Water Puppet Tours

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With its numerous national parks, white sand beaches, colourful villages, pagodas and ancient monuments, forests and islands, Vietnam is a land of often surprising beauty, offering cultural depth and history, increasingly combined with tourism-friendly areas offering all the facilities a modern traveller could wish for.

Vietnam’s people are its greatest asset: gregarious, friendly and eager to meet visitors. In the bustling cities, the often chaotic streets contrast ox carts with limousines, ancient rituals with sophisticated technology, and are ruled by the ubiquitous moped.

Our strength is in translating these opportunities into detailed, practical itineraries. We do luxury travel and event planning, as well as a wide range of beach, family, honeymoon, adventure, golf, veteran and cultural tours.

There is no better way to experience a destination than through the perspective of the local people. At Water Puppet Tours, this key element of local insight drives every step of our process of tour design and delivery. We provide tailor-made tours individually crafted for each client, achieving this by emphasizing the direct working relationship between the client and the tour designer and operator.


Travel Style

Travel Destination

Jayavarman Cruise Mekong Delta River

Experience the tributaries and canals, floating markets and island villages of the Mekong River, the lifeblood of Indochina. Cruising between Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon) and Siem Reap on The Jahan or on the Jayavarman Cruise, explore traditional Khmer villages and pre-Angkorian temples, discover the cultural and historical sights of Phnom Penh and enjoy sampan rides in the Mekong Delta.

Option 1: The Lost Civilization 8 Days, Upstream Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon) to Siem Reap in low water season

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City - My Tho - The Mekong Blues (Lunch, Dinner, Driver Pickup)

After breakfast, your private car will take you to the meeting point at Renaissance Riverside Hotel, where you will do the check in. You will then be transferred to My Tho by a shuttle bus to embark your cruiseship. On arrival, you will be served a refreshing welcome drink as the ship steadily glides along the Mekong. In the afternoon, it is time for you to bathe in the fading sunset on the balcony followed by a briefing at the lounge. In the evening, you will have a “Welcome Dinner”. You will spend the night on boat in Cai Be area.

Day 2: Cai Be - Sa Dec - Chau Doc (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

You’ll wake in fresh air of the Mekong Delta with an invigorating Tai Chi lesson on the sun deck, just as the sun begins its gentle glow. Coffee and tea awaits the early bird.

Today, you will have a visit to Cai Be’s boisterous and colourful floating market on board a traditional sampan (a flat bottomed traditional Vietnamese wooden boat). During the languid ride, discover breathtaking landscapes along the river and quaff the rustic life on the Mekong Delta. The cruise will halt intermittently to allow you to observe how rice paste, rice cookies and coconut candies are made, along with the Longan fruit drying process. After visiting the canals, you will be taken to an ancient house surrounded by fruit orchards before heading to the Ship for lunch.

In the afternoon, you will cruise to Sa Dec. Upon arrival, you will embark a traditional sampan to tour Binh Thanh Island and its manmade canals. Here, every villager is involved in the process of growing and processing water hyacinths into natural fibre floor mats and rattan baskets.

You will then board the Ship for a tranquil evening cruise towards Chau Doc. You will stay overnight on the ship near Chau Doc.

Day 3: Chau Doc (Border Crossing) - Phnom Penh (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

You are welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. You will begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the Dining Hall or in the quiet sanctuary of your balcony. Brace yourself for a short excursion in Chau Doc, a pleasant town near the Cambodian border with sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer communities. You will then also visit the colourful local market near an ancient temple. This is followed by a trip to the quay, where you will be feted to a boat excursion to the floating villages and rustic catfish farms.

You will certainly enjoy watching schools of basa fish being fed by hand followed by a shore excursion to the local Cham Muslim community village. After that, you will be back to the ship for a lunch.

By mid-afternoon, the cruise liner will make its way to the border for Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. It is an opportune time to relax on board, sharpen your culinary skills with our hands-on cooking classes or tour the ship with our impeccable Cruise Director. Or, better yet, do all three. “The Highway Blues” beckons as you float into a state of mild bliss caused by the hypnotic murmur of the ship’s engine. After hours of cruising, you will feel the rush of entering into a new country and to embrace new adventures. You will stay on the boat in the midstream near Phnom Penh.

Day 4: Phnom Penh (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

Phnom Penh was once the Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance.

After breakfast, you will be captivated by a comprehensive lecture on Cambodia’s modern history. This will be followed by a city tour of this dynamic, historical capital city of Cambodia which has managed to preserve huge slices of its French colonial allure. Sightseeing in the morning will include visiting the dazzling white and gold edifice of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, and witnessing exceptionally beautiful Khmer craft at the National Museum.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you will visit the Genocide Museum and the Killing Field in town. Be prepared to be heart wrenched by this stark reminder of the genocide that transpired during Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime. You will then go back to the Ship after our museum visit to take a rest on your cabin balcony or the lounge and get prepared for an exciting evening event.

The evening will start with a variety of cocktails served on the sun deck and you will have time to enjoy the following Apsara dance performance. Experience the brilliance and richness of this culture, the soothing sounds of traditional music, the calming scent of incense sticks and a barbeque on the sun deck. It is indeed a truly marvellous experience, dining in the open with the stars and the moon as our companions. You will stay overnight on the boat in Phnom Penh.

Day 5: Phnom Penh - Kampong Chhnang (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

At midnight, the ship will leave Phnom Penh for Kampong Chhnang, The cruise will be set the sail towards Kampong Chhnang when the sun peeks over the horizon. After cruising, you will be in the Tonle River - an amazingly narrow river - which glides through leafy swaths of the Southeast Asian jungle. You will be greeted by cacophonous children who waive enthusiastically early in the morning when they bring their livestock for a bath in the meandering Tonle River. After that, you will approach Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “waterworld” where everything is on stilts balanced on water rich soil– it’s an awesome sight whilst practising Tai Chi on the deck. Here, you take a motorboat excursion to the landing, followed by a short bus trip to see the Khmer-styled pottery at the Aundaung Russey village. Then, you will be back to the river for an adventurous motorboat excursion to the wetlands, floating houses and fish farms in the region.

After that, you will return to the ship for lunch whilst cruising the narrow and meandering Tonle River. Your ship will cruise towards Prek K’dam where you will take a walk through the silversmith village of Koh Chen where the entire community of villagers are involved in making various silver items for sale. You will be transferred back to Phnom Penh for overnight.

Day 6: Kampong Cham (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

You will depart before the break of dawn from Phnom Penh with a stop at the little known Chong Koh silk weaving village. You will then return to the ship and will cruise past the Mekong’s tranquil villages, exhilarating river life and sun-hardened fishermen on their shift boats.

After that, you will visit the rural Angkor Ban village where time stood still. You are transported back a hundred years into an era unsullied by modernity. The houses here are truly rustic, made by hand and without any concrete. But most of all, you feel overwhelmed by the unbridled warmth of the villagers.

You can take part in the daily activities of the villagers to experience village life first hand. You will overnight on the boat in Kampong Cham.

Day 7: Kampong Cham (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

Let’swake up in the small hours of the morning, truly energized to embark on a land journey to the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Travellers either take a motor-taxi or climb 291 steps to the top. Located at the top of a hill overlooking the river it offers one of the most breath-taking views in Cambodia. Built in the 8th century, this ancient structure, together with a bigger and newer addition underscores the superb architecture of the Chenla Empire which predates the mighty Angkor temple complex. You even get to engage in light banter with some of the monks in the area. You will then return to the Ship to witness a blessing ceremony performed by orange-clad local monks.

When the tide allows, you will enjoy a surprise sojourn in our zodiacs (inflatable boats) to the nearby beach to swim in the tea coloured Mekong River, an experience that will, no doubt, dominate dinner conversations in the weeks to come.

You will then cruise towards Kampong Cham to visit Wat Nokor, a wat built within the ruins of an ancient temple which holds a timeless story. On the way back to the Ship, you will visit an orphanage. Along the way, you will have to maneuver a 2-kilometer rickety bamboo bridge. You will overnight in Kampong Cham.

Day 8: Kampong Cham - Siem Reap (Breakfast, Driver pickup)

You will disembark the ship at after breakfast and board a coach at 8.30h for a transfer from Kampong Cham to the drop off point in Siem Reap. You get to munch on snacks and enjoy cold drinks along the journey. You will arrive in Siem Reap in the early afternoon where your car is waiting for you to take you to your hotel nearby. You will overnight in Siep Reap.

Please note that: this is a sample itinerary of the Jahan Cruise or Jayavarman Cruise, the cruising route is subjected to change depends on the low water season or high water season. Please contact in advance for further information.

  • High Water Program (approx. between August and middle of December)
  • Low Water Program (approx. between middle of December and August September)

 

Option 2: The Lost Civilization 8 Days, Downstream Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon)

Day 1: Siem Reap - Kampong Cham – Embark The Cruise (Lunch, Dinner, Guide on boat)

After early breakfast, you will gather at the meeting point at 8.00h and join a transfer to Kampong Cham on the Mekong River. You will then get to munch on snacks and enjoy cold drinks along the journey. In the early afternoon, you will embark the Ship in Kampong Cham followed by a welcome drink. Later that evening, you meet and greet our fellow passengers, our brothers-in-arms in our soon-to-be matchless experience at a briefing at the Lounge. This is followed by a welcome dinner at the Dining Hall. You will stay overnight on the boat in Kampong Cham.

Day 2: Kampong Cham – Wat Hanchey (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide on boat)

You will wake up in the small hours of the morning, truly energized to embark on a land journey to the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Travelers either take a motor-taxi or climb 291 steps to the top. Located at the top of a hill overlooking the river, it offers one of the most breath-taking views in Cambodia. Built in the 8th century, this ancient structure, together with a bigger and newer addition underscores the superb architecture of the Chenla Empire which predates the mighty Angkor temple complex. You even get to engage in light banter with some of the monks in the area. You will return to the Ship to witness a blessing ceremony performed by orange-clad local monks.

When the tide allows, you will enjoy a surprise sojourn in our zodiacs (inflatable boats) to the nearby bank to swim in the tea coloured Mekong River, an experience that will, no doubt, dominate dinner conversations in the weeks to come. You will then cruise towards Kampong Cham to visit Wat Nokor, a wat built within the ruins of an ancient temple which holds a timeless story. On the way back to the Ship, you will visit an orphanage. Along the way, you will have to maneuver a 2-kilometer rickety bamboo bridge. Our sense of balance lies in the balance. You will stay overnight on the cruise nearby Kampong Chhnang.

Day 3: Kampong Chhnang (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide on boat)

Kampong Chhnang is a busy rural port town with bustling markets and boisterous children who wave and greet us as we arrive on the Ship. You will take a short bus trip to see the Khmer-styled pottery at the Aundaung Russey village followed by a rugged motor boat excursion into the wetlands that form the mouth of the river. Of considerable interest are the great fish traps, some half a kilometer long, which net a gargantuan amount of fish after each monsoon rain as the trawl migrate from the falling lake to the Tonle River.

The afternoon cruise continues with a languid meander along the Tonle River, which narrows through leafy swaths of the Southeast Asian jungle. Here, the river is very narrow and you are greeted by kids waving enthusiastically at us from the banks. You then return to the Ship for lunch whilst cruising the narrow and meandering Tonle River. You will cruise towards Prek K’dam where you will take a walk through the silversmith village of Koh Chen where the entire community of villagers is involved in making various silver items for sale. Your dinner will be served at the Dining Hall while the Ship cruises to Phnom Penh. You will stay overnight midstream near Phnom Penh.

Day 4: Phnom Penh (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide on boat)

Phnom Penh was once the Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance. After breakfast, you will be captivated by a comprehensive lecture on Cambodia’s modern history. This will be followed by a city tour of this dynamic, historical capital city of Cambodia which has managed to preserve huge slices of its French colonial allure. Sightseeing in the morning will include visiting the dazzling white and gold edifice of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, and witnessing exceptionally beautiful Khmer craft at the National Museum.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you will visit the Genocide museum and the Killing Field in town. Be prepared to be heart wrenched by this stark reminder of the genocide that transpired during Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime.

You go back to the Ship after our museum visit. Take a rest on your cabin balcony or the lounge and get prepared for an exciting evening event. The evening starts with a variety of cocktails served on the sun deck. Take a seat and enjoy the following Apsara dance performance. Experience the brilliance and richness of this culture, the soothing sounds of traditional music, the calming scent of incense sticks and a barbeque on the sun deck. It is indeed a truly marvelous experience, dining in the open with the stars and the moon as our companions. You will spend the night on the boat in Phnom Penh.

Day 5: Phnom Penh - Chau Doc (Border Crossing) (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide on boat)

The cruise liner then sets sail for a lazy day of cruising along the main Mekong Channel. As this is an international shipping route, you will witness large commercial ships plying this route. Later, in the afternoon, you set off to the Vietnamese border for the requisite cross border paperwork. As the process tends to take some time, we bask in the glow of the afternoon sun on the sun deck, pamper ourselves silly at the Spa, or sharpen our culinary skills with the Heritage Line’s Cambodian and Vietnamese cuisine cooking class. The ship moors midstream overnight in Chau Doc.

Day 6: Chau Doc - Sa Dec (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide on boat)

Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. You begin our day with a hearty breakfast at the Dining Hall or in the quiet sanctuary of your balcony. You will brace yourselves for a short excursion in Chau Doc, a pleasant town near the Cambodian border with sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer communities. You will also visit the colourful local market near an ancient temple. This is followed by a trip to the quay, where you will be feted to a boat excursion to the floating market and rustic catfish farms. You will certainly enjoy watching schools of basa fish being fed by hand. Then, it is back to the Ship for a lunch.

In the mid afternoon, you will set off for My An Hung Village. Passengers walk to the family house through the vegetable garden to see the boat building yard and canals. You will cross a monkey bridge and see chili, corn and beetle nut plantations amongst other vegetable fields. Then gather at the family’s house to taste tea with honey with local delicacies and fruits before back to the Ship to set off for Sa Dec in the late afternoon. You will spend the night on the boat near Sa Dec.

Day 7: Sa Dec - Cai Be - My Tho (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide on boat)

In the morning, you embark a traditional sampan (a flat bottomed traditional Vietnamese wooden boat) to tour Binh Thanh Island and its man-made canals. Here, every villager is involved in the process of growing and processing water hyacinths into natural fibre floor mats and rattan baskets.

After lunch on board, the Ship arrives in Cai Be. The tour starts with a visit to Cai Be’s boisterous and colourful floating market where traders gather in a cacophonous congregation. During the languid ride, you discover breathtaking landscapes along the river and quaff the rustic life on the Mekong Delta. The evergreen islands along the Mekong River remain unknown to many people. The cruise will halt intermittently to allow us to observe how rice paste, rice cookies and coconut candies are made, along with the Longan fruit drying process. After touring the canals, we head to an ancient house surrounded by fruit orchards before heading to the Ship for dinner.

You then board the Ship for a tranquil evening cruise towards My Tho. A wonderful farewell party awaits us on the cruise. You will spend the night on the boat near My Tho.

Day 8: My Tho - Ho Chi Minh City – Disembark (Breakfast, Driver pickup)

Our magnificent cruiser winds its way to My Tho, approximately 70km south of Saigon on the upper Mekong River in Vietnam. You bid farewell to the cruise as the journey comes to a close. But the memories and the friendships made on board linger on for a lot longer.

You will disembark at around 8.30h and we join the transfer to the madding crowd of Saigon. Drop off will be at the meeting point in Saigon then your private car will take you to your hotel. You will spend the night in Saigon.

Please note that: this is a sample itinerary of the Jahan Cruise or Jayavarman Cruise, the cruising route is subjected to change depends on the low water season or high water season. Please contact in advance for further information.

  • High Water Program (approx. between August and middle of December)
  • Low Water Program (approx. between middle of December and August September)

Inclusive

  • Free Vietnam Visa invitation letter.
  • Private door-to-door pick-up & drop-off services.
  • Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
  • Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
  • The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
  • Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All The Mekong Delta River boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
  • Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants and full board on the boat in the Mekong Delta River.
  • All sightseeing tickets.
  • VAT and other taxes
  • 24/7 hotline support guaranteed

Exclusive

  • International flight tickets and airport tax.
  • Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Travel insurance
  • Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
  • Vietnam visa stamp fee
  • Other services not mentioned above.

 

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