Day 1 - Sunday: Saigon - My Tho (D)
You embark the Toum Tiou in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) mid afternoon and set sail by late afternoon. As you head into the Mekong Delta towards My Tho you will enjoy you first of many glorious sunsets.
Day 2 - Monday: My Tho - Cai Be - Vinh Long (B / L / D)
An early rise to catch the sun rising over the still waters and then you set sail navigating the marvellous canals of Cho Gao. Before long My Tho comes into view and the Toum Tiou drops anchor close to Thoi Son Island. My Tho is 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 surrounding countryside is home to some of the most luxuriant gardens in Vietnam, with their coconut palms, banana and mango trees. Local boats come alongside the Toum Tiou to transfer you to the mainland. Here you will take a short trip to Vinh Trang Pagoda and discover My Tho market. Mid morning the Toum Tiou departs and you cruise to Cai Be. Here once again local boats will pick you up and take you on a tour of the fascinating Cai Be Floating Market. Afterwards you continue to Vinh Long, on route passing brick and pottery factories as well as witnessing local life which is organized around the water, houses on stilts, hawkers in boats, hundreds of small boats crisscrossing in all directions, and the many smiling Vietnamese faces. After returning to the Toum Tiou you sail to Sa Dec where she drops anchor and you spend the night.
Day 3 - Tuesday: Sa Dec - Chau Doc (B / L / D)
After breakfast there is a short tour of the local area including visiting a local primary school and a pagoda. You will have the opportunity to stroll around Sa Dec market, situated on the banks of the Mekong. This interesting ‘city’ only has 30,000 inhabitants and is fascinating in its unspoiled authenticity and undisturbed by tourists. It provides a glimpse of the delta where a few French colonial houses still remain, including the ‘Chinaman's House’, from Duras' novel ‘The Lover’ (which was also made in to a movie). The afternoon is spent leisurely cruising through the Delta towards Chau Doc. After arrival local boats will take you to visit fish farms as well as a local Cham minority village. If time allows you will also get to experience the sunset from the top of Sam Mountain where its famous Buddhist sanctuaries offer an unobstructed view over the mosaic of glistening rice paddies stretching off into the distant Cambodia. This evening you enjoy dinner at the Victoria Chau Doc Hotel as well as being able to use its swimming pool and bar.
Day 4 - Wednesday: Chau Doc - Border Crossing - Phnom Penh (B / L / D)
The Toum Tiou sets sail early this morning and heads to Vinh Xuong, the Vietnamese / Cambodian border. After completing the customs formalities the Toum Tiou heads into Cambodian waters and drops anchor at Koh Dek Chau island which allows a fascinating, close-up look at daily rural life in Cambodia. On the fringes of civilization, the 600 people who live on Koh Dek Chau will receive your visit with some surprise and the excited children will escort you along your way. You will wander through the village that occupies the full length of the island, walking along a trail shaded by date palms. Late afternoon you set sail for Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, arriving in time for dinner.
Day 5 - Thursday: Phnom Penh (B / L / D)
This morning you will learn about the dark side of Cambodia - its more recent turbulent and harrowing history. Initially you visit the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as S21), ironically a former school, located in a quiet Phnom Penh suburb, this was the infamous Khmer Rouge prison / torture centre. Once you have gained an initial insight of the brutality of the Khmer Rouge regime you will be driven 15km from Phnom Penh to visit the ‘Killing Fields’. This is where Toul Sleng prisoners were forcibly marched and then executed; it is now a memorial site located in a beautiful tranquil setting. You will return to Phnom Penh for lunch at a local restaurant, after which the rest of the day is free at your leisure to further explore this charming city. This evenings on-board dinner is a treat as you are mesmerized by an hypnotic Apsara dance.
Day 6 - Friday: Phnom Penh - Kompong Tralach (B / L / D)
This morning you visit the terracotta red National Museum which offers a charming setting for a comprehensive collection of Khmer artifacts, and then move on to the nearby Royal Palace, on the banks of the mighty Mekong river. Inside the Palace walls you will be treated to the Throne Hall, the Chan Chaya Pavilion, and the King’s residential quarters. You will also see the Silver Pagoda, so named as it is claimed its floor is made up of over 4,000 silver tiles! At noon the Toum Tiou leaves Phnom Penh for Kompong Tralach and its wonderful vihara belonging to Wat Kompong Tralach Leu pagoda. To reach it involves a stroll through Kompong Tralach Krom village then crossing some gorgeous stretches of emerald rice paddy as you leave the river behind The Vihara dates back to the early 19th century. It was most probably built on an older site, as indicated by the laterite foundations, and is home to some outstanding mural paintings. These, however, are starting to suffer from weathering. Standing by itself in the middle of rice fields, it is a modest pagoda that receives very few visitors. As the sun sets you return to the Toum Tiou, sail a short distance, and then drop anchor for the night.
Day 7 - Saturday: Kompong Chhnang - Kompong Luong (B / L / D)
The Toum Tiou sets sail in the early morning and soon arrives in the town of Kompong Chhnang, which is one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonle Sap. Although fish farming is widely practiced in the area, Kompong Chhnang is better known for its pottery and earthenware which has remained unchanged in style for centuries, and which is produced in sufficient quantities to supply the entire country. And not to be overlooked are the products of the Thnot tree (the sugar palm – a real national symbol) that abounds in the area, such as the mellow tasting, caramel-colored sugar cake and the potentially potent sugar palm wine. After some sightseeing the Toum Tiou continues to Kompong Luong, where local boats will come alongside and sail you around this fascinating, remote, completely self-sufficient, floating town. Here you will see a floating school, floating ice-making factories, and floating pagodas, service stations, pigsties, stores, boat and television repair shops, video clubs, karaoke bars, a police station... everything is floating on the water. All trades are represented and everybody from children to grandparents go by boat through the network of canals that cross this little town. This evening the Toum Tiou drops anchor amidst the enchanting flooded forest. This evening, your last aboard the Toum Tiou, you will enjoy cocktails and the Captain’s farewell dinner.
(N.B. During the low water season Feb – June instead of sailing to Kompong Luong the Toum Tiou sails you to Chnok Tru, where local boats take you around the biggest floating market on the Tonle Sap. This evening the Toum Tiou drops anchor close to Chnok Tru).
Day 8 - Sunday: Kompong Luong - Siem Reap (B)
This morning you sail across the Tonle Sap lake passing more floating villages before reaching Siem Reap Port at around 11:00am, having had a wonderfully relaxing and rewarding week...
(N.B. During the low water season Feb – June instead of sailing on the Toum Tiou to Siem Reap you will be transferred by speedboat).
The first Cambodian cruise boat with international standard accommodation.
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.
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 draft makes possible an access to the smallest and remotest of villages. With the tasteful decoration of a bygone era, the Toum Tiou 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, ship hands, hostesses, cooks and purser are discreet and inconspicuous in the performance of their duties.
This traditional locally built boat started out as a freighter with a metal hull and a capacity of 150 tons, with two large but low-ceiling decks in order to maximize storage space. Like all ships of this type, it went up and down the Tonle Sap and Mekong, stopping at Siem Reap, Kompong Cham, Kratie and Stung Treng.
We stayed as close as we could to the original line of the ship, because we wanted to retain its slightly curved and elegant lines.
The Toum Tiou measures 38 meters long and 7 meters wide in the middle. It has 10 rooms in all (3.3m x 2.5m), 4 on the main deck and 6 on the upper deck, each air-conditioned and with a bathroom (2.5m x 1.4m) including toilet, shower and sink. The water on board is taken from the river, passed through a powerful filtration system and chlorinated in the final step of the treatment.
In order to make the best possible use of the common areas from the standpoint of both size and variety we have installed a library-reading room on the lower deck. There is also a covered space at the front of the middle deck, a restaurant to the rear anda half-covered sundeck on top.
Number of cabins: 10
Engine Power: 315CV
Speed: 9 knots