Travel Consultant Experience – Mekong River Cruise

by Lillian Rudd

Hello, I’m Lillian Rudd and I’m a luxury travel consultant with Preferred Travel of Naples.  I would love to share my experience on Ama Waterways.  I had the pleasure of doing a Mekong River Cruise with Ama and we covered Cambodia and Vietnam.

So, our trip started in Hanoi.  We stayed at the Sofitel Metropole, which was an excellent hotel with a great location.  One of the nice things about the hotel was we had the chance to tour the bomb shelter.  We went down dark steps and had to wear the hats.  We went into sort of isles where each little room was.  It wasn’t very big; it was an average size bomb shelter.

One of the spots we stopped at was at the Hanoi Hilton, which was where all of our P.O.Ws were held and the tour was quite emotional.  There were pictures and in fact, there was a picture of John McCain being released.  Then we just explored the city.  We did a rickshaw one evening, all of us.  We went to a water puppet show.  I had no idea what a water puppet show was.  It was fantastic.  There was a man behind the screen and he would make the puppets fight and the water would splash.  It was quite amusing, entertaining and interesting.

And then we flew out to Siem Reap and we were there for two nights.  Of course, the big journey to Siem Reap was to go to Angkor Wat, which is a Unesco site and very famous.  We rose at 4 o’clock in the morning.  You would have thought it was noontime in New York because the traffic was so horrendous.  Hundreds of people come to view the rising of the sun over the temple.

We left Siem Reap, we proceeded to Halong Bay to do a junk for one night.  We weren’t the only people on board.  There were other people.  The accommodations were nice; they weren’t luxurious in the sense that it wasn’t a cruise ship.  It was a nice boat that took us out for the night to experience the bay.

Then we boarded the Amadara, which is our boat for the next seven days.  And we had this fantastic experience of meeting average little villagers on a daily basis.  We went to a school that Ama supports.  The little children sang for us and then they insisted that we sang back, so one of the ladies suggested Old McDonald and that’s what we sang.

We went to a royal palace on our tour.  We went to a Buddhist monastery on our tour.  And we actually fed the monks.  We gave them a spoon of rice in each bowl and their brother monks proceeded to make some warm food and serve that.  It was an experience.  Although bare footed, we couldn’t wear our shoes or socks.

We had a fantastic cruise director and we had tour guides with us all the time.  They were so knowledgeable and so enthusiastic about what they were presenting to us.  We came and you think you know it all and then you listen to them and you realize you know very little.

When we got off the boat, we were in Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City.  We walked to the post office, the big area where everyone wants to go and be photographed.  Many brides are out there with their group having their pictures taken.

I would encourage everyone to take a trip like this or any trip.  That can be arranged very easily with one of our consultants here.  If you do not have an agent one will be assigned to you.  And if you do have an agent, please call and have them arrange a wonderful trip to Vietnam for you.

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