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 excursions, you have multiple options to choose from. Explore the 10th-century Banteay Srei Temple, commonly referred to as the Ladies Temple because of its pinkish sandstone and dedication to the Hindu god Shiva. Afterwards visit the Landmine Museum, founded in 1997 with the aim to make the country safe through the removal of mines.
Alternatively, visit Senteurs d'Angkor workshop to try your hand at producing your own local souvenir. Through different hands-on workstations, discover how the artisans make by hand soap with coconut oil, natural cosmetics, subtly scented balms, aromatic candles and local spices in traditional ways.
The third option today is for those who enjoy being on the water. Sail on Tonlé Sap (seasonal), a picturesque UNESCO biosphere reserve and witness the lifestyle of the residents of the famous floating village.
Or, you can choose to take to the sky in a tethered balloon for a bird’s eye view of the contrasting traditional and modern Siem Reap. Take some remarkable photographs of the skyline as you lift into the skies of Siem Reap overlooking Angkor Wat below.
Later this afternoon, all guests will explore Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument. Originally constructed by the Khmer Empire as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. An afternoon visit provides the perfect light for those idyllic 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 Scenic also sponsors.
After breakfast, visit the atmospheric, jungle covered Ta Prohm Temple, before stopping at Angkor Thom and the multi-faced Bayon Temple. 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 evening, one that is best experienced first-hand to fully appreciate its scale. Your Tour Directors and Scenic team will escort you to a private, magical gala themed dinner at Prasat Kravan. This small 10th-century temple consists of five reddish brick towers on a common terrace. Including free flow drinks, Khmer cuisine and a performance 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 en-route to Kampong Cham where the breathtaking Scenic Spirit awaits. Along the way, visit 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, settle into your private suite. At any time, your dedicated personal butler is available to assist 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 Scenic Spirit and the surrounding countryside. This afternoon, sail 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 riverfront, lined with colourfully painted Chinese shopfronts, restaurants and colonial buildings. Be sure to visit the night market once setup.
Back in Kampong Cham, your Scenic Freechoice excursions this afternoon provides 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 rural villages so your third option is to visit one such village where a French NGO is assisting the residents with education programs around sustainability, sanitation and recycling.
Once back on board Scenic Spirit, enjoy some time to unwind in your spectacular suite. Your dedicated butler can arrange for a beautiful meal to be served in your suite as you enjoy the sights and sounds of the Mekong, overlooking the gorgeous sunset of the Cambodian skyline as you sail to Angkor Ban.
Upon arrival in Angkor Ban, explore its historical rural wooden houses, which survived the Khmer Rouge and visit a local pagoda where a private and solemn excursion at a Buddhist pagoda awaits.
Receive a blessing from a monk and learn how to pray in a Buddhist pagoda before partaking in a ceremony which contributes to the daily meal of the resident monks.
Afterwards return to Scenic Spirit for lunch and sail downstream to the island of Oknha Tey, where residents are 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 where you may wish to absorb more about the local culture with our team by learning how to make and wear the Cambodian scarf.
Enjoy the amenities on Scenic Spirit and truly unwind. What better way to do so than by heading to the Wellness Centre or Beauty Salon for a bit of pampering. This evening, you may wish to dress up for the Scenic Sunset Drinks cocktail reception on the Sun Deck 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 excursions provide the option to journey to the Killing Fields and tour Tuol Sleng Prison. These locations are 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. You will then return to Scenic Spirit for lunch.
The second Scenic Freechoice excursion today is a hands-on cooking class. 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 remork, a local style of tuk tuk, to view the French architecture and history of Phnom Penh. Finish this tour with a stop at the uniquely designed Central Market for some shopping. Before returning to 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 or you may wish to join an afternoon Scenic Freechoice excursion.
Freechoice: Travel to the silversmith village of Kho Chen. The village is known for their silver and copper smithing arts, a craft which has been passed on for generations within the village.
Settle into a relaxing evening by the pool or at the bar on the Sun Deck.
Experience the opulent side of Phnom Penh this afternoon at the Royal Palace with the famous Silver Pagoda, during 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 board Scenic Spirit. You may wish to unwind in the Scenic Spirit library to learn more about the ports you are visiting. Or head to the heart of this ship, the Scenic Spirit Lounge, which is a great place to unwind with a glass of wine and meet other guests. You may wish to socialise by the pool with a refreshing cocktail and swim, or just settle into the private comfort of your luxury suite.
After clearing immigration into Vietnam at the border, experience a fantastically themed dinner on board the Scenic Spirit along with a lion dance performed by locals on the expansive Sun Deck.
You may wish to start your 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 on a Scenic Freechoice excursion of your choosing in the areas surrounding Tan Chau.
Freechoice: A prime example of leaving the city life behind will be found 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.
If you would like to experience the community side 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, experience a ride in a Xe Loi. This commonly used form of transportation in rural Vietnam will take you to the recently renovated Cao Dai temple. The religion of Cao Dai is a syncretic, monotheistic religion established in southern Vietnam in the city of Tây Ninh in 1926. Here, you will learn more about the mix of ideas that form the basis of this fascinating religion.
The third Scenic Freechoice excursion involves 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 Scenic Spirit.
What better way to end the first day in Vietnam than a refreshing 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 fish, frogs and even snakes. This 2-hour exploration is a deep dive 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, as told by your entertaining local expert.
After your morning excursion, return to Scenic Spirit for lunch whilst sailing downstream to Cai Be.
Enjoy your choice from the Scenic Freechoice activities on offer today.
Freechoice: Re-board your sampan, pass the location of the morning floating market 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 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.
Alternatively, if you are enjoying the comforts of the luxurious Scenic Spirit, our highly skilled bar team is ready to welcome you for a hands-on cocktail/mocktail making class featuring fresh local ingredients. Create delicious favourites from the Scenic Spirit menu.
Back on board, as you sail to My Tho, relax and take in the gorgeous sunset over the Vietnamese skyline and life on the Mekong River before your engaging farewell dinner with the crew.
It is time to bid farewell to the Scenic Spirit as you wave goodbye to the staff and commence your 90 minute drive to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). Upon arrival visit the War Museum before an orientation tour around your hotel where you will enjoy a two night stay, located in the heart of District One and opposite the Opera House.
Freechoice Dining: Tonight, choose your Scenic Free Choice dining option from an exhilarating Vespa ride at night as your experienced driver winds in and out the hectic traffic of the streets, stopping at all the best local spots for the most scrumptious Vietnamese cuisines. Sample the best authentic street food and an unlimited supply of drinks and eating however much your stomach desires. Alternatively, dine at Secret Garden restaurant, a themed Vietnamese restaurant that is a quintessentially Vietnamese house or try international fare at Nineteen Restaurant at your hotel or SHRI Restaurant and Lounge, which is set atop the new Centec Tower offering unparalleled panoramic views from nearly every table in the restaurant.
After breakfast, travel to the Cu Chi Tunnels and spend the morning learning about the development and establishment of this hidden covered tunnel network that the Viet Cong soldiers hid in for months on end. Return to HCMC to explore the Reunification Palace, the former Presidential House of South Vietnam which become famous in 1975 with images of tanks crashing through its gates leading to the South’s surrender and end of the War of Independence. Enjoy tonight’s farewell dinner with your fellow travellers.
After check out 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. Disruptions to cruising and alteration to itinerary arrangements may occur. Hotels are indicative and are subject to change.
Guests are required to comply with any government requirements to enter countries on their itinerary at the time of travel. It will remain the responsibility of the guests to ensure they meet all necessary requirements including any necessary proof of vaccination, and/or negative COVID-19 test results, or any COVID-19 Travel Insurance policies should this apply at the time. For further information please visit the GOV.UK website and refer to the Government Health Advice.
We recommend that our guests travel with a supply of their own face masks and hand sanitizer, to be available in their hand luggage for connecting travel arrangements, which may include flights, hotels, and transfer arrangements.
Every Crew Member will be fully vaccinated prior to joining all our river Space-Ships and they must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test, following 7 days of self-isolation in their home country prior to travel to the vessel.
On arrival, all Crew Members are further isolated for a period of 5 days, following a Rapid Antigen Test. All Crew Members will receive extensive instruction and training in COVID-Security, prior to travel and also prior to starting work on board. Crew Members are empowered to ensure all team members work safely within the strict protocols and a COVID secure way.
All crew members will follow local government and health advisories, and masks will only be required to be worn if it is mandated or deemed necessary by local authorities or for the health and wellbeing of our guests on board.
We have enhanced our already intensive, frequent, and high standard of cleaning protocols in public areas and suites to ensure all surfaces and spaces are kept clean. Additional care and attention will be paid to high contact zones, such as communal restrooms and dining facilities. Any touchscreens such as iPads will be thoroughly disinfected after each use and hand sanitisation stations will be placed throughout the ship.
We will follow local government and health advisories which Scenic must adhere to. Your dedicated on board staff will keep you updated on requirements.
Our ships are fitted with an on board medical facility. The facility is staffed by one doctor and one nurse. Our medical staff have undergone specific training and awareness in infection control, monitoring and treatment. The medical facility is fitted with equipment to perform PCR testing.
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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.