Welcome to Cambodia and the regional city of Siem Reap. Your hotel, is a step back in time in the definition of luxury and will be your historical home for the next three nights in Siem Reap. This brilliantly appointed accommodation is styled with a mix of French inspired architecture, local interior furnishings and amenities fit for royalty with the attentive staff providing a service beyond expectations. Enjoy the day at leisure until tonight when you meet your Scenic Tour Director and fellow travelling companions at your welcome briefing and dinner.
Your Siem Reap exploration starts with a delicious champagne buffet breakfast at the hotel.
Freechoice: As part of Scenic’s Freechoice you have multiple options to choose from. Explore the Banteay Srei Temples and visit the Landmine museum or admire the incredible handicrafts created by disadvantaged rural individuals forming a wide range of lacquerware, silk fabrics and fine sculptures. Alternatively, if you enjoy being on the water, sail on Tonle Sap Lake (seasonal), a picturesque UNESCO biosphere reserve and dive deep into discovery when visiting and experiencing the life of a floating village. Or take flight in a tethered balloon to discover the aerial beauties of the combination between traditional and modern Siem Reap. Enjoy the fresh air and take some remarkable photographs of the skyline as you lift into the skies overlooking Angkor Wat below.
Later this afternoon explore Angkor Wat itself, the largest religious monument in the world. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. An afternoon visit provides the perfect light for those idealic pictures of this colossal structure.
Head to the colourful Cambodian Phare Circus where your VIP premium reserved seating awaits you. Beautifully dressed performers style a stunning show that is more than just a circus. The performers use theatre, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories; historical, folk and modern.
Marvel at the sunrise over the magnificent Angkor Wat before moving to a special location near a temple for a scrumptious champagne breakfast with food prepared by an NGO supported local bakery school which also Scenic sponsors.
After breakfast, visit the atmospheric, jungle covered Ta Prohm Temple, before stopping at Angkor Thom and the multi-faced Bayon Temple. Fortunately, you have the remainder of the afternoon to discover more of the Siem Reap markets or relax at your luxury hotel after your early morning start.
Tonight is truly a special and exclusive one, one that is best experienced first hand to fully appreciate it’s scale. Your tour directors and Scenic team will leave you in awe as you enter a private magical gala themed dinner at Prasat Kravan, a small 10th-century temple consisting of five reddish brick towers on a common terrace. Including free flow drinks and a show featuring Apsara dancers in front of the candle lit temple ruins, this evening brings a most incredible end to your time in Siem Reap.
Discover the rural side of Cambodia as your coach will transfer you to Kampong Cham where the breathtaking Scenic Spirit awaits. Before arriving, you will be visiting the stunning Khmer bridge at Kampong Kdei, Kampong Thom and a stone cutters village. After boarding, begin your cruise in style with a cocktail reception hosted by your Cruise Director. Take a stroll around the decks to orientate yourself as to where all the amenities are. After your welcome dinner, settling into your private suite does not mean you settle for service. At any time, your dedicated personal butler is free to swing by with a nightcap and delivery of your preferred pillows.
Awake as you approach Wat Hanchey, an ancient hilltop pagoda and monastery to meet the resident novice monks. Walk (or drive) to the top for some of the best elevated views of the cruise. This afternoon is spent sailing upstream along the Mekong River before returning to Kampong Cham, the quaint but largest city in the north and home to most of Cambodia’s Muslim population. The remainder of the day is free to discover the main boulevard along the river front filled with its colourfully fainted Chinese shopfronts, restaurants and colonial buildings. Be sure to visit the night market once setup.
From Kampong Cham, your Scenic Freechoices this morning provide you the chance to learn about the history and industries of the area.
Freechoice: Your first option is to learn about the local folklore with stops at Phnom Pros (Man Hill and Wat Nokor). Phnom Pros was part of a traditional local legend but more recently was used as a Killing Field during the Khmer Rouge era. The temple now features a Buddha garden and is home to a local troop of monkeys. Wat Nokor Bachey is a unique architectural experiment blending an Angkorian era temple with a new temple built inside it.
Alternatively, you can explore Kampong Cham’s history and industry with a drive past shop houses, remnants of the French colonial era and the large Central market. Visit a local rubber plantation established by the French, followed by a tour to view the processing of the raw rubber at a rubber factory before stopping at a village known for growing betel nut, a popular item in Cambodian culture.
Cambodia is known for its villages so your third option is to visit the a village where the locals are being educated through a French NGO to be self-sustaining and live in a clean environment through rubbish collection and recycling.
Back on board, spend the afternoon relaxing and getting to know the facilities of the most luxurious ship on the river, Scenic Spirit as she sails to Angkor Ban.
In Angkor Ban, explore its historical rural wooden houses, which survived the Khmer Rouge, and visit the local pagoda to observe the lifestyle of the resident monks and nuns.
Receive a blessing from a monk and learn how to pray in a Buddhist pagoda, before partaking in a ceremony that contributes to the daily meal of the resident monks.
Afterwards reboard Scenic Spirit for lunch and sail downstream to the island of Oknha Tey, dedicated to the art of silk weaving. Travel by tuk tuk to the farm and learn about the process of silk production. Return to Scenic Spirit and some free time. The option to immerse yourself in local culture with our team is available by learning how to make and wear the Cambodian scarf. Some down time is a great way to relax and what better way to do that than heading to the Wellness Centre or Beauty Salon for a bit of pampering. If you are running out of clean clothes, be sure to utilise the complimentary laundry facilities and get an outfit ready for an evening of style with a Sundowners cocktail reception
Cocktail reception on the sundeck against the backdrop of Phnom Penh’s lights and stunning scenery as we approach the capital of Cambodia.
Later this evening revel in our Phnom Penh by City Lights tour, giving you an insight to the nightlife of the capital before stopping at a distillery for an exclusive tour and tasting behind closed doors.
Freechoice: Your Scenic Freechoice provides the option to journey to the Killing Fields and tour Tuol Sleng Prison. This attraction is a sobering reminder of the terrors unleashed by the Khmer Rouge regime. Although not a delightful tour, visiting these monuments unlocks the keys to understanding the development of this country. At the conclusion of this choice, you can head back to the Scenic Spirit for lunch.
The second choice is for the kitchen wizard, where a cooking class may be the option for you. Take a trip to the local market with a local chef to purchase your ingredients. Head back to the kitchen to cook your own lunch, testing out the styles and flavours of the Cambodian cuisine.
The third option is to travel by Remok, a local style of tuk tuk to visit the French architecture and history of Phnom Penh. Finish this tour with a stop at the unique designed Central Market for some shopping. Before returning to the Scenic Spirit, stop for lunch at a local Non Government Office (NGO) sponsored restaurant supporting street kids get a start in the hospitality industry.
The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure to go ashore and explore the city and its markets and bars. Settle into a relaxing evening on the pool deck or the roof top bar to enjoy some me time.
Even the most developing countries have a standard of luxury and opulence. You can experience this this morning at the Royal Palace with the famous Silver Pagoda within, on your included visit to this must-see attraction. Upon returning to the ship set sail and say goodbye to Phnom Penh as we sail to the Cambodian and Vietnamese border. A relaxing afternoon of sailing will allow you to take advantage of the many exclusive facilities on the Scenic Spirit. Sometimes everyone needs a break from the hustle and bustle of this exciting cruise and for those bookworms, kick back in the Scenic Spirit library, or head to the heart of this ship, which is the Scenic Spirit lounge, a great place to unwind with a glass of wine. Obtain some background knowledge of each port and get the key information for the exciting activities ahead. With travelling throughout South-East Asia comes the heat and what better way to cool down than socialising with a fresh cocktail and swimming in the pool all or just settle into the private comfort of your luxury suite and private balcony. After clearing immigration into Vietnam at the border, you will experience a fantastically themed dinner on board the Spirit along with a lion dance performed by locals on the expansive Sundeck.
You may want to begin the day with some exercise in the on board gym, try stretching at the early morning yoga class or relax in the sauna before setting off to a Scenic Freechoice of your choosing in the areas surrounding Tan Chau.
Freechoice: A prime example of leaving the city life behind can be located at Tra Su Bird Sanctuary in Tra Su Forest where you travel by sampan through endless waterways flanked by mangroves and lush greenery. This eco reserve spans 850 hectares and is known as an ecological haven for fauna and flora, with more than 100 species of water birds known to reside here.
Of course, if you are not a bird fan but want to experience the wilderness of Vietnam, look no further than Evergreen Island for a morning of discovery about the local farmers. Enjoy the stunning and tranquil views of Monkey Bridge, orchards and traditional homes. Back in Tan Chau you will have the option to experience a ride in a Xe Loi. This is a commonly used form of transportation in rural Vietnam will lead you to a silk workshop where you will discover the unique dying process of silk which has resulted in a sort after export product, particularly in Paris.
Your third choice is boarding a speedboat to visit Chau Doc, a major city in the Mekong Delta. Upon arrival, continue on board a coach to visit Tay An temple, which is a mixture of Indian and Islamic style architecture located at the foot of Sam Mountain. Then board another sampan to visit Vinh Te canal and view life along the riverfront of Chau Doc, stop at a family-operated fish farm and then return to the Scenic Spirit.
What better way to end the first day in Vietnam than a delicious cocktail by the pool on board the Spirit along with a great view of the Mekong as you set sail for Sa Dec.
Upon arrival in Sa Dec, board your sampan to explore and interact with the sellers in the lively wet market where you will see live fishes, frogs and even snakes. This 2-hour exploration lets you dive deep into the local lifestyle. You can also visit the home of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le who inspired marguerite Duras novel L’Amant, a story of tragic love told by your entertaining expert. After your morning excursion, head back to the Scenic Spirit for lunch whilst enjoying a relaxing afternoon at leisure on board sailing downstream to Cai Be.
Freechoice: Enjoy your choice from today’s Scenic Freechoice activities. Re-board your sampan, pass the early morning floating market as it finishes its sales for the day and soak in the local life on your way to visit Cai Be town. Stop at local cottage industries and a French colonial or traditional Vietnamese house.
Alternatively take a sampan from the Scenic Spirit to savour a delicious afternoon tea at the Le Longanier, a French colonial house restaurant, where staff will welcome you with tea, coffee and a range of local fruit and snacks for your tasting. You can dive into a local experience with a band playing music and performing traditional Vietnamese songs.
Thirdly if you are enjoying the comforts of the luxurious Scenic Spirit and wish to stay on board, our highly skilled bar team is ready to welcome you for our on board hands on cocktail/mocktail making class featuring fresh local ingredients, along with our delicious favourites from the Scenic Spirit menu.
This evening enjoy a farewell dinner on board as you sail to My Tho.
It is time to bid farewell to the Scenic Spirit as you wave goodbye to the staff and commence your 90 min drive to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival you can be dropped off at the Caravelle Saigon or head to the airport as you get ready to depart Vietnam for your homeland or extended travels. Leave with a full camera and stunning memories to treasure.
This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above.
Scenic were exceptional.They have to be the best operators of river cruises.Every aspect of the trip with them was of a very high standard.The cabins (suites) were large and very comfortable (we had the lowest level,so I can imagine what the higher levels would have been like!). All the meals served were excellent with plenty of variety and imagination.Every member of staff we encountered was helpful and smiley.The excursions were excellent with high level guiding .Overall a very good experience.and I would highly recommend them.
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