As the trip progressed strangers became friends. Particularly special was the effortlessness: perfect logistics, never having to worry about anything, and, of course, the charming and thoughtful way you organised everything.
Located in the west of the Mekong Delta, near the border with Cambodia, Chau Doc lies 174 miles (280 miles) southwest of Saigon. A recent addition to Vietnamese territory, Chau Doc was given as a gift from the Cambodian monarch in return for Vietnamese aid in putting down an insurrection. Centuries of trade along the river have created a unique culture, a fusion of Khmer, Chinese, and Vietnamese influences.
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Our General Manager Victoria Hilley lived in Hanoi for a year, where she enjoyed motorbiking through the villages & rice terraces of Vietnam's mountainous north.
Visit Phu Hiep, a community of the Cham people of Malay origin who are practicing Muslims. Phu Hiep has several mosques including the “Mubarak” mosque, which was a gift from the Egyptian president.
Cruise the “Three Rivers Crossing” in a traditional sampan. Visit authentic floating houses, a floating fruit market, and some of the area’s unique floating fish farms.
Festival of Lady Xu
Held at Sam Mountain, 3 miles (5 kilometers) outside Chau Doc, the Festival of Lady Xu is a lively, joyous occasion that provides travelers a chance to mingle with locals at their happiest and most relaxed. Festivities include various performances, including a number of dances, a procession, as well as a ritual wherein the statue is washed, dressed in new clothes, and the old clothes distributed amongst the crowd for good luck. The festival is held from the 23rd to the 27th day of the fourth lunar month.
Stroll along the river and end up at the local market, where you can haggle over prices.
A famous complex of dozens of pagodas and temples, some set in caves, Sam Mountain's construction reflects the multicultural blend of the area. Stroll leisurely to the top for amazing views of the delta’s pancake-flat, low-lying terrain. Weather permitting, you can easily look out over Cambodia. On the summit sits a military outpost, which is still garrisoned by the Vietnamese military --a legacy of the days when the Khmer Rouge made cross-border raids.
Make your way from Vietnam’s Saigon to Cambodia’s Phnom Penh on this fascinating 5-day luxury voyage that takes you to historical sites, bustling markets, on languid cruises, and to your final destination by speedboat, while you bed down in some of the area’s most luxurious hotels by night.
A float on the mighty Mekong River is the best way to take in the scenery of beautiful and historic Cambodia and Vietnam. With seven-night, four-night and three-night cruises to choose from, there’s something for everyone on the Aqua Mekong. Guests will enjoy sumptuous luxury in the spacious but cosy suites and gaze out of the enormous river-facing windows at the passing panoramas. Likewise, the dining room affords unparalleled views of the forests, temples, floating villages and pagodas as guests indulge in international cuisine and local delicacies by Michelin-starred chef David Thompson, surrounded by historic Asian artifacts.The top deck is where all the action is: guests can recline with a drink in the indoor and outdoor lounges, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a private screening of a classic film from the area. On lazy days, those in search of relaxation can peruse the library, browse handcrafted souvenirs in the on-board shop or unwind in the spa with a range of traditional treatments.
Victoria Chau Doc Hotel
The Victoria Chau Doc hotel sits on the banks of the Bassac River in a region famed for its unique floating markets, villages and fish farms. Deep in the Mekong Delta, the elegant Victoria has 92 rooms and four junior suites with views of the fascinating river life. Dining at the hotel is a treat as the property's restaurants are overseen by talented Vietnamese Chef Pham Van Quang, an expert in the exceptional cuisines of Vietnam's diverse regions. Meals are served on the terrace of one of the restaurants within the hotel or on Le Jarai, an atmospheric old rice barge turned restaurant. The hotel has a swimming pool, a private jetty for observing the passing scene on the Bassac, tai chi sessions, and aromatic massages at the Vinh Te Spa, situated on a tranquil rooftop terrace. The hotel has email and Internet services, free wi-fi in public areas and a fitness center.