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Welcome to Vietnam and step foot into a world of luxury starting with your air-conditioned airport transfer en-route to your hotel, located downtown in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. Meet your Tour Director and fellow guests at your welcoming dinner.
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 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 in the surroundings of an old French Colonial house or a restaurant specialising in Saigon street food. Or, try traditional Italian at Basilico or international fare at Nineteen Restaurant at your hotel.
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 a coach will transfer you to My Tho where the breath-taking 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, 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. 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 activity.
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 and not quite ready to disembark, 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.
After your morning activity, head back to the ship for lunch whilst sailing to Sa Dec. 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 to obtain some back knowledge of each port and getting the key information for 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. 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 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 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 cabin for a restful cruise up the Mekong River.
You may want to start 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.
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 the Spirit along with a lion dance performed by locals on the expansive Sundeck. 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. Cambodia’s rich history is one to soak in, in all components from its’s food and people, to the remarkable temples that have stood for over a thousand years. After breakfast, it will be time to head into Phnom Penh
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.
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 bus for the short drive to the former capital of Cambodia, Oudong. Here witness the life of the monks and nuns who reside here at the monastery and if you are lucky, you maybe able to partake in one of the many festivals and customs often held here. Even the most developing countries have a standard of luxury and opulence. You can experience this this afternoon back in Phnom Penh at the Royal Palace with the famous Silver Pagoda within, on your included visit to this must-see attraction. 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 reception.
Cocktail reception on the sundeck against the backdrop of Phnom Penh’s lights and stunning scenery as the ships sets sail towards Oknha Tey, commonly known as Silk Island.
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. With travelling throughout South-East Asia comes the heat and what better way to cool down than socialising with a fresh cocktail and dipping your toes in the pool. 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. The option to immerse yourself in local culture with our team is available 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 Freechoices this afternoon provide 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 a truly enriching experience can be completed in under 2 hours leaving the rest of the day to unwind either exploring or enjoying the luxurious facilities located on the 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 villages so your third option is to visit a local 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 you will have 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 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 have enjoyed 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 of Siem Reap 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. 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.
Begin the day with an early morning Scenic Enrich, 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.
The final Scenic Enrich 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 what is a remarkable trip.
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.
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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