Heritage Line Jayavarman Cruise
Jayavarman is the father of Heritage Line’s unique ship collection and named after the most renowned Cambodian monarch, King Jayavarman VII, who was known for his tranquility and love for artistic creations. He created some of the most famous temples of the lost Angkorian civilization.
Jayavarman serves as a floating art gallery with fine objects d’art exposed all over the vessel. Lavish woodcarvings, Khmer bas-reliefs, and delicate lacquer paintings showcase skillful local artisanry and traditions. All are paired with a charismatic French-colonial design theme and pleasant Art-Deco accents. The cruiser features 27 rooms, individually themed and elegantly decorated, evoking memories of a glorious heritage. Jayavarman is a home that melts savoir-vivre with enjoyable lifestyle luxury. The warm and embracing atmosphere invites to feel at home from the first step aboard.
The ship plies the lower Mekong between Vietnam & Cambodia on various itineraries.
Allow us to paint – in your mind’s eye – a picture of timeless colonial romance on board The Jayavarman while cruising along the Mekong River. From your cabin, you step out onto your private balcony, sipping a cocktail made of local fruits you just dis-covered in an orchard during a Mekong Delta excursion. As the sun gently sets, the countryside casts its golden silhouette on the river. You realize that you’ve never been in a place this peaceful before and enjoy the tranquility which is only occasionally punctuated by a child’s raucous laughter ringing from a nearby river village. Darkness descends. Friendly waiters serve you at your private table who, by now, have become your friends. They may be a tad shy but proud to put on display their traditional attire. After a comfy night’s sleep, Tai Chi lessons await on the sun deck, ready to connect you to the energy that is so plentiful in this spiritual corner of the world.
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(Provisional off-season schedule: 30 April 2023 - 8 July 2023)
Heritage Line Jayavarman Cruise
3 Nights | Pearl of the Orient 4 Days 3 Nights
4 Nights | Serenity Cruise (High Water Period) 5 Days 4 Nights
4 Nights | Serenity Cruise (Low Water Period) 5 Days 4 Nights
7 Nights | The Lost Civilisation (High Water Period) 8 Days 7 Nights
7 Nights | The Lost Civilisation (Low Water Period) 8 Days 7 Nights
About This CruiseThe mighty Mekong – a mysterious body of water flowing through six countries in Asia. Giving love and life to millions, it received its fame by the legendary God King of ancient Cambodia, King Jayavarman VII, who linked hands with the waters of the Mekong to build the magnificent Angkor civilization.
This classic 7-Night Mekong River cruise named “The Lost Civilisation” combines places rarely visited with fantastic historical heritage sites. If offers a complete fluvial discovery of Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong with a combination of experiences one never will forget.
High water period is approx. from mid-August to mid-November.
Day 1: Saigon - My Tho - Cai Be.
You will be greeted in the morning at the cruise's welcome lounge in Saigon. Kick back with a second coffee as the cruise staff collects your details for boarding. Bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon and travel 70 kilometres south over land towards My Tho to embark on The Jayavarman. After checking into your luxurious floating “home” for the next several days, your first inclination may be to step on your balcony to watch the ship sets sail on its fascinating Mekong River voyage.
A lunch buffet is served in the restaurant while the vessel steadily glides upstream. Now it is time to get acquainted with one of the largest streams in Asia, which runs an estimated length of 4,909 km (3,050 mi) and discharges 475 cu km (114 cu mi) of water annually. Millions of people – from China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam – pay tribute to this mighty river which provides sustenance and protection over its inhabitants.
Let your soul float and your eyes wander while the boat makes its way upstream. It is often stated that "nautical air" makes you hungry, so you are cordially invited to your afternoon tea in the open-air bar as twilight bathes the Mekong Delta in a golden haze. Get to know your fellow travellers while enjoying some tasty treats. The rest of this cruising day is fully yours to relax on your private balcony or be pampered by our therapists at the Apsara Spa.
While you savour your delightful dinner, the ship reaches Cai Be. This historic town was established in the 19th century by Vietnam’s last ruling family, the Nguyen dynasty, on the Mekong River where three provinces meet: Tien Giang, Vinh Long, and Ben Tre. Cai Be would later become the surrounding region’s predominant water-based trading hub, as you will see in tomorrow's visit to the floating market. The cruise anchors mid-stream near Cai Be and moors there overnight. If you are in the mood for some evening entertainment, there is a cinema in the lounge showcasing classic movies and interesting documentaries on a nightly basis.
Day 2: Cai Be - Sa Dec - Tan Chau.
Wake up early to witness the spectacular scenery at the break of dawn. To make the experience complete, join the cruise's daily morning Tai Chi class. Afterwards, a rich breakfast buffet awaits, or if you prefer, breakfast will be served directly to your room.
The ship arrives at Cai Be, a charming market town which is famous for its Catholic French church and the manufacturing of traditional crafts and food products. The once enormous floating market of Cai Be gets smaller year by year since trading on the water is continually shifting towards modern markets. However, you can still see boat-to-boat trading of local goods, such as fruits and agricultural products and imagine what this must have looked like on a larger scale. Learn from your guide about the long-lasting trading culture and how each boat has a special marker to let buyers know what goods they are selling.
By local boat, you'll sail along the green canal network and watch the farmers working in the fields. A visit ashore of a workshop shows us the manufacturing of rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies and rice wine. Cai Be’s surrounding areas are covered by palm trees, which is why the region is also famous for the production of coconut candy. While the vessel continues sailing upstream, you can enjoy time to yourself or head to the bar to and enjoy a true Vietnamese coffee as you watch the life on the riverbanks float by.
In the afternoon, the vessel reaches the area of Sa Dec and arrives at one of the larger islands in the vast stream of the Mekong, Binh Thanh Island. Several communities have settled here and make their living by growing water hyacinths. You exclusively visit one of these untouched areas. By wandering through the village, you will get a deep understanding of native life. One of the local artisans, for example, demonstrates the entire process of traditional mat making. You can try weaving yourself. You also meet a local elderly couple who share their story of living on this island. They are always happy to chit-chat with you.
Back on board, you may take a dip in the pool on the sun deck. In the evening, your expert guide offers a presentation on life on the Mekong Delta as the ship continues sailing to Tan Chau, a pleasant, slow-paced border town near the Cambodian border with a sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community. The Jayavarman moors near the city with views on the riverbanks.
Day 3: Tan Chau - Border crossing - Phnom Penh.
Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam.
Once on shore, you'll see Tan Chau's vibrant town-life as you hop on "xelois", which are local vehicles still used as a taxi in this area. Your personal "xeloi" driver slowly navigates through the streets to observe all the workshops, houses and shops while feeling the laid-back vibe of this place. You'll stop at the colourful, local market near one of the town’s temples. This is a great opportunity to interact with the vendors of this friendly town and try your hand at bargaining with them.
To see what Tan Chau is famous for, board local boats and head to a floating fish farm. You are about to get an exclusive look into the world’s largest inland aquaculture industry. Each of the floating structures has netting hanging down into the water to enclose the fish, which are raised and fed on a daily basis. The region’s specialties are tilapia and the Basa catfish, or Pangasius, which is unique to the Mekong River basin and rapidly gaining popularity on the international seafood market.
Back on board your "home", the cruise sails towards the Vietnamese-Cambodian border. Get ready for a fascinating and leisurely cruise through the deep Cambodian countryside towards Phnom Penh.
The whole afternoon is at your own disposal. From here, even the last passenger turns on their cruise mode and hopefully experiences the relaxing influence this mighty river emanates. The afternoon is perfect for massages, relaxation on a terrace deck sunbed or private balcony kick-backs. Conjure up a spell to merge with the river and float into a state of mild bliss.
You also may like to visit the bridge as the captain always has a little story to share about "his" river. Or, if you are curious to learn more about Khmer gastronomy, join a culinary workshop to sharpen your knowledge about local cuisine.
After some additional cruising time back aboard, the boat arrives and docks at the pier of Phnom Penh. Feel free to go out and explore by yourself after dinner. Stroll along the river promenade and watch the locals chit-chatting, selling odds and ends or have a drink in one of the numerous bars.
Day 4: Phnom Penh.
Welcome to Phnom Penh - the city once named Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance. It is an amazing town with centuries of incredible history and culture which can still be felt at many street corners.
Start with a full sight-seeing tour right after breakfast. By bus, you will visit the Killing Fields outside the city and afterwards the centrally located prison “S21”. Both historic sites display the sad and cruel chapter of the country’s history when the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia with terror and oppression. Those places have not changed much since this horrific time back in the early seventies and it can be quite heart-breaking. Alternatively, you may explore the city on your own in the morning before re-joining the group.
Have a lunch at a well-renowned restaurant in town and experience the elegant air Phnom Penh’s top addresses are known for. Your exploration of Phnom Penh continues with the cultural highlights of the city’s heritage. The golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum top the list of the city’s must-sees. The day trip ends with a “cyclo” ride along the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh and back to the ship.
In the early evening, the lounge is set up for an eye- and ear-catching lecture about modern Cambodian history, held by our friend and local expert, Mr Jean-Michel, professor from the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Receiving first-hand knowledge from our lecturer who has studied the subject extensively and in-person is a highlight of this cruise.
Take some rest or join fellow passengers at the bar for refreshing drinks. Today's evening is a special one: you are invited to a wonderful open air gala featuring a barbecue dinner feast. The dinner is accompanied by a classic Apsara dance performance along with other folklore dances.
As the evening unwinds, enjoy your supper with a good glass of wine and marvel at the skyline of Phnom Penh and the calming flow of the Tonle River.
Day 5: Phnom Penh - Kampong Cham (Mekong).
Depart before the break of dawn from Phnom Penh towards the Angkor Ban village on the Mekong River. The village is famous for its unspoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses. It feels like being transported back a hundred years, into an era unaffected by modernity where villagers are characterized by their unbridled warmth.
While the cruise sails upstream, lunch is served and afterwards the cruise's staff is keen to show you a variety of traditional Khmer fashion the local people still wear on special occasions. Conversely, the ubiquitous Cambodian scarf, the Krama, is a garment worn by people of all ages and walks of life. This multi-functional attire is worn not just around the neck, but also as a bandanna, facemask, belt, swimwear, and even as a hammock to carry children.
Cruise further up the Mekong to visit a local school and learn more about the education of the young Cambodian generation. Children from the Organization for Basic Training (OBT) are provided a free, supplemental education in English, maths, and the arts, and they are always excited to show their skills in music and dance. Shower the young performers with applause and in return, you are bestowed upon with the most genuine and happy Cambodian smiles.
Continue your land journey to the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey (7th century). Formerly built to honor the Hindu god, Hirahara, the complex is now a Buddhist temple, a testament to the country’s past and present religious beliefs. This small complex sits on a hilltop with breath-taking views over the Mekong. Many young, novice monks live on the compound of Wat Hanchey, and you will have the chance to observe a bit of their daily lives: eating simple meals, praying, studying, or hanging out and making conversation while in their saffron-coloured robes.
Another temple on the way is the tranquil monastery of Wat Nokor. Although not massive in comparison to the vast complexes of Angkor Wat, Wat Nokor is the largest of its kind in Kampong Cham Province and is distinctive from other temples with its black sandstone walls. Here, you might have the chance to engage in light banter with some of the sociable monks living in the area.
Back on board, you are free to relax until dinner is served. The boat moors mid-river near Kampong Cham.
Day 6: Kampong Cham (Mekong) - Koh Oknha Tey - Kampong Chhnang (Tonle).
In the early morning, continue sailing downstream on the Mekong. The Jayavarman stops at the Island of Koh Oknha Tey, which lies in the middle of the Mekong and owes its fame to manufacturing high-class silk products. Go sightseeing along the island's roads a bit by tuk tuk before arriving at the village's workshops and witnessing the curious process of making silk, starting from a tiny silkworm larva to cocoon, then dyeing, spinning and weaving the fibres into high-quality Cambodian silk.
Before lunch, your expert guide holds a presentation about the geography of the Mekong River and Tonle Lake along with the unique attributes of the area. Afterwards, a monks' blessing ceremony delivers spirits and wishes for health and prosperity for all.
The ship continues its journey, passing by the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Rivers. Gliding through leafy swaths of this jungle-like landscape you reach Kampong Tralach, where laughing children wave enthusiastically at your arrival.
You are in the middle of Cambodia's countryside where – surprise – traditional ox carts are still a common means of transportation. An ox-powered vehicle takes you on a journey along the riverside and through back roads lined with rice-paddy fields until you arrive at a tiny village. Beginning a few short years ago, local children have had the opportunity to receive an education here. The "Green School" is a local project supported by the cruise company in this remote area to support the underprivileged youth. The students, who are dressed in green shirts, are always happy to meet the cruise's guests every week as the principal gives an introduction and updates us on the current situation of the school.
Tonight, the boat finds its anchor spot in the Tonle River near Kampong Chhnang, allowing you to observe river life close-by until dinner is served.
Day 7: Kampong Chhnang - Tonle Lake.
After a sumptuous breakfast, you are now at Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s "water world", where everything is balanced on sticks in water-rich soil. It is perhaps the most fascinating cruising spot in Cambodia. Take a local boat to the shore and hop on a mini bus to reach a quite unique, nearby rural village. As you explore the village on foot your guide reveals the village’s specialties – Khmer style pottery and the process of making of palm sugar from the Cambodian "skor t’not" palm tree.
Drive back to the shore where your local boat starts an exploration of nearby floating villages and the surrounding wetlands. Although you are in the heartland of Cambodia, the residents of these floating villages are actually of Vietnamese descent who were expelled by the Khmer Rouge and soon returned after the ruling party was overthrown in 1979. No longer having land to settle on, they have since lived "on the water".
Back on board lunch is served as your floating sanctuary cruises gently along the narrow Tonle River, towards the Great Tonle Sap Lake. The river then opens to a vast "sea", the biggest freshwater lake in Asia.
You can feel fortunate about this occasion, as generally this shallow lake can only be crossed during high water season, which is approximately from August to mid-November. In fact, the Tonle Sap (Sap means Lake in the Cambodian language) varies from 2,500 sqkm (965 sqmi) in size and 160 km (99 mi) in length during the dry season to an astonishing area of 16,000 sqkm (6,000 sqmi) and length of 250 km (160 mi) in the wet season. Now that you are on the open water, let your soul float and your eyes wander towards Siem Reap as the boat makes its way across.
The crew invites you to a farewell event and to enjoy some cheerful moments before dinner, including music and Cambodian dancing together with the team. Savour your final dinner aboard and relive the week’s adventures in your mind's eye with a glass of wine at the open bar.
Day 8: Tonle Lake - Siem Reap.
Enjoy your last breakfast on board your floating sanctuary.
The Tonle Sap (The Great Lake) is the flowing heart of Cambodia, giving love and life to millions of people. This rich ecosystem and UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve 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.
Here, The Jayavarman comes to an end this morning. Prepare to disembark the ship and take a local boat to the shore, passing a vast floating community. Arrive at the Siem Reap pier and you will be dropped off in the city centre.
We hope you enjoyed this fascinating river cruise, just as the crew does every single time. Moreover, take the enchanting memories and friendships along with you and share the stories of this amazing river - the Mighty Mekong.
- Full Side River View
- Private Balcony
- 1 Queen Size Bed or 2 Single Beds
- Full Side River View
- Private Balcony
- 1 Queen Size Bed or 2 Single Beds
• Daily (group) shore-excursions & entrance fees.
• Sightseeing and transfers during the cruise.
• Transfers from/to the cruise's meeting point to/from the ship.
• English speaking tour guiding on-and offshore.
• Entertainment/activities during the cruise as mentioned in the program.
• Meals as mentioned in the program.
• Welcome drink.
• Complimentary beverage package.
• Passenger liability insurance.
• Internet on the ship (subject to cellular network signal).
• Complimentary usage of ship facilities (exclusive of spa treatments).
• Port or anchorage fees.
• River pilots.
• Fuel & taxes.
• Crew and guide gratuities.
• Visa fees.
• Private transfers (book separately).
• Personal expenses.
• Other beverages than those stated under inclusion.
• Medical services.
• Spa treatments.
• Port and anchorage fees.
• All other services or items not listed under inclusions.