Traveling is always an exciting time – new places to visit, people to meet and things to do. However, traveling also presents many questions. To help answer those questions, we have created this Travel Tips list. It includes details on life onboard a river barge.
We hope the information provided will help you prepare for your barge cruise and make it your most memorable and rewarding vacation experience ever.
Passport and Visa Information.
Currently visa is required to visit Vietnam. Holders of other nationality passports should check with the Embassy in the country concerned, to establish whether visas are required . Each traveller must be in possession of a valid signed passport that will remain valid for at least six months beyond completion of the entire trip. Asean (South East Asian Nations) citizenship passport holders do NOT require a visa for Vietnam.
Vietnam and Cambodian 6 hours ahead of GMT and 5 hours ahead of European time in the summer time, in winter, please add 1 hour.
Le Cochinchine Cruises
In selecting our river cruise, you have chosen one of the most relaxing and fulfilling ways to tour through endless water way of Mekong River while exploring the lush Mekong Delta. This will offer you opportunities to have pleasant encounter with local people. See Vietnam in authenticity and sample local culture and food, and a one unpacking, unforgettable vacation where your “floating hotel” takes you to the heart of Mekong Delta and quaint villages.
Enjoy the continuous and ever-changing scenery as you encounter a lively world of legendary waterways and picturesque landscapes, floating markets, lush bonsais garden, rice fields, villages, pagodas and temples and fruit-filled orchards, and boat laden bazaar.
Your all-inclusive, value-packed cruise includes:
Cabin accommodations on all ships
All meals aboard
Bicycles on board
Row boat on board
English/French as the onboard language……and much more
Your cabin has its own air-conditioning unit, which can be adjusted for your comfort. We recommend you do not over- cool your cabin as the sudden change from the outside temperature to a chilled cabin can bring on colds, respiratory illnesses and even stomach upsets. When you go out, we recommend you turn the setting to ‘Lo Cool’, set at about 4, and then when you return you can readjust the temperature to your preference without having to wait for cool air. At night you may prefer to use the fan only, and have the windows open. Insect netting covers the windows to enable you to do this. Please do not leave your air-conditioner on with the window open – this results in energy loss (the equivalent of switching on the heating and opening the windows in a cold country!
The cruise bar is always open, all bar drinks are excluded.
Meals on board Le Cochinchine meals are taken at one sitting. It is not necessary to sit at the same table each time and we have tables for individuals, couples right up to larger groups. We offer a mixture of local cuisine with richly flavor and taste and there are always vegetarian dishes offered.Passengers requiring special diets, such as vegetarian, low salt & low cholesterol meals, may make their requests to the chef when onboard. The chef will try to honor all requests. Exotic fruit, fresh organic vegetables, locally caught fish and prawns are the preference of most of our passengers.
Room service is available on request.
Hairdryers are available in the cabins.
Laundry facilities on board.The charges will go on your bill in US$. If there is an item that you do not wish ironed please advise us.
The ships’ libraries have books available free of charge. We kindly ask that you return the books before the end of your cruise. A small constantly changing library of French and English books and magazines is carried aboard our vessels. We also carry playing cards, scrabble and other games for your enjoyment. We have a C.D./radio cassette player with a choice of classical and modern music. Clients are welcome to bring along their favourite CDs.
Barges do not generally have safes on board. Since the dress code is casual it is not necessary to bring along valuable jewellery. In general it is not wise to travel anywhere with your valuables. Exercise caution throughout & be careful when handling or stowing your passport. It is a good idea to travel with a photocopy of your passport. Leave information of your credit cards at home with a trusted friend or relative, as well as make a copy of the stop usage (800#) if lost or stolen you can call from Europe.
These are kept in the wardrobe in your cabin.
Fire Risk and Smoking
Smoking is not permitted in your cabin or in the Dining Room or Saloon i.e. inside. Smoking is permitted in outside areas only, namely the Observation Deck and Promenade Decks. This is a wood-finished ship and the danger of fire should never be ignored
The sun deck is located on the top of our boat, It is spacious for your relaxation and suntans . For your enjoyment, there are plenty of deck chairs.
Bicycles are carried onboard. Crew will be happy to help you with bike adjustments and getting it on and off the barge. Please remember to use caution when riding along towpaths or into villages. A decision to engage in cycling during the cruise constitute the travellers assumption of all risks associated and an agreement not to make a claim against the barge owners for any personal injury, death or property damage that arises out of such activity.
Water and Towels
The boat ‘s water supply comes from water well after passing through a sterilisation plant. This water is suitable for washing and brushing teeth but should not be drunk. To save water and reduce detergent use we will only change towels daily if they are placed on the floor. We have copious supplies of hot water but you may have to run the water for two minutes before it gets hot.
On our boat and ashore in hotels is 220 volts 50 Hz AC. On the ship we have continental 2 pin type sockets but adapters are available from the ship’s office.
The onboard language is English and French. Staff and crew speak English as do your tour guides.
An experienced, English /French -speaking Passenger Service Manager accompanies every departure. They are there to ensure your comfort, answer questions and make your vacation the most memorable trip ever.
May we suggest that you leave your computers & telephones at home. Cell phone work in most of the barging areas. There are no phone hookups on the barges for checking email. There are payphones along the canal (if you must!) Being “out of touch” takes a bit of getting used to, but by day 2 you should be ok and have no “communication withdrawal” symptoms. You will be able to enjoy the peace & tranquility of the journey
Vietnam offered a variety of goods for the traveler such as lacquer ware, clothing and fabrics in particular silk and cottons. Indo-China is one of the world’s largest exporters of gems and jewellery, but you should purchase from a reputable dealer. Hill tribe crafts, including embroidered goods, such as bags and clothing, also ornaments are good buys. Wherever you make your purchases, please remember that the majority of items are handmade and may contain imperfections natural in goods that have not been mass-produced. It is worth taking a little time to check each item that you wish to buy in order to avoid disappointment. There is a small ship’s shop.