2024 JAPAN with S.E. ASIA cruiseincludes: Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar) & Vietnam 26 day tour - March 12, 2024
Royal Caribbean introduced us to the possibilities of doing Japan from a ship. But, as we studied the itineraries offered by ships, all missed some of the best areas of Japan and NONE that we found would be there during the beautiful Cherry Blossom Season. The original Royal Caribbean Cruise we considered included Vietnam and Japan. After evaluating everything, we concluded there was just too much being left out of Japan and Southeast Asia. Our owners have traveled to this part of the world many times, taking their children and even many grand children to this part of the world, because of their love of Southeast Asia. Here are some of the advantages of our 2024 tour and cruise has to offer compared to what Royal Caribbean had to offer:
- More of Japan: Royal Caribbean offered 4 ports of call, but missed great cities including Hiroshima. Most of the cities we visit in Japan can be found in nearly everyone’s top 10 cities or places to visit in Japan. One of the highlights of our new tour will be the several rides on the famous Bullet Trains of Japan, traveling 200 miles an hour.
- Experience staggering beauty of Japan’s Cherry Blossoms: We have reviewed the last 8 years of when the Cherry Blossom season occurs. Mother nature can never fully be predictable, but the time we have scheduled for 2024 would have all worked during the last 5 years. The odds are in our favor.
- Vietnam and Cambodia: Our special tour includes – the BEST ancient ruins in the world – Angkor Wat in Cambodia, a “luxurious” cruise on the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam, visiting small ancient villages along with the large cities of Phnom Phen, Cambodia and Ho Chi Min (Saigon), Vietnam. Other highlights will include Hanoi (our favorite city in Vietnam, and Halong Bay. Our boat ride through the thousands of towering limestone islands that are located in Halong Bay will be an experience you will never forget!!!
- 5-Star Luxury AmaWaterways Cruise Ship: Every cabin is over 250 square feet with both a French Balcony and an Outside Porch Balcony. Our small intimate ship holds 120 passengers. We have reservations for 40 cabins, 80 passengers. AmaWaterways in 2021 was awarded first places trophies for the Best River Cruise Line in the world, the Best River Cruise Line in Europe, and the Best River Cruise Line in Asia – Beating out all other river cruise companies including Viking!
- Most of our hotels are 5-Star Luxury Hotels, the others are still 4-Star Deluxe Hotels!
Package Price Includes:
Our 26 Day Special Package Price:
It is a combination of an AmaWaterways Luxurious Cruise, COMBINED with a unique designed land tour in Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. The total price is the combination of the cruise and land tour:
AmaWaterways Luxurious Cruise Portion of Our Package Includes:
- 7-night cruise from Ho Chi Min (Saigon) in Vietnam to Angkor Wat area in Cambodia with AmaWaterways – the BEST cruise company in Asia.
- Luxurious Cat B Double Balcony Cabin.
- All taxes and fees
- Three quality meals a day and we do mean quality!.
- All port charges.
- All shore excursions.
- Transfer to and from the ship
- Free internet.
- Free movies.
- Bottled water, bathrobes and slippers in each cabin.
- Diane Prince as your educator.
- Fun For Less Tours Staff.
- Headset receivers for all shore excursions.
- Option to upgrade to Cat A and Suite Cabins – lower than what the ship sells them for.
Special discounted ship package price: $2,898 + $200 Port Charges = $3,098 per person
- The ship sells our $3,098 package for $3,898 per person – We SAVE you $1,600 per cabin. This really is a fantastic deal. You can ALSO save $1,600 per cabin when you upgrade to Cat A or a Suite Cabin:
- Upgrade to Cat A, better location on the ship: upgrade for $400 per person.
- Upgrade to a large Suite “best location” on the ship: only $900 per person.
Land Portion in Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar) and Vietnam:
- 5 Nights Deluxe Hotel Osaka, Japan (our base – High-speed trains and buses to other cities).
- 2 Nights 5-Star Luxury Hotel Yangon, Burma (Myanmar).
- 1 Night 5-Star Luxury Hotel Bangkok, Thailand.
- 2 Nights 5-Star Luxury Hotel Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
- 3 Nights 5-Star Luxury Hotel Hanoi, Vietnam.
- 1 Night Deluxe Hotel Tokyo.
- 2 Airfares
- Angkor Wat, Cambodia to Yangon, Burma (Myanmar).
- Yangon to Bangkok, Thailand.
- Includes: Checked luggage, Taxes, and Fees.
- National Park Pass Cambodia.
- Full Day to the many ruins of Angkor Wat.
- All transfers, if you booked our group airfare or your flight arrives on or before and departs on or after our group flights.
- Halong Bay boat ride.
- All tours, guides, buses, entrance fees in Japan, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
- Bullet Train Osaka to Hiroshima.
- Bullet Train Hiroshima to Osaka.
- Bullet Train to Mt. Fuji.
- Includes any other needed use of Japan’s High-speed Trains.
- Diane Prince will be giving lectures on the ship and in Osaka.
- Individual headset receivers.
- * Not included in our Package:
- The option to purchase our group airfare.
- The international flight from Bangkok to Osaka. This flight will be required to purchase through Fun For Less Tours. Price will be known about 6 months before departure.
- Land Tour Package Price: $4,895.
Package Price: $7,993 - Total Combined Cruise and Land Tour Package*
*Per person cash discount price, based on double occupancy. Does not include international airfare, visas and tips.
Amawaterways Asia cabins are more luxurious and larger than almost any other river cruise ship.
Note: the lower level is for staff, Cat B cabins are on the main level, Cat A cabins are one story above B and Suite Cabins are the top floor two stories above main level.
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 March 12: Fly
Today you will fly from your home to Los Angeles (LAX) where you will board the Singapore Airlines Jet. Your flight will take you to Singapore and then on to Yangon. If you are doing your own airfare you must get your airfare all the way to Yangon.
Day 2 March 13: Flying
Cross the International Date Line and lose a day.
Day 3 March 14: Yangon Myanmar (Burma)
You will arrive early morning into Singapore, change planes and continue on to Yangon. You will arrive mid-morning into Yangon. Yangon (Rangoon) lies in the fertile delta of southern Myanmar, on the wide Yangon River. The city is filled with tree-shaded boulevards while shimmering stupas float above the treetops. The city became the capital only in 1885. We will be doing a city tour. The most important stop will be SHWEDAGON PAGODA, which is the highlight of any visit to Yangon. Towering over the city, this pagoda is the most sacred spot in the country, built to house eight hair relics of the Buddha. After touring, we will head to our hotel.
Day 4 March 15: Rangoon – Bagan
Today will be another fantastic highlight day. This morning we will fly to Bagan. We consider Bagan to be one of the BEST RUINS in the WORLD! Bagan is a spectacular plain stretching away from the Ayeyarwaddy River, dotted with thousands of 800-year old temple ruins. Although human habitation at Bagan dates back almost to the beginning of the Christian era, Bagan only entered its golden period with the conquest of Thaton in 1057 AD.
- SHWEZIGON PAYA: King Anawrahta started the construction of the Schwezigon Pagoda to enshrine some relicts of Buddha. The construction was finished by his successor, King Kyansittha between 1086 and1090. Originally the Shwezigon Pagoda marked the northern end of the city of Bagan. The stupa’s graceful bell shape became a prototype for virtually all later stupas over Myanmar.
- GUBYAUKHYI TEMPLE at Wetkyi-Inn: This temple was built in the early 13th Century and repaired in 1468. The great colorful painting about the previous life of Buddha and the distinguished architecture make this temple an interesting site for a visit.
- ANANDA PAHTO: One of the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. Thought to have been built around 1105 by King Kyanzittha, this perfectly proportioned temple heralds the stylistic end of the Early Bagan period and the beginning of the Middle period.
- GUBYAUKGYI TEMPLE at Myinkaba: Built-in 1113 by Kyanzittha son Rajakumar, this temple is famous for its well-preserved Stuccos from the 12th century on the outside walls. The magnificent paintings date from the original construction of the temple and are considered to be the oldest original paintings in Bagan.
- MANUHA TEMPLE: The Manuha Temple was built in 1059 by King Manuha, the King of Thaton, who was brought captive to Bagan by King Anawrahta. It enshrines the unusual combination of 3 seated and one reclining image Buddha. It is said that this temple was built by Manuha to express his displeasure about his captivity in Bagan.
- SHWESANDAW PAYA: In 1057 King Anawrahta built this Pagoda following his conquest of Thaton. This is the first monument in Bagan, which features stairways leading up from the square bottom terraces to the round base of the Stupa. This Pagoda is ideal to watch Bagan’s magnificent sunsets.
- LACQUERWARE WORKSHOP: The villages around Bagan are known for producing the finest lacquerware in Myanmar. Stop by one of the workshops and learn about the painstaking process of lacquerware making and decoration. We will overnight in Bagan.
Day 5 March 16: Bagan – Yangon
Late morning or early afternoon we will fly back to Yangon. Overnight Yangon.
Day 6 March 17: Yangon– Bangkok
This morning we will fly to Bangkok. Upon arrival, we will visit THE ROYAL GRAND PALACE, the nation’s landmark, and the most praised royal monument. This is the former royal residence of the Chakri Kings. The palace is a perfect example of an ancient Siamese court. Built-in 1782 by King Rama I, it was the center of power for more than 150 years. Today, the Palace is Bangkok’s major landmark and most popular tourist attraction. WAT PHRA KAEW, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is located right next to the Grand Palace and together form perhaps the greatest spectacle for the visitor to Bangkok. It consists of over 100 brightly colored buildings, golden spires, and glittering mosaics, and dates back to 1782 when Bangkok was founded. When you enter the compound you first see Wat Phra Kaew and the nearby attractions and then move on to the Grand Palace. Photography is permitted in the Royal Palace Grounds and in the compounds of the Emerald Buddha Temple, but not inside the buildings. Transfer to our hotel.
Day 7 March 18: Bangkok – Siem Reap
This morning we will fly to Siem Reap. Depending on our arrival we will visit Tonle Sap Lake. By boat, we will explore the floating fishing villages that live at the edges of the lake, passing submerged forests and fishing farms. We will then transfer to our 5 Star luxury hotel. Upon arrival in Siem Reap.
Day 8 March 19: Angkor Wat – Siem Reap
Our Visit to Angkor Wat will be a fantastic highlight day! The crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, ANGKOR WAT is the national symbol and a favorite of Cambodia. The largest, best-preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. To approach the temple you must cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. As you enter the main building you will ascend through a series of galleries and courtyards before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, we stop to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted into the walls. Along the outer gallery, walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day.
Visit Angkor Thom: The fortified city of ANGKOR THOM covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats, the city includes many of Angkor’s most popular sights. Enter by the monumental SOUTH GATE over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the TERRACE OF THE ELEPHANTS and the TERRACE OF THE LEPER KINGS, former spaces for public ceremonies, both adorned with dramatic bas-reliefs. We will visit the ruined BAPHUON, ROYAL ENCLOSURE and PHIMEANAKAS before continuing to TA PROHM, one of the most popular attractions of Angkor. Much of the jungle has not been cleared and it looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them. Tomb Raiders and other movies were filmed here. Overnight Siem Reap, tomorrow we board our luxury cruise to sail the Mekong River.
Day 9 March 20: Embarkation – Kampong Cham, Cambodia
Transfer via motorcoach from Siem Reap to the AmaDara in Kampong Cham for your seven-night cruise. Your afternoon excursion takes you to the Twin Mountains, known as Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei (male and female mountains). In the Khmer legend, the twin mountains were formed as the result of a competition between the men and women of an ancient Cambodian kingdom to resolve which gender would be responsible for wedding proposals. As the story goes, the women lit a fire at night, which made the men believe the sun was rising. As a result, the men stopped working and the women won the competition. Thus, men still need to ask the women’s parents for permission, and Phnom Srei is higher than Phnom Pros. Later, join fellow guests for an evening Welcome Dinner. (L, D)
Day 10 March 21: Angkor Ban – Oknhatey
During the morning, go on a walking tour to Angkor Ban, one of the few villages in Cambodia that were not destroyed under the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. Here, people still live in their traditional wooden abodes and keep their old cultural traditions alive. Hundreds of wooden houses stand intact on stilts, shaded with banana trees, among the hustle and bustle of the daily agricultural on-going of the local villagers. After visiting here, the ship sails to Oknhatey or “Silk Island,” located on the lush banks of the Mekong River. This island is known for its rich tradition of silk weaving. While here, you’ll visit a local elementary school and observe the traditional silk weaving that has been preserved for centuries. Your ship moors in Oknhatey village. (B,L,D)
Day 11 March 22: Oudong – Kampong Tralach – Phnom Penh
Your cruise continues to sail to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The morning excursion takes you to Oudong, Cambodia’s former royal capital from the early 17th century until 1866. Today, Oudong is a place of pilgrimage for Cambodians. While here, be treated to a memorable Buddhist Blessing Ceremony at a monastery. After visiting Oudong, be treated to a truly authentic excursion, an oxcart ride through a local village Kampong Tralach. Later in the day, experience Phnom Penh via a tuk-tuk ride and be enchanted by the city’s French Colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards set amidst monumental Angkorian architecture. After returning to the ship, enjoy Khmer folk dancing performed by local children in the Saigon Lounge. (B,L,D)
Day 12 March 23: Phnom Penh
This morning’s excursion takes you to Cambodia’s infamous Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng S21 detention center (Genocide Museum). Alternatively, you may wish to shop for unique treasures at the bustling yellow-colored Central Market. After lunch on board, you’ll explore the highlights of the city, followed by a visit to the Royal Palace, the spectacular Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum, which has an outstanding collection of Khmer crafts. (B,L,D)
Day 13 March 24: Phnom Penh – Border Crossing – Tan Chu, Vietnam
Spend the day cruising the Mekong River as your ship crosses the border into Vietnam. (B,L,D)
Day 14 March 25: TAN CHAU – SA DEC
Visit Tan Chau, a small Mekong River town unspoiled by tourism. You will have the opportunity to enjoy an authentic experience via a traditional “xe-loi” (trishaw) ride around the town, with stops at silk-making and rattan mat workshops, followed by a boat ride through the narrow channels of the Mekong River to “Evergreen Island.” Later in the day, cruise to Sa Dec. (B,L,D)
Day 15 March 26: SA DEC – XEO QUYT – CAI BE
Once ashore in Sa Dec, tour the town where French writer Marguerite Duras spent many years in her youth. Visit a colorful local market and the 19th-century house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, Duras’ Chinese paramour, on whom her prize-winning novel “The Lover” is said to be based. Later, board a motor coach for Xeo Quyt, once used as a military base during the French war and now an important ecological site. You will have an opportunity to visit candy and rice paper making workshops, and the historic Kiet Old House. In Cai Be, cap the day off with a festive Farewell Dinner on board. (B,L,D)
Day 16 March 27: Ho Chi Minh City – Disembarkation
This morning we will head to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an important Vietcong base during the Vietnam war. Stretching over 120 miles, this incredible underground network, dug by hand out of hard laterite, connected command posts, hospitals, shelters, and weapons factories. We will also tour Ho Chi Min (Saigon). The tour will include Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, and the Reunification Palace. Overnight Ho Chi Minh.
Day 17 March 28: Hanoi
This morning we will finish any touring of Ho Chi Minh City before we fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival, we will transfer to our hotel.
Day 18 March 29: Hanoi- Halong Bay – Hanoi
Today will be a full-day tour to Halong Bay with a boat trip. According to legends, Halong Bay was formed by dragons who used their tails to gouge out valleys and crevices and spat out jewels that turned into islands. This is truly one of the most beautiful places on this earth. On a traditional wooden “junk” (boat) we’ll drift through a fairyland of sheer limestone islands that rise from the emerald water. We will pass by unique rock formations and discover caves in the rocks. At the end of a fantastic day, we will return to our hotel in Hanoi.
Day 19 March 30: Hanoi
Our tour of Hanoi will include the mystery and charm of past century’s narrow lanes and traditional shophouses on our walking tour. We also include the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex, the Temple of Literature, and the highlight, the Old Town. The Old Town is best seen on foot. The maze of narrow streets dates back to the 13th century. We will also visit the famous Hanoi Hilton (prison).
Day 20 March 31: Osaka, Japan
This morning we will fly to Osaka, Japan; with the time zone changes we will arrive in the afternoon. Upon arrival, we will transfer to our deluxe hotel.
Important note: We are still working out all of the details with Japan related to our different tours and what will be included. We have listed some of what we expect, but all tours are subject to some tweaking as we work through what we can do in the time we have.
Day 21 April 1: Osaka – Himeji Castle, Kobe, and Osaka
Himeji Castle, also known as White Heron Castle, due to its elegant, white appearance, is widely considered as Japan’s most spectacular castle, for its imposing size, beauty, and its well-preserved complex castle grounds. It is also a World Heritage Site. Followed by a visit to Kobe Harbor Land & Port Tower Landmark before heading to Osaka for the afternoon. Osaka Castle Park is beautiful during the Cherry Blossom Season. We will also visit the lively Shinsaibashi Walking Street and Dotonbori, the most lively areas in Osaka.
Day 22 April 2: Osaka – Hiroshima – Osaka
We will depart early for the train station. You have heard about Japan’s highspeed bullet trains that can travel up to 200 miles an hour, today you’re going to experience it going to and returning from Hiroshima. It is around 1.5 hours to Hiroshima by bullet train. Upon arrival, we will take a ferry to see the Itsukushima Shrine (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Red Torii Gate floating in the sea before heading to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Then return by train to Osaka.
Day 23 April 3: Osaka – Kyoto – Osaka
Today will be another huge highlight day. Kyoto, on most lists, is considered the #1 place to visit in Japan. We will visit the Golden Pavilion and its gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then we will visit Nijo Castle built in 1603 and at times used as a Royal Palace, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will also visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace, used as the residence of Japan’s Imperial Family until 1868 when the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. The Kiyomizudera Temple (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is one of the most celebrated temples in Japan. Near Kiyomizudera Temple is the ancient unspoiled historical streets of Ninenzaka that you will be able to explore.
Day 24 April 4: Osaka – Naha – Uji – Osaka
Today we will visit Nara Deer Park, where you can enjoy feeding cute deer. We will also visit Todaiji Temple with its Giant Buddha. It is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark in Nara. After our tours in Nara, we will head to Uji City to visit the Byodoin Temple and its garden is a picture-taking paradise. We then head to Byodo-in Omotesando Street with its many shops before returning to Osaka.
Day 25 April 5: Mt. Fuji – overnight Tokyo
This morning we head to Mt. Fuji by bullet train, getting off in Odawara station. We will then travel by bus to Hakone where we will take a cruise to enjoy on Lake Ashi where we can have a great view of Mt. Fuji. Your experience gets even better, we will then travel by cable car on the Hakone Rope Way to Owakudani Volcanic Valley. At the end of the day, we continue by bus to Tokyo.
Day 26 April 6: Tour Tokyo – fly to LAX and on home
Early this morning we will visit a fish market area that you should not miss. Our tour today will also include the Emperor Palace and other important sites in Tokyo. Mid-afternoon we will transfer to the Narita Airport for a evening flight on Singapore Airline, you will arrive the same day around noon into Los Angeles.