer sensitive data from credit card processing companies
  • For bookings 65 days or less, prepayment in full once your reservation has been confirmed by TourChoice.com
  • For bookings 66 days out, 50% due on confirmation and balance due 60 days prior to departure
  • Full payment is required 60 days prior to your departure
  • A booking voucher & invoice will be emailed to you immediately upon confirmation of your reservation. 
  • Suggest booking a minimum of 3 months in advance for high season sailings (November 1 to March 31)
  • Please read about TourChoice.com's unique consumer protection. 

Cruise Cancellation and Refund: 

  • Cancellations for all or any part of the trip will not be effective until received in writing. Should you have to cancel, the following terms will apply: 
  • Up till 61 days prior to departure a forfeit of your deposit. 
  • From 60 days till departure, including no show, late arrival or early return, all monies paid to Pandaw Cruises.
  • Pandaw Cruises  strictly enforces  cancellation policies, therefore we strongly recommend for your protection that you purchase trip cancellation insurance. 

Joining the Ship: 

Your attached itinerary will contain exact details of the rendezvous for embarkation. The crew is not obligated to look for passengers who do not check in on time. Such passengers will have to find their own way to join the ship at their own expense. 

Passport Validity:

Please ensure that your passport has sufficient validity (over six months) before travelling.

Bar and Dining Room and Shop Bills: 

Your bar bill will be presented with the account in US$ on the last day aboard. All soft drinks, local beers, mineral water, coffee and tea as well as local spirits are included. Imported spirits, wine, espresso and imported mineral water are extra.

River Conditions: 

The rivers you will sail on are subject to seasonal rises and falls of water level, in some places as much as 30 metres. Water levels can change overnight and a sudden rise or fall can impede our progress upstream and even prevent us from passing under certain bridges. Itineraries are published daily on board and are  subject to change. This is adventure cruising in comfort and style. It's best for passengers to be flexible and patient. River cruising in Asia is not like Europe. Its a more immersive eye opening experience!

Medical: 

Please check with your doctor to ensure that you are fit for travel and ask your doctor if any inoculations are required.  First aid equipment and some medicines are on board. All senior staff has attended First Aid courses. The river is never far from a local medical station. Local doctors usually speak English or French and practice to a good standard. 

Ship Details


Build 2003 in Yangon, refit 2013
Length: 200ft / 60m
Beam: 36ft / 11m
Draught: 4ft / 1.5m
Berths: 48 pax

Sun deck:


• Sundeck bar with complimentary ice cream from sunrise to sunset• 24hrs hospitality bar

Upper deck:


• 8 upper deck premium, 10 upper deck cabins• Spacious, air-conditioned saloon bar • Guest relation desk

Main deck:


• 6 main deck staterooms• Air-conditioned main dining room

Spa deck:


• Single and double massage room with wet area• Gym with cardio machines and weights• Relaxation room• Fair-trade shop • Lecture and meeting room with oversized flat screen TV, LCD projector and sound system• Art gallery featuring local art and artists• Library with contemporary and classic literature• Guest relation desk

Accommodation:

• 8 upper deck premium, 10 upper deck, 6 main deck• 170 square feet, finished in teak and brass• Panoramic French window, leading to personal deck space• New bathrooms with natural stone shower and branded quality fittings• Kimonos and slippers • Spa-branded amenities • Unlimited mineral water • Free use of mini DVD player on request and selection of DVDs from our library (subject to availability)• Electric mini safe• Central AC with individual control• Imported quality linens with duvet and two kind of pillows• Premium mattresses• Convertible bed configuration• Welcome flower arrangement and welcome gift• Make-up mirror• Multi-configuration plugs• Generous closet space and under-bed storage• Hair dryer• Daily nightly turndown service• 24h laundry service• Complimentary evening canap• s• Complimentary postcard mailing

Dining & Wining

• Local master chef heading an experienced international culinary team• Semi-buffet breakfast, Semi-buffet lunch, and seated theme dinners• Daily lean & light menu options• Complimentary coffee, water, tea, soft drinks, local beer, local spirits, juices• Extensive wine list with premium wines• Series of cultural performances, educational talks, cooking classes, and ship tour• Welcome Drink on arrival• Welcome cocktail• Farewell Reception• Theme- and gala dinners• Spacious, air-conditioned saloon bar with nightly entertainment• Sundeck bar with complimentary ice cream from sunrise to sunset• Pool table on sundeck• 24hrs hospitality bar• Onboard bakery with daily freshly baked breads and rolls

Spa deck:

• Traditional Southeast Asian spa treatments and therapies• Aromatherapy, pedicure, manicure• Single and double massage room with wet area• Relaxation room

Public spaces:

• Guest relation desk• Largest public space to passenger ratio of any cruise ship in the world• Shop, supporting fair trade • Lecture and meeting room with oversized flat screen TV, LSD projector and sound system• Art gallery featuring local art and artists• Library with contemporary and classic literature• Wireless internet in all public areas

Complimentary on Excursions:

• Admissions• Shoe cleaning after excursions• Bottled drinking water• Cold towel service after excursions• Welcome Drink following excursions• Maximum 24 guests per guide on all excursions• Full-size motor coach on all excursions (maximum of 24 passengers per coach)• Deluxe sampans with cold towel service, fresh fruit, and tea/coffee• Comfortable "Pandaw Explorer" excursion boat• 1st aid trained assistant guide to follow all tours and excursions

Safety and security:

  •  All onboard crew is trained and certified as per international marine standards (VIRES) 
  •  Fire alarm system in all cabins, public areas and back areas 
  •  Fire fighting system in all ship areas 
  •  Expert marine superintendant 
  •  24 hrs watch on duty 
  •  Certified hygiene standards for all areas (Johnson & Diversey)

Pandaw Onboard Staff (providing a 2-to-1 passenger to crew ratio):

• Captain• First Officer• Chief Engineer• 1st Engineer• Electrician• Bosun & nautical crew• Ship manager• Housekeeping• Dining• Bar keeper• Chefs• Spa therapist• Local tour guides

Ask about Mekong Cruise Downstream Phnom Penh to Saigon