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 draught makes it possible for the boat to access the smallest of villages. With the tasteful decoration of a bygone era, it 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, boat hands, hostesses, cooks and boat master are quiet and insonspicuous in the performance of their duties.
The legend of Toum and Tiou
The Toum Tiou derives its name from a traditional Khmer tale of star-crossed lovers, the Cambodian equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, Toum being the boy and Tiou, the girl. This beautiful love story turned tragedy features Tiou's mother, an ambitious woman who wants to marry her daughter off to the king and Toum as the awkward lover. The king, good-hearted and understanding, eventually gives up on the marriage to make Tiou happy. It ends tragically when a frame-up involving the mother and the governor leads to the death of one of the two lovers, the other committing suicide to follow suit. This story is taught from primary to high school. Many songs and pieces of traditional music allude to the pair of ill-fated lovers.
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 boats 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 boat, because we wanted to retain its slightly curved and elegant lines.
The Toum Tiou is 38 meters long and 6.5 meters wide in the middle. It has 10 rooms in all (3.3 m x 2.5 m), 4 on the first deck and 6 on the second, each air-conditioned and with a bathroom (2.5 m x 1.4 m) 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.
ITINERARY IN DETAILS;
Day 1: Ho chi minh arrival (D)
Arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, welcome and transfer to hotel by Asia View Travel guides with signboard, check in, relax. Dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Ho chi minh. (The first day’s programme can be re- arranged according to your arrival time in Ho chi minh).
Day 2: Ho chi minh city – Check in Toum Tiou boat - My Tho (B, L, D)
Today we spend a half day seeing some major sights of the city. We pass the now-demolished wartime American Embassy before we visit the Reunification Palace which was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of April 1975, and some French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Sai Gon Post Office. After seeing the Jade Emperor Pagoda and the War Remnant Museum, we continue our trip on to the bustling Ben Thanh Market where anything and everything is for sale!. Lunch at local restaurant.
15:45 Toum Tiou is open for embarking.
16:00 Clearance of departure formalities.
16:30 Departure for My Tho, security briefing.
19:00 Welcome drink and info meeting about cruise, crew introduction. Welcome dinner. Overnight onboard
Day 3: My Tho – Vinh Long - Caibe – Sadec (B, L, D)
Departure of the Toum Tiou early in the morning.
07:00 Breakfast during navigation on the marvelous canal of Cho Gao.
08:00 Arrival at My Tho – Toum Tiou drops anchor on river in the proximity of Thoi Son Island. On the banks of a northern arm of the Mekong, My Tho, which translates as "fragrant herb", where tourists come to
discover the beauty of the delta. It's 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 climate is warm and pleasant year round.
The surrounding countryside is home to one of the most luxuriant gardens of Vietnam, with its coconut palms,
banana and mango trees. Local boats are coming alongside Toum Tiou to pick up passengers and transfer to the mainland.
Departure for Vinh Trang Pagoda by car - Short panoramic tour of My Tho town on the way, stop for a visit of My Tho market. Return at the pier - Passengers cruise on the river to Thoi Son Island by local boat to visit the island, explore local people’s daily life and enjoy locally seasonal fruits.
10:00 Passengers re-embark Toum Tiou and leaves My Tho for Cai Be. Lunch and leisure on board.
13:30 Toum Tiou drops anchor at Cai Be. Local boats are coming alongside Toum Tiou, picking up the passengers and cruise around Cai Be Floating Market.
Continuing for Vinh Long - a brick and pottery factory, the Binh Hoa Phuoc Islet Nursery of Fruit Trees as well a typical house and a show room of traditional farming tools. Vinh Long, which translates as "Majestic Dragon", is right in the middle of the delta, between two arms of the Mekong. The soil of Vinh Long is enriched by silt deposits, making it ideal for growing mandarins and other citrus fruits. Life is organized around the water. Houses on stilts, hawkers in boats, hundreds of small craft crisscross in all directions. The hospitality of the locals makes it a tourist destination par excellence.
16:30 Return on the Toum Tiou, departure for Sa Dec.
19:30 Arrival at Sa Dec, Toum Tiou drops anchor on the river. Dinner and overnight on board.
Day 4: Sa Dec – Chau Doc (B, L, D)
07:00 Sa Dec - Short panoramic tour and transfer to Trung Vuong primary school. Continuing to Kien An Cung Pagoda.
Stroll around Sa Dec Market along Sa Dec River bank. This small city of 30,000 inhabitants is fascinating in its
unspoiled authenticity and undisturbed by tourists. It provides a glimpse of the delta where a few colonial houses still remain, including the "Chinaman's house" (from Duras' novel "The Lover", also made into a movie).
09:00 Passengers re-embark; Toum Tiou leaves Sa Dec for Chau Doc, lunch and leisure on board.
17:00 Arrival after lunch at Victoria Hotel Chau Doc jetty.
Departure for fish raising rafts and Cham minority village by local boat. Return to the Victoria. If the timing is
allowing it, watch of the sunset on the Sam Mountain which peaks at 237 meters. Its well-known Buddhist
sanctuaries offer an unobstructed view over the mosaic of glistening rice paddies below. To the left is Cambodia, the flow of the Mekong on the horizon breaks into an infinity of silver ribbons. Visit on the way of the Lady Chua Xu temple and Tay An Pagoda.
19:30 Return to the boat, Dinner at the Victoria Hotel’s restaurant.
Overnight onboard at the jetty of the hotel; passengers are free to enjoy the hotel facilities (swimming pool, billiards, bar, Internet) or stroll in Chau Doc.
Day 5: Chau doc - Koh Dek Chau – Phnom Penh (B, L, D)
Toum Tiou leaves early in the morning for Vinh Xuong (Vietnamese border). Breakfast during navigation.
08:00 Arrival at Vinh Xuong check-point – Formalities clearance for Toum Tiou to cross the border.
10:30 Toum Tiou leaves Vinh Xuong check point for Kôh Dek Chau Island. Lunch during the navigation
14:30 Arrival at Kôh Dek Chau island. A short break along the way, it allows to get a fascinating, close-up look at daily life in Cambodia. On the fringes of civilization, the 600 people who live on Kôh Dek Chau will receive your visit with some surprise. School children will escort you along your way. You will go through the village that occupies the full length of the island, walking along a trail shaded by date palms.
16:00 Toum Tiou leaves for Phnom Penh.
20:00 Arrival at Phnom Penh. Dinner and overnight on board.
Day 6: Phnom Penh (B, L, D)
08:00 Breakfast, departure for the “KILLING FIELDS” - Tuol Sleng Museum, old center of detention, of torture and execution between 1975 and 1979. The visit of this place is essential to understand what could be the fatal madness perpetrated by the Khmer Rouges.
12.00 Return to Phnom Penh, lunch in a local restaurant.
15:00 Balance of the day free exploration on own. Suggestions can be made up on the interest of passengers. FCC, Russian market, other boutiques (antiques), etc.
19:00 Return to the boat. Local group performs on board traditional “APSARA” show for 45 minutes.
Overnight on board.
Day 7: Phnom Penh – Kompong Tralach (B, L, D)
07:00 Breakfast, half day city sightseeing tour including the Royal Palace and the National Museum.
12:00 The Toum Tiou leaves Phnom Penh for Kompong Tralach. Lunch during navigation.
16:00 Arrival at Kampong Tralach to visit its wonderful Vihara belonging to Wat Kampong Tralach Leu pagoda. To get to it, we cross Kampong Tralach Krom village along a small road perpendicular to the river, crossing some gorgeous stretches of emerald rice paddy as we leave the river behind. The Vihara dates back to early last century. It was probably built on an older site, as indicated by the latérite foundations, and is home to some outstanding mural paintings. These, however, are starting to suffer from weathering. They remain one of the last survivors of cultural destruction that continues unabated due to widespread indifference.
Standing by itself in the middle of rice fields, it is a modest pagoda that receives very few visitors. Its isolation
may well be its undoing, as was the case for Wat Tani Pagoda in the province of Kampot.
18:00 Passengers re-embark. The Toum Tiou drops anchor few miles away. Diner and overnight on board.
Day 8: Kampong Chnang – Kampong Luong (B, L, D)
07:00 Departure of the Toum Tiou early in the morning. Sail to Kampong Chnang. Breakfast during navigation. 08:00 Arrival to Kampong Chnang.
Located some 56 miles from Phnom Penh, the town of Kampong Chnang is one of the largest fishing ports on
the Tonlé Sap. Fish farming is also widely practiced in the area. The area is famous for its pottery ware,
unchanged in style for centuries, which is produced in sufficient quantities to supply the entire country. And not
to be overlooked are the products of the Thnot tree (sugar palm – a real national symbol) that abounds in the
area: a mellow tasting, caramel-colored sugar sold in large cakes and palm wine.
10:30 Passengers re-embark the Toum Tiou. Lunch on board on the way to Kampong Luong.
15:00 Arrival at Kampong Luong. Local boats are coming along the Toum Tiou and picking passengers for the visit.
Almost totally overlooked by tourists because of its remoteness and difficult access, the village is completely
self-sufficient. A floating school, factories to make ice for fish preservation, church, pagoda, service stations,
pigsty, stores, boat or television repair shops, video club, karaoke bar, police station... everything is on the
water. All trades are represented and everybody from children to grandparents goes by boat through the
network of canals that cross this little town.
18:00 Passengers re-embark. The Toum Tiou stays overnight under the protection of the flooded forest.
If the timing is allowing it, the boat navigates to approach Kompong Pluk, a charming village near Siem Reap.
19:30 Farewell cocktail (1 glass of local liquor or juice) with Master of Ship & Cruise Manager. Captain’s farewell dinner (Enriched menu + 1 glass of wine). Overnight on board.
Day 9: Kampong Luong – Siem Reap (B)
Departure of the Toum Tiou early in the morning. Time to pack and relax a half a day by crossing the Tonlé Sap
Lake. Eventual visit of Kompong Pluk before the arrival.
11:00 Arrival at Phnom Krom pier (5 miles from Siem Reap).Our car and guide will pick up you, transfer to your hotel in Phnompenh. (Hotel not included). End of tour.
Thank you for travelling with Asia View Travel.
Cost in USD per cabin on Toum Tiou boat
From 1 Oct. 09 to 30 Sept.2010
• 8 days Toum Tiou cruise as stated above
• 7 nights on Toum Tiou boat sharing double/ twin private cabin
• 1 night at 4* hotel in Ho chi minh city sharing double/twin room
• English speaking guide
• Transfers in private air-conditioned vehicles
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary with local foods (B = breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)
• Admission fees and permits where applicable
• Government taxes and Service Charge
• Airfares & airport taxes
• Visa in Vietnam Vietnam visa arrangement (upon request visa on arrival at 15 USD, not including stamping fee at 25 USD)
• Visa in Cambodia (available at the border at 20 USD/visa)
• Travel insurance
• Other personal expenses