Explore Saigon, Cruise in Luxury on the RV Mekong
Striking cultural contrasts challenges your senses as we depart from the bustling Vietnam river delta and slowly make our way to the more tranquil Cambodia. The former vibrant French colonial port of Saigon with a vast river delta so bountiful with human life and eye catching activities eventually give way as you meander upstream though the main channel into the rich countryside of Cambodia, finally reaching charming Phnom Penh.
The RV Mekong and RV Tonle are purpose built river cruising vessels, each having been optimized for the Mekong. The ships offer 2 classes of cabin staterooms for you to choose from when booking. These include Upper Deck Cabin and Main Deck Cabins. All cabins are finished in brass and teak and all cabins are 168 sq ft. Although cabins are very nice, we don't think you will spend much time in your stateroom so you won't find mini bars or TV's in your room. Your adventure is not like a large cruise ship, however, you will enjoy a floating base of elegance, discreet comfort and personal service somewhat reminicent of a bygone colonial era.
Dining rooms are open so that passengers can enjoy the ambient fresh air. Breakfast is buffet style. Lunch starts with buffet with soups and salad and the main course served at your table. Dinners are by candle light 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. Tastey local cuisine and exotic foods are served on board.
Mekong ships are outfitted with a spa. Activities and excursions ashore are a daily occurrence giving you a chance to visit markets and small villages. A walk through countryside or an exploration by speed boat going deeper into jungle or up river; or cyclos in Cambodia. Cars or coaches are avoided as much as possible and in some places only the most basic of local transportation is available when going ashore.
Many people just prefer to read, write, paint, sketch or take pictures. Other occasional activities can include: cooking, fruit carving and exploring local markets with chefs.
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!
Tour Itinerary & Map (below)
Transfer from the Renaissance Riverside Hotel in Saigon to the port of My Tho by coach to embark cruise. 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.
In the morning passengers will visit Cai Be and its colourful floating market. In the afternoon take an exciting Sampan boat excursion to Sa Dec via Vinh Long, along canals and backwaters and see the local market and the ancient house of Mr, Huyn Thuy Le, the 'lover' of Marguerite Duras, a famous French novelist.Sa Dec is said to be yet another 'little Venice of Asia' and it does live up to this name with countless canals bustling with water borne craft of every size and description. The market is great - a typical hive of Vietnamese bustle and enterprise. Near the market you will find the house of Mr Huyn Thuy Le, remembered as the lover of the French author Marguerite Duras in her classic book L'Amant.
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. Return to the ship by boat for lunch and cast off for the Cambodian border.
Arrive in the early morning and disembark. Sailing into Phnom Penh past the Royal Palace and bustling corniche is highlight to any Mekong voyage. We moor right in the city centre and you can walk virtually anwhere. Take a ride with 'The Cyclo Centre' who give training, language instruction and welfare assistance to often homeless cyclo drivers. These guys are all great fun and very enthusiastic. 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.
Good to Know
2015 & 2016 Departures
- Aug 8, Sep 5, Oct 3, Oct 17, Oct 31, Nov 14, Nov 28, Dec 12, Dec 26
- Jan 9, Jan 23, Feb 20, Mar 5, Mar 19
Cabin Stateroom Includes:
- Air Conditioning, adjustable as you like.
- 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 is at 10.30am in the Purple Jade Bar on the first floor of 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, Tel: (+84) 8 3520 9999.
All guides services are in the English language. Guides in other languages may be supplied by special arrangement at additional cost.
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 fusion 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.
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).
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 work on all the rivers, except Myanmar, where there is a local mobile network that is not connected to the international roaming networks.
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.
In the event of an emergency the ship's whistle will blast repeatedly and the alarm bells be rung. MUSTER STATION ONE in all ships is located on the MAIN DECK mid ships (where the main gang plank is). There will be an Emergency Drill during your voyage.
Terms & Conditions
Early Bird Discounts:
- Please note that *EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS CAN APPLY* Be sure to ask us about this.
- PRICES CHANGE WEEKLY FOR THIS CRUISE. YOU MUST INQUIRE TO RECEIVE AN ACCURATE ROOM RATE.
- SAME DAY BOOKING CONFIRMATIONS!
Booking the Tour:
- Minimum 2 persons per booking required.
- Allow up to 24 hours for TourChoice.com to confirm your booking after you submit your request to us.
- Please note that pricing is per person and in USD
- 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 or 4 months in advance for high season sailings (November 1 to April 30)
- 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.
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.
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 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. Passengers are asked to be flexible and patient. River cruising in Asia is not like Europe. Its more fun if you are prepared!
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.
Build 2003 in Yangon, refit 2013
Length: 200ft / 60m
Beam: 36ft / 11m
Draught: 4ft / 1.5m
Berths: 48 pax
Sundeck bar with complimentary ice cream from sunrise to sunset 24hrs hospitality bar
8 upper deck premium, 10 upper deck cabins Spacious, air-conditioned saloon bar Guest relation desk
6 main deck staterooms Air-conditioned main dining room
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
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
Traditional Southeast Asian spa treatments and therapies Aromatherapy, pedicure, manicure Single and double massage room with wet area Relaxation room
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 Upstream Cruise Saigon to Phnom Penh