Mekong Delta and Exit to Cambodia (4 nights)

HCM 503-102
  • Explore floating life along Mekong Delta (both in Vietnam & Cambodia part)
  • Visit Angkor temples
  • Social activities Kompheim Village in Cambodia
Program Overview
Country: Vietnam
Depart: 02/10/2017 1400
Return: 02/14/2017 1630
Duration: Overnight
Difficulty: Strenuous
Capacity: Min. 25/ Max. 30
Program Fee
$1298 (early booking: $1225)

Field Work Conflicts
  • Art 492A: Seminar: Art History
  • GR 330: Urban Geography
  • NR 355: Contemporary Environmental Issues
  • RRM 400: Food and Society
  • PHIL 172 500: Religions of the East
  • HIST 465: Pacific Wars: Korea and Vietnam
  • ECON 202: Principles of Macroeconomics
  • MGT 475: International Business Management
  • NR 370: Coastal Environmental Ecology
  • JTC 430: Advanced Digital Documentary Photography

*Attention: 1 passport-size photo and $40USD cash is required for a Cambodian Visa. You may also need additional blank pages in your passport. 

Observing the culture change along the border is always interesting, especially a water way border. Both the Vietnamese and the Cambodians have their cultures, daily lives, and histories related much to the Mekong river. Take this program to discover the local life along the river from both sides of the border. You will depart from Ho Chi Minh City for Mekong Delta. You will first visit the capital of this region – Can Tho City – with its well-known Cai Rang floating market and fruit orchards. Traveling further, it is time to explore the specific wetland ecosystem, Tra Su Forest, which is one of the elements that make Mekong Delta a fertile region. A flooded forest fringed by mangrove plants, Tra Su is home to a large variety of colorful birds and other wildlife. Exploring the watery wilderness, it is particularly interesting to watch birds that appear to walk on water. Because of their lightweight bodies, they do not fall through the dense floating habitats that are supporting them. A late afternoon visit is perfect for bird watching when birds are back after their long “working day.” Spend your night at Chau Doc, a frontier town with many mysterious legends and stories which are respected widely by people in the South of Vietnam. The riverine setting of Chau Doc, with its pastel colored wooden stilted houses, is one of the most picturesque in the Mekong Delta. With the Bassac River flowing through its heart, surrounded by flooded plains, and overlooked by the spiritual Sam Mountain, Chau Doc temptingly nudges the Cambodian border. Take an early morning boat to cross the border and observe the local life change along both sides of the river bank.

Arrive in Phnom Penh – the capital of Cambodia, which was once considered the loveliest of the French-built cities of Indochina. The Khmer Rouge took over the city in April 1975 and immediately forced the entire population into the countryside as part of a radical social program, entering the city into one of the darkest periods in its history. On your city orientation of Phnom Penh, you will visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, a school that was converted into a prison camp and torture chamber by the Khmer Rouge. Thousands of Cambodians were incarcerated here before they were taken to Choeng Ek to be killed. At the Killing Fields of Choeng Ek, you will see the graves of more than 17,000 men, women and children who were executed at this extermination camp between 1975 and 1978. Leaving those painful images behind, you will move to Siem Reap to explore the beauty of art and culture of a lost civilization. Cycling leisurely through the green to explore Ta Prohm, a temple that has been left largely in its natural state since its “re-discovery” by French explorers. Surrounded by jungle, its labyrinth of stone hallways is overgrown with the roots and limbs of massive banyan trees, which envelop the stone like tentacles and giant claws. Then continue to the most famous temple complex, Angkor Wat. With its soaring towers and extraordinary bas-reliefs, many consider Angkor Wat to be one of the most inspired and spectacular monuments ever conceived by the human mind. You will visit the sprawling Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the enchanting Bayon.

In addition, this program provides a visit to Kompheim Village to learn more about countryside daily life, where you will understand their difficulties and give the locals a hand.


Day 1

*All times are approximate and subject to change. Please be flexible. 

  • 14:00 Depart Saigon port for the transfer to Can Tho (4 hours). As the capital of the Mekong Delta, Can Tho is the largest town in the delta and its name translates, romantically, as the “River of Poems”.
  • On arrival, transfer to local restaurant for dinner

Day 2

  • 05:30 Early morning, transfer to Ninh Kieu pier for 3-hour boat trip. Visit Cai Rang floating market followed by a visit to an orchard, and local noodle workshop.  
  • 08:30 – 10:00 Breakfast at hotel then check-out
  • 10:00 – 11:00 Transfer and visit to Can Tho museum and a nearby Khmer Pagoda
  • 11:00 – 15:30 Depart from Can Tho for 3.5-hour drive to Chau Doc. Lunch at local restaurant en route (very basic).
  • 15:30 – 16:45 Transfer & visit Tra Su forest.
  • 16:45 – 17:15 Drive to hotel in Chau Doc town
  • 17:15 Check-in at hotel & free leisure time 
  • 19:00 Dinner at hotel

Day 3

  • Breakfast at hotel.
  • 06:15 Transfer to Chau Doc pier for speed boat to Phnom Penh depart at 7:00AM
  • 12:30 Arrive in Phnom Penh and transfer to local restaurant for lunch
  • 12:45 – 13:45 Lunch at a local restaurant
  • 13:45 – 17:15 Transfer & visit to Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and Cheung Ek Killing Field.
  • 17:15 – 17:45 Transfer to airport for flight to Siem Reap
  • Arrive in Siem Reap, meet your guide then transfer to hotel for check-in & late dinner at hotel.

Day 4

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • 07:30 – 08:30 Depart Siem Reap for Kompheim Village
  • 08:30 – 08:45 Arrive in the village, introduction to your local guides and HUSK staff
  • 08:45 – 09:30 Walk through the village – introduction to the community, village life and HUSK’s involvement.  Introduction to the nursery program.
  • 09:30 – 09:45 Arrive at the family’s home or at our community center 
  • 09:45 – 11:45 Complete the work project for the family. This could include the following activities:
    • Fruit tree planting and construction bamboo protection around the trees
    • House Repairs
    • Building a simple chicken coop
    • Creating woven vegetable gardens
  • 11:45 Handover to the family or community center, photos
  • 12:00 – 12:30 Depart the village
  • 12:30 – 13:30 Lunch at local restaurant
  • 13:30 – 15:00 Cycling to visit Ta Prohm temple
  • 15:00 – 18:30 Continue to visit Angkor Wat temple. Appreciate sunset over the temple (sunset time around 18:20) then cycling back to the town.
  • Enjoy your free night in Siem Reap – dinner is on your own account

Day 5

  • 05:30AM: Pick up by remok for the sunrise at Angkor Wat (optional)
  • 06:50AM: Transfer back to hotel for breakfast and check-out
  • 08:30 – 10:30 Transfer to and visit Angkor Thom, Elephants Terrace, Leper King Terrace and tour of Bayon.
  • 10:30 – 11:30 Early lunch at local restaurant 
  • 11:30 – 12:00 Transfer to airport for flight back to Saigon
  • 15:30 Upon arrival in Saigon, transfer to Nha Rong port

Meals Included

4 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 3 dinners

Special Note

Children under 10 are not recommended due to biking tours included & some genocide sites.

Casual wear should cover shoulder and knees for pagodas and temples visiting

Hats, sunscreen, & bug spray are recommended

Gifts for children at Kompheim village are welcome

The two sites Toul sleng Museum & Cheung Ek killing Field, are grim reminders of the extermination policies carried out by the Khmer Rouge. If you choose to participate in these visits, be prepared for some gruesome and depressing sights.