Vietnam and Cambodia: Along the Mekong River

  • Trip Type: Expedition Cruise
  • 15 Days | Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City
  • Group Size: Max 48

Expedition Details


Linked by the mighty Mekong River, Vietnam and Cambodia abound with magnificent carved temples, lush landscapes, and cities where rich imperial and colonial legacies mingle. Encounter the incomparable treasures of Angkor, and then set off on a river voyage to Vietnam's Mekong Delta aboard the elegant Jahan. Explore traditional villages and gain insight into the daily lives of farmers, monks, and craftspeople.

Trip Highlights

    • Spend seven nights aboard the elegant Jahan riverboat, exploring the Mekong with our team of experts.
    • Board local boats to glide between the floating houses of Kampong Chhnang, and ride an oxcart through the rice paddies surrounding Kampong Tralach, where the National Geographic-Lindblad fund financed a community library.
    • Enjoy a private dinner and traditional music and dance performance at one of Angkor’s temples.
    • Discover the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine during an onboard cooking class, then disembark to visit a fish farm and a floating market filled with tropical produce.

Itinerary - 15 Days

Days 1, 2, & 3 — U.S./Siem Reap, Cambodia

Depart the U.S. for Siem Reap, crossing the international date line and "losing" a day, arriving on the morning of Day 3. Settle into our stunning Khmer-style hotel, perched on the banks of the Siem Reap River.
La Residence d’Angkor

Days 4 & 5 — Angkor

Rise early to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat, one of the world’s largest religious monuments. Explore the interiors of this 12th-century Khmer temple, adorned with elaborate bas-reliefs and sculptures. Then ride a tuk-tuk, or motorized rickshaw, to the walled city of Angkor Thom, and gaze at the immense stone faces carved into the Bayon Temple. Continue to Ta Prohm, and lose yourself in temples shrouded by tree roots and limbs. Visit a workshop where local youth are trained in age-old Khmer arts.
La Residence d'Angkor (B,L,D; B,D)

Day 6 — Kampong Cham

Drive to the bustling town of Kampong Cham and embark the Jahan, our home for the next seven nights.

Day 7 — Wat Hanchey/Angkor Ban

At Wat Hanchey, see a variety of temples, including an eighth-century structure from the pre-Angkor Chenla period. Continue to the village of Angkor Ban and stop at its traditional houses to meet with friendly residents.
Jahan (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Kampong Chhang/Kampong Tralach

Anchor at Kampong Chhnang and visit a village known for traditional pottery. Glimpse a unique way of life in the floating villages of Tonle Sap, and in Kampong Tralach, ride oxcarts to a welcoming community.
Jahan (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Phnom Penh

Explore the Cambodian capital by cyclo, or bicycle taxi, and visit the Royal Palace and the National Museum of Cambodia. Learn about the reign of the Khmer Rouge on a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This evening, enjoy a dance performance.
Jahan (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Cruising the Mekong

Take in views of everyday life along the river, attend talks by our experts, and join our chefs to learn how to cook regional dishes. Cross the border into Vietnam.
Jahan (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Chau Doc or Tan Chau, Vietnam

Meander through the colorful markets of Tan Chau or Chau Doc, a feast for the senses where piles of exotic fruits and vegetables are juxtaposed with live fish, simmering sauces, and sacs of noodles and rice. Visit nearby floating villages and a fish farm, where fish are fed through trap doors. In the evening, gather for a gala dinner aboard the Jahan
Jahan (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Sa Dec/Cai Be

Take a local boat up a tributary to experience rural life in the Mekong Delta. See the floating market of Cai Be, step into a rice “factory” to watch rice-based candies being made, and cruise among floating markets and fish farms.
Jahan (B,L,D)

Day 13 — My Tho/Ho Chi Minh City

Disembark in My Tho and visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda. Then journey to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and check into our hotel in center of the city. This afternoon, meet with a local expert on Vietnam’s modern history. This evening, a special treat: a private catered dinner at the exquisitely restored home where Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. lived when he was U.S. ambassador to Vietnam during the war.
Park Hyatt Saigon (B,L,D)

Days 14 & 15 — Ho Chi Minh City/U.S.

Embark on a tour of the city landmarks, including the Reunification Palace—headquarters for the South Vietnamese government during the Vietnam War. Enjoy a free afternoon, or take a tour of the Cu Chi tunnels, part of a huge network of underground passageways used by the Viet Cong during the war. You may choose to take an overnight flight on the evening of Day 14, or depart the following morning. (B)

Related Trips

Expedition Team

A dynamic expedition team—including an expedition leader, a photo instructor, naturalists, and cultural specialists—accompanies each departure. They will share their knowledge and insights on wildlife, landscapes, and local culture, and help you get your best photos. See one of the members of our extraordinary team below.

Paula Swart

Paula SwartPaula Swart is an expert on Asian culture and history, and has been a museum curator for more than 20 years. She is currently Adjunct Curator (Asia) at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Canada. A popular expert on more than 30 prior National Geographic Expeditions, her travels have taken her to Vietnam and Cambodia numerous times. Paula holds degrees in archaeology, Asian art history, and Chinese history. She speaks five languages, including Mandarin, and has published several books and numerous articles on the art and architecture of Asian cultures. Paula also studied and lectures on artifacts from the shipwreck of the Dutch East India company ship Witte Leeuw (White Lion), which was found off the island of St. Helena and documented in the October 1978 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Paula will join the following departure:

Jan 14 - 28, 2019

Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


  • Jan 14 - 28, 2019
  • Jan 22 - Feb 05, 2019 REV
  • Feb 11 - 25, 2019
  • Feb 19 - Mar 05, 2019 REV
  • Feb 25 - Mar 11, 2019

REV Indicates trip operates in reverse.

Venture further into Vietnam on an 8-day extension. Discover Hoi An’s Old Town, explore the Forbidden Purple City in Hue, and sail amid the limestone pinnacles of Halong Bay. Please call for details.

Expedition Cost

R.V. Jahan
Category 1 $11,190
Category 2 $12,030
Category 3 $14,130
Category 4 $16,910

Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin in 2018, add $5,490 in Category 1. For a single cabin in 2019, add $5,600 in Category 1.

International airfare to Siem Reap and return from Ho Chi Minh City, or vice versa, is not included in the expedition cost.

View Ship/Deck Plan

Featured Traveler Photo

Activity Level

Light or Moderate

Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.

For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.