Uniworld Vietnam & Cambodia
aboard the Mekong Jewel
November 4 – 16, 2022
Starting at $5599 per person, double occupancy
A fascinating, rewarding and multilayered adventure.
Two of the most beautiful, historic and friendly places in all of Asia, dynamic Vietnam and pastoral Cambodia are intriguing studies in contrast. Each possesses its own unique charm and social traditions, its own tragic history and complex past. In many ways, a visit here is less about the sights you see than it is about the people you meet and the experiences you have along the way.
Ho Chi Minh City offers a heady mixture of old and new, often surprising visitors with its charm. As the lifeblood of Southeast Asia, the Mekong teems with colorful floating villages and mementos of its French Colonial past. Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s thriving capital, is fast-forwarding to the future yet retains a provincial intimacy. And colorful Siem Reap provides the gateway to the vast UNESCO-designated jungle temple complex of Angkor Wat.
DAY 1| NOV 4, 2022 | Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Arrive at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the Park Hyatt Saigon. Tonight, consider popping out to explore the lively Ben Thanh Night Market or one of the city’s quintessential evening cafés—either choice would mark a splendid start to your adventure.
Note: For Arrival, Departure and Transfer details, please visit Uniworld.com/transfers. For Port Location details, please visit Uniworld.com/ports.
DAY 2 | NOV 5, 2022 | Ho Chi Minh City
Experience how ancient history melds with the boisterous present in Vietnam’s largest city, where skyscrapers tower over ancient temples and motorbikes putter along picturesque alleys. This evening, join us onboard the Saigon Princess for dinner and a dance performance with beautiful views of Ho Chi Minh City at night.
Featured Excursions: Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, Dinner onboard Saigon Princess
A landmark in Vietnamese history is the first destination on your panoramic city tour today, as you travel the city’s busy streets, passing elegant French Colonial buildings and bustling shopping centers. On April 30, 1975, a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through the gates of the building now called the Reunification Palace, symbolizing the downfall of the South Vietnamese government and the end of the Vietnam War. It’s a modern structure, commissioned in 1962 by the president of South Vietnam after his own air force tried to kill him by bombing the 19th-century French palace that had stood on the site. As you will see when you step inside, he intended to enjoy living here: It has a cinema and a nightclub—and, not too surprisingly, a spacious bomb shelter. A few blocks away, two monuments from the colonial days still stand: the lofty General Post Office, designed by Gustave Eiffel (of tower fame), and, across the street, twin-towered Notre Dame Cathedral, built entirely with materials shipped from France. Your motorcoach will carry you past other remnants of French colonial glory—the Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theater (also known as the Saigon Opera House, built in 1901 and modeled on Paris’s Petit Palais) and the City Hall (based on the Hôtel de Ville in Paris)—as well as the contemporary American consulate. But the day includes more than sightseeing: Visit a lacquer showroom to learn a bit about the history and cultural significance of a craft that has been practiced in Vietnam for at least 700 years before enjoying lunch on your own. Ho Chi Minh City is famous for the excellence of its food, which reflects, inevitably, a certain French influence combined with the unique flavors of the region. Tonight, you’ll be treated to a special Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant, featuring an exquisitely presented traditional meal and complimentary wine—a delightful start for your exciting Southeast Asian adventure.
DAY 3 | NOV 6, 2022 | Ho Chi Minh City, Transfer to My Tho (Embark), Tien Loi (Ben Tre)
Today’s featured excursion provides a fascinating glimpse of the Viet Cong’s vast network of incredibly narrow tunnels dating back to the Vietnam War. Following lunch, you’ll be taken to the Mekong Jewel.
Featured Excursion: Vestiges of war—Cú Chi Tunnels
Explore a fascinating aspect of Vietnam’s long struggle to free itself from Western control. Begun by the Viet Minh on the outskirts of Saigon in 1945, as shelter from French air raids, these tunnels were expanded in the 1960s by the Viet Cong, who extended them for many miles. A network of booby-trapped tunnels led to underground chambers where people lived—in considerable privation, generally—wounds were treated and children were taught. Only a small stretch of this network is open to the public, but if you’re venturesome, you may climb down into a tunnel for an up-close look (and we do mean close—don’t expect to stand upright). – Following lunch, you’ll be taken to your ship—your elegant home for the next seven nights—and set sail on the beautiful Mekong. Onboard your ship this evening, savor a delicious Vietnamese-themed dinner.
DAY 4 | NOV 7, 2022 | Tien Loi (Ben Tre), Vinh Long, Sa Dec
Today, you’ll witness the hustle and bustle of delta river life as the local traders take their produce to market. After breakfast, you’ll board a traditional sampan and explore the narrow canals and backwaters of this famed region. The untouched island of Tien Loi awaits on a unique excursion created exclusively for Uniworld guests, where you can see how local farmers make rooster cages, decorate bonsais in their yards and more. Upon arrival to Vinh Long, your sampans will bring you to a traditional rice factory. Back onboard, savor an authentic Vietnamese meal this evening.
Featured Excursion: Village life on the Mekong
Step aboard a sampan—the style of this vessel is traditional, but the one you’ll board is much more luxurious than those generally used on these waters—and join the locals thronging the harbor of Cai Be. At the floating market here, merchants advertise their wares by attaching a sample—such as a watermelon, a coconut or a bunch of bananas—to a tall bamboo pole so their potential customers can easily see what they’re selling. It’s a colorful and lively scene, typical of Mekong Delta towns, though few similar villages feature a handsome French Gothic–style cathedral as a background. You’ll sail into the town and land near the An Kiet House, built early in the 19th century for a member of the royal family. Its ornately carved antique screens and furnishings give you an idea of how wealthy Southern Vietnamese families lived. While you’re on solid ground, take a look at another aspect of life of the delta: Vietnam is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of rice, and the Mekong Delta is known as the country’s “rice bowl.” You’ll learn all about this staple food and its importance to the region as you visit a local establishment where workers make everything from rice paper and rice wine to traditional rice candy.
DAY 5 | NOV 8, 2022 | Sa Dec, Gieng Island, Hong Ngu, Cruising the Mekong River
Following breakfast, continue your journey via sampan, where you’ll observe the daily routines of the villagers in Sa Dec. Visit a colorful temple, the home of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le and then venture to Gieng Island, where you’ll experience how a local family makes incense sticks and the conical hat.
Featured Excursion: Sampans and colonial romance
Take to Sa Dec’s narrow canals just as the locals do. Children frolic in the water, fishermen ply their trade, and women care for their families. From here, you’ll head into town, where you will walk through a crowded and colorful local market—stands sell everything from snake blood, fresh fish, clothing and flowers to mangosteens— on your way to the romantic, lacelike Huynh Thuy Le House, a late-19th-century home made famous by best-selling French novelist Marguerite Duras. Duras spent her teen years in Sa Dec, and her prize-winning novel, The Lover, is said to be based on her doomed love affair with Huynh Thuy Le, the son of a wealthy Chinese landowner. Sail from bustling Sa Dec to serene Gieng Island to dip into another aspect of Vietnam’s past: The triangle-shaped island is home to a surprising array of 19th-century Catholic churches and monasteries that date to an era when it was the largest Catholic parish in Vietnam. Though the Franciscan monastery and the Providence nunnery have been largely abandoned, stately Gieng Island Church is still in daily use. Some records indicate that the graceful French baroque-style church predates the famous basilica in Ho Chi Minh City, but it’s more likely that it was built in the 1870s. Regardless of origin or the ups and downs the Catholic community has experienced over the years, the church remains a beautiful tribute to the faith of its founders.
Day 6 |NOV 9, 2022 |Hong Ngu (Long Khanh A), Cruising the Mekong River, Phnom Penh
Visit the local island village of Hong Ngu, a major producer of the traditional Khmer scarves located not far from the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Since they’re woven in many homes around the village, you’ll have the opportunity to see the process first-hand. You’ll also stop at a local temple dedicated to a unique religion founded in this area of Vietnam, Hoa Hoa. Your last and most interesting visit of the day? A visit to the local home of a retired VC General.
Featured Excursion: Daily life on the great delta
In the Mekong Delta, hardworking residents live and labor on the water, harvesting what the delta gives them and turning it into products they can sell to earn a living or food they can eat, wasting nothing. Today you’ll get a taste of this way of life during a sampan tour that carries you through the floating villages that line the banks of the great river to the town of Tan Chau. Stop at a temple devoted to Vietnam’s homegrown religion Cao Dai (a faith that incorporates most major world religions, including Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, as well as a pantheon of saints that range from Joan of Arc to Thomas Jefferson and Victor Hugo); an image of the Divine Eye appears in every temple, and each color that decorates the temple has a specific meaning. After visiting the temple, hop aboard a rickshaw for a ride to a factory where you can watch baskets and mats being hand-woven from reeds grown on the delta, and check out a floating fish farm. The raising and harvesting of seafood is one of Vietnam’s fastest-growing industries, and you’ll be amazed by the efficiency and ingenuity on display. You may even get a chance to feed the fish. Then return to your sampan to cruise through the canals to Evergreen Island, where a rickshaw ride through the village reveals traditional houses built on stilts, an essential precaution during the rainy season, when the Mekong rises and spills into all of the towns that line the river. This afternoon, you’ll cross the Vietnamese border, and tomorrow you’ll awake in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city, for the next leg of your exciting journey.
Day 7 | NOV 10, 2022 | Phnom
Today, you’ll discover the thriving and exotic capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. It stands at the juncture of three captivating rivers and is divided into three districts, the picturesque French colonial area, a handsome residential district and a rapidly changing Old Town. Here, you’ll find an alluring riverside esplanade amid numerous bewitching Buddhist temples, palaces and artifacts.
Featured Excursion: Cambodia’s capital—Phnom Penh
A tuk tuk will whisk you down wide boulevards laid out by French colonial administrators in the 1860s, when Cambodia was part of French Indochina, past old French-influenced buildings, beautiful pagodas and (with a bit of luck) saffron-robed monks, on your way to the Royal Palace. Spacious grounds—you might notice a resemblance to formal French parterres—are home to a group of structures featuring classic Khmer architecture. Each one has a specific function: The Throne Hall, with its spires and flying celestials, hosts royal coronations, while the Moonlight Pavilion was intended as a venue for dance performances (but is now used for receptions). The famed Temple of the Emerald Buddha, commonly known as the Silver Pagoda, boasts a floor-covering of 5,329 silver tiles. In the center of the pagoda are both an emerald and a gold Buddha statue (the latter of which is studded with nearly 10,000 diamonds). You’ll also tour the National Museum, which features an incomparable collection of the nation’s archaeological and artistic treasures. Following lunch onboard, enjoy the afternoon and evening at leisure, taking in the shopping and lively entertainment venues of Phnom Penh.
Day 8 | NOV 11, 2022 | Phnom Penh, Cruising the Mekong River
Today’s featured excursion may be the most profound and memorable experience of your entire journey. You’ll learn about the infamous Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge and visit a former school-turned-prison that is now a genocide museum.
Featured Excursion: The Killing Fields—tragedy and reconciliation in Cambodia
It’s hard to reconcile the pastoral serenity of the orchards and rice fields surrounding Choeung Ek with the horrific mass executions that took place here during the brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge, yet the memorial stupa filled with the skulls of Pol Pot’s victims tells the tale. These were the Killing Fields, where more than 17,000 men, women and children were slaughtered and buried in mass graves. First, however, they were tortured in Security Prison 21 (also known as S-21), a former high school on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which you will also visit today. The guards and staff of the prison were mostly adolescent males—aged 15 to 19—among whom was a young photographer whose job was to document the prisoners. Though many of his photos were destroyed, 6,000 of them remain, displayed on the walls here; as you look at these portraits, you’ll see grief, fear and defiance—and you’ll be heartbroken to learn that out of the thousands held here, only seven survived. Those who were killed at Choeung Ek were just a small fraction of the almost two million Cambodians who died in a three-year period between 1975 and the beginning of 1979.
Day 9 | NOV 12. 2022 | Angkor Ban, Wat Hanchey
The mighty river carries you into the Cambodian countryside today. If yesterday was an exploration of Cambodia’s dark past, today is a celebration of the country’s bright future. You’ll meet young children at a local school and friendly villagers in their homes, and have a rare opportunity to receive a special water blessing from Buddhist monks.
Featured Excursion: Cambodia’s vibrant cultural life
Be ready to answer questions when you visit a local school—because the children love to practice their English—and deepen your understanding of Cambodia when you meet villagers in their homes. You may encounter more children when you stop at a beautifully situated temple complex on a hilltop. Wat Hanchey has incredible views of the Mekong River—you get a real sense of just how huge the river is as you see it stretch into the distance, looking more like a great lake than a river. The complex itself is a remarkable mixture of the ancient and the new: An eighth-century Angkor temple and a modern Buddhist temple share the area—along with playful gibbons and enormous, colorfully painted concrete statues. Before your departure you’ll receive a traditional water blessing from the local monks—one of the most personal and touching moments you’ll experience on this journey. To mark the end of this special day, and to commemorate your last evening onboard the ship, you’ll be treated to a decadent Cambodian-themed dinner. Take your place in the dining room and enjoy delectable dishes prepared in the style of those once served to Cambodian royalty.
Day 10 | NOV 13, 2022 | Kampong Cham (Disembark), Transfer to Siem Reap
You’ll disembark in the morning and transfer via executive motorcoach to Siem Reap, a place name that means, literally, “Defeat of Siam”—which tells you something of its history. The city has an allure all its own, with sprawling markets, a lively dining scene and enticing street food. Siem Reap is your base for exploring the legendary archaeological site Angkor Wat, the heart of the ancient Khmer empire.
Featured Excursion: City tour & Artisan visit by remork (motorcycle rickshaw)
Climb aboard a remork for a relaxing tour of the streets of Siem Reap, with stops at several artisans’ workshop that will introduce you to Siem Reap’s thriving arts scene. Your first stop is Tlai Tno, an art association where young performers learn the intricate moves of traditional Apsara dance. You’ll also visit Artisans Angkor’s workshops, which promote the resurrection of traditional Khmer crafts: hand-carved sculptures in wood or stone, lacquer work, silk paintings and silk fabrics—all locally made by hand in the traditional way—are available at the shop.
Day 11 | NOV 14, 2022 | Siem Reap
Today is a Bucket List Moment kind of day, as you unleash your inner Indiana Jones and explore the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, a gigantic religious complex that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Regarded as the pinnacle of the dazzling, inventive culture that flourished in medieval Cambodia, it is one of the most spectacular monuments you will ever lay eyes on.
Featured Excursion: Angkor Wat Temple
Every aspect of Angkor Wat had religious meaning to its builders 900 years ago: the great rectangular moat, the main gate facing the west, the towers topped with stone lotuses, the huge smiling stone heads, the layout of the lanes and buildings. The largest religious monument in the world, magnificent Angkor Wat is the single most recognizable landmark in Cambodia. It is simply breathtaking in both size and scope and boasts the longest continuous bas-relief in the world. Although Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its importance is so immeasurable that several other conservation organizations have been enlisted to help ensure its protection. And yet, Angkor Wat is just one piece of this enormous complex at the heart of the ancient Khmer Empire (which ruled this region between the ninth and 12th centuries). It was part of a roughly 250-square-mile (64,749-hectare) city that has largely disappeared into the jungle, though excavation efforts are ongoing (recent laser imaging has revealed another, even larger nearby city under the jungle floor that was linked to the temple city).
Today’s lunch will be on your own.
NOTE: Order of sightseeing may change on Days 11 and 12. Temple visits are subject to change due to factors beyond our control.
Day 12 | NOV 15, 2022 | Siem Reap
Today you will enter the spectacular remnants of Angkor Thom, the royal city. Prepare to be amazed! Built during the heyday of the Khmer dynasty in the 12th century, this extraordinary complex of Hindu and Buddhist monuments was once lost to the world for many years, hidden under dense jungle vines.
Featured Excursion: South Gate Angkor Thom, Bayon and Ta Prohm
Today you will enter the spectacular remnants of Angkor Thom, the royal city. Once a huge, square city, Angkor Thom was founded in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII after his people’s previous capital had been overrun by the Chams. You can still see the defensive measures that surrounded the city—in fact, you’ll enter through one, crossing over the moat and passing between the stone figures lining the lane leading to the intricately decorated south gate in the great wall around Angkor Thom. The king’s palace, made of wood, has long since vanished, but the ruins that remain are astonishing, including the pyramidal temple of Bayon, with the enormous carved heads that have become an iconic symbol of the Angkor archaeological area. You’ll also visit the temples of Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre. You’ll have some time for lunch on your own before heading to the amazing “jungle temple” of Ta Prohm. Unlike the other Angkor temples, which have been painstakingly excavated and restored, Ta Prohm has been left almost as it was found. Massive trees grow like magic out of stone walls and roofs, their tentacle-like roots pouring over doorways and stretching across courtyards. This man made wonder has been reclaimed by the jungle over the course of many centuries, and exploring it is sure to bring out the adventurer in you. From Ta Prohm, you’ll move on to the unfinished temple of Ta Keo. Legend has it that construction on Ta Keo was suspended when the temple was struck by lightning—an event that was considered a bad omen.
Apsara show and dinner
After an exciting day of sightseeing, you’ll indulge in a lavish dinner with an Apsara dance show. Apsara is the traditional Khmer dance form that tells stories and conveys messages using ornate costumes, graceful movements, codified facial expressions, and distinctive hand and foot positions. The many Apsara figures that adorn Angkor and pre-Angkor temples you’ve just visited testify to the dance form’s long and esteemed history.
NOTE: Order of sightseeing may change on Days 11 and 12. Temple visits are subject to change due to factors beyond our control.
Day 13 | NOV 16, 2022 | Siem Reap
Check out of your luxury hotel and head to Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport for your flight home.
Prices =These discount prices are based on DOUBLE occupancy & include $200 pp Port Charges
$5599 per person – Suite Retail – $6599
$7799 per person – Grand Suite Retail – $8799
$9699 per person – Royal Suite Retail – $10699
- 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the all-suite Super Ship Mekong Jewel
- 2 nights in Ho Chi Minh City at the Park Hyatt Saigon (or similar)
- 3 nights in Siem Reap at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort (or similar)
- All transfers on arrival and departure days
- 12 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners
- Meals onboard prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
- Complimentary house wine, local spirits and beer, soft drinks, tea and coffee will be served throughout the cruise. Onshore lunches include complimentary soft drinks, coffee, and tea. Onshore dinners include complimentary house wine, local beer, soft drinks, coffee, and tea
- Cultural enrichment
- Services of an experienced Uniworld Tour Manager
- 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites
- Gratuities for onboard personnel (ship staff, crew, Cruise/Tour Manager) are included during the cruise/tour
- 13 included excursions, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
- Welcome Dinner cruise on the Saigon Princess
- Farewell Dinner with Apsara Show
Price Does Not Include: AIRFARE and items of a personal nature and alcoholic beverages other than specified.
We will obtain airfare pricing as soon as it becomes available which is approximately 330 days in advance of return date.
Optional 5-night Pre-Stay in HANOI & HA LONG BAY, VIETNAM
- 2 nights at the InterContinental Hanoi Westlake (or similar)
- 2 nights on the Paradise Grand Junk, Ha Long & Lan Ha Bays with all meals onboard
- Breakfast daily and all service charges, taxes and porterage
- Hanoi full-day city tour
- Viet Hai Village Visit
- Trung Trang Cave with Tung Thu Island Lunch and Cat Ba National Park Trek
- Toi and Sang Caves Visit
- Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese cooking demonstration
- Discover natural lagoons in Lan Ha Bay
- All transfers and transportation included
- Call us to book
$1599 per person double occupancy | $749 single supplement for solo travelers
Debuting in January 2020, the Mekong Jewel is the newest and most luxurious ship on the Mekong river. This all-suite Super Ship includes two dining venues: one main restaurant and an al fresco eatery on the upper deck. The Mekong Jewel replaces the Mekong Navigator and was constructed with sustainable, eco-friendly materials, and features a swimming pool, spa, sauna and steam room, gym, hair salon, nail bar, two lounges and a library.
SUITE (339 sq ft – 31.5 sq m)
- Suites on the Sun Deck and Orchid Deck feature private open-air balconies.
- Suites on the Lotus Deck feature French balconies.
- Note that amenities may differ from those of a Uniworld company-owned ship.
GRAND SUITE (551 sq ft – 51 sq m)
ROYAL SUITE (924 sq ft – 85.8 sq m)
A valid passport is required for this trip. Vietnam & Cambodia visas are required for this trip. AT THE TIME OF THIS WRITING A COVID TEST IS REQUIRED PRIOR TO DEPARTURE AND THERE IS A POSSIBILITY CLIENTS WILL NEED TO BE VACCINATED.
Your passport cannot expire for at least 6 months after your return. You must have a valid passport to get your Vietnam and Cambodia visas. SCT will provide the info for obtaining visas. Visas can only be purchased from 120-30 days prior to departure.
Note: Suites have balconies or French balconies. Suites are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
PAYMENTS: A deposit of 10% per person is due with reservation. We will need a copy of the inside of your passport and birthdates for each passenger. Final payment is due no later than June 1, 2022. All fares are subject to fuel/tax increases. For all guests booking air travel with Uniworld, a separate non-refundable airfare deposit of $450 per person is required at time of booking. Upon receipt of air deposit your airfare, tax and fuel surcharges are final. Uniworld accepts MC, VISA, & AX.
CANCELLATIONS: If cancelled before June 1, 2022, a $700 per person fee is assessed. If cancelled on or after June 1, 2022 trip is non refundable. Please understand that vendors are very strict with regard to cancellation. No exceptions can be made. If you are not an American Citizen, you are responsible to have proper documentation. Failure to do so may result in being denied boarding.
FULL LEGAL NAMES: must be given as stated on passports. (No nicknames). Name changes may be made up to 120 days prior to departure for $200 per name. Please understand that vendors are very strict with regard to cancellation. No exceptions can be made.
FINAL DOCUMENTS WILL BE AVAILABLE APPROXIMATELY 2 WEEKS BEFORE DEPARTURE.
Insurance: Cancellation insurance is highly recommended. Insurance information will be provided to you. If for some reason you have not been given an insurance application, please call our office immediately. Please read the information brochure carefully. Please understand that insurance does not cover a pandemic.
RESPONSIBILITY: SHARON CARR TRAVEL is not the source or supplier of the travel services included in this package and they act solely as an agent for the actual suppliers of such services and assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, cancellations ,vendor bankruptcy, war, insurrection, revolt or other civil uprising, other military actions, pandemics, strikes or any Act of God occurring in either the country of origin, destination or through passage, or for any reason whatsoever. The suppliers whose names appear in the information supplied are those who are actually responsible for providing the travel services purchased. The suppliers reserve the right to make minor adjustments to the itinerary. SHARON CARR TRAVEL will not be held responsible should any of these suppliers fail to provide the travel services purchased, whether through default or any other cause. SHARON CARR TRAVEL will not accept any responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air schedules or other causes. All such losses or expenses will be the responsibility of the member of the tour. SHARON CARR TRAVEL will not be held responsible for any loss or damage to luggage during the tour. Also, SHARON CARR TRAVEL will not be liable regarding the provision of medical care or the adequacy of any care that may be rendered. Acceptance of the Tour Contract will serve as a Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk Agreement. This agreement is binding on your heirs, legal representatives and assigns. If, for some reason, a trip must be rescheduled due to any of the above reasons, participants are bound by the new dates of travel, and can only obtain a refund if insurance has been purchased and insurer is contractually bound. SHARON CARR TRAVEL IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WEATHER RELATED OR MECHANICAL DELAYS.