Mekong Delta (Vietnam & Caombodia) – Toum Tiou Cruise

Mekong Delta – Toum Tiou Cruise

TOUM TIOU CRUISE: SAIGON to SIEM REAP
10 Days/9 Nights

INTRODUCTION3

Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Saigon are the key destinations that we use to offer you trips into lands of disconcerting beauty, with an incomparable historical heritage and legendary traditions.
Cambodia’s waterways are more than a convenient way of getting around; they are the country’s lifeblood. Take a trip on them and you get an unparalleled in-depth look at the real country, becoming totally immersed in something both gentle and spectacular that cannot be experienced by any other mode of transportation. The shallow draught of the Toum Tiou makes it possible to reach the very heart of the remotest of villages where the sense of discovery is often reciprocal. Is it the travelers or the Khmers who are most surprised by the encounter ?

ITINERARY

Day 1 – Monday: Saigon – My Tho
At 7:45, in the Saigon Port at Dock No. 1 (in front if Ho Chi Minh Museum), Toum Tiou is open for embarking, together with clearance of departure formalities. Then at at 8:30, the cruise depart for My Tho. Lunch and leisure on board during navigation. At about 17h, when arrival at My Tho – Toum Tiou drops anchor on river in the proximity of Thoi Son Island. Local musician band embarks to play traditional music for 45 minutes. Follow is welcome drink and info meeting about cruise, crew introduction. Welcome dinner. Overnight onboard

Day 2 – Thursday: My Tho – Cai Be
At 8h in the morning, local boats are coming alongside Toum Tiou to pick up passengers and transfer to the mainland. Departure for Vinh Trang Pagoda by car – Short panoramic tour of My Tho town on the way. Continuing for Dong Tam Snake Farm and My Tho Market. On the banks of a northern arm of the Mekong, My Tho, which translates as “fragrant herb”, where tourists come to discover the beauty of the delta. It’s a quiet, prosperous city of about 100,000 inhabitants, famous for its many fruit orchards, gardens and the huge rice fields that surround it. The climate is warm and pleasant year round. The surrounding countryside is home to one of the most luxuriant gardens of Vietnam, with its coconut palms, banana and mango trees. When return at the pier – Passengers cruise on the river to Thoi Son Island by local boat to visit the island, explore local people’s daily life and enjoy locally seasonal fruits. At 13:00 passengers re-embark Toum Tiou and leaves My Tho for Cai Be. Lunch and leisure on board. Late afternoon, Toum Tiou at anchor on river on the proximity of Cai Be. Dinner and overnight on board.

Day 3 – Wednesday: Cai Be – Vinh Long – Sa Dec
At 8h, local boats are coming alongside Toum Tiou, picking up the passengers and cruise around Cai Be Floating
Market. Continuing for Vinh Long – a brick and pottery factory, the Binh Hoa Phuoc Islet Nursery of Fruit Trees as well a typical house and a show room of traditional farming tools. Vinh Long, which translates as “Majestic Dragon”, is right in the middle of the delta, between two arms of the Mekong. The soil of Vinh Long is enriched by silt deposits, making it ideal for growing mandarins and other citrus fruits. Life is organized around the water. Houses on stilts, hawkers in boats, hundreds of small craft crisscross in all directions. The hospitality of the locals makes it a tourist destination par excellence. Return on the Toum Tiou, departure for Sa Dec.
Lunch on board during the navigation. Arrival at Sa Dec at about 15.00. Short panoramic tour of Sa Dec and transfer to Trung Vuong primary school. Continuing to Kien An Cung Pagoda. Stroll around Sa Dec Market along Sa Dec River bank. This small city of 30,000 inhabitants is fascinating in its unspoiled authenticity and undisturbed by tourists. It provides a glimpse of the delta where a few colonial houses still remain, including the “Chinaman’s house” (from Duras’ novel “The Lover”, also made into a movie). Return to the boat with stopover at a nursery of flower and bonsai trees. Famous for its horticulture (it has many varieties of fabulously exotic flowers) Sa Dec was known as the “Garden of Cochin Chine” during colonial times. At about 18:30 passengers re-embark, Toum Tiou leaves Sa Dec port and drop anchor few miles away. Dinner and overnight on the river.

Day 4 – Thursday: Chau Doc
Early departure for Chau Doc. Breakfast during navigation. Leisure and relax onboard. Arrival after lunch at Victoria Hotel Chau Doc jetty. Located to the north at the beginning of Mekong’s famous delta, Chau Doc straddles both banks of the Mekong which fans out to the dimensions of a river mouth here. Floating fish farms have sprung up everywhere. Bamboo fish drying racks are set up a meter above the water’s surface. The bourgeoning downtown area features some charmingly rustic colonial buildings, squeezed in by the marketplace – the colorful, vibrant heart of the city. As always, these busy parts of town, despite their sometimes strong odors, offer wonderful photo opportunities… At 14:30 departure for fish raising rafts and Cham minority village by local boat. Return to the Victoria hotel for a walk to Chau Doc market. Visit of Sam Mountain which peaks at 237 meters. Its well-known Buddhist sanctuaries offer an unobstructed view over the mosaic of glistening rice paddies below. To the left is Cambodia, the flow of the Mekong on the horizon breaks into an infinity of silver ribbons. Visit on the way of the Lady Chua Xu temple and Tay An Pagoda. Return to the boat after sunset. Dinner at the Victoria Hotel’s restaurant. Overnight onboard at the jetty of the hotel; passengers are free to enjoy the hotel facilities (swimming pool, sauna, bar) or stroll in Chau Doc.

Day 5 – Friday: Chau Doc – Kôh Dek Chau
In early morning,  Toum Tiou leaves for Vinh Xuong (Vietnamese border). Arrival at Vinh Xuong check-point – Formalities clearance for Toum Tiou to cross the border. At 13:30 Toum Tiou leaves Vinh Xuong check point for Cambodia. Lunch during the navigation. 14:00 arrival at Kaam Samnaar check-point – Formalities clearance for crossing the border. Toum Tiou leaves Kaam Samnaar check point for Kôh Dek Chau Island. Arrival at Kôh Dek Chau island, at 16.30. A short break along the way, it allows to get a fascinating, close-up look at daily life in Cambodia. On the fringes of civilization, the 600 people who live on Kôh Dek Chau will receive your visit with some surprise. School children will escort you along your way. You will go through the village that occupies the full length of the island, walking along a trail shaded by date palms. Toum Tiou leaves for Phnom Penh and drops anchor few miles away. Dinner and overnight on board.

Day 6 – Saturday: Kôh Dek Chau – Phnom Penh
Departure of Toum Tiou for Phnom Penh. Lunch during the navigation. Arrival at Phnom Penh, formalities clearance. At 14:30 departure for the “KILLING FIELDS” – return to the boat around 18:30. Dinner on board.
Local group performs on board “APSARA” show. Overnight onboard.

Day 7 – Sunday: Phnom Penh
Half day city sightseeing tour including the Royal Palace and the National Museum. At 12:30 return to the ship for the lunch on board. Afternoon is the day free exploration on own. Suggestions can be made up on the interest of passengers. (FCC, Russian market, other boutiques (antiques), etc.) Diner and overnight on board.

Day 8 – Monday: Phnom Penh – Kôh Chen / Oudong – Kampong Tralach
Departure of the Toum Tiou for Kôh Chen (Chinese Island). Breakfast during navigation. Arrival to Kôh Chen, small village of whose inhabitants specialize in silver and copper smiting. They make ornamental items, including delicately engraved tropical fruits, used in traditional ceremonies at the pagoda or for marriages. The distant hills of Cambodia’s old capital, Oudong, and its royal stupas can be seen a few kilometers away from the ferry. At the top of the hill, the ruins of Anthareu temple. Passengers re-embark the Toum Tiou at 14.45. Lunch on board on the way to Kampong Tralach. Arrival at Kampong Tralach to visit its wonderful Vihara belonging to Wat Kampong Tralach Leu pagoda. To get to it, we cross Kampong Tralach Krom village along a small road perpendicular to the river, crossing some gorgeous stretches of emerald rice paddy as we leave the river behind. The Vihara dates back to early last century. It was probably built on an older site, as indicated by the
latérite foundations, and is home to some outstanding mural paintings. These, however, are starting to
suffer from weathering. They remain one of the last survivors of cultural destruction that continues
unabated due to widespread indifference. Standing by itself in the middle of rice fields, it is a modest pagoda that receives very few visitors. Its isolation may well be its undoing, as was the case for Wat Tani Pagoda in the province of Kampot. Passengers re-embark. The Toum Tiou drops anchor few miles away.
Diner and overnight on board.

Day 9 – Tuesday: Kampong Tralach – Kampong Chnang – Chnok Tru
Departure of the Toum Tiou early in the morning. Sail to Kampong Chnang. Breakfast during navigation. Arrival to Kampong Chnang at about 9.00. Located some 56 miles from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chnang is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonlé Sap. Fish farming is also widely practiced in the area. The area is famous for its pottery ware, unchanged in style for centuries, which is produced in sufficient quantities to supply the entire country. And not to be overlooked are the products of the Thnot tree (sugar palm – a real national symbol) that abounds in the area: a mellow tasting, caramel-colored sugar sold in large cakes and palm wine. At noon, passengers re-embark the Toum Tiou. Lunch on board on the way to Chnok Tru. Arrival at Chnok Tru at 15.00. Local boats are coming along the Toum Tiou and picking passengers for the visit of the
biggest floating village on the Tonlé Sap River. Passengers re-embark. The Toum Tiou stays overnight in the proximity of Chnok Tru. Farewell cocktail (1 glass of local liquor or juice) with Master of Ship & Cruise Manager
Captain’s farewell dinner (Enriched menu + 1 glass of wine). Overnight on board.

Day 10 – Wednesday: Chnok Tru – Siem Reap

1. High water, July – January.
Departure of the Toum Tiou early in the morning. Time to pack and relax a half a day by crossing the Tonlé
Sap Lake. At 13:00, enjoy the last lunch on board, then passengers disembark.

2. Low water, approximately February – June.
Breakfast and relaxing morning on the boat, time to pack. Daily speedboat is coming along the boat and picks up passengers for crossing the Lake. At 13:30 arrival at Phnom Krom pier. Enjoy the last lunch in a restaurant in Siem Reap.

COST (per Cabin) and DETAIL:

Low Season (5th May – 31st August)

The route Siem Reap – Saigon is vice verse of the above route. Departure time and point is about 6.00 at FCC Hotel in Siem Reap
Departure dates are fix (a route about 2 times/month). Detail be listed in booking form
Child from 04-12 years old just pay 30% when sharing bed with parent

Inclusive:

- Accommodation in luxury AC en-suite cabin with twin/double basic.
- All  meals, coffee and tea, mineral water
- All entrance fees, guide services (English language), port dues
1

Exclusive:

- International and domestic flights, Hotels
- Drinks at bar, laundry
- All visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions)
- Transfers at departure/arrival port

Pre & Post tours:

Saigon: Mystery Saigon and more

Cambodia: Mystery Angkor and more

TOUM TIOU CRUISE DETAIL AND HISTORY2

- Built in the traditional style, the Toum Tiou was christened in 2002 on the river at Phnom Penh, the first Cambodian cruise boat with international standard accommodation. There are 10 cabins on board.
- Fully-paneled in wood, with charm and comfort in mind, we designed it in keeping with the local style. Modestly sized and with the safety of a steel hull, its low draught makes it possible for the boat to access the smallest of villages. With the tasteful decoration of a bygone era, it has 10 cozy double cabins with private shower, a large lounge area, a panoramic viewing space to the front, a half-covered bar-restaurant to the rear and a roof patio. Air conditioning, hi-fi system and library are provided.
- The captain, boat hands, hostesses, cooks and boat master are quiet and inconspicuous in the performance of their duties.
- The Toum Tiou derives its name from a traditional Khmer tale of star-crossed lovers, the Cambodian equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, Toum being the boy and Tiou, the girl. This beautiful love story turned tragedy features Tiou’s mother, an ambitious woman who wants to marry her daughter off to the king and Toum as the awkward lover. The king, good-hearted and understanding, eventually gives up on the marriage to make Tiou happy. It ends tragically when a frame-up involving the mother and the governor leads to the death of one of the two lovers, the other committing suicide to follow suit. This story is taught from primary to high school. Many songs and pieces of traditional music allude to the pair of ill-fated lovers.


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