Welcome to vibrant Vietnam, a world of colour, culture and food. Enjoy the day at leisure and settle into a two night Special Stay. This colonial ‘grand old lady’ of Hanoi boasts luxury rooms and amenities with an exceptional staff to cater your needs and comforts.
Rise and shine to a day of exploration in this nostalgic city with your first Scenic Freechoice excursion.
Freechoice: Choose to visit the History Museum and Hoa Lo Prison. The National Museum of Vietnamese History displays artefacts from Vietnam's pre-history (up to 400,000 years ago) through to the 1945 Revolution. It has over 200,000 exhibits arranged in five major sections. Housed in a colonial French building completed in 1932, the design incorporated French colonial and traditional Vietnamese architecture. Continue to Hoa Lo Prison, which was used by the French for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for prisoners during the Vietnam War.
Alternatively, visit Ho Chi Minh Quarter and his Mausoleum, the resting place of Ho Chi Minh himself before visiting the Temple of Literature, originally built in 1070 as a university dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages.
Thirdly, visit the ancient village of Bat Trang, a traditional porcelain and pottery community. This interactive experience will teach you the steps involved in making ceramic works of art. Afterwards at a house where locals worship their ancestors, an elder will explain the unique aspects of Vietnamese culture and their spiritual beliefs. Next, learn how to cook Bánh Cu?n or rice pancakes, a dish of northern Vietnam that you’ll then get to enjoy as part of a tasty self-made lunch.
Later, all guests will enjoy a “green” electric car tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter to tonight’s Scenic Enrich event.
Water puppetry originated in the villages of the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam and dates back as far as the 11th century. Tonight you will experience a performance of Hanoi’s famous water puppets. As a VIP ticket holder, you will have premium seating as well as the opportunity to learn the secrets behind this illusionary show thanks to your special backstage pass.
After breakfast, check-out of your luxury accommodation and begin your four-hour journey to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay. Along the way you will drive through the prosperous farmlands of the Red River Delta before joining a two-night cruise on board the Au Co for an awe-inspiring cruise through the picturesque waters of this spectacular icon.
The stunning Au Co provides a first-class experience from beginning to end. The luxurious features and suites allow a comfortable and exquisite way to explore Halong Bay reaching areas far beyond the day trippers and overnight cruises.
After breakfast, you may wish to join a Tai Chi lesson on the Sun Deck as the ship sails deeper into the National Park. Jump into a kayak and paddle your way through a limestone cave system, and later take a bike ride on Cat Ba Island. Cat Ba Island has to be one of the hidden beauties of the region. Twisted with jungle and wildlife, the island remains largely untouched by development. After your adventure ashore head back to the ship to enjoy an exclusive Sunset Drinks activity whilst at anchor.
Soak up the aromas in a wine tasting set against the backdrop of the karst Islands at sunset.
Later, after enjoying the fine local cuisine in the onboard restaurant, try your hand at some squid fishing from the boat.
Relax during your morning cruise back to the harbour. After stopping for lunch and shopping en-route back to Hanoi for an overnight stay. Later join an historical bunker tour at the hotel to learn about its place in the history of this capital city that spans over 1,000 years.
Freechoice Dining: Tonight, you have a choice of venues for your dinner through Scenic’s Freechoice Dining. Stay in-house at the La Terrace at your hotel, or situated in the splendid surroundings of Hanoi’s French Quarter, near Hoan Kiem Lake and the Opera House, dine at the historic Press Club to experience a unique Michelin-star menu of traditional French dishes from the famous Chef Alain Dutournier. For the more adventurous, ride tandem on the back on a Vespa with a guide for a foodie tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, stopping at local food haunts for authentic Hanoi Street food with free flow drinks enabling you get a feel of the nightlife and vibe of the local Hanoi culture.
After a morning at leisure, fly to Ho Chi Minh City. Relax for the next two nights at your centrally located hotel, located downtown in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City.
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 the city for lunch and the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
Freechoice Dining: Tonight, choose your Scenic Freechoice Dining option from an exhilarating Vespa ride at night as your experienced driver stops at the best local spots for the most scrumptious Vietnamese cuisine. Sample the best authentic street food and free flow drinks. Alternatively, dine at Secret Garden restaurant, a themed Vietnamese restaurant that is in 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 and checkout, visit the War Museum and Reunification Palace. The former Presidential House of South Vietnam 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. After lunch in HCMC, a coach will transfer you to My Tho where the breathtaking Scenic Spirit awaits. Start 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. A calm 4-hour sail brings you to halt off Cai Be where the ship will anchor overnight.
Enjoy a full gourmet champagne breakfast before heading out on your chosen Scenic Freechoice excursion.
Freechoice: Choose to board a sampan, gliding through a floating market and soaking in the local life on your way to visit Cai Be before stopping at local cottage industries and a French colonial or traditional Vietnamese house. Alternatively take a sampan to savour a delicious morning 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.
After your morning activity, head back to the ship for lunch whilst sailing to Sa Dec. You may wish to unwind in the Scenic Spirit library to learn more about each port you will visit and the exciting activities ahead. 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. Later, upon arrival in Sa Dec, re-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 returning to the ship, you will have time to take an evening dip in the pool overlooking the Mekong as the sun sets. The ship will set sail after your arrival back on board for the 6-hour journey to Tan Chau. After dinner, retire in your suite for a restful cruise up the Mekong River.
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 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.
Your third Scenic Freechoice excursion to choose from 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.
After lunch upon your arrival back on board, enjoy sailing to the Vietnamese and Cambodian border. 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. Whilst the ship clears immigration into Cambodia at the border, you will experience a fantastically themed dinner on board Scenic Spirit along with a lion dance performed by locals on the expansive Sun Deck. Settle in for an overnight sail towards Phnom Penh, bidding farewell to Vietnam
Welcome to Cambodia, arriving into the capital of Phnom Penh early this morning. Soak in Cambodia’s rich history; from the food, the people, and the remarkable temples that have stood for thousands of years. After breakfast, it will be time to head into Phnom Penh.
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.
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.
Board your coach for the short drive to the former capital of Cambodia, Oudong. Witness the life of the monks and nuns who reside at the monastery and if you are lucky, you may be able to join in one of the many festivals and customs often held here. 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. 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. Enjoy the passing scenery and panoramic views as the ships sets sail towards Oknha Tey, commonly known as Silk Island.
Cocktail reception on the sundeck.
This morning we explore 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 for lunch and some free time. You may wish to socialise by the pool with a refreshing cocktail and swim.
Next port after lunch is Angkor Ban. Explore its historical rural wooden houses, which survived the Khmer Rouge and visit a school that teaches English to the local students after their regular school lessons. Back on board, continue sailing to Kampong Cham. Immerse yourself in local culture with our team by learning how to make and wear the Cambodian scarf.
Meet the novice monks at Wat Hanchey, an ancient hilltop pagoda and monastery. Walk (or drive) to the top and soak in some of the best elevated views of the cruise.
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.
Freechoice: Back in Kampong Cham, your Scenic Freechoice excursions this afternoon provides the chance to learn about the history and industries of the area. 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. This enriching experience can be completed in under 2 hours leaving the rest of the day to either explore independently or enjoy the luxurious facilities located on Scenic Spirit.
Alternatively explore Kampong Cham’s history and industry with a drive through 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.
Back on board Scenic Spirit, enjoy some time to relax and overlook the gorgeous sunset of the Cambodian skyline before your engaging farewell dinner with the crew.
Today we journey to Siem Reap via stops at Kampong Tom and the Angkorian bridge in Kampong Kdei. Siem Reap is a split in time with ancient and traditional architecture weaved between the modern developments. Your hotel, is a step back in time in the definition of luxury and 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, the attentive staff provide a service beyond expectations, and brilliant amenities fit for royalty.
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.
The second day of your explorations in Siem Reap 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. After the day of adventure, tonight is free to shop away at the night markets of Siem Reap or venture to Pub Street, both in walking distance or a short tuk tuk ride from your hotel.
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.
It is time to bid farewell to your fellow travellers and Scenic team as you get ready to depart Cambodia for your homeland or extended travels. Transfer to the airport and 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. 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.