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The Lost Civilization Upstream Cruise - Saigon to Siem Reap (8 Days)

The Jayavarman is a boutique hotel-style river cruise ship - the first of its kind in Indochina. Designed with both French colonial and Indochina influences, she has 27 spacious staterooms and suites furnished to a high standard of luxury, as well as a generous 800 square metres of public space, making her one of the most comfortable boats for cruising along the waterways of the Mekong Delta.





Meet at designated meeting place in Ho Chi Minh City, for a transfer to the ship which will be docked at My Tho. Please note timings will vary between High and Low water seasons and will therefore be advised two weeks before departure.

Day 1: Saigon – Cai Be

From Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), take a transfer overland 70km south to My Tho where you will board the Jayavarman and enjoy a welcome cocktail reception. The cruise takes you along the Mekong waterways towards Cai Be. The afternoon allows you to leisurely pass time on your private balcony or join our tea time at the open air bar as the twilight bathes the Mekong Delta in a golden haze. The Jayavarman will anchor mid-stream near Cai Be for dinner and moor there overnight. This evening the lounge cinema features selected classic movies (every night).

Day 2: Cai Be to Chau Doc

Wake up and enjoy an invigorating Tai Chi class on the sun deck. After breakfast enjoy a morning tour begins with a visit to the bustling and colourful floating market at Cai Be on a local sampan. During the ride you will witness breathtaking landscapes and rustic life on the river. The cruise will stop so that you can observe how coconut cookies, rice pasta and rice cookies are made. On the way back to the Jayavarman you will stop at an ancient house, surrounded by fruit orchards. In the afternoon, cruise to Sa Dec and take a sampan tour to Binh Thanh Island and its man-made canals. Here you can observe the villagers at work, growing and processing water hyacinths into natural fibre mats and baskets. Return to the ship with time to pamper yourself with a spa treatment or take a dip in the pool on the sundeck. The onboard guide will offer a presentation on the “Life on the Mekong Delta” as the ship continues sailing to Tan Chau - the border town to Cambodia. Moor mid-stream near Tan Chau and enjoy dinner.

Day 3: Tan Chau to the Border - Phnom Penh

After breakfast enjoy a tour around Tan Chau by “xeloi”, a local vehicle which is still used as a taxi in this region. Slowly move around the streets to see all the workshops, houses and domiciles. Get to feel the laid-back vibes of this place. Call at the colourful local market near one of the ancient temples. Board a local boat and cruise past floating houses and finally reach a floating fish farm. This region is the source of a fish production that is sold all over the world. Return to the ship as it sails towards the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. Spend the afternoon at leisure. It is time for massages, for relaxation on the sun beds, for private balcony kick-backs - it’s the time to merge with the river. Arrive in Phnom Penh as dinner is served. Later you may enjoy a stroll along the river promenade and watch the locals chit-chatting, selling odds and ends or have a drink in one of the numerous bar.

Day 4: Phnom Penh

Wake up in Phnom Penh, once called the Paris of the East. It is worth being up early to see the approach to the river promenade. After breakfast, there is a city tour of the historical capital of Cambodia. By bus you will visit the Killing Fields at outside of the city and after, the centrally located prison “S21”. Lunch at a fine restaurant in town and then continue your exploration of Phnom Penh and its fascinating cultural heritage. The golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum are the afternoon highlights. The day trip ends with a “cyclo” ride back to the ship through the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh. Return to the ship and enjoy a lecture about Cambodian modern history, held by a professor of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. In the evening, dinner is accompanied with an Apsara dance performance.

Day 5: Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham (High Water)

The ship leaves Phnom Penh before dawn towards the rural village of Angkor Ban where you will feel transported back 100 years in history. Here the houses are all hand-made without any concrete, and the local villagers welcome visitors. Cruise further up the Mekong to visit a local school and understand more about the education of the young Cambodian generation (NGO project). Continue by road to the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey (7th century). This small complex sits on a hill top right on the shore with breath-taking views over the Mekong. Return to the ship and relax until dinner is served. The boat moors mid-river near Kampong Cham. During Low Water Season the boat will cruise on the Tonle River towards Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world.

Day 6: Kampong Cham to Kampong Chhnang (High Water)

Today the boat will sail downstream on the Mekong and stop at the Island of Koh Oknha Tey. This spot in the middle of the Mekong owns its fame for the manufacturing of high class silk products. By tuk tuk explore the island with its workshops and learn how silk is processed from its source, to a final top quality product made of original Cambodian silk. Before lunch the expert guides offer a presentation about “Geography of the Mekong and Tonle Sap”. Afterwards a Monks’ blessing ceremony on board delivers spirits and wishes for our health and prosperity for all. The ship continues its journey, passing by the confl uence of the Mekong and Tonle Rivers towards Kampong Tralach. The boat finds its anchor spot in the Tonle River near Kampong Chhnang allowing you to observe the close-by river life until dinner is served in the dining hall.

Day 7: Kampong Chhnang and Tonle Lake

Wake up and witness the spectacular surroundings at the break of dawn. Your morning Tai Chi class has the perfect scenery today. Take a local boat to the shore in Kampong Chhnang. With mini buses head to a rural village nearby for a walking tour. Your guides introduce you to the village specialities – Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. Before returning to the boat explore the local floating villages and wetlands of the region. Continue cruising along the Tonle Sap River towards the Great Tonle Sap Lake. The river opens up to a vast “sea”, the biggest fresh water lake in Asia. This lake can only be crossed during high water season (approx. from end-July to mid-November). This evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner onboard.

Day 8: Tonle Sap to Siem Reap

On your final day the ship will cross Tonle Sap (The Great Lake), the flowing heart of Cambodia, giving love and life to millions of people. It has more fish than any other lake in the world and is home to an incredible variety of birds, including rare and endangered feathered life. Disembark the ship and take a local boat to the shore, passing a vast floating community. Arrive at the Siem Reap pier at 9am and transfer to the drop off point in the city centre.


Disembark the ship and take a local boat to the pier in Siem Reap at 9am. Transfer to the drop off point in the city centre. Time and point of disembarkation from the ship depend on the water levels and will therefore be advised two weeks prior to departure.


  • 7 Nights' accommodation on the Jayavarman
  • Transfers between the ship and the city centre in Saigon and Siem Reap
  • Full board
  • Free flow of beverages - mineral water, soft drinks, juices, tea, coffee - at all times, free flow of local beer and house wine by glass during lunch and dinner, drinking water in cabin and during excursions
  • Sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinners
  • Phnom Penh port taxes (these are shown separately on the website and charged when you make your booking)


  • Beverages, other than those mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Visas (where required)
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal insurance
  • Fuel surcharges (if applicable)

Sailing dates