Angkor Wat & Saigon Overland Adventure (Single)
Day 1 (L/D)
Drive from the pier to the bustling Ho Chi Minh City, still commonly referred to as Saigon. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in Vietnam’s former capital; then, you will set out to explore Saigon. Watch for the Notre Dame Cathedral, a neo-Classical structure dating back to the 19th century. The imposing twin spires have long heralded arrival in Saigon to passenger liners that travel the winding Saigon River. You’ll have a chance to snap some photos here. Continue to the former Presidential Palace, now known as Independence Palace. This historic building was made famous when a North Vietnamese tank crashed through its front gates in 1975, signaling the end of the Vietnam War. It has changed little since that time and is now retained as a museum. Your tour will take in the reception and dining rooms of the President’s quarters, and the basement with its ancient American-made telecommunications equipment still in place, and strategic military maps lining the walls. Enjoy time for shopping at the Ben Thanh market and a lacquer ware factory. Finally, you will visit the History Museum. Built in 1929, this facility houses an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the evolution of the cultures of Vietnam, from the Bronze Age Dong Son civilization to Cham, Khmer and modern-day Vietnam. Returning to the airport you will continue your onward air journey to Siem Reap in Cambodia. A boxed dinner box will be provided at Tan Son Nhat airport. Overnight at your hotel in Siem Reap.
Day 2 (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll visit the monumental Angkor Thom—the last capital of the Khmers—with its Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the stunning Bayon Temple. This 12th-century masterpiece lies at the center of Angkor Thom and is a wonder of symmetry and grandeur. The exterior gallery walls have extensive bas reliefs but the highlight is the "faces"—more than 200 of them, with the famous half-smile playing on their lips. PJ de Beerski wrote of them, "godliness in the majesty and the size, mystery in the expression." Continue your exploration of the Angkor temples at Ta Prohm. This temple has been left largely in its natural state since its "re-discovery" by French explorers. Surrounded by jungle, its labyrinth of stone hallways is overgrown with the roots and limbs of massive banyan trees that envelop it like tentacles. It is one of the largest temples at Angkor, dedicated in 1186. Historians have noted its mystical charm. Entering the courtyards is like stepping into a new kind of vegetable world—not of branches and leaves, but of roots. Ta Prohm is an exhibition of the mysterious subterranean life of plants, offering an infinite variety of cross sections. "Huge trees have seeded themselves on the roofs of the squat towers and their soaring trunks are obscured from sight, but here one can study in comfort the drama of those secret and conspiratorial activities that labor to support their titanic growth," said Norman Lewis in A Dragon Apparent. Return to your hotel for lunch; then, this afternoon you will enjoy a Remok (Tuk Tuk) tour of Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world, with a volume of stone equaling that of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. It is unlike all other Khmer temples in that it faces west, and is inspired by 12th-century Hinduism. Its symmetrical towers are stylized on the modern Cambodian flag. Conceived by Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat took an estimated 30 years to build. It is generally believed to have been a funeral temple for the king. It has been occupied continuously by Buddhist monks and is well preserved. Intricate bas reliefs surround Angkor Wat on four sides. Each tells a story, but the most celebrated is the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, which is located on the east wing. In it, the Naga serpent is twisted by demons and gods to spurt out the elixir of life. Enjoy dinner and an overnight stay in Siem Reap.
Day 3 (B, L)
Transfer to Siem Reap airport for your onward flight to Phnom Penh. Then, take an overland drive to your ship in Sihanoukville. It will take approximately 4½ hours over approximately 150 miles, with a 15-minute stop en route. A boxed lunch is provided.
Modest, comfortable clothing must be worn to enter the temples; not tight; shoulders and knees must be covered. Long pants or a long skirt and a t-shirt are required—a wrap is not sufficient. The drive from Phu My port to Saigon is approximately two hours. Due to this tour’s popularity, exclusivity, and strict booking conditions, tour bookings must be confirmed 60 days prior to the actual call to Phu My, with no cancellations allowed thereafter. Important: It is each guest’s sole responsibility to obtain (before traveling) any visas, vaccinations and/or tourist cards that are required for participating in overland adventures or overnight tours, unless noted otherwise in the description. Please be aware that you may need a visa for any and/or all countries that you will depart from and travel through as part of your overland adventure or overnight tour, and for the country in which you will re-join the ship.