1. Home
  2. Find a Cruise
  3. AmaDara
  4. 7 Night Asia Cruise from

7 Night Asia Cruise

7 Night Asia Cruise

Save
AmaDara
Loading ...

Itinerary

Ho Chi Minh City evolved from a small fishing village on the Saigon River a few miles from the South China Sea. In the early 1600s Vietnamese refugees fled from the north to escape a civil war. They were welcomed, and helped develop the village into a thriving seaport, eventually taking control of the city and surrounding region and naming it Saigon. In the mid 1800s, France took over much of the country and developed the city with French architecture, culture and a unique cuisine. Wide boulevards lined with elegant buildings are a hallmark of the city today.

Saigon was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1976. Many locals still use the name Saigon, and you'll find it on T-shirts in the markets. With nearly 10 million inhabitants, it's the largest city in Vietnam and drives the country's economic engine. It's fast-paced, innovative and quite chaotic. Skyscrapers rise across the landscape alongside brightly colored Buddhist and Hindu temples and French colonial buildings. The city proper rises on one side of the Saigon River, while one- and two-story low-rise houses and commercial enterprises line the opposite bank.

Read More
  • Day 2

On most Mekong River cruises, Tan Chau will be either the first or last stop in Vietnam as it is located close the Vietnam/Cambodia border. It's a bustling town with a variety of unique attractions within close proximity. Located in a region once known best for its silk production, most river cruise excursions will stop at a silk factory, as well as a rattan factory where straw mats, slippers and more are made. (A handful of tours will visit a shop where rattan weaving is still done by hand in the traditional way, rather than on mechanized machines.)

Like all Vietnam "ports" along the Mekong, your riverboat will anchor in the middle of the Mekong River and you'll take sampans to get from the boat to your destination(s). All tours will be provided by your river cruise line; there is no opportunity for independent exploration.

Time seems to have passed Phnom Penh, once dubbed the Pearl of Asia," by -- with colonial French architecture untouched by modern day life, beautifully wrought pagodas with sparkling ornamentals and staggering monument complexes that have forever made Cambodia famous.

The capital of Cambodia, the city overlooks three bustling waterways; the Mekong, Tonle Sap and the Bassac River, all of which boast crowded riverfronts that beckon tourists and locals, alike, with street food vendors lining the streets flanking the parks, selling everything from spiced curries to noodle bowls. Unlike Siem Reap, the allure of Phnom Penh doesn't lie in the temples -- but the city's resilience. Tarnished and shattered by war and revolution, the city has spent the better part of 30 years trying to rebuild -- and in turn, has welcomed influence from hundreds of other cultures, making this bustling city a true cultural melting pot. The first few moments in the city will bring an onslaught of sensual overload -- with the sounds of motorbikes whizzing by, the smells of different street food stalls hanging over the air and the ever-changing buzz of monks in scarlet robes passing by and locals pushing past you to get to the market or work. It can be overwhelming, but once you get the hang of the city's pulsing heartbeat, it's nearly impossible to not fall in love with the old-style charm and fortitude of Phnom Penh.

Read More

Time seems to have passed Phnom Penh, once dubbed the Pearl of Asia," by -- with colonial French architecture untouched by modern day life, beautifully wrought pagodas with sparkling ornamentals and staggering monument complexes that have forever made Cambodia famous.

The capital of Cambodia, the city overlooks three bustling waterways; the Mekong, Tonle Sap and the Bassac River, all of which boast crowded riverfronts that beckon tourists and locals, alike, with street food vendors lining the streets flanking the parks, selling everything from spiced curries to noodle bowls. Unlike Siem Reap, the allure of Phnom Penh doesn't lie in the temples -- but the city's resilience. Tarnished and shattered by war and revolution, the city has spent the better part of 30 years trying to rebuild -- and in turn, has welcomed influence from hundreds of other cultures, making this bustling city a true cultural melting pot. The first few moments in the city will bring an onslaught of sensual overload -- with the sounds of motorbikes whizzing by, the smells of different street food stalls hanging over the air and the ever-changing buzz of monks in scarlet robes passing by and locals pushing past you to get to the market or work. It can be overwhelming, but once you get the hang of the city's pulsing heartbeat, it's nearly impossible to not fall in love with the old-style charm and fortitude of Phnom Penh.

Read More
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8

AmaDara

15 reviews
Why Choose AmaDara?

Spacious standard cabins and suites

Spacious standard cabins and suites

Choice of Asian and Western cuisine

Choice of Asian and Western cuisine

Onboard massage and beauty salon

Onboard massage and beauty salon


Cruise Reviews

46 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Pros: very clean and well maintained ship Internet, when in port, works very well - no streaming Good organization for departure More things are included than on some cruises - most alcohol, for example, is included. ... Read More
Pros: very clean and well maintained ship Internet, when in port, works very well - no streaming Good organization for departure More things are included than on some cruises - most alcohol, for example, is included. Variety of shore excursions was great and it is included in the price. Food is very good. Well presented, healthy and small size portions meant less waste. The ethnic dance we were treated to in our first night in Phnom Pen was extraordinary. Kids from a local school performed a one hour exhibition that was both interesting and informative. Climate control for the rooms was superb. Hot water for showers seemed to always be available any time of day. Service was exceptional if not slightly overwhelmingly considerate Things that should be included in the advertised details about the cruise: ask before you book if the cruise you are interested in leaves directly from Siem Reap or if you will take a long bus ride down to the port (6 hours). The bus was comfortable, and the road the whole way was paved. But you should be made aware of this. Only 2 per cabin. We are a family of 3, so we had to buy an extra cabin. If you do have close friends or family going with you, book early and get cabins across from each other. That way, you can see things on both sides of the boat. While never advertised as such, this is not a cruise for families. I would guess the average age on the cruise is about 55. We are struggling to make sure our 14 year old is having a good time. But that's not the cruise company’s fault. We knew this going in. Also know that the majority of people on the cruise (at least on our cruise) are culturally unaware when it comes to foreign countries. From how they act and the excursions that are set up, this is more of a “photo op” cruise than anything experiential. That's not to say you can't get off the boat when it docks and explore the culture on your own. Just don't plan on the cruise company giving you that kind of option. In addition to the above, leave frustrations and embarrassment about how your fellow cruisers act behind. Talking during performances, loudly laughing and cackling while receiving a monk’s blessing, wearing inappropriate clothing (after several written and verbal advisories) and not learning how to say “hello” or “thank you” in the local language is not something you're going to be able to explain or ask forgiveness. It's just the way people are. The guide says that you may consider bringing “smart casual” clothing, but you absolutely don't need to. We love to pack light, so we didn't and never felt uncomfortable. Shorts that cover the knees and shirts that cover the shoulders along with decent walking shoes are the only necessities. Laundry is expensive on board like most cruises. Try to do laundry before you depart. There’s really not a convenient way to do laundry after you start the cruise. Lock the outside cabin doors in Phnom Penh. You're right up next to the dock, and while there is security, it would give you some extra piece of mind Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We were looking for an interesting trip and hadn't been to Cambodia. AMA very organized at embarkation and throughout the cruise. Sofitel in Saigon lovely with a staggering breakfast and dinner buffet!!! Ship is beautifully ... Read More
We were looking for an interesting trip and hadn't been to Cambodia. AMA very organized at embarkation and throughout the cruise. Sofitel in Saigon lovely with a staggering breakfast and dinner buffet!!! Ship is beautifully maintained. Mekong is a very lively river with much small commerce. Floating markets, fishing boats of all sizes, and more stilt houses than you could ever imagine. River in VietNam is really dirty with lots of flotsam and jetsam coupled with floating lotus. As we sailed into Cambodia, the river became "cleaner". We stopped at several small villages. The best was a village where we visited an elementary school. Six hundred students, all in clean uniforms, in a bare bones school. Playground was dirt with two swings. Children were charming and sang "Old McDonald" with gusto. Forty well behaved 6-11 year olds. They all learn English. We brought schools supplies and the teacher was very grateful. More Cambodians speak English than Thai's. Cambodian people are happy and welcoming. Our guide, Adam is Cambodian, speaks English like a native speaker and provided great insight into the country with grace and humor. We were part of his yellow family(each group was a designated color). In Pnom Phen, we did not do the tour of the killing fields or the museum of atrocities committed by the Pol Pot which those who did said was really sad and depressing. We visited the Central Market which was great fun and the best shopping on the trip!!! The next day we visited the royal Palace and other landmarks. Well done. Entertainment--staff talent show was really good and brought lots of cheers from an appreciative audience. Staff was terrific. Can't say enough about them--guides, dining and bar staff awesome! Dining--do not miss the live action station at breakfast and lunch. Omelets, eggs your way at breakfast. Lunch is Cambodian delights--one day was a chicken curry soup that was so delicious people went for seconds!!! Everything we tried we liked. Cambodian food is sweet, sour, and salty--no hot spice like Thai. Many options at dinner--western or Asian style food. All reports re the little spa were excellent. Lono did a foot massage that was one of the best I've ever had. Pack comfortable shoes. Be prepared to walk the plank when visiting the villages. Lots of help to get up the river bank. Casual cotton clothes that cover knees and shoulders to meet the "dress code" for local scene. You must be prepared that you will be traveling in third world countries. It should make you grateful for how you live but appreciative of how happy people are in their own circumstances. Cambodia is the land of smiles. We are richer for the experience. Read Less
48 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Vietnam and Cambodia have long been on my wife’s and my bucket list. We’ve just returned from a truly fabulous AmaWaterways trip to these two fascinating countries. The trip was half on land – Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), ... Read More
Vietnam and Cambodia have long been on my wife’s and my bucket list. We’ve just returned from a truly fabulous AmaWaterways trip to these two fascinating countries. The trip was half on land – Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Siem Reap, and Hanoi – and half on a cruise on the AmaDara on the Mekong River. We have traveled extensively throughout the world, including numerous ocean cruises and a terrific European river cruise, but this was the best cruise experience we have ever had. Much of that owes to the fascination of the two countries - the traumas they have experienced in very recent history and their remarkable rebound from them (rarely have we learned so much from a "vacation" trip); the genuine warmth of the people, both trip staff and those on the street; the incredible variety of what there is to see, from dirt-poor communities living on the water and on the banks of the river to vibrant emerging cities clogged with new construction and motor-bike dominated traffic. (Learning how to cross the street was itself a fascinating experience.) Much owes, as well, to the extraordinarily well-organized trip. The trip manager, Mr. Thoai ("Call me Twy, like in 'twice'"), ran the trip like a well-oiled machine, dealing with the innumerable daily chores of moving over 100 people from one place to another, as well as the inevitable unexpected developments, with an ever-present smile. His competence, efficiency, and spirit set the tone of the entire trip. The week-long cruise on the AmaDara was delightful. The ship's facilities are very good, if not the best we have experienced. We splurged on a "suite," which means a room that was plenty spacious, as opposed to the invariably cramped standard living quarters on a river cruise boat. The staff were incredibly well-trained and their genuine friendliness created an infectious positive attitude on board. The food was easily the best we have ever experienced on a cruise, and we have traveled previously on top-ranked cruise lines. The quality of the meals was remarkable in light of the challenging circumstances of feeding so many people on a cruise on a river in a poor part of Asia, and doing so from tight kitchen facilities. Kudos to head Chef Pheara and his staff who produced several dinners that were worthy of a highly-ranked restaurant in a major city. The quality of the staff and the food contributed to an unusually congenial environment on board the ship. It was easy to interact comfortably with all of our fellow passengers. The highlight of the trip was the excursions, one each morning and afternoon. Never previously have we experienced such interesting and unique outings, nearly all of them simultaneously fascinating and educational. Each was different from all of the others. They varied from walking through small dusty poor rural villages, with their invariably friendly inhabitants, in which we sampled such "delicacies" as snake wine, to visiting sobering monuments to the traumas of war and genocide. The Vietnam War Remnants Museum in Saigon allowed us to see a formative experience during our early adulthood from a different perspective (and reminded us how important it is to see both sides), while visiting the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh - although less upsetting an experience than we expected - left us dumbfounded about how evil selected individuals in history can be, and how remarkable it is that they have the charisma and power to recruit thousands of their country's citizens to do their dirty work. We appreciated the histories of these two countries, and their current economic development, in part due to the superb guides working for Ama. With one exception, the guides were among the best we have ever experienced - all thoughtful and informative, willing to address difficult questions, and punctuating their presentations with both great senses of humor and personal touches, including explaining how their countries' evolutions had affected their personal lives. Mr. Long gave us a great overview of southern Vietnam while on the cruise, as did Ms. "Tinny" during the Cambodia portion of the cruise. Mr. Son brought Hanoi to life with the best English we experienced on the trip (not that the other guides' English wasn't good too). He, and the charming city itself, made us wish we had one more day to explore the city. The rickshaw ride through the chaotic traffic was fun and surprisingly not frightening. The trip's few disappointments were disappointing only in relative terms. While we benefited from unusually good weather, the intense heat during our tour of the Royal Palace and the National Museum in Phnom Penh, after visiting the Killing Fields the same morning, made that morning more challenging than any other (although it, too, was definitely a net positive). Wandering through the crowded and fascinating food market near the river that afternoon compensated. The fact that we waited at our hotel in Siem Reap most of the day before flying to Hanoi in the evening seemed a wasted opportunity: we could have had more time in Hanoi had we flown out that morning. We also felt that the final leg of the trip, to famous Ha Long Bay with an overnight on a "luxury junk" (quite an oxymoron, but the boat was fine), fell short of our high expectations. The bay is truly gorgeous and the three excursions were interesting and fun (especially the enormous cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites). But the bay was overrun with tourist boats and we felt rushed to get from one excursion to the next. The government is going to have to decide whether it wants to limit traffic on the bay. It definitely detracts from the experience. Two minor drawbacks: The seemingly constant tipping (for bus drivers and their assistants and one-day guides) was a bit annoying, although frankly we appreciated the opportunity to express our gratitude to Mr. Thoai and our principal guides with larger than expected tips. And Ama's policy of charging for name-brand alcohol drinks was annoying too. (Local brands were free...if not very good. Wine and beer were free with lunch and dinner. Local beers - quite good - were always available at no charge but wine wasn't.) Of course if Ama included all alcohol in the package price, that price would rise. Not clear whether that would make good business sense, but an all-inclusive policy would be appreciated by many travelers. Our hotels in the big cities - all Sofitels - were superb and each different from the others. The buffets were notable, especially those in Saigon (the most amazing we've ever experienced) and Hanoi. The resort in Siem Reap was gorgeous and we enjoyed some time in the large, beautiful pool with its swim-up bar (although surprisingly, perhaps, the food was less good than at the other two hotels). Sofitel has risen high on our list of favorite hotel chains as a result of this visit. Overall, this trip ranks among the very best we have experienced in lives blessed with lots of travel. Ama runs a terrific operation in this part of the world. Read Less
View All AmaWaterways AmaDara Reviews
Find Your Roll Call