The Lemmers Lynns
Lachine, Quebec, Canada
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Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River 2011

Posted 2011-12-09

Our October 2011 trip to Vietnam and Cambodia with a 7 day cruise down the Mekong river was organized by AMAWaterways and booked through Vacations-To-Go. AMA Waterways have a number of river boats operating both in Europe and in Asia, and they arrange the rest of the tour to go with the river cruise.

We found the tour to be very well organized, with top-notch accommodation (much classier than we choose when we travel on our own).
Most of the tour guides speak reasonable English (much better than our Vietnamese or Cambodian). Most are too young to remember the "American" war (the Vietnamese call it that because they've had so many wars), or even the Khmer Rouge atrocities - all history to most of them, and just as well for us, I guess.

Vietnam is a Communist country, but one tour guide called it a "capitalist economy with a socialist society" or something similar. Intriguingly, they pay for medical insurance, school, etc. and have no old-age security - all generations live together. Makes Canada seem like the Socialist country.

Cambodia is a "Kingdom". I'm not clear on the structure, but the Kingdom of Cambodia visitor visa purchase website is topnotch. We sent in our .jpg photos and passport information and about $45 and received our visas by email within a couple of days, in .pdf format ready to print, cut and stick in our passport.

For Vietnam a similar application led to receiving a "visa on arrival" letter which allowed us to pick up our visas when we arrived in Hanoi. There were only a couple of folks in line, so there was minimal delay.

Vietnam & Cambodia route map
3 October: Montreal - Toronto via Air Canada, Toronto - Seoul - Hanoi via Korean Airlines
4 October: Arrive Hanoi late at night (after a 30 hour journey)
5 October: Hanoi city tour, rickshaw ride and water puppet show
6 October: Hanoi to Halong Bay by bus, overnight on a junk
7 October: Tour Halong Bay, bus to Hanoi airport, Vietnam Airways to Siam Reap, Cambodia
8 October: Tour Angkor Archeological park. Angkor Thom & Bantey Srei; visit AMAWaterways school
9 October: Tour Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm temple
10 October: Bus ride to the river boat, AMA Lotus at Kampong Chhnang
11 October: Kampong Tralach oxcart ride, visit Vihara, Oudong Buddhist monastery
12 October: Chong Koh silk weaving visit, Phnom Penh walking tour
13 October: Phnom Penh city tour, Royal Palace & National Museum, Killing Fields
14 October: Cruise from Phnom Penh to Tan Chau, Vietnam
15 October: Visit rattan mat-making workshop, boat ride to fish farm, Trishaw ride
16 October: Boat ride to Sa Dec village, museum visit, excursion to Xeo Quyt, Cai Be floating market
17 October: Disembark at My Tho port
18 October: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) tour en route to hotel
19 October: Free time in Saigon
20 October: Free time, leave 8:30 PM for 30 hour journey to Montreal

The small photos on the pages listed below can be viewed in larger size by clicking on the photo. Then click Back to return to where you were.

Halong Bay
Siam Reap, Angkor
Phnom Penh
Tan Chau
Sa Dec
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

The Lemmers Lynns